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Tony in Thailand

Read about everyday expat life in a rural Isan village.

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THE LATEST STORY ADDED Wednesday, 3 April

THE LATEST VIDEO Friday, 7 April

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 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 describe life outside the cities. I give you a unique glimpse into what village living 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 like no other.

Building a House in Thailand

My eBook 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.

I continue to make regular updates to the book, which readers recieve for free so you keep in touch with the longer term performance of the house. An update focussing on design is due shortly. Click the arrow on the right for more.

A thumbs up from Mike:

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.

 

Click the arrow on the right for more.

A 'good job' from Bruce:

Hi Tony,
Just want to say your book is the best $25 l have ever spent on a book. Absolutely invaluable to me.
We will be settling down at Ban Nong Kung near Yang Talat. l was originally going to build the house to all the wrong ideas, your book and the reasons you have done certain things have won me over and l have been re drawing up the plans using a lot of your ideas.
I’m up to page 300 so far god knows what else will change by page 700. LOL
Bruce M – Australia
Click the arrow on the right for more.

And the End Result

It is now four years since we moved in and the house has been everything I wanted and more. A cool, comfortable and solid base for which to enjoy all that Thailand has to offer. Learn the secrets to building in Thailand and click below.

NEW: Video of the Day – 7 April 2019

We went to the farm early morning (well early for me) and caught Yuan and Lud getting ready to take long beans to market. I thought it was as good a time as any to take you on a walk through the farmhouse and the farm itself to share what a well run Isan rural business looks like.

NEW: My Garden Watering System

A brief one topic post on a subject requested by a blog reader (thanks Chris). The need for a watering system in tropical northeast Thailand may come as a surprise to some readers who haven’t lived through the annual cycle of wet and dry. It certainly did for me and this is how we cope with months of drought.

You can read about it HERE.

Love Living in Isan – 2 April 2019

Because I never planned to retire when I came to Thailand I didn’t have a vision of what that lifestyle would look like. I suspect that had I had more time to think about that vision it wouldn’t look like it what I now experience each day. If someone had asked me what living in Thailand might involve I think in my mind it would have included beaches, elephants and more cocktails 🙂These stories prove that life has turned out slightly differently from that vision, but I have to say that I wouldn’t exchange that daydream for my reality. I hope that the following insights will take you out of your everyday and transport you free of charge to a small rural village in Isan to join me as I record family events and anything else that captures my attention. 

You can read about it HERE.

NEW: Photo of the Day – 14 April 2019

Water fights on the main street of Si Bun Ruang yesterday. With friends Mike, Doug, Pu and Pepsi and families.

Stories published in April

A walk through our tropical garden – 5 April

A wander through one of Isan’s most beautiful private gardens. Although this garden was only started January 2018, it looks as if it has been around for ages.

The YouTube video is HERE or click the image on the left.

Moving House Video – 2 April

Not moving furniture and personal possessions to a new home but actually moving the house! In Australia we would most likely order a large crane for this sort of job. Here eight men, a few winches and lots of muscle power. The full story in Love Living in Isan – 2 April HERE

The YouTube video is HERE or click the image on the left.

Stories published in March

Sunday – 31 March 2019

 

This is another video mainly to test using Gaun’s phone rather than the Nikon camera I tried yesterday, the results of which I wasn’t totally happy with. Having looked at this outcome it is much better especially with focus and lighting.

In this video I walk you through the front garden we started to establish just after we moved in March 2015 and we end up in our outside lounge space.

You can find the video on YouTube HERE.

Saturday – 30 March 2019

 

Something a bit different, a video. We have developed my Thai family’s farm outside Si Bun Ruang into a wonderful place to spend time. An extended pond for swimming, a beach hut for shelter and an ever expanding tropical garden.

You can find the video on YouTube HERE.

Isan Music – 29 March 2019

 

And now for something completely different……………if you come to Thailand either on a holiday or to live for a longer period and come across some Thai nightlife or a street party you will bound to hear some Isan music being played. I thought it might be of interest to some to provide a bit of background and some examples of the sort of music styles you will hear if you do get involved in the ‘real’ Thailand.

You can find it HERE.

Tuesday – 26 March 2019

 

This is a minor post in contrast to the last one I published on the 22nd of March, which covered a week or more of activities. This story only details a few days of small and even smaller events but as always I hope the detail of some of the topics I write about help give you an ever improving knowledge and understanding of a real life in Isan. I continue to learn new things, none of which will rock the world, but they allow me to look at the everyday with increasingly educated eyes. Every time I discover something I didn’t know before it’s like another step in obtaining my degree in Isan Living, all of which I share with you.

You can find it HERE.

Friday – 22 March 2019

 

Since returning home from our trip to Loei, see last post HERE, our days have filled with two solid days in the garden, a few social occasions, a trip to Udon Thani for my visa extension and shopping and the usual wide variety of everyday photo moments, all of which I hope you’ll enjoy in this post.

You can find it HERE.

Thailand is HOT: Wednesday – 20 March 2019

 

The motivation for this post came about as a result of a recent comment left on the blog by Mel, an Australian who wrote:

Hi Tony. How do you cope with the weather there? I have lived in Brisbane for 30 years and still have some reservations about our hot & humid summer. But I see that your weather (like Surin) is positively stifling for about a 3-month period and then of course comes the wet with all the uncomfortable humidity it brings. Your best tips for farangs? 

You can read my reply to Mel HERE

Tuesday – 12 March 2019

 

Peng my stepdaughter, had yet another entrance exam to sit, this time held in Loei the province next to ours to the west (left on a map). As Peng’s exam was early morning (well early for me) on the Sunday at Loei Rajabhat University and it’s a two hour drive from Si Bun Ruang, we decided to stay overnight. The idea was that on the Sunday, while Peng did her thing, Gaun and I would explore a bit of Loei, a city I had only driven through previously. This is a long post so get coffee, tea or alcohol and enjoy. 

You can read about it HERE.

P.S. Peng has since been offered a place at Loei university, which she is considering. Yay for Peng.

Friday – 1 March 2019

This story covers my stepdaughter Peng who was part of a celebration with final year schoolmates involving the exchange of lots of selfies, small gifts and momentos between the 150 students graduating. I have also included a section on some of the aspects involved with sending someone to university that will be relevant for some locals. Also on the 1st March the annual Si Bun Ruang celebration happened based around the town’s shrine with 2,000 dancers from the local villages performing on the day and a small market that will be running for the next week. The dancing formal and informal is always a delight.

You can read about it HERE.

Stories published in previous months

February 2019 HERE.

 January 2019 HERE.

Full Post Published: 28 Jan 2019

Wat Si Sawang Kut Du

We decided to take an afternoon off recently from doing not much and head out to an eating place we enjoy called Noi’s Kitchen, run by a lovely English guy and his wife Greg and Noi.

As it’s only a 30 minute drive I did my usual thing and had a hunt around on Google Maps to see what else we could do in the afternoon to fill in the rest of the time. Often Maps is frustrating because often the standard of photos attached to the attractions available gives you NO idea as to whether that site is worth visiting. Thankfully there was one temple that had a enough decent photos that were enough to raise my interest and as it was close to Noi’s Kitchen we decided to have a look-see.

You can read about it HERE.

My Last Six Posts in 2018

Searching for a Rice Hut

Published 15 Nov 2018 

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.You can read about it HERE.

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

For older stories posted in 2017/18 please click HERE.

Three of my Favourite Photos – updated 3 April 2019