Family friendly Khao San Rd
If you have found this post, you will most probably already have heard about Khao San Road. It’s the backpacker ghetto of Bangkok, a place to immerse yourself in chaotic shopping, endless haggling and of course, the continuous display of Western tourists having had too many Chang beers.
Everything you have heard about this road is probably true. However, what you may not know, is that the road is only a little snippet of a side street. 350 meters long, that’s all. In return, these 350 meters are jam packed with… well… I suppose you could call it entertainment.
Here are some of the family friendly things to do along this mythical road:
Actually, these are not like the deep fried bananas you may get in restaurants. This is simple street food, and a better way to describe it is grilled banana, or ‘gluay ping’ as the Thai call it. In the picture you can see the woman pressing the grilled bananas together. It is served with a sugary sirup (palm sugar I believe), and will have you craving for more in no time!
Ay Ay Pirate! Khao San Road is the mother of piracy… whether you’re dying for a Louis Vuitton suitcase, Armani underpants or like me – a classic pair of Ray Ban pilot sunglasses – you’ve come to the right place! Be prepared to bargain hard though. Prices have shot up in the last five years, so don’t expect to pay less than 100 Bahts for a t-shirt, 150 for a pair of ‘designer’ glasses and another 150 bahts for a pair of Havaiana flip flops. Our football crazy son stocked up on all his favorite football strips for next to nothing, and I have rarely seen him as happy!
Buddha is ever present in Thai life. As a tourist in Bangkok, you are likely to visit more temples than you are capable of absorbing, and the image of Buddha will eventually remind you of these serene places of peace, meditation and harmony. It’s a great place to start teaching your kids about world religions, as they will be able to get up close and personal with the standing buddhas, the lying buddha and maybe even adorn them with the gold leaf you can purchase at the temples.
The insect cart hits Khao San Rd at around 7 pm every evening. It’s as exotic as it gets, so prepare yourself for some seriously crackly snacks… We tried the deep fried scorpions (like the one our son holds up in the photo), frogs, grashoppers, crickets, silk worms and the plain old normal worms. Or to be honest, I stuck to the plain worms while the rest of my family indulged in the whole menu. Their favourites were the scorpion and the crickets, whereas the silk worms left them all gagging and reaching out for the water bottle…
Baby feet! It is no secret that backpacking can leave your feet in a right mess. Well, fear not, because in Khao San Rd. there is a very entertaining cure for rough skin. My son found it hilarious, and giggled all through the ten minutes he had his little feet in the fish tank. The feeling? Well, according to him it’s like a light electric buzz, and at one point we had to fish him out because he was on his way in with his whole body.
Thai tapas is the only way I can describe hitting the food stalls along Khao San Rd. You pick up a tasty satay skewer, shop a bit more, stop for a corn on the cob further down the road, bargain for a hammock, indulge in a chocolate pancake, and so on… it seems to be the way to do things around here.
The food is ridiculously cheap – we never paid more than thirty bahts for anything (70 pence), and although food critics claim that the street vendors use soy sauce rather than the more authentic tamarind sauce, I say that the experience of eating in the street tastes so authentic that it more than compensates for the inferior ingredient. Oh, and no upset stomachs afterwards!
Once you’ve endured Khao San Rd, you may want a dose of beach life. Why not check out our secret beach on the island of Ko Chang?