Readers' Submissions

The Long And Winding Road


Long time listener, first time caller, is how I’d describe myself in regards to this website. Actually only about 4 months at the most to be honest, but when you are 21, that’s a long time.

I went to Thailand in Feb of 2004, looking for a holiday with a bit of adventure, and cheap. I went backpacking with 3 other friends and we made our way around most of Thailand, but thought I’d talk about how surprisingly great Bangkok turned out, specifically the Khao Sarn Road. If you’re after a story on bargirls and the naughty nightlife, well you won’t get that from here, because I have 2 rules, number 1, I don’t pay for sex and number 2, water. Evidently I ended up going back on the 2nd rule, but I think the benefits of not having various diseases outweigh the cost in this case.

Before leaving for Thailand we’d heard about the infamous Khao Sarn Road. So we consulted our bible (Lonely Planet guide) and stayed nearby, a fairly nice 3 star hotel. Now Khao Sarn cops a lot of criticism in that it’s just unwashed hippies in Chang beer singlets, but let me tell you there’s more to the place than that, so that’s why I wanted to write this piece in retort to these misguided perceptions. Maybe 20% of those around there I found where those hippy types.

What I found this place to be was a delightful melting pot of people from different cultures all over the world coming together and enjoying themselves, this was even more so down at the islands in the south, but I’ll write about that another time. There are comments from people all the time that people come to Thailand and don’t experience real Thai culture at all, which is fair enough. I think everyone should spend some time doing that, but it is these people that fail to realise how incredible the country is to meet people from countries and cultures that you’d never meet in your everyday life, all in the one place. I conversed, danced, drank, ate, and even made love to people from Sweden, Belgium, USA, UK, Italy, Germany, South Africa, Cambodia, Hong Kong, and many other countries, who I would never have met without doing vast amounts of travel. I learnt about their countries and lives. And the best thing about it was that everyone I met on the Khao Sarn wasn’t pretentious and hostile like so many people you tend to meet normally. Everyone was open-minded and up for a good time. I had awesome nights out sitting at a quiet open air bar, sipping down buckets of whisky with my friends, listening to music, being in the most peaceful state of mind I have ever experienced in my life, while interacting with an amazing amount of people. Then from this I could attend a dance club there and just feel the amazing energy of the place.

And the great thing was that all the Thai people working on the Khao Sarn were the friendliest most welcoming people you could ever meet. Maybe that was because they were welcoming the almighty dollar, but nevertheless a welcome change to what we are mostly used to in our western world.

And what did this great time cost me, next to nothing compared to here in the land of Oz. It probably cost me 20 to 30 bucks for a big night out on the piss, including dinner beforehand. Whereas back home, a night like I had there would cost me over $100 and that’s not including the price of taxis.

I know this next comment will probably stir much backlash, but the reason so many of you here are so negative towards this amazing energetic road is because to get a girl on it you can’t go hand over some green. Give me the thrill of the chase anytime. So too all u detractors, don’t think everyone is hippy scum along there, because most aren’t, and even the ones that are, aren’t too bad at all. Just enjoy the fact that there is a place in the world where young people from the world over meet together and enjoy themselves.

Stickman’s thoughts:

I really enjoy in Khao Sarn Road, but in moderation. I probably make it out there about once every two months and always have a good time. There are lots of good restaurants, and a few good bars. It makes a change from the Sukhumvit area or the same old Thai style venues. It is sad though that some people spend a good chunk of their holiday there and don’t see other parts of Bangkok. But then, each to their own.