Bangkok Podcast: Joe Cummings

2017-10-18T21:48:01+07:00May 2nd, 2011|Bangkok Podcast Season 1, Interviews|8 Comments

Bangkok Podcast 51: Joe Cummings

In today’s digital world, the requirements for being a travel writer are pretty minimal: do you have a computer? Have you travelled? Bam! Travel writer. But a few decades ago, being a travel writer was something rare; an exotic, sometimes dangerous job that took you into the dark, unexplored corners of the world on adventures of all kinds.

On this episode of Bangkok Podcast, we welcome Joe Cummings, legendary travel writer, best-selling author, badass musician, and all-around cool dude. Back when the tallest building in Thailand was the Dusit Thani Hotel, Joe pitched the idea of a guidebook to Thailand to a little company called Lonely Planet, and ended up being in charge of the company’s best-selling guide for 25 years. He’s also written guidebooks on Burma, Laos, and Mexico, as well as one-off volumes on various aspects of Asian art and architecture. His new book, Sacred Tattoos of Thailand, will be released in June. Joe also tells us how he ended up stranded on a boat for three days in the middle of the ocean with three Indonesian fishermen, how advanced technology has changed the art of travel writing, and what he thinks will happen with Thailand’s ongoing political troubles.

Also, don’t forget to join the BANGKOK PODCAST 1-YEAR ANNIVERSARY PARTY on May 15th at the swanky Q-Up lounge. Good people, good drinks, good times!

Show Links:

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Bangkok Podcast 1 Year Anniversary Party!
It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already, but Bangkok Podcast is celebrating our 1 year anniversary in style! Here’s your chance to celebrate with Tony and Greg, meet former and future guests of the show, and hang out with the generally awesome crowd that we’ve gotten to know during the last 12 months. Q Bar Bangkok is generously sponsoring the event and giving guests a special deal – 500 Baht gets you a free selection of drinks from 8:00 – 10:00. Come join us for a chilled out evening with good folks on Q Bar’s Upstairs deck lounge.

Date: May 15, 2011
Time: 8:00pm ~ 10:00pm
Location: Q Bar Upstairs
Cost: 500 Baht

Bangkok Podcast 1yr Anniversary Party

BK Magazine Bangkok Podcast

Bangkok Podcast Herbie Hancock Herbie Hancock
The American jazz legend and one of the world’s most influential pianists and composers pays a visit to Bangkok, bringing with him the signature blend of rock, funk and soul which has earned him 13 Grammy Awards.

The Drums in Bangkok The Drums Live in Bangkok
Voted one of 2010’s best indie pop bands by Rolling Stone magazine, Brooklyn-based outfit, The Drums are paying us a visit, bringing along gems like “Down By the River” and “Let’s Go Surfing” May 24, 9pm. Muse, 159/8 Thong Lor Soi 10,

FOR Wall Painting 2
A group of 16 young and emerging artists’ wall paintings under the concept of “Brave New World by Post-Graffiti Blood.” Through Aug 25. Bangkok Art and Culture Center, Rama 1 Rd. BTS National Stadium.

For information on these events and more pick up a copy of BK Magazine


  1. Anthony MacGregor May 2, 2011 at 10:22 am - Reply

    Great interview Greg and Tony. Really good historical perspective from Joe because he has been around for so long – and knows so much about Thailand. Great questions. Lots of insight. Very honest and upfront.

  2. Juan May 3, 2011 at 4:58 am - Reply

    Second that. Very interesting show again. Is Joe coming to the party? Any other confirmations? Meeting some of your past guests may be an incentive for others to come out on the 15th.

    • Greg May 3, 2011 at 10:15 pm - Reply

      Hey Juan, Joe has said he’ll show up, but the schedule of a busy dude like Joe is hard to predict. Even if he’s not there, you’ll get to meet me! Actually, maybe that’s not such an incentive… 😛

  3. DJ Octo May 4, 2011 at 4:27 am - Reply

    Another great show… Joe has indeed had a very interesting life, and I can personally testify that he’s one of the most charming and beautiful people I’ve had the pleasure to meet.

  4. Andy Mills May 5, 2011 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    One of your most intesting podcasts yet. He was a great guest to have on.

    Got any events planned in August? I’ve had to put my plans to move to BKK on hold for a year but I’m going to be in Thailand for 3 weeks in August.

  5. Brad West May 8, 2011 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    I agree with everyone above. This was an awesome show. I don’t know if Joe is just “that kind of guest” or if you guys are getting better but whatever the case, keep it up.

    On an aside, how do you get your guests? Joe is pretty high profile… Do you contact them or do they contact you?

    • Greg May 12, 2011 at 11:20 pm - Reply

      Hey Brad, thanks. I’ve known Joe for going on a decade now, so I just asked. Joe’s an exceptionally generous guy so it was no problem getting him to come on. As for the other guests, we just ask them too. Most people like talking about themselves or what they do, and Bangkok’s got no shortage of interesting people.

  6. Andy Sarasua May 13, 2011 at 8:50 am - Reply


    how’s everyone doing today?

    Enjoyed this podcast!

    BTW, I think you’re referring to Kate McCulley of — the Travel-blogger whose boat was shipwrecked in Komodo (Indonesia).

    Just wanted to share 🙂


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