Thailand: Islands and Beaches

Two Lovely Weekends




August 5, 2019


Last month, my friend Gary and his partner Pat invited me to spend the weekend with them at their second home in Ban Chang, a small town in Rayong Province, a two hour’s drive south of Bangkok.

I met Gary ten years ago in my condominium building.  He is a retired American expat from Seattle.  Pat, a Thai citizen, is an executive at a Thai corporation.

Gary and I meet frequently for lunch in Bangkok.  We discuss our personal concerns as well as the issues of the day, both here and abroad.  The rules for the Thai Retirement Visa seen to change by the hour.  We share our pleasant memories and our dismay at current events “back home.”

Gary and Pat are “bikers” … the unmotorized kind.  Gary just got back from a ten-day ride in Laos and Thailand.  We agree that in Southeast Asia, as well as many other places in the world, especially in the rural areas, and despite the language barrier, most folks are curious, hospitable and kind.

The highlight of our weekend together is the visit to the Golden Mangrove Field.  We stroll along the “boardwalk” through the mangrove forest adjacent to the eastern shore of the Gulf of Thailand.  Lots of photo opportunities for the dense, exotic scenery and the smiling Thai visitors.

Phi Phi, Krabi: "Happy"

Bangkok, Thailand

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.

Hua Hin: "Sweet and Spicy with a Spoon"

June 30, 2003

Hua Hin


Dear Family and Friends,

Hua Hin, my favorite beach-resort, lies on the east coast of the western peninsula of Thailand, just south of Bangkok. "Just south" is what it looks like on the map; it takes three hours by express bus. 

Before boarding the bus for my long ride south, I bought some sweet and sour crunchy fish, boiled rice and watermelon. A large portion of sweet watermelon, cantaloupe, or pineapple costs 10 Baht.

Breakfast on the street includes fresh squeezed orange juice, chicken and rice in a lovely broth, aromatic coffee with sweetened condensed milk.  

Koh Samui: "Be Happy Where You Are"

November 15, 2004


Dear Family and Friends, 

I just finished my morning walk on Hat Chaweng, the longest beach on Samui, a large island in the middle of the Gulf of Siam. The tide is out so I wander along a flat, curved boulevard of fine, golden sand surrounded by palm trees and a few green hills. About 200 meters out to sea is a rocky breakwater parallel to the shore.

Koh Chang: "A Mixture"

Koh Chang

Trat Province


December 14, 2004


Dear Family and Friends

I am sitting on the restaurant deck that overlooks a small private beach. I am watching the sun disappear into the Gulf of Siam.  I am on Koh Chang, (Elephant Island), the second largest in Thailand, off the eastern peninsula close to the border with Cambodia.

The sea is calm, only a few gentle ripples tickle the sand; the bright red sun seems to be resting against a misty white screen.

Pattaya: Viharna Sien: "Never Say Never"

Bangkok, Thailand

March 21, 2005


Dear Family and Friends,

Before departing Miami on my very first trip to Thailand, December, 2001, all my buddies who had already been here unanimously "insisted" I "head directly" to Pattaya, a popular beach resort close to Bangkok.


My guidebook was considerably less enthusiastic, but my friend Jeff, who had been living here for six months, also "insisted." So a little reluctantly and dutifully, I made the two hour bus ride with Jeff as my "orientation counselor."

Let me say this about Pattaya with a certain sensitivity:

Remember the business card from the movie "LA Confidential"? ...

"Whatever you desire."

I spent two fun days there. Jeff and I did what we did. As I stretched out on the beach, I even had an attractive dragon "tattooed" on my left forearm while I sipped a cold Singha. Tattoos also for my friends Nam and Ann.

I wanted to see Thailand, so I left Jeff and friends behind. I flew to Chaing Mai to resume being a tourist. I figured I'd never go back tp Pattaya.

Never say, "Never."