Beer, pad thai, spring rolls and insects, in that order, was how we first experienced Khao San Road. It gave quite a show. Beautiful people reeling and dancing barefoot along the pavement. The sound of live acoustic music mixing with the hard thumps of electronica from another bar across. A hanging jungle of old beat-up lighted signs, all vying for attention. Tables and chairs, full of locals and backpackers guzzling bottles of Chang beer like there was no tomorrow.
It was crazy as heck.
|TAKING THE LOCAL BUS, THE CHEAPER WAY TO GET TO KHAO SAN ROAD|
It was our first night in Bangkok and the hot sultry night enveloped us as we walked out of Chatrium Riverside Hotel. An attendant asked us if we wanted a taxi, we flagged a local bus instead.
We’re quite excited to see what the fuss was about Khao San Road, the so-called backpacker district in Bangkok where it’s happening. I’ve seen Siem Reap’s Pub Street and Phuket’s Bangla Road. My mind was buzzing as to how it would fare compared to these party places.
|A PAD THAI HAWKER WEARING KHAO SAN ROAD’S SIGNATURE T-SHIRT|
|FAMILY COMPUTER GAMES, ANYONE?|
After some minutes of seeing the city through our bus window, we saw the glimmering lights of the Grand Palace. We’re almost there. Walking along the city’s sidewalk, we passed through vendors hawking everything from the usual Bangkok singlet, to fried spiders and old family computer cartridges. And we’re not even at the infamous Khao San yet.
A few street crossings later and we found our road, Thanon Khao San, it read.
|THE CRAZY MESS THAT IS KHAO SAN ROAD|
The barrage of beautiful humanity hit us the same way Bangkok’s heat did the moment we stepped out of Don Mueang’s air-conditioned airport. The place was packed with tourists milling about, a few shopping for souvenirs, most chugging beers straight out of the bottle.
This once tame street in Bangkok, a place where milled rice (khaosan literally translates to milled rice) were once sold, has now transformed into one of the craziest road in the city. It only stretches for about a kilometer from end to end, but along it, you’d be hard-pressed not to get overwhelmed by its busy sights.
|LAUGHING GAS SOLD AT KHAO SAN|
|A BACKPACKER PARTY|
Besides being a party district for tourists flocking in to Bangkok, the place is also a haven for cheap hostels and mid-range hotels. It’s actually not unusual to see newly-flown travelers lugging their backpacks and trolleys along the road, bumping and mixing with the party crowd in the middle of the night.
|SINGLET AND TSHIRTS, SAME SAME BUT DIFFERENT|
It was about a few hours before midnight when we arrived. And we have no cash.
Well, we have some dollars with us but we forgot to have it changed to baht. So off we went, scouring Khao San Road, looking for a money changer. It was surprisingly difficult to find an open one, considering how busy the place was.
|NO SHORTAGE OF CHANGE BEERS HERE|
With a few hundred bahts filling our wallet, we sat down on one of the tables set along the street and ordered a couple of beers. Priced at about 100 baht or so per big bottle, alcohol here is relatively cheap. Chang and Singha, two of Thailand’s most popular beers are the clear favorites. But fear not, they also have some Heineken and even our very own San Miguel.
|BETTER THAN WUT?!|
|FOOD TRIPPIN’ AT KHAO SAN|
Our bellies grumbled upon our second drink. We needed some grub to go along with our beers. Which was absolutely no problem at all, as hawkers selling noodles and local streetfood were almost everywhere. We didn’t even have to stand up from our plastic chairs.
|A PILE OF NOODLES READY TO BE TRANSFORMED TO PAD THAI|
From where we were sitting, we ordered a plate of pad thai noodles, the country’s unofficial national dish, and a serving of fried spring rolls. It totalled in at 70.00 baht, which was just about 2.00 USD. Totally not bad, considering how good the pad thai was!
|WHAT’S THAT YOU’RE HOLDING, MISTER?|
|BUGS FOR SNACKS?|
Feeling more adventurous, we went to the nearest stand selling creepy crawlies for food. I was about to take some snaps when the vendor blocked my view, 10 baht for a picture! Well alright, no sense in buying a right for a photo when you can actually buy them insects.
A grasshopper, some worms, and a few unknown crawlers later and we were again chugging beers, getting the spirit to actually eat what we bought.
I tried a worm. And it was enough for me.
|ON A QUIETER SIDESTREET OF KHAO SAN ROAD|
This one-kilometer stretch became our nightly destination during our first stay in Bangkok and every visit right after. Soon, we found more sidestreets linking to the infamous road where more bars, booze and street food awaited us.
Khao San Road is a fun place to hang around in where you can meet new friends, dance and mess around, eat pad thai noodles, shop for souvenirs
and fake id’s, watch people go by—there are a lot of beautiful people in Khao San—and booze the night away to music and laughter.
Khao San Road Bangkok
Address: Khao San Road, Banglamphu,
Phra Nakhon district, Bangkok, Thailand,
Open Hours: Party starts after dark
GPS Coordinates Map: 13.726186, 100.543062