Some districts of major cities get the raw deal.
Patong in Phuket.
Or some cities get the raw deal.
Pattaya in Thailand.
For every low energy view you have oodles of fun, high energy things to do in these areas.
I am about 10 minutes from the Khao San Road area of Bangkok. This small spot gets the raw deal from many travel bloggers who judge it as being too touristy. I do get it; KSR is not Pak Nam Pran, Thailand. Nor is it Pong Noi, outside of Chiang Mai, where we are flying in a few hours.
Hoards of tourists barrel through daily. Night scene? Crowded as hell.
But you can enjoy Khao San Road for its:
- banana shakes
- colorful flavor
- inexpensive options
With that being said…..is the place Mos Eisley?
I did note some elements akin to the legendary dive filled with dirt bags of Star Wars fame. I am talking Mos Eisley, not Khao San Road.
This area does attract some rough looking characters. Perhaps some folks are not the cream of the farang crop. But KSR is largely a collective of pleasant tourists here to enjoy a vibrant neighborhood in Bangkok.
OK; we all judge quite a bit. Goodness knows I do. You do too.
Travelers, travel bloggers and all folks in between tend to judge books by their cover. Or people by their appearances.
Backpackers and other travelers in the KSR area seem to have more tattoos than the history of Hell’s Angel’s bikers. Inked out, some go heavy on piercings too, creating perhaps the image of rough and tumble or flat out hard characters.
I have learned how a simple smile or “Hello” paints a different picture of a seemingly rough exterior.
Sodom and Gomorrah
I recall speaking to a woman in this area of Bangkok a few years ago. She didn’t look too hard but in the same regard, seemed to want to keep to herself. A smile and little chat later I learned she was a massage therapist who had circled the globe for years.
She also jokingly referred to the Soi Cowboy district – one red light district of Bangkok – as being like Sodom and Gomorrah, with its ping pong shows and other shows some would deem vile in nature.
Being here and in many areas where folks seem to be in their own worlds sometimes, glued to their cell phones, I make it a point to smile or chat someone up or at least make eye contact to form connections. Even if no connection occurs, I made the effort to bring the world together and to dispel stereotypes.
Khao San Road being filled with farang dirtbags is one such stereotype, which is mostly untrue. Some unhappy, fearful people come here to drown their sorrows on the cheap. But with Thailand cracking down on immigration during the 2015 coup The Dirt Bag Trail of Tears slowly and steadily made its way to Cambodia.
In truth, anybody who hurts people is a hurt person. Or anybody who does their best to uphold the rough and ready reputation of backpackers or lowlifes in the Khao San Road area is afraid.
Fear feeds all anger, sadness, rebellion and the illusion of being tough. Fear also feeds all alcoholism, heavy drug use, the sex trade, and in many cases, the super tough exterior that some tourists display in this area.
Most people here are respectable folks who just want to have a good time.
The few deviants are fearful people working on their own demons.
No way should a few fearful people who act a bit rowdy categorize an area of the city.
Khao San Road is not Mos Eisley.
Is it a bit lawless? Hell yeah.
An acquired taste?
In some regards, yes.
But the fun we had yesterday enjoying delicious tofu with mixed vegetable and green curry, getting foot massages and walking around the area to snap brilliant shots makes Khao San Road a must-visit spot on Bangkok.