The Khaosan Road of Bangkok – A Survival Guide – Page 2

Khaosan street sign bangkok

Massages at the Khaosan

There are a lot of massage places in the Khaosan and they are operating even late at night.
There are 3 main types of massage:

  • Thai massage – You are stretched and bended till you can no more. You stay dressed.
  • Oil massage – A classic massage with oil on your body.
  • Foot massage – The tourists favourite.

Typical massage prices : for one hour: Oil massage: 300 baht. Foot or Thai massage: 250 baht.

massage khaosan bangkok

If you don’t like humans touching you, there is also Fish massage (only for your feet)

fish massage khaosan bangkok

Discos at the Khaosan

You can drink alcohol outdoor, in the many places around the Khaosan, but if you enter one of the disco places and you happen to be a male, there is high probability that you will find yourself the next day, having breakfast with a Thai girl.

“Where you Goin ?”

This is a phrase you will hear a lot while walking in the Khaosan and especially when you will arrive to the extremities of the street. Stay patient, the promoters are trying to make a living.

The Tuk-tuks and Taxis parking in the Khaosan’s walking streets

Let me try to explain this : normal Taxis and Tuk-Tuks are moving all the time on the roads and taking passengers on their way. If a Taxi driver (or Tuk-Tuk) is parking and addressing you, chances are that there is a catch, you will pay between 2 to 3 times the ride or you will visit Jewelery stores and other stuff.
If you are not sensitive to the price because you are visiting Bangkok for a short time then it may be fine to do an organized trip with a taxi or tuk-tuk, but take into account that it is not pleasant to do long trips on a Tuk-tuk because of the pollution and it is not pleasant to be brought to a Jewelery store “just to look”, because you will feel a certain pressure to buy something.
To catch a Taxi, go to the main road and stop several of them, till one accepts to run the taxi-meter, it should cost 70 baht for a ride to the center of town. Taxis in Bangkok are cheaper than Tuk-Tuks and much more comfortable (I know, it is not intuitive).
You can read the page : Common Taxi and Tuk-Tuk Scams in Bangkok.

tuk tuk khaosan bangkok

The Suit vendors

Tailors khaosan bangkok

There are a lot of suit shops in the Khaosan with the vendors standing outside and trying to convince the by-passers to go for a nice suit. I guess it is a good bargain compared to the prices in Europe, it’s just that I have difficulties to imagine the backpackers of the Khaosan dressed in suits. Maybe the tourists of the Khaosan are normal people after all, and they go to an office job back at home.

travellers khaosan bangkok

In the following drawing you can see where the Suits promoters are located:
suit vendors khaosan map

The “Ping-Pong shows” proposals

They have a brochure in hand and they will propose to take you to a Go-Go bar somewhere. The commissions involved here will surpass all the scams of the Khaosan all together. If you want to visit the bars of the red light districts, just go by yourself with a Taxi. See here the zones.

The fortune Tellers

They are Indians, and they wear an impressive traditional turban on their heads. He will address you in an hypnotic look (and voice) and will tell you that you have good omen and that he is a fortune teller.
How to react ?
You can tell him that you just arrived now from the future.

The Hill tribe women of the Khaosan

The Khaosan would not be the Khaosan without these lovely little women.
You can know one is approaching, when you hear a frog sound, produced with a wooden toy.
The only item, I ever saw sold by these women is the special hat that they are wearing and it happens only with very drunk customers.
Please, buy something from them!

Hill tribe woman khaosan bangkok

The Khaosan Singers

At night, there are many outdoor bars playing live music. It happens mainly at the Khaosan road and at the parallel one, Rambuttri.
Your first thought may be: “Wow, this should make a lot of noise ! ” and you are right, but that’s not the biggest problem. I will give you an hint: The singers are Thais and they are singing in Spanish, English and French.

live music at the khaosan road

Alcohol in the Khaosan

You see the photo? This is more or less, the ratio of water to beer in the Khaosan neighborhood (in a quiet street). Some people begin to drink beers right in the morning when I have my first coffee, it gets to high records in the evening.

Alcohol khaosan bangkok

There is only one special day in which there is less alcohol in the Khaosan, it’s when there are elections, alcohol is then prohibited, I have no idea why.

Alcohol khaosan at election day

Regarding alcohol, I don’t know why, but I have a feeling that they don’t really check your Id card at the Khaosan. (Note : This is an old sign. The Khaosan now tries to be more decent).

Alcohol khaosan

Dogs & Cats of the Khaosan

The dogs and cats of the Khaosan are exactly in the same mood as the humans there (but they don’t drink beer).
Thanks to some good people, they receive food and are part of the Khaosan scenario.

dog at khaosan bangkok

Some dogs are dressed :

dressed dog at khaosan bangkok

Some are quite sophisticated:

fancy dog khaosan bangkok

And some are tiny and working in a mobile bar :

dog bar khaosan bangkok

I have heard that there are some people who prefer cats over dogs, so here is a cat living at the Khaosan:

cat khaosan bangkok

If you are lucky, you will be able to spot also this special type of cat, at the Khaosan.

rat khaosan bangkok

The Songkran (Water) festival at the Khaosan

Songkran at the Khaosan

The atmoshpere in The Khaosan is normally “Loco” but at Songkran it becomes “Super Loco”. It happens in mid April (13 to 15), the hottest month of the year and it lasts 3 days. Staying in the Khaosan in that period is like being inside a video game. Everyone that respect himself buys a huge water gun and participate in a splashing game, it is fun. See this video to see what I’m talking about. Water games are held in different parts of Bangkok and all over Thailand but the Khaosan area is probably the biggest war zone (Silom district, Pat-Pong area is also a contender for that title).
Here are some advices I can give you if you happen to be at the Khaosan on Songkran:

  1. If you like swimming you will also like Songkran.
  2. If you think you are smart and can stay dry while staying at the Khaosan at Songkran, you are wrong.
  3. Protect your eyes. The water guns are firing jets of water at very high speed and it hurts when you get it directly in the eyes. The water is also not clean, you can get infections. Put glasses to protect your eyes.

Rain at the Khaosan

The following picture has nothing to do with Songkran, it has to do with rain.
Like all Bangkok, also the khaosan receives showers at the rainy season (from May to October). Don’t be too worried about that, it is usually no more than 2 hours a day, in the afternoon.

tutuk rainy day khaosan

Secret passages (well, Shortcuts) in the Khaosan area

shortcuts khaosan bangkok

Let’s say that you want to bypass the noisy Khaosan road because you don’t want to hear proposals for buying suits or about ping-pong shows, nor do you want to eat a Pad-Thai. There is a parallel world that exists and it is a quiet one. This alley is exactly parallel to the Khaosan, it goes the all way (500 meters), it is very quiet and you can find in it some hostels, restaurants and massages. It looks like this:

shortcut khaosan bangkok

There are also several passages between the Khaosan and Rambuttri roads, (I know at least four) and also between Chakrabongsee road and the other part of Rambuttri. See this map with the shortcuts. (It is a secret map, don’t show it to anyone)

shortcuts map khaosan bangkok

Click on the map to see it a (little bit) larger.

In some cases you need to climb stairs, enter a restaurant, go down again and then you are in a completely other street. You see, It’s not boring at the Khaosan.

shortcut with stairs khaosan bangkok

Some of the shortcuts, are closed during the night

shortcut closed at night khaosan bangkok

The Wat (temple) in the Khaosan area

Between the Khaosan road and Rambuttri road river side, there is a complex with several Wats (temples), one is called “Wat Chanasongkhram”. It is very quiet in this area, a big contrast with the nearby noisy streets. see on map

wat khaosan bangkok

In this area you will see also a Buddhist monastery and a children school.

buddhist monastery khaosan bangkok

A piece of history

Until a few years ago, you could get at the Khaosan road an identity card of whatever you wanted to be. You could become a lawyer, doctor or a student in a matter of seconds. You just needed to bring a photo and then a vendor of clothes could arrange the card. Times have changed and now we need to go to a real university in order to get these cards.

faked id cards khaosan bangkok

Continue to Page 3 of the Khaosan Tourarrow1

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