Khao San Shift Switch

Bangkok Travel Blog

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The Khao San Road. At night in full neon overdrive. Not for the travel purist.

Well Toto, looks like we're not in Laos any more:

“You come back my room. If you too tired to screw you lie on bed and rest ok?”

It's 7am and I'm on the infamous Khao San Road. Burdened with both back and daypack I'm snailing my way along the broad sweep of the street, peering around at the latest casualties of Bangkok's 24 hour party purgatory. Street cleaners are sweeping up the previous night's detritus, a delightful mix of leftover food, plastic, paper and broken glass. An odious blend of stale beer, bleach and rotting vegetable mulch assaults my nostrils.

Another road near the Khao San displaying a fatal case of patriotic Thai flaggery.

Thankfully the Thai prostitute trawling for a last ditch punter is not talking to me, but to a lank-haired Western guy seated next to her outside a nearby bar. She's leaning in towards his bleary features like a vulture regarding a slowly-dying victim, waiting impatiently for him to give in to the inevitable. The bloke looks like he's been smacked around the head with a spade then forced to listen to James Blunt and Embrace songs on repeat for three weeks. It's not a pretty picture - I quicken my pace.

The stalls that cover the road throughout the day, selling everything and everything a backpacker could wish for, have yet to appear. We're firmly in the dead space between night and day shifts. The remaining drinkers, either squinting streetside in the hideous daylight or cowering in the dim-lit caves of the Khao San's bars, are slurping stubbornly on the dregs of the night before, delaying the inevitable hangover with yet another: “just one more eh?”

Unfresh off the night bus from Udon Ratchathani, I'm not in great shape, still wearing the same sweat-sticky clothes that graced my person on the final day of the motorbiking trip that finished in Pakse some 20 hours ago. I'm knackered after a night of fragmented sleep on a bus that I only decided to take at the last minute.

The Israeli couple I'd met in Laos had decided to continue straight on to Bangkok and I zombied along with them, perhaps still half-hypnotised by the girl's tan beauty. As the city began to shrug off the night, we had shifted ourselves from the bus station to Khao San via a free bus and there parted company. Them to look for a travel agent, me to find a cheap place to crash hard.

It takes me half an hour to spring myself from the tawdry stretch of Khao San and around to My House hostel on Soi Rambutri. Here the rooms are clean and cheap enough but the staff have less enthusiasm than Gary Glitter at a SAGA meeting. I don't care though, I'm finally in Thailand, a place about which I've heard a great deal - most of it involving beaches and booze. I'm treating my time in this country as a holiday from travelling. Sounds like a paradox I know, but anyone who has travelled for a long time will know that it isn't.

So I've decided - it's time for some R and R - Thai style.

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The Khao San Road. At night in ful…
The Khao San Road. At night in fu…
Another road near the Khao San dis…
Another road near the Khao San di…
photo by: Deats