• Thailand,  Human Encounters

    Instant tailoring

    The other day the backside of my hiking trousers exploded. It started off with a small tear, potentially caused by a stubborn struggle of mine with a group of rattan and other spiky jungle greenery. The signpost insisted I need to turn right. So why would I give up my plan to finish hike #5, just because the path was overgrown wildly? After bush bashing my way through the thicket I come out rather scratched on the other side. Only to discover that a bit further down the “wrong” way (aka hike #4) people had already created a little bypass. A detour, but nice and easy. Well, I’ve…

  • Thailand

    That Quality of Life in Khon Kaen

    Khon Kaen has everything I like in my city: an attractive body of water alongside which one can stroll or cycle or run, huge forests and mountains close enough to ease the mind of the nature addict during a day trip or a weekend adventure, even a rock-climbing community! On top of that the popular university makes for cozy coffee shops and a vibrant music and art scene. It’s like Mainz in the tropics! Khon Kaen is one of four major cities in the North-East of Thailand. But unlike Udon Thani and Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat), which count for two more of the “big four of Isan” there is rather…

  • Thailand,  Kambodscha

    Angkor is everywhere

    The evening sun is bathing the ancient ruins in a captivating gold-orange light. I wander through the chambers of one of the many 12th century Khmer temples in Thailand and admire quietly the excellent state of the original stone carvings on lintels and pediments. It’s serene. It’s me and maybe two dozen other visitors – local tourists geared up in their best outfits on a selfie spree. They do in fact add to the beauty of the scene. “Khon diao?” I get asked over and over again by the Thai families and groups of friends. “Only one person?” Inconceivable that one would travel by themselves! “Mai sanuk!” “No…

  • Thailand

    Khao Yai Photo Safari

    Honestly, this National Park is nothing short of a zoo! A drive-by zoo, where all the inmates are having permission to roam freely in an area of 2,168 km². How many times have I dried the tears of guests coming on my tours in Asia, when there was no wildlife to be seen on days and days of hiking through the jungle? Growing a little bit weary of the latent disappointment I one day purposefully designed a trip with an overnight stay in a hide somewhere in Malaysia. Together with a 77-year old recreational hunter we were sitting on watch all night in front of a beautiful clearing…

  • Thailand,  Giggles

    Dancing Deers and Bulls

    There is a sense of humour in a lot of the street signs and stickers you’ll find while travelling around Thailand. Khao Yai authorities did not fall behind expectations when designing some of the advice for the popular national park. They have quite the dynamic appeal about them.

  • Thailand

    “It Only Stings When it Really Wants”

    Did you know that scorpions perform some kind of dance when they mate? Well, to be precise, the male arthropod places his sperm somewhere safe on the ground and then guides the female over it by grasping her at her claws and then tugging her in the desired direction. Since they don’t go in a straight line during this process, it’s called a dance. I’m happy to learn about this and many other details from the life of a scorpion while our guide Lek places a non-dancing but nonetheless very living blackish green specimen on my hand. I finally made it to Khao Yai National Park and we…

  • Thailand

    Back to Backpacking Thailand

    I’m deeply mesmerized by the refinement and warmth of Bali. I have a thing for the rough and raw of Cambodia. And I’m in breathless awe for the humble and sincere practice of the Burmese. But with Thailand and me it is something else. It’s a vibrational thing. It’s my heart expanding the moment the wheels of the airplane touch ground. It’s this upwelling of tears when I cross any land border coming from Laos or Cambodia (no kidding!). It’s crazy. It’s irrational. And it’s unconditional. I smile when they smile their famous smile, but from deep deep within. I do the “khaaa” thing with such a profound…

  • Thailand

    Khao San after the Funeral

    Banglampoo. Just the blink of an eye and the curtain opens again for the usual play in Thanon Khao San and Soi Rambuttri. What a stark contrast to the all-pervading and all-silencing funeral two weeks ago! The flood of foreigners is back with their GoPros, selfie sticks, short shorts, “Inner Tubing Vang Vieng”-shirts and slight disorientation in their eyes. Where did they crash during the week of the royal festivities, one wonders. And the skinny beer girls are back. And the insect snack dealers (photo 10 baht!). And the frog ladies with the pretentious hill tribe hats. And the “Thai massaaaaaage”. Of course. And the “ping pong” (add…

  • Thailand

    A Truly Royal Funeral

    My heart is deeply touched after these few days in Bangkok joining the events around the cremation of Rama IX. Apart from the incredible splendour of the processions and ceremonies what really moves me is the kindness and care of the Thai people, their dedication and patience throughout this very special season in their history. It reveals the core values of a country, deeply driven by the Buddhist motivation to share, to give, to offer and to serve. Jai dii mak mak. ❤ Everyone, really everyone helps and supports – starting with month-long preparations of sandalwood flowers for the last offering to being available for any kind of…