BANGKOK — Eyes tired of staring at screens all day? Give them a rest and open your ears to stories from the capital city.
In the spirit of March’s “Try a Pod” campaign promoting podcasts, we went looking for what the capital city has to offer. Of course, being that we’re in Thailand, most of them are in Thai.
We managed to find a diverse quartet of English-language podcasts covering topics from hot-button issues to the arts and the just plain silly. They’re all hosted by expat residents.
1. Poet in Bangkok
Hear what’s going on in the city’s arts and culture scene under military rule inter cut with a Sci-Fi Martian invasion tale.
Started last year, Poet in Bangkok episodes feature authors Colin Cheney and Donald Quist talking to a wide range of Bangkok-based artists and scene people such as Thai-language film director Paul Spurrier, “Bangkok Noir” painter Chris Coles, drag queen persona Pangina Heals and Sasapin “Pupe” Siriwanij of experimental theatre troupe B-Floor.
The interviews are well done and engaging with dynamic conversations digging into the aspects of each career. Cheny and Quist ask their subjects insightful and thought-provoking questions, though the pacing could benefit from some editing.
Each episode is an hour and half long, with Cheney and Quist chitchatting for the first 30 minutes on the poems they’ve read, elephant tourism or about how it feels to be a farang in Bangkok. If you want to get right to the interviews, skip ahead to somewhere around the 20- or 30-minute mark.
2. Brewed in Bangkok
First of all, Brewed in Bangkok has nothing to do with beer. Most of the time, at least. Its main interest is rarely heard stories of interesting people in Thailand, mostly expats.
Karsten Aichholz’ monthly podcast aired for the first time in mid-2016. The German-British tech entrepreneur speaks Thai well and started his own podcast as he felt the capital city’s inhabitants “got the short end of the stick” when it comes to telling their stories.
“Foreign shows always focus on stories of drugs, crime and sex. It’s what sells. It isn’t however the entire picture,” Aichholz said.
Brewed in Bangkok looks to mine people for their stories, from the farang owner of a tanning salon to a 2004 Tsunami survivor, whose interview took audiences into the water between Bamboo Island and Ko Phi Phi for a view of the destruction.
3. Bangkok Podcast
Once a week, the hosts of Bangkok Podcast discuss, well, anything that comes across their minds, from Thai superstitions and craft beer to the overuse of antibiotics.
Sometimes they share their experiences to give pointers to new arrivals, such as don’t expect to get smashed on the cheap with Thai beer. The show is most engaging when they invite guests on to talk. Some recent episodes have included a British Buddhist monk, Phra Pandit Cittasamvaro, talking about the controversy behind Wat Dhammakaya and Brian Bartusch of Beervana explaining the craft beer situation in Thailand.
4. This One Time
This One Time is a comedy travel podcast. Yep, you read that right. People go places and funny things happen.
As a travel blogger-podcaster and new resident of Bangkok, Evo Terra (also co-host of the above Bangkok Podcast) and his wife Sheila Dee, are the lovebird hosts who share their “that one time” experiences in Bangkok.
It’s not the travel podcast you might expect, and it may not be for those who’ve lived in Bangkok for awhile.
While they keep each giggle-powered episode to a short 10 to 20 minutes, their topics are pretty random – from ruminating on the lack of sunglasses in a sunny country (“Unmasking The Hi-So Farang Bandit”) to “whore-ific” experience at their first ping-pong show in Bangkok (“Terrible Table Cervix in Thailand”).
Terra, aka Pod Yoda, was an early podcasting pioneer the author of “Podcasting For Dummies.”
5. Surrounded by Details
After we published this story, Stev Bonhage reached to bring attention to his Surrounded by Details podcast, which just completed its first year. We only scanned through a few eps – but there are a lot. Eighty-four as of Wednesday. Stev, born in what was East Germany in 1985, is a photographer and his podcasts are mostly interviews with folks such as restaurateurs, writers and colorful characters. But Stev’s favorite topic is fighting, so it’s a great place to immerse in the MMA personalities of Southeast Asia. The episodes run from 30 minutes to too long, so don’t expect to binge listen one down in your BTS time.