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Insight into Bangkok’s Mobile Street Vendors [Season 3, Episode 26]

Greg interviews Kisnaphol “Keng” Wattanawanyoo, an expert in the informal aspects of urban life, and in the case of Bangkok, the plethora of mobile street vendors. While Bangkok is in a rush to modernize and clean up its streets, the mobile vendor subculture is alive and well - but for how long? Greg and Keng discuss where these folks come from, where they buy their merch, and explains the informal network they use to keep each other up to date, train new recruits, and mark their territory....


Permanent Residency in Thailand: Worth It? [Season 3, Episode 25]

Greg and Ed jump into the tricky issue of whether it is worth it for expats to gain permanent residency status in Thailand, also known as PR. It’s a good topic, because while Greg is still a stateless savage, Ed actually does have PR. So what is PR? Essentially, it’s a permanent visa that obviates the need to do border runs or 90 day reporting. But significantly, Thai PR does not include the right to work or the right to own property; plus, it can be expensive, at 195,000 baht for the those...


Author Patrick Winn on Organized Crime in Southeast Asia [Season 3, Episode 24]

The podcast is very pleased to welcome back journalist Patrick Winn, who previously appeared on the show in its very early days - episode 11 of season 1, to be precise. Patrick recently authored a book called “Hello Shadowlands: Inside the Meth Fiefdoms, Rebel Hideouts, and Bomb-Scarred Party Towns of Southeast Asia” and the subject matter is as exciting as the title would suggest. Patrick discusses his time in Myanmar with gangs of militant Christians who kidnap drug addicts in an attempt...


What Are People Asking Google About Thailand? [Season 3, Episode 23]

Google searches have become a treasure trove of information on modern cultures, and something that everyone from students to seniors use to find information. One interesting feature is Google’s autocomplete, which makes guesses on what you’re looking for based on what others are searching for. So what does Google’s autocomplete say about Thailand? Greg tries various combinations of Thailand-related questions, such as ‘Is Thailand...’ or ‘Will Bangkok . . .’ with results ranging from the...


Endangered Languages & Evolving Thai with Linguist Rikker Dockum [Season 3, Episode 22]

What if you got into a time machine and jumped forward a few hundred years, only to discover when you arrived that no one spoke your language anymore? It’s happened plenty of times (not the time machine thing, but languages dying out), so we wondered...could it happen to Thai? Greg interviews friend of the show Rikker Dockum, a linguist finishing his PhD at Yale, who has been doing research in northwest Burma on a local dialect that is part of the same family of languages as Thai. After...


Jobs You Can’t Do, and Drugs You Can (Maybe) [Bonus 21]

Just for a bit of fun, we're releasing this week's bonus episode for all our listeners! Patrons of the Bangkok Podcast get the regular show + a bonus show every week. To learn more, go to Greg and Ed - still trying to digest the news from last week’s show with attorney Jerrold Kippen - discuss the significance of the (hopeful) changes to Thailand’s work permit laws. Just for a bit of fun, Greg also goes through the professions prohibited to foreigners,...


Neighborhood Focus - Ari [Season 3, Episode 21]

Another in our continuing series on Bangkok’s coolest and most notable places to live or visit! This week we focus on the Ari neighborhood, which roughly surrounds the Ari BTS station. Greg recounts the four years he lived in the neighborhood and shares a few insights into what makes it unique. Ed also ponders is demographic makeup - a lot of educated expats living and hanging out right next to working class Thais, patrons of upscale eateries, craft beer bars, and hole-in-the-wall joints...


Thai Work Permits: What Just Changed? [Season 3, Episode 20]

If you’ve even a passing interest in living in Thailand, you’ve likely heard of the recent changes to the Kingdom’s work permit laws - the legal requirements of being employed here there are written in stone which, it turns out, are not written in stone. Greg interviews Jerrold Kippen of the law firm of Duensing Kippen about these changes, which were highlighted in a recent article his firm wrote. It’s big news! Traditionally, Thai work permits for foreigners were interpreted very...


Trainspotting: The Past, Present & Future of Rail Travel in Thailand [Season 3, Episode 19]

This week your intrepid hosts discuss all manner of rail travel in Bangkok and beyond, and the role that the train system plays in Thai society. For most foreigners rail is a convenient alternative, but for many Thais (and others throughout the world), it’s the only option, leading to some interesting financial, logistical, and economic repercussions. Greg and Ed also trade stories of riding the overnight train to Chiang Mai and other rail adventures they’ve had over the years, and then...


Unique Perspectives: Thailand's Third Culture Kids [Season 3, Episode 18]

What do you do if the culture you grew up in isn’t your own - or even your parents’? You adapt, dammit, and become what’s known as a Third Culture Kid, or TCK, if you’re cool. Ed interviews his recently graduated student Mook Ishimura, a half-Thai, half-Japanese ‘third culture kid,’ who is a Thai citizen but who grew up mostly in the United States and Indonesia before moving to Thailand for university. They discuss the rather unusual situation of feeling LESS comfortable in your ‘passport...


The Risks and Rewards of Biking in Bangkok [Season 3, Episode 17]

On this episode, Master Yoda Biker Greg counsels young padawan Ed in the ways of biking in Bangkok, focusing either on the casual rider looking for some exercise or adventure, the commuter looking for a way through Bangkok’s notoriously bad traffic (and unreliable BTS!), or the adventurer looking to blaze new trails (for an example of this, see this week’s episode artwork of Greg’s good friend Paul exploring a new trail). Greg and Ed discuss all the important points of biking in Bangkok -...


Talking With Phra Pandit: What's Up With Buddhist Novices? [Season 3, Episode 16]

Have you ever seen those little kids walking around a temple dressed as monks? Well guess what - they ARE monks! Sort of. Mostly. Well, probably more than you are, anyway. Definitely more than we are. On this episode, Greg talks to perennial BP favorite Phra Pandit - a real, actual monk - about Thai novices, which is what not-yet-monks are called in Thailand. Pandit explains the origin of the 'novice’ concept and how children in Thailand are often placed in temples due to family or...


Neighborhood Focus: Ekkamai [Season 3, Episode 15]

As all expats know, Bangkok is a gigantic, sprawling metropolis, but it does contain dozens of identifiable neighborhoods, each with its own personality, vibe, and reasons to go (or not to go) for a visit. On this show, the guys dive into the Ekkamai area, the long, skinny section that stretches from Sukhumvit to Petchaburi along Sukhumivit Soi 63. Not only does this include Soi Ekkamai proper, but also the many side sois that snake and wind and tumble west, toward Thong Lor, and east,...


Teaching Critical Thinking in Thailand [Season 3, Episode 14]

In a culture where most people have seen ghosts, visit fortune tellers, and where questioning authority is kind of, sort of, not really cool, critical thinking may seem like a foreign concept. However, we happen to have an expert on hand - our own Ed “The Truth” Knuth, who teaches a critical thinking class as part of his university course. On the surface, it may seem that Thais are worse at thinking critically than westerners, but Ed explains that (at least in his opinion), it really...


How Has Bangkok Changed Us? [Season 3, Episode 13]

Something a little different this week - a host swap! Greg is joined by co-host Scott Coates, one of his oldest friends in Thailand. Scott co-hosts the Talk Travel Asia podcast with Trevor Ranges, and, if you head over there, you will be able to hear The Bangkok Podcast’s other host, Ed “The Truth” Knuth, co-hosting a show with Trevor. Everything will be back to normal next week, but we thought a bit of crossover action would be fun. (And in case you’re wondering, the artwork for this...


Talking Overtourism With Stuart McDonald from [Season 3, Episode 12]

From a cute lil’ gazebo on the rooftop of a newly-renovated hotel in Chinatown, Greg, Ed, and Stuart from jump into the complex issue of “overtourism” in Thailand. Beginning with a definition of the term (roughly when the number of tourists exceeds the capacity of the existing infrastructure to properly service them), Stuart describes the situation in a number of popular tourist destinations in Thailand. It’s a tricky subject - if one destination starts to get a bit too...


Finding the Groove: Live Music in Bangkok [Season 3, Episode 11]

We start off with some good news! Throwing back to episode 2.18 and guest Sawang Srisom, a disabled rights activist, Greg is happy to report that the city just gave a huge chunk of change to to the BTS so that they can finally add elevators to all stations! Really, it’s about time - Bangkok’s disabled facilities are embarrassingly unsuitable. Greg and Ed then get into the meat of the show - live music in Bangkok. After lamenting the scene compared to the U.S. and Canada, they chat about...


Reverse Culture Shock with Evo Terra [Season 3, Episode 10]

Greg welcomes former co-host Evo Terra back to the podcast after his repatriation to the good old U.S.A. Evo describes his new life in Phoenix and his many adjustments, including trying to drive on the right (that is, not left) side of the road. He also recounts the difficulty of finding a furnished apartment at a reasonable price and laments the relatively decent cost of living in the City of Angels (Thai version). Shopping for food has also been a challenge, due to the fact that Evo...


The Good, the Bad, the Cuddly: Raising a Kid in Bangkok [Season 3, Episode 9]

Episode links: My interview with the guys at This Strange Life podcast Bangkok may be great for the childless among us, but what about those expats who want to raise a family here? As a married guy without kids, Ed questions Greg about the pros and cons of being a parent in Bangkok. The conversation starts with a peek into the insane cost and stress of deciding...


Stu Jay Raj: The Inside Story of Thai Vowels [Season 3, Episode 8]

Key links for this show: Hey, do you know the difference between ใ and ไ? What about เ and แ? Well, we sort of do, but you know who really does? This week’s guest, Stu Jay Raj. What started as a simple question from Greg to Stu about Thai vowels gets turned around as Stu - noted linguist, polyglot, and all around swell dude - starts asking questions of Greg, slowly revealing a method of thinking about Thai vowels that isn’t so obvious. Thai language learners will be mouthing...