More visitors go to Thailand than they do anywhere else in southeast Asia. I love it. The people, the countryside, the urban landscape, the islands, the beaches, the scuba diving and of course the food.
I moan and groan a great deal when I try food at many Thai restaurants here in Oz and am presented with flavourless kee passed-off as Thai cuisine. A little harshly put, I know, but what’s so difficult about doing things the way they should be done? At least I can always look forward to the next trip to The Kingdom.
Of all the times we’ve been to Thailand, every minute is treasured. The first stop for most is Bangkok. Those crazy tuk tuk drivers trying to rip you off, the ferry rides on the Chao Phraya, swanky dinner and cocktails at Sirocco or Red Sky, shopping at the sprawling Chatuchak Market, drinks with the boys at Silom Soi 4, or just a quiet stroll through Lumphini Park.
Chinatown gets a bit crazy with its crowded and claustrophobic alleys selling an array of things from flashing toys to fried pork skin. It’s a feast for the senses and not for the faint hearted.
At the other end of the spectrum you have the H1 Urban Complex, a modernist cluster of designer shops and restaurants offering imported furniture, glossy design books and modern cuisine, all built around wooden decks and zen greenery.
Whatever your scene, this city seems to have it all.
Another visit took us to the coastal town of Ao Nang, a relatively sleepy strip of beach lined with restaurants, shops and bars amongst the rugged limestone cliffs and forest. We stayed in the lovely Pakasai Resort up on the hill with its gorgeous infinity pool and lush tropical gardens. Boat trips can be taken from the beach out to several monkey-inhabited islands and heavenly beaches with warm, clear water.
One time we spent some time at the idylic Ko Phi Phi Don. This was before the devastating tsunami of December 2004 which virtually wiped out the entire island, including the place we stayed. I’m not sure what the island looks like today, but I’m glad I got to experience it before it was destroyed. My heart goes out to anyone affected.
A group of us planned to meet up in the Maldives for Mr K’s 40th but the tsunami changed all of that, so we decided on a week in Phuket at the beautiful Twinpalms Resort. This was about 6 months after the tsunami hit so there was still a lot of damage to be seen: unmarked beachside graves, debris in the tops of trees, roads washed away and incredible stories from the locals.
“Life goes on” the locals kept saying. The only choice they had was to move forward.
Twinpalms is located near the very quiet Surin Beach, about ten minutes north of Patong. Far away from all the tourist hoards, yet close enough if you want a decent choice of restaurants and nightlife.