Over the Songkran break this past April, two biking buddies of mine, Andrew and Bill, set out on a pretty audacious adventure – to bike from Bangkok to Lampang (near Chiang Mai) over 8 days. First of all, I’m totally jealous. That seems like an incredible ride that I would love to do – but which, at my current level of fitness, would probably kill me. Second, that’s a pretty long ride, but the part that is most impressive about it is that they did it in April – the hottest month of the year.
Tuk-tuks and Bangkok go together like spaghetti and meatballs. So much so that even those who haven’t been to Bangkok can probably tell you the size and shape of your standard tuk-tuk. I thought it was a pretty easy too, until I was stuck in the back of a taxi and this tiny little beast roared by.
I mean, what is it? Is it like…a specially constructed tuk-tuk for navigating particularly narrow sois? A home-made one-off that some guy built in his garage?
It’s easily half the width of a real tuk-tuk, especially the newer ones with a roomier passenger compartment. And […]
On a recent episode of the Bangkok Podcast, which I co-host, we asked listeners to submit any questions they had about the show or us that we would answer during our 50th episode. We got a good number, and answered most of them, but I wanted to post a bit of an addendum to one of them that got me thinking.
Fair warning: This post is sort of a rage-filled rant against elements of western media, Asian governments, and the apathy that people show towards what’s really important in life. Why? Because I saw something today that broke my heart and got me mad. Cuss words may appear.
So, forgive me folks, I’m kind of pissed off now. I’ve written before about how a person changes when they become an expat; how living in a strange culture and being constantly exposed to new and different viewpoints can alter how one thinks about the world. It’s one of the great benefits of being […]
This is a story I wrote for the Toronto Star in 2006, reprinted here as a supplemental to an episode of The Bangkok Podcast on tourist scams. “Why are you being so stupid?” shouted ‘The Godfather’ through uneven brown teeth as he jabbed a gaudily-jeweled finger toward me. I sat across the rickety table from him, as a bead of sweat marched its way down my temple, sticky from the tropical heat. How did I wind up here?
As a blogger in Bangkok, sometimes you get invited to events that run the gamut from huge to intimate, celebratory to somber, memorable and forgettable. I rarely go to these, usually due to a combination of being lazy and busy (I'm complicated), but a few weeks ago I was invited to an event by a company that was both familiar - hearkening back to my childhood - and vague, in that it wasn't a company you'd expect to be throwing shindigs: Ricola.
When you come to Thailand on a vacation, you hope that your trip will be smooth sailing. No problems, no hiccups, no wrinkles...just your itinerary the way you planned it. That's usually what happens - but not always. A few weeks ago a visiting group of friends had what you'd call a problem...and a hiccup, and a wrinkle - all on the same night! Thankfully, with the help of modern technology - and especially a few friendly Thai policemen - we were able to rescue them from what could have been a very long and very bad night.
In May of 2010, my friend Tony Joh and I stuffed ourselves into a hot, tiny little room in the back of a friend's office, set up a few beat-up old microphones, and hit record on a laptop. It was the beginning of the Bangkok Podcast, and we had no idea if it would be successful or not, or if we'd even enjoy it or not. Luckily, it panned out, and over the next few years we did a weekly show that allowed us to meet monks, journalists, celebrities, politicians, and scholars, among others. It was great fun, but when Tony moved to Tokyo and I got busy with a new job and married life, we pulled the plug. However, as of November 2016, the Bangkok Podcast is BACK, BABY!
As a Canadian, I grew up getting used to throwing away money. Okay, not real money - pennies. In Canada GST is added to everything, so if a price tag says $2, the actual price will be like $2.28 (in Thailand, if the price tag says 143 baht, it's 143 baht). But the pennies that accumulate in the transaction were the bane of many Canadians' existence, piling up, filling pockets and jars, and generally being nearly useless (until they discontinued them in 2013). But that was nothing compared to the Thai equivalent - the dreaded satang coin.
The Search for Captain Bush’s Grave started when my friend Andrew sent me an email asking if I knew anything about the old abandoned house that sat, forgotten and forlorn, across from the Sheraton Hotel. The house itself is gorgeous but decaying; it sits as if slumped in a beanbag chair, shutters falling off, paint peeling, bricks missing, weeds growing through every crevice. And the street that it sits on? Charoen Krung soi 30 – aka, Soi Captain Bush. […]