9 Hours In Bangkok

What to do on a 9 hour Bangkok layover, well I wasn’t about to sit around the airport all day, so I stashed my bags and headed to Koh San Road.  You can’t visit Bangkok without heading to the district, a backpackers paradise and famous the world over for its spirit of comradery and the ability to get anything you want there, from a new dreadlocked hairdo right on the street, to fake ID to tourist t-shirts, alcohol, sex, drugs and rock n roll.  I plan to spend more time in Thailand in several months but took the opportunity to sample some of Bangkok’s flavour.  I took the new high speed train into the city from the massive new spectacular airport.  It was no problem.  I bought my token from a machine at the airport station, checked the map and hopped on the train, taking it to the last stop, about half an hour away.  I then hailed a metered taxi for the short drive to the tourist mecca.  Even before the taxi had stopped I knew we had arrived. I hopped out and was overcome by the madness of the place.  It was loud and crowded with the smell of street food in the air, mixed with incense, smog and sweat.  It was a hot and I was sweating in no time as I browsed the main street and then ventured down some of the side streets, some with every store offering silver jewelry, the next featuring western chain restaurants like Burger King.  I try not to buy anything in my travels, I like to keep my backpack light and don’t want to be shipping a bunch of trinkets home.  But just try not to buy at least one T-shirt.  I fought the urge and finally gave in, just a small token of my visit, and another piece of clothing I can wear on my travels.  I debated whether to stop for lunch at one of the street vendors, enticing me with the smells of their specialties, but opted instead to sit down, relax and enjoy a plate of… Pad Thai.  It was the perfect chance to just sit back and watch the world go by… literally.  Young backpackers mingled with older more well-heeled travellers.  At one point a small Asian man, probably in his 40’s, emerged from a hotel dressed in bright florescent blue patterned silk pyjamas.  He was also wearing sandals and had on the biggest bright white sunglasses I had ever seen.  They were like the novelty sunglasses you would see at tacky souvenir stands at Disneyland, only slightly more stylish, still they covered most of his face.  I couldn’t bring myself to take a photo but watched as people would walk by him, do a double take and have to stifle a laugh.  He was definitely the strangest character I saw that day.  I finished my lunch, hailed a taxi to take me back to the LRT stop, and got back on the train to the airport, wrapping up my first, but not my last, taste of Bangkok.

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