Bangkok; like a scene from a movie

I walked straight out of Singapore and into the bustle of Khoa San Road. There were tuk tuks whizzing behind me, Thai market salesmen yelling bargain pitches at the hundreds of passing backpackers in words I had yet to grasp an understanding of. I looked around, feeling an inward smile, Jenn and Johnny so far ahead of me. At the risk of sounding like every backpacker in the biz, I couldn’t help being overwhelmed by the feeling that I had stepped straight into The Hangover 2. It wasn’t about street fighting monks and face tattoos but the feeling that a movie montage was unfolding around me.

I was weary of hanging out on Khoa San, afraid I wasn’t really experiencing Thailand. The truth is I probably wasn’t, but this didn’t strike me as the go-to for tourist and backpackers who, only after their favourite Western treats, were afraid to venture further. There was something special here.

Jenn’s high school mate, Johnny who is on a bit of a world tour, offered to show us the good times of Bangkok. After multiple lengthy visits he is kind of a pro when it comes to navigating and negotiating. We headed straight for a little old Thai lady cooking up huge plates of Pad Thai in the middle of Khoa San Road. Johnny explained our options to us, we handed over our 60 baht (approximately $1.97), piled on the chili flakes and sat on the curbside to enjoy.

Pad Thai on Khoa San Road - Bangkok, Thailand

Within the first ten minutes of being fully immersed in Bangkok I had eaten my first street meal and made my first purchase {haggling care of Johnny}. I had secured myself a little leather shoulder bag that would save my life not only for the rest of the trip but on many a night out in Sydney, for the bargain price of approximately $9.

We started the night in one of many roadside bars, ordering a beer for 70 baht thinking I was getting a deal; when an extra large bottle of Chang arrived at my table, something clicked in my brain and I finally grasped the fullness of being so grateful for every little difference that this place held from the land I call home; Australia. As Jenn and Johnny caught up on the ins and outs of the years following high school I sat in a silent state of contentment, watching as backpacking hippies and camera-touting tourists drank beers side by side, watched the soccer game, chatted, made new friends; letting their cares float away with their inhibitions.

Chang Beer - Bangkok, Thailand

Chang Beer - Bangkok, Thailand

We spent the first night of our Bangkok adventure bar-hopping down Khoa San and the alleyways that branch from it. We met an English mate, Collin, who looked ot be about 18 years old and wandered off without a word after putting up with 2 hours of our shenanigans. Jenn, Johnny and I gave each other drunken dares to eat the dried squid being sold on the street stalls, we drank a beer tower and then, eventually when we’d had enough, we finally crashed back at the hotel.

Jenn's dried squid face - Bangkok, Thailand

Sure you can argue that I didn’t experience anything that couldn’t have been done somewhere else, but I beg to differ. I wouldn’t have had that experience if I’d stayed at home in Sydney. Thailand is different than Australia, and it’s not a place where it’s easy to go and not see what it has to offer. Traveling is a whole new being, and even if you find yourself sat in the middle of a pizza place in a country that doesn’t sell cheese, you’ll have a story about how you ended up there.

Everyone I met told me that they weren’t impressed with Bangkok, that it didn’t hold any culture and that it was too chaotic to enjoy. I went into it looking for an excuse to leave, I surely wouldn’t like it because I’m probably less cultured than all of those others. But I dunno, Bangkok got me.