Talk Travel Asia podcast welcomes back Phillip Cornwel Smith to talk about his latest publication: Very Bangkok. There’s no doubt that Bangkok is one of the world’s most visited cities. Its sites are some of the most featured on Instagram, and almost everyone will come up with some mental pictures of the city, good and bad, the moment they hear the name. Founded in 1782 when the Chakri Dynasty established Bangkok as Thailand’s capital, it’s a vibrant, dynamic city that dazzles the senses at every turn. Some love it, others hate it, and all with good reason. Today we’ll explore the City of Angels well beyond the surface with longtime resident and author Philip Cornwel Smith, who will share insights from his book Very Bangkok.

Crazy intersection? Very Bangkok. No traffic? Not so Bangkok! (courtesy of Philip Cornwel Smith)

Trevor & Scott give a quick overview of our time in Bangkok and Thailand, including some of their loves and hates of the city. Scott loves the food, friendly people, variety of transport methods, all sorts of hidden corners and communities; he dislikes constant heat, traffic, lack of green spaces, the smell of salty fish and elephant pants. 

After Trevor gives his love and hate list of Bangkok, which he misses very much, they give their Impressions of Philip’s Very Thai book which was the topic of conversation on Talk Travel Asia Episode 28: Very Thailand with Philip Cornwel Smith. This is followed by a bit of background about the Very Bangkok book.

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Guest Intro: Philip Cornwel Smith

Philip and his wonderful books (photo courtesy of Philip Cornwel Smith)

We’ve been lucky enough to know our guest for quite a long time. Philip Cornwel Smith is originally from the UK but made his way to Thailand in the nineties, quite by accident as many do. He started as the editor of a listings magazine, Bangkok Metro, authored and produced a Timeout Travel Guide to Bangkok and the Beaches, and then made a massive splash in 2005 with Very Thai. In it, he explored many, many quirky elements of Thai life and has since gone to become the ‘go to’ authority on Thainess, despite not being Thai himself. He joins us today from the UK. Welcome again Philip and thanks for making time for us.

Listen to Episode 111: Very Bangkok with Philip Cornwel Smith to hear Philip answer the following questions: 

  • You were last on our show in July 2015 to talk about your other book Very Thai on Episode 28, what have you been up to since then?
  • Before we get to Very Bangkok, has the success of Very Thai surprised you?
  • When did you first get the idea for Very Bangkok and why has it taken 14-years to get to print?
  • What can readers expect to learn from Very Bangkok that they didn’t experience in Very Thai?
  • The subtitle of Very Bangkok is ‘In The City of The Senses’, why did you choose that?
  • You broke the book into some pretty interesting sections: Senses, Heart, and Face; why did you choose those?
  • You also touch quite a number of times on the use of digital sensing and tools to understand the city. How did that come about? 
  • Bangkok is one of the world’s most visited and photographed cities, what do you think are some of the biggest surprises about the city that readers will discover with Very Bangkok? 
  • I found it really interesting that you mention a lack of Bangkok pride amongst its residents. Why is this?
  • You spend a fair bit of time in Bali now, what do you enjoy there that you don’t get when you’re here?
  • What’s next for you Philip?

You can sponsor anywhere from $1/month upwards. These funds will help us cover costs of keeping the show going. Visit PATREON TO DONATE TO THE SHOW or the link from the left-side of our website, or search Talk Travel Asia Patreon. Thanks in advance for supporting the cost and helping to keep the travel talk happening.

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Talk Travel Asia is brought to you by Trevor Ranges and Scott Coates, every two weeks(ish) from wherever in the Asia they happen to be. Alternating episodes feature a guest or the two hosts, cultivating travel insight through intelligent conversation. If you enjoyed the show, please donate, even just a dollar a month: that’s only .50c per episode(ish). 

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