Khaosan road, Bangkok!
Khaosan road, as a location im pretty sure this place will become the (0-0-0-0) coordinate of your trip to Southeast Asia. Pretty much anywhere you travel in Thailand and surrounding countries will either end or start here. The meeting point for all backpackers.
Shopping on Khaosan Road
The street itself is jam packed with travel companies, cheap guest houses and bars. As for shopping it would be easier to write a list of things you couldn’t find. Outdoor stores sell tshirts, shoes, sunglasses, bags and handcrafted souvenirs, clothing is ridiculously cheap and there is still room for haggling. Most tshirts have a vintage/distressed look, the most common having a beer logo on them. You will see backpackers all over Southeast Asia wearing their Chang beer tshirts that they bought on Khaosan Road.
Then you have the more illegal stuff, well only illegal outside of Thailand I guess. The authorities don’t seem to care so everything fake is available at a price. There is people selling fake id’s, degrees and qualifications from 500 baht. You can pick up a fake driving license from any country and a degree from any American college. Flip knifes and tasers can also be picked up for around 300 baht. And finally there are stores selling Valium and other drugs.
Eating on Khaosan Road
Anything from fried scorpions to Rambutans (Thai fruit). I have read mixed reviews on eating food from street vendors but personally im very confident that the food is safe, as long as you don’t go to far away from the backpackers, the street vendors are so busy that the food is fresh and safe to eat. I ate street food all the time I was there and never got ill. Fried Chicken on skewers are the best choice with Pad Thai on the side.
Whilst in Thailand you will see fruits that you have never before seen. These fruits generally aren’t exported far as they spoil in short time. One fruit worth trying is the Durian aka The King of Fruits. The Durian smells so strong it has now been banned in most hotels and transport.
Drinking on Khaosan Road
Try some Thai beers, Chang, Singha, Tiger and Leo are all quality drinks and are cheap in the daytime, when the happy hours are on. Khaosan Road and surronding areas are littered with bars, all playing English/American music. Sit back and watch the road pass by. As it gets later on Khaosan Road, it will get progressively busier. You will start to see more beggars, ladyboys and street acts. And the constant barrage of salesmen will increase. You wont believe your eyes at some of the things you will see! Escape to one of the roof bars. They have live acts playing the best songs on the acoustic guitar.
Buy a fruit shake on the street and it may be handed to you in a bag, oh yes a plastic bag with a handle and a straw, takeaway service!
Accommodation on Khaosan Road
If its your first time backpacking you may be worried about getting to Bangkok and having no where to stay. Don’t be worried, there will always be cheap accommodation available on Khaosan Road. My advice is to just turn up and find accommodation when you arrive, I wouldn’t pre book. Ask some fellow backpackers if theirs a guesthouse they recommend. If your looking for budget guest houses, the quality seems to vary. Some people report having belongings stolen from their rooms and other horror stories about bed bugs. So its best to see what other people are saying. I also advise taking a padlock with you, some of the rooms I stayed in on Khaosan Road have external padlocks, take these off and replace them with yours, that way you can be sure no one has a key to your room.
Transport on Khaosan Road
There are dozens of transport agencies on Khaosan Road, offering so called ‘VIP’ buses to the main tourist spots in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia, Burma and Vietnam. Dont book transport with your hotel, they will take their cut as the middle man. Shop around, I recommend getting a price at three different travel agencies.
I must warn you though, be careful when traveling on the economy VIP buses.They seem to stop at the side of the road every once in a while and sometimes things are stolen from the bags in the storage compartment of the bus. Take a separate bag with you to put all your money, passport, cameras, phones etc. with you. And keep this with you at all times, don’t leave it on the bus at one of the service stops.
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Hope to see you soon on Khaosan Road, Backpacking Paradise
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