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27 January Stories

Everyday stories about an

expat’s life in Isaan, Thailand

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.

Building in Thailand eBook

When my wife and I bought some land in Isaan, which is a region in the north east of Thailand, and then started to build our house I wanted to record the daily events of construction life. For twenty six weeks I wrote a weekly blog update about all the aspects of the build and included as much detail as possible for others who might be thinking of going down the same path. I was surprised by the number of readers I attracted as a result of writing on this subject, many of whom followed the entire build from beginning to end. 

Based on this continued interest I thought I would revisit my original words and bring them all together under the one heading in the form of an eBook. Included in this process has been some extensive updating and expansion of many of the original posts and the addition of the many COMMENTS, which are designed to expand your knowledge and save you time or money or both!

Read more HERE and find out how to obtain the eBook.

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.

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

NEW: Search the blog:

My stories of the day – 27 January 2020

My life in rural Isaan revolves around three main topics of interest. Firstly there is the family farm situated about 1 km from where we live. I love learning about and sharing aspects of farming in a different country. Read my stories and you’ll become a virtual Isaan farmer in time! Click HERE

Secondly is our enjoyment in developing the best private tropical garden in Isaan. We also have a small but still beautiful garden at the farm. In this section I write about any aspects related to gardening in Thailand, illustrated with photos taken in our gardens and locally. Click HERE

And finally I share everyday stories as I see them relating to life in a small rural village. This could cover anything from personal events to festivals and local attractions. Anything that doesn’t fit into the other two headings ends up here. Click HERE 

Or of course read them all in which case just scroll down!

I am a keen photographer and all my photos are shot professionally and edited. The end result is far better than most blogs and social media and I will publish my favourite shots from time to time, which will almost be a fourth topic.

The stories I share here are reflected in my very active social media exposure and you will find me on Facebook as follows:

Tony Eastmead HERE 

Thailand Tropical Gardens HERE

Rural Isaan, Thailand HERE and;

Isaan Photography HERE.

Farm News:

No farm news today.

Tropical Gardens News:

Yet more plants added to our garden.

Coming back from a local funeral I took this photo to illustrate the difference between our gardens and a cleared Isaan block/plot of land.

I keep telling you mangoes are messy trees and here you can see the recent dump of flowers. They shed leaves as well all the time for months so we are constantly sweeping. If you want an easy life don’t plant them in your garden.

A neighbour was clearing some land and this cutting had been dumped on the side of the road. Gaun is never one to pass up a free addition to the garden.

She has planted eight golden palms to this front wall trough, four in this photo and four more to the right of the camera. Now the cutting from this morning has been chopped up and added.

They grow well in the shade so will enjoy this position.

Four more added on the other part of our wall.

Village News:

One more funeral this morning. Beer for breakfast!

I fit in with the locals very well. I would have walked but transport is required for the Isaan folk.

Spotted this modified bike at the funeral. A big improvement.

For the wanna be builders out there, the new shop is coming along. Delays due to four funerals in a week but they should have the roof on shortly. The orange roof was a selection by Jan’s (the owner and the lady we bought our original land from) son. In an village first it has foam and foil insulation glued underneath. VERY unusual. Well done Jan.

The cost to date is 120,000 baht including 25,000 baht for labour. Jan is a versatile lady and she’ll be building the walls and render/mortar (called sharp in Thai) herself. I suspect the front will have roller doors but we’ll see.

This is a san phra phum or spirit house. You see them all over Thailand in various forms. In a residential situation the idea is that you install one before you build a house and then hold a ceremony to invite the spirits to move in there rather than ‘haunt’ your new house.

They do need maintenance so you can’t just stick one in the corner and forget about it. The spirits want to be fed and the occasional whisky goes down a treat. If you don’t look after them they will leave the san phra phum and move in with you! You can buy small items of furniture and even statue of servants (they like the dancing girls) all with the aim of keeping them committed to a home life 

Showcasing some of my favourite photos taken around Thailand during my time here.

Two photos from my first visit to Thailand 2012 when I was holidaying in Phuket. Little did I know….

Thank you for reading and please leave a comment. It’s the only payment I ask for.



  1. Hans U. Ruediger

    Hi Tony, time for an old (retired) builder’s comment. When I first came to Thailand I found the typical ‘split-roof’ construction somewhat strange (such as demonstrated by your pictures of Jan’s store under construction), but by now have I not only gotten used to it, but actually like and even prefer it to the Western standard peak roof design. It not only adds architectural interest to a structure, properly designed it also allows for very efficient ventilation of hot air from under the roof. A win-win kind of detail! Who says, you can’t teach an old horse new tricks?

    Also. smart choice by Jan to use insulated sheet roofing. Will make a noticeable difference in what I presume will be a non-air-conditioned store space underneath.

    • Tony in Thailand

      I agree. I sometimes wish I had been a little more adventurous with our roof, but at the time I was fixated on making the build as simple as possible because of my inexperience and my lack of faith in the Thai ability to construct anything of quality outside their ‘norms’. The reality is that the house is lost in the garden so I never stand back to look at it. If it was an more exposed structure as many are. Then I might e reminded more often that I could have done something different. I leave ‘what-if’s’ out of my life and am happier as a result!

      That insulation will make a noticeable difference underneath. It will cut down on that intense heat that you feel on your head and shoulders during the hot days in non-insulated structures. I will do a temperature test once we hit the hot season between it and mamas house which is directly opposite and has the bare steel roofing. Interesting. I will report back.

  2. Jim Busby

    When will you guys finally not have a place to put any more plants? That’s a colorful bike. Was it decorated for the funeral? Yes Tony, you do fit in well in Thailand. Beer for breakfast. Sign me up to attend the next funeral. Only about $4500 USD for that build up to this point. You couldn’t even have the cement floor poured for that amount of money over here the States.

    • Tony in Thailand

      I do ask that question and we have pretty well stopped (until Gaun finds something else). We actually mostly drive past garden centres these days. Even the farm gardens are pretty well finished. That bike is always like that. It keeps changing as bit fall off and get replaced. I had given up drinking but you have to fit in. We arrived and three bottle arrived a couple of minutes later. What can you do? Very cheap to build basic here. The builders finished yesterday and Jan had started work this morning laying blocks. I love the ‘can do’ attitude of many Isaan women. Her husband works in Taiwan and only comes back once a year. They are paying for their kids university education. Jan cuts sugar, plants rice, runs her own farm and now is building this village store on her own. Give me one of them rather than madam who sits around polish nails and planning the next hairstyle.


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