Described by Alex Garland in his best selling book, The Beach, as “the centre of the backpacking universe,” Khao San Road in central Bangkok certainly lives up to that description. Pretty much every backpacker that visits southeast Asia will end up on this road at one time or another. It is a great place to stock up on books, souvenirs, get a Thai lover, drink a beer, buy a fake college diploma, meet other travelers, eat pad thai from a street stall or feast at McDonalds. It literally has everything a backpacker could want.
It is also a great place for photography. On a recent visit, I plopped down at a street-side restaurant-cum-bar and just watched people – and took photos of the interesting ones – for hours.
The People of Khao San Road
The scorpion vendors
On the day of my visit, it was a slow day for the scorpion vendors. Even though people tend to start drinking very early on Khao San Road, I don’t think anyone was drunk enough to give them a try. Then this bad ass guy came along:
This guy isn’t afraid of anything. I am pretty sure he has eaten people before. He sat down to have a casual read of his ebook with a beer and a snack, much to the amusement of the local behind him.
Sitting right in front of us were two Dutch guys who were getting entertained by a local street magician.
Getting a magic show wasn’t enough. The experience unlocked a hidden desire in one of the tourists to be a magician himself. He got lessons from the pro.
After a detailed lesson, the tourist was ready to try and impress the locals with his new found skills.
He may not have been a great teacher, but it seems like a great way to meet the ladies.
Suns out, Guns out. Suns out, Buns Out
You can’t get a group of backpackers together and not have a high percentage that are under-dressed. There is something about going to Asia that makes a girl want to let her ass hang out and makes bros think shirts are optional.
Khao San is a street party. People start drinking early and stay late.
The great thing about drinking on Khao San Road is that some places don’t I.D. or have any morals when it comes to over-serving.
Freak Show Cool People
Interesting people abound on Khao San.
Shop till you Drop
From selfie sticks to fake college diplomas to genuine Rolex watches, there is an endless supply of tourist crap available for purchase.
And of course, no photo essay of Bangkok people would be complete without the requisite older foreign guy with a young, pretty Thai girl.
Have you been to Southeast Asia?
You went to Khao San Road, right?
Related Post: The Spectacle that is Khao San Road at night (Nomadic Samual)
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