When traveling in Thailand, many people opt out of going to the mainland altogether and head directly to the islands, looking to experience what many consider to be the epitome of paradise!  (Your "Set of Drifters" Doug and Brady do not recommend skipping the mainland if you are looking to taste the true flavors of Thailand.  Still, the turquoise waters and monolithic rock formations that sprout out from beneath it are hard to ignore!)

Ultimately, there are many beach locales to choose from in and around Thailand.  Phuket, bordered by the sumptuous Andaman Sea, has certainly been a top destination for  decades, yet due to poor upkeep and natural disasters like the 2004 tsunami, Phuket's popularity has waned in more recent years.  This translates into cheaper prices, and perhaps, a more affordable vacation if you can muster some of the island's man-made tourist entrapment.  If you love the frenetic "tourist hell" of Bangkok, you can find it here at Patong Beach, where tenacious buskers will sell you every item under the sun - from tailored three-piece suits to a smarmy "big boy" massage.  All warnings aside, drive a few minutes south from Patong, and you may find yourselves meandering up random emerald hills, passing wayward elephants on the way to secluded coves and exclusive resort beaches!  Just like a Thai boxing match - KAPOW! - Phuket has finally delivered its promise of paradise!

Of course, while you're so close, it is absolutely imperative that you make a side-trip to the magical isle of Koh Phi Phi.  This is the startling location used to film the mythical heaven found in Alex Garland's The Beach!  Get out your suntan lotion and snorkeling gear.  Here, it's all about the crystal blue waters, golden sands and days spent lazing away without a care in the world!