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.

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If you travel, you almost always end up spending a reasonable amount of time in a hotel or lodging of some sort. Your room and property typically plays a key role in your experience, especially if it’s a special trip or one to a new part of the world you’ve been dreaming of for a long time. You’ve likely had a hotel experience that you still remember due to a few special touches and you’d go back in a flash if you were there again. And you’ve likely also stayed somewhere that was a bust and tainted your overall memories of a destination. On this episode we’ll go beyond the throw pillows and welcome drink to think about what makes a great hotel experience, with Jason Friedman, a longtime luxury hotelier specializing in Asia.

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On this episode of Talk Travel Asia podcast we explore traveling by train in Asia. Train travel is one of the most in-touch and connected ways to travel. Many a novel has been written around such journeys and the romance therein. With the advent of air travel and the cost of doing so dropping, train travel has become not as economical as it once was. At the same time, many countries are upgrading their rail systems, and others still rely on decrepit ones, which can be part of the appeal and charm. On this episode we’ll chat with train travel expert, Mark Smith, also known as The Man in Seat 61, who maintains the world’s top website for train travel information.

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On this episode of Talk Travel Asia Podcast we talk about things to avoid doing while traveling in Asia. When you travel, you want to fit in, have things go smoothly, have fun and not get into trouble. While 99% of the people you will meet on your trip want to help you and most of your ideas are probably good and well-intentioned, there are some things and people you should avoid to ensure a smooth trip. On this episode we’ll talk about a variety of things we think you should keep in mind and avoid doing to have the best journey possible.

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Wondering where we would travel in Asia if we had free time to explore? On this episode of Talk Travel Asia podcast we talk about our Dream Travel Destinations – Volume 3! Back in December 2014 we shared some of the places in Asia we’d like to visit on ‘Dream Travel Destinations 1’ and then in June 2016 we followed up with ‘Dream Travel Destinations 2’. Well, we, just like you, are still dreaming of travel and the next spots we want to hit. So you guessed it, on this episode we’re going to share some spots we’re hoping to make it to soon.

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Wow – 100 episodes! When we started this podcast, with our first episode on June 11, 2014, we didn’t envision hitting 100 episodes nearly 5 years later. Asia’s been home to us for 37-collective years, we’ve had a ton of incredible experiences, from jobs to travel and even marriage. Join us as we celebrate hitting the big 1-0-0 by sharing 100 Things We Love About Asia.

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On this episode of Talk Travel Asia podcast, we’ll talk about one of our favorite areas in all of SE Asia – southern Laos – specifically the ancient Khmer temple of Vat Phou and 4,000 Islands, near the border with Cambodia. Laos, a country of 5.5-million, landlocked, and sandwiched between China, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, is little-known to most travelers. Sure, they’ve heard the name, but don’t know much about what it has to offer, or for that matter, often where exactly on the map it’s located. In a day and age when over-tourism is becoming a problem at many traditional sites and countries, now is a great time to strike out from the masses and discover this charming land-locked nation.  Continue reading

Asian cultures are often very different from western ones and many foreigners make some horribly embarrassing mistakes as a result of these disparities. Even those who read up in their guidebook about the do’s and don’ts in a particular destination only grasp the general concept and not necessarily all of the nuances. Beyond the standard differences between east and west, such as greetings (the handshake vs a bow or wai) some are much more subtle and can lead to some awkward situations.

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Trevor kicks off this episode of Talk Travel Asia, Almost Asia! Hawaii for First Time Visitors explaining that “Hawaii lies in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and, while Scott and I have pretty extensive knowledge of the area, we haven’t done an episode on the islands as they are not officially part of ‘Asia’. That said, Hawaii is not really part of the Americas either; it lies within what is considered the Asia-Pacific Region, which is apt as Hawaii has strong Asian influences, including large populations of Filipinos, Chinese, and Japanese, who, over the centuries, have contributed diverse cultural influences to the islands from food to language to clothing (read Trevor’s History of the Hawaiian Aloha Shirt). Throw in a large number of Asian visitors and you realize that Hawaii is as “Asian” as it is anything else. So, kick back, crack open a cold coconut porter and enjoy an episode about my favorite place in the world, the islands of Hawai’i.” Continue reading

Culture shock is certainly something that occurs when traveling abroad. Here in Asia there are many curious customs and holidays that are so different what we experience at home. We actually did an episode on Interesting Asian Holidays (Episode 62). On this episode we talk about some wild and wacky experiences and attractions in Asia, some of which we have experienced and some of which we have not…yet. Continue reading

Happy New Year – it’s 2017 and our gift to you is a celebratory episode of Talk Travel Asia. Today we’ll revel in our very favorite things about Asia in a multitude of categories from how to get around to where to imbibe and a whole lot in between. We take on a variety of categories from best transport, to airports, best movies theaters and a whole lot in between. This is our Best of Asia from more than 33 collective years living and traveling in the region. Ring in the New Year by celebrating travel and get planning your trip to Asia for 2017!

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For Episode 59 we’re running an encore episode from the early days of the show, Episode 12: Phare, The Cambodian Circus with Craig Dodge. For those heading to Cambodia, this is one of the top cultural attractions; for those interested in grass-roots social enterprises, this is a wonderful story. Have a listen and learn about this troupe of performers consisting of disadvantaged Cambodian children.

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