Tony in Thailand

All my Stories

An index of all my posts 101 -150

With over 230 posts on this site even I have forgotten what I have covered on the blog during my time in Thailand. I thought I would start the long task of reviewing all the stories and writing a short introduction to each one to help you more easily find topics that might be of interest. Because of the amount of work involved you won’t find a complete list today. I will continue to add to the index and update this post as I make progress so please refer back to it from time to time.

150. Hong Kong – the city

  • Published 9 Sep 2014
  • Place: Hong Kong
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Other
  • LINK: HERE

The first of four posts on our holiday to Hong Kong, which happened as a result of an invitation from my good friends Gina and Andy who came to see us in Chiang Mai for Christmas 2013. They offered their Hong Kong home as a holiday base and Gina as a tour guide if we ever wanted to explore the island.

This year for us has already been really busy but the next 12 months will be mostly taken up with building our new home in Isaan and settling there so if we didn’t do Hong Kong now we could miss out on a place to stay and the help of a local to show us the sights.

149. Retirement Visa and More

  • Published 30 Aug 2014
  • Place: NA
  • Topic: Retirement
  • LINK: HERE

The best visa you can get for a long term stay here is called a Non-Immigration OA or retirement visa. There is an O visa, which needs to be renewed after 90 days, however if you add the multiple re-entries option it is then called an OA visa and is good for 12 months. This post contains lots of information especially in the comments section.

148. Doi Coffee & Roasting

  • Published 30 Aug 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Café/eating
  • LINK: HERE

I am pleased to let you know of a cafe worth a visiting if in the San Sai area, and for most people that will never happen! However for those of us living there it is an unusual experience to find a decent place to have a cuppa so it is worth reporting. The alternative recommendation is Biscotti café also covered in a post, but that’s a lot further out.

147. Ratchaphruek Gardens and Wat Chedi Liam

Published 29 Aug 2014

  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • Wat/temple
  • LINK: HERE

The basis of this park’s name, ” Ratchaphruek” or Golden Shower Tree, is the de facto national flower of Thailand. Its yellow blossoms are the flower of Monday, the birth day of the current King. Chiang Mai and maybe other places too, are covered in these beautiful flowers in season. If you enjoy gardens then this is a must see in the Chiang Mai itinerary.

146. Ponganes Cafe and Wat Phuak Hong

Published 26 Aug 2014

  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Café/eating
  • Wat/temple
  • LINK: HERE

Covered in detail or mentioned in this blog: Ponganes Espresso café a coffee hangout highly recommended by Trip Advisor, Suan Buak Hat city park, Wat Phuak Hong and market shopping costs.

145. Tanita House Cafe

  • Published 25 Aug 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Café/eating
  • LINK: HERE

Tanita Cafe is listed as 9 of 1,300 + restaurants in Chiang Mai and you can read the reviews HERE. I think TA reviews become self-fulfilling prophecies. Once you get up in the rankings more people visit and, providing you are offering a decent service, review you positively and up you go. It isn’t to say the places with lower rankings are worse necessarily, although many will be, just less appreciated by TA contributors

144. The 106 to Lamphun

  • Published 25 Aug 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

The title sounds like a bus or train journey doesn’t it. “I’m just catching the 106 to Lamphun dear”. It is actually a road number and the road itself runs through the centre of Chiang Mai following the Ping River before heading out of town and ending up in Lamphun, a small town about 25 kms South of Chiang Mai.

The 106 for me is one of the most interesting roads in Chiang Mai not for getting quickly from A to B, because it is often frustratingly (if you let it) slow, but because of the variety of scenery you will see as you drive its length.

143. Si Bun Ruang from Above

  • Published 24 Aug 2014
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang, Isaan
  • Topic: Special Interest
  • LINK: HERE

I have added this post to my building stories as it shows the location of the main places of interest based around our new home to be. The family home, the farm and Si Bun Ruang CBD! are all shown below.

I have included these images now as Google Earth heard that I was moving to Si Bun Ruang and as a result has updated the images and improved the quality. Thanks Mr Google.

142. The Chiang Mai Road System

  • Published 24 Aug 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: General Information
  • LINK: HERE

For any new Chiang Mai residents and visitors it is useful to get an image of the road system in your head to make getting around easier. I always describe Chiang Mai as having a half spider’s web road layout. The centre of the web is the square of the Old Town, contained by the moat. Other almost circular roads surround this centre and then there are the webs heading out in all directions. Find out how to navigate the system in this post.

141. Return to Chiang Mai

  • Published 20 Aug 2014
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang, Isaan driving to Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

This is a short post and a bit of a cheat. I promised the last post was the absolutely final one from Isaan but I was up early yesterday morning and observed a couple of things that may be of some interest so thought I would pass them on. As we were almost on our way back to Chiang Mai I think I can get away without breaking my previous commitment for no more Isaan posts – maybe.

140. Isaan – the negatives

  • Published 18 Aug 2014
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang, Isaan
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

Living in Si Bun Ruang in a local Moo Baan, or suburb/village, for around a month has allowed me to experience the good and bad of village life. I have written about the good so it is time to be realistic about the more negative aspects. Let me say that these are negatives from MY point of view and some of them may be seen as totally positive by Thais or more likely don’t register at all. I have made a complete list and some of them are a bit picky. However the fact that they have registered with me means that at whatever level of annoyance I regard them as a negative.

139. Isaan – the final post

  • Published 16 Aug 2014
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang, Isaan
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

Well not THE final but the last one I will be publishing as a result of our latest visit here. It started with a hospital visit with Peng that I have already covered below and is finishing with us completing what I wanted to achieve on planning for our house build later this year. I am hoping to hit the road for Chiang Mai on Tuesday. This post is a mix of stories, but you already suspected that was going to happen didn’t you 🙂

138. Thai Music

  • Published 12 Aug 2014
  • Place: NA
  • Topic: Special Interest
  • LINK: HERE

If you wanted a cultural thesis with examples of the historical and regional styles of Thai music you are going to be seriously disappointed with this post 🙂 I have and will continue to add music to this page that either has a story in it for me or what I call Thai driving music – probably nonsense pop stuff but with a good beat and fun. Deep and meaningful it ain’t.

137. Phu Foilom Park – an Isaan Outing

  • Published 11 Aug 2014
  • Place: Udon Thani Province, Isaan
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

Last weekend I felt the urge to get out of Si Bun Ruang and become a tourist for the day and see one of the local sights called Phu Foilom, a 30,000 + hectare park set in the hills between the towns of Udon Thani and Nong Bua Lamphu, about an hour’s drive from us.

The immediate family of Yuan, Lud and Peng wanted to join in the expedition to the park, it is hard to be alone here, and there was an air of excitement the day before. Yuan even went and got her hair cut and straightened for the event.

136. Noodles and more

  • Published 2 Aug 2014
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang, Isaan
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

The incentive for this post happened last night when Gaun and family were tucking into their dinner of raw long beans, fish soup and noodles. Like all good urbanites I have never thought about where noodles come from other than a packet. Well I am here to tell you that there are two noodle factories in our Moo Baan supplying the local demand. Production happens every afternoon so with family knowledge I headed out to investigate and broaden my noodle knowledge.

135. Isaan – the small stories

  • Published 2 Aug 2014
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang, Isaan
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

I wonder what my blog will look like in a few months’ time. Up to now, although hardly setting world news, I have been able to publish a good range of “bigger” stories during my time here, some of them based around popular tourist destinations. Once I move to Isaan day to day life, although still interesting because of its newness, will have a more limited range of major places to visit, certainly in the immediate area, and I suspect some of my posts will be formed of a mix of small stories like this one today.

134. Back in Isaan

  • Published 25 Jul 2014
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang, Isaan
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

Another post on spending time in Isaan, rural Thailand, a topic I have covered before but with some new angles. The timing for our trip here was based around an appointment Peng, Gaun’s daughter, had to see her doctor for a six monthly check-up.

I also wanted to do some more preparation for us moving into the family house in November and get my house plans drawn up at the local Tessa Ban, or planning department. Lots else too with some great photos.

133. Mae Salong – a Chinese Village

  • Published 17 Jul 2014
  • Place: Mae Salong, Northern Thailand
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Rai
  • LINK: HERE

The origins of Mae Salong started in China in 1950 when parts of the Kuomintang (KMT) army who fought on against the communists after the majority fled to Taiwan were finally forced out and retreated to Burma. This part of the army was originally largely based in the Chinese province of Yunnan, which is why you will see so many Yunnan influences in Mae Salong now especially in the food. A very picturesque part of Northern Thailand.

132. The Road to Mae Salong

  • Published 17 Jul 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai to Mae Salong, Northern Thailand
  • Topic: Attractions and places – Other
  • LINK: HERE

Mae Salong has been on my “to see” list for a while after recommendations from two friends who have visited the village and surrounding area. As is usual in Thailand there are so many tempting side-expeditions to take on any journey and I have a weakness for diverting for anything that looks interesting along the way. This story covers some of those extra-curricular activities on the way to Mae Salong.

131. Living in Thailand – 100 Blog Stories

  • Published 14 Jul 2014
  • Place: NA
  • Topic: Retirement
  • LINK: HERE

Update: As a result of my updating the blog this story is no longer number 100 but it was at the time – true!

I was hoping to get the 100th story to coincide with my first 12 month anniversary, which was 12 June, but have missed out by a month. As my teachers used to say in my school reports “He could do better if he tried”. Never mind. I thought I would mark the occasion by looking back over my stories over the last 13 months and comment on those that I enjoyed the most or reflected best the various stages of my time in Thailand.

130. Boncafe Chiang Mai

  • Published 14 Jul 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Café/eating
  • LINK: HERE

I have been to this cafe a few times and it always produces a good standard of coffee 8/10, so as we visited it today to top-up on coffee beans I thought I would take some photos and write a brief post.

Boncafe is situated on Chang Khlan Road, one of the main streets you will see mentioned in topics about Chiang Mai, which means that you’ll get no atmosphere outside but it is pretty central.

129. Terracotta Garden

  • Published 14 Jul 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

I have been on the hunt for this place located in the Old Town of Chiang Mai for a little while. It is covered in a few other blogs and from their descriptions looked like a photographer’s dream, so worth a visit. I try to stay out of the centre of Chiang Mai as much as possible as it is busy and full of tourists, neither of which is my idea of a good time, here or any other place in the world. However the Terracotta garden is hidden away in a small soi and once you get away from the main roads in the Old Town you enter a quieter and slower paced world.

128. Cafe U Baan

  • Published 13 Jul 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Café/eating
  • LINK: HERE

After so many disappointments on the café front I am happy to report success on the coffee front. Tucked away in the garden district behind Tesco Lotus on the Super Highway is a little cafe called, I think, Cafe U Baan.

127. 12 Months in Thailand

  • Published 7 Jul 2014
  • Place: NA
  • Topic: Retirement
  • LINK: HERE

The 12th of June marked my first twelve months living in Thailand and I thought it would be interesting to re-visit the blog entry I made after six months and see how my opinions have changed over the last six months.

126. A Tale of Two Cafes

  • Published 30 Jun 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Café/eating
  • LINK: HERE

A short blog post to cover off a couple of cafes we have visited recently in the futile attempt to find a coffee that betters the one I can make at home on my newly imported from Australia via Isaan coffee machine. Luckily one of the cafes is in the main garden area of Chiang Mai so I can combine two of my favourite activities, coffee and flowers. Baa Baa Black and Panmai Cafes covered in this post.

125. Wat Phra Phutthabat Si Roi

  • Published 29 Jun 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Wat/temple
  • LINK: HERE

Wat Phra Phutthabat Si Roi has the benefit of not only being a worth a visit in itself but the drive to get there through Mae Rim is very pleasant too. Getting there is a little tricky as the signs are in Thai but I have given you instructions and photos in the post. This is a temple to add to your list if you have access to transport.

124. Chiang Mai Garden Heaven

  • Published 29 Jun 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

Behind Tesco Lotus on the Super Highway number 11 there is a huge nursery area with street after street of plant shops and associated products. Gaun and I headed there today because I wanted to revisit a cafe for the second time that is beautifully situated right in the middle of the nurseries and also take some photos for this post.

123. A Day Out in Mae Rim

  • Published 25 Jun 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

Another varied day out this time on the outskirts of Chiang Mai in an area called Mae Rim. If you have been here it is likely you have visited Mae Rim as it is quite a tourist area with things like elephants, buggy rides, tigers, orchid farms etc etc. However most of these activities are situated on or close to the main road that runs through the area. Once you head off this road you are into more rural hilly country, which for me is far more interesting.

122. Isaan Faces

  • Published 25 June 2014
  • Place: Isaan
  • Topic: Special Interest
  • LINK: HERE

A compilation of some of the photos I took during our recent trip to Isaan, which I think capture a moment. Some of these are repeats of photos in my previous blogs but there are many new ones too. The gallery takes a little time to load.

121. Ubol Ratana Lake

  • Published 24 Jun 2014
  • Place: Nong Bua Lamphu province, Isaan
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

Gaun and I had been invited to visit brother number 5, who lives about an hour from Si Bun Ruang towards a large man-made lake South of the town called Ubol Ratana or Ubolratana. In this post we visit a much more basic village, travel around the lake to see the houseboats and more.

120. Bun Bang Fai – Fireworks

  • Published 24 Jun 2014
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Festivals
  • LINK: HERE

Day two of the Bun Bang Fai festival in Si Bun Ruang found us on the edge of town after I was told by the family that we were going to watch fireworks. This seemed slightly strange to me because it was 10.00 am but this is Thailand so I have found it is best just to go along with whatever is happening. What I didn’t expect was the size of these rockets – read on and make sure you watch the video.

119. Bun Bang Fai – an Isaan Festival

  • Published 24 Jun 2014
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Festivals
  • LINK: HERE

One of the reasons we chose to travel and stay in Isaan at this time in June was that Si Bun Ruang, “our” town, was having their annual festival called Bun Bang Fai over three days but mainly on the weekend of the 14th and 15th. I have never seen a Thai festival and this seemed like a great opportunity to enjoy what the locals had to offer. Knowing Thais love of a party and a good time I was pretty sure it would be well worth the investment of time and I wasn’t disappointed.

118. Wat Neramit Wipattasana

  • Published 22 Jun 2014
  • Place: Dan Sai, Isaan
  • Topic: Wat/temple
  • LINK: HERE

About two hours from the end of our drive to Isaan in the hills close to the Laos border lies a small town called Dan Sai in the province of Loei. Known mainly for the annual spirit festival called Phi Ta Khon, which looks great but unfortunately we missed by a few days this year, Dan Sai was a good break point for me after six hours driving. We stopped off to explore what lay behind an impressive gateway just off the highway coming into the town and I was pleased we did. Read about what (!) we found in this post.

117. Peng’s Motorbike

  • Published 21 Jun 2014
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang, Isaan
  • Topic: Special Interest
  • LINK: HERE

Many of you won’t know that Gaun’s lovely daughter Peng developed a medical condition when young, which required an operation and has since left her with some limitations in her ability to walk. When in Chiang Rai last year we came across a very old three wheel motorbike produced in the 90’s by Honda with a small 50 cc engine. I did some research on the web and was disappointed to find that they were no longer being manufactured and that there are almost no alternatives on the market. This is the story of how Peng ended up with one of these motorbikes.

116. Bhubing Palace Gardens

  • Published 8 Jun 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

I have written about these gardens before in my post but as you can tell by the clothes I was wearing then it was during the cool months. I love these gardens and have taken three groups of visitors there. Each time the gardens have been different as new plantings take shape or flowers come into season. This is a mostly photo re-visit. The gallery may take some time to load so please be patient.

115. A Chilli Soi

  • Published 8 Jun 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

I decided to take a road I hadn’t been on before, which headed generally in the right direction for home, and thought I would share with you what a simple local drive can provide by way of new scenery.

114. Live Music in Chiang Mai

  • Published 8 Jun 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

Both Gaun and I enjoy music with a couple of Sang Soms, Thai whisky – it is actually a rum, and Chang beer thrown in. We have started on a mission to find some decent live music and I thought I would report back on a couple a venues we have visited recently.

113. Nimmanhaemin at Night

  • Published 8 Jun 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

I have written about Nimmanhaemin Road before when we visited it in the daytime. Nimmanhaemin is a lot more than the road that runs through the middle of the area, which is busy and pretty unattractive. Many of the best sights are hidden away in the sois or streets that head off left and right and it was this side of Nimmanhaemin that I wanted to explore more this time.

I thought we would give it a go at night when the place is supposed to be buzzing and the bars and live music places kick in. Also to be honest, like a lot of Thai places, night time shows them at their most attractive when darkness hides some of the more unfortunate development and the lighting and modern design comes into its own.

112. Markets and Ladyboys

  • Published 26 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

In this post I write about the night markets on Chang Klan Road, which incorporates a pretty tasteful ladyboy cabaret show. The night markets are very commercialised and you’ll literally bump into many farang but I am sure you’ll find lots of things to take home as gifts.

111. Our Sunday Markets

  • Published 26 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

About ten minutes from us are some markets that set up on a Sunday afternoon to service the local population. On the other side of Mae Jo University they are about 30 minutes outside the centre of Chiang Mai, so not on the tourist agenda and not designed to be. Join us to visit some real local markets.

110. The Road to Phrao

  • Published 26 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

The small rural town of Phrao is about an hour literally down the road from us. We come out of the Moo Baan onto the 1001, turn left and that’s where we end up.

I have a friend who has explored this route a couple of times and recommended it as an interesting and scenic drive so with an afternoon to spare, as most of them are, we set out for an explore.

109. R Rated Temple Part 2

  • Published 26 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

We have friends from Australia staying with us for ten days and are working through a list of my favourite places in Chiang Mai. I wouldn’t rate this one as a favourite but it is certainly different, so with a spare couple of hours I decided to show them the strange Buddhist temple I wrote about previously HERE.

I ended up taking a whole new batch of photos, which I think are better than the first lot in the previous blog because I now have an improved camera and also the light is better now we have moved out of the cloudy and smoky period earlier in the year.

108. Wat Ket Karam Museum

  • Published 25 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

I came across this museum when we were visiting nine wats as part of Gaun’s birthday, blog entry HERE. The museum is in a lovely Wat called Ket Karam, which I recommend visiting, but we didn’t have time to explore it with another seven Wats to cover that day! The museum is almost immediately on the left as you come in through the back gates to the temple from the 106 Chiang Mai – Lamphun Road running parallel to the River Ping.

107. Natwat Home Cafe

  • Published 25 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Café/eating
  • LINK: HERE

Natwat Home Cafe is on the Charoen Raj Road, a very narrow road which runs between the Super Highway and the 106, the Chiang Mai – Lamphun Road, next to the River Ping. This can be a very busy road as it feeds into a number of bridges over the river and into Chiang Mai city. On the side facing the river there are heaps of restaurants and bars and cafes. A good area to wander although you compete with the cars for the road as there is no footpath for most of the road.

106. Thai Cowboy Bar

  • Published 16 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE

This is really just a teaser for when I cover this bar in action at night-time. In the post covering Gaun’s birthday I wrote that we finished the evening at a Thai cowboy bar set in a Lotus pond close to our Moo Baan. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me otherwise I could have captured the evening, which would have provided some wonderful photos. With this in mind I did the next best thing and called in on the way home today to see the place in the daytime.

105. Phuphiang Cafe

  • Published 16 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Café/eating
  • LINK: HERE

I have included this cafe entry because although it is not on the main tourist to do list I wouldn’t highly recommend it for the coffee. However it is a café visited by tourists so I thought I would include it in the blog so you get an idea of the variety of offerings here.

Phuphiang Coffee is a small cafe in the same road as My Place, a cafe included in the post HERE, but closer to the 107. It is a more recent addition to the cafe scene in this area so when I saw it I decided to give it a test run.

104. The Garden Restaurant

  • Published 16 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Café/eating
  • LINK: HERE

It was only after I had started to write this post that I realised that I don’t have a name for this restaurant we visited today. This is very much a “secret” place as you won’t see too many non-Thais here. Worth a visit if you are out in the San Sai area of Chiang Mai – about 20 minutes’ drive from the centre.

We had been introduced to this restaurant by a friend of ours otherwise you would never find it and I am sure it doesn’t rate on Trip Advisor. I have given you the GPS coordinates at the end of this post but shhhh don’t tell. Hidden away in a small soi off the 1001 even by the time you get to the carpark you’d here no idea of what lies beyond.

103. The Flowers of Chiang Mai

  • Published 15 May 2014
  • Place: Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Special Interest
  • LINK: HERE

A photographic record of some of the wonderful tropical flowers you’ll come across in Chiang Mai and elsewhere in Thailand.

102. Gaun’s Birthday

  • Published 14 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Wat/temple
  • LINK: HERE

The day didn’t go quite as planned because I had heard Gaun telling me that she wanted to visit a “nice” temple for her birthday. Luckily there was one in Thapae Road that we had been to before and I knew she liked it, so all good and scheduled into the day. It was only on the day that my misunderstanding became clear and we ended up on the road to find “nine” temples, nine is a lucky number in Thai, not one “nice” temple. So this post is as much about a selection of Chiang Mai temples as it is about Gaun’s birthday!

101. Wat Chet Yot

  • Published 10 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Wat/temple
  • LINK: HERE

Wat Chet Yot is a large temple site just outside the main Chiang Mai city area along the Super Highway, Highway 11,  north of the intersection of Huai Kaeo road and Nimmanhemin road. Because it a little way outside the main tourist route and as it is more set-up for Thais than tourists it isn’t widely included on the must see list of Chiang Mai, which has to be a plus..