Backpackers killed in Thailand
"Thailand is a beautiful, welcoming nation" – wrong. Not the land of smiles any more. Hasn't been for a long time. Now it takes in so many planeloads of tourists, who often misbehave and are generally hated by the Thais. The golden days for Thailand are long gone.
I've been there maybe nine times over the years, and each time is a bit worse than the last. A friend who has just come back from Thailand has also given up on it. They had to continue moving hotel rooms in Krabi due to being disturbed at night (by drunken tourists, not by Thais).
Besides the packages mentioned in your Travellers's Guide, it's easy to travel independently and cheaply by booking flights and hotel separately and getting around on the good and cheap bus service. I'm going again in January. It'll be the low season with cheap prices.
I first crossed the Carter Bar when aged 11 in the cab of a horse lorry, heading north towards Hawick. The sense of passing from one place, one culture, into another, made more acute by the remoteness and wildness of the place, returns every time I repeat the journey. As Rory Stewart tells us in his superb two-part documentary Border Country: The Story of Britain's Lost Middleland, for centuries a shared culture straddled this border, which existed only in the imaginations of kings and noblemen.
Outdated thinking re flag carriers. Huge cash drain. O'Leary is right in this case, much as it pains me to say so.
'I was Branson's bodyguard'
Simon Calder's ill-fitting suit, in which he accompanied Sir Richard, is not the look of a bouncer, but a 1980s snooker player.