Friday, February 29, 2008

Khao Sarn Road


Khao Sarn Road (KSR), for those who haven't had the pleasure, is the ultimate backpacker's ghetto in Bangkok. By day it does brisk business in Thai tourist trinkets, bags, shirts, books, fake university degrees and such - but KSR exists for the night. The real excitement takes place under gaudy neon. Katoey (lady-boy) look for unknowing Johns straight off the plane, who haven't yet learned that Thai women never have deep voices and big hands. Pickpockets have a heyday with the drunkards. Taxi drivers loiter about searching for someone to "take for a ride". It's a concentration of the worst of Bangkok, but it's a brilliant spot for people watching.

KSR is not Bangkok at all, but a kind of vortex that pulls tourists in, and doesn't allow them to leave. Inconveniently located away from the city center, it takes great motivation and strength of mind for the average visitor to leave the road and see other parts of Bangkok, which is a great shame. I would assert that if all you've seen of it is KSR, you haven't actually been to Bangkok. It's like transiting in Istanbul and saying you've been to Turkey. You've just been in the waiting lounge.

2 comments:

Andy said...

That's probably the best description of Khao San Road I've ever heard. Fitting photo, too. How long are you staying in Thailand this time?

Seth said...

Thanks. Just a stop-over in Thailand this time before a visit home to Los Estados Unidos.