In Thailand £25 is around 1347 Baht, to be precise. I had one night to explore the backpacker world I love so much before going off to work with Thailand Tourism on a luxury hotels project. I landed, dumped my stuff in my hotel, and immediately got one of the bright pink taxis to Khao San Road.
I was in town at the height of the protests and because of the traffic it took us over an hour to get across Bangkok. I was eager to get in the thick of it and pretty much jumped out when we arrived. Wow. Khao San Road is crazy, I soon learnt it gets a lot crazier though. I had £25 in my pocket and seeing as it was a Saturday night, I decided to spunk it all, alone, clueless, wandering down the busiest backpacker street in Thailand.
50 baht / £1 (ridiculously fair price)
Thai food stalls like this one lined the Khao San Road. I made it to the top and it got too much for me, I caved and ordered my first authentic Thai Pad Thai. I ordered it with chicken and egg and sat on the stools in front of the stall to digest. It was the perfect spot for people watching. Unfortunately, after a mouthful or two I decided to add some spice. Little did I know at that point that spice in Thailand is a lot spicier than in England. I would not be defeated though.
I left that stall 50 baht lighter and with a few shades of taste buds shaved off my tongue. I was in desperate need of a drink.
110 baht / £2 (expensive for Thailand, but ok for KSR)
I stopped at a bar for the free Wi-Fi, but stayed for the excellent view. Enjoying a beer on the Khao San Road is one of my favourite people watching memories. I saw backpackers, hippies, families, old Westernes who looked like they’d never left, pale 18 year olds who looked like they’d just arrived, all sorts parading up and down.
500 baht / £9.40 (ripped off, and out)
So with a little Chang in me, no one to party with and too jet lagged and tired to go to the effort of making friends I decided, for some reason, it would be a great idea to get my ear pierced. As soon as I had the thought I went into the nearest shop to enquire and barter. He said 1000, I instinctively halved it to 500, he said 800, I said 500, we finally agreed on 500. It was only three needles, my enthusiasm bruised and a bloody swollen ear later that I actually thought about the exchange rate after and realised it was close to a tenner. I’d most likely been done, but it was too late by then – I’d been pierced on the Khao San Road in Thailand and just about lived to tell the tale.
40 baht / 75p (fair, it was a beast, a hairy beast)
After all that trauma I decided I deserved a little snack to calm me down. I’d spotted some massive spring rolls on the way in and went back to investigate. A few minutes later and I was chomping down on a tasty spring roll dipped in enough spice to make me feel like my ear wasn’t spontaneously combusting on the side of my head. There I was chewing away, walking down Khao San Road and looking at the stalls when I felt a wiry thing between my teeth, I pulled the spring roll away and the feeling stayed, the wire touched my lip, I panicked and wiped my face pulling at the suspect. In what felt like slow motion I pulled a long black thick hair out of my mouth. It had touched that dangly bit at the back of your throat, it had been on my tongue and entrenched itself in between my teeth.
Flicked the hair away, thought about it for a second, and then scoffed the rest of the spring roll. Far too tasty to waste.
200 baht / £3.75 (bargain)
Almost went for the fishy nibblers in the shop front, but remembered reading somewhere about the germs spreading and decided I didn’t want any dirty backpackers’ fungal infection round my little piggies. I sat out the front of a masseuse shop on the huge bean bags and got my feet and ankles rubbed and scrubbed by a lovely Thai lady. It was awesome. I felt like I was in the middle of an outdoor club being invited to relax, and even fall asleep if I wanted.
Worth every penny. No beef here.
500 / £9.40 (ripped off)
After the massage I realised just how tired I was and decided to get out of there and back to my plush hotel. I wanted to get a present for my boyfriend before I left though and spotted the perfect Tshirt for the fussy dresser. Keen to leave and actually busting for the toilet from the earlier Chang I agreed to the first price and it was only when I saw his surprise and subsequent super hero fast packing of the t shirt into the bag I realised I’d made a silly, silly mistake.
Miracle happened though and my boyfriend liked the tshirt – all good in the hood – and compared to shops over here you could say it was a rate ruddy bargain.
So that was it. In one night on the Khao San Road I spent a grand total of £26.30. A little over budget, but worth it for an excellent three hours of walking around and soaking up the crazy atmosphere. I’ll be back.