Hippie Trail and a restored Volkswagen Kombi
Chalo lets us continue our love affair with nostalgia, this time from remembering old scooters let us go the Volkswagen Kombi, that literally carried a whole generation from Europe and beyond all the way to Kathmandu via countries like Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan, crossing into Pakistan and then India.
A whole subculture of Hippies developed in isolated pockets like Goa, Manali, Chitral and Kathmandu etc. Not just in Hollywood and Europe there were movies dedicated to the same even in India with Dev Anand and Zeenat Aman playing brother and sister in Hare Rama Hare Krishna.
I got to learn a bit about the Volkswagen Kombi first hand when desi Traveler featured French traveler couple Sebastian and Soize, who were traveling around the world in their Volkswagen Kombi. Ever since then every time I see a Volksagen Kombi I get a bit of nostalgic and guess what of all the places where did I find the most charming Kombi in the world ? The Volkswagen Kombi had many advantages for the long haul trips it made from Europe to the Hashish producing centers after it crossed the Bosphorus strait and entered Turkey, then continued either for a short detour to Jordan to one of its many attractions like Red Sea port of Aqaba, Dead Sea or Petra, but then they will continue route to Iran, then Afghanistan and Pakistan finally entering India where places like Chitral , Manali and Goa welcomed them with open arms and pots of pot. Finally the trail ended in Kathmandu where most of the hippies will just laze around after the long journey. All through this arduous journey they will travel mostly in Volkswagen Kombi, some will own it, some rent and some were just carrying the same to be sold in black market never to be taken back to Europe. It is not uncommon in former Hippie heavens like Goa in India to find old Kombi, gathering rust in some remote bungalow or parked near a beach shack.
But I had no idea that some of the Volkswagen Kombis travelled as far as Thailand, I am not sure if they continued though the land route or were specially imported just like a common car would be. Though it is a bit difficult for me to think of a Combi as a common car imported in a ship in the boring way.
I was traveling to the tropical island paradise Koh Samui in the Bay of Thailand when one day we decided to stop at a mall to do some shopping and guess what right at the entrance of the shopping complex Central Festival Samui- stood the most eclectic of redone Kombi with its trademark
Though retired from its tough life of going on long transcontinental trips, the Kombi was still not willing to give up on life and still occupied the central stage. Dressed in colorful neons and painted with mock tail glasses it was inviting us to try some delicious Thai street food and drinks made from various fruits, like grapes and assorted grains like barley and wheat.
Aptly named Love Cocktail @Samui the Kombi cum food van cum open bar was an instant crowd puller and I had to wait for these hurried up pictures, as the Kombi food van was never without customers.
Suggested reading about Hippie Trail
Check my earlier posts about Amazing Thailand here:
- Ganesha In Thailand
- Buddha Head in Root of tree
- Visa on Arrival in Thailand
- Elephant Parade Thailand
- Top 10 Things to do in Thailand
Note: I was in Amazing Thailand on invitation from TAT New Delhi
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