Malee - A Tear in the Ocean - Settings in the bookSettings


The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is the most important and popular Temple in Bangkok. It is also known as Wat Phra Kaew. The Emerald Buddha is carved out of a single block of rare jade. Even though it is only 25 inches tall, it is the most important icon in Thailand. It is set back so than no one can approach it. The Temple is imbued with sereneness, and the gallery is covered with close to 200 murals depicting in great detail scenes of Ramayana.

Soi Cowboy, Bangkok

Soi Cowboy Thailand Red Light District

Photo: Eustaquio Santimano

Named after the African-American who opened the first bar here in the 1970s, the Soi Cowboy red-light district has a more casual and organized feel to it than other red light districts like Nana Plaza or Patpong. The popular shopping mall, Terminal 21 is directly next to Soi Cowboy.

Koh Samui

Koh Samui is a Thai island off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus. It is a tropical paradise renowned for its palm-fringed shorelines with their sandy beaches and warm, calm, blue waters. There are ample resorts, bungalows, and private villas to accommodate the tourist trade. The ‘massif centrale’ dominates the center of the island. Its principal attraction is an accessible, pristine tropical rain forest.

Nana Plaza, Bangkok

Nana Plaza is Bangkok’s erotic hub and is known for its themed go-go bars where you can find everything from co-eds to girls from the country to ladyboys. Nana Plaza is a multi-storied, square-shaped atrium totally adult, unlike Soi Cowboy or Patpong, with no shops or shopping mall nearby.

Hua Hin

Hua Hin is Thailand’s oldest beach resort town. It is located on the northern part of the Malay Peninsula. It is a quiet town in the tourist season and a sleepy town otherwise. Its yearly highlight is the Thailand International Kite Festival from March to May.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is the largest and most culturally significant city in Northern Thailand. Its most important Buddhist Temple (wat) is the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep dating back to the 14th century. It is best known for its shopping mart – four stories of hundreds of small shops selling everything from junk to high-end goods. It has its own chaotic culture, fun if only for browsing. Other attractions include the Elephant Nature Park north of the city and the King’s Bhubing Northern Palace about an hour north of the city. It offers tours of the grounds that are renowned for their roses.

Jim Thompson

Jim Thompson revitalized the Thai silk industry from near extinction. His silk fabrics and clothing are among the most highly prized silks in the world. His big break came when his silks were selected for all the costumes in the production of The King and I. Once a year, there is a huge ‘Jim Thomson Silk’ sale in Bangkok that attracts thousands of Thais to purchase bolts of silk at 50% off the regular price. Jim Thompson, the businessman, was a fascinating person in his own right. He was an OSS operative during the Second World War and set up the Thai OSS after the War. He was a gifted architect who innovated in the design of Thai homes while still adhering to Thai cultural aesthetics. He disappeared in the jungle at the age of 61 under mysterious, if not suspicious, circumstances. The Jim Thompson Company has continued with its strict adherence to the quality standards established by the founder.