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How to survive Bangkok Part 1 - Khao San Road

16 Dec 2017 ="post-tag" > Written by  ="post-tag" >

So, as high season is now rapidly approaching us a lot of new divers will be heading our way down from Bangkok, the world's greatest//smelliest/most exciting capital city. It can often be a little intimidating for those who've never been to Thailand before, so here's a few tips for those looking to make the most out of its wonders!

Firstly, as most of our divers tend to stay in the Khao San Road area, it's well worth checking out the shopping this crazy street has to offer - great bargains can be had for absolutely everything that you could possibly need for your holidays, and the partying options there are quite staggering. This street is a hub of unwashed, dreadlocked, fishing-pant wearing humanity which means Khao San Road is the perfect place to do some people watching with a nice cold Singha in your hand - Khao San Centre bar is perfectly located right in the middle, so pull up a seat and watch the world (of ladyboys, prostitutes and tuk tuk drivers) go by!
Be aware that prices here on Koh Tao are usually a little more expensive as everything has to be ferried in to us, so try to pick up those last few items needed in Khao San before heading our way. Watch out for the conmen, in particular the fake Indian 'yogi's', who will use every trick in the book to 'Guess your mother's name kind sir!', what you ate for breakfast, your pets favourite toy...it's actually pretty impressive how easily they draw people in with their compliments, but then, before you know it they're trying to get money out of you by betting that they can tell you things that you're sure they'll never 'guess' -they will, and it'll end up expensive (or trouble) for you.

When the bustle and scammers of the Khao San becomes too much, there's a lovely little park just a ten minute walk away from the street called Santichaiprakarn Park - easy for you to say! Built around some of the old city fortifications, Santichaiprakan Park is popular with tourists and city dwellers, especially in the evening when the park fills up with families, young Thais and foreigners. It's a nice place to unwind, and let the noises of Bangkok melt away over a good book/yet another beer.

The next street along, Soi Rambuttri, is also well worth a look around. Despite being located so close by these two streets are different worlds! Rambuttri gives you a taste of how Bangkok used to look before all the development, with leafy banyan trees shading the pavements and the vibe sways more towards local than backpacker, despite a number of them now choosing to stay here rather than on the famous street itself. It's like the Khao San's more attractive, well behaved sibling! The u-shaped road takes around 30 minutes to walk along. and has a great mix of guesthouses, restaurants, bars and street food stalls, as well as the ubiquitous one million tailors that are everywhere around this area - do they make wetsuits? No, they don't.

To explore further around Bangkok i'd suggest walking ten minutes past the Democracy Monument ( a nice stroll down Ratchadamnoen Road, the other street next to Khao San) to the water taxi, which zips around on the Chao Praya river, flanked by old-style Thai houses,huge monitor lizards, the odd rat or three and all for the grand price of 12 baht to get you into the main shopping part of the city, Siam Square. These boats are a great way to get around the famous Riverside area with its many historical attractions, temples and architecture, and also to explore the 'klongs' (canals) for a glimpse of Bangkok from yesteryear. The closest stop to Khao San is called 'Paanfa', and the boats run every 20 minutes or so - a great, cheap way to explore and see how the locals live without being stuck in traffic for half of your life, as happens regularly in Bangkok, and also a good way to link up with the cities excellent Metro and Skytrain to avoid Bangkok's notorious traffic problems.

Next blog I'll be looking at the famous Sky Bars and a couple of other interesting places well worth checking out that don't involve ping pong balls.

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Read 916 times Last modified on Monday, 18 December 2017 09:25

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