Formerly a quiet local area with just a few budget guest houses, the Banglamphu area and famous Khao San Road have become an obligatory stop on the twenty-something travel trail, with cheap guest houses, street cafes, music shops, boutiques and bars. Over the last few years the area has become a tourist attraction in its own right given impetus by the novel "The Beach" which features Khao San Road. It's untypical of Bangkok and yet the back streets nearby retain some of their old fashioned Thai charm. Accommodation used to be very basic but many guest houses are now upgrading with air-conditioning, pools and better quality rooms catering to a wider family market, at very reasonable rates. An extensive market, good cheap restaurants and the international mix of travellers and locals from different backgrounds make it an interesting place to visit or stay.