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You will find over 340 stories in this blog about my new life in Thailand, the good and bad. Not just a list of tourist destinations but posts 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. For the latest posts PLEASE SCROLL DOWN. Thanks for reading. Tony

Building a House in Thailand eBook

  • Published 6 July 2016
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Building in Thailand
  • LINK: HERE

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.

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. Regarding the fluorescent tubes, they sell a type A LED replacement that snaps in place, other types require a new fixture. I can recommend the Dulux acrylic filler 1040 for wall cracks. I installed magnetic door stops for those self-closing doors, an easy fix. And perhaps an angled plumbing fitting at the wall could easily center that shower head, just a thought, not sure about the aesthetics…
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.

Mike was spot on when he wrote:” most of us are very reticent to point out those little imperfections to anyone else. You however are remarkably candid, which is enormously helpful to rest of us who have yet to go through the process. Many thanks!”

Ian

Neither my blog nor Facebook have a commercial aspect to them where I benefit and you don’t. My last post on TransferWise could have had an offer giving me money if I referred three people though a link but you guys got nothing so I didn’t include it. My time for the post was free.

I will make an exception to this booking.com offer because we both benefit equally so I don’t see any downside for you. If you were already going to use booking.com then please use the link I have provided and we both get a 550 baht benefit, you off the cost after your stay and me onto my credit card for my next trip.

550 baht for doing what you were going to do anyway must be a plus.

https://www.booking.com/s/11_6/eastme55

 

Tony

My Last Five Posts:

A Wedding, a Wat and a Pizza

  • Published 26 Oct 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isan
  • LINK: HERE

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 🙂

A Day in Udon Thani and Surrounds

  • Published 24 Oct 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isan
  • LINK: HERE

We had a day in and around Udon Thani, our nearest large city, to lodge my 90 day report at Immigration. Does that sound boring? Well it might be unless you dip into some of the available attractions that make an administrative chore the basis of a fun day on the road. If scenic is your thing then Isan is not as ‘in your face’ as other places in Thailand (although the urban areas are universally ugly from what I have seen) but if you want interesting and unusual then my part of the country may surprise you with its hidden charms.

The End of Buddhist Lent

  • Published 24 Oct 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isan
  • LINK: HERE

With the end of Buddhist Lent monks across Thailand were being formally fed at their wats. We called into our local forest wat a short distance from the family farm while Yuan and Bear supported the village temple located in the opposite direction. I always love these occasions because they are small, intimate and many of the faces are familiar. I am (almost) included as a fellow villager.

Esan Village Life – Edition 18

  • Published 21 Oct 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Esan
  • LINK: HERE

A couple of very minor changes to this regular posting of everyday stories about life in a small Esan rural village, in the northeast of Thailand. Firstly I have changed the title again and it will now be Esan Village Life. The previous title was Living in Isaan  (17 editions) and the original series was called Isaan – the Small Stories  (31 posts). Most of my stories are nothing more than sharing life spent living in the village so it seems appropriate to match the header with the content. This post covers July 2018.

Thailand Tips & Tricks

  • Published 10 Oct 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Information
  • LINK: HERE

I have now lived here for over five years in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and now Isan and have picked up a few everyday tips & tricks that I have shared with readers on the blog and my Facebook page – link HERE. I thought it would be useful to bring these all together in the one place and this will also allow me to add new ones as I think of them. This post will become a useful resource for all newbies and maybe add the odd bit of knowledge to some of us oldies as well.

The Best Comments Made

  • Published 5 Oct 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

I have a loyal band of readers who take the effort to leave comments on this blog in response to my posts of life in Thailand. These are quite often not just a ‘good post’ comment, but a contribution in themselves. I have several virtual friends who provide me with as much enjoyment reading their comments as they seem to get from the original post! Many others read and pass through without a trace, which is a modern trait I suspect and disappointing that they can’t make an effort but that’s life.

Should I Learn to Speak Thai?

  • Published 4 Oct 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Information
  • LINK: HERE

I have had a couple of occasions recently on my Facebook page HERE to discuss the benefits of learning Thai for a westerner living here. I thought the topic was one we have all thought about at some stage and tackled to a greater or lesser (or not at all) degree so it was worth adding to the blog for a different audience.

Transferring Money to Thailand

  • Published 3 Oct 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Information
  • LINK: HERE

One of the regular topics that pops up on every expat forum from time to time is the best way to transfer money from one’s ‘home’ country to Thailand. Recently someone recommended TransferWise as a better option than the banks so I thought I would test the theory, which I have yet to see anyone else bothering with; although I don’t widely read expat forums.

The Hidden Wats of Si Bun Ruang

  • Published 2 Oct 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Wats
  • LINK: HERE

We spent an afternoon recently on the local backroads close to Si Bun Ruang our home town in Nong Bua Lamphu province, chasing new wats (temples) and it paid dividends with so many excellent photos that it required a separate post. I will give you a My Maps link at the end so you can easily follow our route and discover these hidden places for yourself.

TM30 Residency Reporting

  • Published 2 Oct 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Information
  • LINK: HERE

This is a post that at least informs you about a subject that you might not be aware could apply to you. Do with it what you will but from my reading this is an updated law that is being more rigorously enforced and might catch you out at some stage. The extent of more enthusiastic enforcement struck home when I had a reader of this blog wrote to me recently detailing a situation he found worrying and I cover the basis of these concerns in this post.

And these are some older stories:

Australian Expats with a House to Sell

  • Published 27 Sept 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Retirement
  • LINK: HERE

WARNING FOR AUSTRALIAN EXPATS, who have a family home in Australia they might want to sell in the future. I received this information from Angelo, a reader of the blog who keeps in touch with tax issues relating to Aussie expats. You might already know of this new ruling but if not it is a potentially devastating blow to retirees living abroad. Angelo published this as a comment on my post relating to the inequities applying to Australian expats HERE but I thought the topic was so important I would make it a stand-alone post.

Respect for the Past

  • Published 24 Sept 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

Today some of my Isaan family visited the local temple in our village of Si Bun Ruang to pay respects to deceased relatives and give them a good feed. I so enjoy these sort of events, which are totally  part of the natural everyday life here and don’t involve anyone dressing up for the occasion for the tourist buses (a la northern hill tribes). I am usually the only farang at these events but have been here long enough that I’m no longer seen as particularly unique or strange (still a little bit odd and always will be) in the landscape!

Living in Isaan – Edition 17

  • Published 16 Sept 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

June had as its main activity the restoration of an Isaan rice storage hut, all of which I have covered in recent posts and obviously won’t repeat here. Still plenty of interest so read on. Included are topics like flying ants, the discovery of a couple of new garden centres, buying 6,000 handmade bricks for paths, my 5th anniversary in Thailand and work happening at the farm especially around planting the new rice paddies. A couple of videos I know you’ll enjoy too.

Living in Isaan – Edition 16

  • Published 16 Sept 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

This is a particularly mixed bunch of stories that I am sure you’ll enjoy because of the variety. They include a market day, Happy Birthday Gaun, a turtle lottery, building a boat jetty, thanking the spirits, two newly discovered wats (temples), stocking the farm pond with fish, Elenna Pizzeria, pots, pots and more pots, some mixed photos with small stories attached and a mushroom farm.

Coffee, gardens and eating

  • Published 15 Sept 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

This collection of small stories has ended up being quite garden orientated so for those of you who aren’t into that sort of thing I will be publishing a back issue of some other stories soon to make up for this biased post 🙂 There are some other topics here so don’t just ignore the post – just jump to the bits that interest you.

Topics include a few garden stories of course but also a local house for sale, some tips about painting in Thailand, a day with the family, eating out at Good View, more bricks and the family help out.

Living with a Thai Woman

  • Published 8 Sept 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Special Interest
  • LINK: HERE

I have extensively rewritten this, the most popular of my blog posts, to include more of my insights of living with a Thai woman now that I have been doing so for over five years. I have also changed most of the photos and generally refreshed the look of this story. For the many of you who have read this post before, this is practically a new version and can be reread on that basis.

I believe this post is essential reading for anyone starting a relationship with a Thai person. There are many blogs out there that focus on the challenges of bargirl relationships, but few bloggers have the ability to take a broader and more useful view of the special aspects involved in any farang/Thai relationship. Even for those of you who are already in a relationship, I challenge you not to nod your head in recognition of some of the things I cover in this post.

Days of Our Lives in Isaan

  • Published 7 Sept 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

Another mix of stories covering activities the last couple of weeks. A medical scare with Gaun’s mama, my rant on why be an Aussie citizen, an evening at a forest wat, out and about with friends, a guessing competition (with no prizes) for a colourful local school event, a return to one of my favourite wats in the area, cacti and yet more cacti and breakfast on the move. As always a broad mix of small stories reflecting the varied life we lead.

Two Wats and a Pink ID Card

  • Published 29 August 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

A mini-post with a few interesting things we did yesterday. We were on the road to look at a house friends of ours have built south of Si Bun Ruang using most of the team that constructed our home in 2014/15. As always I never see a trip in Thailand as directly from A to B. If you see something that looks interesting go for it. If you don’t you will end up missing out on so much. Two wats to share as a result and you couldn’t get more different styles. Also some information about getting a expat ID card in Thailand.

Living in Isaan – Edition 15

  • Published 26 August 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

Lots to enjoy in Edition 15 of my small Isaan stories including mangos (again), useful Tips and Tricks for the newly arrived, a garden update, an update on the build of a small Thai house, a funeral ceremony, a return to Noi’s Kitchen, a house blessing and as always a few extras at no additional cost!

Living in Isaan – Edition 14

  • Published 26 August 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

These stories happened over three weeks early to mid April 2018. Songkran, Thai New Year, happened in the middle of this period and as I have written about this festival already I excluded it here so that you only got new happenings and not a repeat of older stuff. A broad mix of small events as always starting with three maybe more aimed at locals but still giving ‘outsiders’ an insight into life here – farang comfort food shopping in Udon Thani, tips for driving in Thailand and car insurance. Parties, a wedding, extending the farm pond, building a small Thai-style house, visiting a local eating place plus a few surprises gives you plenty of other material to read in this edition.

Living in Isaan – Edition 13

  • Published 23 August 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

We are heading back into the archives with this update to the Living in Isaan series based on stories published in late March. Here I cover dancing girls, temples, my stepdaughter’s 18th birthday, an update on the farm in March as well as our developing tropical garden. Lots to enjoy so jump into Isaan life.

Boats, Mother’s Day and Temples

  • Published 23 August 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

Another mix of stories covering activities the last couple of weeks. Masses of coconuts in the garden has got me thinking about Malibu cocktails. Mother’s day had the ladies in my life making flower garlands, covered previously as well, but here specifically to present to mama on Mother’s Day. We have a striking addition to the garden, a small piece of Isaan history to complement the rice hut that you can read about HERE. Septic tanks aren’t something you read about too often in blogs but I prove to be the exception. Upgrades at the local village wat provided a couple of interesting stories. A morning at a medical centre provides an insight into the system here.

Isaan Variety – Never Boring

  • Published 9 August 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

Another mini-post to help keep you up to date with my life in Isaan. One of the concerns I had about retiring to a small rural village in the northeast of Thailand 600 km plus away from the more farang orientated places like Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket and Bangkok, was how would I fill my days. Visiting out of the way places like where I live might be interesting as a change in scenery for a few days on holiday but for a lifetime?????? The following small events are an example of why I find most days have enough to keep the interest levels engaged and boredom isn’t part of my everyday.

Living in Isaan – Edition 12

  • Published 1 August 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

Another batch of small everyday stories covering a period mid to late March 2018. The main activities for us during this couple of weeks was the emptying of the farm pond ready for its enlargement and the building of a new utilities area in our garden. Also shared is some information about the basic construction methods in Thailand and a small street party. Lots of photos as always so settle down with a drink and join our Isaan life.

Mushrooms and Monks

  • Published 28 July 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan, Festivals
  • LINK: HERE

This is the second of my blogs to capture some of the events that are happening right now in our part of Thailand, the northeast a region called Isaan. Mushrooms and monks may seem like an odd combination but they are both at the top of the to-do list for many people this time of the year.

Wat Pa Keson Sin Khun Thamma Chedi

  • Published 21 July 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to join some of the villagers and the abbot of our local forest wat on a trip to a temple that’s being built about an hour and a half drive east from us. The main purpose of the expedition was a monk feeding ceremony, for both resident and visiting monks, and to raise money for yet more construction. As the meal happens very early I gave that a miss and we turned up later to an almost empty wat! I wasn’t too concerned we had missed the ceremony because on the way we stopped off at one of those totally odd and surprising wats being built in the middle of not much, which has now been added to my visitors to-do list.

Living in Isaan – Edition 11

  • Published 19 July 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

I am finally making progress in catching up on my back-issues of small Isaan stories. This edition covers early March 2018. Topics include: A dancing festival in Si Bun Ruang, harvesting ant eggs, a house warming ceremony, the sugar cane harvest and burn, a forest wat update, the way of the future for sugar harvesting, Phuket memories and moving Isaan Grace my farm based “boat”. Heaps to read and of course masses of photos so jump in and enjoy.

Living in Isaan – Edition 10

  • Published 18 July 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

Another of my catchup small stories of Isaan. This series covers a period between mid to late February 2018. A wide range of topics including: feeding the ants – find out why, rice mulch, lots of local photos each with a story, our tropical garden updates, community farming, another Isaan wedding, guttering the local way, a small street party and an update of happenings at the family farm. Enjoy.

Living in Isaan – Edition 9

  • Published 16 July 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

I have got SO behind in these posts I call “Living in Isaan”, which are a series of small stories I have recorded that make up my everyday life in a small rural village in the northeast of Thailand, a region called Isaan/Isan/Esan. It has been a busy year establishing a new tropical garden, writing a book and filling in time with far more than I ever thought would happen day to day as a result of retiring to “boring” Isaan. I am on a mission to catch up so although the timeline is a bit out of date the material is still relevant sharing what life looks like here.

A Thailand Tropical Garden – Update 3

  • Published 16 July 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Tropical Garden
  • LINK: HERE

I was looking back at the photos I took for A Thailand Tropical Garden – Update 2 HERE, which was written at the third month point after we started this project and things have progressed so much that I thought a further update might be of interest. I know not everyone is as focussed on gardens as we are but from feedback I have received in various forms I also know that a lot of my readers are. We have now just passed the six month anniversary offrom when we started work, so that in itself is a milestone worth sharing.

Wat Pha See Vichi

  • Published 8 July 2018
  • Place: Nong Bua Lamphu
  • Topic: Wats
  • LINK: HERE

As Thai names are spelt phonetically in English this wat maybe or may not be as shown. Anyway as pha/pa is Thai for a group of trees, a forest or grove of trees in English, this makes this wat one of the many forest temples in our area.  Whatever its name this temple is one of the most impressive timber wats I have seen in Thailand and even more extraordinary as it is situated in the backstreet of a small Isaan town, called Nong Bua Lamphu, capital of the province of the same name.

The Dan Sai Ghost Mask Festival

  • Published 8 July 2018
  • Place: Dan Sai
  • Topic: Festivals
  • LINK: HERE

Every year in the small town of Dan Sai, in the hills of Loei province, a three-hour drive from us, a unique festival is held called Phi (Spirit) Ta Khon or Ghost Mask festival. It is an event I have been wanting to attend for several years but each time something else was happening that prevented us getting there. Last year was looking good and then my stepdaughter Peng had major surgery scheduled for exactly that period. I fully expected something to come up this year but we actually made it so I thought I would share the vibrant colours of the day.

Renovating an Isaan Rice Hut

  • Published 6 July 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

I have always loved the timber rice storage huts you see in the garden of just about every rural house in Isaan. Somehow they are essentially Isaan and each has its own character and history. In the days when everyone grew their own rice this was where it was stored to provide essential food for the family over the course of a year. Part of my plan for the new garden we have been developing this year was the installation of a rice hut, which I wanted to renovate to make it like a mini-example of the Jim Thompson House in Bangkok. This is the story of achieving that vision.

Bun Bang Fai – Si Bun Ruang

  • Published 31 May 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Festivals
  • LINK: HERE

We had a great Bun Bang Fai in our small part of Isaan this year. Bun Bang Fai is an Isaan rocket festival that happens every May/June with the vague aim of encouraging rains to fall for the upcoming rice season, and just by chance also includes a lot of drinking, dancing, rockets (of course) and generally having a good time (snuk/สนุก).

Udon Thani – A Few Hidden Surprises

  • Published 22 May 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

Many of the real small attractions of Isaan are well hidden and not on Trip Advisor Top Ten. Join us for a day in Udon Thani as we discover a few little treasures mixed in with some of the everyday. Get an update on our beautiful tropical garden as well.

Living in Isaan – Edition 8

  • Published 24 Apr 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

A broad mix of small stories in Edition 8. This is another catch-up post so we head back to Christmas 2017 and my big birthday party on the 26th. Friends visited over this period so some terrific photos of a road trip we took with them. Lots to read and some of my favourite photos in this edition. Enjoy.

Songkran 2018 – Si Bun Ruang Part 2

  • Published 20 Apr 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Festivals
  • LINK: HERE

I ended up with so many fun photos from this year’s Songkran that I thought I would publish a second post, which is mostly based around day two of the water fights on the main street of Si Bun Ruang. In my photography I try to capture the atmosphere of each occasion with special emphasis on faces and action, rather than just have lots of the same sort of scenes of people throwing water around. I hope that makes the inclusion of so many photos on basically the same topic interesting enough to keep you engaged.

Songkran 2018 – Si Bun Ruang Part 1

  • Published 20 Apr 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Festivals
  • LINK: HERE

Songkran is the Thai New Year held early April a time of parties and good fun in the same way our New Year is celebrated. It is also a family time so for the many people who have jobs that take them away, especially here in Isaan, a region in the northeast of Thailand, this means travelling back home in a huge twice a year migration (our New Year being the other).

A Thailand Tropical Garden – Update 2

  • Published 10 Apr 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Thailand Tropical Garden
  • LINK: HERE

On the third month anniversary of us starting work on building a new tropical garden extension to our land in the northeast of Thailand, I thought I would give you a photographic update. I find it hard to believe the progress that’s been made in such a short timescale. The garden looks as if it has been established for much longer helped by the beautiful displays of flowers, all grown from seed, that is in bloom after the cool season. I believe this is going to turn into a stunning feature garden in a couple of years and only get better from there.

A Private Hospital Visit in Thailand

  • Published 30 Mar 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

One of the major concerns and topic of interest for us retirees in Thailand is health insurance and the medical cover it provides. There is endless discussion of the benefits of having insurance or not, the costs and exclusions. I share with you a recent stay I had at a private hospital in Udon Thani, in the northeast, for minor surgery and how that experience went for me including the performance of my Pacific Cross Thailand private health insurance.

Living in Isaan – Edition 7

  • Published 26 Mar 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

More small everyday Isaan stories from early to mid-December 2017. Updates on the farm, freezing in Isaan, buying more land, an evening at the local temple, upgrading our sala, looking for a rice storage hut and so much more.

Living in Isaan – Edition 6

  • Published 9 Mar 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

More small everyday Isaan stories from early December 2017.

Living in Isaan – Edition 5

  • Published 26 Feb 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

More small everyday stories mostly from  November 2017. More farm based this edition although a good range of other topics too. The rice harvest is covered with a video so you’ll know more about rice than you ever thought you would! Enjoy.

Living in Isaan – Edition 4

  • Published 22 Feb 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

More small everyday stories from October and November 2017. They include yet another Buddhist Lent wat ceremony – very local and good fun, helping out the locals, the start of the rice harvest and the Chinese Cultural Centre and shrine in Udon Thani central.

Three Days in Bangkok

  • Published 22 Feb 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Places and Attractions – Other
  • LINK: HERE

Towards the end of last year we spent three days in Bangkok and were incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to visit the memorial site for the late king’s cremation ceremony in the Grand palace precinct. We also enjoyed Siam Ancient City and Jim Thompson House – both highly recommended attractions. Lots of great photos so dive in.

Living in Isaan – Edition 3

  • Published 22 Feb 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

More small stories of everyday life in Isaan, Thailand this post covering October 2017:

This post covers a very busy time for Buddhist celebrations to commemorate the end of Lent, a three month period where monks are supposed to commit to one temple and focus on their reflection and study. As such I have a couple of entries covering the same topic but each one has its own flavour so I hope I don’t lose your interest.

Living in Isaan – Edition 2

  • Published 18 Feb 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

More small stories of everyday life in Isaan, Thailand this post covering September and some of October 2017:

Sunsets, Driving in Thailand, More flowers, New Forest Wat, Cow on the Road, End of Lent celebrations, Street Party, Road trip Highlights, Farm party and Out in the Isaan Countryside. Heaps to read.

Living in Isaan – Edition 1

  • Published 18 Feb 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

I thought I would try to catch up with some of the small stories that make up everyday life here. None of them are spectacular and will never be found on the search results of tourists looking for adventure. However, most of the readers who have followed 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 and ziplining. For them these little insights help maintain that connection to village life, if they are living elsewhere, and for those who are newer to the scene maybe help with understanding what a life in rural Thailand might look like if that ever happens for them.

Australians Moving Overseas – Beware

  • Published 8 Feb 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Retirement
  • LINK: HERE

A very different theme to this post from the last two relaxed gardening stories. It is aimed directly at Australians who are thinking of or planning to retire and move overseas to take up permanent residence and has less relevance to other nationalities (skip the first two topics and head to the second half). I have to say that we Australians must rate as one of the most poorly treated citizens of any country in the western world when it comes to becoming a non-resident and I will set out to prove that statement as we go along.

A Thailand Tropical Garden Update

  • Published 7 Feb 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

I am not going to turn the blog into a site for gardeners so this will be the last update for a little while. I know from the comments from the last garden post HERE that there are some readers who enjoy following the development of a new tropical garden so for that reason and the fact there has a lot of progress over the last couple of weeks I decided to publish this latest story. I have a lot of other insights on Isaan life to share with you so you can expect a few posts on other topics shortly.

Buying More Land in Isaan

  • Published 24 Jan 2018
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

The chance became available to purchase the block of land next to ours in Si Bun Ruang and we jumped at it. The job now is to turn it from a wilderness into a beautiful tropical garden. Read about how we are going with that project and where to from here.

Driving in Thailand

  • Published 21 Sep 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Information
  • LINK: HERE

Driving in Thailand is one of those hot topics on expat forums and the sort of thing that is often raised in conversations whenever farang get together. The statistic that Thailand is the second most dangerous country in the world to be on the road is sometimes quoted (not necessarily true as I will prove) and examples of situations seen here that defy the traffic laws in western countries are exchanged. So what is it actually like to drive here?

The Best Wats of Isaan

  • Published 16 Sep 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Isaan Attractions
  • LINK: HERE

That is a bit of a misleading heading because I will only report on those temples that we have personally visited and get my tick of approval. These are mainly in the area close to where we live, which is in the northern part of Isaan, and therefore they obviously only form a small proportion of the choice available in all of Isaan, a region covering the whole northeast of Thailand. Having said that of the thousands of wats on offer, even if I had seen them all, only a very small number would be worth mentioning.

Timber Temples of Nong Bua Lamphu

  • Published 27 Aug 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Isaan Attractions
  • LINK: HERE

I can’t believe that having told you in yesterday’s post that I had run out of new things to write about I am sharing the discovery of two wonderful timber wats just down the road from us a day later. Both of them are hidden away (neither are on Google Maps) and I would never have found them other than through the recommendation of locals. I would rate both temples as a must see if in the area of Nong Bua Lamphu/Si Bun Ruang.

A Day in Nong Bua Lamphu

  • Published 26 Aug 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Isaan Attractions
  • LINK: HERE

A day out in the Nong Bua Lamphu area in the north east of Thailand. A hidden lookout and two unusual wats visited. The motivation for this trip came from my in-laws Yuan and Lud. They told Gaun (my wife) that they were bored of being stuck working on the farm and wanted a holiday. I am always happy to help them see more of their own country and I get great enjoyment from doing so.

Deadly Diet

  • Published 8 July 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Special Interest
  • LINK: HERE

I only add this brief post because I know many of my readers have family in Isaan, the north east region of Thailand, and this article could be of interest to them and their Thai families. Traditions die hard here as anywhere but maybe if the eating of raw fish applies to the people we care about we can have some influence on their behaviour. Thankfully my Isaan family don’t eat raw fish but you might have a different scenario.

Ten Days in a Thai Hospital

  • Published 3 July 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Special Interest
  • LINK: HERE

We recently spent ten days in the huge Srinagarind Hospital, which is the main teaching hospital for the Faculty of Medicine at Khon Kaen University in the north east of Thailand. I thought I would share my impressions of the experience, not as a comprehensive guide to the Thai medical system but as a personal insight into one brief involvement (thank goodness). Having said that I am sure there are aspects I will write about that can be applied to living on the wards of most public hospitals here I am sure.

More Hidden Temples in Isaan

  • Published 12 June 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Wats
  • LINK: HERE

Yesterday I had the urge to go for an explore and I picked out two wats (temples) to visit about an hour’s drive from our home in Si Bun Ruang. Having now seen both of them  (and one we didn’t plan on seeing) they stand out a little from “normal” temples and one of them has made its way onto my must do list for visiting friends and family.

Bun Bang Fai Part 2

  • Published 11 June 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

Bun Bang Fai is an exclusively Isaan (a region in the north east of Thailand) rocket festival held in June every year to encourage the rains to come for the rice season. I say exclusive in a Thai sense. The festival originated in Laos, which explains why it now forms part of Isaan culture as the people here came from Laos in one of those historical  movements of population.

Isaan – the Small Stories 31

  • Published 8 June 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

This is a very short edition of “Isaan – the Small Stories” and in fact will be the last edition under this name. In future I will be writing a monthly update of life here in the same format with small stories that give glimpses into the life of a farang living in a rural village in the north east of Thailand.

The Wats of Loei

  • Published 6 June 2017
  • Place: Loei
  • Topic: Attractions & Places – Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

This is the second post relating to a family day out in Loei province close to our home in Si Bun Ruang. The first post titled “A Day with the Thai Army” can be found directly underneath this one. Having farewelled Game (Gaun’s nephew) and seen him back with his army mates we moved into the afternoon with three Buddhist attractions to visit.

A Day with the Thai Army

  • Published 6 June 2017
  • Place: Loei
  • Topic: Special Interest
  • LINK: HERE

Yesterday I enjoyed the slightly odd combination of spending the morning hosted by the Thai army and then the afternoon wandering through some of my favourite wats (temples) close(ish) to the army base. I started out thinking that both topics would fit into the one post but since then I have split it in two with the army experience in this post and the next one called The Wats of Loei to be published shortly.

Fighting Fires in Lampang

  • Published 30 May 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Special Interest
  • LINK: HERE

Peter Ferdinand is an Australian who bought my eBook “Building a House in Thailand” and since then we have exchanged a few emails on various topics. In the last few days Peter has shared one of the most unusual and inspirational stories I have heard of a farang in Thailand and I thought you might be interested to read about his experiences.

A House Update 2017

  • Published 24 May 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Building a House
  • LINK: HERE

Today I thought I would write a warts and all update that summarises my experience of living in the house for over two years. It is a very personal list of pluses and minuses that may have no relevance to any building project you have in mind for Thailand but there may just be some aspects that will get you thinking and may influence some aspects of your final design.

Bun Bang Fai 2017

  • Published 15 May 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

Bun Bang Fai (rocket festival) is an event held in the north east of Thailand, a region called Isaan where we live. The origins of this festival can be found in Laos but presumably was imported into Thailand along with the historical movement of population from Laos, some of it made voluntarily and some in the 18th and 19th centuries being forced.

A Birthday in Isaan

  • Published 13 May 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

The 12th of May is my wife’s birthday (Gaun), which in itself isn’t of particular interest to anyone outside our family, but each year I try to organise something different to do that breaks routine and our day yesterday was no different. I hope you’ll enjoy the varied mix of stories in this post.

From Chiang Khan to Nong Khai

  • Published 11 May 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

We recently had a friend from Canberra visit us for a few days and I planned a road trip from Chiang Khan to Nong Khai following the Mekong River to shown him a few of the sights away from our home base. The timing was perfect because we had bought a new pickup the week before and I was dying for a chance to try it out on a trip.

Isaan – the Small Stories 30

  • Published 28 April 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

Wow. Who would have thought that I would discover enough new material to keep this series going for its 30th edition. Well I have and here it is 🙂 If you are new to these posts they are extracted from the entries I write almost daily on Facebook, which is why they are in chronological order. Many people are sensible and don’t use Facebook for whatever reason, which is why I duplicate the entries here. Enjoy my February in Isaan

Two Days in Isaan

  • Published 22 April 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

This is a bit of a unplanned post as I was going to make it a Facebook entry only. When I started to collect all the photos for the story I realised that there were a few topics covered and that a small blog post just to remind people I am still in the writing business might be the go. Also it is 38 degrees (100 degrees F) outside so staying inside with a glass of cold Aussie wine (I know – the things I have to put up with to keep the blog alive) looked like an attractive proposition.

A Day in Nong Khai

  • Published 31 Mar 2017
  • Place: Nong Khai
  • Topic: Places and Attractions – Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

My stepdaughter Peng has started her long summer holidays and she recently asked if we could spend the day in Nong Khai on the river Mekong as a holiday treat. We have been to Nong Khai many times over the last three years and you will find attractions I share in this post are also in several previous posts in the blog. But for new readers this will be new information and I hope there’s enough fresh material for the oldies.

Buying a Car in Thailand

  • Published 30 Mar 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: General Interest
  • LINK: HERE

I am not writing this Buying a Car in Thailand post as a “how to” entry for the blog. In my stories I mostly just pass on my experiences based on actual events and there will be aspects that might apply to others and some that won’t. There were other things happening around the purchase to make it an interesting few days rather than a bland list of do’s and don’ts.

Living with a Thai Lady – Feedback

  • Published 21 Mar 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: General Interest
  • LINK: HERE

The story of Living with a Thai Lady HERE has proved to be my most popular post. My words seem to have resonated with a lot of readers and I have received many comments over time, most of them pretty positive about their own situations or asking for further clarification or answers to questions either about relationships or other varied topics. I thought that I would extract some of this feedback and place them in a separate post that made for easier reading than in the format at the bottom of the original.

A Phuket Holiday – Part 2

  • Published 20 Mar 2017
  • Place: Phuket
  • Topic: Places and Attractions – Other
  • LINK: HERE

Reading the heading you don’t need to be a genius to tell that this could well be the second post sharing our recent holiday experience in Phuket and you’d be right:-) This is a long read so get a coffee.

Si Bun Ruang Village Festival

  • Published 19 Mar 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Festivals
  • LINK: HERE

This is a very minor happening and is mostly a photo gallery with comments but I hope you find it interesting. These small but involving events define the passing of the year in the village and provide breaks to the everyday routine however pleasant that is.

Two More Local Wats

  • Published 19 Mar 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Wats and Temple
  • LINK: HERE

I am taking a short break from sharing our travels to Phuket to show you through a couple of local temples that we have visited since our return from the beach a week ago.

A Phuket Holiday – Part 1

  • Published 17 Mar 2017
  • Place: Phuket
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Other
  • LINK: HERE

One of the things on my “must do”  list here is to take Gaun’s younger sister and her husband, Yuan and Lud, away from the Isaan life for a holiday on a regular basis. This is because otherwise they never stop working seven days a week 365 days a year and their life is no more than farm, home and market in an endless cycle. Not that it bothers them because they are the happiest couple you could hope to meet.

Isaan – the Small Stories INDEX

  • Published 4 Mar 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

I have published so many Isaan – the Small Stories posts that I thought it would be useful to have an index so that readers can located specific topics that may be of interest. The headings are pretty vague but do give some clue as to the subject matter. You will find the link for each post at the bottom of the list. Enjoy.

Dancing in Si Bun Ruang

  • Published 2 Mar 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

The 1st of March was the start of a six day festival in Si Bun Ruang, our home town in the north east of Thailand, a region called Isaan/Isan. The event kicked off with a display of traditional Thai dancing involving over 500 ladies both young and older from the surrounding villages as well as the town of Si Bun Ruang itself.

Isaan – the Small Stories 29

  • Published 26 Feb 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

I am almost up to date with these stories as this collection takes us into February. A wide range of topics as always. I hope you enjoy.

Si Bun Ruang

  • Published 25 Feb 2017
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE

This is a specialised post aimed mainly at locals (the two of us!) but hopefully it will also be of interest to other readers as well because it offers an insight into what living a “real” life here in the slightly backwaters of our bit of Isaan looks like.