Bumming around Bangkok for Christmas (Day 83)

Hey all.  I spent the last week (and Christmas) in Bangkok, Thailand.  What a gong show!  I partied a lot and it was a blast.  There is an area there called “Khaosan Road” where all the backpackers stay and party.  Khaosan Road is where it all happens: the hotels, the restaurants, the clubs, the bars, the cafes, the shops, the street venders, etc.  WikiTravel adds, “…money changing booths, ATMs, shoe stores, massage parlors, tailors, travel agencies, laundry, boxing gyms, optometrists, endless warrens of suspiciously discounted designer clothes and, oh, rooms for the night.”  Everything.  The travellers I met kept trying to visit a few sights during the day, but it was half-hearted as we mostly just recovered from the night before.  I think when you are travelling alone and you stumble upon a party, you should hit it.  So, I did.

As usual, my camera doesn’t do it justice, but use your imagination and try to envision the chaos of Khaosan Road:

One night in Bangkok I went to see some Muay Thai (aka,Thai Boxing).  It is Thailand’s national sport.  It’s like boxing but they can kick, knee, etc.  Actually, it looks to me like pretty much anything goes.  I had the pleasure of seeing it in person at Lumphini Boxing Stadium.  I saw 9 bouts.  I sat up in the higher seats where the locals are constantly yelling to place bets.  The fighters are small but vicious.  Check it out:

All the pictures I took of the fights were blurry because the guys move too fast.  So, here is one taken between rounds :)

Some Dutch people I met invited me out to Christmas dinner with them.  They chose the restaurant and it turned out to be the finest I’ve ever been to.  It was on the roof of one of the highest buildings in Bangkok and we ate overlooking the city, 61 floors up:

This is the Vertigo and Moon Bar.  (I stole this awesome pic from their website.)  What a location for Christmas dinner!  Not as good as spending Christmas with family at home but a close second.  (Btw, I love the Dutch… I meet them all the time, good people)

So, my South East Asia tour has begun.  It contains 11 countries (although a few are very small).  A popular discussion among travellers is which countries in SE Asia to visit.  I think I’m going to avoid having to figure this out by visiting them all.  I love simplifying.  Here are a few goals for SE Asia.  In each country, I plan to:

1.  Sun-bathe on its finest beaches (except the land-locked Laos)
2.  Eat its local food
3 . Talk to its people
4 . Drink a little bit (or a little bit too much, as sometimes happens) of its best beer
5.  Trek/climb its mountains when possible

Random side-note #1:  A couple of weeks ago I was in a park in India reading a book called “The Art of Travel”.  A guy asked me, “Are you a traveller?”

I hesitate.  “Well, uh, I like to travel… I’m travelling right now”.  With that we launched into a conversation about travelling in India.  But, why did I hesitate at his question?  Why didn’t I have an answer?  Maybe I figured that I had not travelled enough yet to be worthy of the term “traveller”?  As I thought about it more, I realized that right now, travelling is all I do.  It is the focus of my life. It is the goal.  It is how I spend all my money.  And I plan on doing it for a long time to come.  Just as the focus of life growing up was playing hockey and thus I was a hockey player, a math/computer-science student in Waterloo, a softwarwe engineer at Microsoft, and a ski bum in Whistler.  So, I think the answer to the question was “Yes” :)

Random side-note #2:  When I go out to eat or party I never bring my camera.  It is a shame, as I have been partying in some great places and having dinner with some crazy characters while eating some fantastic meals.  I need to work on this.

A sign on Khaosan Road, Bangkok.  It’s very true.  Trust me.

Ok, that’s it for now.  I hope your holidays are excellent.  I’m in Cambodia right now.  The internet connection speeds here are atrocious, so I will probably post updates a little less frequently for a while.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

Shawn Martelock

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2 Responses to Bumming around Bangkok for Christmas (Day 83)

  1. Boris says:

    Happy Holidays Shawn!I\’ve always said Cambodia is by far the #1 spot to hit in SE Asia. My second vote goes to Burma (especially for someone like you who will appreciate the lack of tourist crowds) and my third goes to Vietnam… The food alone in Vietnam will blow you away :)Rock on.

  2. ida says:

    Happy New Year Shawn! … well, I can only confirm it: Yes, you are a traveller! Bart calls me a traveller, and I\’m stuck here in Stockholm for a while now. Besides you\’ve been to many more places than I have.Enjoy South East Asia! I\’d put Malaysia as #1 and Vietnam as #2… Cambodia is something to see, but the poverty is more obvious there… I had a hard time. But I\’d go back.And yup, it\’s not where you go, it\’s the people (the people who lets random swedish backpackers crash in their house) who makes travelling so special.Later! take care!

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