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:
A Thai vendor tries to encourage passing crowds to stop at his makeshift curbside bar for a beer.
A Thai break dancer captured in the middle of a spinning manoeuvre.
The same performer transitioning into another move.
Finally, this street performer shows off his best move by spinning around on his head.
A cluster of farang (Thai word meaning foreigner) treat themselves to a comforting foot massage.
A Thai crowd hovers outside this section of the street curb selling all kinds of different trinkets and drinking beer.
A Thai lady vendor prepares packages of curry and soup.
This young boy entertains an ever forming ring of spectators gathered around to watch him perform.
A heaping selection of ingredients used to make Pad Thai on the street.
The uncanny and unrivalled Mr. Thailand. He’s been peddling down Khao San road for years.
Mr. Thailand is a one man attraction. In this photo a couple of travellers pose with him on Khao San Road.
A Thai lady looks on at potential customers nearby a parking lot.
This mangy cat stops in its tracks just long enough for me to snap this shot.
A Thai crowd heads down Khao San road.
A mobile street vendor pushes a cart down Khao San Road.
A couple of men jump on a motorbike to scurry off somewhere else.
Amidst all the chaos, this Thai man comfortably sits down on the curb to enjoy reading a newspaper and drink a beer.
This cute cat with large eyes glances over at me briefly.
This shot shows the ingredients of Phad Thai with the vendor who is preparing it blurred in the background.
The scraping of utensils as a man fries Pad Thai.
This boy (featured earlier) entertains the crowd from a different angle.
A group of enthusiastic backpackers head to a street bar to sit down and drink buckets.
Street musicians perform with hopes of receiving a few Baht.
Another break dancer caught mid-pose all tangled up.
A dog patiently stands still.
A street vendor tries to make a sale selling a pair of shoes.
I have been to Bangkok so many times, but never been to Khao San Road, I would love to explore Khao San Road on my next trip!
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.
It truly is!
Wonderful example of street photography Sam, love the one of the street dancer’s captivated audience. Surely that’s got to hurt his head !!!.
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.
Great pictures Samuel. You’ve caught the atmosphere perfectly!
LOVE these colors!
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?
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 🙂
Love your photos as always Sam. Cannot wait to travel through Asia. Hopefully you will still be there when we arrive.
Would love to meet up with you both 🙂
Just returned from Thailand. Khao San Road was certainly entertaining to say the least.
Good pics, thanks!
Love your photos (as always .. lol). I would love this place, fits exactly to things I like to see. That dude’s sunglasses are amaziiinng!
🙂 That guy is so flashy a pimp would be jealous 😛
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. 🙂
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.
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!
Thanks Aisleen, I’m looking out for Max next time around! 🙂
Great photos! Great memories!
Thanks Nancy 🙂
You’ve captured it brilliantly – brings back many memories 🙂
Thanks Natasha! It’s a place that one often has vivid memories – for better or worse 😛
Yup, although perhaps “for better AND worse” would be a more accurate way of putting it 🙂
Awesome photos and I noticed u had a fancy for animals. They are cute.
Thanks! I do fancy animals…especially cats 🙂
I love watching breakdancing – this would be right up my alley!
Yeah! It’s great fun. They don’t do it every night but I’m always wandering about trying to find them when they do 🙂
Been there last month and your photographs brought back the images to my head, captured the festive mood of the place perfectly.
Thanks Marky, it sure is a festive place! 🙂
Great Images! I have never been, but I have to say this is pretty much the pics I had in my head. Can’t wait to meet it all in person.
Thanks Justin, it’s a very lively place!
I love how you caught the people in action and the animals still. It’s like the people are the actors and the animals the audience 🙂
WoW! That’s a very observant eye you have Laura. That would make for an interesting title as well 🙂
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! 🙂
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.
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.
I couldn’t agree with you more. Although some don’t embrace it, which I can also understand, I take it for what it is and enjoy being based their for some good times 🙂
I loved Khao Son Road. I spent a few nights there a couple of years ago. I am just glad I am not in this photo essay picking my nose.
Ted, I honestly, love it as well! Don’t worry Ted, I’ll get you someday 😛
Amazing photo’s as always! Makes me want to go back to Thailand and hunt down Mr. Thailand!
LOL, Claire, if you don’t spot him while you are there I’d almost be worried…hehe
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.
Thanks Inka! He’s quite the character, no denying that 😛
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.
Hey Abby! Thanks! Next time if you get a chance, do check it out at night. It’s busy at all times but really comes alive the most when it gets dark 🙂
Great photos – some of them look like scenes from The Deer Hunter 😉
LOL, awesome comment!
I’ve never been here, but you’ve done a great job of capturing the feel of the place and the vibrant atmosphere. Wonderful colours, great photos 🙂
Thanks Laurence! It’s a place that never sleeps. You could wander around at any hour and witness things going on 🙂
I hated Khao San Rd when I was there (although I love Bangkok) but you actually made it look appealing. Well done. 🙂
Thank you Kaylin! I can certainly see how someone could hate it!
I love that the pictures are large and the colours are so vivid. Good shots! I like the first pic with the graffiti.
Thanks Gyorgy! It’s a very colourful place. My tip for anyone trying to photograph it at night would be to bring a fast lens 🙂
I am currently searching for possible accommodations within Khao San Road then I found this link. Can’t wait! I’ll be there by Saturday
I bet you’re enjoying it right now! 🙂
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!
Thanks John! My 50 mm 1.8 lens came in very handy in this situation 🙂