I am writing this post sitting in my new sala, which is currently in the front driveway of the family home in Si Bun Ruang, Isaan. After 12 months living in Chiang Mai the time finally came to make the move to Isaan and settle into building our house and establish a life in the North East of Thailand.
The house build will be covered separately with weekly updates published under the “Building My House” topic in the menu at the top of this page. For those of you looking for Thai holiday related information the posts won’t be of much interest but for anyone looking to retire and build in Thailand I am hoping the coverage will be a useful point of reference. The first of these posts “Building in Isaan – Week 1” can be found HERE.
Our 12 month rental in Chiang Mai came due at the end of October and we seemed to have accumulated far more than I expected once it was all collected in one place. Admittedly a lot of it was the vast array of plants we had either bought or Gaun had propagated during of time in Chiang Mai. These had to make the move with us otherwise my next post would have been how to arrange a divorce in Thailand!
We arranged quotes from a number of removalists, two that catered more to farang and a couple of Thai orientated companies. The one we ended up with was the second cheapest quote, beating the farang options by 5,000 – 10,000 THB. They seemed more professional than the cheapest and the 2,000 THB difference, or around A$70.00, was no big deal so we went for the one I felt most comfortable with. Called Uncle Uan’s Remover Service they are a company I would recommend if you need a removalist. Their website is HERE , which is in Thai but Google translates it for you. The phone numbers are 053-242617, o83-4796598 or 093-1193261.
They turned up on the 30th with a large clean truck, six packers, a supervisor and heaps of packing materials. We ended up filling the entire truck although they didn’t stack the boxes so it was all floor space. Everything was delivered safely the next day 600 km away in Isaan including Gaun’s garden. The total cost ended up being 23,000 THB, which is more than I expected but not too excessive.
One of the things I had a slight worry about was the return of our two months rental deposit. The lease agreement said that the owners could hold back on paying it for up to 30 days. The forums were full of stories about farang being “ripped off” by Thai landlords and that was at the back of my mind.
I have to report that like so much else I have experienced in Thailand there was no problem at all. In fact the full deposit was returned, less an estimate for the final utilities, two days before we left. We had kept the house in good condition and I had a direct transfer set up to pay the rent every month. I suspect that doing the right thing in most cases will result in reciprocal treatment as it does in most countries. The farang forums, as with any news coverage, tend to highlight the negative and the vast majority of “normal” behaviours are unreported.
Just as an aside this house pictured below is for rent directly opposite ours, which had already been leased. If you are looking for accommodation in Chiang Mai then I can recommend our Moo Baan, Land and House Park in San Sai and our street was beautifully quiet and relaxing. This house is furnished in Thai style – lots of uncomfortable wood – and is smaller than ours but the location would make a great “first home” for a couple. I have no idea of the rental or other details.
We handed over the keys early on Friday the 31st October and started on the nine hour drive to Si Bun Ruang, a trip I can now almost do in my sleep. This time we had Peng on board, my step-daughter, and this was her first experience of a long car journey covering a good selection of scenery.
As always heading to Isaan the first stop was about two hours out at a place called Den Chai, which is home to one of the nicest cafes, one of the Doi Chaang chain that I wrote about HERE when we drove to their base in the hills outside Chiang Rai.
Peng had glamourised herself for the homecoming occasion in her first ever long dress bought in Chiang Mai and these flowers in the cafe entry provided a colour coordinated photo moment.
The next stop was at a small town called Nakon Thai for food and then a break at the lovely Wat in Dan Sai in the hills outside Loei in Isaan that I originally covered in detail HERE. This is one of my favourite temples, beautifully maintained and presented and we wanted to show it to Peng.
Having left Chiang Mai a bit after 8.00 am we arrived in Si Bun Ruang around 5.00 pm, which is about normal for this trip including stops. The work we had done on previous visits to set up the family home for some western comforts paid off with a hot shower, a sit down loo and a comfortable mattress even though it sits on the floor Thai style.
Having spent quite a bit of time in the village there was no settling in period required. It was great to meet up with the family and genuinely feel included as part of their group. The farm is looking its best now as its fully planted out with a mix of sugar, rice and vegetables.
This week is Loi Krathong in Thailand where parties are held and hand made floating rafts are launched to bring good luck. In Chiang Mai it is a massive event and combined with a Chinese festival where paper lanterns are floated into the sky in their thousands. I wrote about it HERE.
Isaan don’t do the lantern thing much, which with the huge coverage of dry rice and sugar crops around is very sensible, but each Moo Baan plus the towns have their own individual celebrations. Our little village had one last night and I enjoyed it far more than the super-crowded and commercial one in Chiang Mai. The village turned up at the local temple’s pond and bought little krathongs the ladies had made for $0.65. The proceeds are going to help extend the Wat.
It was a friendly family affair, very casual and over quickly as everyone is up early morning here.
I got several hellos from people I had met already, which made me feel at home. Thais really appreciate a farang taking an interest.
I am sure that there will still be things to write about outside the building project as I observe life in this small rural town. I find the small day to day aspects of daily life much more interesting than the big splashy tourist destinations. For example many services and goods are provided from the back of a pick-up. Wait long enough and whatever you need will pass your door. This is a clothing alteration business on wheels. There is a guy inside on a sewing machine while his wife does preparation work on the outside. The last time I had some trousers shortened it cost me around A$1.00.
Thanks for reading.