Familiarity on Khao San road

I survived my first day in Bangkok and it was pretty good. Surprisingly I haven’t felt half as bad as I thought I would feel. I think the fact that I actually managed a bit of sleep on the plane paired with the fact I had no cancellations or issues like last year made the whole thing a lot easier. If you add that to the fact that I’ve been here and done it all before and it wasn’t half as daunting as I thought it might be.

I reached Bangkok at around 11pm, getting off the plane kind of felt like walking into an oven even though it was the night time! I think they said it was around 27 degrees so a massive change from the freezing cold temperatures back home! I cleared customs and picked up my bag in no time. Before I knew it I was being dropped off at the side of Khao san road and weaving my way through pissed up westerners with my heavy backpack. The taxi driver attempted basic conversation with me and I had to laugh when someone almost got run over by a motorbike and he laughed and simply said ‘Thailand!’.

Khao San by night

I thought I’d hate having to find my way up a crowded street in the heat but I walked with a smile on my face. I know a lot of people hate khao san for it’s tacky bars and binge drinking culture but I’ve always loved it. It may not be Thailand at it’s finest but I love the atmosphere and I’ve had a lot of good times there – they were all coming back to me and I felt as though I had never left. I reached my hotel and felt fine (if not a bit too awake – I stupidly thought I could beat the jetlag but ended up staying up until about 4am). The homesickness had been replaced with familiarity and it was such a relief to feel that way. Sitting in a hotel room on my own felt fine too. I remember my first stop in Dubai last time and how horrible and lonely I felt – all those feelings had gone.

I woke up at around 8, surprisingly, and got up in an attempt to beat the jetlag. I was meeting Jess at 1, a friend that I’ve known pretty much my entire life. She has been out here teaching English for 6 months but now it’s come to the end of the school year she’s more flexible with her time. She’ll also be the one I travel to Cambodia and Vietnam with in a few weeks. I was excited to see her after so long and it was great if not a little surreal seeing her in Bangkok. We got lunch (a very cheap massaman curry – love it!) and waited to hear from Gary (who was flying in from Newcastle that day to spend a week here on his way to Australia). i was a little worried when I still hadn’t heard from him 2 hours after his flight was due to land. He got lost once meeting me in Birmingham so I didn’t fancy his chances with Thailand! but eventually he rocked up at the hotel reception and my little group for the day was complete.

That just about sums it up!

That just about sums it up!

When I think about what we did it wasn’t really much. Last time I was here I did a whole lot of nothing too! the heat makes me lazy and obviously both me and Gary were pretty knackered. So we just got our bearings and wandered the streets around Khao San for a bit, getting a few drinks as we went. We booked our transport to Koh Chang on Saturday and eventually walked up the river. I was keen to try and see a sunset over it which was a pretty stupid idea considering how cloudy it was! we ended up buying a Chang (beer) each and sitting at the top of the bridge (which was basically just the side of a motorway) while basically watching the sun disappear behind some clouds. Everyone who drove past was looking at us like we were insane and it was a little funny! I forgot how strong the cocktails and Chang are here and they hit me pretty quickly.

After that we basically just found a few bars to drink in before a total fail on trying to find somewhere called ‘The Deck’ which had views over Wat Arun. We picked up a tuk tuk and showed them an address I’d found on tripadvisor. Well thanks to Tripadvisor we ended up being dropped at the wrong place in the middle of nowhere as clearly the address was wrong! We cut our loses, got a drink and some food and caught a tuk tuk back to Khao San road. But that wasn’t before I managed to eat and entire chilli whole. I really should be more careful with that! My mouth and lips felt like they were on fire for about 10 minutes and it was so painful! so I decided to inflict the pain on jess too and paid her 100 baht (£2) to do the same thing! Never again!

So we were back to drinking on Khao San again which suited me fine. We spoke to a couple of people including some guys who had been thrown into a jail in Laos for 4 days (scary stuff) and a Swedish guy travelling alone who we adopted for the night. Gary and I headed home at around 2am and picked up some pizza and some pad thai on the way home (I was still excited about the fact it’s so cheap!). I made some Skype calls and eventually went to sleep at around 4 only to be woken up by some sort of Italian convention going on outside our door (thanks guys).

So this morning I had planned for us to go to some temples. It seems to be a recurring theme while I’m in Bangkok. I plan to go to temples the next day but then I get drunk, wake up with a hangover and can’t be bothered. Last time I was here with my friend Amy we pretty much did that every day! At some stage I will make it to the temples but maybe not while Gary is here. It’s already 1.15pm and Gary isn’t up yet but I don’t care because I know I will have so much time in Bangkok that it doesn’t bother me to chill out in the hotel room. I’m in no rush. Plus I’m feeling the first horrible pangs of a Thai hangover and we have no water in the room so I’m feeling pretty rough.

I think the feeling I have this morning is that I will spend less time drinking in South East Asia than I did last time. I hate the feeling of a hangover in the heat and I hate how it makes me lazy. It also makes me feel more homesick in a way (I am struggling a bit with missing everyone but apps like Skype and whasapp are a godsend). So I may not bother drinking anything today. My only real plan is to go to the sky bar tonight (the same one that’s in The Hangover 2) for views over the city. It’s expensive but hopefully it will be worth it and force us outside of Khao San road. For now I just need to get past this hangover enough to move from bed – it’s a bad one!

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