The Energetic Vibe of Khao San

The Energetic Vibe of Khao San

Popularly known as the ‘Backpacker Central’ or the ‘Mecca of Backpackers’, Khao San Road serves as a hub for Backpackers around the world. You will find this place brimming with travelers. Visiting Khao San is like a rite-of-passage when you are starting off with your travel dreams. This street is a pulsating mass of humans. This 1km long strip has many hotels, cheap hostels, clubs, massage and tattoo parlors and much more, all packed together. The energetic and carefree vibe of this place will make you forget all your inhibitions and you will just disappear into the crowd. The ambiance and atmosphere of this place is so infectious, that I spent every single night at Khao San during my stay in Bangkok, even though my hostel was 10km away in Silom. And this where I ate a scorpion for the first time. Read on to find out how it tastes.

After a day long Temple Run, me and roomies decided to the end the day at Khao San. That was my first visit to the Khao San and it turned out to be the wildest night of all. We might have reached there at around 8pm and I will say that the crowd was pretty moderate at that time but I was expecting it to be more packed. Well later I realized we were just too early for Khao San. The real party starts after 11pm.

When I ordered Pineapple Rice for dinner, I did not expect to get this. It tasted good though.

As they say about Las Vegas, Khao San is where you make ‘bad’ decisions and this is where I made mine when I decided to gobble a full scorpion. It looked quite fried and oily and I was in two minds to eat it. They usually cut out the end of the tail which is the poisonous part, so it is kind off safe to eat. I closed my eyes and munched on it. So did my roomate. I am not sure how to describe the taste, it tasted like roasted chips or maybe a lobster. You got to eat one to see how it tastes, difficult to put it in words now. But it is very crunchy. You chomp through the front claws and legs and tail which are all crunchy and tasteless as the whole thing is quite deep fried. The real deal is the mid rif where you start getting the roasted taste. They said it is quite healthy and packed with proteins; But I think my body did get a shock because as soon as I ate it I started having an itching sensation on my lips and 5 minutes later I could feel small swellings inside my mouth. Nothing showed up outside, the swellings were all inside and I could feel them with my tongue. That did scare me a little. I quickly downed a bottle of ‘Chang’ Beer and that seemed to have cured the swellings. My roommate was fine by the way. He showed no signs of discomfort after eating it. He was even more psyched after that and wanted to eat all those bugs and fried crickets on display. For me it was a complete NO, I was not going to try any more weird stuff after that swelling.

The music was getting louder by the minute. The crowd had started to push in. It was getting difficult to stay on the streets then. So we moved into a dance club by the street. It was pretty fancy and we had DJ Monster P performing. I am not sure what P stands for, seems like to be popular figure with the locals. We got out at around 2am, hoping the crowd might have reduced but the Khao San was still awake and alive. Well I was too tired and wanted to get back to hostel. We got a tuk tuk to our hostel, after the usual haggling.

That is when two guys on a tuk tuk passed by us screaming ‘Race…Race’. We pushed our driver for it as the traffic was less around that time. We chased them down and finally came side by side at a traffic signal. Guess what…the Race was ON. The roads where empty and the traffic light was RED. It turned Green, and both the Tuk Tuks roared across the urban jungle. We were ahead by a good margin and the race went on till the other tuk tuk took a turn and went the other way. So technically, we won. That put an end to one crazy night in Bangkok.

I visited Khao San every single night during my stay. But I toned it down after the crazy night. No more partying, scorpions and racing, even thought it was fun. I usually went for a simple dinner and then explored the Khao San road and the alleyways. In one of those alleys we found the ‘Happy Bar’. It had a peaceful ambiance, away from the noisy Khao San Road.

Many people find Khao San overwhelming, and so did I, after the first crazy night. I did feel Khao San to be loud and unpleasant on my second visit. It is a ground zero for scammers and pickpockets, ready to prey on unsuspecting tourists. You will also be surrounded by many hawkers selling their crappyware and ‘Ping Pong’ shows. It can be really irritating at times.

The Khao San road is so piled up with shops and restaurants that it has spilled over to the roads running parallel to it. These roads were a bit toned down and had a different kind of vibe. They were well lit up with colorful lanterns and had a more peaceful and laid-back feel to it.. Even the music was live and performed by bands and not the usual EDM stuff. This street appealed more to me than its blaring sibling.

I did miss out on Khao San during the day though. It seems to be a shopping space by day and turns into a party scene by night. Well I am not sure if I will visit this place again on my next trip to Thailand as I have seenΒ enough of this place. But If you are in Bangkok for the first time, then make sure you experience the energetic vibe of Khao San Road, which even made an introvert like me dance.

92 thoughts on “The Energetic Vibe of Khao San

  1. I canNOT believe you ate the scorpion! Glad you’re okay. I think I’m just going to take your word for it on the taste. The pineapple rice looks scrumptious!

  2. Ahhh those scorpions!! What a crazy place to visit, the vibe seems full of energy from your photos and like a place it would be super fun to visit with a group of friends.

  3. I would so love to try the pineapple rice, it looks delish! That scorpion though, looks quite scary fried or not…Glad that you got to dance and have fun!

  4. We never went to Khao San Road when we were in Bangkok. It definitely would not have been our scene at all. The pineapple rice does look pretty good though, but we much preferred nights cruising on the river with a nice dinner and the breeze blowing.

  5. I would like to go here and do some shopping. I am quite good in haggling. I am not eager to taste the exotic foods. I would definitely get allergic reactions. I am more interested in eating Thai noodles.

  6. Khao San sounds like an interesting and happening place. Looks like you guys had loads of fun on the day-1 itself in the Khao San Road, though we found the interior alleys more pleasant and peaceful. That pineapple rice surprised us too we believe in India we would have been served something different πŸ™‚

  7. Khao San Road is either one of those places you love or hate. For me its the latter. In my opinion this is not the Thailand that i want to see.
    The area has developed to satisfy the weird cravings of The falang and as such the low life follows.

  8. We’re still not quite sure what to make of Khao San road! We’ve been a few times and it’s so fun but also kind of annoying all at the same time! It has its place though I suppose!

    1. That was pure adrenaline. Those tuks tuks are really fast. They are unleashed only at night when the traffic is less. During the day they have to adjust to the traffic.

  9. Khao San is indeed a very vibrant place and a fav hangout of backpackers. We visited the place for a short time when we were in Bangkok as we stayed at Sukhumvit Road. The Instagram photographs were very beautiful and bring out the flavours of the place.

  10. We’ve been a Bangkok a few times and visit Koh San Road for the cheap shopping and awesome food. We’d probably give the scorpion a miss though!

  11. I feel like this should be on my bucket list. I don’t party a lot but there is something in this place that makes me want to go to Thailand. Food looks great, I might have to pass on that scorpion though πŸ™‚

  12. Pineapple rice, wow that’s interesting plus the place seems to have an amazing fun vibe as well!
    Loved the shared pictures thanks for sharing as well as introducing πŸ˜€ dear

  13. Despite all the craziness and the Hoologan-like vibes, I just love Khao San because it’s one of a kind. It’s surprising how the street changes into a busy shopping street in the morning, after being a party street all night!

  14. I wish you could have seen me squirming while reading about your eating the scorpion. OMG! How gross! πŸ˜‰ Your pictures show that you are having a really good time. Keep on enjoying!

  15. I purchased a flight to Bangkok for October, and I can’t wait to visit!! You’re very brave. I don’t think I can try the bugs! I’m glad the beer helped alleviate the swelling your were experiencing from eating that scorpion!!! Eating insects is a definitely a spectator sport for me! Lol.

  16. OMG I love the Pineapple rice LOL reminds me of a time I was in the Czech republic and I ordered a Vodka orange at the bar – for us in Australia this means a drink of vodka mixed with orange juice, no a glass of straight vodka came out with a peel of orange attached to the rim!!

    Khao San Road sounds crazy! Scorpian doesn’t sound too bad if it’s like lobster lol but I think I can do without the mouth swelling!

    Noted to experience the road by day as well as night for shopping scene πŸ™‚

  17. Wooo! Those dishes really freak out.
    Scorpions to eat, aah never thought off. Seems you had a fun eating it.
    Yeah the environment looks quite cool. Great pictures out there.

  18. Ahhh Khao San…so dirty, smelly, noisy, tacky, full on, frustrating but still so cool. Have always stayed near Khao San and while I can’t deal with too much time there it does have a special place in my heart. Interesting about your scorpion reaction. Glad that it didn’t get out of hand that an ice cold beer seemed the perfect remedy!

  19. While Khao San is nice, I would say it is the primary reason most people who visit Bangkok don’t want to come back. Next time you come to Thailand try out some of the other more local areas and you will see just how intense and immense this city is. I find it to be more energetic, vibrant, clean, and wayyyyy more developed than even New York. Check out sukhumvit road and stay with locals through Airbnb. You won’t regret it!!

  20. Staying in a different , quieter area and visiting the buzzing backpacker district sounds like a good plan. You can have all the fun you want and then leave it for a peaceful nights rest.

  21. Just reminded the scorpion dish had, when I had been there last year. That made me nostalgic.
    Hehe… literally reminded about an incident while eating the dish with my colleague. πŸ˜‰
    Keep posting Cheers

  22. You are right. Khao San is always brimming with travelers. So alive and lively till late at night that you don’t feel like going ‘home’.
    Only by going there we have made some friends. If you want to see the real international crowd, go to Khao San.

  23. I love backpacking so I really should visit the β€˜Mecca of Backpackers’! Thank you for your tips. I would love to try the scorpions, always curious about trying weird dishes

  24. I just remember there being tons of guys trying to sell suits during the day on Khoa San Road. The party does start late there. We stayed in a hotel on that street and didn’t get much sleep of course! I can’t believe you ate a scorpion!!! I don’t think I could do it!

  25. I think I would love the pineapple rice. It looks scrumptious! The scorpion would be a pass for me, wouldn’t want to risk it. Places like this are fun for a one-time experience, but for me, I prefer quieter places full of history and/or scenic beauty.

  26. Looks like Khao San grew on you after that first day. But eating that strange food (strange for me) was quite brave. Glad you survived it and grew to like it better πŸ™‚

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