Of street food, street shopping, street parties, street massages… Bangkok has it all!
Bangkok gives a certain sense of warmth and familiarity that it easily welcomes all its eager visitors from all walks of life. And yes, we managed to visit backpacking hub of Bangkok, Khao San Road, where we encountered a melting pot of nations converging and immersing merrily in Thai culture. Patpong, on the other hand, was a different kind of experience, which was purely adult in nature as it was Bangkok’s red light district after all!
Khao San Road
We visited Khao San Road, dubbed as “the centre of the backpacking universe” as backpackers from all parts of the world converge to shop, drink, eat, and exchange traveling tips and stories. Formerly Bangkok’s rice market as the name Khao San means “milled rice”, it has transformed into a backpacking hub and welcomes tourists from all walks of life. And yes, in Khao San Road, Pao uttered, “I can live here!” in expression of how comfortable he became in Bangkok as we walked the 1 kilometer strip of budget guesthouses and 3-star hotels, internet cafes, street bazaars, street food stalls, bars and clubs, restaurants, massage parlors, travel agents, bookshops, market stalls, tattoo parlors and much, much more in Khao San Road. The street was very much alive at night! And yes, the night was just getting started while we strolled around it.
Of course, in the spirit of trying all things novel, Pao and I did not resist whatever “new” we could discover. And yes, the urge of trying all the street foods was the most apparent. We ate all the street food that we possibly can! We tried the yummy street Pad Thai (Thailand’s famous stir-fried noodles in tamarind sauce), Thai Banana Roti (Thailand’s version of crepe), refreshing fruit shakes, and even Bangkok’s delectable insects!
We tried the crunchy and yummy critters in the form of grasshoppers, crickets and baby frogs. But we could not dare try eating the humongous cockroach and silk worms yet, because the thought of masticating and ingesting it was just toooo much. bleh.
We also explored Patpong, Bangkok’s red light district and entertainment district where night clubs and agogo bars with “exhibition” shows are mainstream. It is known for its notorious nightlife amid the must-visit night market shopping. For both the adult entertainment and night market shopping, be cautious of first impressions. For the night market, try to bargain your way as prices for the items being sold are usually at ceiling price (but prices are still cheap, but more expensive than in Chatuchak). Try bargaining towards floor price to maximize your money!
For the adult shows, be wary of scouts watching out for vulnerable customers. Do not be misled into going inside the bar for a free exhibition show. Exhibition show? Yes, it’s something experienced showgirls of Bangkok who do something with their… you know. Usually, they charge overboard with the drinks and some of the exhibition shows, that without you knowing it, you are already charged for a minimum of 1000 baht. Be careful with your transactions and be careful with your decisions.
Initially, we intended to explore one of those adult entertainment shows, but Pao feared for my safety because I looked Thai and he did not want to spend our vacation in a brawl just in case things get out of hand inside one of those bars. Hence, we ended up shopping in Patpong night market, making me extra happy because of retail therapy.
Before wrapping up the night, we ended it by sampling an authentic Thai massage in the busy streets of Suriwongse! Of course, we would not miss trying out authentic Thai massage which involves stretching and deep massage, without the use of oils. Because we were too tired from all the walking, we believed that it would be worth it to try out Thai foot massage. And yes, we did not regret every single minute of it!