Wacky, Wonderful Thailand

I do it every time, thank goodness.

Once again, I accidentally walked up on a beautiful little festival happening in the park by the river near Rambuttri. In search of a much-needed breeze, I did what I do best and wandered aimlessly until I happened upon the gathering.

Traditional music, costumed performers dancing, families eating…it was everything that I needed after landing in Thailand. I was the only farang (foreigner) in the crowd.  As I watched the show I was transported to being here in years past…when vagabonding was innocent and new to me.

Heart pounding, chi tingling through my body, somewhere amid the pounding of the drums and the barefooted dancing I realized: this is the Thailand that I love, and damn it, it feels good to be vagabonding again. I couldn’t stop smiling.

As love for these people radiated through my chest, shirtless backpackers wandered around Khao San Road just a couple of blocks away, completely oblivious and apathetic to the cultural experience so nearby.

Things turned interesting when a troop of ladyboys in traditional costume took the stage. That, I can handle. Things turned just plain weird when three older Thai men got on stage, a smoke machine started belching, and Young Jeezy began blasting over the speakers. Yes, I saw a hip-hop dance performance like no other.

Soon, my little traditional performance turned into a train wreck as the three men were joined by a guy B-boxing, a stomp team with moves straight out of Queens, and a breakdancing troop that walked right out of an 80s movie.

In near-hysterics, I took pictures and tried to hide my amazement. Families watched on just as they had the traditional performances. The only problem is that someone failed to choose the radio-safe versions of the hip-hop songs. Blasting over the speakers at excruciating volume, Young Jeezy and Tu-Pac used the word mother f***er and talked about blasting N****s like it was going out of style.

With mouth hung open, I sneaked a glance at the families and old women gathered in the lawn, no one blinked an eye. The rappers could have been singing about cheeseburgers for all these people knew.

After the show, a mob gathered by the river for public calisthenics. I already had the giggles, but this put me over the top. Old women were hula-hooping, kids breakdancing, a guy was performing a fire show on stage to an Eminem song…wow, only in Thailand. Sensory overload. Everything wacky and unpredictable that I love about this country in one convenient package.

When I walked back to my guest house where a crowd had gathered to watch the World Cup, I kept my discovery to myself…there are no words to describe a show like that.

Bizarre, wonderful, unpredictable Thailand. I’m already going to miss it when I fly down to KL next week.

Pictures to come when the wireless situation improves.

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4 Responses to “Wacky, Wonderful Thailand”



  1. Hi there, just wanna say your blogs are brilliant, kinda persuaded me to go backpacking for the 1st time this october. heading to thailand. looking to explore for 2months. not sure how much money i need, help! ……… kinda wana do it on a budget. but would still like to enjoy myself.

  2. Sounds like a bizarre time, but fun!

  3. Ah I love those little discoveries! The strange happenings that make me giggle to myself and wonder what the hell I’ve stumbled onto are the moments I love the most!

  4. Love Thailand. Glad the red shirt protests are over – for now. Have fun and be safe!

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