Fodor's Expert Review Khao San Road
This thoroughfare, whose name means "Shining Rice," has been the heart of the international backpacking scene for decades. In the past few years, stabs at trendiness have been made, with new outdoor bars, a glut of negligible western restaurants, and some reasonably nice hotels sharing the space with the ubiquitous low-budget guesthouses, some of which aren't actually budget anymore. The road has become popular as well with Thais, who frequent the bars and watch the farang.
Sunset marks the start of a busy street market. Khao San 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. Join in the fun only if you don't mind being soaked to the bone.