Vientiane 2

Vientiane is the capital city of Laos, situated in the Mekong River valley. After a period of more than 50 years as a French protectorate, Laos gained independence in 1949. A long civil war ended officially when the communist Pathet Lao movement came to power in 1975 but the protesting between factions continued for several

Chaing Rai City

Chaing Rai is the capitalof Chaing Rai province, Thailand’s most northern territory. It was once notorious as the center of the Golden Trangle (conjoining Thailand, Laos, Burma) where illegal drug trading flourished. Today the trade (most of it) is gone replaced by tourists. It’s a modest commercial hub with temples, street markets and curbside kitchens

Jomthien Beach in Pattaya

Jomthien Beach (or Jomtien Beach) is located about 2 kilometers south of Pattaya. This beach area has become popular for swimming, water sports and residential living because it has a long scenic coastline and there is less boating activity in the area than at Pattaya Beach. There are many good hotels, bungalows, guest houses and

No Gay Pride in Bangkok 2010

By Richard Ammon December 7, 2010 Bangkok For the third year in a row there is no BKK Pride festival. Ask different people and get different answers: disinterest from local Thai activists; lack of police cooperation; no money; homophobia; frustration and withdrawal of foreign leadership. “There are just too many obstacles, resistance and petty

Gay Life in Laos: Luang Prabang

This story is dedicated to the memory of Somphorn Boupha (photo left) whom I interviewed for this description of gay life in Laos. He passed away from cancer in 2019. He welcomed me and helped me gain a fuller appreciation of being gay in his country. In addition to my interview (see Kobchai Beer Garden

Gay Life in Laos 2010: Vientiane

Intro: In Laos there are no exclusively gay venues, no gay organizations, no activists, no out periodicals, no push for equality, no gay restaurants or hotels. Ironically, Laos is possibly one of the ‘safest’ places to be gay outside of pro-gay western countries. Although there are no specific laws that criminalize homosexuality, the topic is

Being Gay, Muslim and Indonesian

Young Muslim gay Indonesians search for a balance between their natural sexual orientation and the proscriptions against homosexuality found in the Koran. For some it means renouncing Islam and for others it means being celibate.     From: Jakarta Post September 23, 2009 Despite living under the same roof for years, Fachri (not his real

Homophobic Discrimination Against Straight Athlete

Westhampton, MA – September 4, 2009 Richard Ammon – The Amateur Boxing Association of Thailand (ABAT) has discriminated against a straight boxer for posing suggestively for the cover of a gay magazine. This is a new take on homophobic discrimination: instead of acting prejudicially against a gay person, the ABAT has discriminated against a

Gay Cambodia 2010-12

Cambodia continues to evolve out of a dark and bloody past into a more organized and civilized society. By fits and starts an elected government is making efforts at control and organization but not all is peaceful and trustworthy. The former kind has died and the ruling government wobbles between dictatorship and democracy. Meanwhile the

Japan – Kyoto, Nagano, Hiroshima

Japan comprises over 3,000 islands making it an archipelago. Most of the islands are mountainous, many volcanic; for example, Japan’s highest peak, Mount Fuji, is a volcano. The country has one of the most efficient railroad systems in the world and a tourist is wise to buy a rail pass and travel the length of

Japan – Tokyo & Kyoto

Japan comprises over 3,000 islands making it an archipelago. Most of the islands are mountainous, many volcanic; for example, Japan’s highest peak, Mount Fuji, is a volcano. Japan has the world’s tenth largest population, with about 128 million people. The Greater Tokyo Area is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million

Taiwan – Taipei and Island Drive 1

A guest photographer living in Taiwan offers a random selection of images from his roving mind’s eye. They range from urban life in Taipei and Kaoshiung to rural mountains and sea surfing. The island of Taiwan, also known as Formosa, is located in East Asia off the coast of mainland China. The island is 394

Bangladesh – Chittagong Ship Breaking Yard

Along the southeast coast of Bangladesh is the Mohsin ship breaking yard where immense ocean freighters and tankers are torn apart by hundreds of gritty, lean, strong, bronze-skinned, men–by manual labor. Using blow torches, sledgehammers and wedges they carve the mammouth steel whales into chunks just off shore. After the huge pieces crash into the

Bangladesh – Chittagong City

Chittigong city is Bangladesh’s second largest metropolis with about four million people. For tourists there are only a few sights such as the War Cemetery, the Zia Museum, Shahi Jama-e mosque and a market. Not mentioned in guidebooks is the huge and haunting ship-breaking yard just north of the city. Photos 2-5 below reveal a

Bangladesh – Dhaka City (1)

Dhaka is the capitol of Bangladesh with about 11 million people. Every form and level of life is here, from upscale mansions and privileged kids playing cricket to impoverished manual workers tearing down buildings with sledge hammers as well as women picking through garbage. Traffic is intense and dense; bicycle rickshaws by the thousands clog

Bangladesh – Dhaka City (2)

Dhaka is the capitol of Bangladesh with about 14 million people. Every form and level of life is here. Dhaka University is the Cambridge of Bangladesh where only the best students gain entry (photos 10-16). The huge but polluted Buriganga River (photos 21-28) slices through the city making it a port for cargo and passengers–and

Bangladesh – Jessore to Khulna

The drive from Jessore airport to Khulna city (on the way to Mongla and the Sundarbans National Park) takes about an hour and offers a ride via the village of Bagerhat where many mosques were built in the 15th century. Along the way are countless waterways where small cargo boats transport goods from one village

Bangladesh – Mongla to Khulna

Traveling by car from Mongla to Khulna reveals a kaleidoscope of variety–from bicycle carts loaded with huge cargos to animal crossings to overloaded buses to busy ferry landings (in Kulna, photos 25-37). In Khulna city is the Khulna Shipyard Ltd (repairing yard) where workers including women chip paint from old hulls with hand-held chisels (photos

Bangladesh – Cox’s Bazar

Cox’s Bazar is Bangladesh’s beach resort town on the southeast coast near Burma. Getting there by bus from Chittagong is another colorful adventure of street life and risky vehicle drivers. Photos 1-23 reveal the vibrant social and commercial life along the main highway, including military practice maneuvers with soldiers sporting live-ammunition machine guns (photo 9).