Khao San Road was famously referred to as the “the center of the backpacking universe” by Alex Garland in the book ‘The Beach’, which of course became a successful movie with a cult following. From my own experiences, there is rarely a quiet night down there.
Captain Hindsight – yesterday’s hero, tomorrow
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Date: December 2011
It was Sunday night.
You were tired, you were hot and you were suffering from a bad hangover. The night before was a heavy one by anyone’s standards. It was certainly one to remember, although you drank enough to forget.
The day had passed slow and painful as you lounged on the sofa beds outside the hostel lobby, seeking refuge from the sun in the shade of low-hanging palm trees. Copious amounts of water were consumed and websites were idly surfed to the tune of your lament, bemoaning the exploits of excess.
Darkness fell and the hunger growled until a short while later, when you found themselves sitting at the very edge of a central pub on Khao San Road, people-watching after a thoroughly unsatisfying meal.
Supping at overpriced beers and staring vacantly around the voracity of life that careered down the narrow street, you envisaged an early night and so engaged the brother in plans for the productive day tomorrow that would right the wrongs of the wasted day just gone.
You would head to the Grand Palace and get some good photos, then to the MBK shopping centre for a few hours during the hottest part of the day. Then before getting the train to Laos you would get Thai massages to help you both recover from all your sins.
It was a great plan; you just had to leave Khao San Road and get to bed early…
At 5 AM, you fell into bed.
Waking up some time later, your mouth was dry beyond belief and you felt choked by the strange taste inside.
Had you been smoking last night? The brother’s constant supply of tobacco had begun to look tempting in the inebriated states of recent nights.
Groggy, you staggered out to the bathroom for a shower, barely getting inside the room before the little Thai cleaning lady appeared, gabbling at you with frantic gestures.
“You want shower?”
“Yeah, I want shower” you replied, confused and somewhat perturbed by this sudden inquisition. So early too at the crack of noon.
“No, not here, this lady bathroom. You go down hall!” she crowed.
This revelation jogged you from your grumpy sleepwalk and so, with a quick apology, you made your way down the hall to the male bathroom. Apparently you had been taking showers and dropping bombs in the girl’s toilets for two days without noticing.
You checked out late and discovered the loss of your wristband and therefore would lose the deposit of 400 baht. Staggering into the sunshine, you turned to the brother and resolved to piece your memories together to solve the mystery.
You were dying again. The plan? Out the window. Why? Because you met Irish people.
The few beers and people watching turned into a session with some girls from shores familiar, only cut short when half their group were banished on account of their raucous behavior.
Apparently in Thailand it’s not socially acceptable for girls to dance on the tables and collapse in a heap full of glass on the ground in front of everybody.
The brother had arrived to recant the tale as you were busy cleaning your hands at the bathroom.
Well actually, having ran out of toilet paper and without a dryer, improvisation was needed to remove the incredibly soapy, bubbly gloves that you found himself laden with.
Indeed, Paddy arrived on scene with his story about the girls just as the you were cleaning your bubbly hands on a rather fluffy and somewhat confused cat you found lying near the bar.
Yes indeed, it was one of those nights. You got sucked into the vortex of debauchery that appears from nowhere on the famous Khao San Road.
Oh, and that taste in your mouth?
Have you lost some well-laid plans down Khao San Road? Perhaps you’ve munched on some insect snacks? Let me know in the comments below!
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