Michael Batson

Travel Writer






 Monday 17 May 2010Thailand has been accepting tourists increasingly in their droves since the Vietnam War, when American GIs kicked off the whole tourist thing using the country attractions to escape their war experiences. US military planners used other parts of the country to stock, supply, maintain and operate their mass machinery of war.In parts of this country it appears, in places, to be happy hour all day every day. The sun shines most of the time and it’s always warm. One English guy had always wanted to own an English country pub. So he bought one in rural England somewhere, even booked Van Morrison to play a gig one time. Trouble was he said, the weather was never good enough. If it was summer all the time, trade would be much better he thought. So he copied the design and replicated the whole concept in Thailand where it’s sunny 360 days a year.I think that I should stop coming to places that are too popular with visitors. So many tourists come to Thailand it’s possible to generalise about some of the more noticeable groupings, like the British for example, or more particularly, the English. They appear to be divided between back packers on their “gap year” in one group, those approaching a genteel retirement in another (less seen), and those who could be best described as the lumpen proletariat.The latter fall into one of two demographics, pre and post middle age. The latter are often in poor physical condition, no doubt resulting from bad diet and

Black, white and red all over - in the Kingdom of Smiles

 Thursday 13 May 2010If you’re going to arrive late at night by plane in a city it may as well be Bangkok, at least it’s open. The travellers’ advice centre in the terminal advised me that staying in my chosen area down by the river was inadvisable as the police would soon start clearing out the Red Shirt demonstrators. After giving it