Koh San Road – The beating heart of backpacking

Koh San Road - Bangkok - Thailand

Koh San Road… Bangkok… Thailand… This is the place where backpackers themselves are the attraction. Koh San Road is hated and loved by travelers as it brings out the best and the worst in the traveling culture. Either you love it or you hate it. But don’t make the mistake of not giving it a try. Koh San Rd cannot and should not be avoided. It is an experience in itself.

The street is filled to the brim with people of all kinds. People with real stories.. People with fake stories.. People with no stories … and people with the most incredible stories. Here you have “fresh of the plane backpackers” that just paid 100 USD to get there from the airport, to the guys that get the ride with the locals.

It reminds me of this story.. I was in a hotel in Koh San Rd brushing my teeth. As usual, I don’t wasted bottle water that I am going to spit out anyway. Behind me stood two girls with their water bottles and toothbrushes in hand… with a look on their face personally interpreted as mix of surprise and disgust. I felt an explanation was due and let out; “It’s okay as long as you don’t swallow”. At least it broke the tension.

I, myself find it more than enough with a few hours of Koh San Rd. at a time. I like to be near it, but not in it all of the time. That is why I usually get a hotel a little bit outside of the noisiest area. I don’t need that ruckus all night. I go to the river side of Koh San rd. Here you also have little park nearby where you can relax and write your postcards.

Die Later 1 - Bangkok

It was in that park, back in 2005, I met a backpacker who was over 80 years old. He was dancing with a sign on his back saying “Die Later”. He was dancing for the freedom of Aung San Suu Kyi. He told me he had just come from Burma, where he had been protesting her release. He was soon arrested, beat up and deported. Stories… incredible…

Die Later 4 - Bangkok

Spend at least a few days in Koh San. Don’t just go there to watch the attraction. Stay there! Maybe use it as a stopover on the way between south and north. Another little tip when traveling in Thailand; forget about the travel agencies in Koh San. Go straight to the main bus terminals. They have one terminal for north and one for south. Here you get the cheapest fares with the regular bus companies and they don’t make you feel like you’re tuna in a can. It is also a chance to see some locals after a few days in Koh San Road…

This post will also be published as a guest post at the CheapOair travelblog


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