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Khao San Road in 2022 – Good, bad and very ugly

What is it like to visit Khao San Road in 2022? In short there is good in that lots of people are here, there is bad in that it is very expensive, and there is ugly in just how much people want to rip you off.

To read about 7-Eleven Cambodia click here.

The Old Khao San Road

There’s a danger when any ld timer traveler like myself talks about places, with the old adage of “It used to be so much better in my day” being drastically overused. This is though he case with Khao San Road.

In the old days this was a melting pot of locals, tourists, expats , students and everything in between. Yes there have always been drugs here, yes the Bangkok street walkers have always been here, but this was no Soi Cowboy, or the like.

There was also a few cool little side hustles like the offensive bracelets and of course the fake ID’s. The former of which is still available, but expensive, the later just no longer exists, at least not here.

What killed Khao San Road?

There were a few main things that killed Khao San Road, firstly the bat shit crazy approach to Covid-19 from the Thai authorities, the haphazard way in which the country attempted to reopen, and then the King dying and stupid rules making the part of Bangkok that never sleeps having to close at midnight.

To read about Thailand opening to tourism click here.

This perfect storm has turned what was formerly a mixed eclectic bag of peoples spread along several streets into one crazy busy street that is monster overpriced.

How much is it to drink on Khao San Road in 2022?

One of the things that gave Khao San Road so attractive was that it was priced well and aimed at drinking backpackers. Buckets of booze could be procured for a few dollars, local beers cost nothing and you could breathe in as much laughing gas as you needed to get a buzz.

Khao San Road in 2022 is pretty much on Europe price levels, with even local beers costing $4-5 and cocktails running in at $6-8. Not horrendous compared t Europe, but this is not Europe, the beer is shit and the liquor is most probably fake.

Why has Kao San Road become so expensive?

Basically everyone lost so much in 2022 that most places closed and those that managed to stay open essentially lots a lot of money. To make up for this the locals in their wisdom have decided that to compensate for the loss of money by hiking prices 4-5 fold.

This is a system that might well work in the short term, but in the long term is very much destined for failure, particularly when compared to who cheap things are in neighbouring Cambodia for example.

How much do offensive bracelets cost on Khao San Road in 2022?

One of the real iconic things about visiting Khao San Road has always been the purchasing of offensive bracelets. These hand crafted gifts have some great themes such as “I love cock”, “I do ladyboys” to “I fart glitter”, there are even some very creepy “daddy” related ones.

In the old days you would pay at most 50 cents each for them, but hawkers are now trying to charge up to $5 a piece. I managed to get it down to $2.50 for 3, or around 100 baht. This is not me being a tight fisted Barang, but more not willing to pay a 5-6 fold jumping price. Not only that but it is a case of what things are worth and this is about what they are worth.

And I now were my “Finger Me and “Man for Rent” bracelets with pride.

Street Food Khao San Road 2022

The best Khao San Road street food can be found at the very end of the road by the roundabout. This is whee you will get real local food, such as BBQ, Pad Thai and heap of other Thai rice, or garlic dishes.

Street food on Khao San Road itself is a bit of let down, yes there is Pad Thai, and various BBQ’d sausages and the like, but it lacks quality and plays second fiddle to tourists oddities.

To read about 5 Star click here.

Bugs, scorpions and even crocodile are sold on the streets here, but they are overpriced and lack the flavour that you get with the bugs of Cambodia. But if you want a truly drunk foreigner experience there is chicken kebabs across the street and even Khao San Road McDonalds which stays open until 3 am.

Khao San Road in 2022 – come for the people watching, but there is no need spend all that much time here……