22 Apr - 26 Apr 2013 Hua Hin

Southeast Asia 
Kingdom of Thailand aka The Land of Conditional Smiles 
Hua Hin 
Naresdamri Road 31/2
Bird Guest House +6632511630 birdguesthousehuahin@hotmail.com
Clean but rather small double room with fan and spick-and-span private bathroom in a traditional stilt house, built on piers over the edge of the sea, for THB 500.- or US$ 17.50 per night. Great sun deck overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. Free but unreliable wifi.
Friendly and well-organised staff.
Beer: 630-ml bottles of ice-cold Singha Lager Beer (5.0 % alc./vol.) for THB 60.- or US$ 2.10 per bottle from the guest house.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Bird Guest House in Hua Hin, which we would recommend, and for directions:
N 12° 34.31' E 099° 57.62'

Exploring resorty but still nice enough Hua Hin (once a humble fishing village which has turned into a “Pattaya Lite” with fat Russian sexpats, clever Thai bargirl-turned-contract wives, hungry Nepali tailors, seasoned Isaan masseuses, and mendacious South-African estate agents) and having a look at its (i) dilapidated fishing piers and smelly squid-drying wooden racks, (ii) casuarina-lined and food-vendor infested sandy beaches with hundreds of lined-up thatched umbrellas and long chairs, and (iii) cheapish, unsightly shophouse-apartment buildings with bad plumbing and overpriced "German", "Spanish", "French", "Italian" and even "Indian" fast-food eateries downstairs.

Feasting on the creatures of the sea at the colourful and inexpensive Chatchai Market in the centre of Hua Hin where vendors gather nightly to fry, steam, grill, parboil or bake fresh gulf seafood for hordes of starving tourists, both international and domestic.

Getting a glimpse of the seedier side of tourism and throwing ourselves into Hua Hin’s slightly diluted but still exciting enough nightlife, hoisting a few undiluted, MickeyFinn-free brews and having many highly concentrated, tickled chance encounters with nocturnal professionals of all sorts of sexes, implantations and amputations (…to say here “boy, oh boy” wouldn’t be correct anymore).

Chillaxing on our guesthouse’s shady sundeck, burying ourselves into and agreeing with Elizabeth Becker’s excellent book Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism, and thinking about the fact that the 6.5-trillion dollar tourism industry, from the mandarins in the ministries of tourism to moneygrubbing travel agencies and on to the millions of totally useless touts and wannabe guides, has actually developed into the number one obstacle for the independent traveller (very closely followed by government bureaucrats and petty crooks); the game seems to be over and unfettered individual travelling might soon come to an end...

Taking an ordinary train in 3rd class (c. 90 km, 1 ¾ hours, THB 19.- or US$ 0.65 per person) from Hua Hin’s dollhouse-like, cute railway station to seaside Prachuap Khiri Khan, a less touristed and perhaps more sustainable alternative to Hua Hin.

Click below for a summary of this year's travels

Recommended books – click below for your Amazon order from Germany:

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From the 2013 Moral Travel Compass for Our Grand Children's Journey of Life:
It’s bad to see a doctor;
It’s good to love your body.
Keep your bearings!