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Preview: Bangkok Podcast

The Bangkok Podcast





Published: Tue, 24 Apr 2018 17:01:00 +0000

Last Build Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2018 04:39:05 +0000

Copyright: Bangkok Podcast
 



Neighborhood Focus: Banglamphu

Tue, 24 Apr 2018 17:01:00 +0000

Continuing with a series started in season 2 on some of Bangkok’s more interesting neighborhoods, the boys discuss one of their favorites: Banglamphu. But before they can chat about that, exactly what is Banglamphu? It’s not an official district, but it’s probably best known for Khao San Road, with its borders hitting Ratchadamnoen in the south, the river to the west, north to Krung Kasem Canal, and east to Ratchadamnoen Nok. Not a huge chunk of land.

Is Banglamphu a good place to live, or just to visit? Despite the area being dominated by hotels, guesthouses, and hostels, there are still some good places to hang your hat - you just need to know where to look. (Hint: try just across the river for a steep drop in price)

The guys then wrestle with the elephant in the room (so to speak), by discussing Khao San Road. Awesome party road with bars and shopping, or awful hippie ghetto with gross “Thai” food? It’s pretty subjective, but both Ed and Greg agree - don’t eat the scorpions.

All of this, plus a few personal favorite restaurants, live music venues, and tips on avoiding the madness of being stuck in a taxi as you try to get in or out of sweet, sweet Banglamphu.

In ‘Love, Loathe, or Leave,’ Greg queries Ed on the metal, clanging change boxes carried by money collectors on buses and boats throughout the city. What are they for? What do they do? Why are they so loud? As with most things in Bangkok, it probably makes a lot more sense than it appears on first look.

As always, the podcast will continue to be 100% funded by listeners just like you who get some special swag from us. And we’ll keep our Facebook, Twitter, and LINE accounts active so you can send us comments, questions, or whatever you want to share.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS3E5_-_Banglamphu.mp3?dest-id=34166




Hot Thai Kitchen: Bringing Home-Cooked Thai Food to the World

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 17:01:00 +0000

Useful links:

The Surprising Reason There Are So Many Thai Restaurants in America

Hot Thai Kitchen

We’re happy to have Pailin Chongchitnant as our guest this week, creator and host of Hot Thai Kitchen, a popular YouTube channel based in Vancouver, Canada that shows people how to cook delicious Thai food recipes in their kitchens.

A handful of places - Italy, Japan, Vietnam, India - have food that’s so tied to their culture that the food itself is somewhat of an ambassador, and Thailand is no exception. The question then becomes how much Thai culture can a foreigner absorb simply by watching how the national cuisine is prepared?

Pailin also gives some insight into how Thai food is perceived overseas & how “hipster Thai” joints are taking over, and describes how she comes up with ideas for shows. She also describes some of the insane ways foreigners try to give their native food a Thai spin by splashing peanut sauce on it - or even using - (ugh) - peanut butter!

And in a post-interview email that Greg reads, Pailin also weighs in on a recent article describing how the Thai government helps Thai nationals overseas open Thai restaurants, which may or may not help the cause, depending on how passionate the owner is about “real” Thai food.

As always, the podcast will continue to be 100% funded by listeners just like you who get some special swag from us. And we’ll keep our Facebook, Twitter, and LINE  accounts active so you can send us comments, questions, or whatever you want to share.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS3E4_-_Hot_Thai_Kitchen.mp3?dest-id=34166




Wet & Mild: Songkran New Year Spectacular [Season 3, Episode 3]

Sat, 07 Apr 2018 16:16:46 +0000

Ahhh, Songkran, a waterfight so insane that people in other countries know all about it. Love it or hate it, it’s THE holiday on the Thai calendar, and unless you’ve got a (probably damp) ticket in your (probably damp) little hands, it’s hard to avoid.

Greg starts off showing how poorly he can recollect the origins of Songkran off the top of his head, before he and Ed discuss the infamous “Ministry of Culture Gets Pissed at Topless Dancing Girls” episode of Songkran 2011, which left people alternately laughing, livid, or losing face. (Read Kaewmala’s excellent insight into that episode here, and a NY Times story here)

Ed also shares his belief that Songkran might be the perfect Thai holiday, where old and new, conservative and liberal, and reserved and raucous clash in the most Thai of ways.

You’ll also get to hear them recollect stories about friends getting soaked despite not wanting to, how a pitcher of beer was poured over Greg’s head one year, and why two (now)-jaded dudes might head out again this year just to see what’s up.

As always, the podcast will continue to be 100% funded by listeners just like you who get some special swag from us. And we’ll keep our Facebook, Twitter, and LINE  accounts active so you can send us comments, questions, or whatever you want to share.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS3E3_-_Songkran_Spectacular.mp3?dest-id=34166




Going Vegetarian in Bangkok: Hopeless or Delicious? [Season 3, Episode 2]

Tue, 03 Apr 2018 17:01:00 +0000

Going vegetarian in Bangkok has always struck Greg as somewhat of an inconvenience - I mean, how many vegetarian street food stalls do you know? But guess who’s been on a full-on vegan diet for the past year? That’s right, Ed. And guess who is going to give Greg some insight on actually how easy it is to be a vegetarian in Bangkok? Well...yes, of course, also Ed. You’ve been here before, I see.

Ed - a noted vegan - dishes a bit on what he thinks of the politics and clique-iness of strict diets, as well as the role that religion may play for some people, while Greg - a noted carnivore - recollects a few tales of searching for food in Bangkok with vegan friends. Let’s just say it wasn’t his favorite dining experience.

We also spin up Love, Loathe or Leave, where Ed wants to hear Greg’s thought on the (ongoing...maybe?) effort to clean food vendors off of Bangkok’s sidewalks.

As always, the podcast will continue to be 100% funded by listeners just like you who get some special swag from us. And we’ll keep our Facebook, Twitter, and LINE  accounts active so you can send us comments, questions, or whatever you want to share.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS3E2_-_Going_Vegetarian_in_Bangkok.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Then & Now...and in the Future [Season 3, Episode 1]

Sun, 25 Mar 2018 12:11:32 +0000

Welcome back! For the first show of season 3, Greg introduces you to the new co-host of the Bangkok Podcast, Ed “The Truth” Knuth.

Together they have a combined 35 years in the Big Mango, so they reminisce a bit about what the city was like when they first got here, how it compares to now, and what they think the city will look like in 10 or 20 years. Purely based on conjecture, of course, they have no real experience with this, but since when has making uneducated predictions been a bad idea? One of the things Greg and Ed discuss is the future of Bangkok's train network - click here to see a map that Greg made that shows what Bangkok will (hopefully) look like in 10 or so years.

We also thank Patreon supporter Mike Herrin, who hides his steamy real life Bangkok adventures behind a veil of boring office work.

And don’t worry about losing one of the favorite parts of the show - Greg surprises Ed with a Love, Loathe, or Leave that has to do with motorbike taxi drivers who might be trying to kidnap you...or just simply random dudes trying to make a few extra baht.

As always, the podcast will continue to be 100% funded by listeners just like you who get early access, bonus shows, and special swag. And we’ll keep our Facebook, Twitter, and LINE  accounts active so you can send us comments, questions, or whatever you want to share.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS3E1_-_Bangkok_Then__Now...and_in_the_Future.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bye Bye Bangkok- Season Two Finale [Season 2, Episode 72]

Tue, 27 Feb 2018 17:01:30 +0000

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Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/Episode_72_Bye_Bye_Bangkok-_Season_Two_Finale.mp3?dest-id=34166




Investing in Thailand: Risk & Reward with Andrew Stotz [Season 2, Episode 71]

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 17:01:21 +0000

Though various types of pestilence plagued all of your hosts, two of of us managed to muster the necessary strength to record the episode this week. You’re welcome. (Hi again, Ed!)

We’ve a special guest on this week that anyone into in finance in Bangkok probably knows, Mr. Andrew Stotz, Ph.D. He’s an award-winning equity analyst, the current President of the CFA Society Thailand, and the founder and CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research. Prior to that he spent 20 years working global investment banks in Asia, and has been a university lecturer in finance for more than two decades. Voted the #1 investor in Thailand by his peers several times over, he's also a co-founder of CoffeeWORKS Co. Ltd., Thailand’s specialty coffee roaster.

He and Greg chat about investing in Thailand at the lay-person level, since many of us aren’t the most well-versed in financial options.

And for Love, Loathe, or Leave, comes from listener Other Ed. He wants to know how we feel about ไม่เป็นไร. If you don’t recognize the script, you’ve almost certainly heard it spoken if you’ve spent any time in Thailand and things haven’t gone according plan.

As always, the podcast will continue to be 100% funded by listeners just like you who get some special swag from us. And we’ll keep our Facebook, Twitter, and LINE  accounts active so you can send us comments, questions, or whatever you want to share.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BP71-Investing-In-Thailand-Risk-Reward-with-Andrew-Stotz.mp3?dest-id=34166




Neighborhood Focus: Thonburi, the Original Bangkok [Season 2, Episode 70]

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 17:01:53 +0000

Key links for this episode:

On the first show in our new series that digs into some of Bangkok’s better-known ‘hoods, we ask: did you know that Bangkok (that is, Thailand’s modern capital) is not the original Bangkok? Nope! The first Bangkok (that is, the new capital after Ayutthaya was thrashed by the Burmese) was a little town called Thonburi. But, that didn’t last long. Another little village called Bangkok became the new, new capital and Thonburi became a sleepy suburb.

But after only 236 years, Thonburi is about to step into the limelight in a big way. How, you ask? Malls! Trains! Hotels! Markets! Craft beer! And...cable cars?

But before we get into that, we need to thank ErQing Hui, our latest patron at the show shoutout level (who we simply call EQ (because we’re not that good with Chinese), as well as Han Choi, who became our 50th patron and will be rewarded with one (or more!) snazzy postcards.

As always, the podcast will continue to be 100% funded by listeners just like you who get some special swag from us. And we’ll keep our Facebook, Twitter, and LINE  accounts active so you can send us comments, questions, or whatever you want to share.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E70-Neighborhood-focus-thonburi-original-bangkok.mp3?dest-id=34166




What's Next for Season 3 of the Bangkok Podcast? [Season 2, Episode 69]

Tue, 06 Feb 2018 17:01:11 +0000

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Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BPS2E69-So-This-Is-Bangkok-How-Did-We-Get-Here.mp3?dest-id=34166




Why Do People Keep Coming Back to Bangkok? [Season 2, Episode 68]

Tue, 30 Jan 2018 17:01:23 +0000

Key links for this episode:

One of the OG travel bloggers, Matt Kepnes, AKA Nomadic Matt, joins the program with all kinds of stories, tips, and reflections on travel on his site NomadicMatt.com. He even has a NYTimes best-selling book on how to travel the world on a budget!

He's a hard guy to pin down, but he recently came through town on his way to New Zealand, and he very kindly let Greg to discuss an important question: Why do people (him included!) keep coming back to Bangkok?

Speaking of catching up with friends, but on a much sadder note… the Bangkok expat community is a little smaller and sadder, with the recent passing of Eric Seldin. He was funny, warm, entertaining, and wise, and always had a good story to tell from his decades of working around Asia. In his memory, go spend some quality time with those you love but haven’t caught up with recently, OK?

You are flat out not going to like this week’s Love, Loathe, or Leave. And not just because of the topic -- Bangkok’s insidious air pollution that’s just getting worse. No, it’s one of our answers. Sorry in advance. :(

And before we go: Remember that we’re 100% funded by our supporters, who get some special swag from us. Hit us up on Facebook, Twitter, or LINE with comments, questions, or whatever you want to share.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BPS2E68-Why-Do-People-Keep-Coming-Back-to-Bangkok.mp3?dest-id=34166




Thailand Island Vacation Realities Exposed [Season 2, Episode 67]

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 17:01:30 +0000

Support us and get cool stuff!

The thought of spending a few days on an island in Thailand sounds about as close to paradise as a westerner can get: blue water, white sand, the works!

But the reality of it is a little different than the picture in your mind, and you might want to adjust your expectations a bit when visiting an island in Thailand.

And speaking of Thailand as a great vacation destination, we really do want to meet you when you come through Bangkok. Please reach out and we’ll see if we can get our schedules to align so we can grab a beer, coffee, or even a meal together. We love it!

Of course, we love the listeners who support us with a small financial contribution most of all. People like Jeremy Winterson, an actual race car driver and illegal taxi driver. (One of those statements is true).

If you want to get the show early, get some cool swag, and even have Greg come up with fantastical tales of your life, support us if you can!

And on Love, Loathe, or Leave: long-time expats who still can’t pronounce Pattaya correctly. Don’t sound like a noob, please?

Thanks for listening. Hit us up on Facebook, Twitter, or LINE with your qwaments, kestians, or whatever you want to share.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BP67-Thailand-Island-Vacation-Realities-Exposed.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok vs. Plastic Bags [Season 2, Episode 66]

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 17:01:18 +0000

Key links for this episode: Sign the Change.org petition to put the pressure on 7-11 Donate to support the fight against plastic waste in Thailand Greenpeace’s position on Thailand’s plastic problem Support the Bangkok Podcast on Patreon Yes, there are too many plastic bags floating -- literally -- around Bangkok. But rather than you listen to just more expat bitching, we brought on a local Thai person who’s doing more than just bitching about the problem. Joey Liptapanlop is roping in his fellow citizens to start a grassroots movement aimed at… 7-11? Did you know that Thailand is the 6th worst plastic polluter in the world? That’s thanks to the 1.03 million metric tons of plastic Thais release into the water. Joey and his crew want to do something about that, and this seems like the generation to (finally) get it done. This is something we can get behind. Slacktivists can join the almost 25,0000 people who have signed the Change.org petition to put the pressure on 7-11. There’s also a Weeboon page to support the efforts of plastic pollution with small donations, currently getting close to ฿100,000. #deathbyplastic We’re staying controversial with the Love, Loathe, or Leave segment of the show, this time taking on “White Privilege”. Clearly, the two of us are the beneficiaries of such a reality. But how do we feel about it? How do you feel about it? Listen to what we have to say and let us know in the comments. Special thanks to Mr. Woolibeans -- no, that’s not his real name, and that makes for an interesting story -- for his support of the Bangkok. Join him and the other ~50 people who support us on Patreon. You’ll get bonus content, the regular show early, and feel good about yourself. And help us keep the show going strong!. Thanks for listening. Hit us up on Facebook, Twitter, or LINE with your questions, comments, or whatever you want to share.[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BP66-Bangkokians-vs-Plastic-Bags.mp3?dest-id=34166




Breaking Down The Thai Smile [Season 2, Episode 65]

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 17:01:17 +0000

Key links for this episode:

You’ve probably heard of “the Thai smile”, or know that Thailand is referred to as “the Land of Smiles”. Both of those phrases are well-earned, but that whole smiling thing is more than something done just in the hospitality space. For many Thais, smiling in a situation is a default reaction, even when the experience they are smiling at is a negative one.

Like when a dog almost eats a small child and the owner’s reaction is to smile it off. Oh, and that’s not a hypothetical. It happened to Greg’s kid. Or when a Thai driver almost hits a pedestrian and just smiles and waves. Also not hypothetical, as our special guest Ed Knuth (filling in for Evo Terra this week) will tell you.

But what looks like a blow-off really isn’t. It’s a cultural difference, and those of us who’ve been here a while learn to self-correct our immediate emotional response when we encounter the Thai smile. Or at least, we try to. It’s hard to break those old social contracts in favor or new ones.

Is smiling at everything just another example of Thais being nice, often to a fault? Is it about saving face or avoiding confrontation? Or just the ramifications of a successful ad campaign? Greg and Ed will share more than a few of their thoughts and experiences gathered over the collective 33 years they’ve lived in Thailand.

Speaking of living here for a long time, how do you feel about the “unboxing” that takes in the store when you buy damn near anything with an electrical plug in Thailand? Is that something you love, loath… or do you hate it so much you’re ready to leave Thailand? Listen in to find out how we feel, and share your thoughts with us.

Special thanks to Paul Johnston, who’s deep love of Meatloaf led him to a life of … tires? OK. Paul and the other ~50 people who support us on Patreon -- is getting this show early. You can, too.

Thanks for listening. Say nice things to Ed about his guest appearance, and hit us up on Facebook, Twitter, or LINE with your questions, comments, or whatever you want to share.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BPS2E65-Breaking-Down-The-Thai-Smile.mp3?dest-id=34166




Cultural Takeaways With Educator Frank Smith [Season 2, Episode 64]

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 17:01:24 +0000

To help us ring in 2018, we’re bringing back a prior guest on his annual pilgrimage to Bangkok. Frank Smith from UC Berkeley teaches Khmer to children of Cambodian refugees. We caught up with him in person at Bangkok’s Central World mall… before we got kicked out by security. Yes, again. Not just because one of us made a foot faux pas. What’s it like for a Thai speaker who doesn’t live in Thailand to plop back into Bangkok, suddenly surrounded by other Thai speakers? There are actually lot of ways to keep up with the evolving language, thanks to the pervasive nature of the internet. Or what’s it like when your a young person, with parents speaking their native tongue and all your friends and the world around you speaking English? Frank faces that every day in the classroom, and shares some interesting tidbits from his students. Also, Frank reports the Bay area of California has a sizeable and well-knit Thai population, so we press him for some impressions (from the outside, obviously) on how that contingent live their lives abroad, which makes for a nice parallel for those expats like us living in Thailand. You’ll also hear Frank bust some myths we’ve heard (and may be following) as we both struggle our way through learning Thai. And on Love, Loath, or Leave, we talk about not having easy access to clean drinking water. And by “easy”, we mean getting it straight out of the tap. It’s pretty obvious where we fall on this question, but your mileage may vary depending on where you are from. Thanks for listening. Hit us up on Facebook, Twitter, or LINE.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E62-Cultural-Takeaways-With-Educator-Frank-Smith.mp3?dest-id=34166




A Motorcycle Meets A Car Door In Bangkok [Season 2, Episode 63]

Tue, 19 Dec 2017 17:01:53 +0000

Before we start, we have to mention a recent news story from Bangkok, which is rather appropriate considering the topic of tonight's show. You may recall we discussed traffic on episode 2.27 -- Blood on the Highway: Thailand’s Seven Deadly Days of Songkran. On that episode we mentioned that Thailand was the second-most deadly country in the world for road fatalities. Well, not anymore. We’re number one! And that’s a good way to set up the rest of the program, as it’s all about an accident we (yes, both of us) were recently involved in. Explaining what happened is tricky, but it involved doubling-up on a motorbike taxi without helmets, a possibly illegal Uber driver, three different quasi-cops, a crazy chicken lady, and someone high up in the taxi mafia (Probably. Possibly. Actually, we have no idea who he was). It’s a story you have to hear to understand, so listen up. We even stuck with the theme on Love, Loathe, or Leave! Someone told Thai drivers to turn on their hazard lights to signal intent to drive straight through an intersection. It’s not hard to guess how we each feel about this reality of living in Bangkok. Thanks for listening. Hit us up on Facebook, Twitter, or LINE. [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/A_Motorcycle_Meets_a_Car_Door_in_Bangkok.mp3?dest-id=34166




Do They Celebrate Christmas in Bangkok? [Season 2, Episode 62]

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 17:01:08 +0000

You can now follow to the Bangkok Podcast on Spotify! It's nearly Xmas, so we figured we'd might as well start getting into the spirit of things with a Xmas-themed show. Now those of you who are westerners understand just how important Xmas is in your home countries. In most places it's the BIG DADDY of holidays, the one that the entire year has been building up to. In fact it's so big that they even celebrate it in countries where, to be honest, it has no real business being celebrated. Like this one! Trouble is… we’re not good experts on the topic. Evo’s never experienced the holiday in Thailand, and Greg usually spends Christmas at work. So rather than being all bah humbug, we reached out to some Thai nationals to find out what they do, other than spend a bunch of money at the malls. For Love, Loathe, or Leave this week we take on the great toilet paper debate. Where do you sit (heh) on issue? Are you a flusher, or are you a trash bin user? And what if there isn’t a bum gun in use? Our answers may surprise you. Or anger the public works people. Engage with us on Facebook, Twitter, or LINE, and support us on Patreon to keep the goodness coming!


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E62_-_Do_They_Celebrate_Christmas_in_Bangkok.mp3?dest-id=34166




A Few Strange (and Possibly False) Laws You Might Experience in Thailand [Season 2, Episode 61]

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 17:01:04 +0000

On this episode we get into a few vague, strange - and possibly even non-existent - rules that you may or may not bump up against in Thailand. From buying chainsaws to changing your name to flying helicopters to losing your &$%@#! "book bank" (known throughout the rest of the world as bank books), these are things that govern the nuances of every day life. Greg reads 'em off, Evo plays Devil's Advocate to try and discount them, and we land somewhere around the middle.

Love, Loathe, or Leave

Have you ever seen someone - usually a taxi driver - standing right out in the open answering the call of nature without a care in the world as to who sees him (or it?) Yeah, so have we!

We Love Our Supporters!

Join dozens of fine people who help keep the show free of annoying ads by supporting us on Patreon. You'll get exclusive bonus episodes, cool swag, and access to every show that the regular people get - a whole day early! Who doesn't want that?

Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life?

If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you! You can add our official LINE account, comment on a post or send us a message via our Facebook page, tweet to us @bangkokpodcast, or simply via the contact form on our website. You may also be interested in Greg’s tweets of snarky Bangkok goodness, and you can see way too much of Evo’s face  on Instagram. If you’re really new, the Bangkok Podcast is co-hosted by Greg Jorgensen and Evo Terra. Together the have over 20 years expat experience in Bangkok, and are self-certified experts in living in the City of Angels. (Not Los Angeles. Thailand, silly!) [/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E61-A-Few-Strange-Laws-You-Might-Experience-in-Thailand.mp3?dest-id=34166




Thai Craft Beer's Secret Weapon Is... A Korean Expat? [Season 2, Episode 60]

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 17:01:21 +0000

RSVP to the I Love Podcasting In Bangkok meetup on Nov 29, 2017!

Patrons get early access and exclusive bonus content.

Today’s focus is on Korea's influence on Bangkok. Ted Ahn, an expat and ex-power plant manager from Korea, is actively working to bring about change in Bangkok’s local Thai craft beer industry.

Ted is the owner of Changwon Express, and Evo sat down with him at his newest location on the top floor of Flow House. A few key bits from the episode:

  • Ted estimates that around 90% of his customer base is all local Thai people.
  • He reserves at least 20 taps for the exclusive support of Thai craft beer.
  • His genius idea of catering to Thai girls with Korean food to in turn attract the Thai guys.
  • What influence Brooklyn Brewery played into his efforts of making and supporting local brewers and local beer drinkers.
  • His challenges and successes finding and training local staff to work behind the bar.
  • He designed his own two-row tap system that separates the liquid from the head to create the best pour in Bangkok, a popular design in Korea.
  • Ted’s plans to build a local brew pub with satellite locations, branches, to get around Thailand’s restrictive (draconian?) brewing laws in a totally legit fashion that would enable legal, local Thai craft beer… finally!
  • What a huge pain in the ass it is to brew “local” beer in another country (which is why Ted wants to break out of that!)
  • Ted’s thoughts on Thai local breweries (all contract brewing in other countries) growing from 3 - 20 in a couple years, and how that would change if only the laws would change. (Though he’s not waiting!)

Love, Loathe, Or Leave?

Listener Ryan asked us to watch this video of the Asian koel, or Eudynamys scolopaceus, and comment on its song. Greg loves its call. Evo wishes he had his shotgun.

Engage with us on Facebook, Twitter, or LINE.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E60_-_Changwon_Express_Craft_Beer.mp3?dest-id=34166




Does Living In Bangkok Change Who You Are? [Season 2, Episode 59]

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 17:01:01 +0000

RSVP to the big I Love Podcasting In Bangkok meetup #2 on Nov 29th!   We’re working hard on the special gifts that supporters at the Gift Box level are going to receive… and they are hand-made pieces of awesome. Yeah, we’re teasing a bit, but these are going to be quite cool mementos and tokens of our appreciation. (If you want one, get signed up!)   This topic stems from a discussion the two of us were having while we were stuck in the back of an Uber on the way to find our Patreon gifts, and that discussion was: How much does living overseas change you as a person? Evo’s lived deep in the "travel blogger" world where there the transformative power of travel is  common theme, and that if you take a 6-month sabbatical, gap year, or whatever... you'll come back a changed person. But from his perspective, it's all crap. Greg experience is quite difference, having personally been transformed by one fateful trip to Thailand (oddly enough.) And more recently, he’s noticing just how divergent his views are from those of his lifelong friends who never left their hometown.   Not sure where you stand on the issue? Do you think living overseas really does change you? Or does living overseas appeal to a certain type of person that doesn’t need to be changed? Listen in and see which one of us you side with at the end. (And yes, we’re still friends!) Love, Loathe, or Leave No one likes cars that double-park. But on Bangkok’s BTS, you’ll see people “double parked”, trying to squeeze on before… well, us! And that doesn’t make us very happy, which sort of spoils this segment for you as we both LOATHE it! Except for one of us at one specific We Love Our Supporters! Especially Mos Miner. He’s one of our favorite patrons, and today you’ll hear about his odd connection to a harbor town far, far away. It’s a story that is quite literally out of this world. You should thank Mos and dozens of other people who help keep the show free of annoying by supporting us on Patreon. Mos and others also get exclusive bonus content, like the full episode about the unreliability of Thai Post and tearing down buildings because a street is too narrow. You aren’t getting the full Bangkok Podcast experience unless you become a patron, so… do it? Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you! You can add our official LINE account, comment on a post or send us a message via our Facebook page, tweet to us @bangkokpodcast, or simply via the contact form on our website. You may also be interested in Greg’s tweets of snarky Bangkok goodness, and you can see way too much of Evo’s face  on Instagram. If you’re really new, the Bangkok Podcast is co-hosted by Greg Jorgensen and Evo Terra. Together the have over 20 years expat experience in Bangkok, and are self-certified experts in living in the City of Angels. (Not Los Angeles. Thailand, silly!)[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E59-Does-Living-in-Bangkok-Change-Who-You-Are.mp3?dest-id=34166




How to Shop (and Not Shop) Like a Thai in Bangkok

Tue, 14 Nov 2017 17:01:27 +0000

RSVP to the big I Love Podcasting In Bangkok meetup #2 on Nov 29th! How will you celebrate the season this year? No, we’re not talking about Christmas. We’re talking about the Thai government’s annual shopping stimulus program, this time called "Shop For The Nation" for 2017. It started on Saturday, November the 11th, and it runs through December the 3rd. We’ll cover this program in detail (and maybe poke just a wee bit of fun at it) as we give you all the details so you can get up to ฿15,000 off your taxable income next year. Yes, Bangkok expats pay taxes. At least our two families pay taxes. We’re not talking to you freeloaders out there. Get a job.Sticking with the shopping theme, every expat eventually starts assimilating into the culture. You have to buy stuff in your new country, and your own personal history influences the things you buy. Some of your everyday purchases will seem odd to any of your friends and family back home. And some things you hunt down to buy locally would make some of your natural born citizen neighbors wonder just why the heck anyone would want that. We put our own purchases to the test, discussing the most and the least Thai things the each of us has purchased while we’ve lived here, and exactly what our friends -- both local and back home -- probably think about those purchases. Ane we’ll even give you the answers: The most Thai things we own are a Buddha shelf and Thai pillows, and the least Thai things we own are licorice and a top sheet. If those answers make no sense, give the show a listen as we good-naturedly (?) poke each other for our answers. Love, Loathe, or Leave If you think our choices of products in this episode stink, just shove a stick of camphor up your nose. That’s the plastic tube or tub you see people sniffing as you go about your day in Thailand. What’s that all about? Why do they do it? And what do we think about it? Listen in and find out. We Love Our Supporters! Before we recorded this episode, we recorded an entire episode about Evo’s recent trip to Indonesia and just why he might be slurring his words tonight. You can get that full episode when you join dozens of other people who help us keep the show free of annoying by supporting us on Patreon. Today, you’ll hear about one of our favorite patrons, Sion, and his amazing career as a nude model. Come to think if it, he’ll probably be amazed by the story too. Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you! You can add our official LINE account, comment on a post or send us a message via our Facebook page, tweet to us @bangkokpodcast, or simply via the contact form on our website. You may also be interested in Greg’s tweets of snarky Bangkok goodness, and you can see way too much of Evo’s face  on Instagram. If you’re really new, the Bangkok Podcast is co-hosted by Greg Jorgensen and Evo Terra. Together the have over 20 years expat experience in Bangkok, and are self-certified experts in living in the City of Angels. (Not Los Angeles. Thailand, silly!)[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E58-How_to_Shop-and-not-shop-like-a-thai.mp3?dest-id=34166




Ten Expats Share Where They Go To Get A Taste Of Home In Bangkok

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 17:01:54 +0000

We know that Bangkok’s expat community is much more diverse than a Canadian and an American can hope to represent. So this week, we reached out to the wider community and asked a simple question: Where do you go in Bangkok when you want a taste of your own country? Before we get into that, though, Greg regales us with his story about being summoned by Frank Lam, the founder of Foodland grocery stores (and the excellent Took Lae Dee food counters inside), who wanted to say thanks to Greg for including Took Lae Dee on his list of 50 Reasons Why Bangkok is the Best City in the World. Turns out Frank was the type of legendary character that you can only meet on a random Bangkok night, and Greg explains why. But back to the main topic of where to find a taste of home in Bangkok. Listen in to get these great insights from local expats: Hidden Hungarian hangouts Which restaurants Kuwaitis frequent for great middle eastern food Where a Spaniard suggests you go for amazing cheese, cold cuts, and olive oil Why Poles are jonesing for homemade pierogi and sauerkraut Places in Thailand Australians avoid to avoid more Australians Which soi off Sukhumvit is perfect for Germans who have a hankering for Schweinshaxe and Rotkohl The one spot that Singaporeans/Malaysians say you don’t want to miss Spots in Bangkok where Norwegians and other Scandinavians hang out other than IKEA A local church in Sala Daeng where Italians can feel like at home Why Russians day-trip out of Bangkok to get their homeland fix in Pattaya Why an Indian-descent Thai national asked an American to cook Thanksgiving dinner, paying him in quality craft beer from Bootleg Brothers Brewing Love, Loathe, or Leave We need to talk about privilege, Bangkok. It’s humiliating, it’s unfair, and it perpetuates stereotypes. Of course, we’re talking about the special parking spaces for supercars and superbikes in Bangkok. Those of us that don’t drive a Lamborghini or some 3000cc crotch-rocket are mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it any more! We Love Our Supporters! Before we recorded this episode, we recorded an entire episode about Evo’s recent trip to Indonesia and just why he might be slurring his words tonight. You can get that full episode when you join dozens of other people who help us keep the show free of annoying by supporting us on Patreon. Today, you’ll hear about one of our favorite patrons, Ciaran Faulkner, and his amazing life-changing -- or at least name-changing -- story. Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you! You can add our official LINE account, comment on a post or send us a message via our Facebook page, tweet to us @bangkokpodcast, or simply via the contact form on our website. You may also be interested in Greg’s tweets of snarky Bangkok goodness, and you can see way too much of Evo’s face  on Instagram. If you’re really new, the Bangkok Podcast is co-hosted by Greg Jorgensen and Evo Terra. Together the have over 20 years expat experience in Bangkok, and are self-certified experts in living in the City of Angels. (Not Los Angeles. Thailand, silly!)[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E57-Tase-of-home-in-Bangkok.mp3?dest-id=34166




Talking Travel Insurance With Stuart McDonald from Travelfish.org [Season 2 Episode 56]

Tue, 31 Oct 2017 17:01:00 +0000

Before we get into the ins and outs of travel insurance with one of the most well-traveled people out there, we dive right back into the shallow end of debating whether or not Bangkok's traffic has improved. Why would it improve? Well, last month the police commissioner said that traffic police will no longer be setting up checkpoints...so, did it work? Evo weighs in (because Greg drives a car, and they get pulled over way less that motorbikes, which he's really happy about). But the real reason we're here is to talk insurance. Travel insurance, specifically, and why it's so important. Stuart McDonald, the founder of Southeast Asia's best site for independent travel - that's Travelfish.org in case you live in a cave - was kind enough to join us from his home in Bali about his experiences traveling, writing about traveling, and giving advice to people about traveling. For instance, did you know that if you ride a motorbike without a helmet and get in an accident, your insurance might be void? Why? Because you're breaking the law silly, and insurance companies loooove to find little loopholes like that. But these days it's more complicated than simply buying insurance and then heading off on an adventure. Among other things we talk about: The ubiquity of social media and how it changes how bad news is spread and how people view travel The importance of putting the effort into understanding how your insurance policy works in different countries Why travel insurance probably isn't going to cut it if you cross the line from traveler to expat Why most of these elements can be covered by simply using your noggin (to think with, not as a helmet holder) Trust us folks, you'll be hard pressed to find someone as knowledgeable as Stu on how to travel properly. He's also a father, as well, so that makes his opinion doubly valid. Don't make him come back there! Love, Loathe, or Leave Have you ever put your hand into your pocket and pulled out a fistful of dollars baht? Evo has, and he hates it! It vexes him, the nasty coinses, and he's going to tell you why! It's a good thing too, because Greg had no idea what he was talking about until Evo explained his oddly specific coin rage. We Love Our Supporters! You want bonus episodes? You can get bonus episodes! This week we talked about germs, vacation days, and what it's like to take a holiday while working at a Thai company. Here's a hint: you don't have time to go very far. You can get that full episode when you join dozens of other people who help us keep the show free of annoying by supporting us on Patreon. Please?  Thank you! Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you! You can add our official LINE account, comment on a post or send us a message via our Facebook page, tweet to us @bangkokpodcast, or simply via the contact form on our website. You may also be interested in Greg’s tweets of snarky Bangkok goodness, and you can see way too much of Evo’s face  on Instagram. If you’re really new, the Bangkok Podcast is co-hosted by Greg Jorgensen and Evo Terra. Together the have over 20 years expat experience in Bangkok, and a[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E56-Talking-Insurance-With-Travelfish.mp3?dest-id=34166




Contemporary Art Tour In Audio: Exploring Bangkok’s MOCA [Season 2 Episode 55]

Tue, 24 Oct 2017 17:01:43 +0000

We’re not whispering to make it hard for you to hear. We’re doing it to be respectful, because we recorded this episode inside the Museum of Contemporary Art in northern Bangkok. Now, bear in mind that neither of us are huge art people. But museums such as Bangkok MOCA are designed to be accessible by anyone, not just art aficionados. Today, we put that to the test. Spoiler: We loved it! The middle part of this episode features our honest reaction to some of the art as we encounter it. Now, keep in mind that art appreciation isn’t the type of experience that lends itself to being expressed in audio. So you won’t be surprised as we try to interpret for you the… well, let’s say “more eclectic” pieces from Thailand’s contemporary artists. Hopefully it comes off as funny as we intended it, and not mean-spirited. Even though the choice bits below may appear the opposite, we really did enjoy our time at Bangkok’s MOCA and would highly recommend you visit, too. If you do listen to the full episode, you’ll have some context for these choice reactions and more: “It’s hard to fault a painting that has a 3D penis.” “Body, mind, peaceful: Three words I don’t think about when I think of Hitler.” “This looks like something out of Ghostbusters…” “That dog has no head. This one is wearing a necklace with three penises on it.” “And… the painter likes big balls.” “What would happen if a hippopotamus had a baby with a cicada? That’s your answer.” “This would really cool if we had a skateboard. It would be even cooler if we remembered how to ride it.” “I’ve never seen so many boobs in such a short amount of time.” Seriously. Give our interpretation a chance. You’ll laugh at our antics (and likely lament our lack of cultural exposure) and hopefully decide to add all six floors of Bangkok’s MOCA to your must-see list. It’s a fantastic way to spend a good part of your day, whether you’ve been in Bangkok for years or are just visiting for a few days. It’s worth it! Love, Loathe, or Leave This building is sparkling clean, which makes it an anomaly in Bangkok. Unless you’re on a public escalator in Bangkok. Those things are sparkly clean, from the handrails to the treads. Listen in to find how how we feel about that (which is pretty obvious) and how and why the janitorial staff keep them immaculate. We Love Our Supporters! Before we recorded this show we recorded an entire episode about our journey to the MOCA exclusive to our patrons! You can get that full episode when you join dozens of other people who help us keep the show free of annoying by supporting us on Patreon. Please?  Thank you! Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you! You can add our official LINE account, comment on a post or send us a message via our Facebook page, tweet to us @bangkokpodcast, or simply via the contact form on our website. You may also be interested in Greg’s tweets of snarky Bangkok goodness, and you can see way too much of Evo’s face  on Instagram. If you’re really new, the Bangkok Podcast is co-hosted by [...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E55-bangkok-hidden-gems-museum-of-contemporary-art.mp3?dest-id=34166




Acting Like an Actor in Thailand [Season 2 Episode 54]

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 17:01:07 +0000

So Evo was recently the star of a Pakistani commercial shot in Thailand, and by “star” we mean he was on-screen for about four seconds. That got Greg thinking wistfully of his own time as a thespian here in the Land of Smiles, so we thought we'd talk a bit about what it's like being an actor in Thailand. While Evo is the most recent “actor” in this two-way conversation, Greg has by far the longer filmography. And he went to film school! Here are some choice bits from the episode, including some links if you want to watch: Watch Evo’s Sprite commercial. He’s the Pakistani chef, obviously. Watch a clip featuring Greg in the TV miniseries Blackbeard. He’s the panhandler, obviously. Where you can find acting/model/extra gigs in Thailand Working with agents/scouts What you can expect when you go on casting calls in Thailand What life on set is really like on set for every actor who isn’t the star How to hobnob with the actual stars (and make all the extras jealous!) How you too can make thousands of baht (not dollars) acting in Thailand Why you probably should leave your comedic antics at home and not get in trouble like one of us But don’t worry: We won’t let our huge acting success go to our heads. We like doing the podcast, if only because we don’t have to sit around waiting to start. Or share 30% with an agent! Also: Did you know that you can listen to our show via email? We’re all about making it easy to listen to us every week, and email remains the killer app. Sign up if that make sense to you. Oh, and we’ll never send you anything other than the episode each week. We’re not big on email marketing. Like… at all. Love, Loathe, or Leave A good chunk of Bangkok’s commuters avoid traffic by taking… a boat? Yes, the boats of the Saen Saep canal are quite the experience and a super cheap way to get around the city. Find out how we feel about putting our lives and hygiene at risk by taking this low-tech high-speed transit option. We’ll say one thing: it’s authentic! We Love Our Supporters! A quick shout out to cool-as-a-cucumber Juhani Makaranta. And wow, do we hope Juhani has a good sense of humor about the… let’s just go with “special” way Greg introduces him. [sigh] Want Greg to make up stories about you? Maybe you’d like early access to our episodes. Or what about the full-length exclusive episodes we produce every weekly just for our supporters? Join the others by supporting us on Patreon. You get some cool stuff and we get what we need from you to constantly improve the show. Win win! Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you! You can add our official LINE account, comment on a post or send us a message via our Facebook page, tweet to us @bangkokpodcast, or simply via the contact form on our website. You may also be interested in Greg’s tweets of snarky Bangkok goodness, and you can see way too much of Evo’s face  on Instagram. If you’re really new, the Bangkok Podcast is co-hosted by Greg Jorgensen and Evo Terra. Together the have over 20 years expat experience in Ba[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E54-acting-like-an-actor-in-thailand.mp3?dest-id=34166




Thailand Taboos: How To Avoid Getting Kicked Out Of The Kingdom [Season 2 Episode 53]

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 17:01:17 +0000

It’s generally considered bad form to use curse words in the land of peace, order, and smiles that is Thailand. And when a farang uses native Thai bad language, it’s a bit more culturally insensitive. Just like Greg learned this week. But that’s not what we’re talking about today. Thai taboos are the topic of today’s show, a topic we’re all too familiar with. Hey, it happens, and we’re not doing it on purpose. In this episode, we’ll share our personal experiences of things NOT to do during your time in the kingdom. And not just the easy stuff to avoid, like touching strangers on the head (seriously, who does this?), failing to stand quietly when the national anthem plays every day on public transport terminals, not taking off shoes when going inside someone’s house or condo, or committing lese majeste. Clearly you should not do those things. On the program today, we’ll cover some lesser known taboos, like: Being careless with your money (Not spending-wise, as visitors are encouraged to be non-thrifty, but how the bills are treated) Pounding postage stamps Tapping gogo dancers with your foot Stepping over the dead or those pretending to be dead (true story, bro) Picking your teeth (noses are OK) Gesture to a human like you’d gesture to an animal Smuggling Buddha out of the country (please ignore all the vendors trying to sell you Buddha memorabilia, we guess?) Being in public with your naughty bits exposed to the world Raising your voice when you get angry (and you will get angry) The reverse is also true, because some of what we Westerners think of as taboo are perfectly fine here. Things like Using rather direct terms to describe body size, level of hirsute-ness, and skin tone Asking direct questions about income level, age, or other private (from our perspective) affairs … and more Love, Loathe, or Leave It’s not a taboo that prohibits you from buying booze or beer from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm or from midnight to 11:00 am. It’s the law that does that, and it’s enforced at every 7-11 or grocery store. So if you’re in the mood for a beer in the afternoon or just want to prep for a party later that night, you might want to plan ahead. Find out how we feel about this handy law when you listen. (Though you will not be surprised.) We Love Our Supporters! Among our fantastic group of supporters is Mr. Mark Wisdom. You literally will not believe what we found out about this strength trainer from Texas who studied Thai massage. It’s completely unbelievable, and if you’d like Greg to make up stories about you, plus get early access to our episodes and a whole series of exclusive content made just for our supporters, just support us on Patreon. You’ll get all of that and more! Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show.   We’d love to hear from you! You can add our official LINE account, comment on a post or send us a message via our Facebook page, tweet to us @bangkokpodcast, or simply via the contact form on our website. You may also be interested in Greg’s tweets of snarky Bangkok goodness, an[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BPS2E53-Thailand-Taboos-How-To-Avoid-Getting-Kicked-Out-Of-The-Kingdom.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok's Hidden Gems: Chulalongkorn University Centenary Park

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 17:01:51 +0000

Before we get started, we’ve a quick warning for visitors headed to Bangkok in October 2017. We don’t normally recommend listening to the tuk tuk drivers hanging out around the Grand Palace when they tell you that the attraction you want to visit is closed. But this month, they are correct. It’s the culmination of the year of mourning for Thailand, and lots of things are closed. But don’t turn to us for the latest info. You want Richard Barrow for that, as he has all the details of what’s closed and what’s open for your Bangkok visit this month. Today we are on location in an area of Bangkok known as Samyan. This area was first settled by Thai-Chinese people, which isn't all that surprising, seeing that Bangkok's Chinatown is just a kilometer or two up the road. In more recent times, Samyan had become synonymous with street food, supplying locals and attracting visitors from all over Bangkok. Then - and  stop us if you've heard this one before - the vendors were all given notice to pack up and move, and the bulldozers followed quickly behind, leaving many wondering what project was under way. The answer? Chulalongkorn University Centenary Park, which is more than just Bangkok’s newest green space. Listen in to hear us share our experience with this new but still hidden gem in Bangkok: It sits on 28 rai of land, to form an "urban forest" concept It features a specially designed wetland that includes a rain garden, retention pond, and underground water drainage system Evo sharing some botanical knowledge (Fabacea family, not Cannabaceae, stoner) Why the grass at CUCP is way more friendly on your feet than that in Lumpini park But it’s more than just a park. CU sees the park as a an important component of their master plan to convert the Samyan area into… Thailand's Silicon Valley? Other development in Samyan, either planned or underway, including Zy Walk, Samyan Mitr Town, and Suan Luang Square. Love, Loathe, or Leave Perhaps inspired by the beauty of the park, today we’re taking on an iconic food in Bangkok and all of Thailand: dragon fruit. It’s arguably the most beautiful fruit to look at. But the taste? Well, without giving the answer away, we’re at another split decision. Listen in and tell us where your taste buds fall on this issue. And which one of us needs to drink better beer. We Love Our Supporters! If you haven’t yet heard, we’re recording additional full-length episodes every week just for our patrons. We get a little more intimate, a little more fast and loose with the topics, and hopefully provide even more insight into the lives we live every day in the City of Angels. And we’d love to share those episodes -- all of them -- with you. Just support us on Patreon for immediate access. Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show.   We’d love to hear from you! You can add our official LINE account, comment on a post or send us a message via our Facebook page, tweet to us @bangkokpodcast, or simply via the contact form on our website. You may also be interest[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E52-Bangkok-Hidden-Gems-Chulalongkorn-Park.mp3?dest-id=34166




Tuk Tuk Tours in Bangkok Are Not Just For Tourists [Season 2 Episode 51]

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 17:01:48 +0000

On-location from the back of a tuk tuk in Bangkok, we’re pretending to be tourists for the day and, surprisingly enough, discovering some new things about our adopted home. Ride along with us! (Direct download .mp3) Episode Details Astute listeners will notice the marked increase in Bangkok traffic noise in this episode. That’s for a very good reason, as we recorded it from the back of a tuk tuk, driving through the streets of Bangkok. Why are we in a tuk tuk? We’re glad you asked. For as much disdain is thrown on the idea of “doing tourist-y things”, there’s actually merit in that concept. Bangkok is a rapidly changing city, and our friends at Expique are true masters at showcasing some of the greatest areas of Bangkok for their clients -- including a couple of long  term expats (that’s us)! So we hopped in one of their tuk tuks, broke out the microphones, and recorded the activities we experience on their evening food and tuk tuk adventure. Thanks for having us, Expique! Here’s what you’re in for in this episode recorded on-location: A restaurant in Bangkok that serves over 30,000 sticks of pork satay every single day The amazing sights, sounds, and smells of the Bangkok flower market Tasty food made fresh -- with flowers! -- from the chefs at The Market Experience A minor altercation between two tuk tuk drivers post-collision (That was fun!) Why people are no longer allowed to swing on Bangkok’s Giant Swing (Hint: Dead people) Why food tours are a great way to try new food… that you will love or hate, depending on your Canadian palate. Royal guards, missing plaques, and merit making A cameo appearance by our guide, Net Love, Loathe, or Leave Speaking of touristy things to do that locals do as well, you’ve likely heard of Chatuchak Market. There probably isn’t anything you can’t buy there, which makes it an easy place to love. But there are a few loathe-able aspects of JJ market as well. We’ll tell you want we think if you take a listen to this episode. We Love Our Supporters! Due to our recording environment, we didn’t call any specific patron out on the episode. But that doesn’t mean we don’t love our patrons! You can join dozens of other people who help us keep the show free of annoying ads and get access to bonus content, cool swag and more by supporting us on Patreon. Please? Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you! You can add our official LINE account, comment on a post or send us a message via our Facebook page, tweet to us @bangkokpodcast, or simply via the contact form on our website. You may also be interested in Greg’s tweets of snarky Bangkok goodness, and you can see way too much of Evo’s face  on Instagram. If you’re really new, the Bangkok Podcast is co-hosted by Greg Jorgensen and Evo Terra. Together the have over 20 years expat experience in Bangkok, and are self-certified experts in living in the City of Angels. (Not Los Angeles. Thailand, silly!) [...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E51-Travel-Like-a-Tourist.mp3?dest-id=34166




The Q&A Episode: Happy Anniversary to Us! (2.50)

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 17:01:51 +0000

After a brief moment of vindication on the news that 10% of Bangkok traffic police failed a test about traffic laws, we dive right into the questions from the audience. This is our one year anniversary show since the re-launch, and it’s all about you talking to us! Shaun wants to know our opinion on outdoor activities such as “wild swimming” in the seas and rivers and hiking in the forests and parks all around Thailand. Vincent is looking for some recommendation on movies from Thailand, plus has some geeky questions about the process we use to record episodes of the podcast each week. Oh! And he scoops us on a new “jungle” being built on an old swamp that’s now an airport. Gotta check that out! Dan is curious about the dining/entertainment options just across the river from us in the Silom/Surasak area, and Dylan has a tricky immigration/citizenship question, which means we need to give a serious answer? Love, Loathe, or Leave Matthew makes the suggestion this week, asking how we feel about getting the attention of wait staff in various restaurants around Thailand. It’s not like we’re totally ignored...just mostly. But that’s really more a cultural thing than an “ignore the big white dude and maybe he’ll go away” thing. Still, it takes some getting used to, which means we probably love it or loath it. Listen in to find out which it is! We Love Our Supporters! This week, we’re thanking another of our supporters and his time, Terry Blackburn has the honors. Greg found out that Terry was such an inspirational student of karate, he forever changed the sport. Curious why that fact (?) is relevant? You’ll have to listen to find out what story we have to tell. You can thank Terry and dozens of other people who help us keep the show free of annoying ads and get access to bonus content, cool swag and more by supporting us on Patreon. You should join them! Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you! You can add our official LINE account, comment on a post or send us a message via our Facebook page, tweet to us @bangkokpodcast, or simply via the contact form on our website. You may also be interested in Greg’s tweets of snarky Bangkok goodness, and you can see way too much of Evo’s face  on Instagram. If you’re really new, the Bangkok Podcast is co-hosted by Greg Jorgensen and Evo Terra. Together the have over 20 years expat experience in Bangkok, and are self-certified experts in living in the City of Angels. (Not Los Angeles. Thailand, silly!) (Direct download .mp3) [...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E50_-_Q-and-A-episode-happy-anniversary-to-us_3.mp3?dest-id=34166




Getting Married In Thailand: A Western Perspective (2.49)

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 17:01:12 +0000

Today Greg looks back to his Thai wedding to help us discuss just how much you can expect to spend on your own happy day in Thailand. That’s after a brief talk about avoiding floods and transit-hacking in Bangkok, obviously. Good news: we’re not flooded out, though plenty of the world is right now. Perhaps influenced by the terrible news from Bangladesh, Houston, and much of the Caribbean, the government issued warnings about flooding on the Chao Phraya River, which both of us see every day. But what we didn’t see was any part of the river exceeding its boundaries here in Bangkok, so we’re calling ourselves safe. For now. But weren’t we here to talk about Thai weddings? A few years back, Greg wrote a blog post about how much his Thai wedding cost, a post that remains one of his most popular. That and the fact that Greg still gets questions about getting married in Thailand, we’re dedicating this episode to all the nitty gritty details, what went right, what went wrong, and what you can expect if you decide to get married to a Thai in Thailand. It’s bananas. No, literally. Bananas are involved. You’ve got to listen to this episode and compare it to your nuptial experience. Or experiences, if you’re a repeater. Love, Loathe, or Leave Since we’re talking Thai weddings, we discuss the touchy subject of the dowry. You probably don’t have to think to hard to hear how a couple of Western dudes feel about the sometimes symbolic, sometimes all too real concept of paying the family for a bride, but you should listen in anyhow. And then tell us if you agree with our summation or not! We Love Our Supporters! This week, we’re thanking another of our supporters and his time, Kurt Martens has the honors. Greg found out that Kurt was not just a track star in his younger days, but a track hacker. What’s that all about? You’ll have to listen to find out what story we have to tell. You can thank Kurth and dozens of other people who help us keep the show free of annoying ads and get access to bonus content, cool swag and more by supporting us on Patreon. You should join them! Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show.   We’d love to hear from you! You can add our official LINE account, comment on a post or send us a message via our Facebook page, tweet to us @bangkokpodcast, or simply via the contact form on our website. You may also be interested in Greg’s tweets of snarky Bangkok goodness, and you can see way too much of Evo’s face  on Instagram. If you’re really new, the Bangkok Podcast is co-hosted by Greg Jorgensen and Evo Terra. Together the have over 20 years expat experience in Bangkok, and are self-certified experts in living in the City of Angels. (Not Los Angeles. Thailand, silly!)[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKS2E49-Getting-Married-In-Thailand-from-the-Western-Perspective.mp3?dest-id=34166




Do Only Weirdos Live In Bangkok? (2.48)

Tue, 05 Sep 2017 17:01:32 +0000

On this episode we ask the immortal question: do you have to be a little bit strange to live in Bangkok? We don’t mean that (necessarily) in a bad way, you understand. But it sure seems that, on some level, people who tend to thrive on chaos deal really well with the uncertainty, noise, culture shock, and political instability that are endemic to Thailand. If nothing else, you sure need to have an 'elastic outlook' on life. All of that is the exact opposite of life in most western countries, so by definition, you have to be okay with rejecting the "normal" parts of your native culture. And that’s something not everyone is comfortable with. Not surprisingly, your hosts of the Bangkok Podcast self-identify with the moniker “weirdo”, which probably explains why we’re doing alright here. In this episode we talk about why we fit, what other strange people we’ve met during our time in the kingdom, and then diss on some people who claim to be strange, yet just follow along with the crowd. Let your freak flag fly and enjoy this fun episode of our show. Love, Loathe, or Leave We’ve all seen them - trimming hedges, fixing cables, doing construction work. The hidden ninjas of Bangkok, the manual laborers who clad themselves from head to toe in clothing despite the ungodly heat and job in direct sunlight. Why do they do it? Don’t they get dehydrated? And why do they look at us like WE’RE the strange ones for wearing shorts? We Love Our Supporters! This week, we’re thanking another of our supporters. This time, it’s Chris “The Coin” Stevens. How did Chris earn that cool nickname? You’ll have to listen to find out what story we have to tell. You can thank Cookies and dozens of other people who help us keep the show free of annoying ads and get access to bonus content, cool swag and more by supporting us on Patreon. You should join them! Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you! You can add our official LINE account, comment on a post or send us a message via our Facebook page, tweet to us @bangkokpodcast, or simply via the contact form on our website. You may also be interested in Greg’s tweets of snarky Bangkok goodness, and you can see way too much of Evo’s face  on Instagram. If you’re really new, the Bangkok Podcast is co-hosted by Greg Jorgensen and Evo Terra. Together the have over 20 years expat experience in Bangkok, and are self-certified experts in living in the City of Angels. (Not Los Angeles. Thailand, silly!) (Direct download .mp3) [...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BPS2E48-Do-Only-Weirdos-Live-In-Bangkok.mp3?dest-id=34166




Paradise Lost? Island Living in Thailand (2.47)

Tue, 29 Aug 2017 17:01:31 +0000

Today we compare living in Bangkok vs a tropical island paradise in Thailand. Also, we share how you can participate in our upcoming one year anniversary show, and give yet another reminder about the big Bangkok-wide I Love Podcasting In Bangkok event coming up August 30th, 2017. Please forgive the sound of the rolling surf in the background during the interview with this week's guest. That’s just one bonus of living on an island in Thailand vs the big city of Bangkok: giving up the sounds of traffic for the sounds of the sea. Like many people, our guest this week - an old friend of Greg's named Tad - first discovered Thailand on a famous full moon party island. After stretching his vacation to two months, he went back to his native home in Los Angeles and started making plans for full-time living in his newfound paradise. A year later, he was back at the same spot, ready to do it again and forever. Stop me if you heard this one, but it wasn’t quite the same the second time around. Paradise, as it seems, can be lost. “It’s like Groundhog Day, but with Red Bull and SangSom.” - Tad Still convinced that island living was what he wanted, he packed up and moved to the barely-occupied Thai island Ko Lanta to try his hand at living pre-tourist wave. But that was a decade ago. Fast-forward to today for our episode topic: Expat living in Thailand away from the hustle-and-bustle of Bangkok, deep in paradise. Is it really all it’s cracked up to be? Can you really trust a “professional electrician” who wears flip flops on the job? And how often can you hit the waves when you’re running your dream business seven days a week? Tad brings a healthy dose of reality for those ready to follow their dreams. Listen in to get some pro tips. Oh, and to add a bit of color to the interview, here's a photo Greg took from Tad's pad on Lanta. No wonder you could hear waves in the background. Click to embiggen. As mentioned on the episode, we're quickly approaching one year of doing the podcast, and for our 50th show we’ll be featuring questions submitted by our listeners, so get in touch via the links below! Also, if you haven't yet RSVP'd to the big I Love Podcasting In Bangkok meetup coming up on August 30th, please do so. Love, Loathe, or Leave While there are many cultural affections in Bangkok that stand out to North Americans, we’re covering the comb-over on this episode. You know, that thing that went out of style in the ‘60s and only adopted by old men who didn’t get the news? It’s categorically not out of style over here and is as commonplace as women carrying shoulder bags. Listen in to find out where our heads are on the issue. (Did you see what we did there?) We Love Our Supporters! This week, we’re thanking another of our supporters. This time, it’s Matthew “Cookies" Cramer. How did Matthew -- or just Cookies -- earn that title? You’ll have to listen to find out what story we have to tell. You can thank Cookies and dozens of other people who help us keep the show free of annoying ads and get access to bonus content, cool swag and more by supporting us on Patreon. You should join them! Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really [...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKS2E47-Paradise-Lost-Island-Living-in-Thailand.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Needs A Facelift (2.46)

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 18:00:14 +0000

This week we take a break from talking about how much we love Bangkok to discuss the city's ugly, dusty, dirty side. Prior to that we'll tell you about our bike-tastic weekend. Because sometimes you just gotta get out of the city and enjoy the rest of Thailand, right? Evo gets burned on the beach in Hua Hin, and Greg MacGyver’s his way through a bike ride in remote Bangkok. Clearly we love living in the Kingdom, but as with most relationships, there are things that drive you a bit crazy. One of those things about Bangkok is that while it's certainly a fascinating city, it is not a very attractive city. At least not at first sight. What’s not to love? Well… abandoned buildings still dot the landscape, giving many aspects of Bangkok a bit of a post-apocalyptic feel. And even for occupied buildings, the elements aren’t nice to our hi-so condos, and many could use with a fresh (or perhaps first ever) coat of paint. When you do see color on buildings, it’s often from re-purposed polyvinyl signs used in some rather ingenious (and likely not permitted) construction project. Of course, we’ll talk about the twisted knot of telecommunication lines that is inescapable in Bangkok if you happen to look just slightly up. Which you probably don’t do very often for fear of stepping into an open hole in the sidewalk, falling down a bottomless pit. But maybe that’s just our perception as farangs who’ve lived too long in the city? For it certainly stands in contrast with the army of street cleaners who sweep the streets around Bangkok with brooms and dustpans. Give this episode a listen and let us know your thoughts on the less-beautiful side of Bangkok. Maybe we’re being to critical? Love, Loathe, or Leave How do we feel about fish sauce, that salty, MSG-laden black liquid that Bangkokians put on just about everything? Not surprisingly, it’s a split decision this week. (Spoiler: One of your hosts might have sent a whole bunch of postcards around the world doused in the savory goodness! And the other likes ketchup. Gross.) We Love Our Supporters! You really need to meet Christine Foti, the lovely person this week who deserves our thanks and your awe. Why? A few years back she called her cable company to cancel her service, and they were so scared of losing such a stellar customer, they offered to pay her if she didn't leave. Now she makes a nice chunk of change from companies that simply want to be associated with her. When she’s not doing that, Christine and a few other fantastic people help us keep the show free of annoying ads and get access to bonus content, cool swag and more by supporting us on Patreon. You should join them! Also, thanks to J Robert MM for the lovely review of the Bangkok Podcast on iTunes. You rock, JRMM, and enjoy life in Kanchanburi! Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you! You c[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BPS2E46-Bangkok-Needs-A-Facelift.mp3?dest-id=34166




Holy Cow! The Role of Hindu Priests in Buddhist Thailand’s Royal Court (2.45)

Tue, 15 Aug 2017 17:01:04 +0000

Today we’re talking with an expert on the Brahmin, a Hindu caste that plays a very important role in the highest levels of Thai society. And we have something special planned for our one year episode. Oh, and there's a Bangkok-wide podcast meetup coming up. We’ll cover that and more on episode 2.45 of the Bangkok Podcast. Have you RSVP’d to the big, huge, love-fest that will be the I Love Podcasting In Bangkok meetup on August 30th? It’s free, low-key, and something we’d like to repeat on a regular basis. So if you’re in town and free that evening, come join us and lot of other podcasters, podcast listeners, and those just interested in learning more about podcasting for a few beers and conversation. It’ll be fun! And if that’s not interesting enough, we’re coming up on our one-year anniversary of the podcast relaunch! We’re collecting questions, comments, and other items that you, our loyal listeners and fans would like for us to talk about on this special show. There are plenty of links at the bottom of this post if you’d like to send a query. But that’s not what we’re talking about on this episode. Recently, Greg chatted with Nathan McGovern, Assistant Professor in Philosophy and Religious studies at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater. He has a BA in Physics and a PhD in Religious Studies, and is a specialist on a unique Hindu Caste called the Brahmins. Not a lot of people have heard of the Brahmins, and even if you have you may not be aware that they play a vital role in the highest levels of Thai society and have been doing so for hundreds of years. Here are a few tidbits you’ll pick up from this fascinating conversation How Hindu priests (Brahmins) became employed by Thailand’s Royal Court (a Buddhist institution) hundreds of years ago -- and remain today What services the Hindu priests perform in Thailand’s Royal Court and how that differs from the Buddhist priests Why having Hindu priests quite close to the center of power in Thailand isn’t quite as strange as it might seem Which modern ceremony performed by Brahmins expats in Bangkok have probably have seen Where to visit the almost-hidden Brahmin temple in Bangkok Love, Loathe, or Leave What’s up with the trend (?) of using “bro” via messages in Bangkok? And how is it supposed to be pronounced? Brough? Brugh? Brah? We’re puzzled, so listen in and see just how much tiny things like this bother us. Or not. We Love Our Supporters! While we love ALL of our listeners, friends, and fans, we especially love the supporters on Patreon who help us keep the show going and free of annoying ads. This week we’re shouting out to Amy P. As is the norm, Greg did some research on Amy P. and came up with an interesting story. Have a listen to hear why she's such an amazing person! To help support the show like Amy did and get access to bonus content and cool swag, head to patreon.com/bangkokpodcast. Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able [...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BPS2E45-Holy-Cow-The-Role-of-Hindu-Priests-in-Thailands-Buddhist-Royal-Court.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok's Hidden Gems: The Scala Theater (2.44)

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 17:01:32 +0000

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again - Bangkok is an interesting city; but it ain’t a pretty city. But that’s not to say that there aren’t places of architectural significance or historical importance, because there are. One of those is the magnificent Scala theater - at least until it gets knocked down for another mall. Oh, and while recording this episode on location at the Scala, we were kicked out because we didn’t have permission (you can hear this conversation with the theater’s major domo in the Patreon bonus content). Also in this episode, Evo wonders why bowling in Thailand is more glam than redneck, and Greg muses about the dangers of driving huge trucks in Bangkok if you can’t see out of the goddamn windows. Where we come from - and perhaps where you, dear reader, also come from - bowling is something you do for a laugh. It’s a sport so ridiculous, so fringe, so cheesy, that it’s hard to take anyone seriously who takes it seriously. But not in Thailand - no, here people actually dress up to head to the bowling alley with friends. As he prepares to head out with wifey’s friends for an evening of ball play, Evo is unsure what to expect. But our main topic is the awesome Scala movie theater, one of the Bangkok’s last, best remnants of a more glamorous time, where movies were shown in 70mm and theaters were - as you can still see - built with more love and attention to detail than a modern office building. But how long will it last? Owned by Chulalongkorn University, the land that the Scala sits on is some of the most valuable real estate in the country, and when money talks, no one’s speaking very loudly by selling movie seats at 100 baht a pop. So sadly, inevitably, it’s only a matter of time until the Scala gets turned into a new mall, but until then, it’s open for business. We discuss its history, its significance, and why should make it a point to make a visit post-haste. And - as a bonus - here's the picture if Pinocchio from the Scala that Greg mentioned in this episode's Patreon bonus content - just before they got kicked out of the theater. Love, Loathe, or Leave Greg wonders why in the HELL the drivers of trucks - not pickups or ¼-ton specials, but full-size 2-ton big-rigs - feel the need to cover their windshields with stickers, add lights and various bling to the mirrors, and otherwise bedazzle their trucks all to hell. Safe? Nope. Aerodynamic? Nope. Cool looking? Also nope...at least from our perspective. We Love Our Supporters! This week we’re giving a HUGE thank you to Matt B, who is supporting the show at the highest level, meaning that he’ll soon get a personalized, very special gift from us. We also tell you why Matt is the type of guy you wish you knew, and hope to have around if a fire ever breaks out. We’ll say nice things about you on an episode too, plus give you bonus content and early access to our shows, for a modest level of financial support. And by “modest”, we mean a couple of bucks! Join the growing list of listeners who support our podcast on Patreon. Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast,[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/Bangkoks_Hidden_Gems_-_The_Scala_Theater.mp3?dest-id=34166




News Flash: English News on Thailand from Thailand is Hard to Find (2.43)

Tue, 01 Aug 2017 17:01:16 +0000

A discussion about the challenges and barriers to getting quality English-language news on Thailand from Thailand. And Evo’s learning to write like a 3-year-old. After that, the magic of pork floss. Because Bangkok Podcast. Evo’s decided that maybe he does need to learn Thai. So he picked up a new book, Fun Training From Chicken to Owl. Well, that’s the English translation. Why has he flip-flopped on his opinion on learning Thai? Because Stu Jay Raj said so. Fine. But that’s not what we’re talking about today. Thailand isn't quite as dedicated to the concept of a "free press" as most Westerners are used to. While it's not quite state-controlled like North Korea, China, or Russia, there are limitations -- about 44 of them (wink) -- to how far the Thai press will go. But for expats, there's a more fundamental problem: Actually getting any news from Thailand about Thailand in a language other than Thai. More than one expat new to the area has bemoaned the lack of English-based content coming out of the Thai media. And for good reason. On this episode of the Bangkok Podcast, we’re covering English-presented news generated from within the kingdom of Thailand. So if you’re looking for your TV, radio, or newsprint-based fix for news, this episode of our podcast will help point you in the right direction. Love, Loathe, or Leave This one needs no preamble, as we’re talking about the magic of pork floss. Yes, pork floss. Or as Greg calls it, pig-flavored cotton candy. Because if that doesn’t sound tasty to you, there is something terribly wrong with you. Like one of us. Listen in to see and see who you side with, as we’ve a split decision this week. We Love Our Supporters! This week we’re giving a HUGE thank you to ex-expat Adam Payet. He’s been forced to move back to a big desert island, but keeps up with the goings on in his adopted homeland (that’s Bangkok), by listening to The Bangkok Podcast. And because he’s a super nice guy, he’s helping to keep the show going every week. Thanks, Adam! We’ll say nice things about you on an episode, plus give you bonus content and early access to our shows, for a modest level of financial support. And by “modest”, we mean a couple of bucks! Join the growing list of listeners who support our podcast on Patreon. Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you! You can add our official LINE account, comment on a post or send us a message via our Facebook page, tweet to us @bangkokpodcast, or simply via the contact form on our website. You may also be interested in Greg’s tweets of snarky Bangkok goodness, and you can see way to much of Evo’s face  on Instagram. If you’re really new, the Bangkok Podcast is co-hosted by Greg Jorgensen and Evo Terra. Together the have ov[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E43-News-Flash-Its-Hard-To-Get-The-News-In-Thailand-In-English.mp3?dest-id=34166




The Science Behind Tasty Thai Food (2.42)

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 17:01:49 +0000

This week we’re talking with an honest to goodness food scientist who gives us the lowdown on the health benefits - or lack thereof - of Thai food and its sundry ingredients. But first, Evo plays Robin Hood as he recounts a pleasant encounter with a wandering sheriff. What are the odds a visitor to Bangkok would not only run into one of the hosts of his favorite podcast, but run into said favorite podcast co-host just minutes after listening? Pretty high if you happen to visit Jack’s Bar. But as cool and unexpected as that was, it’s not what we’re talking about today. Adam Yee is a food scientist who works at a billion dollar health-and-wellness company in Phoenix Arizona. He’s the kind of guy who takes his work home with him, because he’s also the host of a podcast called My Food Job Rocks!. We brought Adam on the show to dispel the rumors and myths about the healthiness of Thai Food. Adam has a lot to share about what science says about fad diets and more, including these choice bits: How gluten spreads civilization (no offence to those diagnosed with Celiac Disease) Why you shouldn’t (and practically can’t) avoid MSG in Thailand A reference to the tastiest of tastes: umami Why you can blame the American military for Thailand’s dedication to sweetened condensed milk in everything How to curry favor from a food scientist (did you see what I did there?) The curious case of tamarind and why anyone would find it a tasty food additive Since Adam is curious about Thailand (his roomie is Thai), we talked about some unique aspects of Bangkok that shows why he’s a great food scientist. Among other things, we covered: The flavors and styles of snacks are made from seaweed The Mexican food scene of Bangkok (since he’s from Arizona, right on the Mexican border) How mayonnaise contributes to the Thainization of sushi Why Thais love Red #40 like French Canadians love Yellow #6 Macro trends on Thai-centric health concerns Love, Loathe, or Leave As we’ve talked about on prior episodes, Bangkok cops are cracking down on helmetless riders. Mototaxi drivers are accommodating, offering pay passenger a spare helmet. But when you’re sporting a mellon the the size of a beachball like both of us, it’s more about fine-avoidance than safety. Listen in to find out how we deal with this reality. We Love Our Supporters! In fact, we’re considering a special meetup for anyone who lives in or will be traveling to Bangkok next month. Are you interested? Even if you can’t make it in August but do travel frequently to Bangkok, let us know. Maybe we’ll do it on a regular basis! Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you, either on the contact form on our website or through a comment or message on our[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E42_-_Food_Science.mp3?dest-id=34166




Unlearning Thai: Talking with Stu Jay Raj about cracking Thai fundamentals (2.41)

Tue, 18 Jul 2017 17:01:25 +0000

We’re talking with Stu Jay Raj, who uses his fluency in 12 languages to help "fluent" Thai second-language speakers connect on a more personal level than they ever thought they could. But first, the most Thai way to listen to the show and communicate directly with Evo. (Don't tell Greg!) Before we get started, we need to talk about our Patreon page, the only way we raise funds to support the show, and how many people have already signed up to get bonus content and extra content from us for a few bucks. There’s also our quasi-official LINE account, where a few of our followers are engaging in one-on-one conversations with Evo all the time. Are you connected with one or both of those? No? Fix that. You’ll get the warm fuzzies almost immediately! Prosody. It’s not a Thai word, but it’s not a word that either of us were familiar with. And, as it turns out, it’s key to becoming a better Thai speaker. That’s what you’ll learn when you listen to Greg’s conversation with one of the most talented and well-known polyglots in Asia, Stu Jay Raj.  He’s fluent in over 12 languages including English, Thai, Lao, Indonesian, Malay, Khmer, Burmese, Spanish, Hindi, Danish, and Vietnamese, with working knowledge of several more.  But he's not your average language educator. He has a degree in Cognitive and Applied Linguistics and uses his skills as a corporate facilitator, cross-cultural training specialist, and to assist multinationals, governments and NGOs in high-level conflict resolution. Here’s what you’ll learn from Stu when you listen to this conversation: Why the street is your best classroom when learning the natural rhythms and patterns of the foreign language you’re trying to learn. The truth about “fluency” and why it doesn’t really tell you how well someone can communicate Why you never want to be complimented on your skills when speaking another language How much leaned sound patterns from your native tongue are screwing up your mastery of Thai Why it’s OK to blame the Romans for the naughty phrases we accidentally say when we try to speak Thai How much easier it is to learn multiple languages at a time (as crazy as that sounds) What the biggest mistakes Thai language learners make… and how to stop! Why Stu claims that Thai is a beautiful, logical, and confusion free language -- once you learn it the right way And finally, why you should buy the book or take the course and start learning Thai the right way. Love, Loathe, or Leave Some things really push our buttons. In this case… it’s Thai people in elevators pushing the door close or door open button. Every. Time. Even though they know the door will close in a matter of sub-seconds… they’ll still push the button. Every. Time. You can probably guess how we feel about this. But if you listen, you’ll learn a fun prank to play. (And it won’t get you kicked out of the country! Probably not.) Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically e[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E41_-_Unlearning_Thai.mp3?dest-id=34166




Talking with Ron Morris, author of The Thai Book: A Field Guide to Thai Political Motivations (2.40)

Tue, 11 Jul 2017 17:01:25 +0000

On this episode of the Bangkok Podcast, we interview Ron Morris, the author of The Thai Book: A Field Guide to Thai Political Motivations. But before we get into that discussion, Greg goes into (thankfully minor) detail about his second experience with food poisoning after 16 years of eating street food. Given the size of Greg, it's safe to say he's an expert on street food. But despite eating his way through, under, around, and on top of Bangkok for his entire time here, he has only been sick from eating street food once. Until last week. There was no hospital visit or death bed vigils, but the crab curry he ate made sure he spent a "lot of time alone, in a small room," if you get the drift. Nothing to do with Thai food...it could happen anywhere. But still...you play with fire, you get burned. But our main topic today is miles away from street food yet still very much in the street. Ron Morris is an author and Thai political commentator who has been in Asia for decades. As the man behind 2Bangkok.com, he's built up a reputation as someone who calls it like it is, with a keen insight into the motivations and reasoning behind the often murky - even opaque - political machinations of Thailand's leaders. Evo's discussion with him is broken into "chapters" which Evo and Greg comment on, but they include topics such as: What Bangkok was like in the 1990s when Ron's first coup took place, the infamous Black May protest of 1992, which saw 52 deaths Why protests in Thailand are seen as a very last resort before it hits the fan, unlike in western countries where protest is a sign of a strong, stable democracy The concepts of "face" and "big man" and how they guide relationships, reactions, business, and politics Why it's impossible to graft the western ideas of liberal/conservative/libertarian etc onto Thai political parties Ron's comments on the current administration, and what they're doing that others have not. Love, Loathe, or Leave This week is more of a "Would You Rather", but Greg and Evo discuss transportation in the rainy season. Which do you prefer: having a car, deciding when/how/where you go, controlling your environment....and possibly getting stuck in traffic for 3 hours? Or would you rather be crushed into the BTS, fighting off commuters and splashes from the rain...but have a pretty good idea of when you'll get home? OR...how about just ignoring all of that and riding between the cars on a motorbike...but having to deal with wet shoes and rain gear? Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you, either on the contact form on our website or through a comment or message on our Facebook page. You can Tweet to the show @bangkokpodcast or follow Gre[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E40_-_Ron_Morris.mp3?dest-id=34166




The Best Pad Thai Is Average By Design (2.39)

Tue, 04 Jul 2017 17:01:26 +0000

This week we take a closer look at why Thailand's national dish -- pad thai -- isn't actually very representative of Thai food. But first, an innovative way to get out of a traffic ticket in Thailand when it happens to you. Evo tested. Evo approved. Before we get started with the meat of the show, we have to tell you the story of Evo getting ticketed for a traffic offense he really didn’t commit. Which meant he lost his license and had to then go argue his case in person at some some tiny cop-shop in the far northwestern corner of Bangkok. And by “argue”, we mean smile, stay friendly, and then don’t go away until the police officer gets sick of the whole situation, leading him to tear up the ticket and hand over the license. (Note: The Bangkok Podcast does not endorse this behavior. Drive safely, please!) But that’s not what we’re talking about today. Instead, we’re covering the classic, quintessential dish that everyone has to have when they visit Bangkok -- pad thai. Only... what if it's not all it's cracked up to be? To get to the bottom of this, Evo put on his investigative journalist hat once again and looked into the national -- or perhaps ultra-national -- dish of Thailand. Some fascinating things you’ll learn about this dish when you listen to this episode of the Bangkok Podcast: It’s not ancient and came about from a nation-wide competition It was designed to showcase Thailand’s entrance to the western world It’s either the most un-Thai Thai food or the most-representative-of-Thai-culture Thai food, depending on your perspective A dozen or so dishes that are much tastier (and spicier!) than pad thai (we recommend laab moo) The best Dairy Queen Blizzard you can’t get in your home country How to make your grandmother shudder by putting sugar in her beef stew. Unless she’s Thai. How two farang think you should apply the best spices from the kruang prung collection the next time you visit Thailand (or your local Thai food joint) The easiest way you can show your support for our show (and get cool stuff) via Patreon. Love, Loathe, or Leave Middle aged men in Thailand have a natural, built in air conditioner that the two of us really need to get behind. You might have heard of “buddha belly”, but I don’t think you mean the same thing. How do we feel about these large dudes and their makeshift midriff? Listen this episode and find out.   Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you, either on the contact form on our website or through a comment or message on our Facebook page. You can Tweet to the show @bangkokpodcast or follow Greg’s tweets of snarky Bangkok goodness. Evo chronicles hi[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E39_-_Pad_Thai.mp3?dest-id=34166




Best Mobile Apps For Bangkok in 2017 (2.38)

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 17:01:11 +0000

A listener suggestion drives this show as we talk about which smartphone apps we use to make living in Bangkok that much easier, on this extra-long episode of the Bangkok Podcast. Oh, and Evo is terrible at his job. But he’s getting better, and it makes for a funny story. We launched our Patreon page last week, and it’s working! People are supporting us! Not a huge number, but some. Which means you love it. Wanna help? We’d love it. We even recorded cool video for you. Actually, we had to re-record that video, as you’ll hear later. But enough about us begging for money (but seriously, a buck or two each month goes a long way) and let’s get on with the show proper, shall we? The topic of this week's episode was sent to us by listener Amy. She asked: "What apps do you use that are especially useful as expats in BKK? I'm visiting for the first time in 9 years (!!) next month and I know the city is going to be VERY different than when I lived there. Anything I can use to make it easier?" We thought it best to break the conversation into various app categories. And even though we’re spoiling it here in our show notes, be sure to listen to the episode to hear why we recommend them, as well as a few tips and cautionary tales. Oh, and where possible, we’ll link to the developer website to make this as applicable to everyone as possible. Getting around Bangkok Google Maps Uber Grab DLT Check-In (which, as you'll hear, has apparently stopped working) Getting food in Bangkok foodpanda Uber Eats Eatigo TripAdvisor Getting News about Bangkok (and back home) Google News Reddit Twitter Flipboard Communicating with others in Bangkok LINE Facebook Messenger WhatsApp Finding entertainment in Bangkok Apple Music Spotify Netflix imgur Thai Language Thai-English ThaiDict (aka Talking Thai) Special Use Express VPN XE Currency Currency Voice Map Got A Favorite App We Missed? This is the type of topic where we know we can’t be right all the time, so help us out by adding your favorite app in the comments or through one of the many social media outlets listed below. Love, Loathe, or Leave We know it’s incumbent upon us to to learn Thai, not the other way around. But still, it’s a little off putting and jarring when “YOU! YOU! YOU!” is how someone here wants to get our attention. But do we hate it enough to make us want to leave? Probably not, but you should listen and see if you agree. Want More Bangkok Podcast In Your Life? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you, either on the contact form on our website or through a comment or message on our Facebook page. You can Tweet to the show @bangkokpodcast or follow Greg’s t[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E38_-_Bangkok_Apps.mp3?dest-id=34166




The Funniest Way To Get A Thai Drivers License In Bangkok (2.37)

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 17:01:55 +0000

Now that we’re both legally licensed drivers in Thailand, we take a little extra time to tell you about the process we went through… and why not one bit of it actually prepared us for driving in Bangkok. Plus we'll share a new way you can show your support for our show. Because you love us! Before we get to driving in Thailand -- legally or otherwise -- we should talk about Patreon, a new way to let you, dear listener, help fund our efforts. If you're a fan of the show and want to show your appreciation, just go to Patreon.com/BangkokPodcast to make it happen. For just a buck a month (that’s only ฿34), you help us out and get some cool stuff in return. Check it out. We’ll love you forever! As a frequent listener of the Bangkok Podcast, you already know that Thailand is the second most dangerous country in the world to drive in - right behind Libya! - but despite that, both of us are licensed to drive. Evo just got his motorbike license last week, and Greg has had his automobile license for about a decade now. On this episode, we’ll tell you in great comedic and exasperating detail the process that we went through to be legal drivers in Thailand. Spoiler alert: it’s maddening. But funny! And a great example of “Thainess”. Many (perhaps most) expats living in Bangkok don’t even bother getting their licenses, opting instead to pass a few hundred baht to the cop when (not if) they are pulled over. But that seems to be changing, with a slew of new initiatives that are compelling cops all over Thailand to start cracking down on bad behavior, actually impounding bikes and issuing actual fines. If you think getting your license was a challenge in your own home country, you have to listen to this episode to see how it compares to Thailand. For fun, check out the test online and see how you fare. Keep your eyes out for tanks and race cars! And if you’re also expat-ing in Bangkok and have gone through the pain, please share your experience with us in the comments, our social sites, or with your own network. (And use the #thaipod hashtag!) Did We Mention Patreon? If you love the show we produce every week, we’d love -- as in really, really appreciate -- your support. Patreon makes it very easy to support the creators you love (hey, that’s us!) for just a buck or so a month. As an incentive, we’ve put in a few fun rewards in the mix, from bonus content to t-shirts to live events. Thanks in advance for your support. Just check out Patreon.com/bangkokpodcast to help us out. Love, Loathe, or Leave Are the girls on the BTS vampires or stoned? Probably neither, but the cheap colored contact lenses that are all the rage sure make them seem that way. Not that either of us have an issue with an effort to change your appearance or be unique (let your freak flag fly, people!), but this can’t be healthy. And it can be a little terrifying. Surprise? We’re not fans. How do you feel about it? Are you as creeped out as we are? Want More Bangko[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E37_-_Driving_Licenses.mp3?dest-id=34166




The Challenges Of Urban Planning In Bangkok (2.36)

Tue, 13 Jun 2017 17:01:07 +0000

A Bangkok city planner helps bring some clarity to the ongoing (and confusing) development of Bangkok. But first, a very magical (and very Thai) cure for terrorism. All of that and more on this episode of the Bangkok Podcast. Remember the news from a few weeks ago when two journalists were arrested in Bangkok’s airport because they were carrying body armor? While the the arrest captured everyone’s attention, it’s not the funniest part of the story. Greg happens to be friends with one of the journalists in question, and he related an unbelievable (unless you like in Thailand) alternate body armor solution offered by the Royal Thai Police. Ah, Thailand. But that’s not what we’re talking about today. Bangkok is a growing city. To the untrained eye (that’s us) a lot of it looks like disorganized chaos, unrepentant disregard for historical properties, and unchecked sprawl -- vertically and horizontally. To get a better perspective, we invited Tao Rugkhapan to help us out. He’s a lecturer at the School of Global Studies at Thammasat University and he used to work for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration as an urban planner. He also did his PhD work on Bangkok's preservation of Chinatown, an area of Bangkok we both love. Kuhn Tao helps us understand some of the finer points of Bangkok's urban development. Some of them are: Why density is so high around current and planned transit stations What sort of planning cycle Bangkok uses The problems current zoning restrictions face The friction between private property owners and historic preservation efforts Why Sathorn is no longer the financial district of Bangkok A couple of major overhauls to Bangkok that will (again) change the landscape The unwavering impact of gentrification on Bangkok’s oldest communities A look at what the future might hold for Krung Thep In reality, we have a wet, crowded, and likely less historic city ahead of us. But it’s not all bad news on the Bangkok-living front. While we can’t predict the future with any accuracy, we certainly do seem to be living in interesting times, for whatever that’s worth. New Things To Do! If you want to do something helpful to expose the world to Thai podcasting, would you mind sharing your favorite show (hopefully this one) with your friends on Twitter, Facebook, LINE, Instagram, or whatever and use the hashtag #thaipod. Unsure how far it’ll go, but why not? Share your favorite show based in Thailand with the world using #thaipod. And if you’ve been looking for a universal way to review and rate this podcast -- heck, this specific episode if you like -- check out Podchaser and use the key “Bangkok” to get early access. Rate us (say nice things!) and any other show you listen to -- no matter what platform you use to listen to your podcasts. It’s new and we’re helping them out by sending our listeners their way. Try it out! Love, Loathe, or Leave Since the dawn of time (or at least public [...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E36_-_The-Future-of-Bangkok.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok’s War On Street Food: A Live Report (2.35)

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 17:01:13 +0000

Live from Bangkok’s Chinatown, it's Sunday night! Well, at least it was when we grabbed our mics, left the cozy comforts of our condos and recorded a live episode of the show from the streets of Chinatown to get to the bottom of this reported "War" on Bangkok's street food. We'll tell you what we discovered on episode 2.35 of the Bangkok Podcast. For the better part of the year, news reports, blogs, and pundits the world over have been raising the warning flags of an active war on Bangkok’s street food scene. Whether highlighting the plight of the vendors who rely on the revenue to survive, lamenting the loss of an inexpensive source of food for the working class, or pointing out the irony of Bangkok’s reputation as a top street food destination; all of the reports have a common thread: Street food in Bangkok is doomed. But is it really? To find out, we visited Yaoworat Road in Chinatown, visiting one of Greg’s favorite noodle shops (incongruously positioned inside an opera house/second-run cinema/gay pickup joint) to see just how far reaching these new government mandates really were. Listen to find out what changes we noticed, what actions we think are still likely to come, and what doom-and-gloom predictions likely won’t come to bear. Without giving too much away, we’ll just tell you that we’re declaring the war on street food non-existent. But please bear in mind that we are not investigative journalists. Our observations are based on this single trip and casual visits to street vendors in this immediate area. It could be worse elsewhere, but it sure looks like street food in Bangkok isn’t in immediate peril. Love, Loathe, or Leave As you’ve heard us talk about before, there are plenty of green spaces in the heart of the Bangkok metroplex, but occasionally, you can find a large stretch of beautiful, untouched, pristine lawn just begging for a blanket and a picnic. But invariably, those areas come with large KEEP OFF THE GRASS signs. Listen in to find out if we loathe it or if it’s something we hate some much we’re ready to leave the Kingdom over. Want more? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you, either on the contact form on our website or through a comment or message on our Facebook page. You can Tweet to the show @bangkokpodcast or follow Greg’s tweets of snarky Bangkok goodness. Evo chronicles his Bangkok adventures on Instagram from time to time, if that’s your thing. And as mentioned, we now have a LINE account! Yep. Just for the Bangkok Podcast. Join us over there, too! See you next time on The Bangkok Podcast! (Di[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS23E35-War-On-Street-Food.mp3?dest-id=34166




Invading Green Monster Chokes Out Bangkok (2.34)

Tue, 30 May 2017 17:01:27 +0000

One of Thailand's most persistent pests - the beautiful but invasive water hyacinth - is once again clogging Bangkok’s waterways. And while Evo didn't die on a motorbike just yet, a friend of his is in the hospital after his scooter accident. Maybe he’s rethinking his chosen mode of transport? Motorbike accidents happen. Though this is Thailand, and Thailand holds the ignominious title of deadliest place to ride a motorbike. Last week the inevitable happened to a fellow expat here in Bangkok, though thankfully on a low-speed collision. Will it impact Evo’s decision to ride? You’ll have to listen to find out. But really, that’s not what we’re here to talk about. The Chao Phraya these days is a little more green than usual. Which sounds good, until you realize the green is from huge, floating islands of plant matter. It happens every year, and we’ve always wondered what it is. Evo took it upon himself to dig deep and has learned a few things about phak tob java, or water hyacinth as it’s commonly known, or Eichhornia crassipes as it’s known to botanists. Here are few of the things you’ll learn when you listen to this week’s episode The royal connection for how the invasive species from South America to Indonesia and finally Thailand The immediate nuisance the plant causes for those who make their living on the river How the plant contributes to Bangkok’s flooding, which arrived a bit early this year A bunch of management techniques that don’t work, and only one that does Some good news about how the plant can be used to clean the water, as a textile source, as biomass to generate fuel, and possibly a foodstuff But some bad news about the plant’s propensity to kill fish and incubate mosquitos A comical tale of how three -- or possibly four -- different government agencies are passing the buck as they say “not my problem” Finally, when you fully understand the complexity of the problem, you’ll see why water hyacinth is the perfect metaphor for Bangkok’s bureaucracy. That was meant to be funny, but... Love, Loathe, or Leave If you’ve only uttered “Hey Dude, where’s my car” when referencing a cult-classic from the turn of the century, you haven’t left your car -- or your motorbike -- in a parking lot in Bangkok. It’s a little maddening. The only good news is that your bike probably isn’t stolen. Probably. Listen in to find out how we feel about this totally alien concept to us two expats who’ve been trained to set the parking brake and -- obviously -- take the keys. But it’s not like that stops people from moving your ride. Want more? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, l[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E34_-_Water_Hyacinth.mp3?dest-id=34166




The Bangkok Double Pricing Debate (2.33)

Tue, 23 May 2017 17:01:30 +0000

On this episode we get into one of Thailand's most contentious topics - double pricing. But first we talk about selfies in a ball pit and a hidden hipster hangout. Just down the road for us on our side of the river is a hidden hipster hideout in Bangkok called called The Jam Factory. And by “hidden”, we mean new to Evo. Because it’s pretty well known by everyone other than him. Also Greg visits Central Embassy and attempts to lose his child in a giant plastic bubble bath filled with selfie takers. But as interesting as both of those topics sound, neither are what we’re talking about today. Let’s just get this out of the way: We think double pricing sucks. Thailand is notorious for pricing things like museums, national parks, landmarks, and other civic works differently depending on where a visitor was born. Foreigners -- we stand out a bit -- pay an inflated price, where Thai nationals pay much, much less. Sometimes Thai nationals pay nothing at all. As representatives of the foreigners overcharged, we don’t like it. But we try to understand the rationale for it on this week’s episode and present their side. We’re not sure we did a good job. But here are the excuses main arguments most often offered to justify dual pricing in Thailand: Foreign workers make more money than Thais, so they can afford it. Tourists don’t pay Thailand taxes to support those civic works. (Note: both of us pay taxes in Thailand) It’s a nationalistic benefit reserved for Thai citizens. All of those are valid concerns. However, we’re not buying it. Listen in to learn how we carefully (and hopefully respectfully) dismantle each of those excuses arguments. And though we try very hard not to push our own agenda on our adopted country, here’s what we think could be the consequences if the dual pricing issue isn’t addressed (which it hasn’t been for decades, we get it.) It may be seen as racist to a world becoming more and more aware and intolerant of racism. It’s a deterrent to tourism as it has been to other countries that have done stupid things in the name of squeezing out a few bucks from hapless tourists. It’s a constant PR black eye that will cause (and perhaps is causing) people to seek out their SE Asian vacation/expat home in other neighboring countries. Now, hopefully we didn’t go overboard on complaining. It’s not what we set out to do. And if you have a different opinion, we invite you to leave a comment below or on our social channels. Let’s keep the conversation going. One great way is our new LINE account, just for the Bangkok Podcast. Hey, we’re in Thailand, and LINE is huge here. So of course we have a LINE account. Follow along and talk to us there, too! Love, Loathe, or Leave Almost half a year ago, we talked about Bangkok’s “saluting security guards” in an early LLoL segment. But Greg forgot something [...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E33_-_Double-Pricing.mp3?dest-id=34166




Why Bangkok Is A Medical Tourism Hotspot (2.32)

Tue, 16 May 2017 17:01:44 +0000

This week we talk to an expert on medical tourism to get the inside scoop on what makes Bangkok a key medical tourism destination. And we share an anecdote that proves even the 2nd largest city in SE Asia is really just a small town on the crossroads of life. What’s it like to return to Bangkok 30 years later after growing up here as an expat kid? And what are the odds that one obscure blog post on how to get a Chinese visa in Bangkok would lead to rekindling a friendship while overlooking the Chao Phraya river? Only in Bangkok. But that’s not what we’re talking about today. Instead, we’re trying to answer this question: What, exactly, makes Bangkok such a hotbed for medical tourism? Neither Evo nor Greg are experts, so we pulled in Kevin McGaffey from renuval to get to the heart of the matter. Kevin’s technology company helps people find the best medical services and best medical service providers here in Thailand. Here are a few of the questions he answers on this episode of our show: What’s different about the Bangkok medical scene that makes our medical skills world class? It has to do with home-grown talent who not only got their training abroad, but come back and do their job so well they often become medical trainers themselves. Some end up here in Thailand and some abroad at the top Western medical schools and facilities. How smart marketing, an abundance of talent, and a commitment to world-class facilities combine with a desirable tourist destination to make the perfect storm for medical tourism What other SE Asian nations are looking to take their own piece of the medical tourism pie, and where Bangkok needs to keeps its edge The types of clientele that come to Bangkok for medical procedures and what their country of origin likely tells you about the medical services they are seeking from Thai providers The difference in the quality of medical care you might expect from government vs private hospitals in Bangkok; and both of those compared to the Western world How some aspects of “Thainess” make for a pleasantly surprising (and rather fantastic) experience for expats who seek out medical services in Bangkok … and two pieces of excellent advice for expats or long-term visitors of Bangkok when it comes to medical insurance and getting discounts on high-cost medical care Love, Loathe, or Leave This week one our Twitter followers (wrongly identified in the audio by Greg [sorry!] but corrected in the show notes, Mattiaz!) suggested we talk about the poor excuse for napkins found in most Bangkok restaurants. Oddly enough, we both completely flip-flopped on the issue after discussing it for a few minutes. We’re not fickle. We’re just open minded. Listen in to see if the same happens to you. Want more? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get ou[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E32-Medical-Tourism-in-Thailand.mp3?dest-id=34166




Is Birth Control Evil In Buddhist Bangkok? (2.31)

Thu, 11 May 2017 15:41:57 +0000

This week we talk with Bangkok-based Buddhist monk Phra Pandit about abortions, birth control, and how Buddhism defines evil. And you'll likely think Evo an idiot for his dangerous flirtation with Thailand's terrible traffic fatalities statistics, but what's a farang to do? All of that and more on this episode of the Bangkok Podcast. Evo’s decided to rent a motorbike for the next month. Let’s hope he doesn’t get killed as he foregoes safety for convenience. Favorite quote: It’s like having a cheat code to Bangkok’s traffic. But that’s not what we’re talking about today. Instead, we’re chatting with one of our favorite repeat guests, Phra Pandit. The topic? Abortions, birth control, and how Thai Buddhism defines evil. All of this started when we learned that Planned Parenthood has moved its Asia-Pacific headquarters to Bangkok. Which, given what we know about Buddhism and things like birth control or abortion, there’s a conflict. Or maybe we don’t really know what we think we know. To find out, we brought back one of our favorite  guests, Phra Pandit, to give us the official Buddhist party line on the topic of abortion and birth control. What he has to say will likely surprise you, especially if you’re not all that informed of the differences between Buddhism and other religions. Listen to this episode to become a little more enlightened on the concepts of evil, irredeemable sin, hell, and random soul-searing insults anti-abortion protesters like to shout about when they protest Planned Parenthood clinics in the West. Love Loathe or Leave Many of our fellow Bangkokians aren’t big on queueing. Nor are a lot of other Asian tourists who show up in the City of Angels. Just how tolerant are the two of us Westerners who have a pretty healthy respect for the “social contract” of just waiting your turn in line? Not very, as you could probably guess. What you probably won’t guess was Greg’s reaction when it happened to him (again) the night we recorded this episode. Want more? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you, either on the contact form on our website or through a comment or message on our Facebook page. You can Tweet to the show @bangkokpodcast or follow Greg’s tweets for snarky Bangkok goodness. Evo chronicles his Bangkok adventures on Instagram from time to time, if that’s your thing. See you next time on The Bangkok Podcast! (Direct download .mp3) [...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E31-The-Nature-of-Evil-in-Buddhism.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Tourist Scams Are Still Alive In 2017 (2.30)

Wed, 03 May 2017 17:01:44 +0000

On this episode of the Bangkok Podcast we talk about one of the negative aspects of Bangkok, the immortal, ever-present tourist scam. But before we get there, we'll have a brief discussion of feet. Yeah... feet. Pick up any piece of tourist literature and you’ll note warnings of “tourist scams” running rampant in Bangkok. But are they as bad or prevalent as they’re made out to be? Back when Greg was a new expat in Thailand, he played the part of an investigative journalist, purposely attracting the attention o a “tuk tuk scammer” just to document the experience. In fact, here's the story. And he’s still with us, so how bad can they be, right? Severity aside, these damned tourist scams just won’t die. Hopefully you’ll be better educated against them after listening to this episode. We go into detail on the tuk-tuk scam (no, the Palace isn’t closed today), the ping pong scam (no, you don’t want to see it), the official-who-isn’t-really-an-official scam (no, not all badges are real), and the birdseed scam. Yes, the birdseed scam. Not kidding. Love Loathe or Leave Free your feet, free your mind. Open sandals are all the rage here in Thailand, but how do we Westerners feel about it? On this Love, Loathe, or Leave we’ll dip our toes (ha!) into the conversation. Want more? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via Apple Podcasts. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you, either on the contact form on our website or through a comment or message on our Facebook page. You can Tweet to the show @bangkokpodcast or follow Greg’s tweets for snarky Bangkok goodness. Evo chronicles his Bangkok adventures on Instagram from time to time, if that’s your thing. See you next time on The Bangkok Podcast! (Direct download .mp3) [...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E30-Bangkoks-Immortal-Tourist-Scams.mp3?dest-id=34166




Exploring Thailand’s Crazy Gun Culture (2.29)

Tue, 25 Apr 2017 17:01:52 +0000

From hitmen to red tape and homemade guns to the black market, we bring in a local expert to help us navigate the murky waters of the past and present realities of gun ownership in Thailand. We know you want us to weigh in on the issue of Bangkok’s impending street food ban, but not today. We need to let things settle down before we offer up our opinion on the matter. Instead, we’re going with the safe topic of the right to keep and bear arms -- guns in Thailand. Though the two of us -- Canadian and American -- grew up with firearms, we aren’t familiar at all with the reality of the gun culture of Thailand. Khun A, however, has a considered opinion and is is our guest today. He’s a Thai national and avid gun aficionado, owning several weapons and is a member of the IDPA. We wanted to really understand Thai gun culture from a Thai point of view, and he’s the expert we needed to chat with. Just how big is the Thai gun culture? Well, Thais may not be a gun crazy as 2nd amendment-loving Americans, but it certainly exists. There are shooting ranges, gun clubs, and firearm stores all over Bangkok and the rest of Thailand. But just like any imported good, gun owners pay a premium for the privilege of ownership, with prices several hundred percent higher than other countries, thanks to import duties and other taxes levied by Thailand’s government. Anytime you have skyrocketing prices, you have a black market that seeks to get around them. So yes, you can buy guns illegally -- even illegal assault rifles -- in Thailand. Worse, you can buy “homemade” guns. But think less gunsmithing and more gee-I-hope-this-doesn’t-blow-up-in-my-hand type construction. Of course, you can’t have a conversation about guns without talking about gun violence. While getting accurate numbers specific to gun violence in Thailand are notoriously had to pin down, Khun A sheds some light on Thailand’s hitman history from the ‘60s and ‘70s, which shockingly still exists today. Perhaps more surprising is the notated lack of a cohesive and vocal anti-gun community in Thailand. No, not everyone is pro-gun, but the voice of those who want them banned is rather quiet. Perhaps that’s because Thailand’s red tape processes to actually own a gun are seen as enough of a deterrent? If the four- to six-week waiting period isn’t enough, perhaps asking your employer for permission to own a gun does the trick? We’re not sure why the Ministry of Interior needs to see your bank records before issuing you a permit either. But such is life in Thailand. But here’s the good news: Gun responsibility is preached at every step of the process. As much as headlines may make it seem like it’s the wild, wild west over here; the laws definitely don’t do much to[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E29-Bang-Krap-Gun-Culture-in-Thailand.mp3?dest-id=34166




Time for Change: Should Begging Foreign Backpackers Take a Hike? (2.28)

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 17:01:48 +0000

You may have seen them on the streets of Bangkok, Singapore, or Hanoi. Many play instruments, juggle, or sell postcards. Some simply stand there with a hat and a sign asking for pity. We're talking, of course, about the round-the-world adventurer looking for a handout. Should these begging vagabonds take a hike, or do they deserve some leeway to, er, find their way? We also talk about staying dry (or attempting to) during Songkran, and Greg's foot fetish (in that he'd really like to be able to find shoes to fit his giant feet). The story has been tearing up the newspapers and internets lately - the foreign backpacker. Usually white, European/North American, usually with scraggly bears, matted hair, and doing their best to trade a skill for a bit o' spare change, their presence inspires anger and pity in equal amounts. But they are nothing new. Indeed, as far back as 10 years ago, Greg remembers seeing the first 'famous' farang backpacker as he sat there with a sign begging for help to buy his plane ticket back home, as group after group of university students passed by and dropped some hard-earned cash in his hat. "That's nice," thought Greg. But then Greg saw the same guy in a different part of the city. Then another. Then another. Then it dawned on Greg - this guy was a scammer. But now farang beggars are much more common. Many offer legitimate - if not entertaining - services, such as selling handmade wares, playing an instrument, or doing some tricks. But should they even be doing it? In a region as poor as Southeast Asia - where real poverty is an every day issue for far too many - is it really proper for able-bodied, western-educated foreigners, likely with a healthy support network back home, to be begging for scraps to fund their adventures? Greg and Evo argue the pros and cons, and come up with more cons than pros. Love, Loathe or Leave We think it's safe to say that Bangkok's street food scene would not be as creative (and delicious) as it is without the, er, less-than-stringent food safety ecosystem that many of us westerns are used to. We posit that a food safety inspector from, say, Canada or the US, would have a stroke if he saw how food is prepared here, but should he maybe loosen up a bit? Greg and Evo discuss the safety (and sickness) of street food, and if the lack of regulation is something that helps or hinders eating out. Want More? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via iTunes. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. [...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E28-Farang-Beggars.mp3?dest-id=34166




Blood on the Highway: Thailand's Seven Deadly Days of Songkran (2.27)

Tue, 11 Apr 2017 17:01:06 +0000

On this episode of the Bangkok Podcast we talk about traffic in Bangkok - specifically the “Seven Deadly Days” of Songkran - and Thailand's awful road safety statistics. We also talk about what men do when their wives are away... or won't go away. Don't worry... it's not as bad as it sounds. Songkran is upon us, a week-long celebration of Thailand’s new year. What will we be doing during Songkran? Staying off the roads, because it’s also known as the Seven Deadly Days, when road traffic shoots up to three times the normal rate. Yes, that’s likely a contributing factor to Thailand’s hold on the #2 spot in global traffic fatalities per 100,000 people. In an effort to get those crazy numbers under control, Thailand’s military junta announced sweeping changes to vehicle motor code. Effective immediately, police would be issuing fines anyone in any vehicle not wearing a seatbelt, and anyone riding in the back of a pickup truck. And then the very next day -- not surprisingly -- they softened their enforcement language. Perhaps the fact that many taxies have removed seatbelts from the back seat. And a substantial chunk of the population ride in the back of pickups to get to work, into town, to the doctor… And in urban areas, some governmental-sanctioned transportation methods are nothing more than riding in the back of a modified pickup bed, none of which have seatbelts. As it turns out, mandating behavior changes for a country of 65 million people is… messy. Neither of us are so arrogant as to say we have the answers. But that didn’t stop us from offering up some ideas. Got a few yourself? Take a listen to the show (on iTunes, Android, whatever) and tell us if you think our ideas would work or not. And speaking of stupid ideas... Love, Loathe, or Leave? Thailand really, really wants to make us whiter. Something neither of us need. Nor does anyone else, but such is life in Thailand, where it’s hard to buy personal hygiene products that aren’t loaded with whitening agents. And who are these people with super dark armpits? When did that become a problem? Want more? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via iTunes. Android users are be able get the show any number of ways. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you, either on the contact form on our website or through a comment or message on our Facebook page. You can Tweet to the show @bangkokpodcast or follow Greg’s tweets for snarky Bangkok goodness. Evo chronicles his Bangkok adventure[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E27-Blood-on-the-Highway.mp3?dest-id=34166




Talking Languages With Educator Frank Smith: Thai, Lao & Khmer (2.26)

Mon, 03 Apr 2017 00:00:38 +0000

On this episode of the Bangkok Podcast we talk languages with Frank Smith. He speaks Thai, Khmer, and Lao, and teaches Khmer at UC Berkeley in California. Add to that a quick conversation on the pros and cons of raising a kid in Thailand, and we’ve got the makings of another great episode of the Bangkok Podcast. We start the show with an easy question: Is Bangkok the kind of place you want to raise a kid? Greg is facing the reality of doing so right now, and Evo has sage advice from someone who decided not to raise a kid in different City of Angels some 20 years ago. Everyone loves a good mystery. And everyone loves a good origin story. But when it comes to the people who live in Cambodia, Thailand’s neighbor to the east, the origin story of their language -- Khmer -- is a complete mystery. Oh, and it’s even harder to learn than Thai. Go figure. Our guest this week is Frank Smith, a language professor at the University of California Berkeley. Frank’s students are often of Cambodian descent, having been raised abroad by displaced parents. Their goal is to reconnect with their heritage, in some cases learning to speak, read, and write in their native language… from a white guy. A white guy who has been speaking, reading and writing Khmer for 30 years, though. With a bit of flair, we think you’ll agree. And if you’re ready to study Khmer, he can help! He passes along several interesting facts to Bangkokians like ourselves, like busting the myth that the languages native to this part of the world are based on Sanskrit (they aren’t), and that the “Khmer” spoken in Thailand bears little resemblance to the actually Khmer spoken in Cambodia. What does Frank think of our opinions on whether or not foreign workers should bother to learn the local language in SE Asia? His answer just may surprise you. Love, Loathe, or Leave? It’s a listener suggestion this week from our friend Tim, another Bangkok expat. The topic? April. Yes, the month. Is this nutty month marked by oppressive heat and a state-sanctioned water fight something we love, loathe, or are ready to leave over? Listen to find out. Spoiler: it’s a split decision. Want more? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via iTunes. Android users should be able get the show automatically through Google Play. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you, either on the contact form on our website or through a comment or message on our Facebook page. You can Tweet to the [...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E26_-_Talking-Languages-With-Educator-Frank-Smith-Thai-Lao-Khmer.mp3?dest-id=34166




The Little Things We Miss About Home...And Will Miss About Thailand (2.25)

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 02:15:56 +0000

On this episode, we discuss the little things we love about Bangkok, as well as the little things we miss about where we're from. Plus Evo’s recent trip to Siem Reap and the concept of farang “embarassadors”. Evo spent a week in Siem Reap and completely loved it. Greg agrees that it’s likely the most amazing destination in SE Asia -- possibly the world -- for those interested in archaeology. Color us impressed, ancient Khmer people! The main topic of the show: It’s the little things. No, not a Royale with Cheese, but the little things we miss about where we’re from, now that we live in The Land Of Smiles that is Thailand. Not to spoil everything from the episode completely, but here’s the list of things we miss: Clothes dryers Psychological weather cues Easy access to drugs Easy access to my money But the reverse is true, and there are little things about living in Bangkok that we’re going to miss should we ever leave The Big Mango. Again, you’ll have to listen for the full details why we’re really liking: Pain-free condo moving Rules bent cheaply Instant, ubiquitous transport options Space not at a premium If that doesn’t make perfect sense, just listen. You’ll get it it. And then you’ll know why we love this place. Speaking of that... Love, Loathe, or Leave? First, heck yes! Let’s keep the #loveloatheorleave hashtag going! Drop one on any social media property. We’ll probably see it. Kinda like the shirtless farang. The clueless, class-less, totally-missing-the-point of living in Bangkok idiot who isn’t wearing a shirt. Guess where they fall on our #loveloatheorleave scale. Listen in to find out some surprising facts about how the law can get involved if you choose to go topless, fellas. Want more? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via iTunes. Android users should be able get the show automatically through Google Play. And for bonus points, leave us a review on those platforms or however you listen to the show. We’d love to hear from you, either on the contact form on our website or through a comment or message on our Facebook page. You can Tweet to the show @bangkokpodcast or follow Greg’s tweets for snarky Bangkok goodness. Evo chronicles his Bangkok adventures on Instagram from time to time, if that’s your thing. See you next time on The Bangkok Podcast! (Direct download .mp3) [...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E25-The-Little-Things-We-Miss-About-Home-and-Will-Miss-About-Thailand.mp3?dest-id=34166




Teaching In Thailand: A Professional Western Teacher’s Perspective (2.24)

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:00:20 +0000

What do pro Western teachers think about teaching in Thailand? And are we seeing the end of Uber in Bangkok? And if so, will canal taxis pick up the slack? All that and more on this episode of The Bangkok Podcast Taxis in Bangkok would probably make for a good Love, Loathe, or Leave segment, but recent moves by Thailand to restrict popular “ridesharing” services make it worthy of our opening banter. After that, Greg has a chat with Sheila Dee a Western-trained, professional educator working in Thailand. There are lots of Westerners acting as English teachers in Thailand. Greg used to be one of them. But Sheila’s a bit different, holding a Bachelor's degree in elementary education and a Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. In the Thai private school where she teaches, five subjects -- English, Math, Science, Physical Education, and Computers -- are taught by native English teachers. Social studies and Thai (as in the language) are taught in Thai, and her students also study Chinese (actually in Chinese, if that’s not obvious). For her school as well as the many international schools in Bangkok, that level of immersion and integration requires educators trained in their subject field, not just someone who happens to be a native English-speaker. As a Western trained teacher, Sheila’s learning how to modify her style. As an American teacher, she knows how to deal with American students. But not all of that directly translates to teaching in Thailand, with different expectations from administration, parents, and students. Some of those are a net positive, like the premium administration places on Western teachers and the noticeable lack of discipline issues, for example. But some require her to change her expectations, like translating the concept of “saving face” into classroom management and not trying to “fix” everything. It’s not easy being a teacher, which is why Thailand is starting to change how they look for teachers. Yes, there are still plenty of teachers with a degree in something (anything) and a TEFL certificate. However, Sheila’s seeing an emphasis on seeking out real teachers (like her) with real experience of prior teaching in the Western world. Love, Loathe, or Leave? It’s our first listener submission! ThailightZone wants us to talk about the khlong boats, specifically those that shuttle busy commuters along the saen saep canal. It’s a uniquely local Thai experience, but you’ll have to listen to see how we feel about this odd transportation style. Want more? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show d[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E24.mp3?dest-id=34166




Magic Ink: Evo Visits the Mystical Sak Yant Tattoo Festival (2.23)

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 12:00:55 +0000

You may or may not have heard about the Sak Yant tattoo festival before, but after hearing this episode of the Bangkok Podcast, you sure as darn heck won't be able to forget about it. For years travelers have been entertained by tales of screaming men rushing the stage, possessed by the spirits of the tattoos that cover their bodies in sheets of intricate sub-dermal ink. But it's not merely an odd tourist attraction - the men who have them, the monks who give them, and the shamans who 'recharge' them all hold the tattoos - and the power they say they represent - in the highest regard. With an origin story that involves a Burmese invasion, sinking boats, lost Buddha images, and man-eating tigers, it sounds like something from a novel by Graham Greene or Joseph Conrad, but it's all - very probably - true. Evo and his lovely wife Sheila headed up to Wat Bang Phra in Nakhon Pathom - about 50km west of Bangkok - to check out the festivities and boy did they get the goods. Hanging out with devotees on Friday evening and then recording their screams, gurgles, laughs, and chants on the Saturday, Evo gives a description of what it's like in the middle of the action. Those screams, gurgles, laughs and chants can be heard in the podcast, by the way. Here's a few pictures - but head over to Sheila's Flickr album to see more. Love, Loathe or Leave? Evo springs his LLoL on Greg - what does he think of the national anthem that plays every day at 8am and 6pm? Is it an annoying distraction, a treasured cultural identifier, or something in between? Have a listen to the song in the video below if you're not familiar, then follow along with their discussion at home! https://youtu.be/BrcGzLIEsAU?t=10 Want more? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via iTunes. Android users should be able get the show automatically through Google Play. But if you run into a snag, get in touch. We’ll help! Drop us a line at the contact page up top, or leave a review for us on iTunes or Google Play. Oh, and we have a Facebook page! You can even Tweet to the show @bangkokpodcast or us personally at @bkkgreg or @evoterra. We’ll see you next week on The Bangkok Podcast! (Direct download .mp3) [...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E23-Sak-Yant-Tattoos.mp3?dest-id=34166




Talking with Paul Mueller: How Much Time Does Bangkok's Green Lung Have Left? (2.22)

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 07:00:34 +0000

When you look at Bangkok on a map, you see this enigmatic little patch of green just off center. It’s not a trick. It really exists. Historically, few people fought the traffic to get here. But that’s changing, and modern encroachment on the green lungs of Bangkok is threatening this not-quite-hidden gem of Bangkok. Life in Thailand is hot. Welcome to the tropics! But this year seems to have gotten hotter earlier. Or maybe we’re just getting old and are fixating on the weather. Of more importance to this issue is a lovely place in Bangkok to visit that allows some respite from the heat. That place is Prapadaeng -- also called Bang Krachao -- Bangkok’s “green lung”. We mentioned it briefly on a previous episode, promising to return to the topic with a much more in depth discussion. To give the topic the proper consideration, Greg invites his friend Paul to talk about this hidden-in-plain-sight key area of Bangkok that is, saddly, in danger of losing it’s luster. Because development. Today on the show we speak with six-year resident Paul Mueller. This American expat made this amazing meander in the Chao Phraya river his home after a solo bike trip led him to a rickety looking dock with an even more rickety looking ferry attached, but with an enticing green area on the other side of the river. He was stunned by the peace, quiet and space -- things that are hard to find in urban Bangkok, where we literally live on top of one another. But not in Bang Krachao. Cars are rare in the interior, and even motorbikes aren’t terribly common. Instead people walk or ride bikes to get from place to place, harkening to a simpler time. But those small bikeways are getting blocked, trees are being uprooted, and that abundance of space is threatened. Not by condos (yet), but by people who are choosing to make their home there, taking advantage of the tranquility of the area. As in the rest of Thailand, if someone is properly connected, they can probably side-step a few zoning restrictions. The floating market is growing in popularity -- and that’s a good thing -- but that’s bringing it’s own challenges. More cars. More room for those cars to park. And of course more businesses to sell stuff to the people who drive those cars. You know… development. There’s a lot of pressure on the area, and we can only hope that the commitment to keeping Bangkok’s green lung, well… green, stays the course. In the meantime, you might want to plan your trip sooner rather than later. Just in case. Here’s a short video you can watch that talks about the ch[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E22-How-Much-Time-Does-Bangkoks-Green-Lung-Have-Left.mp3?dest-id=34166




"I Want to Get Back to Nature in Bangkok." Is That Even Possible? (2.21)

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 00:00:32 +0000

While Thailand is a great place to experience the natural beauty of the tropics, Bangkok is a giant metro area and not all that appealing to nature lovers with a short time to visit. Or is it? That’s the topic of this episode of The Bangkok Podcast. Evo’s still sick, but he’s on the mend thanks to a doctor. Because as you’ll recall from an episode just a few weeks ago, antibiotics are available over the counter here. But you know what isn’t? A diagnoses of illness from a qualified physician. Luckily there is no shortage of great doctors in Bangkok. And they are quite cheap. Some people are just stubborn. Ahem. And did you see the article that claimed Thailand has the worst traffic in the world? We do a little debunking on that before we get to the heart of the matter. Finding nature in the confines of Bangkok’s concrete jungle. What, exactly, should a nature lover visiting Bangkok do if they only have a few short days? That’s the question Evo’s friend and Finland-based travel blogger Lottie put to us. No, she doesn’t really want to hit all the rooftop bars, shopping malls, countless temples, or the seedier side of tourism that form Bangkok’s well-deserved reputation. We have a few ideas, including: Prapadaeng (also called Bang Krachao) - Bangkok’s “green lung” Phutthamonthon - “Spiritual center of Thailand”, says Greg Chao Phraya river - It’s always breezy and cool on this big, navigable river that bisects Bangkok Ayutthaya - Archaeology and history only 3 hours away by train Lots of great parks we mention in the show, some rather hidden Lovely beaches not too far away, but you’ll want to do an overnight, probably So… yeah. Bangkok offers more than just shopping, sex tourism, temples, and rooftop bars. Just keep the weather in mind when you visit. Because it’s always summer here. Speaking of that... Love, Loathe, or Leave? Holy volcanos, it’s hot here. We have no volcanos, but we do leave very close to the sun, apparently. There weren’t any seasons to speak of this year in Bangkok, which has an impact. Listen in to find out how we feel about it. Want more? If it’s your first time experiencing The Bangkok Podcast, you really should get our show downloading to your phone automatically every week. If you use iOS, it’s a breeze to listen via iTunes. Android users should be able get the show automatically through Google Play. But if you run into a snag, get in touch. We’ll help! Drop us a line or leave a review for us on iTunes or Google Play. Oh, and we have a Facebook[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E21-I-want-to-get-back-to-nature-in-bangkok.mp3?dest-id=34166




Crafty Bangkok Beer: Talking with Brian Bartusch from Beervana (2.20)

Tue, 21 Feb 2017 00:00:31 +0000

Like everywhere, craft beer is exploding in Bangkok. But there are some subtle nuances that cause beer lovers to scratch their heads. Why is it so expensive? What’s up with “illegal” beer? And where can I get more? We’ll answer that and more on this episode of The Bangkok Podcast. After a brief and elusive discussion of the infamous Thailand beach town Pattaya, we jump into the heart of the conversation: Beer in Thailand. Specifically, craft beer in Thailand. To make sure we cover things in an appropriate (read: true) way, we invited Brian Bartusch -- co-founder of Bangkok’s largest craft beer importer, Beervana -- on to the show to answer some key questions Evo -- our resident beer nerd -- had about the state of craft beer in Thailand. Together with a few other entrepreneurial importers, Beervana makes it easy for the visiting craft beer fan to not be forced to drink the standard Thai beers. Not that we’re dissing the local beers. But craft beer fans are going to find Chang, Leo, Singha, and locally-produced Heineken or Asahi rather lacking. Evo and Brian met up at Roadhouse BBQ. By way of example, they offer a half dozen quality craft beers on tap and a rather large selection of craft beer from all over the world. While you’ll probably find a wider selection back in America simply due to proximity to some other local breweries, you won’t be disappointed in the selection. But you probably will suffer a bit of a sticker shock. Imported craft beer in Thailand is more expensive than the same beer back home. Why? Well, two main reasons: The first is shipping. It’s a long way from here to there, and it has to be kept cold the entire journey. Then you layer in the import taxes and compliance fees, which are not trivial. Brian digs into it a little deeper on the show if you want more information. Just keep it in mind the next time you plop down ฿350 for a bottle you’d expect to pay $6 for back in The States. Other topics relevant to craft beer in Bangkok and beyond: Craft beer consumption is only about .02% of overall beer consumption in Thailand. (Source: ChitBeer) Homebrewing is illegal in Thailand. People can be and are thrown in jail for brewing. Which means local Thai craft beer -- which is all home brewed -- is illegal… yet available everywhere. Honestly, we have mixed feelings about this. Some Thai brewers of quality craft beer are working with the system, doing contract brewing outside of the country and re-importing. It’s crazy, but it’s legal. And tasty! The big[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E20-Crafty-Bangkok-Beer.mp3?dest-id=34166




Is Learning Thai Really Necessary? (2.19)

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 00:00:45 +0000

To learn to speak Thai or not learn to speak Thai. That is the question. No, literally. It’s the question we’re asking each other on behalf of all people who come to live in Thailand. As you'll hear, we have a difference of opinion. So yeah, we’re the #1 travel podcast in Thailand. That’s kinda cool. But it’s not what we’re talking about today… (but thanks for subscribing!) We ask ourselves a simple question on this week’s show: If you’re going to “live” in Thailand, do you need to learn Thai? Not surprisingly, we have differing opinions on the matter. Greg, the 16 year expat, staunchly feels anyone wishing to live in Thailand needs to learn the language. Evo, not surprisingly, takes the opposite view. Then again, he only has a year under his belt, so take his opinion with a shot of nam pla. Some arguments for include the ability to keep yourself out of trouble by knowing what warning signs say, having a deeper understanding of Thai culture, and generally paying homage to the fact that you’re living in a country with something other than your native tongue as the official language. Arguments against include the fact that most (but not all) signs that you really need to see are also presented in English, Thai students have been forced to learn English (or at least enroll in English classes) for decades, and that technology makes for easy as-you-need it translation. Not surprisingly, there’s more to it that that. Listen to the show to see which side of the argument you identify with. For bonus points, leave us a comment on the blog, or even a review on iTunes with your thoughts on who’s right. Because we strive for your approval! Kidding. Oh, and that better translation app Evo mentioned? It comes from Thai-Language.com, a great web resource. They have an iOS app, but we're not sure about Android. Get it. Love, Loathe, or Leave? Thai pajamas. Or the “farang uniform”. Lightweight, colorful and comfortable pants  that gather around the waist that no self-respecting Thai person would be caught dead in. I think we’re giving away our opinions on these horrid garments. Clean it up a bit, tourists. This is Bangkok. Put on the big person pants when you go out in public, OK? Want more? Leave a review here or send us a message on the contact tab at the top menu, or leave a review for us on iTunes or Google Play. Oh, and we have a Facebook page! You can even Tweet to the show @bangkokpodcast or us personally at @bkkgreg or @evoterra. We’ll see[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E19_-_Is-Learning-Thai-Really-Necessary.mp3?dest-id=34166




Being Disabled in Bangkok: A Conversation with Sawang Srisom (2.18)

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 00:00:32 +0000

No one is going to say that Bangkok is an easy city to navigate. Near-constant congestion, poorly paved sidewalks, non-existent pedestrian crossing areas… that’s just a start. Now imagine that from the point of view of someone who uses a wheelchair. Suddenly these difficulties seem like insurmountable obstacles. The show starts with a recap of the new “blowing up on social media” scandal: It seems some mototaxi drivers are placing a surcharge on passengers with additional mass. But that’s not the injustice we’re talking about on this episode. On today’s show we chat with Sawang Srisom, Secretary for Transportation for All (T4A), a grassroots organization that’s forcing Thailand’s bureaucracy to actually follow the law and make the city -- specifically the BTS skytrain system -- fully accessible to people with disabilities. Laws aimed at supporting the rights of the disabled have only been on the books in Bangkok since 1991, and that one didn’t even address accessibility. That didn’t happen until 2005. Yes, you read that right: There were no laws governing accessibility requirements just over a decade ago. And since the BTS system construction started 10 years before that, enabling officials a convenient excuse for not including things like elevators in all but five of the 29 stations. Amazing. To get action, T4A started filing lawsuits against the BMA (Bangkok Metropolitan Authority who oversee the BTS system) for failure to comply. The goal wasn’t financial compensation, but to force change. It went all the way to the Supreme Court, and it’s now been ruled that all stations must have lifts installed on both sides of the tracks. If you’ve used the BTS and thought “but I see lifts and other accessibility additions. What’s the problem?” Listen to the show to find out how insane it is for wheelchair users like Sawang to try and use those accessibility additions you’ve seen. It often involves taking a taxi just to cross the street. Fair warning? It’s maddening to listen to. The good news is that Thailand has the right policies on the books. The problem -- and stop us if you’ve heard this one before -- is getting bureaucrats to follow them. Good luck, Bangkok. You’ve got a lot of work ahead of you. But clearly it’s the right thing to do. Because accessibility is for everyone. Love, Loathe, or Leave? Not this week. Evo’s voice (as you noticed) is giving out. We’ll try again next week. Want more? Dr[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E18-Being-Disabled-in-Bangkok-a-Conversation-With-Sawang-Srisom.mp3?dest-id=34166




Red Cliff Coffee: Talking With Derek Kirk About Chiang Rai's Most Delicious Export (2.17)

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 00:00:24 +0000

So a guy from Alaska who owns a coffee plantation in Hawaii hires a guy from Indiana who’s living in Thailand to help him grow coffee. There’s no punchline. Just a great episode of the Bangkok Podcast! (Direct download .mp3) (Direct download .mp3) After Evo explains why he was in Finland and gives us a crash course on world travel expos (like Matka 2017) and blogger conferences (like NBE Finland), and Greg runs down his recent motorbiking misadventures in Chiang Rai, we get down to business. What business? Serious business. Coffee.   Greg had a conversation with Derek Kirk, a fellow expat who manages a coffee plantation that puts out Red Cliff Coffee, a personal favorite of Greg’s that Evo needs to try. Starting as an English teacher, Derek fell in love with Northern Thailand and wanted to find a way to stay. In his spare time, he started working with coffee farmers from the Akha Hill Tribe. Some of them had recently started planting coffee as a cash crop but didn’t have much experience. Derek made the decision to learn as much as he could about coffee production, vowing to return to Northern Thailand and spread that knowledge. He moved to Kona, Hawaii, became a sponge for coffee knowledge, and brought 10,000 trees back to Thailand to start his enterprise. The beans that come from this experiment are, in his opinion (backed up by Greg’s insatiable appetite), the best beans grown in Thailand, far outpacing the standard Thai coffee fare. More importantly, coffee -- quality coffee -- is giving a huge economic boost to the region. As evidence; other farmers in the village are seeing the success of their neighbors and getting in on the action, and small vendors on the side of the road in heavily Thai areas -- even outside of Bangkok -- are selling quality cappuccino for 55 baht. Not great news if you want cheap coffee. But outstanding news if you -- like us -- appreciate a quality cuppa and wish to see it spread.But don’t think this is the story of one (more) farang coming in and taking over from the locals. Yes, Derek did inject some know-how into the system, but the farmers producing coffee are doing so on their own terms, on their own land, and producing their own product. Now that’s social entrepreneurism at work! Love, Loathe, or Leave? For our North American friends, we give you the lowdown of 7-11, which is *much* more than just a convenience store in Bangkok: It’s a way of life. Not surprisin[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E17-red-cliff-coffee-talking-with-derek-kirk-about-chiang-rais-most-delicious-export.mp3?dest-id=34166




Talking with Phra Pandit: Is Having Everything the Same as Desiring Nothing? (2.16)

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 00:00:33 +0000

Continuing with our Buddhism series, we welcome Phra Pandit, a Brit who has been a monk in Thailand for the past 20 years and is a noted lecturer on Buddhism, dhamma, and psychology. Desire - or the lack of it - is one of the key themes that the Buddha taught his followers. But as we find out in this very interesting discussion with Phra Pandit, it's not as easy as saying "I can do without those cool new pair of shoes." (Direct download .mp3) (Direct download .mp3) Since Evo is off galavanting around Europe, Greg talks to Pandit about what it means to have nothing, how it feels to want nothing, and why having or wanting nothing doesn't necessarily make you a better Buddhist than someone who has everything. Indeed, Greg poses a question - when someone has more money than they will ever use, things that are valuable to the 'average' person - like an iPhone - become almost meaningless. Since this person places no great value in craving the iPhone, or grief when he loses it - is that a similar state of mind as not desiring an iPhone? It's a great conversation about exactly what desire is - and how wanting something isn't always a bad thing. Phra Pandit also gives a shoutout to his friend Marisa Cranfill (a previous guest on the Bangkok Podcast), one of the foremost (non-Thai) experts on Thai spirit houses. She will be giving a seminar later this month about this topic, where you can finally learn the answers to the big questions: why is red Fanta left out more than other drinks? Why do zebras get left so often? Why are some houses supported by one pillar, and others four? Head to www.littlebang.org to read more about Marisa's speech on Saturday January 28th at the Rojana Center. And since this episode airs a few days before Chinese New Year, Greg - who lived in Yaowarat, Bangkok's Chinatown, for 4 years - gives his advice for really getting the most out of a visit to one of Bangkok's most interesting neighborhoods, and the center of the city's Chinese New Year celebrations. And just for an extra visual, here are the incense sticks that Greg talks about. Note the dudes on the bottom left for scale. You can also follow the Bangkok Podcast on Facebook, or Evo and Greg on Twitter.[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E16-Is-Having-Everything-the-Same-as-Desiring-Nothing.mp3?dest-id=34166




Expat Realities: Reverse Culture Shock (2.15)

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:56 +0000

If you've lived any amount of time overseas and returned to your home country, you're likely familiar with reverse culture shock, the feeling that you just...somehow...don't quite fit in to your old life anymore. It's a disorienting feeling, and it affects everyone differently. Seeing as how Greg was back in Canada three months ago and Evo just returned from a trip to the USA, we thought'd we discuss this uniquely strange phenomenon, how it affected us, and how we deal with it.

(Direct download .mp3)

Greg recounts how the relationships with his friends have changed, details of "the most Canadian standoff ever", and how it's always the little things that trip you up - like the fact that people wear shoes inside the house, which really freaked him out. Evo mirrors this "little things" mantra, like the incredibly weird feeling of drinking water from a tap, and how much he forgot he loves listening to the radio...and how quickly he realized it actually sucks. We also do another round of Love, Loathe, Leave, and discuss - rather shamefully - how much joy Greg got from showing his visiting sister around Bangkok's shopping malls.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E15-Expat-Realities-Reverse-Culture-Shock.mp3?dest-id=34166




Four Things We Tell Everyone to Avoid in Bangkok (2.14)

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:35 +0000

Everyone loves Bangkok and it is indeed a great city. However, that's not to say everything is worth seeing or doing. For this show we each come up with two items, places, or pastimes that we tell visiting friends and family or even expats new to the city of Angels that they can go ahead and avoid without losing out on everything that Bangkok has to offer. (Direct download .mp3) (Direct download .mp3) Evo’s finally back from his three week trip to America and mostly over his jet lag. At least to record another episode. Today we’re talking about some things we think it’s OK for you to to skip when you visit The Big Mango. Because there’s simply too many things in Bangkok to take in in a single trip, so you won’t have a lack of things to do. First up, Evo smashes the myth about getting smashed on cheap Thai beer. Because, shockingly, beer isn’t inexpensive here in Thailand. You’ll spend at least a buck -- IN A GROCERY STORE OR 7-11 -- per beer. That’s a little more than you’ll spend to buy crappy beer back in most Western nations. Which isn’t cheap! (Though it is cheap in quality.) Second, Greg commits near sacrilege by suggesting that there are other historic temples and places to visit that are not The Grand Palace. Yes, it’s a lovely place. Yes, it’s filled with history. Yes, it’s akin to Mecca for many Thais. But it’s the giant mob of people -- tourists and Thais -- that sully the experience. If you don’t mind standing in the heat (without umbrellas) for a few hours with a few thousand of your closest friends, go on with your bad self. Third, Evo suggests skipping ping-pong shows. It’s arguably the worst of the publically available sexploitation offerings endemic to Bangkok. They aren’t sexy (like, at all). They aren’t fun for more than a handful of seconds. And they are a huge and expensive scam. And you will be poorer -- in pocketbook and in humanity -- after the experience. [shudder] Fourth, Bangkok is a hot-spot for networking events, especially among the expat community. And Greg hates them. The experience is always the same, which is less about meeting cool people and more paying to have people shove business cards in your hand for services you don’t want or need. Granted, some people excel at networking events. But Greg finds something extra distasteful about the ones he’s attended i[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E14-Four-Things-We-Tell-Everyone-to-Avoid-in-Bangkok.mp3?dest-id=34166




Thailand Memories: Living Through a Coup (2.13)

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 00:00:52 +0000

Happy New Year everyone! The turning over of the calendar is traditionally a time to look forward and hope that the next year will be better than the last one. 2017 will be a big year in Thailand - HM King Rama X will steer the country forward, the push to change elements of Thailand's important Buddhist sangha is gathering steam, and an election might happen.

(Direct download .mp3)

Why is that such a big deal? Well, because despite outward appearances and contrary to what a lot of people probably think, Thailand is a military dictatorship. Okay, dictatorship might be a strong word, but the fact of the matter is that the Land of Smiles and one of the world's busiest tourist destinations has been under military control since the most recent coup of 2014. So if an election happens this year, it will be a big deal. So, seeing as Thailand has had 19 attempted and successful coups in the last century or so, we thought we'd look back and discuss what it's like to actually live through one in the hopes that we won't have to live another one. From the first message on his phone warning that a military takeover is underway to the time he made a panicked phone call to a friend to ask them what's going on, Greg has seen 2 coups in his time in-country. He and Evo discuss what it's actually like to know that a big change is happening while at the same time hoping that no one starts shooting, and how an actual coup - at least the past 2 in Thailand - are much different than what you learn about in high school.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BSKS2E13-Thailand-memories-living-through-a-coup.mp3?dest-id=34166




Is Dhammakaya a Cult, a Sect, or Just Another Temple? (2.12)

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 00:00:58 +0000

We're super happy to welcome back a popular guest from season 1 of the Bangkok Podcast - our veritable friend Phra Pandit. As a long-time monk in Thailand and noted lecturer on dhamma, Buddhism, meditation, and deep thought, Pandit is a great source if insight and information.

(Direct download .mp3)

On this show we (well, Greg, as Evo is traveling) will talk with Pandit about what happens when a particular Buddhist temple becomes really big. So big, in fact, that the government wants to shut it down. In this case it's the Dhammakaya temple, which has millions of devotees all over Thailand and is led by a rather controversial monk. As of the date of this post, police have been camped outside the temple for several weeks as deadline after deadline for the surrender of the head monk have come and gone and nothing's happened. It's kind of like the world's most boring standoff...but something's got to give eventually. Pandit gets into some details on the political machinations behind the target on the temple's back, as well as why the stakes are so high for the temple's head abbot, the magic ingredient that lets a temple go from being popular to a nationwide social phenomenon - and just how many people does Dhammakaya's 'flying saucer' meditation area hold, anyway? (Hint: a lot. Check out the picture of the saucer area below). (image) Don’t forget to leave a comment or tweet to us – @BkkGreg or @EvoTerra!


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E12-Is-Dhammakaya-a-Cult-a-Sect-or-Just-Another-Temple.mp3?dest-id=34166




Merry Christmas From Bangkok! (2.11)

Sun, 18 Dec 2016 18:00:35 +0000

It's that time of year again in Thailand - the holidays season! Did you notice the extra 's' there? It was intentional, because December is one of the most holiday-heavy months in the whole year. Not only do you have Father's Day and Constitution Day, but you also have Christmas - or at least the most intense commercial aspects of it. That rolls right into the (western) New Year, which rolls into the (Chinese) New Year, and a few weeks after that we roll right into (Thai) New Year.

(Direct download .mp3)

Evo and Greg discuss what it's like living in a Buddhist country that celebrates - with almost equal gusto - holidays imported from different countries, cultures, and religions, and what it's like spending time at the shopping malls, which heavily, heavily promote everyone's favorite part of Christmas - buying stuff. And that's all. Holidays on Christmas Day? You must be mad! It's a regular work day, son. And speaking of sons, Greg also ponders whether or not it's worth the trouble lying tointroducing his son to the concept of Santa, his magical reindeer, and his circumnavigation of the globe in a single night - especially since Santa, as far as most Thais are concerned, is nothing more than a cheesy Ronald McDonald-like cartoon designed to sell toys. Well actually...they're not far off. We also discuss Bangkok's air quality. A recent Al Jazeera story said it was better that many major European cities...but Evo looked around (including on the World Air Quality Index) and thinks there's something fishy about the claim. Don't forget to leave a comment or tweet to us - @BkkGreg or @EvoTerra!    


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E11-Merry-Christmas-from-Bangkok.mp3?dest-id=34166




Magic, Mysticism & Mana: Superstition in Thailand (2.10)

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 05:00:00 +0000

At the risk of offending some 70 million Thais, we’re looking at the religious, spiritual, and magical thinking endemic to Thailand. At least from the point of view of a couple of skeptical, non-religious Westerners. Buddhism isn’t the official religion of Thailand. But the overwhelming majority of people are Buddhist. Still, what you think of as Buddhism may not match up to the reality of the world. This is Theravada Buddhism that draws heavily on Hinduism and has more than a dash of animism mixed in. That makes things rather interesting. (Direct download .mp3) One thing Westerners often comment on is all the shrine-like dollhouses at every condo, office building, and house around the city. Those are called “spirit houses” and they are meant to be a home for… well, spirits. If you want the full details, check out our interview with Marisa Cranfill, an expert on the topic of spirit houses in Thailand. Have you noticed the (mostly) guys all blinged out with heavy necklaces sporting a variety of “charms”. Those are amulets, and they are believed to either attract good tidings (e.g. wealth) or offer protection from oddly specific maladies. It’s like taking the lucky rabbit’s foot and Ash Wednesday and cranking them up to eleven.And if not on their person, a lot of Thais let protections/powers like that get under their skin. Literally. Thailand is famous for the magical sak yant tattoo, and the annual highlight for sak yant aficionados is the Sak Yant Tattoo Festival in Wat Bang Phra, just north of Bangkok. No, it’s not your typical tattoo festival. Picture thousands of Pentecostals in the throws of speaking in tongues, but ambulatory and hell-bent on rushing toward the stage, regardless if you’re directly in their path or not. It’s the most intense, odd thing Evo’s experience during his time in Thailand. But we draw the line at the recent craze of Luuk Thep dolls. Clearly, these people haven’t seen Child’s Play. Chucky needs a date, I think. We wrap the show with another installation of Love, Loathe, or Leave. Today’s topics: saluting security guards and sharing the sidewalk with motorcycles. If you're a fellow Bangkokian, you likely have intimate experience with these two items. Drop us a line [...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E10-Magic-Mysticism-Mana-Superstition-in-Thailand.mp3?dest-id=34166




Foreign Fool: A Conversation with Author Alan Platt

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 16:40:49 +0000

When it comes to characters, Bangkok has them in droves - people who have been places, eaten things, talked to people, and lived adventures that would make your mother put her hand to her mouth and proclaim, "Oh my" with a frightened little squeak. On this episode of the Bangkok Podcast we're happy to have one of these epic characters on the show with us - Mr Alan Platt, who, as it happens, has just released a book about his adventures entitled Foreign Fool. (Direct download .mp3) Now I know what you're thinking, and it's the same thing we think when we hear self-published book by a farang in Bangkok, and that is, "Oh, yes, another one for the dusty back section of Asia Books, along with all the stories about hard-boiled detectives, heart-of-gold prostitutes, and love gone bad." But no - that's not what this book is about at all. In fact, take it from me (Greg), who has read the book - this is one hell of a fun read, and is actually - get this - really well written. From Saigon to Bangkok to Panama to London to Honolulu, Foreign Fool tells of, as Alan puts it, the bumbling misadventures of a doofus. I'll just let the first two paragraphs of the first chapter say it themselves: In Saigon, many years after the war was over, long after the city was declared safe for tourists and when even the hookers were becoming almost discreet, I was kidnapped. That does sound a bit dramatic, I admit. Technically, it was more an abduction. But however one puts it, any mention of that sort of thing floods the mind with images of some poor guy being jumped by thugs, bundled into the trunk of a car and splattered across the tabloids with a screech of tires and the burning of rubber. None of that happened to me. I was kidnapped on a bicycle. Alan discusses how he went from sunning his broke ass on a Los Angeles beach to the top of the New York ad world, how the book took shape, and a few of the stories - both in the book and not - that keep him looking ahead to the next trip. Visit the book's website at ForeignFool.com Buy Foreign Fool on Amazon.[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E9-Foreign-Fool-an-Interview-With-Author-Alan-Platt.mp3?dest-id=34166




Drugs in Thailand: Too Much, Too Little, or Not Enough? (2.8)

Sun, 27 Nov 2016 16:59:49 +0000

Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. Two of those are legal in Bangkok. Sort of. Legal drugs have a dark side, like people dying from overuse. But illegal drugs -- some pretty serious ones -- might soon be legal in Thailand. What's the deal with all this back and forth? (Direct download .mp3) (Direct download .mp3) Here’s the reality of living in Thailand: Whenever we -- Westerners or Thais  -- get sick, our first stop is the hospital or the pharmacy. Chances are, either the doctor or the pharmacist will have a remedy in pill form ready for you. And quite often, they’re unnecessary. Got a cough? Take these antibiotics. Can’t sleep? Try this anti-anxiety medication. They’re cheap, so why not? Because they are literally killing us, that’s why. But on the flip side, it’s great for asthmatics to pick up a rescue inhaler without a prescription. Just don’t expect to pick up any Sudafed. Or as they call it in Thailand: the precursor to methamphetamines. Speaking of that… Thailand has a rich history of illicit drugs. But just because there’s a strain of marijuana named for the country, the authorities aren’t too keen on smokers of the herb. And this is Thailand, probably not the place you want to cool it in a cell for a while contemplating your poor choices in life. Yet there are discussions at the highest level of government to consider decriminalizing marijuana. And, as strange and unfathomable as it sounds, meth (yaba, as it’s locally known) might also enjoy recreational status in the future. Go figure. We’re keeping the Love, Loathe, or Leave segment rolling, this time with a discussion about climate change inside the skytrain, and the bane of all who walk on the sidewalk, being brick-flicked. If you're a fellow Bangkokian, you likely have intimate experience with these two items. Drop us a line and tell us what you think. Or if you’ve an opinion on the issues of drugs -- legal or other -- tell us about it in the comments below, or tweet to us at @bkkgreg or @evoterra. See you next week on The Bangkok Podcast![...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E8-Drugs-In-Thailand-Too-Much-Too-Little-or-Not-Enough.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok's Disappearing Street Food (2.7)

Sun, 20 Nov 2016 12:35:57 +0000

(Direct download .mp3) If you’re visiting Bangkok for the ubiquitous street food culture, you might want to get here quickly. There’s seemingly a war on street food vendors in the city. And that’s no jok. Bear with us this week. Evo’s dealing with a great loss in his family and a broken microphone, and Greg’s a little sleepy from being the dad of a childhood actor. But that’s not what we want to talk about today... This episode is all about Bangkok’s disappearing street food stalls, one of the city’s most famous elements, the lifeblood of many, and part of the city’s undefinable charm. It’s also a perfect time to introduce a new segment on this episode, one we call Love, Loathe, or Leave. That is: how do we feel about sharing sidewalks with street food cards and other vendors cramping our walking style? Are they and the convenience and culinary variety they offer part of why we love living in Bangkok? Do we kind of loathe sharing our space but can tolerate the nuisance? Or do we see them as such a danger to life and limb that we’re ready to leave the country over it? Best line of the show: “It’s called a side-walk, not a side-wok, after all.” But there’s a human cost to consider: What happens to all the people -- tens of thousands -- who’ve made their living vending on the streets, fully sanctioned and licensed by the government? We’re told the vendors will be provided a new place to ply their wares. But will they have the same level of business? And most importantly, what will Greg do for breakfast since he can’t find his favorite jok dealer? To us, this sure seems an issue of ongoing gentrification. Suan Lum night market shut down years ago ostensibly to make way for a development project… that never happened. And then there’s Asiatique, a bright, crowded, new-but-made-to-look-old destination on the banks of the Chao Phraya river. Giant eyesore? Fun destination? Or an example of what the city government wants most of our city to look like when they mark 250th anniversary of Bangkok in just a few years? While Greg’s snarky love affair with Bangkok’s shopping malls is on record, neither of us are str[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E7-Bangkoks-Disappearing-Street-Food.mp3?dest-id=34166




Are You Sure You Wanna Say That? Self-Censorship in Thailand (2.6)

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 14:48:47 +0000

The shockwaves of the President-Elect of America have shockwaved all the way over here to Bangkok, Thailand. However, that’s not what we’re talking about today, though we could talk about if we want to. And that’s what we want to talk about. Confused? Yeah…

 

(Direct download .mp3)

On October 13, the Kingdom of Thailand suffered a great loss with the death of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Because we’re a show ostensibly about Bangkok and the country of Thailand overall, we recorded an episode of our podcast with that topic in mind. And then we thought better of it. Not because we were in any way critical, satirical, or otherwise potentially running up against Thailand’s lese majeste laws. Indeed, the show was respectful to a fault, and talked about how much Rama IX meant to the Thai people. But we thought that maybe, in this particular situation, it’s not all that important for us, two foreigners living in the Kingdom, to have an opinion. Those of you reading this from “the free world” (though we each feel relatively free over here) are probably looking at that last statement with disdain. But if you listen to this week’s show -- the episode about the episode you’ll never hear -- you’ll find it’s not all that uncommon to self-censor. In fact, we do it all the time. And maybe, in a world where the friction between thought and something for public consumption is all too easy, we should do it more often.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E6-Are-You-Sure-You-Wanna-Say-That-Self-Censorship-in-Thailand.mp3?dest-id=34166




Travel Blogging: A Realistic Job or a Bunch of Hot Air? (2.5)

Sun, 06 Nov 2016 17:01:06 +0000

Ask enough people in Bangkok what they do for a living, and one will eventually say “travel blogging”. On this episode of the podcast, we break down some of the myths and mystique surrounding that title. (Direct download .mp3) Evo recently traveled to Manila in the Philippines to deliver the opening keynote at TBEX Asia Pacific 2016. It’s a travel blogging conference, catering to, well… travel bloggers. Which are legion. Coupled with the service providers, tourism councils, and hospitality companies; and there’s sizeable market. Travel blogging means different things: Some make a full time living traveling from place to place writing content for their blogs. Some are local experts writing content on their blog for people traveling to their city. And some don’t even have a blog at all, doing all of their posting on social media or publishing content on third-party sites. For all their diversity, travel bloggers aren’t universally loved. Cynics say that DMOs (destination marketing organizations) shower these people with gifts, swag, free food, and more simply to gain overly-positive views that lack real substance. Is that a valid concern? Are the benefits provided by these so-called influencers just self promotional crap? Or are the two parties -- the blogger and the client -- reaping real benefits of the partnership? There’s a third element: the audience. It’s the smart travel blogger who provides his/her audience with the content their audience wants to read. They aren’t, by and large, journalists, guides, or critics. Still, travel bloggers have the freedom to choose what to blog about, some of which can be a little harsh. Have you read the internet? So should you quit your job, start a travel blog, and start attending travel blogging conferences like TBEX? Well… you’ll have to listen to find out our thoughts on that.[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E5-Travel-Blogging-A-Realistic-Job-or-a-Bunch-of-Hot-Air.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok's Shaky Infrastructure That Won't Quit (2.2)

Sun, 06 Nov 2016 04:15:57 +0000

Hey, you’re still here! How awesome is that? Welcome to the 2nd episode. Today, we’re talking infrastructure. No, wait! Before you decide to skip the episode, this isn’t an episode filled with mechanical engineering terms. Have you met us? (Direct download .mp3)   The Big Mango is… big. Big city with huge skyscrapers and sprawling concrete to help accommodate the millions of people that live in and visit Bangkok. This is the City of Angels, the second largest city in SE Asia. We’re sorry if that damaged your idyllic notion of rice paddies and floating markets. Thailand has them. Bangkok metro? Not so much. Here we have the Mahanakon Tower - some call it the Jenga or Tetris Building -- the fourth tallest building in SE Asia. We’re looking forward to the grand opening, because that rooftop bar is going to rather swank. But Bangkok isn’t stopping there. There are loads of new buildings, both giant and strange, that will continue to give Bangkok it’s own special character. Just one more reason we both love living in this crazy town. We have world class shopping centers, with more on the way. Traffic sucks. Just plan on that when you visit. The good news is the BTS or MRT work pretty good. And if all else fails, jump on a mototaxi. They flow through bad traffic like water. But we’re getting new lines. Greg made a nifty map to show where some of them will be. Will they all connect? If history is any judge, probably not. Ah, Bangkok. Of course, all that new development has to happen somewhere, and often that means old structures -- sometimes interesting and historic -- are knocked out of the way. Progress? Or a loss of culture? We’ll offer our opinions on the topic of how the changing landscape impacts these two expats. And we’d love to hear what you think! Also, The Windup Girl is a good future-of-Thailand book. Will Bangkok look just like that in 200 years? Eh, probably not. But scifi really doesn’t predict the future as much as it portrays the present. So if you want a fantastical look at what we’re talking about, download the book.[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E2-Bangkoks-Shaky-Infrastructure-That-Wont-Quit-1.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok - Digital Nomad Heaven Or Hell? (2.3)

Sun, 06 Nov 2016 03:43:14 +0000

Bangkok has become a hub for digital nomads, bringing in a wave of talent and fresh ideas into the city. Those nomads in turn attract other nomads. But is that a good thing? Or even a real thing? Let’s find out. (Direct download .mp3) Thailand -- Bangkok & Chiang Mai specifically -- is a hotbed of digital nomadship. But before we get to that, we should probably define the term:   Defining - people who can work anywhere thanks to the internet. They take many format but they share two things in common: They aren’t doing the type of job that requires them to be at a specific location at specific time. And that freedom allows them to travel, either a little or a lot, without interrupting their income stream. Jodi Ettenberg of LegalNomads is a good example. And Evo tried his hand at it all of 2015. So what makes Bangkok so attractive to digital nomads? Some of is has to do with cost of living, though Bangkok isn’t nearly as cheap as it used to be. Having many Western conveniences coupled with the “charm” of Asian living doesn’t hurt. Reliable access to cheap mobile data (especially compared to the US, Canada, and Australia) is big pull. But watch out, would-be internet entrepreneurs. Just because Thailand makes it easy for you to visit -- no visa required for a lot of Western countries -- it doesn’t mean you have the legal right to earn income while you are here. In fact, it’s just the opposite of that. So before you decide to set up shop in a co-working space (that wave has hit The Big Mango as well), you’ll want to have a solid understanding of the work permit as not to run up afoul of immigration rules. The work you want to do maybe reserved for Thai-nationals only. And those are just some of the  legal, semi-legit, social, and economic considerations/temptations/realities foreigners face when doing business in Thailand. Should you move to Bangkok and become a digital nomad? Well… maybe. And if you listen to the episode, you’ll find out what we think about it. After all, we want to be good role models.Tell us what y[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E3-Bangkok-Digital-Nomad-Heaven-Or-Hell.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast Has Us Now (2.1)

Sun, 06 Nov 2016 03:19:06 +0000

Three years ago, life changes forced the original hosts of the Bangkok Podcast to focus on other things, and it was ultimately decided to end the show. But we’re back, baby - and with an all new co-host that random chance brought to the show - Evo Terra! (Direct download .mp3) So, who’s this Evo guy? Here’s the short story: During a year-long sabbatical he and his wife took in 2015, they wound up in a little Thailand town called Ranong, house-sitting for the owners of The Smiling Seahorse, a live-aboard dive company.  No, you’ve probably never heard of Ranong. But if diving the archipelago of Myanmar sounds fun, Ranong is your jumping off point. During those three rainy months, the Kingdom of Thailand sort of grew on them, so they decided to move to the city and make the Big Mango their new home base. His wife (Sheila) is a teacher and he’s a stay at home husband. If you want to read more on him, check out his personal website or follow along on the infrequently published travel/comedy blog, The Opportunistic Travelers. And for those who missed the story when the show first started in 2010, you’ll learn a little about how Greg came to Thailand some some 16 years ago. Like so many Western travelers, he wound up visiting Thailand… and never left. But unlike shiftless Evo, Greg is actually gainfully employed, has a Thai wife and a toddler at home, and yet still somehow finds time to produce episodes of our show each week. So here it is… home. In Bangkok. And that means friends of ours in the Western world have lots of questions. Those questions are what we aim to answer on the re-imagining of The Bangkok Podcast. We’re not a news show. We’re a lifestyle show. Expect conversations, special guests, observations, and pontifications on how two “farangs” -- one Canadian and one American -- find their way living in the capital of The Kingdom of Thailand. And because two podcasting nerds got together, we had to have the obligatory “so how do you listen to podcast?” conversation. Evo’s sugge[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E1-Bangkok-Podcast-Has-Us-Now.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok 2.0 Meets 1.0 - Anthony Joh Gives Us An Update (2.4)

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 05:00:00 +0000

Bangkok tried to kill Evo this week, so Greg sat down for a conversation with Anthony Joh, the original co-host of the Bangkok Podcast.

(Direct download .mp3)

Anthony Joh was one half of the original lineup on the Bangkok Podcast. He’s spent the last five years in Japan and caught up with Greg when he was back in the Big Mango. As you might imagine, Tony has noticed a lot of changes to his once home in those years. The burning question? Which country is better? We don’t want to give it away, but expect to hear commentary on:

  • population growth vs contraction
  • relative international-ness
  • tourism focus
  • controlled chaos vs ordered structure
  • … and much more

If you’re craving sushi and wagyu beef after the episode, our apologies.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKPS2E4-Bangkok-2.0-Meets1.0-Tony-Joh-Gives-Us-An-Update.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 77: The End

Sat, 05 Jan 2013 14:36:00 +0000

Well folks, after much discussion and late night Skype dates, Greg and Tony have unfortunately decided that Bangkok Podcast has reached the end. As you've no doubt heard us talk about before, putting a podcast together takes a lot of time and effort, and time is something that both Greg and Tony have very little of these days. So, it's time to hang up the ol' mics.

But with one last show left, we talk a bit about Greg's recent trip to Macau, Tony's upcoming trip to Bangkok, and a great new e-book by a local blogger called 101 Things to Do In Thailand that can help fill the void left by the podcast closing up shop.

But we'll both still be around on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and various other online haunts - just because the podcast is over doesn't mean the journey is done! (cue some righteous 80's hair metal ballad).

A very sincere thanks to all of our past guests, listeners, supporters and fans who have helped make the show such an enjoyable thing to do since our very first show on May 3, 2010. We hope to see you all again - if not in real life, then definitely online.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/bangkok_podcast_77.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 76: Freedom to Walk

Wed, 03 Oct 2012 14:15:00 +0000

This episode of Bangkok Podcast comes a bit late due mostly to the fact that both Tony and Greg have new jobs and are working like crazy men. Crazy men! But thankfully this nutty city still gives us enough to talk about. On this episode we're joined by Ali Weiner, who is organizing an amazing event for a very good cause. In an effort to raise awareness of the dangers and realities of human trafficking and to meet their goal of raising $100,000 dollars for various charities, her, her friend, and as many others as want to join, are going to walk from Bangkok to Three Pagoda's pass on the Thai Burmese border. That's right - walk the whole way. Ali tells us how the idea came about, describes the route she'll take, and lets us know how we can help. In fact - if you want to join her on her walk, feel free!

Greg and Tony also talk about three news stories that have been burning up the news lately - the incredible amount of rain Bangkok is has been getting of late (which hopefully won't be enough to cause more floods this year); a reduction in the price of the poorly-conceived airport rail link to help boost ridership (the reduction is only good for a few hours during the middle of the day); and the newest beauty product to hit the market, vagina whitening cream (note to girls everywhere: No. No. No).

And don't forget to check out our sponsor, the Bangkok Tree House, which goes above and beyond when it comes to serving amazing meals using locally-grown ingredients.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/bangkok_podcast_76.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 75: Muay Thai Fighter

Sun, 02 Sep 2012 13:41:00 +0000

On this show Greg and Tony welcome back past guest Paul Garrigan who joins us to talk about his new adventure as a muay thai fighter. While always harbouring the dream of stepping into the ring Paul was reluctant to start training as a fighter believing he was too old. However he learned that once he got into the ring and overcame a series of injuries, boxing became a form of meditation for him. 


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/bangkok_podcast_75a.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 74: Cost of Living in Bangkok

Wed, 01 Aug 2012 13:03:15 +0000

If you’ve been following the Thai news over the past few months, you might have heard about the big constitutional court crises a few weeks ago. As with many things in Thailand lately, it was a very he said/she said kind of debate with very high stakes. People were predicting doom! Riots! Chaos! Cats and dogs living together! Thankfully, in a very Thai outcome, the court came down squarely in the middle so that neither side won and neither side lost.

It might come as a shock, but neither Tony nor Greg are scholars of Thai politics or law, but they know someone who is! For the first part of the show we welcome our friend Saksith Saiyasombut, a blogger, journalist and all-around nice guy who has reported extensively on the uh, entertaining Thai political scene over the past few years. He joins us on Skype from Germany (excuse the fuzzy call quality) and fills us in on what exactly the hubbub was about, what the decision means, and what happens next. 

The other topic we wanted to get into for this show is something that we get asked a lot – just how expensive is it to live in Bangkok? Dreams of $5 hotels rooms and $1 feasts still somehow fill the brains of the never-ending stream of visitors, but unfortunately, price-wise, Bangkok ain’t what it was 20 years ago. Today, it’s a major Asian metropolis, a global transport hub, and home to big industry and big money. Tony and Greg go over what it takes to live in Bangkok from month-to-month with a comfortable western lifestyle. From groceries to entertainment to rent to maids, there’s a lot to take into account.

www.bangkokpodcast.com


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/bangkok_podcast_74.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 73: The Return

Sun, 01 Jul 2012 01:43:11 +0000

Welcome back! Ten months after our last regular show, Tony and Greg are back with a new format but the same focus - Bangkok in all its wonderful, weird, awesome, odd glory. With Tony in Japan (but still heavily involved in Thailand) and Greg now married and busy with a variety of projects, a weekly hour-long show just isn't possible anymore. However, with the magic of Skype and a few new high-quality microphones, we decided that a monthly show focussing on the Big Mango's top stories would be a nice way to ease back into the podcast bath (uhh...so to speak). On our first show back, we talk about two of the top stories that have been burning up social media and coffee houses this month. First is the Thailand's Got Talent show in which a nice young lady came on stage and proceeded to strip off her shirt and bra, dump paint all over her chest, and rub her boobies on a big canvas! Art or trash? Well, watch the clip on Youtube and decide for yourself. Whatever it was, the powers that be certainly weren't pleased - and it got even stranger when it came out that the TV show had paid the girl to do it! Next we talk about a CNNGo article titled How to be a Bangkok Local: Ten Tips on Faking It, a humorous, tongue-in-cheek jab at some of Bangkok's stereotypes and eccentricities. But apparently, subtle humour and sly satire don't translate too well into Thai and the story was soon the talk of the town, with people accusing the (Thai) author of being a traitor, of insulting the country, and being just a very rude person. Of course, there were those who 'got it' and thought the story was funny, but that didn't do anything to quell the back-and-forth on the comment section. We are also happy to mention our partnership with Coconuts Bangkok, the city's newest news and reviews website, which we browse to see what people are talking about. Head on over and see the most [...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/bangkok_podcast_73.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 72: Greg & Aom's Wedding

Fri, 16 Mar 2012 15:55:54 +0000

On this special INTER-CONTINENTAL episode of Bangkok Podcast, Greg and Tony connect via Skype to talk about Greg's recent wedding. 

Getting married in Thailand is a very ceremonial process that involves two ceremonies, 9 monks, and hundreds/thousands/millions of baht in dowry (prices vary greatly). Greg talks about what he went through with his wedding, from his first day of planning as an ultra-naive n00b to a happily married man. There's lots to consider - should you get a wedding planner or not? How many people will you invite? Will it be the oh-so-romantic beach wedding or a more traditional hotel ballroom event? What do you do about gifts? It all worked out wonderfully for Greg and Aom, but it was a lot of work and toil.

Greg and Tony also discuss the latest topics in Thailand from what the Thai government is doing to assure Japanese investors that their factories won't be flooded out again, to how it's possible to lose and recover 13 million baht in gold in a taxi. Greg also gives us an update on his latest project - Bangkok Scientifique.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/bangkok_podcast_72.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 71: Encore

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 17:06:00 +0000

Welcome back to Bangkok Podcast!

Since Tony had to come through the 'Kok again, we thought we'd dust off the old equipment and record a quick reunion show! On this episode, we're joined by past guest Hamish Chalmers, who tells us his amazing story about escaping the recent floods that devastated central Thailand. Hamish went to bed one night, and woke up the next morning in the middle of a lake. He tells us about his flight to dry land, and how not fun it was wading through waist-high pitch-black water in his pitch-black neighborhood with his wife, baby daughter, and dog in tow. It was anything but safe - and that's before you factor in the crocodiles and snakes that were floating around.

We are also joined by Michael Biedassek from Bangkok Vanguards, a community of like-minded young guys who want to create a real community around Bangkok that involves charity, exploration, and making friends around the world. Michael tells of their recent program 'Wipe the Tide' which saw over 2 million baht raised for flood relief.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/Japan_and_Floods.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 70: The Finale

Sun, 11 Sep 2011 16:00:00 +0000

Well, the time has come. With Tony moving to Japan and Greg's wedding quickly approaching, geography and limitations on free time have conspired to take Bangkok Podcast off the air - for now.

On this episode, Tony and Greg discuss the Bangkok Podcast Farewell Dinner, go over some of their favorite shows from the past, get into a few details on what it took to put a show together, and thank a few very important people who worked with us behind the scenes to make sure the podcast grew. 

We also want to say a special thanks to each of our guests, who came on the show in their free time and gave people a glimpse into the cool personalities that help make Bangkok such a great city.

Thanks again everyone - keep your Bangkok Podcast iTunes, Facebook and Twitter links active - we might be back sooner than you think.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/Final_Show_v2.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 69: Do You Believe What You Believe?

Sun, 04 Sep 2011 16:41:00 +0000

On our last episode our Buddhism series with Venerable Pandit Bhikku, we switch things up a bit and let Pandit interview us for a change. As someone who has always been curious about what regular layfolk like ourselves think about eastern religion, he quizzes us on our thoughts on monastic life and the orange-robed monks that we see everyday but often don't take much time to understand.

Phra Pandit asks us if we believe in God and if we, in fact, believe what we believe, which is one of the key introspective aspects of Buddhism. Needless to say, it gets a bit deep as Tony, Greg and Pandit debate the meaning of belief and the freedom to choose if you even want to believe in anything.

Phra Pandit also asks us some less esoteric questions such as - can monks wear jeans? How about ride a bicycle? Smoke? Go computer shopping? You might be surprised to find that even monks can't agree on the answers.

And don't forget to join us at for the Bangkok Podcast Farewell Dinner on Saturday, September 10, at Basilico restaurant on Sukhumvit soi 33 to say goodbye to Greg and Tony and meet some of the guests of the show.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/Phra_Pandit_Final.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 68: Korn Chatikavanij

Sun, 28 Aug 2011 13:59:00 +0000

On this episode of Bangkok Podcast, we are very happy to be joined by Mr. Korn Chaitikavanij, Thailand's ex-finance minister. Although his Democrat party lost Thailand's most recent election, he is still an MP and is a high profile member of the Thai political landscape.

Khun Korn talks to us about what it was like running in the election, which was one of the most fiercely contested in Thai history, and what his thoughts are now that his party is the opposition. Tony and Greg also ask his opinions of the current situation in the US financial markets, and get his views on what constitutes an acceptable protest. 

We also discuss how expats who are moving to Thailand can best protect their assets and maximize investments, and where he recommends people go to find Bangkok's best street food.

Come join us on September 10, 2011 to say goodbye to Bangkok Podcast. We are going off the air and we’re inviting our audience to join us for dinner at Basilico Pizzeria on Sukhumvit Soi 33 at 7:00 pm. Please RSVP on our Facebook page.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/Korn.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 67: Peter Tuinstra

Sun, 21 Aug 2011 16:54:00 +0000

In our continuing Thai language series, we are pleased to welcome film and television actor, translator, and all-around nice guy Peter Tuinstra. Peter's path to learning Thai was a bit different than most students as he studied under the watchful eye of the U.S. Air Force at the elite Defense Language Institute; 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 1 year. 

Peter tells us what methods were used by a US government program with 60 years of proven success teaching languages. He goes into detail about how different styles of learning affected different people in his class, what worked and what didn't work for him, and how his brain handled the intense 40-hours per week.

Peter also talks about what methods he would recommend a newbie try out, why he thinks it will be a verrrrrrrry long time until computers become as good at translating as humans are, and the difficulties of acting in Thai when you have to use the words that someone else wrote for you, without taking any of your own creative shortcuts.

Also, don't forget to check out our sponsor, A Village In The City, and remember to come and down and say goodbye to the podcast on September 10th at Basilico on Sukhumvit 33.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/Peter_Tuinstra_Final.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 66: Bhikkuni Suvijjana

Sun, 14 Aug 2011 17:49:00 +0000

In our continuing Buddhism series, we are joined by a special guest, Bhikkuni Suvijjana, a female monk who is visiting Thailand from the US. Female monks are rare, but the tide is slowly turning, and Bhikkuni Suvijjana gives us an interesting look into how she sees Buddhism on a daily basis.

From differences in how female monks must act in public, to the efforts to promote all-female monasteries to eschewing virtual communities like Facebook and Twitter to focus on building real communities, she shares some of the challenges she faces. But it's not all hardship - she tells us of the great relationship she has with her son, now a grown musician, laughs at the time some Christian missionaries tried to convert her, and ponders the differences between how British and Thai immigration treat female monks.

We're also joined by Kathleen Speake, Executive Director of ECPAT International, an organization dedicated to eliminating child prostitution and the underage sex trade. She tells us about the projects they have going right now, and how easy it is for you, me, and everyone, to visit a Body Shop store and help contribute to a very important initiative that will affect positive change in the lives of a great number of abused children.

And don't forget to check out our sponsor Village in the City, a great new company that takes old, run-down Thai houses and fixes them up into trendy lofts and condos with style. If you're looking for a funky, well-built place to live close to downtown, check them out.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/Bikhuni_Final.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 65: Raising Kids in Bangkok

Sun, 07 Aug 2011 15:40:00 +0000

We get a lot of questions from expat parents and parents-to-be about what it's like raising a family in Bangkok. Since Tony and Greg are little more than man-children themselves, we brought Jack Prinya on the show to talk about just this thing. Radio host, MC, actor, and father to three little boys (triplets at that!), Jack has an intimate knowledge of the challenges that raising a family here brings.

Many of us were raised in towns or cities where we'd leave in the morning on our bikes and come home for dinner, but Bangkok's not like that. Jack tells us where he takes his kids for some R&R, the challenges of letting them run around in one of Bangkok's few parks, and a few suggestions on where to take them if you want a day out of the city. He also tells us about how he pushes back against the 'over-coddling' that is so common in Thai culture, and tells us just how different triplets can really be.

We are also happy to introduce Village in the City as our new sponsor, a great new company that takes old, run-down Thai houses and fixes them up into badass lofts and condos with style. If you're looking for a funky, well-built place to live close to downtown, check them out. 


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/Jack_Prinya.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 64: Travelfish

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 01:20:00 +0000

Today we're joined by Stuart McDonald, President, Founder, CEO and all around big boss at Travelfish.org, one of the most respected independent travel websites. Stu gives us a fascinating look into building of a travel site from nothing, and shares with us a few inside tips on the travel industry, like how to remain anonymous when reviewing hotels, how the guidebook industry is evolving, and what 'travel' means for different people. He also talks with us about what he does when he realizes another website is ripping off his content, how Thailand may be in danger of losing its crown as Asia's top travel spot, and what part Travelfish and sites like it play in the over-touristing of a chosen site.

We're also joined by Ryan White, a filmmaker who is working on a film called Mondo Banana. It sounds weird to our limited western way of thinking, but bananas actually have some pretty serious cultural and religious significance in Asia, and you'll be surprised just how far his journey has taken him into a world most of us know nothing about.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/Travelfish_Final_v2.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 63: Bangkok Free Ambulance

Sun, 24 Jul 2011 16:58:00 +0000

Every Westerner knows that when you're hurt back home, you call the emergency number and get taken to the hospital, but things in Bangkok work a little differently. Today we talk with Marko Cunningham from Bangkok Free Ambulance, a service that he has run for many years - at his own expense, no less - that provides free ambulance services for those who need it, Thais, tourists and expats alike.

In between his regular day job and finding time to enjoy Bangkok, Marko and his team respond to emergency calls, dealing with everything from lost snakes to mangled corpses. Marko gives us the inside scoop on how Thai emergency services work, what happens when an ambulance is stuck in traffic, the scary truth about how much training EMT's in Bangkok have, and why he's usually the first person on his team to touch a dead body.

We are also joined by Wendy Edney from SCAD (Soi Cats and Dogs) who tells us about her efforts to rescue, save, clean, and support the thousands of cats and dogs that run around Bangkok. SCAD arranges everything from spaying and neutering to overseas adoptions, and is a great service to our furry friends that are often overlooked in the Big Mango.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/BKK_Free_Ambulance.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 62: Learn Thai With Mod

Sun, 17 Jul 2011 16:26:00 +0000

On today's show, we're happy to be joined by Mod, who is a Thai language instructor. We wanted to see what it's like for a Thai person to teach Thai to foreigners, and she gives us some interesting insights into what problems we all have, how we sound to Thai ears, and how our native accents affect our speaking ability.

We also talk about how what you *expect* to hear can sometimes have a bit of influence on what you *do* hear, why it's okay to shun Greg for his use of old-fashioned Thai that instantly reveals him as an old geezer, and the difficulties of pronouncing the Swahili word 'mxosa'. 

There is also a VERY IMPORTANT announcement regarding the future of Bangkok Podcast, which you may even be able to play a part in.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/mod_backup_2.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 61: Thai Spirit Houses

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 16:39:00 +0000

Have you ever walked down the street and wondered what's up with those dollhouses on pillars that seem to be outside every building? Many have, and this is why we're happy to have Marisa Cranfill on this episode, who is one of Thailand's foremost (non-Thai) experts on Thai spirit houses. Despite Tony's mysterious mic problems, we talk to Marisa about what exactly these houses mean and where they come from. She also gives us the lowdown on exactly what's inside the little structures, why you'll most commonly see red Fanta soda sitting on the mini 'porch', and what happens to all that food that people leave as offerings? It's a complicated part of Thai culture that has deep roots in Brahmin, Hindu and Buddhist religions, and plays an important part in how Thais see the luck and success - or lack thereof - of their households.

We are also joined by J.J. Grill, one of two reviewers at a website called What We Went Through that aims to give an honest and impartial review of restaurants in Bangkok. No frills, no bias, just honest reporting about the level of service, food and value from a customer's point of view.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/Marissa_Final.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 60: Religion & Science

Sun, 03 Jul 2011 17:33:00 +0000

We're very happy to welcome back Phra Pandit, the British-born monk who joins us to talk about everything from Buddhist canon to nuclear power. Today, Phra Pandit talks with us about how Buddhism views science. Is it as hostile as some other religions often see it, or is it more of a peaceful co-existence? Are there areas which conflict with The Buddha's teachings, or does Buddhism take every new discovery in stride?

Phra Pandit also educates us on why writing might not be the most reliable method to pass information down through generations, what Buddhism believes heaven and hell to be, whether or not we have a soul, and even a few theories on neuro-plasticity and something called the God Helmet.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/Religion__Science.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 59: Transgender Lifestyles

Sun, 26 Jun 2011 16:30:00 +0000

The image of a beautiful Thai women is one that is known throughout the world; however, only slightly less well known is the image of a beautiful Thai women who was born a man. Call them what you willl - transexual, transgender, ladyboy, katoey - their place in Thai culture goes back thousands of years, but despite the history, and despite Thailand being very accepting of them, it's not always an easy life.

On this episode we're joined by Ms. Prem, a transgender lady who was born a man but now lives as a woman. We have a fascinating chat with Prem about her life and the difficulties she faces everyday, not least of which is the perception that all transgenders are only capable of prostitution, beauty pagents, or hair salons. Prem - who has a very good job with a high-level international agency - has fought against this stereotype and has seen progress, although it's slow going.

She also talks openly about how she grew up knowing she was different than other boys, how the media's perception of what is beautiful creates stereotypes, what it's like dating men who may or may not know her past, her experience fighting a military draft that labels all transgenders as mentally unstable, and what she thinks about *that scene* in the Hangover 2.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/Prem_Final.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 58: Learn Thai From A White Guy

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 15:47:00 +0000

On today's episode we're joined by Brett Whiteside, one of the few foreigners in Thailand who teach Thai. Brett's road from wide-eyed tourist to competent speaker, translator, consultant and tutor is unique in that the only person he had help him was himself. Brett tells us the methods he learned to drill the new language into his head, from returning to the same restaurant over and over again, to refusing to learn transliteration, to watching Thai soap operas.

Brett also explains why he doesn't think there's any such thing as 'bad Thai', and how a mnemonic story he created about a boy, a chicken, a turtle and a fish have helped all of his students become competent Thai speakers much faster than they expected.

Tony and Greg also talk a bit about food delivery in Thailand, and why Pizza Company - despite protests from some - has the system nailed.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/Learn_Thai_From_A_White_Guy.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 57: Voranai Vanijaka II

Sun, 12 Jun 2011 17:10:00 +0000

On this episode of Bangkok Podcast, we are very happy to welcome back Voranai Vanijaka, a columnist for the Bangkok Post whose articles focus on many of the most important issues facing Thai society today - politics, class struggle, stereotypes, corruption, and more. His writing is read by many who appreciate his no-nonsense style of facing problems head on and exploring some ugly truths; coincidentally, the same reason some are not fans of his articles.

With the Thai election just around the corner, Voranai gives his view on the current landscape of Thai politics, what he thinks will happen after the election, why the election is about more than just one person, and how we all play a part in making sure Thailand moves forward instead of backward.

We are also joined by Benjamin Lord, owner and head baker at Urban Pantry, Bangkok's best option for fans of bread - real bread. Ben started selling loaves to friends but word spread so quickly that he's now moving his kitchen-based business into its own shophouse. He brings some of his wares into the studio for Greg and Tony to try, who nearly forget about the podcast because they're so busy eating.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/Voranai.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 56: American Ambassador Kristie Kenney

Sun, 05 Jun 2011 17:20:00 +0000

On this week's episode of Bangkok Podcast, we are very happy to be joined by Ms. Kristie Kenney, the American Ambassador to Thailand. Formerly Ambassador to both Ecuadaor and the Philippines, she is a career diplomat with a deep understanding of geopolitics, history, and diplomacy, and is also the first female ambassador to the Land of Smiles.

Kristie talks to Tony and Greg about a variety of topics: her very active Twitter account, American foreign policy, how outsourcing is affecting American competitiveness, and her advice to young Americans who might be a bit hesitant about leaving the comfort of home. We also touch on some more serious topics - America's voice in rights abuses in Thailand; the embarrasment of Wikileaks; and the rather broad methods that the US is using to deal with online piracy. 

Also on the show is Berthe from ChickyNet, the first social network for women in Thailand, who tells us about how her frustration at the dearth of active women's networks in Thailand led her to create her own.


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/Kristie_Kenney_Final_v2.mp3?dest-id=34166




Bangkok Podcast 55: Chris Lowenstein

Sun, 29 May 2011 15:22:00 +0000

Thailand is a country that offers foreign film productions everything they need - amazing locations, skillful crew, talented actors and more. With foreign film productions come big money and jobs, so it's no wonder that the Thai government is pushing the country as a movie industry hub, but if you want to film here - who do you call? You call Chris Lowenstein, this week's guest. As one of the owners of Living Films, Chris is the main man when it comes to bringing in film productions - anything from small commercials to long-running television series to full-scale Hollywood blockbusters. His latest project is the mega Hollywood blockbuster "The Hangover Part 2", and Chris's roles as the film's line producer means he's in charge of everything that happens here: catering, work visas, film permits, transportation, hiring local crew. working with the cast and director to make sure everything's going smoothly, and more. Chris talks to us about the film industry in Thailand - what they're doing right, what they could improve, and what it's like working within a system that's notoriously fickle when it comes to censorship. He also tells us a few stories from The Hangover Part 2 such as how hard it was to shut down parts of Chinatown, and how a boat they hired in California ended up getting lost on a Chinese river. Greg also tells us about a baby shower that he attended where he[...]


Media Files:
http://traffic.libsyn.com/thaifaq/Chris_Lowenstein_Final_v2.mp3?dest-id=34166