Sensory overload + silly signs in Bangkok

khao san rd at night bangkok

After about 16 hours in various minivans and an overnight bus, we landed in the madness that is Bangkok.

(FYI, the difference between buses and trains is stark. Trains are definitely the way to go. Our overnight sleeper from Malaysia to Thailand was pretty sweet – waking up to the sight of vast fields and slightly swampy land was really quite something. Though if you can, book a lower berth rather than an upper berth; they’re slightly roomier and more convenient.)

We’d been told our bus terminated on Khao San Rd, the backpacking mecca. Easy, I thought. All we had to do was walk to the end of the street, where our hostel/guesthouse was. Ha!

Instead, they rushed us off the bus on a wide, busy road, where taxis were waiting like vultures. It was a bit of a rude awakening.

First the aisle lights blared on, which I took as a warning sign, and roused myself (plenty of the others went back to sleep). Then the bus came to a halt.

“Last stop! Bangkok! Last stop! Bangkok!”

Cue a a flurry of passengers hastening to pull on socks, rub the sleep out of their eyes, and generally get their shit together while the driver yelled at us to hurry up from outside.

FWIW, after getting acquainted with the area, I’m pretty sure the bus actually stopped more or less around the corner from Khao San Rd, and the taxis made a killing driving us disoriented passengers around the block.

100 baht later, we made it to the hostel, ditched our main backpacks, and took refuge in McDonald’s. That didn’t last long. It was hotter in there than it was out on the street, the power point didn’t work, and the internet was slow and only good for an hour’s worth. Luckily, Rainbow is super comfortable downstairs, with a ton of chairs, tables, power points and fast wifi. (There’s also a 24/7 tourist centre right next to it.) Around 9 or 10 they allowed us to check in, and you can bet my first order was to take a warm shower and try to make myself feel human again. A full day of travel, (very little) sleep in your clothes, and a case of sunburn will do that to ya.

I was curious to see what the streets would be like by night. Around the corner on Khao San Rd, pubs and bars were spilling out onto the road, bulging with tourists swigging from massive beer jugs. My favourite sign was definitely this one:

Funny sign outside a Bangkok bar

That said, there were plenty of others that made us laugh out loud:

Funny signs at Bangkok restaurants

Approximately a dozen different stalls were selling identical pad thai offerings, with a few kebab and fruit/juice stalls sprinkled throughout. Tickling the other senses: the sweet smell of shisha and an awesome duo on guitar and drums at a street bar about halfway down the street covering Nirvana, the Chilis, Maroon 5, Bon Jovi, and even a spot of Van Morrison, I think.

Back across the road from our room, Indian karaoke was blasting, and did so every night while we were there. Outside, this dog guarded our hostel – he was well trained to bark at and chase away beggars/touts. dog chakrapong rd rainbow hostel

The real Bangkok? Probably not. We’ll be back next month to fly out to London, and hopefully we’ll stay in another area when we return. We ended up extending this stop by two days – reason to be revealed in my next post – but they weren’t hugely productive.

6 thoughts on “Sensory overload + silly signs in Bangkok

  • Reply Charlie May 25, 2013 at 15:56

    Haha, those signs are amazing! As you say, Khao San Road is certainly not the real Bangkok (though, personally, I love it). The city has a lot more to offer, I hope you got a chance to check some of it out! 🙂

  • Reply Mike@WeOnlyDoThisOnce May 25, 2013 at 16:39

    The sign about not checking IDs is hilarious! There are some great book compilations of unfortunate language translations out there.

  • Reply The Asian Pear May 26, 2013 at 10:05

    LOL! I love those signs. hilarious.

  • Reply CashRebel May 26, 2013 at 11:29

    Wow, that sounds like an awesome trip so far! One of the best signs I’ve ever seen, haha.

  • Reply Agness May 27, 2013 at 17:54

    We also loved the silly Bangkok signs when staying there. Some of them really made us laugh. We stayed at Khao San Road and although this place was a mess, we found some interesting signs there we just couldn’t stop laughing at!

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