A guide to 52 (almost entirely hungover) hours in Bangkok
Despite a few heady days in Goa and some nights out in Nepal, partying hadn’t been the biggest part of our trip. That doesn’t mean we weren’t drinking, just most of India and Nepal arent known for their buckets and balloons. However there is one place we were going that was – Bangkok. We had three days in this party town – a title we took a little too seriously. Here is a comprehensive (not at all), informative (barely) and occasionally revolting itinerary of what you can do in Bangkok if you’re desperate for a drink but are never one to waste an opportunity for culture…
Arrive at your hostel next to the Khao San Road too early for check in so drink until it is. Our flight got in at 10. Check in was at 2. Luckily the people watching round here is basically addictive, aging expats with young wives, more vests than sleeves and people crawling around looking for some headache-healing pad thai.
Make sure you also haven’t slept for 12 hours previous to this, then head out drunk and exhausted to find your nearest river ferry and get flung around on the choppy waters until you reach China Town.
Commence a street food tour starting with crispy fried oysters which, no matter how delicious, don’t really sit that well in a stomach full of morning beer. We followed Lonely Planet’s tour, which at the time was blissfully straightforward and brief, if I was to go again I would love to wander unaided.
Despite feeling increasingly deranged, drag your exhausted body through the brilliant market, a classicly Asian crush of tiny streets and tiny stalls. Butchers next to sweet shops next to noodle bars. Exciting and hectic and really not great for day-hungover sleepless travellers. After a restorative pork noodle, stumble back to the ferry and bed.
BUT not for long! You won’t be able to sleep over the block rocking beats from next door/underneath/all over, so it’s time for your initiation into to Khao San life. Don’t expect the rolling headonism from The Beach, expect Magaluf after GCSE’s. It’s great. Grab a tiny stool and a bucket – you won’t believe the first one is strong enough, so drink it in three gulps. Don’t worry, there are plenty other stalls willing to ply you with cheap booze, I recommend them all.
Word of warning, quite depressed looking men will accost you offering tickets to even more depressing ping pong shows. If you like watching dead-eyed women fire things across rooms from an organ not made to fire things across rooms then cool. If not, dance away.
At this point in the night the combination of four beers first thing in the morning, a sweaty food tour of street treats and three actual buckets of shite spirits, it’s almost guaranteed you will vomit. Revel in it. You have completed the ritual.
Unbrushed teeth, half drunk cocktail in hand and crusty contact lenses are all sure fire signs that you are hungover. And it’s a big one. But no time for that nonsense, there’s only time for sightseeing, you bag of vom.
Bangkok is a brilliant city with a huge variety of sights. Lets start with the classics. Remember those ferries from yesterday? Roll onto another one and experience a sea sickness henceforth unknown on a river. Get off at stop 9. By this time the river breeze will leave you feeling fucking great and windblown and a bit sprayed, a great replacement for the shower you should have had.
On the short walk to the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, buy food at every stall you see. We greased our mitts with BBQ sausage balls on a stick (comes with a random bag of raw cabbage, for health) and semolina flour balls filled with peanuts and served with blow your head off chillies, but obviously just eat whatever you see and whatever you can stomach.
The temple complex is proper big, loads to see and plenty of benches (and bins) if it all catches up with you.
Cross over the river on your favourite ferries to the Wind Temple (Wat Arun) – at the moment it’s covered in scaffolding, but the temple is tiled in mismatched bits of broken plates and crockery and is still completely gorgeous.
At this point the small street snacks from earlier will be a distant memory and hungover hunger will have set in good and proper. Head done the road to Wang Lang market opposite the hospital. Grab plates and bags of anything and everything from the stalls stuffed between pants shops and toy stalls and hairdressers. There are so many markets in Bangkok that it can be hard to chose between them all. This one is on your way home and had all the foods so there’s that recommendation.
Head back to your hostel/club and remember what you did last night? Do that again. But more effectively in terms of quantity vs cost. Less effectively in terms of vomit leaving bodies.
There’s a chance you might feel even worse this morning that you did yesterday. It’s a really big chance. You are now the person crawling around for the pad thai and if you are hanging enough you won’t even feel the shame. If you have eaten your noodles and kept it down (or even if you haven’t) it’s time to walk it off to the fancier part of town.
The Jim Thompson House is a gorgeous collection of traditional Thai houses that belonged to Thai silk trader and mystery man Jim Thompson. He went missing in the Cambodian jungle but left a ridiculously pretty set of houses and gardens on the backwaters of Bangkok. You can only go round the house on a tour but it’s well done and brief, leaving you to wander around the gardens later. There are loads of great fish in pools and that always makes me feel less ill.
Walk out the house and on to the canal behind. Just before you get to the first bridge over there’s a small stall selling delicious red curries and other various toppings on rice. Loads of Thai basil and some fantastic morning glory after walking round a fancy house and the horrors of last night are almost forgotten.
If this has all been a bit too sophisticated, then you can jazz up the day with a boat ride down the canals, boat ride or thrill ride, they are fucking fast.
Get off at Phanfa Leelard and walk five minutes to the Golden Mount for sunset. Don’t miss the great rainforest cafe style fake animals frolicking around Buddha on the way up. Sunset up here is stunning with views of the whole massive city, reflecting on a great big gold stupa. There’s some less great sculptures of vultures eating dead people in an ancient burial ceremony – if anyone is still feeling tender at this point be warned.
So it’s sunset, we all know what that means.
But this time you are allowed a choice. You have a flight first thing tomorrow morning, you could wander town finding street food vendors and getting your last fill of crazy Thai spice fix.
Or. See the evenings of day 1 and 2. Repeat.
The choice is yours.
We do hope this has been informative Bangkok guide, if only as places to vomit obnoxiously around town.