Subject: Re: Thailand
Tom, Not sure how you want to spend your time in Thailand but, based on our experience, planning can be kept to a minimum once you are there. You will want to read some travel guides to determine where you want to visit but once you are there it is a very easy country to get around. Our experience, solely based on our "nose", was wonderful. Thai Airways provides good service at amazing prices.

We stayed twice at the Royal Hotel in Bangkok, where many of the international airline staff sleep over. It has a pool, which is nice during hot and humid weather, and is quite inexpensive.

Bangkok is an amazing city. Many complain about the pollution but, in our experience Lisbon, for example, is worse. Take a Tuk-Tuk wherever you want to go. Give the driver $1.00 U.S. and he will smile. Such a small price for a ride you will always remember.

We flew to Chiang Mai for a few days, took a taxi into the city and headed to the tourist office to find a place to sleep. There were plenty on offer.

We next flew to Koh Samui, via Bangkok. We hopped in a cab from the airport and told the driver to take us to a hotel. He stopped at a few places and we settled on "First Hotel" at the extreme end of the beach. It had villas (as we know them in North America) and a pool. We paid $20 which was an outrageous price but the hotel, in addition to the pool had laundry facilities. Interestingly enough, the driver was willing to drive us around until we found a place to our liking.

So without advance hotel bookings, which we rarely do anyway, we spent our time in Thailand with no problem finding a place to sleep.

The Thai are friendly and accommodating. Enjoy their hospitality but remember that this is a third world country, so be on your guard.

Lucy, Toronto