Khao San is famous for its street market, and the fact that Thai students like to shop here says a lot about the prices. Whether you’re there for the necklaces, hammocks, clothes, CDs or cocktails, haggling is the done thing. A complex game of asking the price, laughing politely and complimenting each other increases your chances of getting a bargain. A rule of thumb is that speaking softly often brings better results while negotiating. Ultimately, the friendly nature of your conversation with the stallholder dictates your overall impression of the market, whether or not you leave with a new purchase.
When the sun goes down
Visit Khao San late in the afternoon, if possible, so you can also sample the evening atmosphere. Just before sunset, handcarts begin to arrive on the shopping street bringing barbecues with sizzling saté sticks, squid and corn on the cob. Other mobile snack bars have spring rolls and noodles with prawns on the go. Relaxing music wafts from the terraces, inviting you in for a Thai beer. As more and more people flock to Khao San, runners on the street hand out flyers for nightclubs, which open their doors around midnight. Bands set up their equipment in many cafés, ready to play western covers and Thai music long into the night.
Bringing a sacrifice to the temple
Between incense and tusks
At the end of the street you’ll find the Wat Chana Songkhram temple complex. Monks reside here between the stupas and drum tower. In the prayer hall with its Buddha statues, flowers and ebony tusks, Thai visitors light incense sticks and candles, and scatter lotus flowers in front of the largest Buddha statue. The atmosphere within the temple walls is calm and time seems to pass by more slowly here. The abundance of trees makes this 200-year-old temple complex a welcome oasis in the busy city.