366 episodes

Online since 2010! Greg Jorgensen and Ed Knuth have been knocking around Bangkok since the turn of the century. Exploring dark corners, eating amazing food, and interacting with fascinating people, the two have gotten to know and love Thailand's capital in all its confusing, mysterious glory.

Every week they chat about topics near and dear to those living here, those visiting here, or those who are just curious about what it's like to live in Asia's craziest city.

The Bangkok Podcast | Life in Thailand's Buzzing Capital Greg Jorgensen & Ed Knuth

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 98 Ratings

Online since 2010! Greg Jorgensen and Ed Knuth have been knocking around Bangkok since the turn of the century. Exploring dark corners, eating amazing food, and interacting with fascinating people, the two have gotten to know and love Thailand's capital in all its confusing, mysterious glory.

Every week they chat about topics near and dear to those living here, those visiting here, or those who are just curious about what it's like to live in Asia's craziest city.

    Busting Some Myths About Prostitution in Thailand [S5.E61]

    Busting Some Myths About Prostitution in Thailand [S5.E61]

    Ed leads a discussion and semi-rant about a persistent myth regarding the history of prostitution in Thailand that was recently perpetuated by a YouTube video by Thaiger. The myth goes like this: prostitution wasn’t much of a thing in Thailand until the Vietnam War era, when the demand created by American GIs on rest and relaxation resulted in a booming sex industry. 
    Ugh. Where to start? Well, first of all, prostitution is called the oldest profession in the world for a reason, and there’s clear evidence of the industry existing in Thailand many hundreds of years before the Vietnam War. Second, many studies have revealed the well-known fact that the bulk of prostitution in Thailand has Thai men as the clientele, not foreigners. And last but not least, what about the Thai women (and men) who populate the sex industry, the bar owners, and the landowners? Are they not Thai? 
    The guys discuss the Thaiger video and praise it for what it gets right, namely the Thai government’s promotion of condom use in the 1980s and the serious steps to eradicate sex trafficking that occurred in the 1990s. But alas, no matter how many times certain myths are debunked, the one that says foreigners are the major driver behind the sex industry in Thailand never seems to die. :(
    Don’t forget that Patrons get the ad-free version of the show as well as swag and other perks. And we’ll keep our Facebook, Twitter, and LINE accounts active so you can send us comments, questions, or whatever you want to share.

    • 36 min
    Achievement Unlocked! Even More Expat Merit Badges

    Achievement Unlocked! Even More Expat Merit Badges

    Because the first show was so fun to do - and full of great listener-generated ideas! - Greg and Ed revisit the idea of expat ‘merit badges,’ a recognition of classic experiences in Thailand that indicate you are more than just a tourist. I mean, try to come to Thailand as a tourist and not eat bugs, that’s easy-peasy! We’re talking about real skills or achievements that show you’ve not only been here for a while, but have actually gone out of your comfort zone to learn and get your hands dirty. So to speak. The guys go back and forth, discussing ten new ways to ‘level up’ your expat street cred. Examples include dressing down for formal events, Thai style, understanding the Thai system of measurements, as in ‘rai’ and ‘wa,’ knowing Thai years, especially for your date of birth, being able to recognize or speak a little bit of a Thai dialect, and knowing the formally proper way to give alms to a monk. Greg and Ed talk about their own ability at each one, and then go through even more experiences that prove you are not a noob in Thailand. 
    Listen in for all the details and see where you rank among your expat peers!
    Don’t forget that Patrons get the ad-free version of the show as well as swag and other perks. And we’ll keep our Facebook, Twitter, and LINE accounts active so you can send us comments, questions, or whatever you want to share.

    • 32 min
    Author Chris Baker Discusses Thai History, Culture & Conflict [S5.E59]

    Author Chris Baker Discusses Thai History, Culture & Conflict [S5.E59]

    Greg and Ed interview expat legend Chris Baker, co-author (along with his wife Pasuk Phongpaichit) of A History of Thailand, in addition to several other well-known books on Thailand. Greg and Ed gush over the fact they have both read Chris’s most famous work, something that every serious expat needs to do at some point. 
    Chris begins by relating the lovely story of meeting his wife in England and subsequently relocating to Thailand where he worked a variety of jobs before settling down and co-writing a book with her on the economy and politics of Thailand in the 1990s. He explains his fascinating relationship with his wife, which involves extensive arguing over the subject matter of their books, while somehow preserving their personal relationship. The guys joke that this is perhaps Chris’s greatest accomplishment. 
    Chris continues with the story of his most famous book, A History of Thailand, how it came about and he and his wife’s shock and amazement at its best-seller status. Chris explains that a new, updated fourth edition is close to release, so all Bangkok Podcast listeners now have their summer reading assignment! 
    Greg and Ed prod Chris for his thoughts on recent events in Thailand, and Chris gives his insightful take on the last few years. Thankfully, Chris agrees to return to the podcast for future shows. We can’t wait! :)
    Don’t forget that Patrons get the ad-free version of the show as well as swag and other perks. And we’ll keep our Facebook, Twitter, and LINE accounts active so you can send us comments, questions, or whatever you want to share.

    • 54 min
    Greg’s Canada Trip: Thoughts on Reverse Culture Shock [S5.E58]

    Greg’s Canada Trip: Thoughts on Reverse Culture Shock [S5.E58]

    It’s Greg’s turn for some reverse culture shock as he relates his return to Thailand from the Great White North of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Ed first notes the differences between his situation and Greg’s: he still has family in Ohio, while Greg’s family are no longer there. Plus, Ed’s habits tend towards the international, such as Starbucks and Subway, so he can feel at home around the world. 
    For Greg though, Calgary is really another place entirely, especially in the winter, and he reacted similarly to Ed in Ohio: Why do human beings even live in this environment? Apparently, twenty years in the tropics changes a man.
    The boys then discuss some of the big differences noted on Greg's trip, from dull malls and rough-looking locals (something Ed noticed on his trip too) to the abundance of weed dispensaries and the sheer joy of bantering with waitstaff in your own language.  
    Listen in for some deep thoughts on being a stranger in a strange land that used to be home. 
    Don’t forget that Patrons get the ad-free version of the show as well as swag and other perks. And we’ll keep our Facebook, Twitter, and LINE accounts active so you can send us comments, questions, or whatever you want to share.

    • 38 min
    The Psychology of Tourist Scams with Tourism Expert Ding Xu [S5.E57]

    The Psychology of Tourist Scams with Tourism Expert Ding Xu [S5.E57]

    Anyone who has been to Thailand knows the old “Ohhh, the temple is closed today, why don’t you come with me to this gem store?” Despite warnings in literally every bit of content about traveling to Thailand, thousands still fall prey to this scam every year. But why??
    To answer this we are joined by Ding Xu, a PhD candidate in tourism at Australia’s James Cook University. Ding’s research goes deep into understanding the culture, economy and psychology of the tourism industry as well as the tourists themselves. Putting hundreds of hours of study into the scams that are so prevalent around the world, Ding has a unique insight into not only how and why the scams are put together, but what causes a large number of tourists to part with money - sometimes a lot of money! - based on the advice of a random dude they met in a foreign country. 
    Ding explains the four features that his research identified in being central to any scam - deception types, interpersonal trust, victim culpability and prevalence - to dissect how and why these scams are so ubiquitous.
    Don’t forget that Patrons get the ad-free version of the show as well as swag and other perks. And we’ll keep our Facebook, Twitter, and LINE accounts active so you can send us comments, questions, or whatever you want to share.

    • 50 min
    Thai Games: From Playgrounds to Cards to Beetle Fighting [S5.E.56]

    Thai Games: From Playgrounds to Cards to Beetle Fighting [S5.E.56]

    Thanks to a suggestion from a listener Greg and Ed discuss the fascinating topic of games that are common - if not unique - to Thailand. Both guys have some familiarity with some games played in public such as ‘takraw,’ but many of the others are part of this strange world called ‘Thai culture’ that the guys apparently don’t actually know that well.
    Greg begins with a children’s game in which one child sings a song while counting by syllable on another child’s hand.  When the singer stops on a finger, that finger is taken out of the game.  The child with the last finger in is the winner.  Greg even plays a cute clip of a video of the game.  
    Next, Greg explains a Thai game very similar to the Western game of ‘jacks,’ which although relatively unplayed by children back home, still lives on in a Thai derivative. 
    The boys then go deep into the Thai version of chess, called makruk (หมากรุก), which utilizes the same board and pieces but with modifying moving rules for each piece. This game is a quite famous pastime of Thai motorcycle riders, who can often be seen playing the game on the side of the road while awaiting customers. It should be noted that Ed’s friend - a noted chess lover - was broken by makruk, giving up in frustration after trying to tame the wild beast.
    Greg continues with several more Thai games, from the crazy sport of takraw, which is kind of like soccer and volleyball mixed together with a wicker ball, to bizarre practices such as beetle fighting, popular in the Northeast, and a game where you throw seeds with your knees. We also check in with a friend of Greg’s who owns Golden Goblin Games to hear about the role-playing side of things.
    Don’t forget that Patrons get the ad-free version of the show as well as swag and other perks. And we’ll keep our Facebook, Twitter, and LINE accounts active so you can send us comments, questions, or whatever you want to share.

    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
98 Ratings

98 Ratings

Gbiddle2482 ,

Inside info on Thailand

I traveled to Thailand in 2019 and couldn’t get enough. I only was there for two weeks but listening to this podcast i can really relate to what they talk about and make me want to go back. Thanks guys.

Andrey_Karpov42 ,

Exposure to Thai culture

I’ve started listening to many new and older episodes to get some exposure to Thai culture and language because we may be going there for a few months. I enjoy the variety of topics covered on this podcast and although they don’t always go into the level of detail I would want, there is plenty of information provided to get a general idea of something and enough to go off if I want to research a particular topic in more depth. I’ve learned a lot from listening so far and look forward to potentially becoming a patron to hear the bonus show which sounds pretty helpful and entertaining. I also appreciate the honesty the hosts speak with so I feel like I can trust them to share their honest opinion and not sugar coat things. Keep it up!

DBV408 ,

Thank you

I’m 32 years old and married to a Thai and we are both going to move with our two year old to Bangkok soon (before the new year) and I’ve learned a lot from you two! Thanks! Keep them coming!

Top Podcasts In Society & Culture

iHeartPodcasts
Pineapple Street Studios | Wondery | Amazon Music
This American Life
Glennon Doyle & Cadence13
Apple TV+ / Campside Media
iHeartPodcasts

You Might Also Like

THE STANDARD
THE STANDARD
Ciaran Mc
THE STANDARD
karunabuakamsri
BBC World Service

More by Anthony Joh