Tag - khaosanroad

Daytime vs Nightlife on Khao San Road

The other day I decided to make a daytime (which turned into a daytime vs nightlife) trip down to good old Khaosan Road (Khao San, Khao Sarn, etc).  It remains a go-to place for visitors to Thailand.  Not at all a part of traditional Thailand, but very much an interesting place to visit with its dynamic mix of backpackers and other travelers getting together to eat, drink, share stories, and get harassed by touts of all sorts.  You don’t come to Khao San Road to see a part of Thailand so much as you come to spend some time with a unique group of people that have come to the area as a stopping point during their travels in and around Thailand.

Yaek Daytime

Odd giant tending bar (daytime)

During the day (daytime) Khao San is a very different place than at night (nightlife).  Early in the day there is mostly a slow sleepy clean-up from the chaos and festivities of the previous night, along with preparations for the coming evening.  Trash is swept up and carried away.  And there is a steady stream of delivery vehicles (trucks, cars, hand trolleys, rickshaws) replenishing supplies of merchandise, food, and beer to the restaurants, hotels, and street-side entertainment spots.

Throughout the afternoon more and more people start to come and walk around the place.  The restaurants start to fill up for early dinner as families and older travelers come and check out Khao San Road for themselves.  Unfortunately for those folks, they are missing out on the late evening and nighttime hours when Khao San gets even odder and more fun.

Daytime Rambuttri

Sleepy daytime Rambuttri

What started out as a daytime visit to Khao San is quickly turned into a late night visit as time went on.  Day and night on Khao San is two very different experiences.  Sleepy and slow during the day…

Nighttime

Nightlife on Rambuttri

Chaotic, fun, and crazy at night.  The place fills up quickly, the music gets louder, the characters that you see walking along the streets get odder and wilder (and usually drunker), and all this without taking a single step into any of the various indoor clubs that have cropped up in the area alongside the traditional outdoor bars and restaurants.

Trang Underwater Weddings

Trang Underwater Weddings
Trang Underwater Weddings
trang_underwater_wedding_3
Trang Underwater Weddings

In the southern coastal province of Trang, Valentine’s Day weekend is a busy time. The province is a natural romantic destination, with rainforests, waterfalls, limestone caves and vast undisturbed coral reefs. At this time of year, the Andaman sea is calm and still, and the area abounds with blossoming sri-trang flowers. But what marks Trang as a lovers’ destination is not just its beauty. For the past thirteen years, Pak Meng beach has hosted hundreds of adventurous couples in the annual Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony.

The event originated in 1996, in the marriage of a couple who met and fell in love at an eco-tourism event in Trang. They chose the stunning underwater landscape of the area as a setting to exchange vows in a traditional Thai ceremony, along with the underwater signing of a wedding certificate. In subsequent years, the offbeat event attracted couples from around the world, even placing in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2000 for the largest underwater wedding ceremony.

Though the ceremony may seem unusual, it is in fact steeped in Thai wedding traditions. Along with scuba gear, the couples don hand-woven Thai wedding costumes, and a Buddhist ritual is the focal point of the ceremony. On the beach, the ritual of rod nam sang is performed, where water is poured from a conch over the couple’s hands. Before the weddings begin, couples and guests pay tribute to the ceremony’s eco-conscious roots. All participants release marine life into the sea before going underwater themselves. On the morning after the wedding, couples plant sri-rang trees as a commemoration of their love.

The ceremony can accommodate handicapped participants and guests. As of 2007, the wedding ceremony welcomes same-sex participants. Though same-sex marriage is not yet recognized in Thailand, the couples receive certificates of participation. All bridal couples must hold international divers licences. Non-divers can still take part in a ceremony held on the beach. Wedding guests can watch the ceremony on closed-circuit televisions.

The weekend-long wedding package includes meals, costumes, and accommodations. The wedding is as weekend-long affair, with a traditional pre-wedding party on the eve of the ceremony, and a romantic night of dinner, fireworks and dancing after the vows are exchanged. With a focus on eco-consciousness and ceremonial Thai tradition, this ceremony attracts nature-lovers and adventurers alike. Participants come from Thailand and abroad, to unite in marriage, renew their vows, or embark on an unforgettable second honeymoon.

Anne Merritt is Canadian and has an English Literature degree. She has worked as a journalist for a university newspaper. She is currently living in Ayutthaya as an ESL teacher and is sharing her experience of Thailand with KhaoSanRoad.com.