Bangkok Phil

I'm a blogger, get me outta here!

Thailand is a wealth of reality TV show potential

I've come up with some ideas for Thailand-based reality TV shows. So here is this week's viewing. 

Thailand time traveller

Two holidaymakers in Thailand are looking for the vacation of their lives - but this is no even playground! Both tourists are receiving the same amount of holiday spending money but one of them is living in the present at today's exchange rates and today's prices whilst the other is turning back the clock 25 years to a golden age when a trip to Thailand was value for money. In the first episode, our time traveller tootles down Sukhumwit Road in an airport limo, canoodling on the back seat with a couple of 5-star escorts, while Mr Present waves from the footpath and wonders if he can afford a second bag of pineapple.


Today, the bookworm team is standing at Bearing BTS (at the end of the Sukhumwit Line) handing out translated copies of the classics - including Oliver Twist, To Kill a Mockingbird and Pride and Prejudice - to random commuters. How many people will still be reading by the time the train pulls into the next station or how many will have found the temptation of their smartphones all too much to resist? And how many Oliver Twists went straight into the nearest bin?

Emquartier Survival

A team of contestants, led by a survival specialist, is each given a list of six shopping items to buy from six different retail outlets in the Emquartier shopping mall and the bonus task of finding a toilet that's not currently closed and under maintenance. With no map to guide them nor information desk staff to send them in wrong directions, all the contestants have is the clothes they stand up in and a seven-day supply of food.

The Tinder Trap

We follow the progress of a group of young, good-looking foreign men as they frantically swipe left and right on the Tinder dating app to secure a hot date for the evening. Who will be the lucky one? - the only one who doesn't end up with a ladyboy looking for paid sex.

Could You Eat Me?

A group of foreign English teachers suddenly realise they are on 11-month contracts and won't be paid for the month of May. Ferried by boat to a remote island in The Andaman Sea, they now have the toughest decisions of their lives to make. Dip into their savings and escape the island - or resort to cannibalism?

I Wouldn't Touch it with Yours

Six foreigners from the four corners of the globe descend on Bangkok to fulfil their dream of having gender realignment surgery. Unbeknown to them is the fact they've been booked into a backstreet chop shop. After several days under the knife, an expert panel of judges is on hand to decide who most resembles the lead character in The Hills Have Eyes.

I'm a Human Being, Get Me Out of Here!

Four competitors with the ultimate Bangkok to-do list including open a bank account, send a large parcel at the post office and collect money from Western Union. All they have to do is complete the tasks without a work permit! It's a race against time as the four are bounced from one department to another. Will the staff, paralysed by tradition and hundreds of years of saying no, make or break the competitors' spirit? Who will be the first of the four to crack and collapse in a blubbering heap?

I Only Came for the Temples

An hour of late night chat as a group of pony-tailed Vietnam war veterans, all in their eighties, look back on how things were so much better in the olden days and wonder what the f*** they're still doing here.

Chinese Tour Group Round-up

Six of the world's most experienced tour guides are each put in charge of a Chinese tour group who have never ventured out of their country before. Can the guides keep control of their respective groups as they escort them around tourist attractions and take them on a boat trip along the bay when all they have at their disposal is an electric cattle-prod and a bull-whip. Who will be the first tour guide to totally lose it as one of their party nips behind the grand stupa for a whizz?

Room for One More!

It's time for more wobbly wheel fun as five more families take up the challenge of steering a Honda Shopper around a specially designed obstacle course. Mum, Dad, four kids, eight trays of eggs, a plastic bucket and a ten metre length of blue pipe - all on one tiny bike. Who will be first to the finishing line?

Culture Clash

We follow a group of university graduates as they embark on an epic journey across Thailand. It's a voyage of discovery, a chance for the group members to find inner peace, connect with Mother Nature and feel the Earth beneath their feet. With the aid of night vision, the camera team follows them every step of the way. Points are deducted for stealing tuk-tuks, picking fights with locals, hugging monks and skateboarding around temples.

There's a New Sheriff in Town

Four hardcore Chelsea and Millwall football hooligans are sent to a notorious mafia-run Thai island. The local bigwigs and extortionists are assembled and told that the four tough guys are there to shake things up and implement a system where everyone benefits from the tourist dollar. What can Spud, Knuckles, Razor and Baby-faced Mick achieve in just one week? The winner will be the person who manages to leave the island with the most body parts still attached.

Great Asian Train Journeys

This week we're in Thailand as intrepid traveller, Nigel Groves, embarks on an arduous journey from Bangkok's main train station to another station on the outskirts of the city. In tonight's episode, Nigel chats with a confused Thai farmer who is sitting in his seat and ponders the reasons why the train hasn't moved for the best part of two hours.

Rural Wedding Planner

Which of our two wedding planning teams can create the best experience for their guests when all they have to work with are a pile of styrofoam letters, a jumbo roll of sellotape, a microphone that constantly cuts out and a laptop that keeps displaying messages about running a pirated version of Windows.

Millionaire Digital Nomad

We're off around the coffee shops of Chiang Mai to join Trisha and Rob in their quest to become online billionaires. It's a hectic world of links, clicks and affiliate schemes. In tonight's episode, the sun has started to set and the city's rush hour is in full swing, but will they sell enough copies of their ultimate guide to trekking in Northern Thailand to pay for a dorm-bed or will it be another night on a park bench? Tempers flare when the coffee shop owner finally asks them to leave but Trish, not one to be downhearted, spies a hessian sack at the back of the shop and puts her dressmaking skills to good use.

Holiday Ponce

Two long-term Thailand expats go head to head and buddy up with a distant cousin or someone they fleetingly went to school with. They are given the thankless task of acting as tour guide and showing off all the sights of Bangkok over the course of three depressing and miserable days. Can our Thailand expats stay upbeat as their overweight, wobbly charges moan incessantly about the heat, the humidity, the spicy food and why you can't get women's shoes in European sizes.    

Morning Campers!

It's chaos in the kitchen as the teams have to prepare an American breakfast for 50 guests at a fading holiday resort in the middle of a national park. Organisation and teamwork are left wanting as Team A realises they forgot to order lettuce and Team B just can't get the hang of waving bread in the direction of the toaster.   

Shophouse Makeover

Design expert Gillian Makepeace is in Prakanong advising families on how to improve their lives by improving their living spaces. In today's program, how can she persuade one family to ditch the naked light bulbs and forty pairs of old sports shoes whilst just down the street, how can she convince another family that the living room is no place for a motorbike?   


Great idea for a blog, Phil. The one I liked the most was 'Emquartier survival'.

Not too long ago, I heard through the grapevine about some of Phil's ideas for reality TV, that had ended up on the cutting room floor. So, for those that didn't get to hear about these ill-fated ideas, here they are.

Grab a granny, not!

The contestants, 8 middle-aged males of various nationalities; e.g. British, American, German, Australian, Middle Eastern, South African, French and Japanese.

That is, 8 sex tourists were to find an at least half presentable young native lady (night angel) of no more than 30 years of age (ID would have been required) for no more than 1,000 baht (full services inclusive) for the night.

(Not for the faint-hearted; a full catologue of selfies in compromising positions had been deemed necessary as proof.)

Unfortunately, after the 8 had spent a long and exhausting evening roaming around the infamous red light districts, none other than short-time takers for a thousand - had to be found.

Search for an at least slightly nutritious, cheap, street food meal.

5 twenty-something ELF teachers were to have gone in search of a relatively edible and uncremated meal in a klong for no more than 35 baht.

No expense was to have been spared for this one, as an Egon Ronay food guide was to have been the judge. (However, having wondered through the street food markets of Bangkok early on the day of the event, he later blankly refused to take part.)

Find an honest, polite, and above board Thai taxi driver.

The outline was to find an honest and polite taxi driver who would take you to your destination directly, and who having been given a modest tip, would then respond appreciatively.

This idea didn't even get beyond the drawing board. The Thai producer literally laughed so much, that he had to be carried out of the meeting in hysterics.

Foreign hospital patients getting charged fairly.

There were to be only two contestants, as it was always going to be a tall order.

Each were to go to a local private hospital without health insurance, and on any pretext; get treated by a doctor and then leave without having been severely fleeced.

To be honest, everybody always knew It was never going to happen.

We don't know where the airport is!

Six new to Thailand European tourists were to see who could be the first to find a Thai person, who could give them accurate directions to Suvarnabhumi Airport - that is in English.

In a trial run, the nearest followed the written details carefully and ended up just outside the entrance of the Ancient City in Samut Prakan. Four of the others found themselves in various locations, that weren't even anywhere near the airport. Whilst, as I write this the sixth is still missing.

The jury are still out on this one.

By Richard Constable, Bang Na (13th August 2021)

Great stuff man! Highly enjoyable read. My favorite shows are "Room for one more" and "Culture clash". Best thing is, I can totally see someone making a show like that. People will watch the CRAP out of it too. We have to make it happen!

Peace Phil

By Hendrik (Jaco) M, South Africa (7th February 2017)

Genius. If True had put these shows on instead of HBO I'd never have cancelled.

By Ollie, On the BTS (19th January 2017)

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