Khao San Road at Night | Bangkok, Thailand

https://nomadicsamuel.com : A man sits down beside a fan to cool off alongside a graffiti ridden wall in a side alley just off of Khao San Road - Bangkok, Thailand.

The moment I step outside of the cozy confines of my Thai flop house I’m inundated by the flashing neon lights of a ritzy nightclub, overwhelmed by the exotic aromas dazzling my senses from nearby street stall vendors and dumbfounded by the madness of crowds passing by and animals scurrying about scrounging for scraps of garbage wantonly discarded on the pavement.

This is for better or worse, the brashness of Khao San Road at night.  Khao San Road, is infamously regarded as ‘the’ Backpacker Ghetto of South East Asia:  a moniker well deserved.  This side street is a clustered monstrosity of guest houses, night clubs, bars, tailors, shops, entertainers, performers and street vendors that somehow all exist together in one cohesive chaotic spiral that never seems to experience a moment of silence.

The lively atmosphere is something I thoroughly enjoy and find to be a true spectacle; however, I would certainly not want to be venturing off into this kind of territory without the assurance of high quality international travel insurance as a safeguard.

The following is a photo essay showcasing Khao San Road at night:

https://nomadicsamuel.com : A Thai vendor tries to encourage passing crowds to stop at his makeshift curbside bar for a beer.
A Thai vendor tries to encourage passing crowds to stop at his makeshift curbside bar for a beer.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : A Thai break dancer captured in the middle of a spinning manoeuvre.
A Thai break dancer captured in the middle of a spinning manoeuvre.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : The same performer transitioning into another move.
The same performer transitioning into another move.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : Finally, this street performer shows off his best move by spinning around on his head.
Finally, this street performer shows off his best move by spinning around on his head.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : A cluster of farang (Thai word meaning foreigner) treat themselves to a comforting foot massage.
A cluster of farang (Thai word meaning foreigner) treat themselves to a comforting foot massage.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : A Thai crowd hovers outside this section of the street curb selling all kinds of different trinkets and drinking beer.
A Thai crowd hovers outside this section of the street curb selling all kinds of different trinkets and drinking beer.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : A Thai lady vendor prepares packages of curry and soup.
A Thai lady vendor prepares packages of curry and soup.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : This young boy entertains an ever forming ring of spectators gathered around to watch him perform.
This young boy entertains an ever forming ring of spectators gathered around to watch him perform.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : A heaping selection of ingredients used to make Pad Thai on the street.
A heaping selection of ingredients used to make Pad Thai on the street.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : The uncanny and unrivalled Mr. Thailand.  He's been peddling down Khao San road for years.
The uncanny and unrivalled Mr. Thailand. He’s been peddling down Khao San road for years.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : Mr. Thailand is a one man attraction.  In this photo a couple of travellers pose with him on Khao San Road.
Mr. Thailand is a one man attraction. In this photo a couple of travellers pose with him on Khao San Road.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : A Thai lady looks on at potential customers nearby a parking lot.
A Thai lady looks on at potential customers nearby a parking lot.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : This mangy cat stops in its tracks just long enough for me to snap this shot.
This mangy cat stops in its tracks just long enough for me to snap this shot.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : A Thai crowd heads down Khao San road.
A Thai crowd heads down Khao San road.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : A mobile street vendor pushes a cart down Khao San Road.
A mobile street vendor pushes a cart down Khao San Road.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : A couple of men dump on a motorbike to scurry off somewhere else.
A couple of men jump on a motorbike to scurry off somewhere else.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : Amidst all the chaos, this Thai man comfortably sits down on the curb to enjoy reading a newspaper and drink a beer.
Amidst all the chaos, this Thai man comfortably sits down on the curb to enjoy reading a newspaper and drink a beer.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : This cute cat with large eyes glances over at me briefly.
This cute cat with large eyes glances over at me briefly.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : This shot shows the ingredients of Phad Thai with the vendor who is preparing it blurred in the background.
This shot shows the ingredients of Phad Thai with the vendor who is preparing it blurred in the background.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : The scraping of utensils as a man fries Pad Thai.
The scraping of utensils as a man fries Pad Thai.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : This boy (featured earlier) entertains the crowd from a different angle.
This boy (featured earlier) entertains the crowd from a different angle.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : A group of enthusiastic backpackers head to a street bar to sit down and drink buckets.
A group of enthusiastic backpackers head to a street bar to sit down and drink buckets.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : Street musicians perform with hopes of receiving a few Baht.
Street musicians perform with hopes of receiving a few Baht.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : Another break dancer caught mid-pose all tangled up.
Another break dancer caught mid-pose all tangled up.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : A dog patiently stands still.
A dog patiently stands still.

https://nomadicsamuel.com : A street vendor tries to make a sale selling a pair of shoes.
A street vendor tries to make a sale selling a pair of shoes.


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  1. says: jims travels

    Khao San road must be one of Bangkok’s most vibrant streets, backpackers from all around the world come together here, to make it their base for exploring the rest of Thailand, take advantage of the cheap travel agents and cheap accommodation and to stock up on cheap clothes, cheap CDs and DVDs and much more.

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  5. says: BlogDaz

    Wonderful example of street photography Sam, love the one of the street dancer’s captivated audience. Surely that’s got to hurt his head !!!.

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  8. I think this is the first post I found that shows the place in a positive light, which I am really pleased about! I just wrote a post about how people’s dislike for the streets bugs me – it feels like a miracle to have found someone else who likes it.

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  12. says: Ed Rex

    I’ll be there in 2 weeks time so it’s good to get an idea of what to expect. Cheers Samuel.

    Face it, you wanted to be Mr Thailand didn’t you?

  13. says: Turtle

    Ah, Khao San Road. It feels like I’ve been there so many times (it’s probably actually just 5 or 6 times). I think the place has changed over the years, though. It used to be a lot of fun and a bit of a backpackers bazaar. Now it just seems overpriced and full of young people out for a party, not for a journey.
    I wrote about it on my blog last year and the conclusion I came to, though, was just that I was getting old and jaded 🙂

  14. says: Cole @ Four Jandals

    Love your photos as always Sam. Cannot wait to travel through Asia. Hopefully you will still be there when we arrive.

  15. Great pics, Samuel! Really capture the atmosphere of the place well.

    Khao San Road is definitely like no other. Even when I lived/worked in Bangkok I’d go down there to soak up the backpacker vibe. Can be kinda gritty but I totally love it!

    Khao San is probably the best place in BKK to sign up for really cheap day tours, too — to places like the floating market, bridge on the River Kwai and the Tiger Temple. Even expat farangs go to Khao San for those.

    If you go to the very end of Khao San (by the river) and turn right on the main road, you’ll come to a nice quiet riverside park next to a whitewashed fort. Great for a bit of refuge from all the chaos on Khao San. 🙂

    1. Hey Hana,

      I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m actually a big fan of Khao San road. The tours you mentioned are ones I’ve all been on. I find I can do just about anything I want using Khao San as a base.

  16. says: Aisleen

    haha, great memories! Spent about 5 days on the Khao San Road last year – awesome. Anyone who has not been yet – go to the next road along from KSR and look out for a guy called Max – he runs a street cafe with the most awesome noodle and rice dishes I’ve ever tasted plus is a fantastic magician – honestly have no idea how he does some of the things he does!

  17. You’re in Thailand now? I’m in Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party (first time! woot!), but i’m in the country until mid-March … we should hang out! As for the article, Khao San is bad on my wallet, dumped $60 my first back in Thailand! 🙂

    1. Hey James, I’m actually not 🙁 I have been posting a lot of my materials on Thailand though lately so it would appear that way. If I’m back again sometime soon I’ll be sure to contact you.

  18. says: Bodlagz

    You really captured the essence of Khao San with these photos, wandered down there a couple of times myself, it’s the sort of place I could sit drinking a beer or 2 and just watch life go by.

  19. says: inka

    like Mr. Thailand. The guy must have an ego as big as the Ritz. Fantastic how you caught the mood, I could nearly smell the food and hear the noise.

  20. says: Abby

    So fun! Your photos have so much mood and energy. I wish I’d made it to Khao San Road at night now — we had a blast in Bangkok, but I only walked down Khao San once, in the morning.

  21. says: john

    I love the vibrant colors. And I have no idea how you were able to capture those action shots in such low light – well done again!