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Khao San Road, Bangkok

At the busy neighborhood of Banglamphu north of the Grand Palace lies the famous backpacker's Mecca: Khao San Road. Chaos is constant in Khao San, a pulsating plethora of multicultural, gastronomical and commercial life... true to the images swirling in my head as I read Alex Garland's cult-classic-turned-blockbuster about a secret paradise with a dark side, called "The Beach" :

At the busy neighborhood of Banglamphu north of the Grand Palace lies the famous backpacker’s Mecca: Khao San Road. Chaos is constant in Khao San, a pulsating plethora of multicultural, gastronomical and commercial life… true to the images swirling in my head as I read Alex Garland’s cult-classic-turned-blockbuster about a secret paradise with a dark side, called “The Beach” :

“The first I heard of the beach was in Bangkok on Ko Sanh Road. The Ko Sanh Road was backpacker land. Almost all the buildings were converted to guest houses, there were long-distance telephone booths with air-con, the cafes showed brand new Hollywood films on video, and you couldn’t walk ten feet without passing a bootleg tape stall. The main function of the street was a decompression chamber for those about to leave or enter Thailand: a halfway house between East and West.”

“Khao san” means raw rice, because this tourist trap was once a rice market. Today, the goods have more than diversified. Night markets hawking textiles, trendy RTWs, pseudo-antiques and shameless knock-offs make Khao San, like most of Bangkok, a haggler’s heaven. And, of course, you won’t miss out on your neighborly Western staples: 7-Eleven and Burger King and Starbucks and Mr. McDonald himself fiberglass-ed in traditional Thai greeting.

The passersby – a sight to behold with a bottle of Singha (THB 60.00) in hand and a mouthful of push-cart Thai noodles (THB 45.00) incinerating your palate as you “chill” in a sidewalk beer garden after a haggle victory – come in myriad morphologies: grunge backpacker with a week’s worth of body odor, underage hipster with pasty hair, sloppy farangs and their prized girlfriends, superstar soccer exhibitionist, lazy dread locked dude and groovy didgeridoo player.

Khao San Road is a short ride away from Ko Ratanakosin by taxi (THB 50.00) or tuk-tuk (THB 60.00). At the night markets, haggle rabidly to get the best deals. Learning a bit of Thai helps a lot. And pretend to be uninterested over a hot item. Sellers’ initial offers are usually double the fair price. Bring home a graphic tee (THB 100.00 – 200.00), brass Buddha (THB 300.00) or wooden demon mask (THB 250.00).

Check out Nancy Chandler’s Map of Khao San and Old Bangkok (THB 150.00), a colorful hand-drawn fold-out with tips and insider information.

written by eazy360

5 comments

  1. warshock

    warshock

    i like the masks!

    almost 6 years ago · report as spam
  2. kemumaki

    kemumaki

    welcome :)

    almost 6 years ago · report as spam
  3. eazy360

    eazy360

    @warshock: Yeah, they were really cool; I actually got one of them (in the photo, the brown demon mask at the lower right). It now hangs in my bathroom, scaring the crap out of me every time (pun intended). Hahaha

    almost 6 years ago · report as spam
  4. ferro_ud

    nice set!
    <body bgcolor="#FF0000">

    almost 6 years ago · report as spam
  5. eazy360

    eazy360

    thanks guys

    almost 6 years ago · report as spam

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