Thailand Contributed

Embrace Thai heaven

WHEN I hear someone complain about hawkers selling on the beaches in Thailand I find myself shaking my head in disbelief.

I love to be approached on the beach by someone barely visible beneath a bundle of sarongs or t-shirts.

I also love the pleasing number of "beauty salons" on Thai beaches where cheerful women call out to you as though they love you deeply.

You may not like being asked several hundred times a day if you are in need of a bikini wax, but I don't mind.

And what's not to love about a $5 foot massage?

I've been known to have two massages, a pedicure, a facial and a full body scrub in Thailand all before lunch.

You come back smooth and polished after a holiday in Thailand.

I know it's not trendy to admit you enjoy the mayhem of Chaweng Beach on Koh Samui, but I love it.

At night when the fairy lights come on in the trees, and tables and chairs appear in the sand, Chaweng Beach becomes a place of childish, wondrous magic to me.

When I sit down on a rickety chair at a plastic table with my feet in the sand while three or four waiters nearby grill me a freshly caught fish over a charcoal fire, I feel as though I've pulled up a chair in heaven's dining room.

The only thing needed to complete a night out on Chaweng Beach, apart from a series of icy gin and tonics ferried out to my table in the sand, is a constant procession of people trying to sell me something.

You may scoff, but some of my finest purchases have been made on Chaweng Beach and I'm not just talking about the hot pink ball that lights up when you squeeze it a young boy sold me (his mother was nearby).

Not often, but sometimes I come unstuck with my beach purchases - like the time on the beach on the Greek Island of Mykonos when I made a pity purchase of an over-priced wallet from an African man tramping the hot sand burdened by fake bags and racks of sunglasses.

Later that afternoon, I saw him meet up at a bar with his mates, count and share what looked like a great deal of money, get in a Mercedes and drive off laughing.

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TAKE me to Thailand, to The Land of Smiles.

This must surely be the most welcoming country on the Earth. The people have a gentle grace about them that's contagious.

Take me to Thailand's islands, preferably Phuket or Koh Samui where palms fringe white sandy beaches and the clear water beckons.

Thailand is one of those places that has been gifted with endless tourist attractions and sightseeing adventures.

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