Thailand: Bangkok diaries day 1 (Khao San road, Chao Phraya and Sukhumvit)
Khao San Road: Backpackers District
We arrived in the afternoon and headed directly to Khao San Road (flashes from “The Beach” Dicaprio’s movie sliding in my mind). Khao San Road is the backpacker’s district. We assumed that the area would be more authentic and affordable than downtown district. And maybe we can meet some backpackers with inspiring travel stories.
Khao San was exactly what we imagined except that the atmosphere was hot, humid, heavy and it smelled like …. a big city. The most surprising think is food for sure, from fruits to fried scorpions, the choices are endless. There is food everywhere it’s amazing! Thailand is truly the paradise of street food we will clearly not starve. We also noticed another unusual thing: people having massages on the street!
After checking in our hostel and having lunch, we went downtown to meet up some friends from Morocco who happened to be in Bangkok as well.
Because of the traffic in the afternoon, we were advised to take a taxi boat. Great!! This is a good way to have an overview of the city from the Chao Phraya River. So we passed by the famous Grand palace, Wat Pho, China town, the floating market and so on… that was very enjoyable! Welln except for the huge splash of water we received because of a fast boat sailing too close. Lucky we weren’t holding any camera nor phone, but the water did seem a little bit sketchy.
We reached downtown looking for the state tower where we met with our friends. The downtown district was obviously more cosmopolitan, still smelling like a big city, and it was equally overwhelming. The state tower is a skyscraper known for its skygarden bar with a marvelous view and Lebua hotel where they filmed “Hangover part II”. We were a little bit early so we decided to have a massage meanwhile. My husband had his first Thai massage and described it as one of the most traumatic experiences in his life (lol), I quote him: “That was wrestling not massaging!!!. He swore that the massage lady had the strongest arms ever seen. But it’s probably his ego who exaggerates the experience and the fact that he is not quite used to massages. Or maybe I was smart enough to go for a reflexology massage.
After that we had fancy cocktails in the skygarden bar, the view was really spectacular and we were amazed by Thai hospitality and politeness, especially in such a posh place. I’ve never had that much appetizers in my life and they kept coming even after we finished the cocktails.
The night was just starting, we strolled down Sukhumvit Avenue looking for a restaurant. Sukhumvit is Bangkok’s largest and most important street, and if I am not mistaken the longest one in Thailand. It’s not a touristic area and it clearly has a “Big city” appeal. That’s probably where we would take an apartment if we were living in Bangkok. The avenue is paved with trendy restaurants with a widely choice. Seriously, any type of food, just name it and you’ll probably find it in Sukhumvit.
Avoid street food there though, it’s average and pricey due to the high rent. We noticed a lot of food courts and malls as well. So basically this is the paradise of SHOP, EAT & PARTY. We ended up in a nice outdoors restaurant with a Rock & Roll Band and Western food.
Cow boy Street
Our friend suggested to go to the sinful Cowboy street. If you decide to go just keep an open mind, the ambiance is morally questionable but it’s all part of the Bangkok experience. I can’t help but feel for those young girls though. So we didn’t stay very long in the area. On our way back we had a taste of Khao San Road in the nighttime, everybody was partying outside and there was even more food on the street. Unfortunately we were too tired from the flight, the backpacks and the partying. So, we called it a day!