Scott explains that Thailand is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations. It consistently ranks high in magazine and traveler’s polls, and its capital Bangkok is regularly rated as the top city in the world for tourists, often beating out better known international capitals such as Paris and London. Scott asks, “What makes Thailand such a magical and popular travel destination?” and proposes that they discuss that today.

Trevor then talks a bit about his initial feelings about Thailand when he first visited in 1993. He was backpacking through Asia and had few preconceived notions about the kingdom. When he moved to Thailand in 2001 he had a somewhat better idea of what to expect but confesses that, even after 14 years living in Thailand, he’s still surprised by many things he experiences in Thailand.

Scott recounts very similar experiences, first as a backpacker and then as an expat. Before he arrived in Thailand on his first trip, he knew it had hill tribes, beaches, an exciting capital and that it was affordable but he also was continually surprised and fascinated by aspects of Thai culture even after living in Bangkok and traveling around the country as an expat for over a decade.

Funky Thai buses are very popular photo courtesy Very Thai

Funky Thai buses are very popular
photo courtesy Very Thai

Scott then talks about some of the more interesting facets of Thai society, including how Thais are quite friendly, but the society is incredibly intricate with many layers. They discuss how sometimes foreigners are not as welcome/liked as they may superficially believe, how there is a high degree of superstition, and that there actually are reasons for most of those weird, wild things that go on.

Trevor talks about how his impressions have changed over the years living in Thailand and how he has adjusted himself to fit into Thai culture more effectively.

Philip Cornwel-Smith

Philip Cornwel-Smith

Introducing Today’s Guest: Philip Cornwel-Smith, author of Very Thai – Philip used to be the editor of a no-longer published magazine, Bangkok Metro before striking out on his own to write what is one of the most interesting and entertaining books about Thai culture and quirks – Very Thai. He’s become of the authorities on Thai design, as well as what makes the people and nation tick, and Talk Travel Asia is very lucky to have him as a guest today.

Philip then goes on to answer the following questions:

  • When and why did you settle in Thailand?
  • What was your life before working in media in Thailand?
  • What is Very Thai? – How did the Very Thai book come about?
  • For you, what makes Thailand so appealing and unique?
  • What is one of your favorite quirks about Thai people?
  • What are a few of your favorite elements of Thailand?
  • Tell us about a funny story that happened to you while working on the book?
  • What was one of biggest ah-ha moments about Thailand and its people that you encountered while writing the book?
  • What’s one of your favorite places in Bangkok when you want to be amazed?
  • What’s your favorite spot in Thailand to get away from it all?
  • When you want to be reminded of the feeling you had when you first went to Thailand, where do you go?
  • What is a place in Thailand that you once thought was great and think now should be avoided?
  • Favorite places to eat?
  • Favorite places to have a drink?
  • A few of your favorite hotels?
  • What book are you working on now – what’s next?
Typical wooden Thai house photo courtesy Very Thai

Typical wooden Thai house
photo courtesy Very Thai

See a Photo Gallery of pictures from this episode!

About our guest: 

To learn more about Scott & Trevor:

Our Sponsor: Heritage Suites – A great property in Siem Reap offering classic elegance, blended with modern styling, and a great staff. Jazz on Thursday nights in the bar.

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