Travel: The Smiling Lures Of Thailand

A hot holiday spot offers exoticism and bargains

What elsewhere one sees only in travel brochures, one finds in Thailand daily. It often seems, in fact, as if ancient gods -- Bacchus, Neptune, Zeus and Venus -- conspired to make the land a composite of holidaymakers' fantasies. Here is a never-never land built on solid ground; a fairy-tale monarchy ruled by a Renaissance King and his classically beautiful Queen; an orchid-scented garden of scintillant temples, lush jungles, palmy white beaches and a capital built along tree-shaded canals; and a gentle Buddhist retreat filled with smiling, gracious people who make "tourist industry" sound like a contradiction in terms. The most...

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