There were only 2 nights in Bangkok so – apart from a brief jaunt to Chatuchak Market – I spent most of my time on Khao San Road, what wikipedia calls “a backpacker’s ghetto.” In a nutshell:
More budget hotels, street booths, restaurants, hair weavers, filthy backpackers, internet cafes, lithe stray kitties, 24-hour tailors, transvestites and unabashedly persistent handcraft/restaurant/club/taxi/ tuk tuk ride hawkers than you could shake a stick at. Khao-s in every direction – personified in the ubiquitous howls of “Where you go? Where you from? Cheap cheap!” that follow you down the road and into each shop.
At night, the shouts of drunken frat boys on holiday combine with the street vendor cries and a curious selection of pop songs that are, apparently, played on loop: “La Camisa Negra” blasting from a restaurant on the second floor of a building and, to my delight, “Dragostea Din Tei” coming from a street booth. The stray kitties are healthy-looking and beautiful, unlike Japanese strays that always appear on the edge of leprosy. Pad thai, fried rice, falafel and doner kebap are sold on roadside carts – pad thai for just 15 baht. I hadn’t had Thai food since I moved to Japan, therefore I found it necessary to eat at least 4 times a day. Lard naa, green curry, pad thai, bottles of Tiger beer, a luscious Indian dinner, tom yam soup, and bites of Pepper’s papaya salad were all mine; enjoyed on the sweltering roadside or in roadside cafes.
The second night, I bought a gauzy navy, white, and burgundy strapless knee-length dress with a puckered bodice, shot through and through with glittering gold threads. This dress cost me around $7 USD, but in Bangkok, $169 USD could have gotten me a suit, 3 shirts, and a pair of pants. I’m still uncertain as to whether I did the right thing by ignoring these signs.