We stumbled off the sleeper train and collapsed gratefully into mini-vans for the trek south to Surat Thani, where we would overnight in a sprawling nature reserve. “Just imagine Jurassic Park,” as our guide introduced us to the lush waters awaiting. A narrow-nosed craft sped us to our accommodation: floating bungalows!
We whiled away the afternoon kayaking, dipping in the bathtub-warm water, and sallying forth in vain hopes of spotting wild elephants. I hummed “Just Around the Riverbend” as I paddled a circuit around the aquatic hotel, awash with wonder at this magnificent world.