Tony in Thailand
Read about everyday expat life in a rural Isan village.
In this unique blog You will find many stories about my life in Thailand, the good and bad. Not just a list of tourist destinations but stories about REALLY living here. I hope you enjoy sharing my experiences of settling into a new country and culture as much as I am living it. My latest six posts are shown below. For the many others please use the menu at the top of this page.
Tony Eastmead – writing more posts about everyday expat life in rural Isan.
You will find many expats writing blogs about life in the coastal centres and places like Chiang Mai. For the many westerners with a connection via their Thai partner to Isan, a large region in the northeast, this is not very helpful. There are some excellent resources that focus on Isan life in the bigger urban centres but almost none that focus on life outside the cities. I give you a unique glimpse into what village life for an expat actually looks like day to day.
None of my stories are spectacular and will never be found in the search results of tourists looking for adventure. However, most of the readers who follow this blog, and there are some who have become ‘virtual’ friends over the years, are people who have a much more committed and personal connection to Thailand and have moved well beyond elephant riding, zip-lining and bar hopping. If you are one of those you have come to the right place.
…..these little stories will give you a connection to village life and broaden your understanding what a life in rural Thailand might look like if that ever happens for you. Even if you are not planning on moving here this blog will give you an insider’s view of Isan village life like no other.
18 Jan 2019 update:
The blog hasn’t been updated since late last year (until more recntly) for various reasons part of which has been a bit of a writer’s block on my part. This is my sixth year in Thailand and fifth year living in Isan. Over time the excitement of covering the annual cycle of festivals, farming seasons and other events starts to wane. For new readers to the blog it is all ‘first-time’ but for me taking a photo of five kids on a motorbike starts to become just another photo. Having got that negativity out of my system I have decided to test a revamp of the blog layout to see if that enthuses me as well as my very loyal band of long term readers (a special thank you to those that wrote to make sure all was well with me) and those newbies as they stumble across this living in Thailand resource.
Up to this point I have been a very regular Facebook contributor often adding daily stories of life in Isan – a sort of mini-blog. Some of these then make their way to this blog but there is a delay, often of many weeks, so their relevance to what’s happening in the moment is lost. I have become bored and frustrated with the way Facebook operates, especially where the posts you publish don’t actually make it onto the timeline of all your friends, so want to give this outlet a rest.
My solution to the dual challenge of making the blog more relevant as well as shutting down Facebook is to start posting my regular everyday stories directly here on this front page of tonyinthailand. In that way rather than wait ages between larger more formal posts you get to read Tony’s Isan life almost as it happens, for better or worse 🙂 I will still publish the larger single posts too, and I have some topics to catch up on now that I am back into writing again, so that will still be a feature of the blog.
I don’t know how this will go but we’ll give it a try and feedback would be most appreciated.
Thanks for sticking with me and you’ll find the link to the second of two daily entries published so far below.
Monday- 21 January 2019
A mixed day that unfolded in a pretty unplanned sort of way, which is how life tends to be here. For regular readers you know how I will start this post by saying that in the morning we headed to the farm for a second coffee and to see what Yaun and Lud were up to. Most of the time Yuan sells vegetables wholesale to stallholders at the local markets. The only variation to this is on a Friday and Monday when she has her own stall at one of two of the Si Bun Ruang street markets. On a Friday they are held just off highway 228 on the northside and on a Monday just over the bridge in central SBR (there’s also a Thursday market in this location but Yuan doesn’t go to that one). Today’s harvest being prepared to take to market when we arrived early morning were broccoli, tomatoes, lettuce and tamarind.
Heading home we decided to have lunch at Noi’s Kitchen https://tinyurl.com/y8r2ch2t (Google Maps) with the owners Greg and Noi, as we haven’t seen them this year. I had a search around the area on Google Maps for any interesting wats we hadn’t seen and came up with Wat Si Sawang Kut Du, which was only 30 minutes past Noi’s Kitchen so we called in there before lunch. I will publish a full story of this wat on the blog shortly as it is worth the effort so keep an eye out for that. Another couple of other discoveries have been thrown in as a bonus
To read the complete post for today plus other stories published in January 2019 please click HERE
Published: 25 Nov 2018
Searching for a Rice Hut
The next two projects I have planned for the farm, neither of which have anything to do with farming, are to launch Isan Grace, my floating sala (hut) now that the pond water levels are improving, and to buy and relocate a rice hut to sit over the water.
This will make a great place to have morning coffee, relax during the day and provide a mooring spot for the boat. Today we booked the guy who moved and rebuilt the rice hut we already have in the garden to take on this project and went on a search for a suitable hut. A few other stories to share as always.
You can read about it HERE.
My Last Six Posts
Early Morning at a Wat
Published 15 Nov 2018
A busy weekend with several Buddhist events and some social stuff as well. I have covered the end of Buddhist Lent ceremonies before so I won’t do that again. Instead I have added some photos that touch on the topic but with a slightly different perspective. You can read about it HERE.
A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts
Published 9 Nov 2018
The small forest temple close to the family farm is having their end of Buddhist Lent celebration this weekend and there is frantic activity to get everything ready for the event. This is a story about our contribution and you can read it HERE.
More End of Buddhist Lent Celebrations
Published 7 Nov 2018
On a cool early and misty morning we recently went to the first of several end of Buddhist Lent ceremonies we will attend in the coming week or so. This one was at one of my favourite temples Wat Pa Silawa. Click to read HERE
Wat Pa Kut Phonthan
Published 4 Nov 2018
Finding temples to visit sometimes means following one’s nose and seeing what’s at the end of a signposted track.
We recently spotted a sign to a wat on the outskirts of Nong Bua Lamphu that I hadn’t visited so with no timetable for the day we popped in. Sometimes these work and other times not so much. Find out which category this wat comes under. Click to read HERE
Happy Days in Isan
Published 26 Oct 2018
This is a test post to review a new format. The topic is relevant but I wouldn’t have normally have published it as a stand-alone. Here goes…………….
You know how you get after a couple of wines (or whatever), in my case kindly donated by recent visitors? Life seems pretty good and despite all the challenges of living in Thailand, there’s nowhere else I would prefer to be on an evening like this one. Click to read HERE
A Wedding, a Wat and a Pizza
Published 26 Oct 2018
We recently spent five days laying 6,000 bricks to expand the paths in our tropical garden so it was nice to do something very different for a day that didn’t involved bricks and concrete. We started with the early morning wedding (they all are!) for a reader of the blog, visited a terrific temple and finished our day out with a wood-fired Italian style pizza. Another typical Isan day 🙂 Click to read HERE
Three of my Favourite Photos – updated 18 Jan 2019
The view over a new area we have developed at the family farm at sunset.
Endless sitting places scattered throughout the garden and farm.
An old Isan fishing boat beached in one area of the garden.
Building a House in Thailand eBook
This book follows the challenges, frustrations and successes of building a house in Thailand from the very start of us buying the land through to moving in and beyond. You will be part of our building team for every day of construction and I will share many do’s and don’ts all designed to save you time, money, sleepless nights or all three. This book is a must have as part of your research on the subject of building in Thailand and you can find it HERE.
Thanks for the honest update on your building project book, which I would recommend to all expats, even those with no current plans to build. Although my house was finished when I read your book, it’s been a great reference to me in add-ons such as the wall, outdoor plumbing, well water, electrical issues, gardening, and others. Your writing style is so easy going but I suspect it’s hard work on your part, so thanks again for your wonderful blog. Mike
Having read your eBook twice already I am now starting on the specifics which have become a vital ingredient to my own build in a few months’ time. Your update has arrived in the nick of time so that I may fine-tune some of those areas. I was particularly keen to absorb the comments of Robert in respect to rendering and thank you both for elaborating on this aspect. My own preliminary plans and analysis now numbers in excess of 100 pages and is still growing as I learn about the intricacies of building a home in Thailand. I am most grateful to you, Tony, and your commenting readership for the frankness you have given in sharing your experiences, warts & all. Your work has become my foundation stone & I am most grateful. Sure I will make some mistakes in judgement and/or knowledge but they will be enormously reduced thanks to your efforts. You are remarkably candid, which is enormously helpful to rest of us who have yet to go through the process. Many thanks! Ian