Thailand has become a hub of tourism in Southeast Asia. Tyson Verse has traveled there extensively as a tour arranger and guide.
"There's nothing like a nice evening stroll with a little mix of curry-scented air with exhaust from the tuktuk three-wheeled taxis floating by," he said. "It's magic."
He's our special guest on this week's Going Places.
Fly to Bangkok, get off the plane, and go directly to the beach.
"It's the best way to beat jet lag," Verse said. "In 90 minutes, you could be at the beach having a cold, frosty drink with your toes in the sand, with pad Thai to order being cooked up in a wok under a coconut tree."
Save the sight-seeing for after you're rested and ready to absorb information. See the sights in Bangkok, but also head north to Chiang Mai.
The weather is a little cooler up here. It's also home to many indigenous people, like the Keren people.
"They're from Myanmar, from Burma, but don't get along well with their government, so they're in Thailand," Verse said. "They're some of the sweetest, most gentle people I've ever met."
Getting There, And Around
The best time of year to go is right now, he says: November through February. It's drier, it's cooler, and it's the high season, so they're ready to entertain.
You'll find airfare this time of year around $900 to $1,000. Mileage programs can also take you there if you're flexible on your routing.
Once you're in Thailand, Verse says navigation is easy and affordable. Buses and taxis abound, and even flying to a different part of the country isn't a hassle. You can easily buy a ticket a day or two in advance without exorbitant fees.
On The King
Thailand's long-reigning monarch died in October. Verse has a long history of his own visiting Thailand, and his wife is Thai. For him, and for those who live in Thailand, the king's death was an earth-shaking event. Here's his take on it:
"Going Places" is our weekly exploration of travel topics. Tyson Verse is a longtime tour guide and arranger who has led trips to Thailand over more than 20 years. Our usual travel expert, Matthew Brumley, will be back soon.