Thailand: Bangkok, Golden Triangle & Andaman Coast

Three half- hour shows featuring:

Bangkok, Thailand: The capital of Thailand appears the capital of pandemonium, its streets filled with tuk-tuks, motorcycle taxis, cars and 12 million people. But the Thais have mastered the art of creating tranquility behind closed doors, whether in homes, hotels or temples. Rudy takes you to back streets and the quiet, residential klongs, or canals, of Bangkok. Visits to Bangkok’s legendary food carts and markets reveal the real city that captures the affection of visitors who take the time to seek out what makes Bangkok special. Marvel at the Emerald Buddha (made no less spectacular by the fact it’s really jade), visit the city’s flower and fish markets, join locals offering incense and flowers at colorful outdoor shrines, celebrate the king’s 80th birthday with an all-day and all-night party, and take a wooden boat along the city’s main artery, the wide Chao Phraya river. A side trip takes viewers to the world’s only outdoor market whose vendors must fold back their displays 16 times a day as a train passes through the heart of commerce, missing vegetables, meats, and fish by inches.

Golden Triangle, Thailand: Tea plantations have replaced the opium fields in northern Thailand, but dense jungle still covers much of the area where Thailand borders Burma and Laos. Visit an Akha hill tribe village trying to maintain its traditions in the face of tourism. Meet elephants rescued from life in Bangkok at an elephant orphanage. Join Rudy as he takes mahout lessons and gets soaked steering his elephant into the river that separates Thailand from Burma. Explore the small villages that mark this part of the country and meet a Buddhist monk who uses horses, martial arts, and religion to steer young men away from the temptations of drugs being produced across the border in Burma. The saffron robes of Buddhist monks, the vivid colors of local blossoms, and the brilliant emerald of rice fields make the Golden Triangle a magical corner of the world.

Andaman Coast, Thailand: Some of the world’s most beautiful waters and beaches await visitors to southern Thailand, where the names of Andaman Coast towns such as Phuket are well known to backpackers and sun seekers. But there’s more to this 16-million-year-old ecosystem than just golf and sunbathing. Dramatic limestone cliffs and rock formations jut from translucent waters of Phang-nga Bay; join Rudy as he paddles through hidden entrances of small islands to find mangroves few people ever see. Meet locals in a seaside village devastated by the recent tsunami as they struggle to rebuild by offering sustainable tourism and home stays to visitors.

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