Khao San Road – again…

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.

Inevitably some of the locals also end up having 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:

Fried banana - or flied banana as the vendors call it.

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!

Make believe Ray Bans are a must in Khaosan Rd!

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!

Add some buddhism to your life...

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.

Eating STRANGE things!

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…

Natural pedicure Khao San Rd style.

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.

Food, glorious street food!

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?

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12 comments on “Khao San Road – again…

  1. Dear Vibeke,

    Indeed what a difference with your secret beach at Ko Chang! We enjoyed Khao San Road with our children last year. Some love it, some hate it, but I guess you just have to take it as it is. Don’t try to explain the reason behind this ‘backpacker road’. By the way, I am sorry to say that we missed the fish pedicure, but I am glad we missed the insect card lol!
    Emiel

    • Hi Emiel! You missed the insect cart? It was the highlight of our stay in Bangkok;-)
      I am sure you found other ways to enjoy this strangely addictive piece of road! Thanks for tweeting us, and happy travels!

      Vibeke

  2. Hi Mukuba! I agree, it’s quite fascinating how you can pick up just about anything with a familiar logo on it. So far I’ve been impressed with the quality of the items we bought. I’ve washed the football shirts at 60 degrees although the label indicates 30, and they’ve come out just fine. As far as the insects go, I must admit I only tried the worms. They were ok, tasted a bit like soggy peanut flavoured crisps to me. My son insisted that the scorpion tasted like marzipan… but for all I know his eight year old taste buds may have been playing him a trick. Thanks for your comment, it’s nice of you to stop by!

  3. I just came back from Thailand last Sunday and I miss Khao San Road dearly, it was the best part of Bangkok! I could take or leave the rest, seems a long way to travel for such a Western experience.

    My favorite street food was the falafel from the Happy Sandwich stall at the end of the street, 70 baht and included as many veggies as I could stuff into that pita. And the pad thai, oh how I miss the 30 baht pad thai!

    Chiang Mai, though, was a little slice of heaven. I’m already planning my return 🙂

    • I hope you get to go back SOON! It is one of those places – it does your head in when you’re there, and makes you feel hollow once you leave. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Hi,

    My partner and i are travelling to phuket and thailand in 3 weeks for 2weeks, we have 3 nephews and 2 nieces to buy gifts for, how much is childrens clothing and footwear on khaosan rd? And how much are the L.V bags and purses? my nieces want some, any advice would be appreciated. Loved reading your blog, very entertaining.

    Thanks.

  5. Hi Anah,
    You’ll love the shopping! I believe they asked for 120 baht for kids’ t-shirts, we haggled it down to 80 due to the fact that we bought a handful at the same place. My Havaiana flip flops cost me 120 bahts , could possibly have haggled, but the heat and the rest of the family waiting for me outside made me choose the fast and easy option.
    My son’s football strips cost 350 bahts (asking price), but we bought three, and paid approx 900.
    The only item of L.V I looked at was a weekend bag, and they wanted 800. I wasn’t too interested, so I am sure you could bring it down if you tried. Enjoy your trip!

    • I hope you enjoy it Marky! I’ve read Alex Garland’s ‘The Beach’ as well (did you mean that one?), and have no doubt this famous stretch of road will live up to your expectations! Happy travels!

  6. Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
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    I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I’d post
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