Peter Janssen

Peter Janssen has been based in Bangkok, Thailand, since 1980, writing for a variety of news organisations and publications over the past four decades. He has covered political, economic, social and cultural developments in Thailand and Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam most of his journalistic career.  

Latest from Peter Janssen

Riverboat queens of Bangkok: how three generations of women turned modest ferry service into major transport business

New book Women of the River tells the story of successive generations of women in the Supatra family who built a modest ferry service into one of Thailand’s most successful businesses.

New book Women of the River tells the story of successive generations of women in the Supatra family who built a modest ferry service into one of Thailand’s most successful businesses.

Riverboat queens of Bangkok: how three generations of women turned modest ferry service into major transport business
7 Aug 2020 - 9:15AM
Deserted Asian capital may finally start to come alive thanks to China, expected to be first country to open an embassy there

The purpose-built city of Naypyidaw has everything, except people. This may finally change as countries, starting with China, begin moving embassies there from Yangon, and foreign-backed schools and universities open.

The purpose-built city of Naypyidaw has everything, except people. This may finally change as countries, starting with China, begin moving embassies there from Yangon, and foreign-backed schools and universities open.

Deserted Asian capital may finally start to come alive thanks to China, expected to be first country to open an embassy there
18 Feb 2020 - 2:46PM
Patpong: the rise of Bangkok’s most famous red light district charted at new museum, complete with mock-up bar room and ‘X-rated’ area

Thailand’s new Patpong Museum charts the history of a neighbourhood that gave birth to one of the world’s most notorious red light districts, complete with photos of go-go girls, a mock-up bar room and ‘X-rated’ area.

Thailand’s new Patpong Museum charts the history of a neighbourhood that gave birth to one of the world’s most notorious red light districts, complete with photos of go-go girls, a mock-up bar room and ‘X-rated’ area.

Patpong: the rise of Bangkok’s most famous red light district charted at new museum, complete with mock-up bar room and ‘X-rated’ area
29 Nov 2019 - 12:16PM
Thailand’s rebel female Buddhist monk on fighting sexism and her religion’s male monopoly

Bhikkhuni Dhammananda, 75, helped ordain eight women monks in 2014, only for Thailand’s ruling Buddhist body to prohibit all future female ordinations. But she still find ways to battle her religion’s male monopoly.

Bhikkhuni Dhammananda, 75, helped ordain eight women monks in 2014, only for Thailand’s ruling Buddhist body to prohibit all future female ordinations. But she still find ways to battle her religion’s male monopoly.

Thailand’s rebel female Buddhist monk on fighting sexism and her religion’s male monopoly
27 Nov 2019 - 12:29PM
Inside Bangkok’s bustling used book stores, where English and Chinese readers search for hidden gems

Bangkok has a thriving second-hand book market popular with English and Chinese readers who can find titles of all kinds, including old, out-of-print books, often prompting the question: ‘How did this end up in Bangkok?’

Bangkok has a thriving second-hand book market popular with English and Chinese readers who can find titles of all kinds, including old, out-of-print books, often prompting the question: ‘How did this end up in Bangkok?’

Inside Bangkok’s bustling used book stores, where English and Chinese readers search for hidden gems
20 Oct 2019 - 2:24PM
How an activist Buddhist convinced Thai king law on insulting monarchy was being abused

Sulak Sivaraksa talks about how an audience with King Maha Vajiralongkorn brought a halt to new prosecutions for lèse-majesté – insulting the monarchy – in Thailand.

Sulak Sivaraksa talks about how an audience with King Maha Vajiralongkorn brought a halt to new prosecutions for lèse-majesté – insulting the monarchy – in Thailand.

How an activist Buddhist convinced Thai king law on insulting monarchy was being abused
14 Aug 2019 - 10:28AM
Bangkok luxury hotel Dusit Thani’s redevelopment will retain ‘Thainess’, say owners

In 1970, the Dusit Thani opened in Bangkok, a luxury hotel emphasising ‘Thainess’. The decision to close the hotel wasn’t easy, but the management say its character won’t change when it is redeveloped.

In 1970, the Dusit Thani opened in Bangkok, a luxury hotel emphasising ‘Thainess’. The decision to close the hotel wasn’t easy, but the management say its character won’t change when it is redeveloped.

Bangkok luxury hotel Dusit Thani’s redevelopment will retain  ‘Thainess’, say owners
9 Apr 2019 - 8:21PM
Four great places to eat in Bangkok’s Chinatown when its subway station opens

With little room for cars, Chinatown expects a boost in visitors when its subway station opens. From home-made ice cream to coffee to Hong Kong craft beer, these four outlets are raising the bar in Bangkok.

With little room for cars, Chinatown expects a boost in visitors when its subway station opens. From home-made ice cream to coffee to Hong Kong craft beer, these four outlets are raising the bar in Bangkok.

Four great places to eat in Bangkok’s Chinatown when its subway station opens
5 Apr 2019 - 10:59AM
Review | A prime minister who modernised Thailand, a diplomat who broke the ice with Mao’s China

Biography tells how Anand Panyarachun became Thai prime minister after everyone else turned the job down, yet ended up passing key laws to liberalise business and finance; and how earlier, as a diplomat, he launched secret talks with China.

Biography tells how Anand Panyarachun became Thai prime minister after everyone else turned the job down, yet ended up passing key laws to liberalise business and finance; and how earlier, as a diplomat, he launched secret talks with China.

A prime minister who modernised Thailand, a diplomat who broke the ice with Mao’s China
24 Jan 2019 - 7:08PM
Inside Indonesia’s first five-star hotel, in Jakarta, and its part in building a nation

We plan to turn the hotel from an icon into a living icon – it’s basically brand new, says general manager of revamped five-star hotel, opened in 1962 in Jakarta as part of President Sukarno’s vision to build a confident nation.

We plan to turn the hotel from an icon into a living icon – it’s basically brand new, says general manager of revamped five-star hotel, opened in 1962 in Jakarta as part of President Sukarno’s vision to build a confident nation.

Inside Indonesia’s first five-star hotel, in Jakarta, and its part in building a nation
4 Jan 2019 - 10:28AM
Out with opium, in with coffee as Myanmar targets speciality market

With help from aid groups, Myanmar is turning itself into a speciality coffee producer looking for a niche in the global market. But after the Rohingya tragedy, focusing domestically looks the better play

With help from aid groups, Myanmar is turning itself into a speciality coffee producer looking for a niche in the global market. But after the Rohingya tragedy, focusing domestically looks the better play

Out with opium, in with coffee as Myanmar targets speciality market
4 Dec 2018 - 12:50PM
How Thailand became world’s biggest rice exporter with Hong Kong’s help

When Asia’s rice basket, Burma, committed economic suicide Thailand took over as world’s top exporter of the grain; its reign was ended by another economic lurch under Yingluck Shinawatra’s government.

When Asia’s rice basket, Burma, committed economic suicide Thailand took over as world’s top exporter of the grain; its reign was ended by another economic lurch under Yingluck Shinawatra’s government.

How Thailand became world’s biggest rice exporter with Hong Kong’s help
8 Nov 2018 - 6:32PM
Burmese days: Yangon monuments to the rare Chinese who made their fortunes in colonial era

Lim Chin Tsong left behind a lavishly designed palace that is now to be restored; temples are another legacy of the time of Tiger Balm founder Aw Boon Haw and others – a distant memory for Chinese still in Myanmar today.

Lim Chin Tsong left behind a lavishly designed palace that is now to be restored; temples are another legacy of the time of Tiger Balm founder Aw Boon Haw and others – a distant memory for Chinese still in Myanmar today.

Burmese days: Yangon monuments to the rare Chinese who made their fortunes in colonial era
2 Nov 2018 - 8:54AM
How Havana of the East withered under state rule and palm oil's rise

A sultan lured a Dutchman to Sumatra 150 years ago to launch tobacco growing. Initially successful, the industry withered after Sukarno’s nationalisation and was eclipsed by palm oil. A museum recalls the glory days of the plantations.

A sultan lured a Dutchman to Sumatra 150 years ago to launch tobacco growing. Initially successful, the industry withered after Sukarno’s nationalisation and was eclipsed by palm oil. A museum recalls the glory days of the plantations.

How Havana of the East withered under state rule and palm oil's rise
12 Oct 2018 - 12:07AM
Indonesia mansion that’s a monument to Chinese tycoon’s integration and industry

Tjong A Fie helped build the city of Medan, and gave it hospitals, schools and places of worship. He also built himself a mansion. Now badly in need of repair, it has been made a museum by his heirs to funds its restoration.

Tjong A Fie helped build the city of Medan, and gave it hospitals, schools and places of worship. He also built himself a mansion. Now badly in need of repair, it has been made a museum by his heirs to funds its restoration.

Indonesia mansion that’s a monument to Chinese tycoon’s integration and industry
29 Sep 2018 - 7:20PM
How a Dutch visitor fell in love with Laos’ Luang Prabang, stayed and built a botanical garden

Dutchman Rik Gadella got the idea for the garden 11 years ago after a week’s holiday in Luang Prabang. He rented some land and spent years building up his collection of indigenous plant species.

Dutchman Rik Gadella got the idea for the garden 11 years ago after a week’s holiday in Luang Prabang. He rented some land and spent years building up his collection of indigenous plant species.

How a Dutch visitor fell in love with Laos’ Luang Prabang, stayed and built a botanical garden
26 Aug 2018 - 11:53AM
Chinese tourist ‘invasion’ feared as high-speed Laos-China Railway will boost visitor numbers dramatically

Chinese nationals already make up about 11 per cent of visitors to Laos. When the railway is finished, that figure is expected to rise dramatically, bringing challenges and opportunities for the country.

Chinese nationals already make up about 11 per cent of visitors to Laos. When the railway is finished, that figure is expected to rise dramatically, bringing challenges and opportunities for the country.

Chinese tourist ‘invasion’ feared as high-speed Laos-China Railway will boost visitor numbers dramatically
24 Aug 2018 - 8:43AM
Chinese Thai politician’s legacy to his hometown a reminder of how minority influenced Thailand’s economy, politics and society

Thailand has historically shown tolerance for its citizens of Chinese descent – people such as Banharn Silpa-archa – who have shaped the nation’s development, something the late prime minister’s legacy to his hometown encapsulates.

Thailand has historically shown tolerance for its citizens of Chinese descent – people such as Banharn Silpa-archa – who have shaped the nation’s development, something the late prime minister’s legacy to his hometown encapsulates.

Chinese Thai politician’s legacy to his hometown a reminder of how minority influenced Thailand’s economy, politics and society
19 Jul 2018 - 8:45AM
Why new heritage hotels in Yangon, Myanmar, are banking on Asian tourists – not Westerners – to survive

Three luxury heritage hotels will open in Yangon in the next two years, but with the Rohingya crisis turning Western tourists off Myanmar, they must rely on travellers like the Chinese, who are visiting in ever greater droves

Three luxury heritage hotels will open in Yangon in the next two years, but with the Rohingya crisis turning Western tourists off Myanmar, they must rely on travellers like the Chinese, who are visiting in ever greater droves

Why new heritage hotels in Yangon, Myanmar, are banking on Asian tourists – not Westerners – to survive
25 Jun 2018 - 7:49PM
In Yangon, more colonial buildings are being preserved as homeowners realise they can profit from heritage

In Myanmar’s former capital, more owners are discovering the value of refurbishing, not demolishing, their old colonial homes, for which foreigners and wealthy locals are prepared to pay impressive rents

In Myanmar’s former capital, more owners are discovering the value of refurbishing, not demolishing, their old colonial homes, for which foreigners and wealthy locals are prepared to pay impressive rents

In Yangon, more colonial buildings are being preserved as  homeowners realise they can profit from heritage
31 May 2018 - 9:50AM
Bangkok’s Chinatown braces for gentrification now subway station is about to open

Most Sino-Thai clans quit Sampheng, a warren of narrow lanes, years ago, but few sold their properties, and its patchwork of ownership may save the historic neighbourhood from mass development – though change will inevitably come

Most Sino-Thai clans quit Sampheng, a warren of narrow lanes, years ago, but few sold their properties, and its patchwork of ownership may save the historic neighbourhood from mass development – though change will inevitably come

Bangkok’s Chinatown braces for gentrification now subway station is about to open
15 Apr 2018 - 9:45AM
Chinese tourists flocking to Pattaya for transgender shows, Thai food, property – but not for sex

The notorious sleazy side to Thai seaside resort Pattaya is not what is pulling in millions of Chinese tourists every year who, guided by social media like WeChat, go to see things like Tiffany’s Show, and are even buying property

The notorious sleazy side to Thai seaside resort Pattaya is not what is pulling in millions of Chinese tourists every year who, guided by social media like WeChat, go to see things like Tiffany’s Show, and are even buying property

Chinese tourists flocking to Pattaya for transgender shows, Thai food, property – but not for sex
11 Feb 2018 - 6:27PM