Des Lynam: My Life In Travel

'I fell in love with Thailand in the Eighties. The people are so generous'
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The Independent Travel

We used to go to Ireland for a month almost every year when I was a boy because I was born there. My parents used to call it "going home". We would stay with relatives in County Clare on the west coast and I had wonderful adventures with my cousins, going to the beach and playing sports.

Best holiday?

Thailand. I first went for BBC Holiday in the 1980s and fell in love with it. The people are generous and kind, I love the food, and the facilities are wonderful, whatever you want to do, be it beaches, golf or exploring the jungle in the north.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I don't holiday in the UK much, but I recently had a magnificent time at the Budock Vean Hotel near Falmouth in Cornwall. It has its own golf course and spa, the food is excellent and it's in a wonderful location.

What have you learnt from your travels?

To be patient and not expect everywhere in the world to be the same as home. You have to change your attitude and adapt to the pace of life wherever you are.

Ideal travelling companion?

My partner Rose. We have travelled all over the world together. We haven't been abroad much recently but we're about to go to Venice.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

A bit of everything, but I don't really like sunbathing. I like swimming as well as playing a bit of golf. I went on a golfing holiday to Bermuda once and got caught in an extraordinary thunderstorm on the course. The service back at the club was extraordinary - they washed and pressed our clothes for us and we looked a darn sight better when we left than when we arrived!

Holiday reading?

I take books that I have always meant to read like Dickens, and I usually take a biography as well. I get through a lot.

Where has seduced you?

Thailand and Venice. I also enjoy the Cape area of South Africa, where I have been several times. I went on a mini safari in the Shamwari Game Reserve, which was mesmerising. We saw all of the Big Five, and I plan to go back.

Better to travel or arrive?

To travel. However, I get sick of airports because of the delays, confusion and the scant information. But I do like the process of travelling, especially if you're privileged enough to travel near the front of the plane.

Worst travel experience?

A holiday in Mauritius a couple of years ago. The weather was lousy; it rained solidly for two weeks. The hotel we stayed in was grossly overpriced and overrated.

Worst holiday?

A trip to Dubai in February. I had been twice before with the same passport, but this time I got hauled off to an office because I didn't have a visa, which I hadn't needed before. In my passport it says that I am a British Subject rather than a British Citizen, because I was born in Ireland and have never applied for naturalisation. I had to wait for four hours for a visa and they didn't deal with it very nicely, so I'm afraid I won't be going back to Dubai.

Best hotel?

The Oriental in Bangkok. It has a wonderful feel about it, the service is immaculate, it has a magnificent spa and it's right on the Chao Phraya River.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

I check the bathroom, because they can be so disappointing. As I get older I'm fascinated by those magnifying mirrors, because I can make sure that I don't leave the hotel looking like a werewolf!

Dream trip?

I'd like to go to Argentina, Chile and Peru on an adventure holiday taking in the Andes, because I've never been.

Favourite city?

Venice. I get as much out of it every time I go back as I did the first time I went. I love the fact you can walk everywhere.

Where next?

Venice and then hopefully to Cape Town.

Des Lynam's autobiography, 'I Should Have Been at Work!' (HarperCollins, £18.99) is in shops now

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