Though known as a “backpackers’ ghetto,” Bangkok’s famous Khao San Road is now brimming with upscale amenities including spas, boutiques, salons, fine dining, and even a Starbucks. The budget-minded need not fear, however, as the “bed in a box” hotels, street food, and illicit activities are still accessible and make the area one of the best places in city to try and stretch a buck (or a baht, as it were).
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Travelers in the area seeking a little quiet and contemplation can head for Santichaiprakarn Park, a small but pleasant spot situated along the Chao Phraya River. It’s a perfect place to escape the fumes and racket that can, for some (particularly those unfamiliar with the astonishing congestion that massive cities like Bangkok can produce), be the perfect antidote for a creeping case of anxiety. The profusion of clubs, hostels, bars, bizarre, and prostitution can be a lot for some people to process; yet these aspects are also the main reason most people gravitate to Khao San in the first place, so don’t judge.
The area remains the cheapest place to crash of any of the well-known districts. Keep in mind, however, that the occurrence of pestilence, the persistence of pimps, prostitutes, and pushers can be unbelievably odious. Never pay for your lodging in advance, lest you end up fleeing the establishment in question in the middle of the night. The nearby districts of Sukhumvit and Rambutri Street offer somewhat more dependable lodgings at rates that are nearly as low.