Michael Portillo continues his exploration of Thailand by rail, steered by his 1913 Bradshaw's guide. He steps into the ring under the guidance of champion trainer Master Toddy to learn Muay Thai boxing. Can he perfect the Cobra-inspired right hook?
Taking his courage in both hands, Michael confronts his dread of snakes to assist in a surgical operation on a deadly venomous king cobra. He discovers the lifesaving work of Bangkok's Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute, established at the time of his guide by the royal family after the death of a young princess.
Striking south to the resort of Hua Hin, Michael learns the history of the Southern Railway and hears how royal patronage kickstarted today's Thai tourist industry. He meets the niece of the present king, Rama X, at the Palace of Love and Hope, created by their ancestor, King Rama VI, to hear about a colourful restoration project.