All the countries I’ve been to in Southeast Asia have them, a street or town where tourists congregate for late night fun. There’s Kuta – Bali, Pub Street – Siem Reap, Vang Vieng – Laos and last but not least Khao San Road – Thailand. This is where ‘Richard’ from The Beach started his adventure and if you are traveling through Asia or just visiting Thailand there is a good chance you’ll visit Khao San Road.
During the day it’s just another busy street in Southeast Asia selling everything you want or need. Yes everything! Clothes, fake watches, fake university degree certificates, fake student ID’s, knock off movies, cd’s, Beats by Dre headphones. I once heard someone say that Khao San Road ‘was a hedonistic dump steeped in debauchery.’ I would like to thank who ever it was for supplying me with that phrase. I wouldn’t go that far but this street becomes more and more hectic as the night goes on.
The vendors that offer tailor-made suits and tours during the day morph into hustlers selling ‘traditional hats’ and bracelets and tuk-tuk drivers offering to take you to ping-pong shows.
The street that runs parallel to Khao San Road, Rambuttri has emerged as its mature brother with a slightly more relaxed atmosphere and a few places playing live music.
Quite often I’ll take a late night stroll down Khao San Road, listening to music on my headphones and people watching.
The Gap Year Student
Bright eyed and bushy-tailed! They’ve just finished secondary school, it’s their first time in Southeast Asia and away from the watchful eye of their parents. It’s their last taste of freedom before they commit to 3+ years of study and a career. They’ll blow their week’s budget in a single night, not remember spending any of it and the next day piece together last nights stories with their new hostel friends.
Their holiday started before they got on they plane. Khao San Road will be the first and last stop and they won’t be wasting a minute on the 2 weeks holiday they have. Drinks on Khao San Road aren’t as cheap as you think. They convert everything to their home currency and they splash the cash. They’ll visit every temple, every waterfall go out every night and still wake up early to catch a bus to their next destination. The Holiday Maker will need a holiday when he gets back to work.
The Bros/Lads on Tour
The Hangover Trilogy and Dude Where’s My Car? were made for these guys. Baseball caps, Beer Chang Vests and a boisterous attitude. They tend to travel in a group of 4 or more. Drink all night, sleep all day. They came to PARTY! Their individual personalities are charming but when together they bring out their alter egos.
The Spice Girls
These girls will drink the Bros/Lads under the table any day and are partial to a tequila shot or two. They wear head turning dresses and are the first to start twerking on the tables.
The Sex Tourist
We’ve all seem them. I don’t need to expand on this anymore.
Bottle of water stashed in the side pocket of their backpack which is always with them, like a shell to a turtle. They’ve been walking the earth for years…..without shoes. They’re not looking to indulge in any of the activities on Khao San Road but they need to see the changes that have taken place. They scoff at the youngsters and reminisce about Khao San Road 20 years ago.
Having children isn’t going to stop them from traveling. In fact better to indoctrinate them early and throw them in at the deep end. Mum or Dad will be carrying a new-born in a kangaroo pouch but be home just before the streets get a bit too crazy.
The Khao San Diet
Starts of with a Large Chang, Pad Thai + BBQ Chicken Sticks, moving onto a portion of grasshoppers followed up by a SangSom Bucket and a NOS balloon.