The infamous Khao San Road. For most people, even if they have never been to Thailand, one of the things they have heard of is this tiny street in the Banglamphu area of Bangkok. Whether you have only heard of it or whether you or your friends have visited already, one thing is for sure, when you get to Thailand you may, at some point, spend a few days there. It is smaller than you imagine; all this talk about it, and when you see it, it is basically like any other small street in Bangkok, except it is one crazy place.
It is flanked on both sides by a myriad of bars and restaurants, most opening from early in the morning to very late in the evening, so whatever you want to eat, drink or do, you won’t have to walk very far to get your kicks.
There are jewellery shops, massage parlours and spas, 7-11’s; restaurants from all corners of the globe, Thai, Indian, middle eastern, western. Stalls selling everything from clothes and shoes; music and books; quirky souvenirs; beautiful candles and prints; and electrical goods.
You can have your hair cut or braided; you can get a tattoo, real or fake; you can get a manicure; there are locals and tourists, taxi’s, tuk-tuks, dogs, cats, geckos, and even the odd squirrel, who scampers along the overhead cables of the chaotic electricity system. The place is a constant hive of activity.
As with many places, Khao San Road looks different during the day than at night. During the day it is much more relaxed. Everyone is just going about their business. Taxi and tuk-tuk drivers trying to get their next passenger, tourists getting massages, locals eating lunch, people shopping. Indeed, while the sun is up it has a much calmer feeling. But once the sun starts to go down and the neon lights come to life, the place begins to fill up with the night shift; the merrymakers and the partygoers. The music gets turned up, everywhere! It is an attack on the senses, your eyes are drawn to the many things going on, your nose picks up the wonderful, and not-so wonderful, smells and you feel a sense of excitement, or anxiety, as you take it all in.
As you enter any one of the various drinking and eating establishments, the staff greet you with the customary “wai”- a slight bow, with the palms pressed together in a prayer-like fashion. Thai people are very polite and generous and, as they tend to your requests for whatever you would like to eat or drink, engage them in conversation and you will make a friend for life.
Bangkok is such a huge city but wherever you end up, be sure to visit this small part of this wonderful city; there is something for everyone on this little street.