I first came to Phuket, Thailand on my 21st birthday in 1962. I was the navigating officer on a Shell Tanker running out of Singapore, around Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaya and occasionally Australia.
Shortly after we had tied up to buoys to unload a cargo of aviation spirit the customs launch came out to ask how many women we wanted (a carton of 200 fags for each one). Well to say I thought "my birthday had come" is no exaggeration.
I next came back in 2005 after retiring from over 40 years in IT, and have never looked back, having settled in Chiang Mai after periods in Vietnam, which i also think is a great place..
I have a small bungalow on the outskirts of Hang Dong, which backs onto rice fields with distant views of Doi Saket, peace and quite, heaven on earth.