What You Should Bring When You Come to Thailand

Fried bugs

Fried bugs


You should wear a throwaway set of crap clothes, and buy ten new pairs of everything when you get to Kao San.

You can buy whatever you want here.

You can literally buy fake IDs on the street, college diplomas, throwing stars, brass knuckles, sarongs, dresses, breathable shirts, Calvin Klein rip off underwear, earplugs, power adapters, books, jewelry of all kinds, chopsticks, keychains, fingernail clippers, statues of Buddhas and dragons and so forth, flip flops, sandals, mocassins, shoes, suits, fried bugs, fried rice, phad thai, mangosteen, beer, buckets of booze, viagra, valium, laughing gas, these glowy things you throw way up into the air that spin as they fall, Starbucks, scorpion on a stick, Coke, coke, tattoos, henna, tourist visas, piercings, chopsticks, ping pong shows, obscene bracelets, flowers, laser pointers, luggage, and probably prostitutes, though there are other parts of town for that sort of thing.

So don’t bring anything, because you can get more than anything here.

And I guess I should start spelling it Khao San, cause that’s how it’s supposed to be spelled.

From Koh Tao to Kao San

View from the roof of Green House, just off Kao San

View from the roof of Green House, just off Kao San

Kao San is the kind of place where a pre-teen girl sells you flowers but you can’t tell how much they are because the clashing music systems drown her voice out.

When she comes up to me, I just shrug and shake my head. She pouts her lip out, and I pout mine out, then push my tongue up towards my nose so I have big fat looking lips. She falls off her sales pitch with a laugh, and accepts a pink post-it with a cartoon on it, offered and hand-drawn by this evening’s companion on the Kao San Adventure Tour, Alicia. Alicia sticks her fist out and the girl bumps it with her own. I stick up my hand for a high five and the girl makes to give me one with her free hand, but at the last second smooths her hair back and trots away.

Kao San Road, the tourist ghetto mecca of Bangkok, is where the two drunk white guys stumbling with the flow of foot traffic stop in front of the neighboring laughing gas station slash bar slash street club’s blasting music so the guy on top can rock it until they both fall over into a crowd of laughs. This road is where you see people from the entire world coming to party past dawn: break dancers have shows on the street, the fried bug and scorpion seller charges ten baht for a picture, bars charge ten bucks for a pitcher, and three bucks will get you a balloon of laughing gas. The flow of traffic runs non-stop through the center of the street while stalls and bar tables extend out into it. People constantly bleed off into the stalls of jewelry, cheap t-shirts, and cheap food, and branch off into the side streets with more bars, more tourists, more food, and more alcohol. You can walk down Kao San to enjoy the sights, but eventually everyone washes ashore in a bar. Now the flow of traffic becomes the centerpiece while you sit back and watch the circus.

When you’re seated, of course, Thais will come up to you to sell you stuff. Little girls bear flowers that look like roses. The mothers and toothless grandmothers bear bracelets, necklaces, and little wooden frogs with ridges you can stroke with a peg to make a frog noise. These are the sellers that often speak no English and try to make the sale with gestures and smiles and attentive nonverbal communication. They will also bring you hand-sewn bracelets with words on them, in all capitals, that read, “I LIKE SEX” or “FUCK YOU” or “I EAT ASS.”

They can make bracelets to order.


Tourists getting ready to leave Koh Tao

Tourists getting ready to leave Koh Tao

Koh Tao was Boring

Just kidding. I just did’t have the money to go scuba diving or the time to see the island. I spent all of my time working & researching jobs & reading expat blogs from around SEA. Remember how I complained about how many fake technomad how-to self-help blogs there are? Well, those blogs are still such crap, still, but they are by no means the majority.

Here’s what a tiny bit of research will get you — check out their expat blog list for a ton of blogs from around the world: