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From Pink Elephants to Pink Suit Coats: TravelinEdMan hangs out in Thailand and Vietnam
Sunday, March 30, 2014

TravelinEdMan had a huge trip this month to Thailand and Vietnam. This was the longest and most complicated trip I have taken for professional speaking. And I gave the most talks that I have ever done on one trip. Needless to say, I could not bring books to give away at each stop. Instead, I brought a few small items (like pens and notepads from my Dean's office) and bought chocolates in the airports to give away to people with great questions.
I departed on Thursday March 6th and returned on Monday March 24th. I gave 17 talks, 5 of which were some sort of keynote or plenary address. I spoke in Bangkok and then Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) and then Hue, Vietnam and then again in Bangkok and finally in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Hue is the old capital of Vietnam. It has many stunning historical sites. And it also has a brand new international airport (with 1 or 2 flights per day to like Cambodia or Laos). Smile.
You can find all of my talks posted to my archived talks as a color PDF from my Website. You can also find the original slides to download from Dropbox. I have also started to use SlideShare more (my talk on 30 emerging learning technologies seems to be highly popular; I have a new one with 50-60 such emerging technologies which is the final talk that I gave on this graduate students at Chiang Mai University). However, only 1 of these 17 talks has been posted to SlideShare. I include some links to my talks below.
I had many people jumping during my talks in Thailand and Vietnam. It was much fun!


I am not sure why they gave me the Superman shirt. But I love it.

Need a Thai massage? If so, see the phone number below.

Here was my speaking tour schedule:

March 10th: Chulalongkorn University's “Education 3.0 : This is the next generation” conference in Bangkok, Thailand. (Slides)
March 11th: “A day of future with e-learningseminar at Suan Dusit Rajabhat University in Bangkok, Thailand. (Slides)

March 12th: University of Social Sciences and Humanities at Vietnam National University – in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) Vietnam. (Slides)

March 15-16: International Conference on Educational Reform 2014 (ICER2014) at the Hường Giang Hotel in Hue, Vietnam. (Slides)

March 18: Institution for the Promotion of Science and Technology (IPST), Bangkok, Thailand. (Slides)

March 19: Thailand Cyber University Project, Bangkok, Thailand. (Slides)

March 21: 9th Annual E-Learning Seminar and Workshop; 2014 Smart Learning with Innovative Technology, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand. (Slides)

March 22 Presentations to Graduate Student and Staff, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand. (Slides)

Some pictures from March 21-22 at Chiang Mai University are below.


Yes I am eating a plate full of ants and ant eggs.


I made many new friends when in Thailand and Bangkok. Dozens more friends in Facebook. When in Hue, Vietnam, I also bought 4 custom suit coats—1 blue cashmere; 1 purple (with pants); and 2 pink (one light and one dark. I cannot wait to see what they look like when they arrive. I have tried the purple suit on before I left Hue for Bangkok. It looked great. My tailor was surprised how good I looked in the purple jacket. She also liked how the light pink pants came out. Me too.

There were a few times when I closed my eyes as someone was driving me around. In Thailand, the drive to Pattaya the first day was a bit bumpy and I think too fast for the road conditions. However, once there, we had so much fun! Thanks to my friend Oum for the great time (and A, X, and Bee who came on that trip). Bangkok roads are crowded but actually somewhat sane. Vietnam is a different story. So many motorcycles and bicycles on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City; somewhat fewer in Hue (where the conference was) but still a lot. The drive from Hue to Da Nang and Hoi An was interesting to say the least. Fortunately, I had an excellent driver. Still, I held on as he weaved around many trucks, cars, and vans. For nearly 3 hours to Hoi An he had to honk his horn to avoid hitting people to the right on their motorcycles and bicycles. And then the same for 3 hours coming back.

I could go on and on about the cultural dances, Karaoke singing and dancing from the wonderful of Mahasarakham University in eastern Thailand. A woman named Mintra (Min) was simply wonderful to watch dance and sing as was Jiraporn (Fon). My friend, Dr. Sangkom (Sam) Pumipuntu, brought them on their 13-14 hour bus ride through Laos. I was so glad he did. I could talk about the delicious food; especially for me a seafood vegetarian or pesco-tarian.

So many new friends (Vorasuang (Michael), Tong, Ava, Jin, Kitt, Kate, Ann, Sue, Denpong, Onjaree, Jin, Zac, Oat, Tip, Kick, Thapanee, Jiraporn (Fon), Mintra, Memee, Bang Anh Tuan, Cam Tu, Choke, etc.) and old friends and former students (Rawiwan, Oum, Suthiporn, Apple, Tak and her sister, Toh, Apapan (Tao), Prasak, etc. Everyone was so kind and gracious with their time. I did not have buy a single meal in either country. So fortunately. I think I will spend more money at AERA this week for 3-4 days in Philadelphia than I did in this 18-19 day trip to Thailand and Vietnam. I was fortunately to have people like Sam and Jin pick me up at the airport or take me back.

This trip took much planning. In fact, I think there were six months of planning. In the end, it worked out great. But each connection or stop involved delivering one or more talks and many socials. My good friend Thanomporn (Toh) Laohajaratsang (and her assistants) took great care of me at the near end of the trip. Thanks Toh for the elephant ride, boat ride, zipline adventure, and so on. I could write for weeks on this trip but will end there for now as I have some catching up to do.



Here is a recap of the trip:

1 motorcycle rides around an island off Pattaya, Thailand (2+ hours south of Bangkok)
1 elephant rides
1 elephant lifted me up
1 elephant hug (with his trunk)
1 jet ski excursions
1 Thai massages received (that I am admitting to)
1 Dunkin Donuts spotted
1 beach I swan in Pattaya, Thailand (so lovely and warm!)

2 countries visited (Thailand and Vietnam)
2 conference keynotes given (5 total)
3 beaches walked or run on...
3 overnight stops in Bangkok
4 suit coats bought in Vietnam (2 pink, 1 purple, and 1 blue cashmere)

4 times I flew business class in Thailand and Vietnam and loved the service
5 boat rides
6 hotels stayed at
6 times I flew out of the Suvarnabhumi International airport in Bangkok
7 speaking venues
7 cities visited (and many more that I went through)
8 days spent in Bangkok
9 ziplines traversed; longest at 250 meters (and 3 abseiling experiences...1 of which was 40 meters)
10 ice cream cones and deserts eaten (guessing on this one)
11 (at least) pick-ups for airport or next hotel
12 flights taken
17 talks (in under 2 new record)
19 days gone (also a record)
dozens of new friends in Facebook

353+ docile (lazy) dogs seen on the streets (they all look the same) and 1 crazy dog who chased me when I wanted to take his picture
1,000’s of pictures taken
1,000 of motorcycles and bicycles passed by on the streets

As you can see, this was a highly active trip. Hope to connect with you in your country some day. Time for a needed break!

Some of you may wonder why I titled this blog post "From Pink Elephants to Pink Suit Coats." Well, I started the trip with people from Suan Dusit University and Chulalonghkorn (i.e., Chula) University.  Chula is known as the "Pink University" since pink is the school colors. I hung out with Chula people on Sunday the 9th of March at an Ancient city recreation called Samutprakarn. According to Wikipedia, "Ancient Siam is a park constructed under the patronage of Lek Viriyaphant and spreading over 200 acres in the shape of Thailand" (Wikipedia). There is even a website full of images from there. We had much fun exploring and taking pictures.

The following day, I gave 5 talks on the Chula campus on March 10th. The main talk was in the morning. I think about 300 people came. A smaller group of about 40 stayed for the afternoon sessions. Color PDFs of all 5 talks are posted as are slides in Dropbox (link to retrieve).

A whole array of pink pics are below. These pictures are with people like Oat, Kick, Tip, Tao, Jin, Ava, Memee, Toun, Prasak, Onjaree, and many others. And yes, I did buy 2 pink suit coats when in Vietnam a few days later (one light pink with pants and one bolder color of pink). They arrived in the mail a couple of days ago. I will wear one of them for Easter next Sunday. I did not, however, ride any pink elephants but I did get a ride on a real elephant when in Chiang Mai near the end of the trip.

And so I end this blog post with pictures from the beginning. I have thousands more I think.

Is that enough pink for now? The final picture is from the campus of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok (as are the previous four). It is what many consider to be the best university in Thailand.

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About Me

Name: Curt Bonk
Home: Bloomington, Indiana, United States
About Me: I am a former accountant and CPA and a former educational psychologist. I am now Professor of IST at Indiana University and also adjunct in the School of Informatics. I founded and later sold SurveyShare. As president of CourseShare, LLC, I run around the world training instructors to teach online and give motivational talks about emerging learning technologies. I also write and edit books related to e-learning and blended learning. See bio and vita.

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Click here for information about my recent book, The World is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education.

Visit the Indiana University Home Page of E-Learning Expert Curtis J. Bonk.

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