The Kay Report
Every night feels like a Friday night, here on Khao San Road, Bangkok, Thailand, which was the exact vibe my best friend and I needed after our painful 30 hour flight from Toronto to Bangkok.
With little sleep, fatigue limbs and growling stomachs we staggered out of our cab to the front of our guest house (a two minute walk from Khao San Road). Everything in my body was telling me to take a refreshing shower and crash for the night…but everything on Khao San road was telling me not to.
I’m glad I didn’t listen to my body.
With both sides lined with patio bars and restaurants, vibrant colours and live music give life to the street, along with the many tuk tuks weaving in between the hundreds of people (mostly tourists) partying on the road.
The locals creatively turn anything into a make shift pop-up bar. An old van, a table, a cart, literally anything. And the best part is, the food and drinks at these portable bars and kitchens are cheaper than the bigger restaurants and bars.
Whether you are eating Pad Thai off a street cart or Pad Thai at a chic restaurant, your cravings will be satisfied. And for desert, don’t forget to try scorpion on a stick (a mandatory tourist treat), offered by many locals along the street.
The best way to rinse down all that delicious deep fried food is with a “bucket”. A bucket is a mixed drink or cocktail served in a colourful plastic bucket (similar to a beach bucket). It is surprisingly cheap (under 10$ CAN- which is basically the price of a beer downtown) very delicious and VERY strong. Finishing an entire bucket can be challenging, so you end up having to share, which is a great invitation to start new friendships.
Other than by sharing buckets, Khao San road in general is a great hub to meet young backpackers from across the globe. Although the locals wrap up their shops and turn down the music around 2 a.m., the faint smell of pad Thai still lingers in the air as the tourists dawdle around to keep the night going.
The best way to end the night however, is with a tranquil street massage. Weather it’s a relaxing oil massage or an authentic Thai massage, your body will thank you. Like most things in Thailand, the price of a massage (in comparison to what you would normally pay for in North America), is ridiculously cheap. Also note that massage is an art form learned and passed down through generations in Thailand, so believe me when I say this is one of the best massages you will ever receive.
If you don’t fancy the party lifestyle, Koh San Road still offers a place to relax with a nice cold bottle of Chang, while taking in LIVE music at one of the many bars, or to play a round of pool.
It’s also a great place to snag good deals. Everything from various beach items, to hand made jewelry, to ‘I heart Bangkok shirts’, to carved Buddha and elephant statues; or basically any Buddha and elephant item, you will find here. Don’t forget to put your bargaining skills to use. I honestly feel as though the locals enjoy the price beat back and forth and make a fun game out of it. With inflated prices for items in comparison to that of other streets in Bangkok, don’t feel shy to negotiate.
Because Khao San Road has a reputation for being a tourist target, some locals can take advantage and are quick to try and hustle. One local wanted to charge me 10 Bhats just for taking a picture of the edible scorpions.
If I had to recommend one bar to have a drink at, it would be Roof Bar. The name is self explanatory. It’s a lively place right at the heart of Khao San Road, that hosts amazing live acoustic sessions of great classic songs. It can get pretty chaotic inside, jam packed with backpackers, most drunk and wanting to dance or to sing along. There wasn’t much room to go out on the balcony to enjoy the view, however it is still a great place to have a few cold ones and make new friends.
Khao San Road was the first place I stepped on, straight off the plane in Thailand, and it was an incredible way to kick off my three week journey here.