TRAVELOGUE  »  Couchsurfing, Clubbing and Shopping in Bangkok

Couchsurfing With a Local

After our visit to the floating market, we headed back to Bangkok and to the apartment of Tom, a local who we found through Couchsurfing. As he works from home, we quickly dropped our bags off at his sweet apartment and headed out for a day of price checking and shopping at the MBK mall. Though it is called a mall, it is really a massive indoor market with more vendor stalls than actual shops and bargain prices. Needless to say, we only left because we ran out of time.

Upon returning to Tom’s place that night, we promptly headed out to check out a local market to have a delicious meal. The poor guy had been waiting for us for hours, as no taxi would use their meter to take us home (they just wanted preset and sky-high flat rates) and we had to hop on the subway, which got stuck in between stations for 20 minutes.

Dinner was great and Tom turned me on to a new version of the traditional Thai soup that I have had countless times over the months. I guess all along they could have put sweet and sour sauce in it…I just never knew to ask! Our evening concluded over a few beers back at Tom’s house where we chatted for a few hours before hitting the hay. Tom was a great host and a wonderful final encounter with Couchsurfing…for this trip at least.


Escalators Paragon Mall in Bangkok, Thailand
Inside the massive Paragon Mall in Bangkok, Thailand

A Day of Epic Shopping

The next day we woke up early and headed over to Khao San Road, which is backpacker central in Bangkok. Basically two long streets filled with bars, guesthouses, clubs, 7-Elevens and thousands of tourists, it is the first stop for most people in Thailand and a hub of activity. We found the cheapest guesthouse possible, locked our stuff up and hopped in a cab for the Chatuchak Weekend Market.

The Weekend Market was actually our first stop in Bangkok when we arrived back in April. After a few hours there we realized that we wanted to return at the end of the trip, buy an extra suitcase and go hog-wild shopping for clothes, souvenirs and other fun things at dirt cheap prices. Return we did, as we spent the entire day wandering around shopping until, before we knew it, the stalls were closing. Still, our shopping spree was not done, so we returned to the MBK mall once again before heading back to Khan San Road.


Tee shirts for sale at the Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok, Thailand
Tee shirts for sale at the Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok’s Drunkest Street: Khao San Road

Walking around Khan San Road at night is a very unique experience. There were food vendors every five feet, drunk Westerners stumbling around, beggars, lady boys and people selling everything from teeshirts to lighters, hats and drugs.

This one blind guy was led up and down the street all night singing into a microphone hanging around his neck for tips. I saw woman shoving a disabled boy with sores all over him into a stroller and trying to make him look as pathetic as possible for donations. Massage parlous and strip clubs were handing out fliers, as were the clubs and bars.

Really, Khan San Road is a paradise for all types of vices or sin. It is party central and a completely unique environment, hence why I wanted to experience it at least once and spend the night wandering around and taking it all in.

However, it is not Bangkok. It is not Thailand. It is not anything other than an fake little fantasy world.

That said, we did have a blast people watching. We also once again met up with Claire for one last evening on the town. Our destination was The Club (original name, huh?) where we joined a room full of mostly Western tourists and bad techno music and danced until the wee hours of the morning.


Khao San Road in Bangkok, Thailand
Khao San Road in Bangkok, Thailand


One Final Trip to the Mall

As our flight the next day was not until 4:30pm, we headed back to MBK for one final trip through the aisles. Needless to say, our bargaining power was lessened by the fact that we had all our bags with us and were clearly headed to the airport.

All in all, we spent 16 hours over three days shopping…which is funny considering how much I hate shopping. By the time we got to the airport to head to Hong Kong we had around 30lbs of new items. Additionally, we never made it to the Royal Palace or to a Thai boxing match, both of which were big reasons for our return to Thailand. Oh well, at least we got a ton of cool stuff!


Textiles for sale in Bangkok, Thailand
Textiles for sale in Bangkok, Thailand


Traditional wooden bowls for sale in Bangkok, Thailand
Traditional wooden bowls for sale in Bangkok, Thailand