My Final Days in Asia
It was my fifth visit to Bangkok in the past six months, and I didn’t intend to stay for long. I had planned to finish my time in Thailand with a day trip to the ancient city of Ayutthaya before heading down to Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party.
Well, if you’ve been reading this site for any amount of time, you won’t be surprised to hear that once again, those plans went out the window!
As always, it was because of my awesome friends. They made me want to stick around, and/or injured themselves so badly in Vang Vieng that they couldn’t go to Koh Phangan.
Not that that actually happened.
It made sense to stay in Bangkok. Honestly, by this point, I was getting tired of the act of traveling — I wanted nothing more than to settle in one place for awhile and not have to deal with catching buses, finding guesthouses and coordinating schedules.
I just wanted to hang out and enjoy my last few days as a backpacker, while I could still wear hippie pants and a tubing t-shirt and drink Chang beers on the street and make dozens of friends instantly.
So I did that. I couldn’t have had a better time. Having spent my first nine days of the trip in Bangkok as well, it felt like I came full circle.
This time around, I had a lot of friends in Bangkok. Friends from travel, friends from home, friends from the travel blogging community — and their friends!
Predictably, this led to quite a few crazy times. Like the day that began with running into a friend at the mall and ended with cotton candy, grocery store drinking and a ladyboy bar. Seriously.
And let’s not forget about Songkran in Bangkok — a truly unforgettable festival and some of the most fun I’ve ever had in Asia!
I also needed to shop. After losing everything in the shipwreck, I basically replaced my entire wardrobe in Bangkok, which I now believe to be the world’s greatest city for shopping. And then there were souvenirs for everyone at home.
There were also lots of interesting religious amulets in the market by Thammasat University — and let’s just say that I found some hand-carved objects that will become, um, perfect accessories for my friend’s bachelorette party.
There was sightseeing. Low-key, low-pressure sightseeing. I took Ste to see the Golden Buddhas at Wat Pho — still the tourist destination in Bangkok I recommend the most, and definitely worth 50 baht ($1.67).
And, most importantly, there was Khao San Road.
You know what? I’m done feeling guilty over spending so much time there. God knows there are enough travelers turning their nose up at it. (For the record, a LOT of them stay at Lub*d Silom. By all means, stay there if you hate Bangkok. You’ll fit right in. But I digress.)
Khao San Road might be garish and cliche and inauthentic and full of backpackers and buckets — but it is SO much fun.
In fact — you want to know why I loved Khao San Road so much?
Because my nights were spent like this:
That’s what it was like. Just pure happiness, living in the moment, singing “I Shot the Sheriff” on the street with a bunch of people we had just met.
So, how did I spend my final full day and night in Asia?
I finished up my souvenir shopping. I ate some pad see euw on the street.
I played with a kitty. He belonged to the guesthouse, and I named him Tom Yum.
Yes, as you might be able to guess, Ste and I had gone shopping for hippie pants earlier that day.
That night, Ste and I went out for a banquet of sorts, ordering everything that sounded good. Plus a big bowl of Tom Yum Kung — if nothing else, this has become my Thai food addiction.
We did the usual Khao San Road thing — strolled around until we walked smack into a group of our friends.
And after a few drinks with Ste and Darren, our friend Klara from Sihanoukville, and a slew of new friends, we hit the club for house music, dancing and buckets. And yes, Darren never misses an opportunity for a hilarious photo pose.
My final day in Asia was fun, casual, and steeped in backpacking goodness. But most importantly, I spent it with people who mattered.
I stayed up all night, spending time with my dear Ste and Darren, with whom I created enough memories for a lifetime. At 5:00 AM, the shuttle came to sweep me up from Khao San Road and off to the airport.
Several hours later, still clad in hippie pants, I landed in London.