Headed to Bangkok? Chances are you plan to visit the famous Khao San Road. It’s often the first stop on the “banana pancake trail” that many travelers take through Southeast Asia. The street is lined with bars, shops, and cheap accommodation. It may not have a lot of Thai culture but it sure is fun.
One problem people often run into on their first visit to Bangkok is how to get to Khao San Road from the airport or their accommodation. Its easy enough to get lost or scammed on your way like I did. So I put together this guide on how to get to Khao Sand road from the airports and various tourist hotspots.
Use the table of contents below or read on to figure out how to get to Khao San road.
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How to get to Khao San Road from BKK
Most travelers arrive in Bangkok via Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK). It’s the main airport in the area and often has the cheapest international arrival flights. How to get to Khao San Road from the airport is easy — you can pick and choose from the options below to fit your budget!
Taxi is the simplest but most expensive way to get to Khao San Road from BKK. To get a taxi to Khao San road, head to the public taxi stand on ground level 1. Take a ticket from the machine and proceed to the lane printed on your ticket. Don’t get a taxi from anywhere but this section.
The trip from BKK to Khao San Road should take you about 30 minutes to an hour and half (depending on traffic!) and should cost less than 500 Baht if the meter is run. This fee will include the 50 Baht airport surcharge and any expressway fees. Be sure to let your taxi driver know that you will require the meter and won’t be accepting any set price before you start on your way. These tips and tricks for taking taxis in Bangkok should help you avoid any trouble.
Pro-tip: BKK has free wifi! Sign up as soon as you clear customs and use it to plot your course to Khao San Road. Keep this map open and follow the GPS locator once you leave the airport. This will help you identify if you taxi driver is driving a “long route” to run up the meter.
Grab is the Uber of Southeast Asia (it actually was Uber before they sold their business in SEA to Grab). Basically, you can call a Grab from anywhere in the city for a set price, bypassing the common TukTuk & taxi scams. A Grab can cost anywhere from 400-650 baht depending on the time of day and traffic.
Sign up for the free wifi that BKK offers and download the Grab app. Once you open the app, you can set your pick a location outside of the arrivals terminal. It can be a little hard to coordinate pick up if you don’t speak any Thai, so make sure that you are waiting directly outside the door that you select in the app.
A huge plus for Grab is that you can pay with credit card! This is great if you don’t want to get cash out at the airport or have issues with your debit card upon arrival.
Keep in mind— There has been a lot of unrest over Grab in Bangkok, due to taxi driver protests. It was considered illegal for a while before being allowed again. Please make sure you double check this option before relying on it!
There is now a public bus that will take you from BKK to Khao San Road for only 60 Baht! When people ask me how to get to Khao San Road from BKK on a budget, I suggest this route.
The S1 bus departs every 30 minutes from Gate 7 on the first floor of the passenger terminal and runs from 6 AM to 8 PM. It drops off right at the end of Khao San Road and Soi Rambuttri.
The one downside of this option is that it takes about an hour and thirty minutes because of stops. I’ve heard rumors of people getting rides with no stop but it depends on who is on the bus. But if you’ve got time, this will save you a few Baht to spend on some Changs when you get to Khao San Road.
If you don’t want to splash out for a taxi but don’t feel like taking a gamble on how long the public bus will take, then you can take a minibus. Inside the terminal by the taxi stand, you will find several vendors selling A/C minibus tickets straight to Khao San Road for 100-150 Baht.
Keep in mind that sometimes these can take as long as the public bus because the company will wait until the van is full to leave.
Train + Bus
This is a complicated route and may not be something you want to attempt with jet lag. But if you are feeling adventurous and want to check out the public transit system then go for it!
First, you need to take the Airport Rail Link to the Phayathai BTS station for 45 baht. From there you will need to find and take the 59, 79, 503 or the 511 to the Democracy Monument. From here you are about a 5-7 minute walk from Khao San Road. Don’t fall for any TukTuk drivers telling you that it is very far.
How to get to Khao San Road from DMK
If you are flying in via Air Asia or Nok Air, you may need to know how to get to Khao San Road from DMK or Don Muang Airport. DMK used to be the main Bangkok airport until it was replaced by BKK in 2006. Now it serves budget airlines and some domestic routes.
DMK is located north of Bangkok city center and is a bit further to reach than BKK. There are still several convenient transportation options to get from DMK to Khao San Road.
You can take the Airport Bus straight from DMK to Khao San Road. The A4 bus departs from outside the arrivals terminal and will drop you at Khao San Road. This bus has AC and plenty of space to store your luggage. The bus trip will cost 50 baht and takes 45 minutes to an hour to reach Khao San Road. When people ask me the how to get to Khao San Road from the airport on a budget, this is the option I suggest!
The bus runs every half hour from 7 AM to 7PM and every hour from 7PM to 11 PM.
How to get to Khao San Road from Siam
Siam is the shopping center of Bangkok. Here you can find the large shopping malls that should top your Bangkok shopping list, such as MBK, Siam Paragon, and CentralWorld. This is a great central spot to stay, with lots of restaurant and entertainment options. It’s also close to both the MRT and BTS.
While Siam is closer to Khao San Road than BKK or DMV, it is still not a comfortable walking distance. Fortunately, there are still many options on how to get to Khao San Road from Siam.
Taxis can be found everywhere in Siam and is your most direct way to Khao San Road. It’s always best to hail a moving taxi because they are more likely to run the meter instead of offering a set price (usually way above the normal price!)
A taxi from the Siam area to Khao San Road can cost anywhere from 75 to 200 baht depending on the time of day and traffic.
Another way to get between the Siam area and Khao San is the Saen Saep express boat. At around 20 Baht, this option is perfect for the budget traveler. But these smaller long-tail boats can get very crowded and take a bit of agility to board. This ferry runs from 5:30 AM to 8:30 PM on weekdays and 5:30 AM to 7 PM on weekends.
To ferry stop is a short 10-minute walk from MBK under the Hua Chang Bridge. Get on a boat heading west at this stop. Don’t worry about paying when you get on. An attendant will come around and ask you for your fare based on your destination. You’ll ride it all the way to the last stop, Panfa Leelard Pier, and from there you have about a 15-minute walk to Khao San Road.
This sounds like a lot of walking in addition to the boats. But during rush hour this is most likely the fastest option for getting to and from central Bangkok and Khao San Road.
The bus is a pretty straight shot and is easy if you are comfortable with the Bangkok system. You can take the 15 inbound from Siam Station to the Democracy Monument. From there it is a short walk to Khao San Road.
You can also pick up the 79 or 511 outside of CentralWorld and drop you off at the Democracy Monument.
Quick warning, that the buses coming in and out of Siam are often overcrowded during the busy times of the day. Try and time your trips with the more quiet hours.
Things to do in Siam
How to get to Khao San Road from Sukhumvit
Taxi is the easiest and convenient way to get from Sukhumvit to Khao San Road. The ride should take about 30 minutes in light traffic and cost between 80 and 150 baht.
Beware that this area gets quite congested during rush hour. I would not recommend taking a taxi during that time because the costs could get very high. Plan your travels around the less busy times of day— late morning or early afternoon.
The Khlong boats are a fun and fast way to avoid Bangkok traffic jams. You can find the Khlong boat stops on the Saen Saep Canal at the end of Soi 3, called Nana Nua, and at the end of Soi 15, called Nana Chard.
You take the boat going west and transfer at Pratunam to the Golden Mount Line. Take this line all the way to the end and walk about 15 minutes to Khao San Road. The whole ride should cost about 20 baht.
A quick warning that the Khlong boats can get a bit crowded and it can be difficult to get in and out gracefully. That being said, they are fast, cheap and a great way to see Bangkok by water.
BTS + Chao Praya Boat
To start your trip to Khao San road from Sukhumvit on the BTS and boat, you need to take the BTS to Saphan Taksin. From there you can walk to Sathorn Pier and get on a boat going up river with a blue or orange flag. Both of these options will take you to Phra Arthit near Khao San. Each flag represents different stops and services:
- Orange Flag- Orange flag boats stop at all the main piers but not every single one. You will need to pay attention to the pier signs to make sure that you don’t miss your spot. They do not announce the stops on the orange line. The price for orange flag boats is 15 baht each way. The boat runs every 10-20 minutes from 6 AM to 7 PM. You can buy your ticket once on board from a ticket attendant.
- The Blue Flag- The blue flag boats are tourist boats. These are a great option if you are worried about getting lost. The guides speak English and will clearly announce each stop and the nearby attractions. This option is a bit pricy at 50 baht for a one-way ride or 180 baht for a one-day pass with unlimited rides. The boats run every 30 minutes from 9AM to 6 PM. You can buy your ticket in advance and view a timetable on their website.
Get off the boat at Phra Arthur pier and walk the short distance to Khao San Road. This option is the longest and most expensive but does allow you the opportunity to admire Bangkok from the Chao Praya.
Taking the bus from Sukhumvit to Khao San Road is easy and cheap. The 511 inbound can be hailed from all along Sukhumvit road and costs around 20 Baht, depending on distance. Watch for the Democracy Monument and get off at the stop after it. From there it will be less than a 5-minute walk to Khao San.
Tips for take the bus in Bangkok
- Make sure to have your stop or destination written down (preferably in Thai) when taking the public transit. This will help the drivers and operators help you.
- Have small change. Larger bills are frowned upon, especially on the cheap regular buses.
- Keep your receipt because it will be occasionally checked.
- Always offer your seat to monks that enter. Many buses have specific seats reserved for Monks. You are usually welcome to sit there until a Monk comes on. It’s a good rule of thumb to practice common courtesy and also offer it to children, pregnant women, and elderly people.
Tips for taking the BTS & MRT
- It’s important to know the difference between the two lines. The BTS is the Skytrain and operates above ground, connecting many of the main tourist sites in Bangkok. The MRT is an underground network that connects to both the BTS and the Airport Link.
- Have small coins to pay because the machines for both the BTS & MRT give change in coins. If you put a larger bill in the machine, you could end up walking around all day with a pocket of coins.
- Avoid the rush hours of 7 AM-9 AM and 5 PM to 7 PM. This is the most crowded and unpleasant time to ride the public transit in Bangkok. Definitely, recommend you avoid it during this time if possible.
- If you do happen to find yourself at a BTS or MRT station at 8 AM or 6 PM. Be sure to follow the lead of the Thais around you and pause for the National Anthem. It’s kind and respectful towards the country you are visiting.
What to do on Khao San Road
Khao San Road is one of those places that is best experienced by wandering around aimlessly. However there are a few highlights that you shouldn’t miss when visiting Khao San:
Meet other travelers
Khao San is known as the “backpacker Mecca” for a reason. It’s usually the first stop on people’s Southeast Asia tour. Because of this you can find many solo travelers looking to meet others. After a bucket or two, everyone is friends!
Bucket drinks are literally served in small sand buckets, usually with Sam Song, a Thai whiskey, coke and red bull. If whiskey isn’t your thing, you can also get a variety of other combos. These are best enjoyed when shared but I certainly won’t judge you for having one all to yourself.
Shop till you drop
Khao San has tons of stores and street stalls for you to meander as you drink your bucket. It’s definitely not the place to find good deals, since they know that tourists will pay the high prices. It is a fun place to pick up t-shirts with funny sayings and practice your haggling skills.
Try the street food
There are a million street food options to try on Khao San. You can find everything from noodle soup to chicken on a stick for relatively reasonable prices. I still haven’t found a pad Thai that I like more than the one found a street over from Khao San.
Eat a bug
If you are feeling more adventurous, then you can try some creepy-crawlies like grasshoppers or scorpions. I tried some grasshopper when I was on Khao San and it wasn’t so bad. Just sort of a gross crunchy taste…
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Get a foot massage!
Khao San is lined with outdoor massage stations where you can people watch while getting a foot massage for around $3! Some of the massage stations also work with the food stalls and bucket places nearby, so they will have someone deliver you food and drink while you get your massage. A perfect way to end a long day of sightseeing!
If you have more time, the Grand Palace is nearby and is definitely worth seeing! Check out my guide to the Grand Palace for everything you need to know.
Where to Stay around Khao San Road
There is so many accomodation options around Khao San that it can be hard to choose! Below you can find the best accomodation in the area around Khao San Road.
On Khao San
If you want to be in the middle of the action, you can stay right on Khao San Road! Keep in mind that it can be loud until all hours of the night, so don’t plan to get too much rest. That being said, some of the most fun hostels and guesthouse can be found right smack-dab on Khao San.
The Pillow Hostel– $ – Pillow Hostel is located in the heart of Khao San Road. There isn’t a lot of common space to meet other travelers, but with the proximity to Khao San this won’t be too much of an issue. It is above a night club so bring ear plugs if you are looking for sleep!
D&D Inn– $$ – This hotel has a lovely rooftop pool that is perfect for sleeping off the many buckets you drank the night before.
Buddy Lodge– $$$- Buddy Lodge is a small oasis in the chaos of Khao San. They have 76 rooms equipped with AC, private balcony, and a flat screen TV. They also have a rooftop pool and a cute little bar called “Buddy Beer”.
On Soi Rambuttri
Soi Rambuttri is Khao San’s chill older sister. The atmosphere is more relaxed with lots of cafes and live music. It’s perfect for those who want to be near the action but not on top of it.
Some Rest Hostel– $ – Located within a side street marketing, this hostel is just far away enough to allow for a good nights sleep. Each bed has it’s own lamp and plug, plus there is a complimentary breakfast buffet. Not bad for under $10!
Rambuttri Village Inn– $$- With it’s tranquil terrace, Rambuttri Village Inn feels likes it’s miles away from the crowds of Khao San. Their in-house restaurant also has amazing southeast asian dishes!
ibis Styles– $$$ – This hotel is an Instagram lovers dream! With colorful rooms and a rainbow pool, the picture opportunities are endless. They also have a yummy coffee shop inside the hotel.
On Phra Arthit
This area and the surrounding smaller sois have great accommodation options that are a little further away from the bustle of Khao San but still close enough to walk.
New Siam– $ – This hotel is pretty budget but gets the job done, especially if you aren’t into sharing a room as a single traveler. You can get a single room with a fan and shared bathroom under $10 a night. If you feel like spending a bit more, you can get a double room with aircon and a private hot-water shower for less than $20.
Wild Orchid– $$ – This is my top pick in the Phra Arthit area! Wild Orchid is affordably priced but has all the extras you want like AC, private restrooms, and a really good restaurant. They also have a pool, which is super helpful in the Bangkok heat.
Riva Surya– $$$ – This hotel is the best afforadable luxury hotel I’ve seen. It has a riverside pool and suites with gorgeous views of the Chao Phraya River for less than $100 a night!
Hopefully this post helped your figured out how to get to Khao Sand Road! It’s definitely worth a visit and one of my favorite spots for a fun night out in Bangkok.
Mad Monkey Hostel– $- This hostel is a bit further from Khao San but definitely worth it! I stayed at Mad Monkey hostels all over SEA and LOVED it. They have a really social atmosphere and are always clean. I recommend checking all of their locations out. They now have a loyalty program that can earn you discounted stays across Asia and Europe!
NapPark– $- NapPark is perfect for those who want the social aspects of a hostel but want things a little more upscale and clean. Their rooms are very modernly designed and they have really nice common areas to socialize.
Looking for a social hostel? Bangkok is full of accommodation options like NapPark & Mad Monkey. Check out this list of the best party hostels in Bangkok.
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