My publishers sent me on holidays to Thailand just in time for the coup… did they have an inkling, asks Max Moola?

Recently, the publishers saw fit to send me on a little junket. Oh my Buddha, you have to love my publishers.

Previously I had only ever transited through Bangkok, this trip I had the opportunity to meet and mix with some of the locals. They are extremely courteous and friendly people and I’m sure the world could learn from them where manners are concerned.

Anyway, let me share a little of the recent trip (okay, junket).

I was given a budget and told to make it work, so I commenced ringing around and my good friends at Malaysian Airlines did me a fabulous deal.  The price was so good that my budget allowed me to travel business, but please don’t let the publishing lads know or they will want to cut my travel expenses — I told them I was so far back I could see every seat on the plane from my vantage  point in the rear dunny.  Hopefully they will have signed off on my expenses before this story comes out.

My contacts arranged for me to have a look around Kuala Lumpur (KL) on the way. What a great city with a lot to see and do, and the shopping is simply magnificent. If you want real brand goods at exceptional prices (not knock-offs) then KL is the place for the shopper in your family.  If you do want to cheese-off your neighbour, then you can still easily find the quality Brietling watches for a song.

Then it was on to Thailand. I arrived in the middle of the coup… the Thai Military are even courteous while taking over the country. That said, I would not like to be wearing the wrong coloured shirt.  They did impose a curfew between 10pm and 5am, which on reflection may have been extremely beneficially to my liver.

During my sojourn I popped down to Pattaya and stayed at the Holiday Inn on the waterfront (463/68 Pattaya Sai 1 Road, Pattaya). What a magnificent property. I met the General Manager Kate Gerits, an Australian who is doing a fantastic job.  Despite the curfew and being forced to close her beachside restaurants and bars at 10pm, Kate’s hotel continued to pump inside, much to the chagrin of my body.

Kate’s hotel is billed as a family holiday destination, and why not? This reporter cannot believe the value for money that Thailand offers.

A few examples: a 60-minute full body massage is AUD$10, an imported beer AUD$2, deluxe accommodation on the beachfront AUD$150 per night and a taxi around the tourist strip AUD $0.30. Yes, that’s right — thirty cents.

I could get used to this. I even had money left over from my allocated expense account, but that’s between us as well!