Michael Batson

Travel Writer





Some Like It Hot - On Samui Time - 05 January 2013

From the air under the tropical sun Ko Samui looks like a green jewel, an emerald bordered with a white sandy fringe and palm trees surrounded by light blue water. It doesn’t look too bad from the sea either. However you arrive, you’ll soon settle into the easy pace of island life.Officially, there are seasons in the Gulf of Thailand. Unofficially, Ko Samui doesn’t “do” winter; it’s just hot all year round. Nothing much happens in a hurry on the island. Every day gets off to a slow start. Most places don’t open until mid morning at the earliest. Some days the sun doesn’t even put in an appearance until after lunch. Even the local canine population appear largely uninterested as if sedated, which is a blessing as Thai dogs can be a menace.If you like an early breakfast you could be out of luck. Unless you are staying in a hotel with its own restaurant you may have to wait until morning tea time, or, as if some sort of sick joke, eat American fast food, which some people actually do.Despite the development that has occurred on this, Thailand’s third largest island, Ko Samui still in the main has a low key feel to it. Perhaps it’s because the island is large enough to absorb the hordes of tourists that continuously descend on the place, or, maybe because most visitors only target certain areas, leaving the rest relatively unmolested.“Ko” is Thai for island. The origins of Samui are mysterious; possibly a continuation of the name of one of the native trees, mui, or a

Rub a Dub Markets - 02 December 2012

One of the most easily identifiable landmarks in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, is the New Market or Psar Thom Thmey or simply Psar Thmey. Psar is market and Thom in Khmer means big or grand, so it’s the "New Grand Market". The market sits one block east of one of Phnom Penh’s main thoroughfares, Monivong Boulevard, towards the river occupying

In The Ghetto - 14 July 2012

Khao San Road (pronounced “Cow sarn”) is the main backpacker mecca for foreigners in Bangkok, Sukhumvit being another. The road itself is located in Banglamphu or Farang-Lam-Phu, as it’s jokingly referred to after the Thai word for foreigner.The more cynical call it “Khao Shit Road” and it has been described as the perfect example of a

Where The Streets Have No Names - 25 June 2012

Phnom Penh is a city where the streets have numbers rather than names save for the main thoroughfares, though some have both. As someone once commented, “the thing about Phnom Penh street names is that they are fun for every purpose except the obvious – identifying where you are or where you are going.”Some street names have changed over time