Everyone knows you don’t make friends with salad. But everyone also knows rules were made to be broken.
Picking the world’s best beach is a bit like arguing why your favourite colour should dominate the rainbow. Everyone’s going to have an opinion.
My earliest memory is of a beach. I’m about six years old and the sun’s going down over a little cove on Mornington Peninsula, in southeast Australia.
“Cool camera! Can I see?”
I turned around. Before me, one of the street kids that haunt the markets of Chiang Mai, all knees and elbows and wearing a faded blue singlet with flip-flops. He was pointing at the camera around my neck, an old East German Praktica from the 1980s, silver grey.
The path from Burma to Thailand is a dark one. In World War II the Japanese invaded British-occupied Burma and started looking for a more secure overland supply route to connect the neighbouring countries.
There are a lot of myths about sailing the high seas. Some people think you need to know the nautical names of every sheet (sorry, ropey thing) and smell of seaweed all day, others reckon you can only do it on a giant cruise ship with four cinemas and a pants-exploding buffet station.
Since the birth of our little one five years ago, our adventurous travels have been restricted to camping trips at one end of the scale and to all-inclusive family holiday resorts in the Algarve at the other. But with our youngest reaching the trip minimum age of 5, we decided to book Intrepid’s Thailand Family Holiday – Land of Smiles.
I began reading the trip notes that I downloaded and my excitement was building around seeing the elephant sanctuary, hill top temples and exploring the khlongs of Bangkok. But there was also some nagging concerns about travelling on holiday as a family.