Unexpected Changes and Khaosan Road in Bangkok

After spending 2 weeks in the countryside of Thailand, I can say with certainty: Rural life is not for me.

It was wonderful at first; a welcome change from the constant overdose of insanity in Bangkok. Everything moves slower there. People sit around for hours each day, not really doing anything at all. Just sitting. Maybe munching on some rice. (I never thought of rice as a snack before moving to Thailand, but it is well loved. Rice can be a snack, meal, or dessert.)

raisin sticky rice thailand

(Sticky rice with nuts and raisins, enclosed in a bamboo shoot. Dessert!)

But after the first week, the relaxed routine and lack of opportunities for adventure started to bother me. A daily bicycle ride into town was my only chance to explore, and the village shop area only spanned two blocks. The most happening spot in town is the 7 Eleven that opened last year.

bike ride in amphoe phen thailand(Bicycle ride through the village of Amphoe Phen, Thailand)

Fortunately, soon I found out I would be able to travel solo. Unfortunately, after the company owner fell very ill the next week, all projects were put on an indefinite hold and I found out I would no longer be travelling solo with a job. I hope he gets well soon and wish him the best in the world.

I headed back to Bangkok and stayed in a few hostels near Khaosan Road, tourist central and a place with endless opportunities for debauchery. I became friends with a local club owner and his girlfriend, where I hung out for a few days and started planning my travels on a limited budget.

edible bugs in bangkok on khaosan road

(Edible Bugs on Khaosan Road in Bangkok, Thailand)

After a few days of eating bugs and sharing drinks and laugh with my new friends, Khaosan Road became too much.  I’ve partied quite a bit in the past, but I’m in a different place now, and the constant drunken atmosphere in Bangkok was completely overwhelming.

As I was walking back to my hostel one night, I witnessed a man in tears outside of a 7 Eleven. He went inside and begged the cashier to please help him get more money out of the ATM, because it had a 5,000 baht daily limit and he needed to pay the police who were waiting across the street 20,000 baht (about $655 USD)  or he would be going to prison.

Apparently, this guy had spent the past 3 days in a Thai jail and was being extorted by police, a horror story that is all too common in Southeast Asia.

I’m not going to say the guy didn’t do anything wrong. A lot of tourists fail to realize the risks at stake in a foreign country with different laws, and unpredictable legal system, and police corruption. But I left that 7 Eleven and walked back to my hostel, practically tripping on drunk people, and thought, “I need to get the hell out of here”.

So I did. The next day I hopped on a train headed to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

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One response to “Unexpected Changes and Khaosan Road in Bangkok

  1. All too often the fresh-out-of-school-and-off-the-plane hit the streets Thailand capital with heads full of drunken drug-f*kd excess. The Thai police have been told to educate the children of the priveleged West. This education comes at a price. There is nothing uncertain about it and that is why the Thai Police are laughing all the way to the bank.

    Long gone are the days when I could burst into the Khao San road police office stoned out of my mind with my friend in tow looking for a hospital referral. That’s just the very tip of the madness that was the traveller’s 1990’s!

    It is sad to watch the children today trying to emulate the stories of a bygone era in Asia. Bangkok was a port city where sailors would cavort after long months isolated at sea. Those days are well behind when teenagers drop out of the sky onto tarmacs with nothing but credit cards and attitudes.

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