It's been a while: but having now finished my stint in upmarket, "iz too expenzive fohr us" Europe, achim sheli are back! Like South America, Thailand too is one of the world's hotspots for young, IDF-complete, weed-smoking, shag-seeking, stingy-as-hell hordes of Israelis looking for a good time. And in Bangkok's Khao San Road, the yehudim do make themselves known. Reminiscent of such cities as Cusco and La Paz, here in Bangkok you can see Hebrew cardboard signs in shop windows, you can hear Hebrew being spoken as you walk along the street, and you can eat a falafel for every 50m that you cover (if you're crazy enough to not take advantage of the cheap and delicious local food, that is).
So strong is the Israeli presence here in Bangkok, that there's even a Chabad house right on Khao San Road itself. Flanked by massage-parlours-slash-brothels, tattoo stores and seedy farang bars, it's one of the biggest and most prominent buildings in the street: it has an enormous lit-up vertical sign down its side; there's a kosher falafel shop downstairs; and upstairs is (I assume) a fully-functioning synagogue. This is the first place I've ever been, where "Chabad House" is actually listed in my Lonely Planet! You can find it under "eating" (the "Israeli" sub-category) in the Khao San Road section.
Although Israel does indeed dwell in Bangkok with great force, the Israeli factor is actually not too bad here — I was expecting far worse than what I've encountered. I think the reason for this is that there are simply masses of people from everywhere, here in Bangkok: so many different national and cultural groups are here, and all in such large numbers, that Israelis are relegated to being no more than "one more group". Also, it seems that although it's still extremely cheap, Thailand's prices have been rising steadily (on the back of its burgeoning economy) over the past few years, while its neighbours — particularly Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam — continue to offer maximum bang-for-buck. Hence, less Israelis are visiting Thailand than did previously, while more are instead heading only to the other countries of south-east Asia.