Khao San’s flashpacker factory
Looming above a bunch of noisy bars, the pale green D&D Inn is one of the largest and most recognisable hotels on Khao San. Some years ago it quit being a cheap backpacker haunt by upgrading all rooms and increasing rates into the flashpacker range. Whether the benefits outweigh disadvantages is up for debate, but do know what you’re getting into before booking.
D&D overlooks the noisiest part of the strip near raucous bars like Centre Khaosan, which blasts music until around 02:00. Most families will want to steer clear, and those hoping to sleep before the wee hours should request a room on an upper floor towards the back side of the building, though a faint rumble from the parties will likely be audible even there. On the other hand, this is a convenient choice if you’re drawn to Khao San for the party scene.
Fronted by an enormous D&D sign that shows up in thousands of travel photos, the building is accessed through a long corridor lined with travel offices, tailors and souvenir shops. The dim lobby now has a modern look, even if the neat uniforms haven’t done much to improve the attitudes of some receptionists. Expect impatient and even hostile responses if you aren’t happy with your room or you have a problem that needs attention.
D&D offers at least 10 room types with little description—on the hotel’s website or in person at reception—as to what exactly differentiates one from the next. The 1,200 baht superior that we checked out was cramped but clean, with a fridge, LCD TV, no decoration on white walls and a small bathroom with a hot-water shower behind glass. The lone window looked out to a hall overlooking a central courtyard (to use that term loosely) with a few scraggly trees.
Accessed by lifts, all rooms come with TVs, private hot-water bathrooms, air-con and free WiFi that requires inputting a pin number every time you go online. A free breakfast is thrown in, and pricier rooms have fridges. While the cheaper rooms still have D&D’s original utilitarian look, you’ll find an almost classy mix of dark-wood trim, forest green walls and frosted glass with mosaic patterns in the higher-end rooms. The cheapest rooms are set at the front of the building and will be noisy, but receptionists did not volunteer this info until we pressed them on it.
Atop the seventh floor stretches a small but lively pool rimmed by spacious decks, a separate chill perch and a bar that’s a good place to mix it up with other travellers. From here you’re treated to what is arguably the best view found at any Khao San area hotel: skyscrapers tower in the distance and you can clearly see the Grand Palace and other historical sites to the south. At time of writing, it appeared that workers were putting finishing touches on a second, larger pool set further back on the same floor.
The same group also runs Dang Derm, a similarly cavernous hotel with a yellow facade located directly across the road. It has a larger rooftop pool to go with rooms that are similar, in price and appearance, to D&D’s high-end rooms. In this same vicinity you could also consider Khaosan Palace Hotel, which also has a rooftop pool to go with a tacky Moroccan theme in recently redesigned rooms. Otherwise you may want to head further east down the strip to snag a higher-quality room at Buddy Lodge, or pay more to stay around the corner at Baan Chart Hotel.
Note that rates at both D&D and Dang Derm may fluctuate throughout the year and receptionists would not give us a straight answer on rates beyond the day we inquired. Shopping around online will likely save you some cash.
Address: 68-70 Khao San Rd, Bangkok
T: (02) 629 0526-8; F: (02) 629 0529
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º29'47.53" E, 13º45'33.15" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 600B to 1,500B
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Standard double room|
Add 100 baht for a twin room, 1,600 baht for a triple
|950 baht||950 baht|
|Superior double room|
2,000 bahr for a triple
|1,200 baht||1,200 baht|
|Deluxe double room||1,500 baht||1,500 baht|
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
Our top 10 places to stay in and around Khao San Road