We all have that friend that loves to party. She’s the kind of girl who is young, fit, and beautiful. She litters her social media with pictures of her and her posse of hotties at the club every Friday & Saturday night. She’s always got a perfect looking guy somewhere nearby. You find yourself reading her status’ about dancing her ass off all night, eating fast food at 4 AM, and sleeping late to kill her hangover. As the seasons change, you kind of look forward to the release of her slutty spring break pics, her slutty halloween pics, and her slutty New Year’s pics. But you know that deep down, she’s a train wreck of a person. She is the epitome of #hotmess, yet you can’t look away! Every year you notice more and more wrinkles on her face, and you realize what an exhausting life she must lead behind the mask of jaeger-bombs and y.o.l.o. tattoos. But given the chance, you’d love to occasionally have one or two nights where you party your ass off with her… just to mix things up. Khao San Road in Bangkok is that girl. It’s a train wreck, but it also looks like a lot of fun on a Friday Night! And on Monday morning, you realize what a shit hole it really is.
This is the area that is depicted in movies like “The Hangover 2” and the opening scenes of “The Beach.” It’s where all the “people of the world” go to hang out and party. If you’re into Rastafarian goods, getting your hair cornrowed, $3 guest houses, binge drinking, flat bill hats, stunner shade, dub-step, and drugs at your beckoning call, Khao San Road is you’re Mecca. Right now the hot item is a yellow tank top displaying a bare chested girl turning towards the camera with her middle finger out while she bites her lip. The Khao San tuk tuk drivers make popping noises at you. This means that they want to take you to a ping pong show. I’m not going to explain what that is, but it’s not a fun game of table tennis.
You’re bound to run into a few people who look and act like a non-fictionaly Aldis Snow. Khao San is a party that rages all night. I’m not above the festivities at Khao San Road, but I have to ease into this atmosphere of craziness, much like I am going to need 6 liters of water two days prior to going out with my slutty friend. It’s not my style, but I try my best to coexist with it. Even if it’s basically a world class display of Frat culture.
Like my slutty friend, Khao San Road is probably full of diseases: Two years ago, I watched my friend, Maya, eat a dead scorpion that a street vendor was selling after we had chugged a few Changs outside of a 7-11. I sat down on the curb while she went to buy a pack of cigarettes, when a ladyboy plopped down next to me. As I immediately tried to get up, she put her arm around me. I pulled it away, letting her scratch me with her big nails. I called my mom the next day worried I got HIV from this quick encounter. She assured me I didn’t. She also reminded me that the nails were probably acrylic.
Two years and an HIV test later, I’m back on Khao San Road. This time, I’m a hostel veteran. I’m not skimping on my accommodation like last time. My friend, Maya, and I wanted to save as much money as possible. We stayed at a hostel that was a total of $4. It looked just like the place that Daffy killed himself in “The Beach.” But we were able to steal the wifi from the restaurant next door. The rooms were separated by paneling attached to exposed framing studs, but the ceiling was vaulted. So if you threw your trash over the wall, it would land on the people in the next room. Side note: One of my college friends used to jokingly fantasize about throwing used toilet paper over bathroom stall partitions and yelling “Shitzkreig!”
Having open ceilings, Maya and I had to listen to this couple a few cells over have loud obnoxious sex every morning at dawn. This stopped one day after Maya and I started a slow clap to congratulate the girl finishing. That left the whole floor hooting and hollering with us. We didn’t have air-conditioning. We didn’t have warm water. They didn’t even give us a blanket (not that we wanted one in the sweltering heat anyway). This hostel did include free roaches, free dub-step music through the night, and free eau de toilet…. literally toilet. But let me stress that I paid $2 USD a night for this. I was living the dream! But I’ve grown up since then. This time, I’m staying off of Khao San Road, but nearby. My hostel is a whopping $12 per night and is one of the nicest I’ve stayed in. There are some benefits to being near Khao San Road: it’s in the city center, the tuk tuk drivers all know where it is, and you can get a bus from here to anywhere in Thailand, Cambodia, and even Laos.
My friend, Joe, met me in Bangkok on Saturday and he got to experience this place that I spoke of. I was reassured that I wasn’t the only one out of my element when we walked down the 150 meters stretch of party and he said to me, “This is just so exhausting to even look at!” The next night we went back to the area and had a few drinks. I had three STRONG drinks that would have cost me less if I had taken the waiter’s advice on getting a “Bucket.” But I didn’t want a bucket. I’m not a farm animal. I don’t need a troff of booze. This isn’t literally boone’s farm. I threw in my towel as my buzz sat in. “YOU WIN! Khao San!” It’s 11:15 and I’m ready for bed!
I love to look from a distance, but I was never one for partying. It looks like fun, but the fun never seems worth the hangover to me.
I thought back to when I saw my party friend last: Remember last time? You did body shots off of some random girl and then threw up in a white castle parking lot. Meanwhile she was laughing and taking pictures.
I thought about the last time I was on Khao San Road: Remember last time? You got scratched by that tranny hooker and thought you had HIV AND you barely dodged Hep C and bed bugs in your shitty Khao San Hostel. Oh… and your friend drunkenly ate a scorpion from an asian street vendor.
I don’t want to come off as a cynical dick… That’s not me. I came on this trip to have fun too… but damn! There’s a point where I just have to say ENOUGH! You win, bitch! Good luck with all that! Am I a prude? Probably. But you will never hear me say, “Dude, have you been to the half moon party at Koh Phangan? It’s tres tres dope! I literally woke up in the ocean. It was so nectar!” That’s cool… and I want to see pictures! But mostly I just want you to go far away from me and find a shower. Khao San is a must-see if you are in Bangkok. Stay and have a drink after dark! Get crazy. Get wild. Get laid. But remember that even in Asia, you can’t escape STI’s, you nasty girl.