Why I hate Khao San Road

After 5 days in Bangkok I was beginning to wonder if this travelling thing was for me.  I felt on edge the whole time we were in Bangkok and was understandably a little bit worried seeing as we had another 11 months of travelling planned.  I always knew it was possible that one or both us might not actually like travelling, but I never really thought it would actually happen.

After a slight meltdown at 2am I decided that it wasn’t actually travelling I disliked, but Bangkok that I had a problem with, and more specifically Khao San Road.

For those of you who have never been there, let me paint a little picture.  There is a McDonalds at one end, and a Burger King at the other.  In between are bars, shops and restaurants, tailors and massage parlours (not the dodgy ones you all imagine, and they do a cracking foot massage).  During the day there are a bunch of stalls where you can buy cheap clothes and souvenirs and at night, each bar plays house music at a level which is attempting to drown out the next place, whilst people literally try to drag you into their bars to drink cocktails out of sandcastle buckets, or Tuk Tuk drivers attempt to get you to pay them extortionate amounts of money to see Ping Pong shows.  Basically, its like Kavos, or Magaluf, or San Antonio.

So, what’s to hate about this place? I like to drink out of a bucket as much as the next person, and I don’t even object to a Ping Pong show (I am even a little curious about the one that includes LIVE birds).  I can easily eat a McDonalds and Burger King in the same day if I really wanted to, so it’s none of those things.  After some thought I narrowed it down to 3 things.

  • Constant Hassle No, I don’t want a friendship bracelet with ‘I love ladyboys on it’ or a TASER (WTAF btw) or a deep fried scorpion, or a wholly hat (WHO needs one of those in 35 degrees heat?).  Most of all I really want you to leave me alone so I can have an actual conversation with my husband, or the cool people I met in the bar.
  • Taking the absolute piss Its like they think because you are in Khao San Road you’ve left your brain at home, but you somehow managed to bring the family jewels with you, and are therefore going to pay them whatever extortionate price they want.  I know it doesn’t cost 300 baht to go from there to the Bus Station. It didn’t cost me that to go from the airport to a shopping mall 25km away so a 7km journey cannot cost that much. I also know you have a meter, and I’m not getting in your taxi unless your turn it on.

Full disclosure. I think that in Bangkok we suffered from looking ‘too old to be backpacking therefore must be rich and just slumming it’.  I suspect this resulted in much of the over inflation on prices.

  • Out of the way of everything except the Grand Palace. A little bit like Kavos, which is tucked out of the way in Corfu, Khao San Road is nowhere anywhere (except some temples and the Grand Palace which you can do in a day), and not near any public transport, so you kinda feel like you are stuck there if you don’t want a long walk or an expensive taxi.  There were buses, but we never figured out how to get on them and were hesitant to ask anyone for help as it really did feel like people were looking to scam you and take advantage at every point.

There are some really cool parts of Bangkok, but Khao San road is not one of them! Its cheap, its a bit naff, and above all it is just far too much hassle

Rant over.  Back to having fun 🙂  If anyone has a recommendation for someone to stay in Bangkok when we go back we’d appreciate your suggestions!

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