Just back from spending New Year in Phattalung, South Thailand.
Had a great time visiting with Karn's folks and exploring Hat Yai and Phattalung itself.
I stayed in a hotel nearby because there were too many people for us all to stay at the house, though honestly I was pleased about that as there is no internet there other than extremely slow GPRS mobile and that is not really any good for anything more than checking email.
The hotel was pretty good and not expensive either. The only problem I had was, of course, with the mattress, which was way too hard.
I know that in Thailand people are said to prefer a firm mattress but there is a way to have a firm mattress that is still comfortable, also the theory about a rock hard mattress helping back pain has been dis-proved.
Unsurprisingly really as common sense should tell you that your back needs the support that can only be obtained from a mattress with some 'give' in it.
Though I clearly have a vested interest I believe that the mattress is one of the most important items that a hotel or guest house has to purchase. If guests sleep well, or are 'wowed' by how comfortable the bed is compared to their one at home, they will not only overlook other small problems but they will recommend the hotel to their friends. And vice versa, if they don't sleep well and find the mattress uncomfortable, they will be tired and irritable, more likely to complain, less likely to come back and certain to tell their friends not to stay either.
A good mattress may seem expensive but, considering how long it will be used and the amount of time spent on it, it is actually really cheap, I don't understand why it is something some hotels economize on.
Over time Tea & Coffee making materials will cost more than even our best 'Pocket Spring' Mattress. Think about it.
Anyway, I am back at home in Phuket now and had a lovely nights sleep!
I wasn't really looking forward to the trip having heard of the type of things that happen, particularly in Isaan, but everybody was really welcoming and generous and I hope to be able to go again soon. The drive took about 5 hours each way, which is OK too. I have attached a couple of pictures.