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Tony in Thailand

Everyday stories about an

expat’s life in Isaan, Thailand

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In this unique blog You will find hundreds of 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. 

To visit my main index page click below.

To read today’s stories please scroll down.

The most comprehensive reference manual on building a house in Thailand. An e-book of 120,000 words arranged in a number of sections including the initial planning stages, a daily report on the construction process, later updates after we move in, a few summaries and a section on more general background topics such as land titles, Usufruct contracts, utility expenses and the daily cost of my building project.

So, what will you find here?

Firstly, I am a retired government employee not a builder so you won’t find a very specific how-to building book full of technical details. However, what you have bought is a very detailed 884-page coverage of how an enthusiastic amateur like me survived the Thai building challenges and ended up with a wonderful home that I still find hard to believe I have achieved.

Although the house we built is unique to us and may not be anything like the style of dwelling you plan to build, you will find many of the processes, frustrations and hints I share very relevant to almost any domestic construction project in Thailand. Topics covered such as creating a cool house, planning and design tips and specific topics like septic and water solutions are mostly likely generic to your situation, or parts of them will be, so will be a useful addition to your research material.

I have tried to make the book a good read and not just a dry list of dos and don’ts. It is written in a casual style as though I was chatting with you and I hope that makes it more engaging. In each chapter you will live every individual day of the build with us plus some of other events and activities and share our excitements and frustrations. Even if you aren’t about to build in Thailand, I believe the book includes enough interesting material of one farang’s story to hold your attention.

Lots more information including a free sample chapter on this site HERE  If you want to go straight to my distributor to buy the book please click HERE.

I am loving your book – just on my second read at the moment, to make sure that I didn’t miss anything first time around (which actually it turns out I did!).  

Just a note of thanks at this point ……. I am a fairly methodical sort of bloke, but there are many issues which your book highlights which I just wouldn’t have thought about – or if I had, I may well have assumed they were “standard” building practice [U-bends, drain positioning, barge-board alignment] – if it hadn’t been for your excellent descriptions!!  I will probably still “miss” something – that’s the nature of building/design – but thanks to you, it shouldn’t be anything too mission-critical. Mike

Undoubtedly, we would not have the quality home we now have without the book, we had no idea even where to start until we found Building in Thailand eBook. We did manage to avoid most of the traps that we could have fallen into, we are extremally thankful for the authors attention to detail and common-sense approach. Chris

I have had the good fortune to have used the first edition as part of Yuri and my plans to build our home here in Surin.  To say it is a good reference book is an understatement.  The practical advice and your self deprecating style make it a great read.  The anecdotes and asides all add to its appeal as both a “how to manual” and a fascinating insight into what lies ahead for people like me who have only just commenced a similar journey. Far better armed for what’s to be encountered. Greg

The income from my eBook pays for the upkeep of this blog, which is otherwise commercially free unlike so many others.

NEW Daily Stories of Life in Thailand

I have several very active Facebook groups that cover some of my favourite subjects and below you will find the last five posts from each group, updated hourly. Some readers don’t want to engage with Facebook, so this is a way to still receive the many stories that appear each day in that forum without having to access the groups themselves. To see the photos and the words that go with them just click on the images on the left-hand side. 

Isaan Life and Culture 

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4 days ago

Tony Eastmead

## New Car Buying:

Yuan and Lud are looking at buying a Toyota pick-up to replace their old Nissan. I am not going to go into details of their thinking or decision-making process, as that’s their business, but I will raise a couple of observations that others may like to comment on.

For a country that makes these vehicles, they aren't a bargain are they? Yuan and Lud are looking for a 'smart door' (one and a half?), which I think gets special tax treatment because it is seen as a business vehicle. Even so, they will need to be spending 800,000 baht or more. I am well out of touch with comparison prices for motor vehicles in Australia, so maybe A$35,000 is a bargain for a base level Toyota. For a country with a fraction of the average wage that Australia (and other countries) has, it seems like a big ask.

I also know from my experience buying an almost top of the line Nissan pick-up, that comparing it to the equivalent version in Australia just didn't work. The specs of the Thai vehicle were way below the Australian Nissan. Two airbags compared to seven for a start! Thai safety doesn't matter evidently. I wonder if that low-end philosophy carries into other model ranges as well?
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Since it will be used for farm work, look for a second hand truck. Plenty of repossessed ones out there due to the depressed economy. (I once wanted a pickup in the States to carry my items from the lumber yard and garden shop ( along with pulling my fishing boat a short distance to the lake). No way was I going to purchase a brand new pickup. And yes, the second hand vehicle ( 4 year old model) did get scratched up but I wasn’t so concerned since it wasn’t new.

I've heard better to buy 2nd. Hand?

Yes the price of cars and motorbikes in Thailand amazes me (I thought they'd be a lot cheaper)...

They are on special offer - A$47,932 www.toyota.com.au/hilux/prices

Don't you get a say, seeing as it's your money

2 door pick ups have green number plates. Less tax yearly at the dvla. In UK we call it road tax. 4 door pick ups have a much higher initial tax rate yearly for the sticker you display on your dashboard every year.

The price of pick ups in Thailand, those manufacturered here, maybe a little cheaper than the western world. Depending where your income comes from and if external the exchange rate obviously.

One thing is for sure in Thailand. As long as no history of accidents a second hand car here holds its value very very well. Nothing like the depreciation in the western world.

Thai vehicles skimp on lots of safety features. I understand they don’t have the same structural bracing that are required in most countries.

Prices here are sky high because of the TAX imposed to support local manufacturing (remember when Cars in OZ were similarly highly taxed), but our Toyota Camry Hybrid is beautifully made, fitted with ALL top specifications that come with the model internationally and is a credit to the standard of the Thai Auto Industry. We chose Toyota because of their consistently topping international build standard tests and excellent service record. Orn had a Toyota Altise and had a trouble free 10 years service from it. Prices here though do cause you to take pause. I had NEVER spent so much to purchase a motor Vehicle. It will probably be my last so we 'indulged' 😉

I would not purchase any new vehicle in Thailand or any country. Ask yourself how often you stand on the roadside throwing cash into the air? Its the same thing.

I know it's a motorcycle, 34,000bt, nearly brand new, 20,000 klms.

One of my friends has recently immigrated to Thai (in fact he has just come out of quarantine), and this week bought a used Ford Ranger. It is a top of the range wildcat with 45 000 km on the clock. It is spotless. New tyres were thrown in as part of the deal. He paid TBH 590000 all in.

My wife has a Toyota pick up basic about 3 years old , that one looks all the bells and whistles, the tail gate is far to high for my wife , the old style wagons were perfect for loading

A Friend of my bought a brand new automatic/trans 3 dr prerunner Revo loaded just below Rocco...for 738,000 bht at Nakhon Phatnom Toyota...great price i would say, check them out.

I've never bought a new car, truck or motorbike in my entire life. I bought a used Ford Ranger 7 years ago for 1/2 the price of a new one with only 12,000Km on it. Sold it yesterday for 1/2 the price I paid for it. A pretty good deal I think.

$50 000 plus in Australia

Good luck to Yuan and Lud on their new purchase. I hope they are happy with their decision. Yes, that is a lot of money when looking at a Thai farmers income.

average price of a new car in US is now $40,000.

800,000 sounds like a lot to me. Friend of mine bought a four door pickup in great order for 500,000 2 years ago. Second hand but in good shape. Most Thai's don't like second hand and go into debt to get a new one.

Here's the dirty little secret. Thailand tariffs US imported cars and light trucks at 68 %, pricing them out of the market. Domestic producers can collude and set prices artificially high. Why Thailand did not join TPP and has.not yet joined RCEP

Hi Tony,..... I'm not wanting to create any negative comments,...... But, I see that you are an Aussie, Can you call these things a "Ute" please ?,..... ( Twin Cab or Super Cab accepted also) ,.... Thanks for reading

Cars are way overpriced in Thailand compared to wages etc We saved nearly B200k by buying a demo

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3 days ago

Tony Eastmead

## Sepak Takraw:

Sepak takraw, or kick volleyball, is a sport native to Southeast Asia. Sepak takraw differs from the similar sport of footvolley in its use of a rattan ball and only allowing players to use their feet, knee, and head to touch the ball.

I came across a group of young men playing takraw and these two photo show that it can be a challenging aerobic sport. More information here: [tinyurl.com/y5fb8tww](tinyurl.com/y5fb8tww?fbclid=IwAR03q8ncIZtlABIlT8e6eqsct_IP2h22nXCpx7wrbHBFLavjOTA5SvitgEU)
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## Sepak Takraw:

Sepak takraw, or kick volleyball, is a sport native to Southeast Asia. Sepak takraw differs from the similar sport of footvolley in its use of a rattan ball and only allowing players to use their feet, knee, and head to touch the ball.

I came across a group of young men playing takraw and these two photo show that it can be a challenging aerobic sport. More information here: [https://tinyurl.com/y5fb8tww](https://tinyurl.com/y5fb8tww?fbclid=IwAR03q8ncIZtlABIlT8e6eqsct_IP2h22nXCpx7wrbHBFLavjOTA5SvitgEU)Image attachment

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Used to love playing this, many laughs, so talented too many of those kids!

Tony Eastmead Maybe a new carrier as a sports photographer is worth considering.

For me, it’s interesting to watch- but I am envious I am no longer that thin or agile.🥺

It should be in the Olympics

They are certainly athletic it’s quite amazing they should be considered as an Olympic sport 🥎 skill are up too that standard

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5 days ago

Tony Eastmead

## Snowy Conditions in Isaan:

Well, not quite (yet) but it was 17 degrees at midday, which is the coldest daytime temperature during this cool season. Normally we have cold'ish nights, which have got down to 9 degrees, but the days are sunny and warm. The population was suffering as a result of today's extremes 555 Even I am wrapped up.
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## Snowy Conditions in Isaan:

Well, not quite (yet) but it was 17 degrees at midday, which is the coldest daytime temperature during this cool season. Normally we have coldish nights, which have got down to 9 degrees, but the days are sunny and warm. The population was suffering as a result of todays extremes 555 Even I am wrapped up.Image attachmentImage attachment

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Me too Tony!

Yes, yesterday was very cold, specially due to wind. Today just low temperatures but ok in sun...... from tomorrow goes up for next dip early next week.......

Changing in temperatures no matter how small can make a big difference on how we feel 🥶🥶🥶

It was 9c here overnight

Had the duvet round my shoulders..Thais were laughing at me saying the Farang is cold...they weren't wrong! 😀😀

I'm not sure but it seems like the coldest cool season I've experienced here. I know a few years ago it was for 2/3 days colder than UK, 8 degrees here , 9 degrees UK. My friend had a car with heating in it, a handy thing at the time.

This is the coldest I've known it in 14 years in Thailand and 4 years in Nong Bua Lamphu

Just think of those Thai ladies who have ended up i Greenland, albeit not many but a few actually live there

Its bad enough here i n the uk

I'm just glad I had second thoughts about throwing my jeans away. Suprise Suprise they still fitted me.

I can remember staying in Ban Nong Pradoo when they were handing out blankets to people who needed them. Love this photo the family sent 1 or 2 years ago

Last cool spell I felt was on 7 December 2019 But it was 13 degrees

We bought our Thai friends more quilts,again, so they they can be warmer on a night time

Just remember tony better than Canberra any day

You can at least teach them the age old tradition of toasting marshmallows with all the fires .😃

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Rural Isaan

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15 hours ago

Tony Eastmead

## The Farm and Sugar:

Once again nothing much to report from the farm. Business is slow post-New Year and covid has put a slight dent on demand. Yuan is trying to get through the rest of her lettuce before it reaches its use by date and has to be fed to the fish. A big load off to the markets today.

Come tomorrow my photos will be nothing but cauliflowers, as the final field of them are ready to harvest. As I have mentioned before, funnily Yuan wants to pick them before they get too big! Isaan people would prefer to spend 20 baht on a small one that can be used in the one meal than buy a larger 30 or 40 baht one where there would be leftovers!

I called into a local farm cutting sugar and I have some interesting background information once you get to those photos.

I went out to the farm with no expectations of taking any photos. How lucky am I to have such a variety of subjects that just present themselves to photograph, write about and share. Better than sitting at home watching YouTube that's for sure.
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THB 1,300 is low this year. As I said they are paying THB 1,470 here

Love your posts 👍👍

GreatTony. Brilliant. Where were you an engineer as my father was Dad was civil and had his own earthmoving business. I remember driving everything backhoes etc

It’s an involved process getting it to market, the proceeds are split many ways as opposed to using the harvesting machine.

4 days ago

Tony Eastmead

I wrote this for my Thailand Tropical Gardens group: Thailand Tropical Gardens, but because the Turkey Berry can be grown commercially, I have added it here as well. ... See MoreSee Less

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I grow these in Oz, big thorns & good for green curries, Called macua puang มะเขือม่วง in Thai, end of the day it's a baby eggplant. I prefer the bigger variety macua poh. good informative post for those interested. Thanks

I grow them in the garden, bought from a center nearby and they do not have any thorns. Reading at wikipedia they are also good for grafting other egg plant varieties .

3 days ago

Tony Eastmead

## Vansutha Farm News Friday:

More of the same today, so I won't repeat photos that you have already seen. Yuan was preparing for her Friday street market stall. Yesterday, we called into see Yuan at the Thursday markets mid-afternoon, and she was waiting to be picked up early by Lud. Another stallholder had bought her entire stock, which meant Yuan could head home.

Only a couple of very specific photos related to Vansutha farm. I promise this is the last bougainvillea images I will share this season.
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## Vansutha Farm News Friday:

More of the same today, so I wont repeat photos that you have already seen. Yuan was preparing for her Friday street market stall. Yesterday, we called into see Yuan at the Thursday markets mid-afternoon, and she was waiting to be picked up early by Lud. Another stallholder had bought her entire stock, which meant Yuan could head home. 

Only a couple of very specific photos related to Vansutha farm. I promise this is the last bougainvillea images I will share this season.Image attachment

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It's a beautiful picture.

Interesting another stall holder bought her (Yuan's) entire stock....presumably to resell?

Beautiful

Be proud to share the beautiful gardens. Always a pleasure to look at.

greatpictures again.....

No apologies necessary Tony - I love to see the photos and never tire of the beautiful flowers. Post as many as you like🙂🌸

dont stop,there great. You could run it as a little tourist attraction,it really is that good!..😂😍

Lovely!

Beautiful

Great pics Tony. Love the stories as well

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3 days ago

Tony Eastmead

A rural Isaan welcome to all the new members to the group for last week. Great to have you to take an interest.

For new members, the only topics allowed are those that directly relate to farming in Isaan. We do have a few members who post from outside the region but that's the exception. I am happy to accept more general farming topics being added to the group (not specifically about growing things but farming related) as long as they add value.

This isn't a social group that allows personal photos or general topics such as visas and non-farming subjects. Any posts that fall outside the topic will be removed. Members are allowed to post two rural related for sale items per month - land, farms, rural equipment but this is basically a non-commercial group and will stay that way.

I hope you enjoy the group. There's lots of practical knowledge here and an increasing number of local farming farang and some Thais adding their stories to the group, which is a real pleasure to see. ****PLEASE ****click to 'like' posts so that you continue to receive advice when new ones are published.

I also have several other FB groups that are run on the same lines, so very specific to topics which range across my passions. They are:

**Thailand Tropical Gardens:**

[www.facebook.com/groups/502321073863766](www.facebook.com/groups/502321073863766?__cft__[0]=AZXFYNQnw9tqAZB0Hcw2FaYDKva72zO3NN6k81KQanxXXZIKQUeFDbqN1ANVlePWyng-M-A_tPoTDYbXARCNyH66Qmw1BCGhIfBrQlLCPQGWGSGxZaqylzmSEVHuVjDInW2kxu5tt9AUtv-bVeU8gcn3&__tn__=-UK-R)

I**saan Life and Culture:**

[www.facebook.com/groups/251705149265630](www.facebook.com/groups/251705149265630?__cft__[0]=AZXFYNQnw9tqAZB0Hcw2FaYDKva72zO3NN6k81KQanxXXZIKQUeFDbqN1ANVlePWyng-M-A_tPoTDYbXARCNyH66Qmw1BCGhIfBrQlLCPQGWGSGxZaqylzmSEVHuVjDInW2kxu5tt9AUtv-bVeU8gcn3&__tn__=-UK-R)

**Isaan Photography:**

[www.facebook.com/groups/801769216960942](www.facebook.com/groups/801769216960942?__cft__[0]=AZXFYNQnw9tqAZB0Hcw2FaYDKva72zO3NN6k81KQanxXXZIKQUeFDbqN1ANVlePWyng-M-A_tPoTDYbXARCNyH66Qmw1BCGhIfBrQlLCPQGWGSGxZaqylzmSEVHuVjDInW2kxu5tt9AUtv-bVeU8gcn3&__tn__=-UK-R)

**Best Wats of Isaan:**

[www.facebook.com/groups/278638129905665](www.facebook.com/groups/278638129905665?__cft__[0]=AZXFYNQnw9tqAZB0Hcw2FaYDKva72zO3NN6k81KQanxXXZIKQUeFDbqN1ANVlePWyng-M-A_tPoTDYbXARCNyH66Qmw1BCGhIfBrQlLCPQGWGSGxZaqylzmSEVHuVjDInW2kxu5tt9AUtv-bVeU8gcn3&__tn__=-UK-R)

**Building in Thailand:**

[www.facebook.com/groups/416779518982533](www.facebook.com/groups/416779518982533?__cft__[0]=AZXFYNQnw9tqAZB0Hcw2FaYDKva72zO3NN6k81KQanxXXZIKQUeFDbqN1ANVlePWyng-M-A_tPoTDYbXARCNyH66Qmw1BCGhIfBrQlLCPQGWGSGxZaqylzmSEVHuVjDInW2kxu5tt9AUtv-bVeU8gcn3&__tn__=-UK-R)

and my **e-book** covering everything about building a house in Thailand:

[tonyinthailand.com/building-in-thailand/](l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftonyinthailand.com%2Fbuilding-in-thailand%2F%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR...[0]=AT0ABwQFa8JQc3vTp4p8ARnnmNBCK67uhScLH1eRPIQ1Kcl1-Mofyt5xeHOSQa9t7WCsbVPuWuEmR-YdqwdldJwL7Bp2rFNojQgpO2Dvm4XyVG5eHdjuYmbZka_d8BQGvUh-RF5koDReivFzhCKa9v9a-ZTe7DzXQ-4)

and of course my personal page **Tony Eastmead**: [www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011326321927](www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011326321927&__cft__[0]=AZXFYNQnw9tqAZB0Hcw2FaYDKva72zO3NN6k81KQanxXXZIKQUeFDbqN1ANVlePWyng-M-A_tPoTDYbXARCNyH66Qmw1BCGhIfBrQlLCPQGWGSGxZaqylzmSEVHuVjDInW2kxu5tt9AUtv-bVeU8gcn3&__tn__=-UK-R)

Fluke More,
Piet van der Kruk,
Pariyapon Panruk,
ชุมพล ภูโอบ,
Chontacha Chon,
อุบล ไชยหงษา,
Angkana Junsiri,
Robin Coster,
Paul Lynch,
Dave Hendry,
ระพิพรรณ อุตมะ,
Tom Nicolaisen,
Olive Fufu,
Andrew Smith,
Lasse Koskela,
Don Stone Town,
Tina Nice,
สโรชดา ศาตราพร,
Neal Marshall,
Robert Lenhart,
John Norris,
Stu Air,
René Pronk,
Vincent Reilly,
Guy Dhollander,
James Vondeling
... See MoreSee Less

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Welcome everyone to a terrific group!

Nice pictures Tony, most I haven't yet seen!

Very nice 👍.. I would call it a farming homestead

you are always making me super jellous! Very nice farm life

Great photos of a great farm

love seeing the pictures.....

Fantasic...just like a little(no so little😉) spot of farming paradise. really brightens my day seeing this, thx.😁

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Thailand Tropical Gardens

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2 days ago

Tony Eastmead

## Kaffir Limes:

We have a few kaffir lime trees in our gardens, and they are nice bushy trees in themselves but a slight disappointment otherwise. One of our trees this cool season is producing absolute masses of fruit, but the frustration is that there's not a lot one can do with it.

The leaves are of course used extensively in Thai, less so Isaan (?) cooking, but no locals have much interest in the fruit. Yai (grandmothers) evidentially used to use them as a shampoo, but that hasn't been passed down to the current generation.

Gaun uses them to clean her hands after a day in the gardens. One of life's best smells. If anyone has ideas of using bulk kaffir lime fruits please let us all know.

More information here: www.wikiwand.com/en/Kaffir_lime

Health Tips for use here: www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/kaffir-lime.html
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Hey, just type in “lime recipes“ in google. LOTS OF OPTIONS. Lol

Well, there don't seem to be a lot of options. One I see is to pickle them and of course you can freeze the leaves to use in curries all year. But it seems the actual fruit is rather useless, who knew? pipmagazine.com.au/grow/12-ways-to-use-kaffir-limes/

They use them in urinals,cut up in segments.

My girlfriend uses them for cooking. I’m not sure how but I’ll try to remember to ask her

Marmalade 😊

I wouldnt go to South Africa mentioning your kaffir trees! LOL

Apparently the juice contains a variety of citronella, and can be used as insect repellent. Don’t know if you use it straight or mixed with something else though ?

essential oil production?

drinking water with kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and ginger.

Don't know why but we cannot seem to grow Kaffir lime here!

When u boil water after steaming the sticky rice add these limes for an invigorating shower after a bike ride !!!

Yes a lot of older Thais use them as shampoo to stop balding. Maybe it counters the balding effect of eating gatin?

The zest is essential in chillie paste.

Just saw this at a restaurant outside Nongkhai, on the border of the Mekong: natural mosquito repellent

Urinals' ... Or Tequila 555

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4 days ago

Tony Eastmead

## Yellow Trumpetbush:

As always I share names that are only a bit of an educated guess. Please correct me if I am wrong. I don't worry too much because it's not like you're going to go into a Thai garden centre and ask if they have a yellow trumpetbush or Tecoma stans is it? Whatever it's called this is a great colourful flowering bush to add to your collection. www.wikiwand.com/en/Tecoma_stans
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They look a bit like daffodils....we have 4 uk bulbs to try and grow ...sprouting so far lol

If you go looking for this in a Thai Garden Centre, ask for ‘Tong Urai’ (ทองอุไร). As well as yellow, there are orange/red and pink varieties available too.

In my area of Isaan, the village communities plant them along the roads with little maintenance. And yes the Yellow blooms keep appearing for 3-4 months on the older bushes. Mine are over a year old but are not growing quickly due to too much shade.

My favourite colour - love this bush! 🙂

Naw, it’s a tree with yellow flowers!

They are native here in SW USA. I had one in the front yard for years, and then gave my neighbor some, so he could enjoy it.

They sure got popular over the past two years here in Phuket, they line the road ways and it seems like everyone has at least one in their yard. Mine took a long time to start blooming but it's doing well now even in partial shade (full sun in the morning.) They really like sun so Phuket is a great place to have these plants.

They are extremely hardy.

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My Thailand Stories

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Best Isaan Wats

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3 months ago

Tony Eastmead

## Wat Wiset Mongkhon:

This wat is in a village close to us, and I rated it as one of my potential favourites when it was being built. I loved the light blue and gray theme, as a welcome contrast to the red, white and gold of most village temples. They added some quality detailing as well, which had my hopes up that this would turn into something special.

However, the promise wasn't lived up to and I removed it from my current best wats list, when after reaching a certain point the building was left unfinished, unmaintained and it all looked a mess.

Well, it is potentially back on the list because they are throwing a lot of money at this place to get it ready for a big opening ceremony late January 2021. It has a way to go but from what they have done so far it might turn out to be pretty stunning.

Location on Google Maps here: goo.gl/maps/Bu8HHXcpGumiLoPR9
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6 months ago

Tony Eastmead

## Phra Maha Chedi Chai Mongkol:

The first entry for this group has to be one of the most ornate and spectacular temples in Isaan. A huge chedi wat about one and a half hours drive west from Roi Et. I haven't been there for a few years but even then it was amazing and must have improved since.
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I have just started at the beginning of your group posts and find that this Wat is only 1 hour drive from our home so will visit soon.

It is almost over the top. I do say they have gone all in on this one.

3 months ago

Tony Eastmead

A slightly unusual wat close to our hometown of Si Bun Ruang. Worth adding to the list of best wats. ... See MoreSee Less

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I remember you telling about this but this time we got a lot of pictures and narrative. 👍👍👍

3 months ago

Tony Eastmead

## Phra Borommathat Si Mongkol:

There are two aspects to this wat. The temple is called Wat Mai Ban Tan and is set in a large forest area. Then there is the structure we saw, which is a chedi (tower) named as above. The Google Maps image I have posted shows the relationship between the two structures.

We dropped in to visit this wat on the way home from a recent trip to Nakhon Phanom to see the annual fireboat festival on the Mekong River. The wat/chedi is in Sakon Nakhon province Google Maps here: goo.gl/maps/7eXuSkzXCr5zJcvp8
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3 months ago

Tony Eastmead

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Nice post Tony if I ever get to that part I be sure to take my wife and daughter there.

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3 days ago

Tony Eastmead

## Sepak Takraw:

Sepak takraw, or kick volleyball, is a sport native to Southeast Asia. Sepak takraw differs from the similar sport of footvolley in its use of a rattan ball and only allowing players to use their feet, knee, and head to touch the ball.

I came across a group of young men playing takraw and these two photo show that it can be a challenging aerobic sport. More information here: [tinyurl.com/y5fb8tww](tinyurl.com/y5fb8tww?fbclid=IwAR03q8ncIZtlABIlT8e6eqsct_IP2h22nXCpx7wrbHBFLavjOTA5SvitgEU)
... See MoreSee Less

## Sepak Takraw:

Sepak takraw, or kick volleyball, is a sport native to Southeast Asia. Sepak takraw differs from the similar sport of footvolley in its use of a rattan ball and only allowing players to use their feet, knee, and head to touch the ball.

I came across a group of young men playing takraw and these two photo show that it can be a challenging aerobic sport. More information here: [https://tinyurl.com/y5fb8tww](https://tinyurl.com/y5fb8tww?fbclid=IwAR03q8ncIZtlABIlT8e6eqsct_IP2h22nXCpx7wrbHBFLavjOTA5SvitgEU)Image attachment
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If you want to join one of my Facebook groups they are listed here:

I have not added new content to my blog for a number of months focussing instead on my very active social media groups, where I get a lot more feedback and many more comments than I ever did in this forum. It becomes discouraging when people visit the blog and then move on without any engagement or thank you. I have several groups on Facebook that reflect my passions and these have replaced the stories I used to publish here. I post new material every day and you’ll find the same high quality photos (better actually) and descriptive words. The topics with Facebook links are as follows:

Thailand Tropical Gardens: HERE
Isaan Life and Culture: HERE
Isaan Photography: HERE
Best Wats of Isaan: HERE
Building in Thailand: HERE
My Thailand Stories: HERE
and of course my personal page Tony Eastmead: HERE

 

NEW: Search the blog:

Non-immigrant O (marriage) Visa

I usually try to stay away from the more specialised topics that require regular monitoring to stay in touch, but I recently had to apply to change from my current non-immigrant O-A Visa (retirement) obtained in Australia to a non-immigrant O (marriage) the reasons for which I will explain. I thought I would share my experiences for anyone thinking of following the same path.

33 Comments

  1. Phil google translate is your new friend

    Tony
    Hosszú ideje hallottam tőled, ezért ide szoktam küldeni a szokásos alkalmazások helyett. Weboldal kezdete óta sokat érett, és jó látni, hogy sok követője van.
    Lehet nyílt napot tartani, hogy mindenki látogasson el hozzátok.

    Hamarosan beszélünk

    Reply
  2. Apichai

    Sorry I’m not on facebook or other social media so can only reply here.

    What I’m discussing below is stuff ordered for personal use and not bulk shipments.

    Regarding your rant about imports. By law, customs duty is charged on anything over 1,000 baht ( with exceptions). The cost price is calculated including the shipping . So if the price was 800 and shipping is 250, then that tips the scale and you will be charged customs duty on the value of 1050. Generally it’s 10% of the price + vat but this doesn’t apply to wine etc. The problem is that when it comes in, you have to be registered as an importer, which most of us aren’t. So we have to apply for that. Although it’s not that difficult, it still takes a couple of days and the courier company can do it for you.

    Goods arriving in Thailand by air get 2 days free storage after which there is a charge of 850 baht + daily storage costs. This is the point where the costs start ballooning out of control.

    My general experience is that a lot depends on the courier company. For eg, DHL tends to call you and give you an estimate of costs and if you ok it, they will get it out and deliver to you ( using their own import system).

    But UPS will want to go by the book and if you get it through them, you end up paying more for the storage and other charges than the actual duty, not including the hassle of sending them ID copies etc

    So is there any easy option ? Yes in fact, there is . Lazada

    If you order stuff from Lazada, they have their own courier system which brings your stuff into Thailand. They will consolidate thousands of small orders like yours into one shipment and so are able to clear customs – most times without any additional cost to you. Shopping charges are also reasonable.

    Once in Thailand, they arrange the delivery to your door. Have bought a lot of stuff from Lazada and haven’t had any problems so far.

    Any drawbacks ? Yes there is . You might not find your branded item on Lazada. If you are ok with Chinese no name leaf blower, you might try ordering one and see how that works out.

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      Thank you very much for that insightful comment. Much appreciated.

      Reply
  3. Allan Pettit

    Hi Tony. We have exchanged messages before and your insights are quite helpful. My question now is about your building book vs pre-constructed buildings . My fiancée has been slowly building a house over the past five years. In basic terms it’s more like a barn, with a paved foundation, finished out ceilings, a kitchen, shower and toilet. Separate living area, bedroom, and religious Buddha prayer room. No air conditioning or hot water for shower but that is forthcoming. She has done a nice job sprucing it up outside with a garden and trees. But I’m wondering if new construction is the way to go or try to make her current home more livable for a westerner like me. I think substantial upgrades to the kitchen will need to be made, as well as other relatively minor improvements. I think the house has potential. But the house is literally 30 yards from her parents. So there’s that. And the parents house will someday become big sisters house. I will happy to contribute to your educational and informational efforts if you think your book might be helpful. Please advise. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      That’s a hard one Allan. If money is plentiful then despite the stresses, designing and building a farang standard house from scratch with all the conveniences and lots of insulation is probably the way to go. If you are on a budget, as most of us are, then some sensible upgrades to your fiancée’s house might do the job for you at a greatly reduced cost. Maybe cool is a priority then look at roof extensions to keep the sun off the walls, extensive planting on the west side of the house and quality insulation on top of the ceilings with some decent air conditioning. Having seen the standards set by the Thai houses and resorts I have seen, upgrades to bathrooms and kitchen would be required, as you already note (for the kitchen). Being that close to family can be a plus or minus depending on the relationships. We are very close to Gaun’s family home, but they never intrude on our space. In fact sometimes I wish they would a little more as they are a delightful bunch. My book is essential reading for someone looking to build in Thailand, but of lesser value if you are renovating or upgrading. It might still have some benefits, says he looking for a sale 🙂 but realistically not a must-have.

      Cheers Tony

      Reply
  4. Robert

    hi Tony. like your blog.
    i may be moving the the sakon nakhon region. i am a sheet metal and air-conditioning contractor in canada. can you give me a brief summary of the use of ac and sheet metal work architectural or other wise in sakon nakhon region.

    Regards, Robert

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      Thanks Robert. No I can’t supply you with any additional information. I don’t live in Sakhon Nakhon and other than building a house here, I have no experience in air conditioning or sheet metal work. There is a Sakhon Nakon Facebook group and they might be helpful in answering your questions. You will find them HERE

      Cheers.

      Reply
  5. Stanley

    G’day!
    I was concerned when your website disappeared. I thought maybe the dreaded malady got you.
    Your one of the few people I follow in Thailand, because you give good insight into life there as a Foreigner.
    Especially one from the Land down Under.
    Who knows if travelling anywhere in the world will go back to the normal?
    If and when this Pandemic subsides, what will be required of foreign travellers?
    Vaccinations, health certificates, special visa’s, travel insurance to cover you if possible for the Covid-19 virus, cost of airfares?
    Who knows?
    Still hope to see you in person, one day.
    If normal ever returns.
    May you and Family, stay safe and well.

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      Thank you, Stanley. No, alive and well as is all the family. Thailand is one of the safest countries to be in during this period.

      I will try to get back to updating the blog. It has been on-hold for a while. I have a lot of call on my time with social media and I refuse to spend my life in front of the computer, which is what I did when I was employed. The blog has suffered as a result.

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      All the very best to you.

      Tony

      Reply
  6. Stephen Davies

    Good to see you have the site back up Tony, I do enjoy a visit here to catch up now and again.

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      Thanks. Good to be back. I will get some new stories posted soon.

      Thanks for noticing and commenting.

      Cheers.

      Reply
      • Steve Davies

        I look forward to the new posts. I find this a much more leisurely way to look at photos and topics rather than the madness of Facebook.

        Reply
        • Greg Carroll

          Hi Steve,
          Agree completely with you. Catching up with Tony’s blog over a good coffee on a Saturday morning was part of my routine for several years. A very enjoyable read, both in terms of preparing for life as an expat in Thailand (since achieved) and Tony’s conversational writing style that engaged one much more than farcebook ever can due to the madness you so accurately describe it as. No offence Tony, but your in-person writing was always something I looked forward to.

          Reply
  7. John Sandvik

    I bought your book and have just started to read it.
    So many good things that so many forget when they make a home in the land of smile.
    “Small” things like insulation, a very important issue that will pay off so much.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      Terrific to hear John. Thanks for giving me some feedback. I really appreciate it.

      Good luck with your build. If you make a list of must-do’s from the book it really does help.

      Let me know how you go and if I can help drop me a line here and I will pick it up.

      Tony

      Reply
      • John Sandvik

        Yes a list is a good thing 🙂
        Learning from others is a very good thing, I have learnt being humble in Thailand.
        Nice and easy, not big spending, living life – not racing through it.

        Reply
  8. Edward Chase

    Not a comment on your excellent blogs but a question. About Yaba. Spent several months in Tha Sa-At small village 16 kilometres from Kam ta Kla. Soon worked out that yaba was being sold from house. In Feb. 2019 visited a police station where sister’s grandson was being held “too much whiskey and yaba he go crazy ” This last visit Dec-February my lady (70 years old) said that the two year old girl we were caring for was her sisters granddaughter and the father got 30 years lail for transporting yaba. Official figures of Tons of this drug being seized are easily obtained. Only recently realised that lady from previous relationship would ask me to take her to doctor for a variety of disorders and would always come away with same small red pills. Checked label on one sealy bag ‘ anti depressant’ google image search showed different shape size and colour for the drug named on label. Sorry for the rant but this is an insidious narcotic, easy to produce major problem in most of asia, increasingly in USA and forecast to oust ecstasy as party drug of choice. Notably large seizures in Australia also.

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      Hi Edward. Yes, a lot of yaba around if you ever watch Thai TV news. It has never intruded into my life here as my wife’s family are decent, hard perking people on the whole. When we ride out to the farm, which we do many mornings, we pass a small house that is newly built. I watched the construction and it then being lived in. Very shortly after the young guy moved in the drug police turned up. Evidently the place had been financed from yaba sales. The guy must have got advance notice because he skipped before the raid and the house has stood empty ever since (12 months now).

      Personally I get such a buzz of enjoyment from my Isaan life that I just don’t see the point in paying money to achieve ‘happiness’.

      Tony

      Reply
  9. Justin Littlewood

    Hi Tony

    I follow your blog with interest and are just starting my thailand journey.

    I have also bought you book

    I have something i would like to post you carried from Australia could you email me your details please

    Reply
  10. Jim Busby

    Dee Doh is Duk Dik’s arch rival. Not really, he’s still just a puppy. Dirt is “dirt cheap” there. 15 years ago, I ordered 6 cubic meters of top soil, and with delivery to my house; $200USD. Thanks for the insight into the strength of Isan women, which you seem to continually showcase in each of your stories. Gravity fed drip irrigation is the way to go as long as you don’t put too much distance between the tower and the last tree. Great to see Yuan found a source the 2019 seeds. The plastic is great to prevent weeds early on. Huckleberry Gaun fishing for breakfast, very Isan. Did you space your pavers for shorter Isan women’s strides, or was it done to your stride length? Nice outdoor shower area. If it’s hot outside here, I spray off with the hose and get back to work. Another multi-talented Isan woman in Jan. Looks like the shop is coming along nicely. Nice photos to end the stories.

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      Duk Dik was always officially Bear, Tham and Puk’s dog but because he had a connection with mama because pre-stroke she always spent the days at home, he followed her to Yuan and Lud’s farm when mama was based there. Dee Doh was picked up by Yuan’s son Game, who promptly went to Bangkok, leaving maintenance to his parents in true modern style. Duk Dik them swapped loyalty and moved to the second farm to be with his true owners. Wow, over 6,000 baht for a truckload of soil! We moved 200 for our original land which would have cost in American terms more than half the cost of building our house! Jan’s store is coming along nicely and I will post an update on Facebook shortly.

      Cheers.

      Reply
  11. Suzanne Ryan

    I’m also thrilled to see you back online Tony. I kept checked for new additions to your site and felt somewhat anxious not seeing anything new. I had concerns that there had been ill health or worse.

    I absolutely love your photos / stories. I’ve been visiting Thailand for the past 45 years, I’ve worked as a tour guide there and lived in some amazing places. I was fortunate enough to be back in Sydney when the tsunami hit my island workplace / home in the Andaman Sea. I lost work colleagues and visiting guests at our island resort. I guess it wasn’t my time.

    I particularly love the photos of the amazing garden that your lovely wife has created. She’s definitely a “keeper”.

    I look forward to more stories and photos and once again so very relieved to see you are well and back at it.

    Regards
    Suzanne

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      Very kind of you to notice my return to the blogging scene Suzanne. My urge to write comes and goes. It has been a pleasure to re-connect to longtime and enthusiastic readers and I hope the current burst continues to interest you.

      Gosh, you have seen some changes over that period – some for the better and many not maybe. Pi Pi Island would have actually looked like it did in the movie back then! You were lucky indeed to miss that terrible event. Like the current fires in Australia it can be the worst of times that brings out the best in people.

      The garden is a particular joy to me. Firstly it is such a demonstration of Gaun’s love of gardening and endless hard work. To walk the garden is to connect with that lovely energy. Secondly I would find it hard to live here if my base wasn’t a cool, green and peaceful environment. It is the total opposite of what lies outside the gates, which although I enjoy the vibrancy that makes it Thailand, I couldn’t live actually ‘in’ it. Gaun is definitely a keeper. Nearly seven years together and life without her would be unthinkable.

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment Suzanne.

      Tony

      Reply
  12. Stanley

    Thank you Tony for your reply.
    Like others have commentated, good to see you back on your blog and that you are well and ready to go, ever onwards.
    I don’t know if I could be able to drop in for a visit in February.
    I will be in a nearby province and most of my time in Thailand is already planned.
    If not this time, some time in the future?
    I can’t spend more than six weeks as an age pensioner overseas, because our Australian Government reduces our pension by up to AUD$46 per fortnight, as at current time and even more changes, after six months, 12 months and if you live permanently overseas.
    I have commented before about losing concessions on utilities if you own your own home back in Australia and as you have also previously posted, the Australian Tax Office also gets into the act for long term stays overseas or permanently living overseas. Our Australian Government is always moving the goal posts!
    Your blog and people who comment here, has opened our eyes to some of the difficulties us Aussies may face, in retirement or living overseas, not to mention Thai Visa changes, etc.

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      No problems Stanley. Another time. We’ll still be here.

      The attack by ‘our’ elected representatives on the people who can least afford it for no reason I can fathom is a complete mystery and gets me worked up every time I focus on it. Having qualified for a pension what difference does it make where you spend it? Why wouldn’t you encourage older citizens to take their high demand for support services elsewhere? I don’t know if any other country in the world places the same restrictions on their citizens as Australia. As for treating people like myself as a foreign national for tax purposes…..don’t get me started. The government seems to be at war with the very people it is supposed to serve. If I could trade in my passport for a New Zealand one where government seems to have respect for it’s citizens I would in a shot.

      Cheers Stanley.

      Tony

      Reply
  13. Adrian Martin

    Hi Tony!

    Seems I timed this well, as I’ve only just caught up with things and we’re both back on line.

    I had a second stent fitted, and I’m on my final week of a cardiac rehab course which the hospital runs.

    Some weeks before Christmas I decided to move out of the Gold Coast suburban place I was in, and started collecting cartons, prior to packing. Amazing what a single guy can accumulate, especially as I left most of my gear behind me in Chiang Mai, and had quite a heap sitting in a friend’s garage here.

    I wasn’t having any luck in locating a place near the beach, and out of the blue, a guy sent me a message, letting me know that at my ripe old age, I had Buckley’s chance of anyone wanting a pensioner as a flatmate, but just happened to have a place if I was interested.

    It turned out to be a pleasant brick home, typical Aussie with a large back yard, large native trees full of birds, a few km out of town, and a bus stop by the front door.

    So December was slightly hectic, with me carting boxes of books, kitchen gear, clothes, books, etc downstairs and packing them into an already cluttered garage, ready for moving.

    As you might have read or seen on TV, it was a rather hot time of the year. Luckily the bushfires were mostly in the south and we just copped some smoke, some desert dust. It wasn’t until last week that we had tropical downpours of 50 to 100mm of rain, interspersed by hailstones smashing up cars and glasshouses.

    The move was quick and efficient, with everything loaded into a van, 10 or so km down the highways, and unloaded.

    Now I’m set up, with a good speed internet connection, and 5 minutes by bus to a modern shopping centre, a few more minutes to connect to the MRT. Nor quite the rural ideal I wanted, but near enough!

    All the best mate.

    Adrian

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      Great to hear from you Adrian. I was wondering how you were going.

      I will reply to you via email.

      Tony

      Reply
  14. Stanley

    G’day! So happy to see you back and posting new stories and photos.
    I have been checking your website every week and wondering where you had disappeared to.
    I will be in Isan in a few weeks time and I have corresponded with you before.
    Hoping to meet with you in person one day, when I finally make a decision on retirement in Thailand.
    Your experience on many facets of life in Thailand has greatly helped me in the past.
    Looking forward to you becoming more active here, online.
    Keep up your good work. It is highly appreciated.
    Godly blessings to you and family in the New Year.

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      Such a nice comment Stanley. It is people like you that have got me back into the blogging game. Thank you. As I mentioned in my introduction it is about the quality not quantity of readers. My topics are very specialised and will never attract the beachside crowd.

      You would be most welcome if in the area Stanley. As you probably already know we are in Nong Bua Lamphu province in the north of Isaan. The gardens are beautiful and the beer cold!

      All the very best.

      Tony

      Reply
  15. Greg Carroll

    A real pleasure to read this morning over coffee Tony. Particularly enjoyed reading about the house build. Wonder why…
    I’ll show it to Yuri this afternoon. Off to work now 🙁 Oh well only a month to go – resigned yesterday 🙂

    Reply
    • Tony in Thailand

      Thank you Greg.

      Congratulations on the resignation. It must have been a big moment. No going back.

      Tony

      Reply
    • Jonathan

      Hi Tony,

      Great to see your blog active again. I’ve been checking back from time to time to check if you had posted anything and was starting to wonder if you were OK.

      I love reading your blogs and appreciate your general outlook on life and Thailand.

      All the best,

      Jonathan

      Reply
      • Tony in Thailand

        Much appreciated Jonathon. Nothing wrong – just an off blogging period. There should now be new stories appearing regularly on the home page tonyinthailand.com if I can keep the momentum going.

        Thanks for the encouragement.

        Tony

        Reply

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