Khao San Road is the centre of the backpackers' universe in Bangkok and is bursting with fun, tacky and useful things to blow your baht on. Its ubiquitous travel shops can arrange your outward journey, whether it be flights, trains or bus tickets. The many tailors can whip you up a sharp suit ready for when you arrive back from the islands.

    A must for the beach is a gripping read, and fortunately several of the city's best secondhand bookshops are on Khao San Road. Modern essentials aren't neglected either: internet cafes, chemists, convenience stores, banks and monetary exchanges abound. Here’s a selection of shops, unique shopping experiences and what you can buy in and around Khao San Road.

    When is the best time to embark on a Khao San shopping spree? Well, unless you want to end up cranky and dripping in sweat, we say in the evening. Not only is it cooler, but the range of things on sale here also becomes even more intriguing (except on Mondays).

    From dusk onwards, creative Thais come and display their handmade wares, usually funky hair accessories, exotic blouses, one-off T-shirts and vintage clothing. 

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    All sorts of counterfeit clobber

    The market stalls in Khao San Road are both eclectic and exciting. It only takes a few minutes of tricky manoeuvring the narrow, obstacle-strewn pavements to realise that every last inch of space is dedicated to small commerce. Tightly packed stalls line the walkways on either side and sell pretty much anything that can fit inside a backpack: knock-off T-shirts, sandals, shorts, sunglasses, bikinis, jewellery, textiles, pirate music CDs and DVDs, as well as old Thai movie posters. As always, when buying at markets in Bangkok, remember to bargain reasonably.

    photo by Brandon Fick (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Amit Fashion & Tailoring

    Amit Fashion & Tailoring makes excellent custom clothes at reasonable prices, and without compromising quality. They’ll even keep your measurements for up to 5 years, not to mention accept mail orders from around the world. With over 20 years of experience, Amit Fashion guarantees the customers satisfaction and quality of its work.

    Location: 67 Khaosan Rd, Talat Yot, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)2 282 5030


    Banglamphu Market

    Open since the 1980s, Banglamphu Market is favoured by locals for its bargains. The market is a good place to find inexpensive Thai products of almost everything, from jeans, T-shirts to branded sneakers. There are also several secondhand book stores and internet cafés located in and around Banglamphu Market. 

    Location: 61 Chakrabongse Rd, Chana Songkhram, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 10 pm


    photo by David McKelvey (CC BY 2.0) modified


    James Fashion International

    Khao San has several shops offering good deals for tailor-made clothes. But if you want your suit and dresses done by one of the world's best tailors then head to James Fashion International This 4-storey shop carries over 3,000 choices of quality fabrics and textiles including English flannels and worsteds, Scottish tweeds, fine cashmere, French gabardines, silk mohair from Italy and colourful Thai silk. James International Fashion is located on Sukhothai Road in the Old City.

    Location: 439/1 Sukhothai Road, Suanchitlada, Dusit, Bangkok 10300, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +66 (0)2 668 2993


    Rainbow Silver

    Established in 1981, Rainbow Silver specialises in sterling silver jewellery and trinkets. Aside from its numerous designs of silver jewellery merchandise, the store also take custom orders and produce made-to-order jewellery. Worldwide delivery or export service is provided.

    Location: 269 Khaosan Rd, Talat Yot, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 10.30 am to 8.30 pm (closed on Sundays)

    Phone: +66 (0)2 629 0414


    Tea Ki Tae Kon

    Tea Ki Tae Kon stocks gorgeous textiles from main silk-producing areas in northern Thailand. There's also a selection of interesting postcards and quality souvenirs that are not widely available elsewhere, which are sold at reasonable prices. 

    Location: 138 Phra Sumen Rd, Chana Songkhram, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Willy Thuan | Compulsive Traveller

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