Khaosan Road – Only the Bad and the Ugly

If you’re reading this then there’s a pretty good chance you have either heard of the acclimatising hub slash decompression chamber that is Khaosan Road, or,  you’ve been there!

Now, everyone that has been to Khaosan Road will no doubt have an opinion, but for those that have not yet been and are potentially deciding whether of not to venture into this particular jungle… then this post is for you.

While some will certainly say they’re glad they got to experience it, and some may even enjoy it, this dingy little ill equipped strip is quintessentially and paradoxically a primary example of what is wrong with the modern world.

So that may sound harsh, but I feel it to be justified. You see – those researching Bangkok and the hotels located within will often find Khaosan referred to using tag lines such as ‘melting pot’, ‘backpacker ghetto’, ‘intense’, and ‘exciting’. But the fact is it is none of those things. It is simply an example of the desperate means people will go to when an ancient culture is so exposed to Western tourists on a budget, and the (seemingly minimal) amounts of money that come along with this that the people that frequent this street on a daily basis have been “reduced” to what many Westerners could only describe as a shameless humiliation. It is impossible to walk down this street without seeing three things, prostitutes, desperate salesmen, and drunken fools.

For me it the drunken foolery that perpetuates the sex trade and the pushy sales tactics because it is being monetarily fed only enough to keep the workers interested enough to keep moving along this path in an unchanged manner. What seems even worse is that they only make enough as to not forget their place in this strangely constructed food chain where young, broke backpacker is king.

Yes friends, sometimes the young and the broke can be jerks too.

I can certainly understand the appeal of certain South East Asian backpacker destinations (the full moon parties for example), and while they are certainly not perfect, they do not find it impossible to attain the  simplest of human dignities as East and West try to find the perfect amount of crossover in an ever homogenising world.

I guess the point is, that there are many places in the world that are effective cultural decompression chambers. A place like Dehli could accurately be described as ‘melting pot’, ‘backpacker ghetto’, ‘intense’, and ‘exciting’, but Khaosan Road cannot even be accurately described as Bangkok.

The one positive I take out of visiting Khaosan Road, is that I saw enough to develop an informed opinion about the place and share it with whomever would listen. And if I have one thing on my side, it’s the way that the strip is unapologetically in your face about the way it survives. I wonder why I never see similar posts.

We live in a world where Western progression has been forced upon the rest. We live in a world where silence is NOT a virtue. We live in a world where everyone has the same opportunity to share what they think is right with the rest. This is my goal within this post.



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