Munching my way through Bangkok, my first stop on the way to Myanmar

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Khao San Rd, Bangkok, Thailand – For generations Bangkok has been the starting point of many a backpacking Asia adventure – and the movie The Beach has made it well-known to the general public as well.  I arrived here yesterday after a long haul flight. On Friday at 7.20, I left my flat in Brussels, only to arrive at 7.20 local time at Suvarnabhumi Airport. With such distances, three weeks is an absolute minimum stay.It’s not my first time here but it’s my first time in this area of the city.  Last year my temporary home was near Siam, close to two major shopping malls and only one stop away from an intersection of two BTS Skytrain lines; a sort of above ground metro perfect for air-conditioned, traffic jam free, city slicker activities.My introduction to the city, in April last year, cost me a good week. Looking back, eating my way through the city, it was a real treat. Thai street food is some of the best in the world, and there are Asian restaurants everywhere: Japanese, vegetarian Indian, Chinese (the best is, yes, in Chinatown), Nepalese – you name it. My daily vitamin intake was provided for by fresh juice, with a straw straight out of the coconut, full of electrolytes that are so good for you.  Fresh, exotic fruit is available on every street corner, like durian and mangosteen. Durian is forbidden on public transport and in hotels; just google the reason why.Looking around, I’m happy with my temporary home here in Bangkok. The café-restaurant where I just had my first breakfast has a very Thai feel to it, but it doesn’t seem to be located in the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. I’m near a little pond with goldfish and koi, trees are filled with colourful little lights. Yesterday at four am, it had a lounge atmosphere to it, but à la Thai, with kitsch music and some happy, feisty ladies a bit further along the terrace. The perfect time to start the end of a day of city exploration.My room here is basic, but clean. No walk-in rain shower here, but I don’t expect that for 400 baht a night (1,000 baht is about 23 euros).  The room looks as if it was built around the bed, but there is aircon. This is a guesthouse, not a hotel. On my European city trips I always go for backpacker places full of individual travelers, as I prefer to call them. An interesting, lively mix of people, full of travel stories and always ready to share them with you. People like me, who’ve outgrown the school trip/field trip where another person decides what you have to do and when.  I prefer discussing the latest Hollywood movies with  an Indian IT consultant who migrated to Canada than being on a trip with white middle class people, and talk for two long weeks about Belgian politics and the pending elections.

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