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 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

A Fresh New Look for Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel

A fresh new design for Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel

I’ve always heard it said that when I don’t know what to do, I should do nothing. Though it may sound simplistic, that idea has always worked for me, and the past year has been a prime example. I returned home to Chiang Mai, Thailand, from a trip to Antarctica, Argentina, Chile, and Easter Island … Read more

Elephant Tourism – To Ride or Not to Ride, That is the Question

Standing in front of the herd at the Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang, Thailand

Not long ago, if anyone had asked me if I believe it is acceptable to ride elephants, my answer would have been a resounding “NO!” My point of view was challenged this past November, when the Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) invited me on a press trip to learn more about the care of elephants … Read more