By Justin Ocean
Checking in with Out's correspondents as they criss-cross the world...
Who: Benjamin Solomon, Editor-in-Chief of Next Magazine
Where I Went: Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Koh Samui in Thailand
What I Did: Celebrated Songkran Festival (Traditional Thai New Year turned giant wet T-shirt contest) with locals in the inner city of the country's religious and cultural capital, Chiang Mai; rode a private boat through the sprawling Angthong National Marine Park for hiking on giant limestone karsts, snorkeling and private beach exploring; climbed to the hill-top temple Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep to be blessed by a Buddhist monk; partied till dawn in Silom.
What I Recommend: Explore the sprawling traditional markets in Chiang Mai and sample divisive local delicacies like fish-covered sticky rice, durian and century eggs; a shopping spree in one of Bangkok's high-end malls, like the travel themed Terminal 5, which houses local artisans and fashion designers next to international brands; launch traditional lanterns into the sky from the secluded beaches of Koh Samui while sampling traditional Thai whiskey; dance all night on the beach with thousands of Aussie tourists during the Full Moon party; search for treasures in the amulet market in Bangkok.
What I Wore: Polo by Ralph Lauren Men's Sander boat shoes; New Era Authentic Collection 59Fifty New York Yankees cap; Brooklyn Industries Marauder Water Resistant Nylon Backpack
What I Ate: Fried worms; durian fruit; Thai Fish with Three Flavour Sauce; Lap mu; mango with sticky rice; Spicy Papaya Salad; street vendor corn; fresh strawberries with cayenne pepper and sugar; mee grob
What I Skipped: Wat Phra Kaew/ Grand Palace (opt instead for the free and if-not-more stunning Wat Arun just across the river); elephant rides
What I Loved: Hanging backstage with the ladyboys at Starz Cabaret in Samui; Shopping with a local in the bustling Thai Markets; traditional washing of the hands and feet with local women during Songkran; the superstitious and wacky ways in which to make monetary offerings at the Buddist temples; traditional clothed Thai stretching massage
Street scenes during Songkran
Buddhist monks bless the staff and guests during the Thai New Year at the Four Seasons Bangkok