January 20, 2002
Dear Family and Friends,
Thailand was a wonderful winter adventure. After Bangkok and Pattaya, I spent few days in the North. I visited the Hill Tribes and drove through the mountains near Mae Hong Song.
The highlights were a beautiful botanical garden in a valley surrounded by coffee plants, a lovely waterfall park, and finally, a mudpack facial at a hot spring!
I was alone with two drivers. As we strolled through the villages and stopped for tea and meals, I felt like Sahib leading a safari. Much fun.
From Chiang Mai I flew south to Phuket -- a so-called “world-class” resort. So naturally I avoided it (big mistake). I immediately took a boat across the sea to Phi Phi Island (another big mistake). Phi Phi is quite beautiful but the town is overrun with young Scandinavians defrosting and partying on the beach. I was the only adult on the Island.
I decided to make the best of it, since I was suffering from a mild case of the Thai equivalent of Montezuma’s revenge. The beaches were sunny and inviting and the scenic view of the Swedish babes helped to cure my stomach cramps. After Phi Phi I took another boat ride to Krabi. Excellent choice.