Sally's Adventures in South East Asia
Alex Garland in the "the Beach" described the Khao San Road in Bangkok as where East meets West serving as a "decompression centre" for western travellers visiting Bangkok on their way out to "real" South-East Asia. You can certainly get all your western comforts in Bangkok and some more salacious "comforts" that would be more difficult come by at home, but for me it was a bit of a culture shock. The humid heat was overwhelming and the crowds and the smell of fish oil and spices intoxicating. The most difficult thing about Bangkok is that the locals see the "farang" (foreigners) as a walking Dollar sign and everybody is trying to sell you something that you may or may not want for well over the odds. Tuk-Tuks are fun but most will try and rip you off. If you end up where you want to go, without being taken along the way to several shops and dubious lucky Buddas along the way you have done well. I expect to return to Bangkok several times on my travels as it seems that, in South East Asia, all roads lead through either Bangkok or Singapore. I truly love Asia, so much so, that I am seriously considering abandoning Australia and New Zealand to spend my entire trip in Asia. I am travelling with a girl called Clare from London. Tomorrow, we are catching a bus to Kanchanaburi which is north-west of Bankgok. Kanchanaburi is where the Bridge over the River Kwai is located. I have already booked my train tickets to the far north of Thailand to Thailand's second largest city, Chiang Mai. From Bangkok, it is a 15 hour overnight train journey. From there I shall travel into Laos. Whilst booking my train tickets I discovered that, somewhat confusingly, in Thailand it is not 2006 but the year 2549 and this is the date printed on my train tickets.. Catch up with you from Kanchanaburi...