Khao San Road is an enormous warren of guesthouses and other businesses designed to support travellers. There are two ways of finding accommodation: 1. If you are feeling strong and brave, head straight down to Khao San and start looking around. Be warned though - high season is post September and the whole street can be full - I mean literally not a bed in sight. 2. If you want to avoid trudging your backpack from place to place practising your Pidgin English, or if you feel you need the security of knowing you have a place to go to, book a hotel in advance for your first day or couple of days. My advice?
For first timers to Bangkok, especially those who are a bit nervous (everyone is by the way!), book something up from home. It is quite common for parents to pay for their kids first couple of nights in a nice hotel so that they can get their bearings. Two nights in a nice hotel might only cost 50 pound, not a lot for your parent's piece of mind! Secure in the knowledge that you at least have a room for the night, your first mission should be to find alternative accommodation at the price you need. Why don't you ask someone to buy you your first few days in Bangkok as a present? It may only cost them about 30 pounds and will be an extremely useful present and an awesome start to your trip! Better than socks!
Starting your trip in style? One place you can book in advance is: Viengtai Hotel (click here for a booking form). This is a real hotel at real hotel prices. 164 rooms, all with private bathroom and air-conditioning. A single room costs 1,225 Baht (around US$27) a night, a double room 1,575-1,750 Baht ($US35-40) a night. For this you get 24-hour room service, a fully licensed bar, a swimming pool, and shops. (You will get a discount though if you book through www.khaosanroad.com - and please note: We made this booking arrangement AFTER this article was published. It's a good place to stay!).