Wednesday 21 April 2010

Time for lateral thinking about Thailand

Ok, Ok, Ok, you've seen the news and the mobs of Red Shirts all over Thailand. Wrong! The reality is that the Red Shirts are disrupting only small parts of downtown Bangkok (admittedly the business centre) but even there my friends and colleagues are able to go to work as normal every day and move through the Red Shirt lines to get to their favourite shopping centre or whatever. Bangkok's Suvannabhumi airport is operating fine and absolutely trouble free. Phuket -- where I am today -- beautiful and fun as usual. Chiang Mai, charming as usual, nothing out of the ordinary. Koh Samui, couldn't care less about the rest of the world anyway.

In short, outside of Bangkok, the only red shirts you see are Manchester United supporters.

But, I understand that all of this is maybe a bit disturbing for the less hardy holiday maker (er, the Red Shirts I mean, not the Man U supporters, although they can be a bit scary too). So, time to put on your thinking hat. Better still, dear readers, I've done it for you.

Here's how to enjoy a holiday in Thailand without going anywhere near Bangkok ...

V Australia can fly you from Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth into Phuket and then on to Samui. Hope you understand their website better than I can. See

Tiger Airways, a Singapore-based budget carrier, can fly you from Singapore into Hat Yai, Krabi (Phi Phi) and Phuket. Their fares are ridiculously low. I got a basic fare Singapore to Phuket the other day of SGD$10 one way; plus luggage, taxes, sickbag, etc it came to about 100 bucks.

Bangkok Airways can fly you from Singapore direct to Samui (which only takes about one hour on their new Airbus). You can also fly from many exotic points within Indochina like Luang Prabang into Chiang Mai.

Silkair, a Singapore Airlines offshoot, flies from Singapore direct to Chiang Mai, and Phuket. See

Air Asia, another budget carrier, can get you from Kuala Lumpur to Phuket, Chiang Mai and Krabi. See

So come on in, the water's fine. Speaking of which, I'm off for a swim at Patong Beach now (and see if I can shake that hangover from the lively bars of Soi Eric last night).

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