A FORMER local journalist has helped to write a leading travel guide to Thailand.

Mark Beales, who worked for the Daily Gazette, Clacton Gazette and Harwich Standard, co-authored the new Lonely Planet Thailand book and Thailand’s Islands & Beaches’ guide.

Mark, 45, who grew up in Dudley Road, Clacton, wrote the Ko Chang and Eastern Seaboard chapter for the 16th edition of the guide.

This features the famous islands of Ko Samet and Ko Chang and the tourist resort of Pattaya.

As part of his research, Mark travelled to Ko Samet where he saw fire-jugglers on the beach, fed turtles at a coastal town called Si Racha and checked out some of the lesser-known beaches along Thailand’s eastern coastline.

Mark said: “Going on the road for Lonely Planet is always a huge thrill. For this trip I was pleased to be able to add some new resorts and uncover some fantastic new places to visit.

“Thailand continues to be one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and I hope the new guide will help even more people discover this amazing country.”

Mark also recently gave a TEDx talk in Bangkok about his travel experiences.

TED is a non-profit organization which aims to spread ideas. The TEDx talk can be seen by searching for #STAISBangkok on YouTube.

Mark worked as a journalist for the Gazette between 1990 and 2001 and was chief reporter for the Harwich and Manningtree Standard from 2001 to 2004.

He then moved to Thailand, where he continued writing and also taught English.

Mark co-authored the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th editions of Lonely Planet Thailand and has written several e-books.

Mark lives in Rayong, a province to the east of Bangkok, with his wife, Ann, and son, Daniel.

He teaches English language and literature and is acting Head of Secondary at Garden International School.

For more on Mark’s work, visit www.markbeales.com.