Railay Beach in Krabi, Thailand – A Great Escape from Smoke Season in Chiang Mai

Longtail boats lined up, awaiting passengers on Railay Beach West

Every spring, when farmers burn their fields, a thick blanket of smoke descends upon my home in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Most years, I’m traveling at this time, but this year COVID-19 put a crimp in my normal schedule. I could leave, but if I did, I couldn’t come home. I thought I could tough it … Read more

The Ordained Dton Yaang Naa Spirit Trees of Thailand

Dton Yaang Naa Trees along Chinag Mai-Lamphun Road have been ordained by wrapping them in saffron monk's robes, ensuring they will not be cut down

The first time I saw the Dton Yaang Naa trees I was transfixed. I was returning from a press trip to learn about the care of Elephants in the Kingdom of Thailand, when our van driver turned down Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road. Twin rows of behemoth trees flanked the narrow, twisting road as far as I … Read more

Artists from Around the World Sketch my Photo of a Traditional Penang Shophouse in Malaysia

Chinese Shophouse Row in George Town Penang Malaysia

Here’s something new and fun and (for me) very exciting. A few days ago I received an email from Leslie Parsons (@montrealsketcher), an artist from Montreal. “I have a strange request for you,” he said. “A popular urban sketcher from Malaysia found an image on Pinterest that he wanted all the other urban sketchers (everywhere, … Read more

The Cherry Tree Blossoms of Thailand

Strolling along a path beneath cherry trees in full bloom at the Royal Agricultural Research Center

Most people have seen gorgeous photos of the cherry tree blossoms in Japan and Washington D.C. Far fewer have heard about the flowering cherry trees in Thailand. I was among the ignorant, until a year of not being able to travel internationally due to COVID-19 forced me to explore more of my adopted home here … Read more

Celebrating Makha Bucha Day in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Moonrise over the 800-year old Viharn at Wat Jed Yod during the Makha Bucha Day festivities

It may have been nearly 14 months since I’ve been able to travel internationally, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been sitting at home here in Chiang Mai. I’ve taken advantage of COVID travel restrictions to do something that’s long been on my to-do list: delve more deeply into Buddhism. Even though I embraced Buddhism as … Read more