Joe Lewis / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

A multi-billion-dollar train project is now expected to begin operations slightly sooner than expected. It’s not the Honolulu Rail Project, but a massive development across the Pacific Ocean. / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Late August is a popular time for vacation in many parts of the world, and a busy period for travelers to Hawaii. That’s not the case in Thailand, but this week the country’s top tourism official scaled back expectations for the rest of the year.

sirichai_1999 / Pixabay

Several islands across the state are facing drought conditions this summer – especially parts of Maui County and Hawai’i Island. More severe drought is plaguing parts of India, where several major cities are reporting water shortages. And now drought is on its way to Thailand.

Xiengyod / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Here’s a question that’s familiar to residents of Oahu: what’s the best way to pay for a multi-billion dollar rail project? It’s a question that’s also coming under increased focus in Thailand.

Sourav Bapuli / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons

For the first time in nearly half a century, two neighboring Southeast Asian nations are connected by rail. The leaders of the two countries took a ceremonial ride together yesterday, but further progress in the relationship may be more complicated.

spaway / Pixabay

While U.S. politicians are already lining up for next year’s presidential election, there are a series of elections coming up much sooner in Asia. And they start this weekend in Thailand.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Marc Castaneda / U.S. Navy

One of the world’s largest multinational military exercises has been underway for more than a week. It hasn’t captured many headlines in the United States, but American forces from across the Asia Pacific are taking part.

Ninara / Flickr

Air pollution has been an increasing problem for nearly two months in Thailand’s capital. Conditions have become so bad that public schools closed for more than a week, and top government officials were summoned to court to testify about it.

vegaseddie / Flickr

Today is the Lunar New Year. According to the Chinese Zodiac, it’s the first day of the year of the pig. And across the Asia Pacific, that’s meant everything from family gatherings to a pointed political statement.

Kimmam at Norwegian Wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons

Some public schools on the mainland have closed in recent days because of severely cold weather. In Thailand’s capital, every public school in the city is closed for the rest of the week — for a very different reason.

Sodacan / Wikimedia Commons

Many in the United States remain focused on the continuing partial government shutdown. But in some parts of the world, attention is shifting to news about elections. And that includes one country that hasn’t had one for nearly a decade.

Bernard Spragg. NZ / Flickr

2018 saw another increase in the number of traffic fatalities across Hawaii. But this problem has become even worse in one Southeast Asian country – which is taking new steps to fight it.

Evan-Amos / Wikimedia Commons

Medical marijuana has been legal in Hawai‘i for nearly twenty years. But the concept is much newer in Southeast Asia. And one country in particular sees it as a growth industry.

World Travel & Tourism Council / Flickr

The mid-term elections are now less than a week away in the United States, but in Southeast Asia an election scheduled for next year is getting more attention. The location is Thailand — where a number of political developments are taking place, and quickly.

Radspunk / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Police in South Korea this week made the largest seizure of methamphetamine in the country’s history. Authorities say it was smuggled in by an international syndicate; it’s the latest reminder that the drug remains a potent threat in the Asia Pacific.

NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Food preparation and space travel are two pursuits that have some unexpected links. That’s especially true for a new experiment that Thailand plans to try this summer. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute. / CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Hawaii’s visitor industry reported another strong month in April, although any impact of the Kilauea Volcano won’t show up until the May figures come out next month. While authorities continue to encourage visitors to Hawaii, there’s another location in the Asia Pacific that is taking a different approach. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikipedia Commons

Thailand has now been under military rule for four years. Several hundred protestors marked that anniversary yesterday in Bangkok—but the police had an even bigger presence. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Deortiz / Flickr

State tourism officials expect 2018 to be another record year for visitors to Hawai‘i. And while there’s a growing global market for travel and hospitality, parts of Southeast Asia are going in another direction: restricting tourism. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

courtesy of Nik Lacchin of

This week Helping Hand starts two weeks of featuring nonprofits in the Asia Pacific supporting two of the most vulnerable animals on Earth. First up, Save Elephant Foundation and Elephant Nature Park in Thailand.

Petr Kratochvil / Public Domain Pictures

It’s been illegal to smoke on the beach in Hawai‘i for some time. It was nearly two and a half years ago that a state-wide ban on smoking at state parks and beaches went into effect. But that’s a new development on some popular beaches elsewhere in the Pacific. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

manhhai / Flickr
manhhai / Flickr

This is a national day of mourning in Thailand. It is part of a stretch of five days of ceremonies marking the funeral of Thailand’s king—who died a year ago. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

logoline11 / Pixabay
logoline11 / Pixabay

It’s been several years since smoking was banned on beaches across Hawai‘i. Now, a popular tourist destination in Asia is trying a similar approach on a number of beaches—but with very different penalties. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

As you’ve been hearing on NPR today, President Trump traveled to Las Vegas today—a day after going to Puerto Rico. His visits to those two places of recent human tragedy have dominated the news this week. But another presidential event that received very little attention was historic in a different way. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.

Nik Cyclist / Flickr
Nik Cyclist / Flickr

While rhetoric from and about North Korea has dominated the news lately, the United States is pursuing other strategies to try to influence the leadership in Pyongyang. That includes efforts to further isolate North Korea—but in some parts of Asia that may be challenging. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Diliff / Wikimedia Commons

  The government has approved a deal to finance a multi-billion dollar rail project. Unfortunately for backers of the Honolulu rail plan, this particular construction is thousands of miles from Hawai‘i. It’s a deal announced this week in Thailand for a project that will eventually go to China. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

This is National Nurses’ Week. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are more than three and a half million nurses in the United States, while the Kaiser Family Foundation counts nearly 3,000 nurses working in Hawai‘i. It is challenging work—and in one Asian nation it’s also becoming more complicated. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

It’s been less than three months since U.S. forces wrapped up their annual military exercises with Thailand. But there’s another Pacific power that’s playing a growing role with Thailand’s military. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

manhhai / Flickr
manhhai / Flickr

Criticism of the government is one of the traditions of a democracy. But if you live in Thailand, criticism of the royal family is another matter entirely. And now government leaders in Bangkok have issued a new warning about several well-known critics. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


Hawaiian green sea turtles are rare creatures. They are an endangered species and their only breeding colony in the country is at O‘ahu’s Sea Life Park.  Thousands of miles away, in Thailand, a cousin of the local species is recovering after a dramatic ordeal. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.