Once we were finally through with the queues at the border, we walked down the road until the guide spotted us and waved us over to the minivan that would take us to Bangkok. We pulled over 10 minutes down the road for a roadside check from the police. They pointed and shouted and pulled out an Asian woman and her child from the bus in front of us and then we all drove off. Our driver didn’t speak enough English to explain to me what had just happened.
After that, I dozed on and off for most of the journey, only waking for gas station stops. Starving, I grabbed whatever snacks I could with my spare change, the result being a packet of BBQ crisps and a glazed bun. I had assumed the bun would be sweet as it looked like a donut, but after taking a big bite I discovered it was full of curry. I wasn’t a fan of that combination and spent most of the remainder of the trip with a rumbling stomach.
We were dropped somewhere quite random in Bangkok due to horrendous traffic, the driver obviously had somewhere else to be and made us all get out. The four of us (we’d met two people at the border) walked down the road for a bit and then decided to hop in a TukTuk and head to Khao San Road. We strapped our backpacks on to the back with rope and we were off!
We hadn’t pre-booked accommodation so we walked down Khao San road with our backpacks and stopped in at a few places to check their prices and see the rooms. It was about midday and market stalls lined both sides of the road. Other people with backpacks wandered just as aimlessly as us in the afternoon heat.
The first lower priced guesthouse (Rainbow Hostel) had seemed nice from the outside but the rooms weren’t great and a strange odour hung around the hallways. We went a few doors down to Lucky Guesthouse which was more or less the same price (500 bhat per night for a double) but with nicer rooms. The young lad from France who had lost his bank card went to stay at one of the temples until he could fly home, gratefully declining any further help, and we parted ways.
We stayed at Lucky Guesthouse for one night, we didn’t go out on the main strip of Khao San Road this night as H was still feeling worse for wear. We ventured out for dinner and had a little sushi feast of rainbow rolls, dragon rolls, seaweed salad, pickled ginger and mint tea.
While Lucky Guesthouse was ok, it was very basic for the price. We decided we might as well treat ourselves and moved to D&D Inn, which was placed in the centre of the main street. D&D was higher in price at 1000 bhat a night for a double room, the highest price we had paid the whole month we had been in Asia. However it did have a rooftop bar and pool. Rather unfortunately, as with many places we went to, due to the fact it was low season, there was a lot of loud construction work going on in the hotel.
We unpacked our stuff and wandered around the markets, buying gifts and souvenirs, bikinis and clothes. We walked up and down the road, flicking through row after row of colourful materials, shirts, trousers and dresses. Walking in and out of shops and sifting through wooden carvings, fruit shaped soap, handmade notebooks, candles and lanterns.
After shopping for an hour or two (haggling adds extra excitement and gets a bit addictive!) we stopped for mojitos and watched people go by. Hawkers selling gimmicky gadgets, people selling handmade hammocks, TukTuks and mopeds whizzing past, food carts, drink carts, carts selling hundreds of different types of stickers and posters…
After mojitos we returned to D&D and spent the afternoon lounging in the sun by the pool with pina coladas and frozen daiquiris.
Yes those elephants are doing exactly what you think they are!
That afternoon by the poolside we met Ab from Scotland who had just arrived to start her journey.
Unfortunately, she’d had a bit of a rough start having been ripped off by the taxi from the airport to Khao San and then having her camera stolen, but she was still in good spirits and we sat and chatted over cocktails.
Towards the end of the afternoon we met three Americans who had also only recently arrived, two guys (M and S) and a girl (C). We all got chatting and agreed to meet in the lobby later to go out for drinks.
We showered and changed and headed out, we met the others in the lobby and headed to a bar just across the road. We started off with a round of beers, plates of spring rolls, prawns and noodles. After food and another round of beers we met a bunch of very drunk Irish men who’d had a long day…
A lady was selling bracelets with phrases that she had no understanding of, which was probably for the best. I made an attempt to explain a few to her with my miming skills, but some things are just best left unsaid! They will weave bracelets with custom phrases, so H got one saying “Free Tibet”. The Americans got matching “Wolf Pack’ bracelets.
S & I cracked on from beer to whiskey and decided to give scorpion on a stick a try from a passing vendor!
You can tell how impressed I am with this idea by the look on my face in the first photo. What did I get myself into?
Eventually I did stop mucking around after suspiciously snapping off the stinger because hey, I’ve never eaten one before, I don’t know whether that’s supposed to stay on?!
On the count of three, we ate it all in one like an awful, crunchy shot of strange tasting alcohol.
Anyone who tells you scorpion tastes like chicken is a fucking liar!
After we finished our drinks and dug scorpion tail out of our teeth, we headed on further down the street where it was starting to get busier. Some of the bars seem absolutely packed but if you want to sit down somewhere just ask the staff, they want the business, they will make room for you!
We ordered a gigantic beer to share between us, danced with random people, and someone got punched in the face…
After beer and more beer we got up and moved on to the next spot, music blared from every bar all down the street, from both sides comes this clashing of sounds. Outside each bar, girls dance seductively to grab your attention, reps try to lure you to their bar with the promise of free cocktail buckets or free shots.
Food vendors walk up and down with trays hung from their necks or some with small stalls place themselves between the bars for hungry drinkers to munch on noodles.
We started to dance our way down the street instead of walking, weaving in and out of other people dancing and laughing and drinking.
A man approached us and tried to talk us into attending a free Ping Pong show, he then showed us a list of acts, reading down the list it got more confusing and more terrifying (spoiler alert: it involves a lot of items that should not be placed in or around your genitalia, much less popping out of) and we swiftly moved around him and disappeared into the crowd.
We stopped at a Mexican bar, with a day of the dead theme, rock n roll music blared, candy skulls were painted on the walls and tattooed waitresses and bar staff served you tequila shots.
The Americans headed off to another bar and we stayed there for a while longer. I shared copious rounds of tequila shots with a travelling tattoo artist and we were just rocking out to the music until someone became a bit of a pest towards H; having had enough of the vibe being killed by someone who couldn’t take a hint, we headed off down the road.
Weaving our way back through the crowd, people stopped us to chat and take photographs with us, random people hugged us like old friends and danced with us in the streets, people wanted to buy us drinks and someone asked me to marry him in McDonalds.
After one crazy night we padded back to our hotel room, where you could still feel the bass of the music from outside pounding through the floor.
I woke up in the morning feeling unscathed and headed up to the pool while H slept. I lounged in the sun with a large glass of fresh fruit juice and swam a few laps in the pool. An hour or so later I briefly saw the Americans before they headed out to breakfast and Ab made her way up to the pool as well. H joined much later after she eventually woke up!
Our final day was spent rummaging around the market stalls for gifts for me to take home and a few bits H would give me to drop off to her family as well.
We spent hours wandering around and haggling, sipping on fruit juice and eating coconut ice cream. H found a shop selling beauty products and sifted through each isle to stock up on make-up whilst I kept myself amused by the difference in the type of beauty products between Thailand and home.
There is a particulary popular brand which uses snail excretions and it makes my skin crawl! I also found the sheer amount and popularity of skin whitening products (such as “Snow Girl” pictured above) very disconcerting and disheartening. The women of this country (and women all around the world for that matter) are absolutely beautiful and unique in their characteristics and I feel it is such a shame that they seem intent on making such drastic changes.
I don’t understand the need for a cream that makes your nipples more pink? Or is this a by-product of the skin whitening creams?!
We had another sushi feast for dinner and headed back to the hotel where we lazed by the pool for a little longer and enjoyed a cocktail or two as the sun went down as we stared out onto the night skyline of Bangkok.
We had hoped for a decent sleep before the shuttle bus arrived at 4am, however, some unknown drunken neighbours in the room next door decided to have what sounded like a bowling party and at about 3am I lost my rag and stormed out into the hallway, pounding on the door and shouting let’s just say some pretty colourful but not unjustified threats at them. After that there was no more noise but it was a little too late and we started to brush our teeth, dress, pack and check our things.
The taxi driver was a fat, rude, sour faced man who shouted at us for no apparent reason while we tried to check out, he roughly grabbed our bags from us and chucked them into the seats in front of us with unnecessary force. We picked up more people on the way and one by one he chucked each bag in with force, into a pile on the two seats at the front section of the minibus behind his seat.
Eventually after a few pickups the bags started to wobble precariously. He drove like a maniac and it was fully deserved and utterly hilarious when he slammed his brakes on and all the bags toppled over the seat onto his head. H and I couldn’t hold back the laughter and I laughed until tears dribbled down my cheeks.
Once we made it to the airport we dug out our bags before we got off the minibus in case he saw the opportunity to throw them onto the curb. We headed inside for me to check in, made our way to the bottom floor to get H a bus ticket back to Koh Chang, then rode the escalator back up to the food court to grab something to eat.
They have some weird and wonderful things in Asia! Being that it was early in the morning, this is not what we had, but I obviously could not walk past this without obtaining photographic evidence…
Yes that’s right, pink and green burger buns! Does anyone else find this terribly exciting or is it just me?!
We munched on some snacks and had a cup of coffee. Eventually it came to the point where I had to start and make my way to security, H walked with me most of the way, we hugged and said goodbye and off I went.
This was actually the first time I had flown by myself and it was a strange feeling not to have the company, but eradicated the fear that I had of it.