This thoroughfare, whose name means "Shining Rice," has been the heart of the international backpacking scene for decades. In the past few years it's made an attempt at trendiness with new outdoor bars, a glut of terrible Western restaurants, and hotels sharing the space with the ubiquitous low-budget guesthouses, some of which aren't actually budget anymore. It has become popular with Thais as well, who frequent the bars and watch the farang.
Sunset marks the start
of a busy street market. The road is closed to traffic at night, making early evening the best time to stroll or sit back and people-watch. The frenetic activity can, depending on your perspective, be infectious or overwhelming. During Songkran, the Thai New Year in mid-April, Khao San turns into one huge wet-and-wild water fight. Only join the fun if you don't mind being soaked to the bone.