If you’ve been backpacking, or currently backpacking, chances are you’ve visited Khao San Road. Well known with backpackers, it’s a popular spot for people to start their backpacking journeys. Flights to Bangkok are pretty cheap, especially compared to other parts of Asia. And with internal flights in Asia starting at just £20, it’s not hard to see why most people start in Bangkok, and at the famous Khao San Road.
First impressions: mental. If you go once it gets dark, it’s certainly a different experience than you would get during the day. If you’re searching for a hostel, you will find plenty along Khao San Road, but don’t expect a decent nights sleep. The party goes on until sunrise, and those girls/lads holidays you had when you were 18 to Ayia Napa, Maguluf and Ibiza, suddenly seem quite tame compared to some of the sights you’ll see along this road.
First question you’ll get asked is if you want to see a Ping Pong Show. It’s meant to be quite an experience, one that I decided not to do, but be aware of the scams. It’s not unknown for these people to drive you into the middle of nowhere and demand money for a taxi, even though it’s already been paid for. If you really want to go, ask around your hostel, see who’s done one, and if they can point you in the direction of someone reputable.
Second question will be do you want to eat a scorpion. Something that 99% of travellers that have visited Khao San Road have tried. I’m quite a fussy eater, so I’m in the 1% that hasn’t. Someone ate one just before I went to and said it tasted like prawn, and personally the taste of prawn makes me want to be sick, so I decided to skip it. My advice, try it. It’s not going to kill you. I keep saying I slightly regret not trying one, and will next time, but I know if I ever go back to Khao San, I’m likely to not try one!
The bars are decent, there are also a few clubs for later on. It’s a relaxed atmosphere, and most people around you will be English, American or Australian. I never saw any fights etc, like those you would get on the bar streets back home or in places such as Magaluf etc, but you will see very drunk people. The buckets are cheap, and so is the lager if you want to avoid the strong stuff. It’s no wonder it’s a haven for backpackers. They can go out and get totally wasted, for a quarter of the price they’d pay back home. It’s a decent night out, the music is good and the locals are friendly. It certainly makes the nights out back home look very dull and boring…
During the day, Khao San Road is a different experience entirely. If the thought of being surrounded by drunk backpackers, stood dancing in the street to Spice Girls, eating Scorpions, isn’t your idea of fun, it’s worth checking out during the day. It’s mainly little stores where you can buy gifts for those back home. Haggling is a must in Thailand, but with this street being very popular with tourists, you probably won’t get as good of a deal as you would elsewhere. They’ll still haggle, but they won’t budge on the price that much.
You’ll either love or hate Khao San Road. Your first experience of it will be a good one or bad one. It’s a great place to meet like-minded people and let your hair down. It’s one of the best nightlife spots I’ve been to. Waking up with a very sore head in the morning and walking around a temple in 40 degree heat, wanting to puke my guts up every 5 minutes, was totally worth it! Add it to your bucket list if it isn’t already!