Déjà vu on Khao San Road
Our final three nights in Bangkok were spent on the infamous backpacker haven of Khao San Road. If you've been to Bangkok before then you've likely visited Khao San Road and understand why it gets its reputation. It is loud and obnoxious, cheap and dirty, chaotic and entertaining, irrational and redundant, amusing and ridiculous… and we happen to love it!
It is a place of contradictions and is the only place where an old Shell gas station can be converted into an outdoor restaurant without any renovations… seriously!On our previous visit to Bangkok a month earlier we intended to visit Khao San Rd but ended up staying in a calmer section of the bustling city that was less touristy. We decided that this time we should get back to where all the action was so we found accommodation on the road parallel to Khao San.
Being on Khao San was like taking a walk back in time. We traveled to Thailand five years ago and spent four days in the same area (Mylan, we're happy to report that Khao San is exactly how we left it!). We spent an evening retracing our steps.We drank cheap Beer Chang from the 7/11, we ate cheap pad Thai from a street vendor, we shopped for cheap t-shirts and flip flops, we saw the hotel that we stayed at previously and we even found the exact 7/11 that Cameron was pick-pocketed in front of while in a drunken state (many of you already know the story thanks to Mylan's speech at our wedding). It felt as if we had never left, like time had stood still.It was a surreal feeling that gave us both a little chuckle. When we were there five years ago we never thought that we would return; and yet there we were!
On our last night we were fortunate enough to have our schedules fit perfectly with our friends Richard and Gawain (our gracious and hospitable friends that we stayed with in Sydney a short 2 months earlier). They had just arrived in Bangkok and were about to start their vacation the night before we were about to leave Bangkok, just enough time for us to spend an evening together!The evening was much of the same… Thai food, cheap beer, shopping and laughs. It was a great way to cap of our time in Bangkok.
Young backpackers in Thailand are so funny. Many of them say that they don't like touristy areas and yet all of them stay or visit Khao San Road, Chang Mai, Phuket, Ko Phi Phi and/or Ko Samui, which are some of the most touristy places on the planet! It has become a real pet peeve of mine (Cam), so I need to get it off my chest. Attention all youthful backpackers… you are also tourists! Just because you are not on an expensive packaged tour does not mean that you are not a tourist. Just because you wear a backpack instead of carrying standard luggage does not mean that you are exempt from tourism. Just because you stay in a complete dump for $3 per night does not mean that you are suddenly a local. And just because you stay in the seediest part of town does not mean that you are getting the most 'authentic and real' experience. If someone visits Vancouver and stays in the Downtown Eastside I would not say that they are getting the truly 'Canadian experience'! Okay, I've said my bit… now I'll drop it (I really don't care).
After five weeks our time in Southeast Asia had sadly come to an end. Our circuit of Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia was finished and we were about to embark on a very different adventure… traveling through Nepal and India!