The Khao San Road, Bangkok - first stop on the backpacker trail. On Richard's first night there a fellow traveller slits his wrists, leaving Richard a map to "the Beach".
The Beach is a legend among young travellers in Asia: white as sands circling a lagoon hidden from the sea, coral gardens and freshwater falls surrounded by jungle. In this earthly paradise, it is rumoured, a select community lives in blissful innocence. For Richard, haunted by the glamour of Vietnam war movies, a trek into unknown Thai territory is irresistible. He was looking for adventure. Now he’s found it.