Tony in Thailand

Read about everyday expat life in a rural Isan village.

Blog stories


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 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.

For you…..

…..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.

NEW story: Thailand is Hot – 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. I enjoy reading your posts especially as I am considering a move on a more permanent basis to be with my partner and family who live in Surin province. I have a very simple question that I’m hoping to shed some light on. 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? Oh yes, my partner lives in her sister’s home sans air-con, so investing in someone else’s house isn’t ideal, lol.

You can read my reply to Mel HERE.

Daily Stories published in March

Friday – 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.

Daily Stories published in February

Isan Village Life – Edition 19 Wednesday – 27 February 2019

Regular readers will remember that for a few months late 2018/early 2019 I slowed with most of my updates on the blog. Because of this I missed out on transferring Facebook posts I had made on an almost daily basis earlier in 2018 across to the blog under the title ‘Isan Village Life’. Having stopped writing for facebook to focus on the blog instead, I thought that I would get back to capturing all these stories, even though they are chronologically very out of date. I don’t mind they aren’t what happened yesterday and I hope you don’t either, because the events they illustrate are as informative as they ever were and it would be a shame to see them disappear when I dump my Facebook account at some stage.

You can read about it HERE.

Tuesday – 26 February 2019

Another mix of small stories for you Isan enthusiasts. From ongoing upgrades to the farm rice hut and Guan’s ever expanding garden there, to long beans, Buddha holy day celebrations, tomato seeds and more. There’s more happening than that brief introduction hints at.

You can read about it HERE.

Sunday – 24 February 2019

My stepdaughter Peng has been sitting one of her university entrance exams (two more to go) both days over this weekend. They were being held at school in Nong Bua Lamphu, which is a 30 minute drive from our home. Today after we dropped off Peng we headed to Udon Thani, a major city to the northeast of us, to do some specialised shopping for things we can’t get locally. 

To read the full post please click HERE

Thursday – 21 February 2019

Not a lot to report happening over the last few days, which is often a fact of life here and most other places come to that. Life drifts by and my daily schedule such as it is doesn’t make for publishable news! I ended up this morning with a few new photos, so I thought that I would share those just to keep this aspect of the blog ticking along.  Ant egg harvesting, election time and information about a new gardening post pretty well covers it.

To read the full post please click HERE

Sunday – 17 February 2019

This starts off as a bit of a self indulgent post as Valentine’s Day is special for us not just for that event but also it is our wedding anniversary – number five this year. The post isn’t all family photos though as I cover a few other happenings too. 

To read the full post please click HERE

Monday – 11 February 2019

A test for regular rural Isan readers:

Question: Today is Monday so what is on the morning agenda for the afternoon?

Answer: Harvesting for the Monday street markets!

To read the full post please click HERE

Tuesday – 9 February 2019

Some new and some old(er) stories in this post. Getting the pickup serviced, an Isan castle, lunch with friends, an Isan buffet (thanks Yurt), hard water – what’s that all about? and more.

To read the full post please click HERE

Tuesday – 5 February 2019

A longer than usual post because it covers the daily events for February to date, so you get several days for the price of one. A large range of topics that demonstrate that although living here maybe smalltime it doesn’t have to be repetitive and boring. There is so much to enjoy if you jump in, keep your eyes open and become involved. I think you’ll have fun reading these stories as I hope the photos and words reflect the pleasure I had living them.

To read the full post please click HERE

Daily Stories published in January

You can find a list of all the daily stories I published in January 2019 HERE.

NEW: 19 Feb 2019 – My Life in Thailand

Valentine’s Day is also the anniversary of our village wedding (five years ago) and that got me thinking about the time I have spent in Thailand since first meeting my (now) wife Gaun in 2012.

With an afternoon to spare I thought I would share some of my journey over the last few years through the photographs taken during that time. 

You can read about it HERE.

17 Feb 2019 

Changes to Thai Visa Requirements

There have been some important changes to long-term visa requirements made recently and I thought that as a service to my readers I would raise them as something you should take into consideration, if you haven’t heard about them elsewhere, which I am sure many of you have. I have tried to pull together the best of what I could find online but don’t reply on my post for the latest facts. Do your own research to find the best information for your circumstances. Also keep in mind that often each Immigration Office seems to have its own interpretation of the rules so be prepared to be flexible.

You can read about it HERE.

Full Post Published: 3 Feb 2019 

A Few Days in Isan with Friends

We enjoyed the company of two friends from America for a few days early in 2019 and as always with newbies to Thailand, tried to give them a real-life taste of what life looks like in our part of the country.

The photo on the left shows a local hidden timber wat with a new structure being added since we were here last. A single monk organising all of this and doing a lot of work on it himself.

You can read about it HERE.

Full Post Published: 28 Jan 2019 (Yay – a new one at last)

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

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 17 February 2019

Enjoying the beach hut at the family farm.

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