I was ready to call it a night.
After a whole day of exploring Bangkok with my longtime friends, marvelling at those temples and haggling for the best buys at the weekend market, We were dead tired and ready to just lay on our beds and sleep.
But our newfound friends in Bangkok told us our experience would not be complete without trying Khao San Road which is just a few blocks away from our hotel.
I said, “hmm Khao San Road…Khao San Road.” I kept repeating it a few times before deciding to give it a try. I even convinced my travel buddies to go with us.
I’ve read so many things about Khao San Road that I would want to get a taste of it. Of course, before traveling to Bangkok I did my
homework research which is something I recommend to all backpackers and travelers. My friend and I were too well-read about this place that we decided not to book our hotel there, simply because Khao San Road never sleeps!
Hailed as the backpackers ghetto in Asia – home of cheap accommodation and crazy nightlife, Khao San Road is a tiny street with unbelievable number of tourists. You could find more Westerners here than Thais. This is a place to meet, drink and have fun with fellow travelers. A lot of backpackers rave about this place because of its fun and energy, but others are also saying that Khao San has become “trashy” over the years.
Well this is something I need to find out as we explore Khao San Road.
A Brief History of Khao San Road
Khao San Road was just a normal residential area in Bangkok. But by the time the government launched extensive promotion of their tourism twenty years ago, tons of tourists flock to Bangkok! Due to shortage of hotels, some residents in Khao San decided let tourists stay and rent some of their rooms.
Realizing the amount of money these locals can make, guesthouse in Khao San exploded as well as the numbers of bars and shops.
Now Khao San Road is one of the busiest travelers’ hub in the world, which serves as a starting point for a lot of backpackers’ extended trip to Asia and other parts of the world.
Well, when you visit KhaoSan, you have the freedom to enjoy the crazy and loud nightlife, even staying awake until the next morning! You can also party and drink till you drop, and then see yourself crawling back to your hotel. 🙂
But if you just want to simply explore the place. Here are the 3 things to do to enjoy what Khao San has to offer.
1 | Eat Pad Thai and Other Thai Food!
One thing that is so amazing about Thailand is their food! And in Khao San Road, you can find all sorts of authentic Thai food from sumptuous restaurants to delicious street food!
As we walk along the area, we were lucky to find a vendor offering Thai food on the side of the street. With its inviting aroma and affordable price, who could resist?
We settled on this part of the street and feast these delectable dishes!
Thais’ love and patronage for their own food is admirable. There is very minimal number of fast food restaurants here because people opt to eat on the street than to eat at Mcdonalds or Burger King.
Once you tried Thai food, you would understand why. It’s delicious! It can be so spicy for some, but you can request the cook or vendor not to make your food too spicy. It pays off to have new friends in Bangkok.
If you are the adventurous type, Khao San also offers some of the world’s most exotic food…from fried bugs to scorpions!
I would really want to try these but situations didn’t permit. (yeah excuses!) LOL!
But I did try some fried crickets and maggots in Cambodia. I’ll share it to you in another post. All in all this type of food is not that bad at all, so why not try it even once when you visit Khao San.
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2 | Get A Massage!
Our tummies were happy. And since our feet were aching because of a day of endless walking, we decided to get a foot massage, and we had the best foot massagers with them.
Surprisingly, we were delighted to meet a Filipina working as a manager of one of the popular massage centers in Khao San. Of course, being a fellow Filipino, we were treated extra special and we just love it!
3 | People watching while drinking beer
Trip Advisor even declared Khao San as “People Watching Paradise” This is probably the best thing about Khao San. This is the place to observe interesting people…people with character as they say.
All you have to do is sit, grab a beer and watch people go by. You will definitely find amusing people every minute, from an old lady selling Thai food on the street to the ladyboys walking with some tourists.
Drunk and party people are just normal in Khao San so you would find them not that interesting at all.
And It is better to enjoy this while drinking the local Thai beer, Chang. I was surprised to find this beer a bit more delicious than we have back home. Seriously.
See Khao San Road in 1 minute
If you are traveling to Bangkok, visiting Khao San Road is worth it.
But honestly, I share the same sentiments with a lot of travel bloggers. I am also confused, why Khao San is so popular? This kind of curiosity will draw you to this place, to explore it, to try it.
And to answer the question if this place is trashy? Well, for me it’s NOT.
You can hate Khao San because of its loud music or the sight of a young Thai girl tagging along with a western tourist. But not to the point of saying that this place is trashy.
I think being an Asian who is used to crowded places, street food and all. I can survive and enjoy Khao San.
But if there is one important lesson from this experience is this simple realization that Khao San is not entirely Bangkok, not even Thailand. So if you’re planning to visit Bangkok, do not seclude yourself in Khao San.
Bangkok is an amazing city. At the end of the day, more than the shallowness of parties and drinks, it’s Thailand’s culture that will definitely leave you breathless.
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Where to stay near Khao San Road, Bangkok?
It is recommended not to stay along Khao San Road itself because of its night life and noise, so staying near Khao San is better. During our travel, we stayed at Smile Buri House, a few blocks away from Khao San. Just a walking distance.
Rooms are affordable, comfortable and full furnished, perfect for budget travelers. Check Room Rates and Book Here!
Have you been to Khao San Road? Please share your experience in the comments section below.