I flew into Bangkok from my Chinese New Year celebrations in Singapore and took a train, then a taxi, to my hostel. Or at least an approximation of where my hostel was. The taxi driver refused to go to my actual hostel, just stopped sort of near the road it was on and told me to get out; he doesn’t want to deal with the traffic on my street. Not the most welcoming start to my time in the city.
I stayed one road over from Khaosan Road, an infamous backpacker road. I walked around to take it all in, had a wretched night of sleep as the reggae band downstairs played til 3am (accompanied by kazoo), and then moved to a quieter part of town the next day.
It was worth a look, though: hundreds of people packed into one street; tourists wandering around wide-eyed and eager to spend money; ladies in tribal hats selling wooden toys that chirp like frogs; dozens of stores selling the same Bob Marley singlets and harem pants; food hawkers selling crispy pancakes, fresh fruit shakes, noodles, and bottles of beer; carts trundling through the streets laden with fried insects and accompanying signs saying “photo 10 baht”; pop music from the past three decades pumping out of every storefront; and neon lighting up the hazy tropical air. Masses of people to thread my way through, throngs of people drinking and shouting and laughing and stumbling along the street.
It was an assault on the senses, and a fun place to gawk for forty minutes. But don’t ever ask me to go back.