Monday, February 24, 2014


Welcome to readers from the US Virgin Islands, Trinidad & Tobago, Oman and the Philippines

With Vanessa Mae hitting the pistes in Sochi I felt it time to review my time in Thailand

Thailand distinguishes itself by having avoided colonisation by any country while all around the French and the British took over Burma, Vietnam, India, Laos and Vietnam and even China for a while.


In Phuket one got the sense of a set-up designed for intense levels of hedonism. Bars, joints busting with Thai flesh. You can find the same kind thing in Ayia Napa, Sihanoukville, Rhodes or Ibiza with less flesh on offer.

In the rainy season the resort turns into a dripping wet ghost town, one where I got infected with jungle foot-rot. Within two days one foot, continually soaked in the copious rains, had cracked open at the heel so that I could look into it. Like looking into a fissure in rock.

If you like tea with your travel visit GuerillaZ's sister site Singing Bird Tea at:

Khao San Road is the backpacker district. It looks nothing like the rest of Bangkok. Alex Garland set the beginning of his novel 'The Beach' here. It is that kind of bleak.

Bangkok probably has the best street food in the world, and the worst pollution, and more foreign travellers than any other world city.

I have met several travellers who won't return to Thailand because, they claim, it is too commercial. And the baht is indeed a strong currency in the region now suggesting that commerce is thriving in Thailand. I did not see enough of Thailand to know if they were right in this. Right, wrong. The country was pretty outside of Bangkok and certainly the south around Phang Nga was a place of extraordinary beauty.

If you like tea with your travel visit GuerillaZ's sister site Singing Bird Tea at:

Bangkok is reknown for massage parlours and other services available to men. A walk down Patpong Road 1 and 2 demonstrates these services women beckoning, simmering, sauntering, laughing and all with great politeness.

Bangkok must also offer more than this. When I returned to London it was to a sense of relief. Bangkok, with its pollution, endless flyovers and concrete was a city that doesn't lift the soul in the way Ho Chi Minh City or Singapore does.

I feel sure that I missed some elemental part of the city. Or is that it? Maybe it is just a bleak, rather dystopian agglomeration of concrete.

Reading: "Thailand" from Haruki Murakami's After The Quake.

A quite brilliant story that would not benefit from a description

Listening to: Roche (Mimosa remix) by Sebastien Tellier

Watching: Wolf of Wall Street

Learn all about Lemmon Quaaludes here:

Mark Kermode gave Scorcese's monster movie a miserly 6/10. An astounding score and the Telegraph's Robbie Collin was where it was at. Scorcese's best film for 20 years. Best since Goodfellas. A masterclass of technique. No question.

Michel Houellebecq's Platform

A novel that focusses on sex tourism in Thailand. Research into this industry does not make pretty reading.


Any sense of invasive commercialism in Thailand can easily be offset by a visit to Wat Pah Nanachat in the quiet Ubon Ratchatani province close to the border with southern Laos and northern Cambodia.

The forest tradition of Theravada Buddhism is also known as Southern Buddhism.

It is strongest in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos and Burma.

Theravada is known for its symbiosis between its monks, or bhikkus, and lay people.

Lay people provide robes, food and medicine whilst monks provide spiritual support, blessings and insight.

Theravada appears stricter than the Tibetan branch. In northern India the claret robed monks often tote mobile phones, ipods and other blandishments I have yet to see on southern monks.

More on southern Buddhism coming soon.

Coming soon: Bali, babi guling and shipwrecks


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