Part-A:  Finding the nest

“I hope that is just cough syrup” I thought as I watched, from backseat of the taxi cab, the driver take gulps from a small bottle. He would keep it inside his jacket after every gulp, which made it look suspicious. It was 2 am and since the roads were empty, we were speeding away without any problems. It was drizzling outside and the Bangkok skyline in the distance, which occasionally glowed due to the thunder, looked spooky.

The driver put on some Thai music and started singing along. I didn’t know whether to smile, clap or sing along, so I decided to just look out the window and curse myself on booking a flight that landed in Bangkok this late at night.

Minutes passed by, as we entered the Siam area and soon enough, we reached my hostel, Lub D Bangkok. As I carried my rucksack up to the door of the hostel, I took a quick glance backwards at the taxi cab, and saw the driver standing there, in the rain, looking at me.

He gestured with his hand. He wanted me to keep going. I guess, he just wanted to make sure I had no problems checking in. I smiled and went inside the glass doors. A young girl greeted me and asked if I already have a booking. I showed her the booking confirmation and passport.

“304A. 2nd floor.” She said, handing me an electromagnetic card, which was the key to the room.

I looked out the glass doors and saw the driver still standing there. I showed him the card and gave him a thumbs up.

The girl behind the counter chuckled.

“I don’t know why he is still standing there in the rain.” I said.

“He either wants some tip or wants to take you sightseeing tomorrow.” She said, still smiling.

“Or maybe he is just drunk and wants me to drive him home.”

I made my way into my room on the second floor. It was a nice clean dorm with two bunk beds. Thankfully, I was alone in the room. I quickly put my bag in the steel almirah, took out some clean clothes and went for a quick shower.

It was 3 am, by the time I got freshened up and decided to head back downstairs and look for some food.

A few hundred meters down the road, right next to the sky walk leading to the National Stadium MTR, was Marina HK, a restaurant which served all sorts of Thai and Chinese delicacies, and most importantly, it was open 24 hours. I walked along the side walk, dodging the big rats that dwell in the drains by day and hunt for food  at night.

“One chicken noodle soup and a coke.” I placed my order. The Thai waitress quickly noted down the order and left.

The restaurant was quite big, and well maintained. There was a TV on the wall that was showing some Thai music videos. To my left was the juice bar, which served everything from carrot to tomato juices.

To my right, there was a table where three locals were sitting, chatting loudly, occasionally bursting out in laughter. Their table was full of half eaten plates of food. Even though, there were wearing bandanas and had tattoos, they didn’t seem threatening. Hell, they looked pretty friendly. Still, to play it safe, I decided to not make any eye contact with them. After all, it’s Bangkok.

 I got up early the next day, thanks to my new roommate. It was 6.30 am. I shift to the side and fell asleep again without even looking at him.

By 10 am, I was ready to go out and have my breakfast. I read the name tag on the bed next to mine. His name was Damien and the bed was booked till the next day. I couldn’t see him anywhere, but I did see a Robert Downey Junior Autobiography on his bed. “What a loser!” I thought.

Outside, there was chaos. Buses, cars, trucks, bikes, all honking at the same time, sidewalks were crowded with hawkers, and street food vendors. Right next to our hostel was a convenience store and right next to the store was a small, old restaurant ran by a lady in her late 40s and her daughter.

I took a seat facing the road outside, and ordered a pad thai and some coffee. One can easily go to the Mc Donald’s near the MBK mall, a few hundred meters away from where I sat, but I have had enough burgers and French fries on this trip already.

Recommendations

  1. A dorm bed in Lub D Bangkok costs 550 Bahts on weekdays and 600 Bahts on weekends. The beds can be booked online at www.booking.com or the hostel’s website. The hostel hosts parties for the guests from time to time. The hostel also has a mini theatre and a small collection of books, of all genres, for their guests.
  2. Marina HK is not only open 24 hours but also serves a wide variety of food at extremely good prices.
  3. Staying at the Siam area is good only if you do not intend to venture out late in the night, as there are not many options within walking distance after 1.00 am. However, you can always hail a cab and head to other parts of the city.
  4. Evenings at Siam are enjoyable. Street markets, malls, food, drinks and entertainment. One can also check out Sukhumvit, Nana, Asok areas for similar stuff.

 

Part B- Seeing Bangkok

After breakfast, which cost me just 40 Bahts, I crossed the road and caught a red bus, thanks to a very friendly local, to China town. It cost me just 3 Bahts and the lady conductor smiled at me when she realised a foreigner has boarded her bus.

China town was busy. There were street vendors selling dried fishes, tropical fruits, Chinese jewelleries, electronic goods and clothes. Every shop had a different smell, some good, and some just plain out nasty.  The Chinese street food, which included fish, chicken, frogs, seemed exciting too. I roamed from street to street, stopping for a drink every now and then at the numerous 7-11s in the area, to escape the sticky humidity. Few blocks away was a narrow passage which was crowded with shops selling every day to day items like vegetables, groceries etc. There were people haggling the prices with the shopkeepers. This felt like the real China town.

Back at Siam square, there was another place that I really wanted to visit. It was the Jim Thompson’s house. You can find out more about him and his life here  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Thompson_%28designer%29). It is a beautiful property with lush gardens with a variety of plants. The house is made of wood, and we visited the rooms where Mr. Thompson used to live. The guides, dressed in white traditional Thai dresses, told us about his likes, his dislikes, his achievements, and why he chose to live in Thailand. The thing that interested me the most, however, were the various theories about his disappearance. 

The rest of the day was spent in the air conditioned malls of MBK, Siam Paragon and Siam World, including a very enjoyable visit to the Ocean World. It was 7.00 pm when I decided to go back to the hostel and take a shower.

“Hello, I am Damian.” He was standing near his bed, digging through his bag for something. He was a short guy with a headful of curly  orange hair.

“Hi,I am Arpan. Where are you from?”

“Spain. You?”

“India.”

During the course of the conversation he told me how it was his first day in Asia and he has already been scammed by more than 340 Euros that day by the notorious tuk tuk drivers.

“I want to do some diving.” He told me, in his thick Spanish accent, when I asked him why he chose to visit Thailand. He was leaving for Ko Tao early next morning.

“Are you going out?” He asked me when I came back from my shower.

“Yeah… I am going out to eat. Want to come?”

“Do you know any good place around?”

“I don’t, but I know the Food Hall at Siam Paragon is pretty nice. There is also a decent place called Marina HK right down this street.”

He quickly put on a shirt and few minutes later we were strolling down the busy sidewalks of the Siam Square. It was around 9 pm and there were make shift shops selling clothes, cosmetics and accessories.

I watched as Damien bought a few pirated DVDs. He was overcharged, mainly because he didn’t bargain.

“You know you should try and bargain a bit here.” I told him as he joined me with a packet full of DVDs. The lady selling some Thai street food asked us to move along. We were blocking the others.

“I know I should but I don’t know how to. I have never done it in my life.”

We crossed the road and entered the Siam Paragon Food Hall. I bought a food card and recharged it with 500 Bahts.

“This one is on me.” I said when he tried to pay the cashier.

“The beer is on me then.” He said with a smile.

We roamed around the food counters looking at different choices. The Siam Paragon Food Hall offers a variety of cuisines from all over the world. It is definitely the place to be in Bangkok if you are hungry.

I ended up buying some ramen with shrimps, and he chose to have some Thai beef noodles.

“So, how long are you here.. In Thailand?” I asked him. Next to our table sat a group of locals, in their formals. They seemed to be in a hurry to finish up with the food. 

“Three weeks. I took some time off from work to come here. My friends came here last year and they loved it.” He took a quick spoonful from his plate and continued, “How long will you be here in Bangkok?”

“I don’t know exactly. But I have tickets to Phuket after five days. I want to visit Pattaya before leaving though.”

During the meal, we decided to head to the Walking Street in Sukhumvit, located near the Asok train station. The street was about 250 meters long and it was filled with sleazy looking Go-Go bars with pink neon lights and clichéd names. There were girls outside each bar, wearing a lot of make up, and weird dresses, and being extra friendly to bring in more and more customers. Every now and then you would see some Indian salesman trying to sell you some counterfeit watches.

We decided to sit outside the bar and ordered a couple of Chang Beers. Some football match was being shown on the television set near the counter. Damien seemed to be a football fan because he wasn’t even blinking. Next to our table sat three aged white guys. Two of them were talking to each other while the third seemed more interested in the girl outside our bar. A couple of minutes later, he called her over and bought her a drink.

“What are you doing tomorrow?” Damien asked me. We were on the train back to our hostel.

“I am going to check in at some Khao San Road hotel and visit the Royal Palace and the Reclining Buddha.”

“Royal Palace is beautiful. Are you travelling alone or someone will join you soon?”

I wondered if I should answer this question truthfully. I mean, I don’t even know this guy.

“My friends might join me in Phuket.” I lied. I was travelling alone. I wondered if I was being overly cautious.

A station came and a middle aged guy rushed in and took the seat next to mine. He was sweating and breathing heavily. He quickly plugged in his ipod and closed his eyes. I guess he could feel the cold hard stares from all the other passengers.

That night while we were sitting in the lobby of the hostel, watching TV, Damien decided that he will postpone his trip to Ko Tao and come with me to Pattaya. We decided to spend the next day in Khao San Road, doing nothing. He needed to take some time off from getting scammed.

Recommendations:

  1. Apart from the places mentioned above, one can also head out on day drips to Ayuthaya or Hua Hin.
  2. Tour agents often have half day tours of floating markets which can be quite interesting for a traveller.
  3. If you are an animal lover, try checking out Bangkok Safari Park which is a bit outside the city but very enjoyable. Another good option is to visit the Dushit Zoo, where you can see the animals up close.

 

Part C- Khao San Road, Wat Pho, Scams and Chang Beer…and Fake IDs

 “Check this out.” Damien told me, handing me a piece of paper. I unfolded the paper to find some indecipherable Thai characters written on it.

“What is this?”

“That’s how we will get to Khao San Road without spending thousands of Euros.” He chuckled. Deep down I had a feeling he wasn’t actually joking.

So, we checked out from our hostel , got on the train to Saphan Taksin station, took a boat through the Chao Phraya river, walked for a bit to reach the 200 meter road, filled on both sides with shops, pubs and restaurants, more famously known as Khao San Road.

“Do you care to make a donation?” said a bald white guy, dressed like a monk. He apparently renamed himself as Sanjay and worked for the Iscon Temple, in India.

“I live in India.  I will contribute when I go back home.”

Sanjay looked a bit disappointed and then left after a polite goodbye.

“That’s the one, right next to the 7-11.” Damien said pointing out our hotel, Khao San Palace Inn.

After a smooth check-in, we decided to go up to the rooftop pool and restaurant for some drinks. The pool was small but quite clean. After a quick drink, I decided to go sightseeing and Damien decided to hang back at the poolside and chill.

After looking at the Bangkok map I decided to walk to Wat Pho. Royal Palace and Wat Arun didn’t seem far off either. It was pretty hot, so I decided to buy some water for the road.

“Do you want a suit?”  A middle aged Indian guy said. Then he glanced down at my feet and saw my slippers. “Dude, you need some shoes too!”  He looked like a tout, maybe even a scammer. I shook my head and kept on walking.

As I was crossing the road to the Grand Palace complex, a local waved at me from a distance. I stopped as he walked briskly towards me. He was short, looked middle aged and was wearing a purple shirt.

“Hi. How are you?” He asked me. He had a round face and a very friendly smile. “Are you from Malaysia?”

“No. I am from India.”

“Oh! You look Malaysian. My friend lives in India. Where are you going now?”

“Wat Pho and Royal Palace.”

He quickly glanced at his watch and said, “Royal Palace is not open now. And the afternoon ceremony is going on in Wat Pho. Closed for visitors.”

I knew where he was going, thanks to my pre-trip research about Bangkok.

“I’ll get you a tuk-tuk and he will take you to see the big Buddha, bigger than Wat Pho. For just 20 Bahts!”

“No thanks, I guess I’ll just wait for Wat Pho to open.” I walked away.

Surprisingly, Wat Pho was open and after buying a ticket, 100 Bahts including a bottle of water, I entered the temple. The reclining Buddha was long, golden, and intricately carved. The atmosphere inside the complex wasn’t exactly serene, thanks to the visitors who were clicking away pictures on their flash-cams, but I felt the holy-ness in the air, if I can call it that. There were small metal pots where visitors were donating one Baht coins. The trick was to have enough of those coins to donate in every one of the pots. Overall, I loved Wat Pho. I sat at the foot of the entrance for a while, sipping on my bottle of water, taking it all in.

I came to know about Wat Pho in “The Beach”, when in the first scene the lead character, played by Leonardo Di Caprio was shown standing near the Reclining Buddha.  Actually that movie was responsible in a lot of ways for my trip to Thailand, and for my stay in Khao San Road that night. Khao San Road was where Caprio met the French couple and also found the map to “The Beach”.

Not far away from the Wat Pho is the Grand Palace. The huge complex is dotted with buildings, which were once ministries, meeting rooms etc. Roaming around from room to room, each with its splendid designs and decorations was great fun.

Just a short boat ride away was Wat Arun. The only thing that I found exciting about the temple apart from the amazing view of the river is the climb up to the top of the central tower. The steps are narrow and small and it is quite scary trying to get up there. But once you do get up there, it is a sweet feeling, and I am not just talking about the view from up there. It is quite satisfying to stand on top of the tower and watch the others have a hard time climbing to the top.

It was dark by the time I got back to the hotel. As I made my way to the reception to complain about the faulty cable, I quickly glanced at Damien’s Room. It was locked.

After a painfully conversation with the receptionist, who seemed more interested in reading her book than listening to my problems, I took a seat at one of the many food stands on the Khao San Road and asked for pad thai and a big bottle Singha Beer. There were three small plastic tables laid out on the sidewalk and apart from mine, only one of the other two was occupied by a group of guys.They had long curly hair, incredibly colourful t-shirts and baggy pants. Apart from a few words once in a while, there were mostly silent. Judging from the number of beer bottles, and empty plates in the vicinity of their table, it seemed that they had been here for a while. Once in a while someone will enter the 7-11 adjacent our table, and the air conditioned air would cool us off for a second or two.

“Cheap fake IDs?”

The offer sounded interesting. I looked around. A small Thai guy, maybe in his teens, dressed in blue jeans and a bright red shirt brought out  a folder with all sorts of Ids. I did a quick scan and there were fake American Driving Licenses, Student Ids, Passports, a lot of other similar stuff. They looked pretty real.

“Very cheap for you my friend. How many you want?”

“How much?”

“Come to my shop. We talk. Can’t sell here.”

“Why?”

 “Asshole.” He said pointing to the owner of my food stall.

“Well, how far is your shop?”

“No shop my friend. I stand over there.” He was pointing towards a pirated DVD stand.

“Fine, I’ll be over there in a bit. But you have to give me a good price.”

I quickly finished up my food and paid my bills. The whole road of Khao San was lit up. There were more shops than I had seen in the morning. Live music was being played in many of the pubs, there were lots of people in the shops, all of them tourists and travellers, and  the weather was a lot better.

Sure enough, the guy was standing near the shop. He took me to the side of the shop where it was a bit more secluded. “What you want?”

“What do you have?” He handed me the whole catalogue of Ids. I thought it would be cool to have a Freelance Journalist Id, it may get me to places where normal people can’t go. I also picked a Student ID.

“What college?” He asked.

“I can pick any college?”

He smiled and nodded. “Yes!”

“Oxford.” I don’t settle for anything less than the best when it comes to fake Ids.

He asked for a couple of passport size pictures and asked me to write my name and other details on a piece of paper.

“So, how much for two?”

“500 Bahts.”

“No!” I was not spending 500 Bahts for some silly Ids.

“How much you pay?”

“100 Bahts.”

He laughed. “For one?” He was trying to make me look crazy.

“For two.” I said. He laughed harder.

“Can’t do my friend. Look at these Ids. They look real. No one will know they are fake.”

“Yes, they look nice but I won’t pay more than 100 bucks for both.”

“100 Dollars?”

“100 Bahts. Nice try dude.”

This went on for about 10 minutes, before we decided on the final price. 180 Bahts for two Ids. He asked me to come after an hour to collect them.

“Pay now. I give your Ids in an hour. ”

“No, I pay when you give me my Ids.”

“No. You pay now and I go and make your Ids. Ok?” He was looking a bit frustrated now. I have been negotiating about everything. “What if don’t come back. What will I do with your Ids?”

“Why would I run away? That is my hotel right there. And what if you run away with my money? You don’t  even have a shop.”

“Fine. 150 bahts now. Rest later.”

This went on for a while and finally I ended up paying 100 Bahts upfront. He didn’t look very happy with me bargaining so much but it had to be done.

 “Make it look real.” I told him before he dashed off to the back of the DVD shop. I saw him handing over my details to another guy. It was 8.30 p.m. and I decided to go look for a ride to Pattaya the next morning. I thought Damien and I were going there together but he was nowhere to be seen.

 

I walked down the road past the small guys wearing red suits and Turkish hats, handing out fliers to some party. I am sure it was just another Khao San Road scam, or maybe not. I wasn’t handed a flier. I walked past a small ill-lit narrow staircase, right beside the massage parlours where old white ladies were getting foot massages. You could hear some really nice live guitars being played. I saw the sign. Rooftop Cafe.

I slowly and steadily got up the stairs and took a seat at the corner and ordered a drink. the whole place was actually just a rooftop with a lot of tables and chairs and a makeshift bar. You could order food too, just that they will run to the nearest restaurant and get it for you.  There was a small platform and  on that platform was a stool where a white guy, maybe in his early thirties, was playing a guitar and singing some popular hippie songs. The weather was great and the easy atmosphere of the place really felt relaxing. Every now and then, a guest will go up and try their hand at the strings. The chaos of Khao San Road, which was just downstairs, seemed far away.

“Finally.. Where the hell have you been?” Damien said as he grabbed a seat and clumsily sat next to me, almost knocking my beer off the table. I would have offered him some, but he already had a bottle in his hand.

“I have been back since evening. Didn’t see you anywhere.. What were you? What did you do all day?”.

“Oh.. I made a couple of friends, and they are taking us to a club tonight. I hung out with them all day right here in Khao San Road. This place is amazing. Wish I came here earlier. None of that Siam bullshit.”

“We are going to Pattaya tomorrow aren’t we?” I was confused. “Don’t tell me you changed your mind. Khao San Road isn’t the real Thailand. It’s down south.”

“Well, I heard Pattaya is just one big Khao San Road. If you want to go south, let’s go south. But until the time comes, I would like to stay right here.” 

Some Thai guy walked by our table and silently mouthed something to us. I couldn’t figure it out.

“Selling weed.” Damien announced with the confidence of a scholar.

It was 12.30 am by the time we were done with the place. I was sleepy and wanted to start early tomorrow for Pattaya.

“I am going back to my room. If you want to go to Pattaya be ready by 6 am.”

“You’re fucking kidding me? We are going to the club, man. Let’s get something to eat.” Damien was drunk and furious. “I owe you one buddy for bringing me to this place.”

“Wouldn’t you rather be in Ko Tao?” It was late but still everything was lit up, the music was still on, the booze was flowing. It was pretty festival-y.

“I rather have another round of beer… and some food. Let’s go there!” He was pointing towards a sports bar and it was stuffed with people.

“You know what, I will meet you there. I’ll just go to my room and take care of a few things.”

“Alright, see you in a bit.” Damien said as he walked into the sports bar.

I knew I wasn’t coming back out that night. I just felt rude saying no to him. Khao San Road is enjoyable, I’ll give it that but I didn’t want to spend another day here. I wanted to see a beach, and Pattaya is the nearest one.

————————————————————————————————————————————–

Bang! Bang! Bang!

It was 2.00 am and I was deep in my sleep.

“Yo! Open up… Are you with a girl or something?” Bang! Bang! Bang!

I didn’t know this guy for two days and he was already being a pain in the ass. Needless to say, it was Damien banging on my door.

I got up, put on a t-shirt, and washed my face, as the banging got louder and faster.

I opened the door to see Damien standing there with a girl. She was not very tall, wore glasses and looked a bit Asian.

“What the fuck, man! I was waiting for you at the bar…”  Damien was standing on her side, almost leaning on her.

“I fell asleep.” I told him truthfully.

“Really.. you came to your room and boom, you fell asleep.” Damien said as he pushed me aside to enter my room. The girl followed him in. I again did the math in my head recalculate how many days I’ve known Damien. “Your TV doesn’t work!” Damien shouted.

“What do you want, man!” I asked as nicely I could. Part of me wanted to throw him out and punch him in the face, the other part knew, me getting my ass kicked by a drunken Spaniard wasn’t the solution.

“We are going to The Club.” The girl said, as Damien was busy fixing my TV. “Hi,I am Nes. We met Damien earlier today.”

“Hi, I am.. “

“Arpan from India. I know you from all the curses Damien was hurling at you all the way to your room.”

“Fucking wear some decent party clothes and lets goooooooooooo!” Damien was clearly very drunk.

“I don’t have party clothes.” I never really bought any party clothes in my life. Always showed up in casuals. I guess this wasn’t one of those parties.

“It’s okay.. wear whatever you want…just hurry up” Nes said.

I quickly got into something clean and comfortable and soon, we were out of the hotel.

As we were walking down the road, which was a lot quieter now, someone called us from the other side of the road. It seemed like he was coming towards me.

“I knew you would run away. You owe me 100 Bahts.” It was the guy with the fake IDs. I totally forgot about him.

“Not 100, 80… Where are my Ids”

“No..100 Bahts. You owe me 100 Bahts for 2 Ids.”

It was late and I didn’t want to get into another argument. So I gave him the money and he handed me an envelope with the Ids. I checked them, they looked good.

“Whoaaa… I want one of those..” Damien said as he looked at my Oxford students identity card.

“Come tomorrow. Today shop closed.” The little guy left.

“Are you sure he is going to be okay tonight at the club?” I asked Nes. Damien didn’t look very together.

“I don’t know. But the place isn’t far away from here. We will find out soon.” She laughed.

Nes was from Singapore. She was travelling here in Thailand with some of her friends, whom we were going to meet at the club.

The Club was right in the middle of the Khao San Road. It had a big board with a pink neon light on the outside. The door of the club was being guarded by five or six big Thai men. We could hear the thumping music being played inside from entrance. We entered the club and immediately I was introduced with four of Nes’s friends, all of them boys. I forgot their names as soon as I heard them. I watched as they hit the dance floor. Me and Damien ordered a couple of beers. He gave the bartender a 1000 baht note. The bartender gave him change for a hundred. Damien looked confused. I was sure he was thinking whether he really gave that 1000 baht note or was that just a drunken haze.

“We would need another 900 Bahts. We gave you a 1000.” I said to the bartender when I was sure Damien wouldn’t be able to figure it out on his own.

“Take it later after you guys are done.” The bartender said. The DJ was great. On the other side of the dance floor, I could see a couple of girls dancing with tubes of fluorescent lights.

“Give me my money now.” Damien shouted. “And no we do not want a tuk tuk, so don’t even ask.” He laughed as we left the counter. Clearly, he was having a lot of fun.

“Listen, I need to talk to you.” He said pulling me aside. We took a seat on a very questionable couch. Questionable in the sense that I could see a couple making out on a similar couch on the other side of the room.  

“What?”

“I’m in for Pattaya but not that early.” Damien said, shaking his head like crazy.

“Then?”

He stretched his legs out a bit, and as he did a guy bumped on it and almost fell. “Jesus Christ. Watch it.” The guy said as he continued up to the bar.

“Then when?” I asked again. I was not sure if I really wanted to go with him but still I wanted to know, whether he wanted to go with me.

“Twelve-ish”

“Okay. Sounds good.” It didn’t but I could easily get ready before twelve and leave, if I didn’t want to go with him.

Nes asked us if we wanted to join them on the floor. Damien was too drunk to dance and I acted being drunk.

“She has a boyfriend.” Damien was pointing towards Nes. “I thought I had a shot but…” Before he could finish his sentence he realised he was out of beer. I watched as he stumbled off to the counter and bought a couple of bottles.

“Where did you meet her?” I asked him. I watched him take a couple of big gulps from the bottle.

“Hotel pool side. She looked hot. Rest of her friends…naaah… But she..Man!”

  “Ask her out. Who knows.” Nes and her friends were now up on the platform with the DJ. Damien was looking at them too.

“I asked her out for pad thai…” He started laughing. “She said, she was on a diet.”

“So?”

He put his arms around my shoulders, and almost whispered. “Look at her, man. She doesn’t need to be on a diet.” I had to agree. She didn’t seem fat, in anyway whatsoever.

Beer bottles were filling up our table and at some point, I think Damien brought us some vodka. I am not sure. I remember watching a Sikh guy. He was wearing a white turban.

“I’m sure that’s special turban.” Damien said, as he killed another Chang beer. “I bet he is from India.”

No shit.

“Do the Bhangra” I shouted. Thankfully, my voice was lost somewhere in the music and noise. Damien laughed, even though I didn’t think he knew what bhangra was.

One of Nes’s friends came and told us that they were leaving. I was too drunk to react. Everything was in extra slow motion. I saw Damien’s hand go up. I half prayed that he wouldn’t show his middle finger to him. He waved his hand.

“Goodbye. We will see you tomorrow.”

They were gone by the time he ended the sentence.

I vaguely remember going back to my hotel. It must have been early morning.

“Good night. Thanks for taking me to the club.” Who knew I would actually end up having a great time. I didn’t.

Damien threw in a hug and almost fell when he let go. “See you in the morning.” He said as he walked across to his room. I opened the door of my room, and saw the TV remote lying on the floor. I kicked it and entered.

“They better fix my TV or I’ll…”

I threw up in the bathroom and passed out.

Recommendations

  1. Khao San Road, sadly, doesn’t have a train station. If you do not want to spend time following the route that we followed, I suggest taking a metered cab.
  2. Lot of scammers in Khao San Road. However, if you think straight, you are unlikely a
  3. Khao San Palace Inn has recently hiked its prices. They also charge a 500 Baht security fee. They offer baggage storing services as well.

 

——————————————————————————————————————————-

Part D:    Leaving Bangkok

It was 11.30 am, when I got up. Someone was knocking on my door.

I looked around to see a note slipping through the gap between the door and the floor.

“12 pm checkout time. Better hurry or you’ll have to pay for another day. I’m downstairs at the internet cafe. Meet me.”

I quickly freshened up and by the time I was ready to leave it was 12.10pm. Not bad, I thought. I looked around for him in the lobby as I was checking out, but I couldn’t see him.

I asked the receptionist, if it was okay to leave my bag at the counter for a while. She nodded.

I rushed to the internet cafe. He was sitting on one of the computers with a can of iced tea.

“We go to the Southern Bus Terminal for our bus.” He said before I could even say hello.

“Cool. Are you ready to leave?”

“I want breakfast first. Your treat.”

We carried our bags to the small cafe next to our hotel and took a seat on one of the tables outside.  It was bright and sunny, but the humidity seemed a bit low. Khao San Road was still sleeping. Most of the shops were closed or were just opening up. Every now and then, you would see a couple of travellers walking around, looking for their hotels or finding one. I watched one old lady setting up her tee-shirt shop.

“Banana pancake and coffee for me” He placed his order. The waitress looked at me.

“Do you have noodles?”

“This is Thailand. Of course they have noodles.” Damien butted in. The waitress smiled.

“Chicken noodles and a coke. Make the noodles spicy.” The waitress took down the order and walked away.

“Coke? First thing in the morning?”

“Shut up. This is how I roll.” I joked. I hated Thai coffee.

“Last night was fun. Let’s do it again tonight in Pattaya.”

“I need to sleep. Did you meet Nes?”

“We will sleep in the bus and in the hotel. I read up about the Walking Street of Pattaya.”

“Whatever. Did you meet your friends?” I repeated.

“Yes. I met Nes when I was checking out. Said goodbye for the both of us.”

Our food came and we started eating. Either the food was super delicious or we were very hungry, maybe both, but no one spoke. We just ate.

“So, how do we go to the Southern Bus Terminal?” I asked. I needed to take a breather from the noodles.

“We fly.” He said, still eating. One could probably near the noise of the steel knife and fork hitting the china plate all the way in Southern Bus Terminal.

 “We get off at the Victory Monument station and take a moto cab.” He said once he was done with the pancakes.

We picked up our bags, were off to Pattaya.

Recommendations

  1.  Khao San Road is filled with fake tourist desks. So try not to book anything from there. Use the internet to double check what you are being told by the touts.
  2. Lots of travellers visit Khao San every day. Not all of them are friendly. Stay away from drugs and dealers. Contact the tourist police in the event of any problems. They have a booth right outside the road, near the post office.
  3. Lots of food options in Khao San Road. Try them all.

Follow my boot prints to Pattaya by clicking here:

http://goodoldboots.com/2012/08/pattaya-where-the-freakshow-never-ends/