By: Frank Discala Jr.
Discover the delights of Bangkok and the beauty of Koh Samui. Elephants and palm trees, sunny beaches and beautiful, smiling people. This is all part of the magical, faraway place called Thailand. A confession: Despite my lack of first-hand experience with travel in Asia, the window from which I initially viewed the Far East was secretly tinted by the movie The Deer Hunter and songs with lyrics like Me so horny. Sad. But not necessarily a unique American perspective. In spite of my very privately guarded ignorance, I was ready to keep an open mind about Thailand. I was prepared to block concerns of propositions by exotic erotic women reaching for me at seedy night markets and simultaneously oddly enchanted and willing to bargain with street hawkers; ready to thwart pushy throngs and willing to defend myself against platoons of old ladies pushing carts full of caged squawking animals. This is what I expected. And just as I suspected, once I arrived in Bangkok, I was shocked by just how wrong and ignorant I was.
In Thailand, it’s not too late to feel like an explorer yet at the same time, it’s not so newly opened to the moneyed western world – with our appetites for comfort — so you can easily find phenomenal luxury at reasonable prices. The big city of Bangkok has night markets and luxury hotels, is thriving with business, tourists and is, perhaps, one of the international hubs of Asia. Yet at the same time, despite being a thriving urban metropolis, even this grand city in Thailand feels gentle. No wonder it’s called “the land of smiling faces.” Forget about airport sieges and government unrest. Go to Thailand, now! Thailand is a safe and fun place to go and relax. hts of Bangkok and the beauty of Koh Samui.
GETTING THERE: THAI AIRWAYS
I love to bash the airlines. I always seem to attract the bitter flight attendant whose dream of retiring into the first-class lap of a public company’s CEO died about the same time Cherry Coke was pulled from the shelves. Not only do I seem to attract their scorn, but its always seems like I remind them of said CEO, so I am generally the recipient of an emotional package delivered to the wrong address. Who knows? Maybe it’s just me. Regardless, even the reputed best airlines, the venerable and old, long-standing commanders of our airspace, usually become open season for my biting pen. And strangely, it seems the longer an airline has been in business, the cockier they become, just like Rome near the end, near its collapse.