Michael Batson

Travel Writer





Full Moon Parties with the Hounds from Hell - 05 November 2012

Ko Pha Ngan in the Gulf of Thailand is known as the land of coconut trees. The name of the island is derived from the local word for ‘sand bar’ of which the island has many. For years Ko Pha Ngan was a favourite with Thai royalty, especially Rama V, a moderniser and fifth king of Siam under the House of Chakri, whose portrait dominates many a guesthouse.There are various ways to get to Ko Pha Ngan. Basically, you head to Ko Samui or Surat Thani. From Bangkok, you can get to Surat Thani by train from Hua Lamphong, Bangkok’s main train station, a magnificent structure designed by two Italians and built in the Italian Neo-Renaissance style. There are night buses from Khao San road, the main backpacker area in Bangkok, which is altogether less magnificent. Government buses run from Bangkok’s southern bus terminal to Na Dan ferry piers and are cheaper than those from KSR, and more interesting.For those in a hurry or without the requisite stamina you can fly to Ko Samui. Bangkok Airways have a monopoly on the route from Suvarnabhumi Airport, and charges accordingly. Air Asia and smaller operators go via Surat Thani. The journey takes longer, costs less and gives another option to being fleeced by BA or enduring hours on buses and trains. From Malaysia minibuses run from Georgetown on the island of Penang.Beware the buses from KSR. The air-conditioning would chill beer and its widely rumoured bags in the luggage compartments are gone through en route. The sleeper trains

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

Great Walls of Glass - 9 June 2012

Changi International Airport at Singapore is much like the city itself; neat, ordered, clean almost sterile, and almost wholly without character, though to be fair the city has Little India and Chinatown.Changi is an airport like many others but run with all that efficiency synonymous with the island state. Singapore has two great qualities