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Traipsing the Tri-Cities for the real taste of Thailand

While sitting barefoot at a seaside bar overlooking the placid surf of Phuket Island’s Panwa Beach in Thailand, I gazed at the horizon toward a scattering of pastels cast by the shadows of dusk. Taking an occasional swig from a 21-ounce bottle of Chang (a type of beer), I watched the sun vanish behind a hill topped with a silhouetted statue of Buddha sticking up through the trees. Amidst the sounds of lapping waves and reggae music coming from a bamboo bar with thatched roofing, our waiter (also barefoot) arrived with an onslaught of inexpensive dishes, including the best beef noodle soup and yellow curry I encountered during my 12-day rendezvous in Thailand.

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