Bangkok. As big, brash and beautiful as ever. A city full of life, rushing at a million miles an hour. Constantly moving at high speed with Thai salesman chasing you down the street insisting you need a suit in this 30 degree weather. Khan San road – the hub of this enchanting madness – holds a flurry of activity for the eye to witness. Every inch of pavement is consumed by pop up stalls, each bearing harem pants in a variety of colours, a multitude of t-shirts with Thai symbols on the front or the famous ‘same same but different’ logo. These more substantial looking stalls are shouldered by more rickety stalls where thai ladies braid foreigners hair. The scent of street food – some of which entails Scorpions on sticks – floats along Khao San, filling the nostrils of the passers-by.
Given that Bangkok is the first destination in Thailand for many travellers, the city is a flurry of madness with many elements to take in from the get go. Fortunately, having been to Bangkok previously, we knew that the sky train is the cheapest way into central Bangkok from the airport – taxis tend to overcharge as they know you are new to the country! In terms of taxis, it is also wise to request a metre before getting in – that way they can only charge you the distance you have travelled rather than a figure plucked out of thin air.
There are many places to grab some food and get drunk on Khao San road which are easily accessible if you are staying nearby. However I would recommend two places slightly different and off the beaten track. Firstly, there is a vegan restaurant called Ethos, which we frequented during our few days there, which is amazing. Not far from Khao San road, it is tucked behind the main road down a lane where there are various vegetarian restaurants. The menu has a wide variety of options and is a bit of a clean eaters haven. With a chilled out vibe, cushion tables and kind staff, it was an awesome little find for us and I can’t recommend it enough! http://ethosnet.biz
Furthermore if you’re feeling like a bit of a classier night than Khao San road, I would suggest heading to the Sky bar (where the Hangover was filmed) – it’s about a 15 minute taxi ride from Khao San (400 baht if I remember correctly). Just across the road from the Sky Bar is Maggie Choos. Maggie Choos is an upmarket bar and although not frequented by many backpackers..is definitely worth a visit if you fancy dressing up and listening to a bit of jazz music for the night. It is designed as a chic bar with beautiful Thai women on high suspended swings and a famous American jazz singer in a white suit blasting out jazz records. Although tables are reserved for those ordering bottles of spirits and champagnes, the smoking rooms are cosy little hubs off the main bar area with cabin-like doors where you can chill whilst still taking in the magical atmosphere.
In my eyes, Bangkok is a love/hate thing…personally I love the buzz of the city but a few days is more than enough to absorb all that it has to offer. After your few days you’ll be telling the suit salesman to fuck off rather than politely saying no thank you…
Do not ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. – Howard Thurman
Be weird. Be wonderful.