Banglamphu is most famous for the Khao San Rd, a popular backpacker destination for many years. The Khao San Rd. has undergone some major changes in recent years though and is transforming from a cheap backpacker area into a fashionable location for young Thais.
Budget accommodation can still be found cheap can still be found just of the main street with the cheapest of rooms available for 80 baht ($2), but for this you’ll get the smallest of rooms with barely enough room for the single bed and fan. As Khao San moves up in class though, so to has it's accommodation and now hotels such as Buddy Lodge providing comfortable air con rooms, a rooftop swimming pool, and modern facilities on the Khao San Rd for $36 a night.
Khao San caters for a wide range of nations and you can find a selection of world cuisine available there including Japanese and Indian, but be aware that Khao San Rd. is not well known for it's good food and the cheap prices often reflects the quality of the food served. Even the Thai food in the area is cooked with the tourist tastes in mind and much of it seems to have lost its authenticity and flavour.
Though Banglamphu is home to the Phra Sumen Fort, Wat Saket with the Golden Mount and the National Gallery you really need to travel over to Rattanakosin for a good days sightseeing.
Rattanakosin is home to some of Bangkok's top attractions including the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho. Rattanakosin is a short walk away from the Khao San Rd. but in the heat of the day when a short walk seems like a marathon then you can reach the area by taxi or tuk tuk for about 40-50 baht.
The shopping in Khao San Rd. reflects its backpacker style tourists so whilst all the counterfeit goods are there you are more likely to find bootlegged CDs than DVDs, and brands like Quicksilver and Diesal as oppose to Gucci and Prada. The tourist driven Khao San Rd. also has the usual factory made handicrafts, cheap tailor shops and low grade silks. Not a place for quality shopping but certainly a place for cheap shopping. The nearby Banglamphu market is just down the road.