This month-long research trip in Thailand for the new DK guidebook has been one of the busiest commissions we've ever undertaken. It's also been one of the most sublime. We've flown, driven, ferried, and trekked thousands of kilometers in southern and northern Thailand, in our quest to review some 280 hotels and restaurants. So please forgive the silence. There's been little time for blogging in between hotel inspections, spa treatments, breakfast, lunches and dinners, and activities that have ranged from cooking classes and elephant mahout training to ox cart rides and jungle treks. Then there are all the tedious things in between - checking in and out of hotels every day or two, picking up and dropping off hire cars, checking in at airports, hanging out in lounges and waiting at baggage carousels, and sitting in our car as we wait in line for the inevitably late car ferry - all of which consume an interminable amount of our precious time. The continual travel and constant activity has meant little time for relaxation. As I'm writing a new spa spread for the next edition of the guide, and both my partner Terry and I are working on spa-focused stories for travel magazines, our spa 'research' has comprised our only down time. Along with an hour here and there to test out our private infinity pools (such as this one at the Four Seasons Koh Samui). It's these moments of pampering in tranquil treatment rooms and gazing out across the tops of palm trees to serene sea vistas that have kept us sane. Naturally, we don't expect any sympathy.