Looking for original gifts in Thailand can sometimes be a little frustrating. It's not that there isn't ample cool souvenirs all over the place, it's just that every time you see one thing that is cool, interesting or unique it turns out that ten other stores on the same block sell exactly the same thing. I really wanted to find a nice chess board to bring home, but all the chess boards I found had three hundred duplicates on the same block. So, no chess board for Sarah! Then one night, while we were perusing the street vendors' stalls on the Khao San Road we came across a couple Thai guys in their twenties selling artwork. They had beautiful pastel and oil paintings strewn out on the road and hanging off a brick wall behind them. Their work was really good and it was original! There were no sketches of elephants, or palm trees or snakes or anything that would scream: 'I came from Thailand!'. Rather, their artwork was filled with bright colours, some a little abstract and all of their work is hand done. I bought 2 pieces that were designed to be hung side by side and every time I look at them I'm reminded of what a great find I made. The artist I bought my paintings from was called Montree. He is just one of several young artists that come out at night on the Khao San to sell his artwork. I paid 300 Baht (about 9 dollars US) and walked away completely satisfied that I have something all my other friends who have been to Thailand do not. Not only is buying artwork a great way to get an original souvenir, but you get to see who your money is going to as opposed to purchasing a factory made item. I also liked that I was able to talk to the artist and ask him all about his paintings. The two paintings by Montree are my favorite souvenirs from my time and Thailand! So if you are in the market for something unusual, original and hand made check out the artists that display their wares at night on the Khao San Road. You'll find sketch artists, oil paintings, carving. pastel works and hand made jewellery...awesome, just awesome.
Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
December 6, 2005
Khao San is the place for backpackers. With cheap accommodations and a variety of food joints/night pubs, this open-air night bazaar is a hot spot buzzing with life. Good shopping can be found here, and generally bargaining is done here, although prices may be a notch higher than those you find at chatuchak. A full stretch of roadside stalls can be found for those yearning to try local food delights, like Pat Pong and satay. You can even find familiar names, like Starbucks, Burger King, and McDonald's, perhaps to cater to the largely Western backpackers congregating here. It's a good place to do some light shopping and chill out under the stars. Sightings of farangs and local Thai girls are also regular sights and is indicative of the booming sex tourism in Bangkok as well.
Khao San can be reached via taxis, tuk-tuk, and buses. As an indication, our cab fares was about 75 baht from Asia Hotel to Khao San. The infamous Bangkok jams, however, stretch the otherwise 10-minute journey into a gruelling 30-minute ride. Jams are part and parcels of Bangkok travelling and hit the roads during peak hours.
From journal Bangkok - Cultural & Shopping Melting Pot
Chiang Mai, Australia
March 14, 2003
On the other hand, Khao San has a pretty decent selection, but is quite manageable. If you are set at just looking at what all the stalls have, it would take about an hour to browse around. Of course, looking here, stopping for a drink there, getting a bite to eat from a street stall somewhere else, all the while looking for that "ideal" imitation T-shirt, is much more pleasurable.
Khao San is also incredibly convenient for the traveler, as there are plenty of accommodations here, and you can book almost anything in Thailand from one of the many travel shops along the strip.
Khao San is hardly a representation of "authentic" Thailand, but it is definitely the essence of "backpacker" Thailand. If this is for you, eat it up! If not, it still may be worth a visit, just to see how the other half of the travel world lives!
From journal Touchdown Bangkok
Brighton, United Kingdom
December 3, 2001
From journal 5 Days in Bangkok
by Sarah Zimmerman
Terrace, British Columbia
August 10, 2000
From journal Bangkok By Bus and River Taxi