Lonely Planet Writer

Bangkok's Khao San Road cleans up (but don’t worry, there’s still beer)

Love it or hate it, Bangkok’s Khao San Road is for many their first introduction to Thailand’s crowded night markets, colourful túk-túks, sizzling street food, affordable accommodation, baggy elephant pants and large bottles of Chang beer.

Street vendor, Bangkok
Bangkok, Thailand – November 18, 2017: Local hawkers sell Phad Thai noodle near Khao San Road. Photo by: Hafiz Johari/Shutterstock

Those heading to the iconic backpacker street after 1 August will see a new side of Khao San Road since the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) imposed a ban on street vendors selling cheap clothes, souvenirs, snacks and more during the day. While Khao San Road has historically been bustling morning, noon and late into the night with all walks of life and goods for sale, since the ban the street is relatively quiet during the day.

Khao San Road is getting a makeover
Khao San Road by night, a world famous backpacker district. Photo by: monticello/Shutterstock

Not all is lost, however. Currently, sellers are still allowed to set up their street stalls from 6pm until midnight when the street comes to life for the night, though the BMA has plans to set up controlled zones for different items, such as food, clothing and massage services. The Bangkok Deputy Governor is also expected to call a meeting with relevant agencies and vendors to figure out a new agreement as street sellers have been pushing back on the new restrictions.

Khao San Road, Bangkok
Tourists walking along the heavily signed Khao San Road in Bangkok. Photo by: Noppasin Wongchum/Shutterstock

During the day, there is still plenty to explore around Khao San Road in the historic district and, of course, several street food options just off of the infamous street. The delightful Phra Athit neighbourhood just steps away from the northwest end of Khao San Road is home to a number vintage shops, cute cafes and local restaurant finds. The Royal Palace is also just two kilometres away from Khao San Road as is the Wat Pho, with its giant gold reclining Buddha, and riverside docks to catch the ferries along the Chao Phraya River.

By Alana Morgan