Is It Cruel to Ride Elephants in Thailand?

In the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, we did something I didn’t think I would on our Asia trip: We rode elephants. When we saw elephant riding advertised in other cities, it seemed definitely suspicious and possibly cruel, though I didn’t know enough about the practice be sure. But in Chiang Mai—the Southeast Asian city most teaming with American and Chinese tourists—elephant riding is advertised everywhere. And it was a suggested activity in our Lonely Planet tour guide. Which couldn’t make it so evil…could it? So we decided to try it. And I have to say though it was incredible, I’m regretting the experience today. We booked with ... [Read More]

We Got Scammed in Thailand

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. That was what my parents drilled into my head as a kid. I listened and rolled my eyes back then. Today, considering myself a traveler—my husband I and just moved from New York City to Paris, and we've been traveling all over Japan and southeast Asia for two months—I thought I would know a scam when I saw one. Yet still, we got conned by something too good to be true. Forgetting my father’s advice (and not reading enough of our guidebook before leaving) bit my husband and me in Bangkok, Thailand. Hard. Step 1: The “Castle Is Closed” Scam For our one-day stay in Bangkok, we visited ... [Read More]