golden triangle

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Elephant Polo in Thailand: Days of the Raj remembered (2006)

Elephant Polo in Thailand: Days of the Raj remembered (2006)

"The English invent the most stupid of sports," says John. He should know, he's English and we've been talking about cricket. We're sitting at the poolside bar in the sumptuous Anantara Resort and Spa near the coastal town of Hua Hin, three hours south of Bangkok. The reason for his outburst is the game we have spent this September...

Hua Hin, Thailand: Luxury with a private pool

Hua Hin, Thailand: Luxury with a private pool

Three hours drive south of Bangkok -- on a typically terrifying journey of close encounters and near-misses along the highway -- is the town of Hua Hin, little more than a shop-lined wide spot in the road for some tourists, and ignored completely by most others. But while the islands of south-east Thailand are becoming a clutter of beach...

Golden Triangle, Thailand: Where the girls are

Golden Triangle, Thailand: Where the girls are

Pale fingers of mist weave through the tree tops of the jungle. At just past dawn it is almost silent, only the faint call of birds and the distant putter of a long-tail boat on the Mekong River beyond the hill. I step onto the terrace of my hotel room into the balmy air. Already you can feel that the rains will come later today. I sniff in...

Samoa: The Biblical land

Samoa: The Biblical land

Samoa is hardly short of a church. To the casual eye it seems as if each village has its own Catholic, Mormon, Methodist, Assembly of God and whatever else building, many of them are quite breathtaking. And new ones are being built all the time. But high above Apia in Vaoala is the Shrine of the Three Hearts, an enormous, airy and very...

Various Artists: The Sound of Siam (Soundway)

Various Artists: The Sound of Siam (Soundway)

Increasingly the globe becomes a village -- and the local radio station is broadcasting oldies and archival stuff. Consider the recent excavating of music from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sixties South Africa, Dengue Fever's take on Cambodian psychedelic pop, the Shanghai lounge divas project . . . You sometimes get the sense that in every...

Golden Triangle, Thailand: Paradise without the soundtrack

Golden Triangle, Thailand: Paradise without the soundtrack

What is that wise old saying: be careful what you wish for, you might just get it? Raymond got a wish come true, but I suspect it was mine. I met him at the luxurious Anantara Resort and Spa in Thailand's Golden Triangle where my room with a private terrace overlooking the steamy jungle cost around $1200 a night. After I had relaxed in...

Nye, Oregon: The man who could draw air

Nye, Oregon: The man who could draw air

He introduced himself at breakfast as Hippie Mike -- his business card had a nuclear disarmament sign on it -- and told a story. "One time I walked into this bar with my walking stick, wearing my big hat, and moccasins and the whole place went silent. You could hear a pin drop, man." I believed him. Mike stood two metres...

Hua Hin, Thailand: Heavy metal in Hua Hin

Hua Hin, Thailand: Heavy metal in Hua Hin

The night was noisy, the drinks were free and free-flowing, and this small corner of balmy Thailand seemed like it had been sent down from heaven -- with an endless buffet of European, Chinese, Thai and Japanese dinners. The party at Hua Hin had started just before sunset, the dancers and fashion show came on shortly afterwards, and beneath...

Taipei, Taiwan: Red room for a blue man

Taipei, Taiwan: Red room for a blue man

I wish I could remember the name of the place so I could recommend it -- but then again, maybe it's best I can't. I had spent a tiring week travelling around Taiwan by myself, negotiating train timetables and ticket offices, and finding hotels, temples and places to eat. By the time I got back to Taipei where I could count on a tiny bit of...

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