DOs and DON’Ts for Your First Trip to Bali

Bisakih Temple

Bali is one of the most tourist-friendly destinations that I’ve traveled to in Asia. Usually, when traveling it helps to expect things to go wrong—that way you are better prepared to handle the situation when something does inevitably go not as planned. When planning a rough itinerary for a week in Bali, I jokingly added “visit hospital to take care of monkey bite” as a way to keep this in … Continue reading…

Kuman Thong – Thailand’s Golden Ghost Boy

kuman_thong_ghost_boy_statue

If you know anything about Thai people, you’ll know that they are seriously afraid of ghosts. That’s why it might be surprising to know that millions of Thais willingly invite a ghost to stay at their home or business. Of course this isn’t such a scary ghost like the distraught Mae Nak or the grotesque Phi Krasue—rather we’re talking about a cute little boy ghost called Kuman Thong. The name … Continue reading…

Thai Society Needs to Sort Out its Views on Rape and Capital Punishment

rape_scene_thai_soap_opera

Thai society has been shocked by a horrific crime this past week—one that is currently on everyone’s mind and lips. A 22-year old State Railways employe raped a 13-year old girl in the sleeper car of an overnight train headed from from Nakhon Si Thammarat to Bangkok. After raping the girl, he then strangled her and threw her out the window of the moving train. Two days later her body … Continue reading…

The Cheapest Noodles in Chiang Mai

3_baht_noodles_sign

Fans of small portions and anyone hoping to hit the elusive $500 per month budget for living in Chiang Mai should check out ก๋วยเตี๋ยว 3 บาท Kuay Tiao 3 Baht – “3 Baht Noodles”. As the name suggests, a bowl of noodles goes for just 3 baht, which is less than 10 cents in American money. You can’t exactly expect a filling meal for under a dime—even in Southeast Asia—so … Continue reading…

Hermit-Sage of the Digital Age – Interview with an American Ruesi

Thai ruesi hermit sage

My friend Tevijjo Yogi is a frequent visitor to Chiang Mai with no fixed abode of his own. But he’s quite unlike the many travel bloggers and digital nomads who often pass through these parts. Rather he belongs to an ancient Thai tradition of Buddhist hermit sages known as ฤาษี ruesi (also sometimes spelled reusi or lersi). Ruesi is actually the Thai pronunciation of the Sanskrit word rishi. In ancient … Continue reading…

Sky Gods Take Pity on Northern Thailand

vishnu with garuda Thai painting

My fellow human beings don’t seem to have enough common sense to refrain from setting alight thousands of fires in the forests and fields of Northern Thailand each dry season. Every year, around March, the skies over Chiang Mai turn into a thick, choking smog—leaving the citizens with burning eyes, sore throats, chest pain, and asthma. The toxic particles in the air become too much for some of the elderly … Continue reading…

Wat Jed Yod – A Little Bodh Gaya in Chiang Mai

stucco temple art at Wat Jed Yod temple

Despite being one of the most important historical temples in Chiang Mai and having some of the most beautiful original stucco artwork in Thailand, Wat Jed Yod is largely quiet and free of tourists. It’s not only quite peaceful, but Wat Jed Yod is also designed like a miniature version of Bodh Gaya, making it an interesting temple to poke around and have a look at. The name Jed Yod … Continue reading…