Officers gather kratom plants in Phang Nha province, Thailand. Thailand on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, decriminalized the possession and sale of kratom, a plant native to Southeast Asia.

Thailand legalizes kratom, a mild narcotic leaf

Health & Medicine

For much of the pandemic era, bars in Thailand have shuttered, eviscerating the country’s food-and-beverage sector. But the legalization of kratom caught many by surprise, and now, some bar owners are hoping the drug can keep their businesses alive.

A Thai Buddhist monk carries a statue of Buddha as he waits with others to welcome Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama at the Tsuglagkhang temple in Dharmsala, India, Sept. 7, 2018.

A Thai organization’s crusade against blaspheming Buddha

Sacred Nation
A man drinks beer at a restaurant in Hanoi, July 20, 2009. In smaller markets in Southeast Asia such as Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, drinking beer is becoming a popular pastime due to rising disposable income and relatively young populations who are e

In Thailand, posting a selfie with a beer is a potential crime

Free speech
Chemicals seized during Asia’s largest-ever drug bust in Myanmar. 

A massive Asian drug bust has stirred a fentanyl mystery

Global Politics
Passengers wear protective masks due to the coronavirus outbreak on a train in Bangkok, March 16, 2020.

Coronavirus fears in Asia create a black market for masks

Women wear masks as a preventive measure against the coronavirus outbreak, in Bangkok, Feb. 7, 2020.

Coronavirus fears spread in Thailand, a Chinese tourism magnet


Thailand — reliant on Chinese trade and tourism, reluctant to injure Beijing’s feelings — has yet to suspend flights from China, where the virus continues to spread. Only flights from Wuhan and other high-risk cities are on pause. This policy mirrors that of China’s own government, which has quarantined Wuhan.

A woman checks her phone while riding on the back of a motorbike.

This app is disrupting motorbike taxis in Bangkok. Some are disrupting right back.


On every major corner in Bangkok, there’s a motorbike taxi crew that will zip you to your destination by any means necessary. But their dominance is now threatened by an app called Grab.

A man in white lab coat holds a glass container while others watch

Thailand is betting big on cannabis. Visit its first legal lab.

Health & Medicine

Thailand once issued severe penalties for marijuana users. But the perception of cannabis is rapidly changing, with talk of churning out “world-class cannabis” from Thailand’s lush farmlands. A few months ago, scientists started the first-ever cannabis laboratory — one of the few legal facilities of its kind in Asia.

band photo

How a Japanese girl-group empire is conquering Asian pop

When the group debuted in the mid-2000s, AKB48 was more easily dismissed as a novelty act. But in recent years, the group has expanded into a bona fide musical empire — one that has spread across Asia.

Thai Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya is shown in a close-up protrait posing during a news conference in a 2008 file photo.

In stunning move, Thai king’s sister running for prime minister

Global Politics

The sister of Thailand’s king entered the race to become prime minister on Friday as the candidate of a populist party, an unprecedented foray into politics by a royal that instantly upended the first election since a 2014 military coup.