Thailand, the Final Days

June 18, 2012

After a severe overload of history and ruins in Cambodia, not to mention some fairly intense road and river travel, it was time to relax on the balmy Andaman Sea shore. The sun-drenched west coast of Thailand offers up some of the finest snorkeling and diving on the planet, as well as myriad opportunities for my favorite beach activity, bikini observation. Tiny islands seem to erupt out of the sea, providing world-class rock climbing and cliff diving to those more daring than I; for my part, I was perfectly content to ooh and aah at their shenanigans from the relatively safe vantage point of the warm waters below, enjoying the colorful finger-sized fishies a’nibbling at my toes.

The resort island of Phuket, often deliberately mispronounced by Anglophones (it is supposed to be pronounced “Poo-KET”), serves as party central for the west coast, with accommodations running the gamut from youth hostels for $10 a night, to luxury villas for two hundred times that price. The food, like everywhere in Thailand,
is amazing, cheap, and plentiful—the same holds true for the drink, I am told, although one brief foray into the world of Thai-produced alcohol was enough to send me sprinting back to the relative safety of Western libations for the remainder of the trip. From Phuket, one can ferry to any number of remote Andaman islands, pick up a direct flight to destinations throughout Asia and beyond, or simply relax on the beach and forget about going anywhere any time soon. And, as I said, the bikini watching is virtually beyond compare…