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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Short Note About Khao San Road


As I plan to write one long blog post about Khao San Road in the coming days or even weeks. I decided I should make one that introduces it to the readers of this blog. I'm sure, Khao San Road has been into the minds of the many, from reading the Alex Garland novel or those that has seen the Leonardo movie. Either way anybody could muster enough case for the over-romanticized build-up of this place. Which is actually a short stretch of a street that goes around to a few more and is crowded with backpacker's inns, bars, art, tattoo, souvenir shops.


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Garland wrote that Khao San serves as "a decompression chamber for those about to leave or enter Thailand; a halfway house between the East and the West.” I would agree but not whole-fully. As Khao San definitely does not represent the whole of Thailand - as how it could be, when it mostly filled with tourists. This is probably, a decompression chamber for those about to enter a new phase of their life of what Pico Iyer would call as "foot soldiers of the new invasion".  

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Of course you will never get rid of the usual tourists, whose idea of a traveling was to be as loud and obnoxious and drunk, sleeping on the pavement at 5:00am. But there are many, who are there are not to be bothered, gets fascinated and swallowed by the whole pre-conceived characterization of the place - from the book - to the movie, to countless travelogues and journals written by frenetic travelers around the world.


There is still a sincere side that will make someone regard it as - something uncanny, out of their neighborhood. Who wouldn't be? a massive crowd of people coming from all over the world surrounds every square inch of the place. Though, some may only be playing the part of only to be seen at Khao San Road, for others, just to know what the fuss everything was all about, the curious observer like me, but then - there are those, Pico Iyer described "foot soldiers" invading the very consciousness of those trapped in a framed world and letting them know that, being a citizen of the world might start in a place like Khao San Road.


I was there for only 2 days with a few friends and it wasn't enough for me to get a feel of the place. I feel like I ought to go back there soon - for "good or for ill" to finally discover what kind of "decompression chamber" Khao San Road is really all about. As my friend Flip Nomad would say "Its a place where you will meet people who share the same passion for traveling" nothing more and nothing less. To me, that doesn't need any kind of exuberant romaticization at all.

More about my observations about Khao San Road on my next blog post coming soon.



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