Our direction to One Direction: backwards and uncomfortable

Cheerfully flip flopping down to the pier, clutching our £14 tickets to Bangkok, me, Maria and Georgia felt on top of the world. By a stroke of luck, Georgia’s mum had informed her of One Direction’s tour stopping off in Thailand, and we unanimously decided we’d be fools to miss it. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and despite none of us actually being genuine fans, we were most definitely fans enough to travel the length of a country to catch them.

The Songserm ferry took us to Chumphon, mainland Thailand. The first of a series of terrible decisions made by the Thais, was forcing upon us unfortunate passengers the entire length of the director’s commentary of I, Robot. As you can see, this didn’t trouble Maria one bit! This girl could sleep through an apocalypse.

After a supper of freshly cut pineapple at the pier, we wearily boarded the optimistically named ‘VIP bus’ number two. It boasted two decks, and we confidently strode towards the tables at the bottom level. After all, the table seats are the most sought after positions on most modes of transport, are they not? Not today, folks. 

We were squashed like sardines onto a hard, straight backed bench, facing backwards towards the faces of those lucky enough to inhabit an individual seat. Blaring behind us was a fifty inch wide screen TV, which also doubled as what only can be described as a head rest, as it was in the space that the head rest should have been occupying. So for the start of the journey, we blocked the view of a Denzel Washington film for the rest of the prisoners. Oops, I mean passengers.

The motley crew sitting opposite us consisted of a scary Russian man, accompanied by his hareem of three bleach blonde, plastic boobed, Scouse browed ladies. We spent the entire time trying to figure out the relationships in this strange set up, and they spent their time eating an assortment of sausages on sticks, pickled onions and a whole jar of mayonnaise.

The only sensible thing to do was to knock back a Nytol at 8pm, awkwardly have our drug induced sleep in the square view of people trying to watch a film (apparently 22 Jump Street played afterwards) and wake up on Khaosan Road at 3.30am, on Saturday morning.

Now, we hadn’t expected this early arrival to be quite so early, so we had no hostel to check into until a more sociable hour. It called for one thing and one thing only, an amble down the infamous backpackers’ road to a good old twenty four hour Macdonald’s. Never has a cheeseburger and chips been so therapeutic and comforting, after the bus trip from hell. After a fair few refusals from taxi drivers to take us to our hostel (they were holding out for airport trips) we managed to find the most useless driver in the entire world. Showing him the name of the hostel, the address, the nearby main road names, heck, even a frigging GPS route on Google maps, was entirely fruitless. He took us to the Austrian embassy for some strange reason, and tried to offload us in a couple of different swanky hotels, none of which were our own. Eventually, after asking a thousand different taxi drivers for directions, we rolled up to our lovely haven of a hostel.

WE Bangkok was recommended to us by Georgia’s sister, and apart from being impossible to find by taxi, was incredible in every way. Set up like a loft, we stayed in the eight bed mixed dorm which was super clean, modern, and incredibly comfortable. After a couple of hours kip, we headed straight to Centralworld for ten o’clock, as soon as it opened its doors. Being the world’s sixth largest shopping centre, we felt it a suitable choice for our city starved selves to explore all day.

Purchases were made in Forever 21, H&M, and our new favourite, Pull & Bear! There’s only so many elephants pants a girl can handle after two months on an island.

Georgia went to a lovely French restaurant to meet her family friends for lunch, so me and Maria were left with the whole food court to contend with. We settled on Mexican burritos for lunch (Koh Tao lacks a good Mexican) with a Dunkin Donut for afters for Maria, and a maple and walnut scoop of Movenpick for me.

Reconvening at our hostel, we scrubbed up a bit for the boys, and hit the road.

Arriving at Rajamangala Stadium was an assault on the senses in every which way. Hordes of screaming fans littered the area, dressed up to the nines in all sorts of One Direction paraphernalia. We queued for our tickets, grabbed a beer before the show and headed up to our entrance, B1 standing. Feeling like the most blessed girls in the world, we discovered pretty quickly that we were probably the only Europeans in the whole of our section. Being a good foot taller than the tallest of the crowds was just the best. We could see the stage as clearly as anything, and were within spitting distance of the runway section of the structure. If you’re ever going to a concert, try and make it in Bangkok. You’ll be winning at life.

A very obscure DJ called ONO was the supporting act. He was totally a disappointment, being no 5 Seconds of Summer or McBusted, but he got the crowd going with chart hits.

When the 1D videos eventually started playing (they were about forty minutes late – we blame Zayn), the crowd went wild and we knew they were nearly here. Just before they popped on stage, the much loved classic Macarena played, and we performed the dance with gusto, as you would. Lo and behold, not ONE other person knew the dance. I kid you not, the Macarena must never have made it to the East! They stared at us like we’d gone mad, and weren’t even interested in learning the moves. We went for it for the full three minutes, and then the boys arrived.

What followed was the most glorious two hours of boyband ballads and chart toppers. Poor Zayn was red eyed, thin and generally looking extremely worse for wear. He hardly sang his parts during the whole set, and the cameras notably ignored him for the big screens. It would not surprise me one bit if he has a stint in the Priory on the horizon. Harry, on the other hand, had the most oomph of them all! He was such a talented frontman, and his rendition of Happy Birthday to a fan was so Johnny Cash-like, I’m convinced he needs to go solo and become a soulful crooner.

Our legs were jellified, our backs were killing and we were both dehydrated and starving hungry. The night was a resounding success. We stopped off for a bite to eat before heading home, and had one of the best nights sleep of our lives, waking up as new-found One Direction devotees.

The morning called for a rather posh breakfast at a swanky café we found near the hostel. Alkalising green juice for Georgia, roots juice for me.

We splurged on a more fancy brunch than we usually would have. Pah, we’re on holiday! The coconut porridge made with oats and barley had me at hello.

Next on the agenda to make the most of our Sunday was to pay a visit to the multiplex cinema back at Centralworld. I’m sorry, but we’ve been hearing too much hype these past two months about Fifty Shades of Grey to miss it. Verdict – we loved everything about the darned thing! On the way out, we nabbed a selection of Krispy Kremes in the beautiful mall before reluctantly returning to the hostel to fetch our bags and make tracks back to Khoasan Road.

Booking our tickets for that evening, we left our bags with the travel agents and had a few precious hours of market exploration. Fuelled up with a gloriously cheap and tasty pad thai, we hit the streets for our various endeavours.

A successful pedicure for Georgia, present shopping for friends for me, and poor Maria ran out of baht at the final hurdle. We stumbled upon a little jewellery shop on my unsuccessful search for a new sparkly belly bar, which sold the most gorgeous temporary body tattoos. I’ve seen these gold leaf and feather designs all over Instagram lately, but to order them online has so far been extortionately priced. We purchased a sheet each for 120 baht, around two pounds fifty, to adorn ourselves with for our snorkel tests. The owner was kind enough to give us a sample in the shop, which he says can last up to a week. No scrubbing for me! I want to remain a mermaid forever.

The journey back was nowhere near as hellish as the last. We cleverly sourced seats on the upper deck at the front, for ample leg room. Aside from being chilled to the bone after eight hours of sleeping in a fridge on wheels, we arrived safely back to our island home. Wallets considerably lighter, bellies full, beach starved for an entire three days, we cannot wait to get back in the water. Bangkok is a city that has everything you can imagine, and it seriously satisfied our cravings for civilisation.

‘Where do broken hearts go?’ I hear the 1D boys say. Come on down to Koh Tao. If you can survive the journey, you won’t be disappointed. We have less rats, and more sand! 


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