Bangkok has a bit of a reputation as a crazy place. That’s partly to do with the bustling everyday life – it’s a vast, sprawling city filled with so many people and activities. But, it’s also a lot to do with the infamous nightlife in the backpacker district; the Khaosan Road. I first visited Bangkok in 2011, and again in 2013 – it’s the best place to fly into Thailand so I began and ended both my trips to South East Asia there. After a few nights out in Bangkok, I thought I’d share my take on the wild Khaosan Road.
The Khaosan Road is situated in the Baglamphu area of the Pra Nakhon district of Bangkok. During the day, the road is home to market stalls selling everything from clothing to food, and even (very illegal,) fake ID cards. But, by night, the Khaosan Road is transformed into a nightlife Mecca, frequented by many of the backpackers staying in the area.
The party on the Khaosan road often spills into the street, with many stalls selling alcohol, food, and other weird and wonderful things. You can expect beers like Chang and ice cold bottles of alco-pops in crates of ice, and BBQ scorpions. I wouldn’t recommend the scorpion, from experience! While the sheer amount of people on the street can get a bit much, it’s a great place to meet fellow travellers. Be warned though, they may not be entirely sober!
Gazebo is one of those strange little places I am sure I’ll never find again, but if you ever come across it then you should pay it a visit. Hidden on the top floor of a bar, Gazebo has a bar room and a club room. When I spent an evening in Gazebo in 2011, there was a Thai covers band playing, something that is common on establishments on the Khaosan Road. It was amazing hearing their twists on all my chart favourites, and my fellow travellers and I had a big singalong. The bar has a pool table, shisha, and lots of comfortable seating areas. They also make a great cocktail! After the covers band were done, we headed into the ‘club room‘. It was pretty much a large room with a dance floor, small bar, and disco lights. But, the music was perfect and we met some great people. The hidden gem of the club room is the large floor fan. Nights in Bangkok stay unforgivably warm, so dancing the night away next to a huge fan was the perfect antidote to a long day in the city.
The Club is tucked away behind a small door, two bouncers and a neon sign. It’s about half way down the Khaosan road, and you could easily miss it. If house music is your thing, then The Club is the place to be. There’s a huge stage, cocktail offers, and a smoking room. The atmosphere here is unlike the rest of the bars on the road – both times I went there was less of a laid back, party vibe and it felt a lot more like any club back home. But, if you’re after a big night out, The Club makes a great stop on a tour down the road at night-time.
There are so many pubs down the Khaosan road it’s impossible to pick just one to talk about. Prices range from cheap establishments with a few chairs, tables and a bar, to more upmarket places which also serve food. The great thing about most of these pubs is that they have seating outdoors too. It creates a great atmosphere between the street party and the bars, making it feel like everyone is at one massive get together. There are all sorts of crazy drinks offers at these pubs, so it’s worth shopping around to find a great deal.
Words of Warning
While going out and having a great time is important while you’re travelling, it’s also important to be sensible! Know your limits, and don’t go too wild, and make sure you have the best time without putting yourself at risk. Plus, on a practical note, Bangkok’s humidity isn’t kind to a brutal hangover.
On the Khaosan road, and around Bangkok, you might come across taxi drivers offering to take you to a ‘Ping Pong Show’. Thanks to The Hangover II, most people know what this is. If you don’t, suffice to say it’s not what is traditionally done with a ping-pong ball. My word of advice here is just not to go, but if morbid curiosity does get the better of you, prepare yourself and make sure you don’t get more than you bargained for. Ping Pong shows often descend into sex shows, so be sure you know what you’re getting yourself in to.
While the Khaosan Road is a great experience, there is so much more to Bangkok than just nightlife! Keep watching for more posts on things to do in Bangkok, as well as my travels around South East Asia.