by Lang Reid
Travel Pack Thailand
of the biggest problems with travel manuals is
that they go out of date too quickly. Prices are
wrong, or the enterprise has shifted or gone
bust (many places close before they have their
The latest to come across the reviewer’s desk is
the Travel Pack Thailand (ISBN978-0-8048-4210-5,
Tuttle Publishing, 2012) written and collected
by Jim Algie, a long-stay expat who knows his
Thailand. This one was written (published) in
2012 so is relatively current. His travel
experiences include scuba-diving, rock-climbing,
kayaking off the coast of Krabi, learning how to
hunt for red ant egg nests (a delicacy in the
northeast), and trawling with Thai-Muslim
fishermen down south, so he can write with some
The format is similar to most guides of this
genre, but with some important differences. This
is not one of the $5 a day back-packer manuals,
but is squarely aimed at the more affluent
tourist, with many of the author’s
recommendations being for top end hotels, such
as the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Devi in Chiang
Mai. It is also a smaller and thinner
publication and with good paper stock and hard
covers will last a sight-seeing holiday. The
claim is that it is easy to use and easy to
carry, and I agree. However, the map which folds
out needs directions on how to re-fold, or
perhaps it is just me who failed Map Folding
The book is divided into three sections,
claiming to show “Thailand’s Best Sights, 21
must-see sights and must-have experiences, from
the many faces and flavors of its modern
metropolis to southern Thailand’s fabled beaches
and bays, from World Heritage Sites like the
ancient Siamese capital of Ayuthaya to places of
natural wonder like Khao Yai Nature Park.”
The second section is: “Exploring Thailand
offers a wide variety of excursions in every
part of the country, from Chiang Mai in the
mountainous north to ‘Little Tuscany’ in the
country's center and the famous Chatuchak
weekend market (JJ) of Bangkok; and from
kayaking through a marine park to a bicycle tour
through Thailand’s first kingdom.”
The third section is the “Author’s
Recommendations and makes specific suggestions
for: the hippest hotels and resorts; the coolest
nightspots; the best spas; the best eco-trips,
treks, and outdoor activities; the most
kid-friendly places and things to do; the best
food and eateries; the best shopping; the best
museums and galleries; and more.”
Algie also provides basic travel information,
including useful pointers for getting around
At B. 465 it is not expensive and is available
through Asia Books. I did enjoy it and found
places/sights I had missed in my travels.
Recommend this to your newbie friends.
Paying For It
‘Kiss and Tell’ book this week, with a lady going by the name of Scarlett
O’Kelly detailing what it is/was like to be a professional escort, read sex
Paying For It (ISBN 978-0-241-96323-4, Penguin, 2012) begins with the usual
provisos you would expect such as false names (both hers and the clients),
backgrounds, towns, and anything that might pinpoint her or where she
The reason for her joining the sex industry is not spelled out in any
melodramatic way, or looking for sympathy. Sure, the Irish economy had
collapsed (to be sure, to be sure) and she, as a single mother found that
she was suddenly unemployed and on the dole queue.
Initially mentally fantasizing what it would be like to work in the sex
industry, she then began a toe in the water exercise advertising massages
through the internet and was swamped. There were obviously many men out
there who were willing to pay for it.
Having been a successful businesswoman before the financial crash, she sat
down and planned just how she would run this ‘new’ business venture.
However, the business approach did not stop her having many fears about the
“first time” and she describes her emotions during that encounter in very
human and believable terms.
The second, and very successful encounter led her to justify her new
existence, saying, “I was doing the right thing - the bills were paid, the
men were happy and I was helping people in a way I would never have thought
In this line of business she meets her first client with a fetish, in this
case socks. Apparently this is a well documented fetish, but was neither her
“thing” (nor mine I should add).
She also relates being short-changed for the first time after checking the
bundle of notes in her wallet before driving off, and I was surprised that
someone with her business acumen did not collect the money first, and not at
the end of the encounter.
Much self-examination by Ms Scarlett, including analysis of why her once
happy marriage broke up less than one year after the birth of one of her
sons. She then tries to apply that analysis to some of her clients, not all
of which were appreciative of the free psychotherapy, when all they wanted
was a roll in the hay!
By six months in the job she had come to the realization that enjoyment of
sex and physical attraction were not the same. She was learning.
At B. 435 it is a lightweight book which will appeal to the voyeur in us
all. The degree of titillation is fairly minor, so this is not the book for
someone looking for XXX gratification!
Ms. Scarlett finishes with, “It would benefit us all, I reckon, to take a
wider, more mature approach to the issue of the sex industry.” In that, she
is undoubtedly correct, it is after all the oldest ‘profession’ which has
stood the test of time for thousands of years. It should be accepted by now,
and probably is in certain parts of Bangkok!.
Chiangmai Mail Publishing Co. Ltd.
189/22 Moo 5, T. Sansai Noi, A. Sansai, Chiang Mai 50210
Tel. 053 852 557, Fax. 053 014 195
Editor: 087 184 8508
E-mail: [email protected]
Administration: [email protected]
Website & Newsletter Advertising: [email protected]
Copyright © 2004 Chiangmai Mail. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.