It’s been two weeks of island hopping, spending days on quiet stretches of sand, swimming in clear blue waters, watching fire shows every night and drinking buckets on the beach. After an overnight bus journey from Phi Phi, we arrive bright in early in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. It’s a city like no other with street vendors on every corner, temples located next to giant skyscrapers, tuk-tuk driver’s waving you down at every opportunity, and “lady boys” who come out and roam the streets at night.
Like most other backpackers we head straight to Khao San Road to seek out cheap accommodation. There are more guesthouses per square inch in this place than anywhere else. Prices vary considerably, with cheap rooms starting at 150 baht. It’s worth checking out several places as standards and cleanliness vary greatly. After looking at a dozen or so guest houses, we checked into Siam Oriental Inn, one of the best budget places right on Khao San. For 280 baht (about $9 CA), we had a double room with attached bathroom, and outlets, which surprisingly most other places did not have.
The rest of the daylight hours are spent napping and walking around the neighbouring areas trying to soak it all in. As evening sets in, we meet up with Andrew’s sister-in-law’s brother, Tom, and his Thai female friend for a night out on the town. Having lived in Bangkok for years, Tom was able to show us some of the sights Bangkok has to offer. The evening starts with drinks at a beautiful rooftop terrace, before we head into one of the many red light districts to visit Bangkok’s seedier side. Before long, we’re having drinks outside a strip joint eating our first (and last!) grasshoppers. While prostitution is technically illegal in Thailand, there is no shortage of bars with mostly naked dancing girls, numbered like cattle for the picking. If you’re looking to see the famous “lady boys” in Thailand, look no further than Nana Plaza, where a dozen or so bars feature the dancing ladies. Even though Thailand is a very conservative country in many respects, lady boys are highly tolerated and visible in everyday life in Bangkok.
Grasshoppers, Lady boys, red light districts and Khao San Road – and it’s only day 1 in Bangkok!