I have been in and out of Bangkok more times than I can count. Over the years I have picked up on the easiest and cheapest ways to get to Khao San Road from Bangkoks airports Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi.
First off, you need to figure out which of the two airports you will arrive or depart from. Check if your ticket says BKK (Suvarnabhumi Airport) or DMK (Don Muang Airport).
If you are coming from Suvarnabhumi airport you have the options of taxi, the S1 bus, and the Airport Rail link + a ride on the 59 bus. From Don Muang the options are either taking a taxi, or the a4 bus directly to Khao San Road in Bangkok. Keep on reading for prices, directions and travel time.
In Thailand cash is still king
For all these options you will need to bring cash. Bring some baht from your country, or get some from the money exchanges or ATMs (both have terrible rates at the airport).
For the taxi and the bus options notes are fine, but I strongly recommend breaking the 1000s to be safe. For the train get some coins or small notes for the machine. Buy something to break the notes, or simply ask the exchange to give you some small bills and coins.
Buying a sim card at the airport
While not a necessity, having the option to look up the map, to make sure you are on the right path, or to make sure you’re not being taken for a (extra long) ride by the taxi driver is smart if you are not familiar with the city.
I would recommend buying a sim card for your stay at the airport. It is a bit more expensive than in the city, but well worth the cost. If you are from a western country it will get expensive using your home countries sim card for data.
If you don’t want a a local sim card at least download the map of Bangkok prior to leaving your country, or use the airport wifi (you can ask for a voucher). Just note that the location services won’t be as good without data.
How to get to Khao San Road from Suvarnabhumi International Airport
The newer one is Suvarnabhumi airport (BKK on your ticket). You will probably arrive here if you are arriving on a long-haul flight, or you’re not flying a budget airline.
This airport has the huge advantage of being connected directly to the light rail and underground transport system.
The easiest and most expensive option – taxi to Khao San Road
So after you have gone through the Visa stamping process and gathered all you belongings you will walk out to the front of the airport.
The expensive luxurious taxis
Here you will be greeted by sellers standing around booths trying to sell you expensive taxis into the city. Last I checked this cost you at least 1000 Baht for a one way trip in a standard sized car. I would not recommend taking the sellers up on this offer unless you got money to burn to travel in a prettier car for 30-45 minutes.
The cheap standard taxi
The next option is to follow the signs downstairs to the ground floor. Here you can go outside to the taxi booths, and get a reasonably priced taxi. It will cost you approximately 600 baht to Khao san Road from the airport after you factor in the airport fee and highway tolls.
Tip: Keep some smaller Thai Baht notes ready (100s, 50s or 20s), as you will need to pay for the highway tolls along the way. Your driver will thank you.
Taking the bus from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Khao San Road
The next option is to go to the very bottom of the airport. Facing the exit, head all the way to the left of the airport (Exit 7). Here you will see a few ladies standing in booths selling tickets to Hua Hin, Pattaya, and perhaps some islands.
Ask one of these ladies if they have any busses to leaving the airport to Khao San Road (should be bus S1). If you don’t have too much luggage to carry around for a few min, and there are busses leaving in a reasonable time frame go for this option.
It will be the cheapest and easiest way to get there within and hour. You may end up sitting in traffic for a bit, but this is Bangkok so get used to it. It will cost you about 60 baht, and take less than an hour usually.
Airport Rail Link from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Khao San Road
If the direct bus is not an option, or you want to avoid the traffic at the worst times of the day, there is also the Airport Rail Link/Metropolitan Rapid Transit (MRT). I can not recommend this option if you have a lot of bags, as it could be a bit of a hassle for you. But for light travelers, this is an OK way to get to Khao San Road from the Bangkok Airport that just opened up!
I have written up a step by step guide for you, this will be much cheaper than a taxi, but take a bit longer. Go for the bus if possible.
Step by step from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Khao San Road
The simplest way to get to Khao San Road from Bangkok airport through the light rail system is a combination of the Airport Rail Link and bus 59 from Phaya Thai Station.
Step one: Airport Rail Link – Suvarnabhumi Airport to Phaya Thai Station
Simply walk back up a floor and follow the sign left again. You will be heading into a different part of the building. Here you can buy your token to Phaya Thai Station from the machines on the wall. Then simply follow the signs down the stairs to the train.
The trip should take about 26 minutes, with trains leaving very frequently throughout the day (every 10-15 min).
Step two: walk from Phaya Thai Station to the bus stop
As you step off the train, you head straight out. As you reach the end of the platform to leave the Airport Rail Link Station, you will have to walk through the BTS Skytrain station- Simply head left. When you reach the end of this station, leave through the left exit, otherwise you end up on the wrong side of the street. Walk down the stairs and you will see the bus stop.
If you are ever unsure, just ask some young Thai person. They may not be the best at speaking english, but they are very friendly and helpful.
Step three: Take bus 59 all the way to Khaosan Road from Phaya Thai
As your bus arrives just step on. Keep some coins handy, as somebody will walk around the bus, collecting payment from you. It won’t cost much, a 20 baht note should be enough to Khao San Road.
As the traffic in the centre of Bangkok can get pretty bad, this ride will likely take another 15-25 minutes.
And there you go, you made it to Khao San Road. Just out of the airport, and you’ve already been on an adventure through the concrete jungle!
Tip: Just ignore tuk tuk drivers as you walk to your hotel in Khao San Road. They are going to take advantage of you as a tourist in Bangkok. Everything they offer can be found for a better rate elsewhere.
Stick to metered taxis or Grab if you need hire a driver. If you end up in a situation where tuk tuk is your only option, make sure to negotiate a price for the whole group prior to jumping in.
How to get to Khao San Road from Don Muang International Airport
The second, older airport is Don Muang (DMK on your ticket). This is where most of the budget flights depart and arrive. So if you’re flying Air Asia, Thai Lion Air or something similar, this is the spot for you.
This airport is unfortunately not connected to the light rail and underground directly. But there are other options available.
Taxi to Khao San Road from Don Muang Airport
Just like in Suvarnabhumi, taxi is also the simplest way to get to Khao San Road.
Is it the quickest way? Yes.
By how much? That depends on the time of day. Early morning and evening it will be significantly quicker, otherwise it will still be quicker, so if you value time over money, taxis are the way to go here.
But unless you enjoy paying extra for taxis, which I assume you don’t since you are at the airport of budget flights, I suggest you pass right by the booths yelling at you and offering limousine cars and the like.
To get to the normal taxi stands simply follow the sign on lower floor (it is very clearly marked), wait in line get your ticket from the ladies, and tell them where you want to go, a taxi driver will be assigned to you, and you walk to his taxi.
A taxi to Khao San Road from Don Muang should cost you around no more than 400-500 baht, and as always insist on using the meter (this is less of a problem at the airports than in the city).
There is an airport fee of 50 baht, as well as a highway toll or two, so be prepared for that by keeping a few hundred baht for the toll booth. The Airport fee will be paid to the driver along with the metered fee upon arrival in Khao San Road.
Depending on traffic you should in Khao San Road in 25-50 minutes.
I would recommend a taxi for anybody who carries a lot of luggage, as the bus ride will be a bit of a hassle for you.
Have a look at few hotels & guesthouses that may interest you in Bangkok by tapping here (Agoda affiliate link).
Bus to Khao San Road from Don Muang Airport
There are a few bus options, but the easiest way is to take the a4 bus directly to Khao San Road from the airport.
Just follow the sign to outside the airport here. You want to wait for a bus marked a4. Avoid the other buses (a1, a2, a3) if possible unless you want to create a situation where you have to take the train, and walk for 20 minutes.
I should warn you that there will be a lot of people waiting for the bus, so don’t be afraid to get close to the people in line so you don’t lose your spot.
There are a lot of different people from around the world waiting for the bus, and in some of their cultures “skipping in line” is normal. Just be a bit careful not to touch anybody, as the Thai people can be very shy when it comes to contact, and this is their country after all.
Uber and Grab in Bangkok
I just want to quickly touch on Uber and Grab in Thailand. First off, just forget about Uber. Grab however, may be an option for you as you are in the city, but I would recommend just using the taxis (with meter on!), as they will be just as cheap, and more readily available in Bangkok.
And there you have it, I hope you enjoy your trip to Khao San Road!
Check out this article to learn more about the different areas of Bangkok to stay
If you found this guide helpful, please consider sharing it so other travelers can see it too!