Stories From Six Different Decades In Thailand

Joe Cummings touched down in Bangkok in the late 1970s for a two-year stint in the Peace Corps.  He lived a kaleidoscope of amazing experiences which unfolded over the following six decades in Thailand.

Joe will touch on his career as a writer, Sak Yant expert, TEDx speaker, musician, actor, linguist, and much more.  Through hard work, talent, and serendipity Joe’s life has been full of incredible and sometimes improbable experiences.

Joe wrote the first Lonely Planet Thailand guide in 1982 which sold millions and altered the face of tourism in Thailand.  He has published over 40 books during his career including Sacred Tattoos of Thailand, making Joe one of the preeminent experts on Sak Yant tattoos, a Southeast Asian tradition that dates back centuries and then topped it off with a TEDx presentation on this tribal art.  You may find Joe on any given night playing guitar in Bangkok with Midnight Ramblers, a Rolling Stones cover band, and ask him about the time he served as Mick Jagger’s personal travel consultant which resulted in them being chased by adoring fans on the Sois of Bangkok.  If you have a Netflix subscription do not be surprised to see Joe acting in Thai films.  And when Anthony Bourdain came to film in Thailand, Joe consulted for the show and made a memorable cameo during the show.  Joe speaks and reads fluent Thai, Lao and Isan, providing him access and insights into Thai culture.

During Joe’s presentation, he will share these incredible stories and anecdotes in Thailand.


Joe Cummings

Joe was one of Lonely Planet’s first authors, creating the seminal Lonely Planet Thailand guide, followed by five other new LP titles as well as updates for other countries in the region. He writes regularly for CNN Travel, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure and other publications around the world, and has worked on travel projects with Anthony Bourdain, Mick Jagger and Disney Studios. He makes his home in Bangkok.

Lonely Planet

Joe Cummings wrote the first Lonely Planet on Thailand in the early 1980s.  Read the story here.

joe cummings lonely planet

Anthony Bourdain

Joe appeared on Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain in Thailand.

joe cummings anthony bourdain

Learn more about Joe and listen to this podcast.

joe cummings extraordinary travel festival