This past August, my friend, J.M., and I spent two weeks exploring Bangkok’s temples and the beaches in Phuket. The scenery — especially to the greenery-starved eyes of we sandbox dwellers — was such that this slideshow could have been 99 percent sunset snaps. I learned a lot about “Siam,” including how it is the only Asian nation not to have been colonized. That’s some savvy leadership. No wonder Thais revere their rulers.

As expected, the food was fiery and tasty. (We even dined at Bo.lan in Bangkok, which is under the helm of an American chef who’s added his own touches to Thai food.) One thing that puzzled us was the generally lacking service, especially unexpected when you consider how large a part tourism plays in the Thai economy. (One big exception to this was Kenya, the owner of Sea Hag restaurant in Patong Beach, and his staff. If you’re in Phuket, I can’t recommend it highly enough.)

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