How to Arrive in Bangkok in… Style(?)

When the taxi driver came to an abrupt halt on a busy road that was NOT Khao San Road and ordered me to get out, I saw no option other than to do as he said.

I was in no fit state to protest either, after having travelled for over 19 hours. The only thing I wanted was shower followed by bed.

It was 8pm and already dark. The streets, lit up by bright neon lights, were bustling with chattering tourists dodging the zooming motorbikes, and locals going about their business.

My senses were assaulted by a combination of the delicious smells of street food cooking, the sight of the melee around me and the deafening sounds of the busy street.

Bangkok Bangkok Bangkok

Dazed, I stumbled out of the taxi as I came back to earth with a bump at the sound of the taxi driver’s bark.

“Here is Khao San Road,” he said waving in the general direction of over there, and relieving me of a few hundred baht.

As he sped away in his bright pink taxi I retrieved my backpack off the road where he’d dumped it, and heaved it onto my back. I couldn’t get it on properly as people jostled past me so I had to carry it half on and half slung over one shoulder, and it was so heavy. Why oh why did I bring bottles of Spanish wine for my Indian friends?

I had my backpack, my camera bag and a smaller rucksack that I’d had in the plane and I didn’t have enough hands to manage to get myself organised properly. Oh, and I was lost; alone in the middle of Bangkok after nearly 20 hours of travel and with the onset of jetlag. Let the adventure begin, I thought to myself grimly.

Khao San Road by night

Staggering under the weight of my wine-laden backpack, once I had managed to wrestle it on, I started moving in the direction that the taxi driver had vaguely indicated. I walked for a few minutes, taking in the busy touristy, yet unmistakably Thai, atmosphere. I saw a police station and made a mental note that maybe it would be a place I could ask for help if necessary. For now though, I decided to go it alone.

I walked a little farther and then I saw it: the entrance to that small yet famous street. The noise levels doubled, the number of people milling around increased and there was enough neon to give Vegas a run for its money.

There was a screaming, gasping crowd around a guy with a massive snake. He kept approaching people and trying to place it around their necks. Great, I thought, if he even comes near me with that thing I’ll… I’ll what? Go on, Lisa, I thought, what will you do?

I shuddered and pushed my way through the crowd keeping my head down. I was at the very end of Khao San Road and now I just had to find the hotel.

Knowing that I would arrive first, the night before my friends, I had booked a room on the busy street, knowing that there would be many people around and that I could feel relatively safe. Now I just had to find it.

I kept shuffling forward, letting the crowd take me, and slowly made progress past the street food vendors, market stalls, beer girls, groups of western tourists drinking in the street, and people causing traffic jams trying to get down the street pushing food carts or driving motorbikes, all the time keeping my eyes peeled, combing the many signs for the name of my hotel: Sawasdee Banglumpoo Inn.

I spotted it. I had been progressing slowly for what felt like an age and I saw a bright purple sign indicating my hotel. It looked like it was miles away but I kept moving. Now I had a purpose. And at least I knew I was going in the right direction.

When I finally found myself underneath the sign I could see no hotel. All I could see were the same shops, massage places and street food stalls as in the rest of the street.


There was a dark and grotty-looking alleyway. Oh please don’t let it be this, I thought. “Banglumpoo Inn?” I tentatively asked a guy selling fake watches. I pointed down the alley and he nodded sullenly. Wonderful.

I paused and took a deep breath and then started forward down the dark and dingy alley. My instincts were screaming at me to turn around but I was so tired and if there was a bed waiting for me down here, then this was where I was going.

It felt like I was walking for hours but it was only a few minutes. I passed grotty tattoo parlours, seedy looking bars with music blaring out, and hole in the wall eateries before I finally spotted another sign displaying the name of my hotel.


I walked through the restaurant feeling lighter than I had all night and made my way to the reception desk.

“I have a reservation for two rooms,” I announced. The person behind the desk looked at me suspiciously, why would I need two rooms? I couldn’t be bothered explaining, I just wanted to get the pack off and get back down to the smells of green curry that I had just walked past. My stomach rumbled and I smiled, trying to look normal.

They took my passport and the few measly baht that the room was costing and gave me two keys in exchange for it.

I staggered up two flights of stairs, my legs almost buckling under the weight of my backpack, stopping on each landing to take a deep breath. Other guests bounded past me in both directions.

As the sweat dripped off me I jiggled the key in the lock. I gave the room a cursory glance (it’s fine, I thought), wrestled my backpack off and headed straight for the shower, feeling better as I washed off the grottiness of travel.

My clean clothes felt crisp and fresh and with renewed energy I went down for a Thai green curry and a large Chang. As I relaxed, waves of excitement flowed through me: I was in Bangkok! I had made it! I savoured the curry and the beer and used the free wifi to let everyone know who needed to know, that I was alive.

Then it was time to hit Khao San Road…

This month’s Destination of the Month is Bangkok. Discover more of my adventures in Bangkok here.

Filed Under: asiabangkokfeaturedmethailand


About the Author: Based in Mallorca, obsessed with the world and have a lot to say about both... Step into my shoes and join me on a journey...

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  1. susan sykes says:

    What an experience arriving in Bangkok on your own after all that travelling, is the picture you have posted Ladyboys?

  2. Mandy says:

    What a great post! You’ve captured the sights, sounds, scents and atmosphere of the streets perfectly. It makes me wonder if I’d be so brave to arrive alone!

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