Khao Sarn Road – only a few other places in Bangkok, let the imagination run wild like this one!

The first things coming to anyone’s mind are backpackers, hippies and cheap. Khao Sarn Road was the place to go when you came to Bangkok (you were young and didn’t have much money but you were ready for adventure).

It was the place where the youth of the world or those, who deemed themselves “young”,  went and met. Have you seen Leonardo Di Caprio’s “The Beach”? That is what Khao Sarn Road was: a bit dirty, rough and mystical.

More party- less hippies

At least, that is what the legend (and some of the hippies who have been  there during Khao Sarns “high time”) want to make us believe. I don’t know what it’s like back then (I came to Khao Sarn first in 1997). But if you come to the district nowadays, the magic is mostly gone.

There are still cheap and very basic backpacker joints around but the main road is like most “legendary” places, which is just a faded picture of former glory. You get the same t-shirts (most of them fake) that you can get everywhere else. As the audience is still mostly young, the adventure is mostly consisting of alcohol, loud music and henna tattoos, which makes Khao Sarn not anything more adventurous than any other hip party locations all over the world.

Mellow moods in the back- streets

You occasionally bump into some old hippies and they seem to be nothing more than a relic of the glorious past and almost could not stand out more, if they were Raptors in top hats.

Don’t get me wrong. The place is still excellent if you want to party. Especially during the wild days of Songkhran, the place draws thousands of people who join in for the fun…if that is, how you define “fun” for yourself. Things still can get pretty adventurous around here if you know where to look.

If you stroll away from the 2 main strips of Khao Sarn, with all the bars, restaurants, English pubs or American diners, and enter some of the back alleys. You may find places to be a bit “wilder” than usual. I once stumbled into a place called “Moonshine Bar”and the hint was in the name. The place was 99% in Thai hands (eg. I was the only “farang”) and they served their own, home distilled spirit in small bottles, which once contained Thailand’s own “Saengsom” or “Hong Thong” whiskeys. I had a hangover from another planet and a day of headache that made me fear I was having a brain tumor.

Though you could say that the thrill is gone from Khao Sarn, you would have to admit that the “danger” and adventure” can still be found.

Shopping and party at Khao Sarn Road

And although the hippies may be gone, the place is still for the world to meet.

If you have the time and you are not overly romanticizing about “things were better, way back then”, you can have an interesting night out in one of Bangkok’s liveliest places.