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Khao San road

Khao San road

The road that is famous for being a backpackers paradise in Bangkok, lining one restaurant, guest house, massage place, food and cheap clothes stand next to the other attracts aged beatniks, drop-outs and a clientèle from ages 16 to 25, as well as curious tourists and photographers. You can get all kinds of services on one road, like getting your hair braided or dreadlocks in the middle of the street, having a full body massage and waxing job, getting your laundry done while having a beer. Or you can buy cheap T-shirts, flower power clothes, as well as all kinds of fake ID cards (get yourself a driver’s license for example), photocopied travel guidebooks (the lonely planets are a best-seller here) or exchange read books in the secondhand book shop.

We returned to the Khao San road today after fourteen years, where we, two broke backpackers at the time, stayed for over two weeks in 1998. And in comparison to the astonishing development the city has made, surprisingly little has changed on Khao San. In contrast, it seems as if the area, hostels, cheap restaurants and clothes stands have aged or maybe just stayed the same. Coming from the uprising Sukhumvit area offering stylish, new and comfortable high and budget scale places to eat, shop and stay, very close to the newly build Siam complex, Khao San has made no development, nor improvement and somehow lost its attraction, as well as connection – lying remotely to metro or skytrain BTS stations (6km away!). No wonder it took us ages to get anywhere at the time :)

Out of curiosity we checked two run-down hotels for comfort and rates – Khao San used to be a best price guarantee – but amazingly the prices were not much different to our top notch hotel now! We also came to dwell in nostalgia and looked for the guest house that gave us shelter and the best ever coconut shake in 1998 but couldn’t find it. Our favourite food vendors,  once satisfying holiday feasting rituals –  chilli sauce with chicken wings in plastic bags and the unforgettable, delicious banana pancake – were also gone. Well, we still have our precious memories from the good old days :)

Take a stroll and enjoy the unique atmosphere of laid back folk in between drunk youngsters, restaurant tauts, dreadlock makers, noodle sellers and cats.

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