Index of Posts 51 – 100

Here you will find a list of my posts from 51 – 100. They mostly cover our time in Chiang Mai but Australia gets a story and there’s a few Isan ones too.  Apr – Aug 2014.

100. Phu Foilom Park – an Isaan Outing

  • Published 11 Aug 2014
  • Place: Udon Thani Province, Isaan
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Isaan
  • LINK: HERE
Last weekend I felt the urge to get out of Si Bun Ruang and become a tourist for the day and see one of the local sights called Phu Foilom, a 30,000 + hectare park set in the hills between the towns of Udon Thani and Nong Bua Lamphu, about an hour’s drive from us.

The immediate family of Yuan, Lud and Peng wanted to join in the expedition to the park, it is hard to be alone here, and there was an air of excitement the day before. Yuan even went and got her hair cut and straightened for the event.

99. Noodles and more

  • Published 2 Aug 2014
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang, Isaan
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE
The incentive for this post happened last night when Gaun and family were tucking into their dinner of raw long beans, fish soup and noodles. Like all good urbanites I have never thought about where noodles come from other than a packet. Well I am here to tell you that there are two noodle factories in our Moo Baan supplying the local demand. Production happens every afternoon so with family knowledge I headed out to investigate and broaden my noodle knowledge.

98. Isaan – the small stories

  • Published 2 Aug 2014
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang, Isaan
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE
I wonder what my blog will look like in a few months’ time. Up to now, although hardly setting world news, I have been able to publish a good range of “bigger” stories during my time here, some of them based around popular tourist destinations. Once I move to Isaan day to day life, although still interesting because of its newness, will have a more limited range of major places to visit, certainly in the immediate area, and I suspect some of my posts will be formed of a mix of small stories like this one today.

97. Back in Isaan

  • Published 25 Jul 2014
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang, Isaan
  • Topic: Living in Isaan
  • LINK: HERE
Another post on spending time in Isaan, rural Thailand, a topic I have covered before but with some new angles. The timing for our trip here was based around an appointment Peng, Gaun’s daughter, had to see her doctor for a six monthly check-up.

I also wanted to do some more preparation for us moving into the family house in November and get my house plans drawn up at the local Tessa Ban, or planning department. Lots else too with some great photos.

96. Mae Salong – a Chinese Village

  • Published 17 Jul 2014
  • Place: Mae Salong, Northern Thailand
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Rai
  • LINK: HERE
The origins of Mae Salong started in China in 1950 when parts of the Kuomintang (KMT) army who fought on against the communists after the majority fled to Taiwan were finally forced out and retreated to Burma. This part of the army was originally largely based in the Chinese province of Yunnan, which is why you will see so many Yunnan influences in Mae Salong now especially in the food. A very picturesque part of Northern Thailand.

95. The Road to Mae Salong

  • Published 17 Jul 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai to Mae Salong, Northern Thailand
  • Topic: Attractions and places – Other
  • LINK: HERE
Mae Salong has been on my “to see” list for a while after recommendations from two friends who have visited the village and surrounding area. As is usual in Thailand there are so many tempting side-expeditions to take on any journey and I have a weakness for diverting for anything that looks interesting along the way. This story covers some of those extra-curricular activities on the way to Mae Salong.

94. Living in Thailand – 100 Blog Stories

  • Published 14 Jul 2014
  • Place: NA
  • Topic: Retirement
  • LINK: HERE
Update: As a result of my updating the blog this story is no longer number 100 but it was at the time – true!

I was hoping to get the 100th story to coincide with my first 12 month anniversary, which was 12 June, but have missed out by a month. As my teachers used to say in my school reports “He could do better if he tried”. Never mind. I thought I would mark the occasion by looking back over my stories over the last 13 months and comment on those that I enjoyed the most or reflected best the various stages of my time in Thailand.

93. Boncafe Chiang Mai

  • Published 14 Jul 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Café/eating
  • LINK: HERE
I have been to this cafe a few times and it always produces a good standard of coffee 8/10, so as we visited it today to top-up on coffee beans I thought I would take some photos and write a brief post.

Boncafe is situated on Chang Khlan Road, one of the main streets you will see mentioned in topics about Chiang Mai, which means that you’ll get no atmosphere outside but it is pretty central.

92. Terracotta Garden

  • Published 14 Jul 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE
I have been on the hunt for this place located in the Old Town of Chiang Mai for a little while. It is covered in a few other blogs and from their descriptions looked like a photographer’s dream, so worth a visit. I try to stay out of the centre of Chiang Mai as much as possible as it is busy and full of tourists, neither of which is my idea of a good time, here or any other place in the world. However the Terracotta garden is hidden away in a small soi and once you get away from the main roads in the Old Town you enter a quieter and slower paced world.

91. Cafe U Baan

  • Published 13 Jul 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Café/eating
  • LINK: HERE
After so many disappointments on the café front I am happy to report success on the coffee front. Tucked away in the garden district behind Tesco Lotus on the Super Highway is a little cafe called, I think, Cafe U Baan.

90. 12 Months in Thailand

  • Published 7 Jul 2014
  • Place: NA
  • Topic: Retirement
  • LINK: HERE
The 12th of June marked my first twelve months living in Thailand and I thought it would be interesting to re-visit the blog entry I made after six months and see how my opinions have changed over the last six months.

89. A Tale of Two Cafes

  • Published 30 Jun 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Café/eating
  • LINK: HERE
A short blog post to cover off a couple of cafes we have visited recently in the futile attempt to find a coffee that betters the one I can make at home on my newly imported from Australia via Isaan coffee machine. Luckily one of the cafes is in the main garden area of Chiang Mai so I can combine two of my favourite activities, coffee and flowers. Baa Baa Black and Panmai Cafes covered in this post.

88. Wat Phra Phutthabat Si Roi

  • Published 29 Jun 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Wat/temple
  • LINK: HERE
Wat Phra Phutthabat Si Roi has the benefit of not only being a worth a visit in itself but the drive to get there through Mae Rim is very pleasant too. Getting there is a little tricky as the signs are in Thai but I have given you instructions and photos in the post. This is a temple to add to your list if you have access to transport.

87. Chiang Mai Garden Heaven

  • Published 29 Jun 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE
Behind Tesco Lotus on the Super Highway number 11 there is a huge nursery area with street after street of plant shops and associated products. Gaun and I headed there today because I wanted to revisit a cafe for the second time that is beautifully situated right in the middle of the nurseries and also take some photos for this post.

86. A Day Out in Mae Rim

  • Published 25 Jun 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE
Another varied day out this time on the outskirts of Chiang Mai in an area called Mae Rim. If you have been here it is likely you have visited Mae Rim as it is quite a tourist area with things like elephants, buggy rides, tigers, orchid farms etc etc. However most of these activities are situated on or close to the main road that runs through the area. Once you head off this road you are into more rural hilly country, which for me is far more interesting.

85. Isaan Faces

  • Published 25 June 2014
  • Place: Isaan
  • Topic: Special Interest
  • LINK: HERE
A compilation of some of the photos I took during our recent trip to Isaan, which I think capture a moment. Some of these are repeats of photos in my previous blogs but there are many new ones too. The gallery takes a little time to load.

84. Ubol Ratana Lake

  • Published 24 Jun 2014
  • Place: Nong Bua Lamphu province, Isaan
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Isaan
  • LINK: HERE
Gaun and I had been invited to visit brother number 5, who lives about an hour from Si Bun Ruang towards a large man-made lake South of the town called Ubol Ratana or Ubolratana. In this post we visit a much more basic village, travel around the lake to see the houseboats and more.

83. Bun Bang Fai – Fireworks

  • Published 24 Jun 2014
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Festivals
  • LINK: HERE
Day two of the Bun Bang Fai festival in Si Bun Ruang found us on the edge of town after I was told by the family that we were going to watch fireworks. This seemed slightly strange to me because it was 10.00 am but this is Thailand so I have found it is best just to go along with whatever is happening. What I didn’t expect was the size of these rockets – read on and make sure you watch the video.

82. Bun Bang Fai – an Isaan Festival

  • Published 24 Jun 2014
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang
  • Topic: Festivals
  • LINK: HERE
One of the reasons we chose to travel and stay in Isaan at this time in June was that Si Bun Ruang, “our” town, was having their annual festival called Bun Bang Fai over three days but mainly on the weekend of the 14th and 15th. I have never seen a Thai festival and this seemed like a great opportunity to enjoy what the locals had to offer. Knowing Thais love of a party and a good time I was pretty sure it would be well worth the investment of time and I wasn’t disappointed.

81. Wat Neramit Wipattasana

  • Published 22 Jun 2014
  • Place: Dan Sai, Isaan
  • Topic: Wat/temple
  • LINK: HERE
About two hours from the end of our drive to Isaan in the hills close to the Laos border lies a small town called Dan Sai in the province of Loei. Known mainly for the annual spirit festival called Phi Ta Khon, which looks great but unfortunately we missed by a few days this year, Dan Sai was a good break point for me after six hours driving. We stopped off to explore what lay behind an impressive gateway just off the highway coming into the town and I was pleased we did. Read about what (!) we found in this post.

80. Peng’s Motorbike

  • Published 21 Jun 2014
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang, Isaan
  • Topic: Special Interest
  • LINK: HERE
Many of you won’t know that Gaun’s lovely daughter Peng developed a medical condition when young, which required an operation and has since left her with some limitations in her ability to walk. When in Chiang Rai last year we came across a very old three wheel motorbike produced in the 90’s by Honda with a small 50 cc engine. I did some research on the web and was disappointed to find that they were no longer being manufactured and that there are almost no alternatives on the market. This is the story of how Peng ended up with one of these motorbikes.

79. Bhubing Palace Gardens

  • Published 8 Jun 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE
I have written about these gardens before in my post but as you can tell by the clothes I was wearing then it was during the cool months. I love these gardens and have taken three groups of visitors there. Each time the gardens have been different as new plantings take shape or flowers come into season. This is a mostly photo re-visit. The gallery may take some time to load so please be patient.

78. A Chilli Soi

  • Published 8 Jun 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE
I decided to take a road I hadn’t been on before, which headed generally in the right direction for home, and thought I would share with you what a simple local drive can provide by way of new scenery.

77. Live Music in Chiang Mai

  • Published 8 Jun 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE
Both Gaun and I enjoy music with a couple of Sang Soms, Thai whisky – it is actually a rum, and Chang beer thrown in. We have started on a mission to find some decent live music and I thought I would report back on a couple a venues we have visited recently.

76. Nimmanhaemin at Night

  • Published 8 Jun 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE
I have written about Nimmanhaemin Road before when we visited it in the daytime. Nimmanhaemin is a lot more than the road that runs through the middle of the area, which is busy and pretty unattractive. Many of the best sights are hidden away in the sois or streets that head off left and right and it was this side of Nimmanhaemin that I wanted to explore more this time.

I thought we would give it a go at night when the place is supposed to be buzzing and the bars and live music places kick in. Also to be honest, like a lot of Thai places, night time shows them at their most attractive when darkness hides some of the more unfortunate development and the lighting and modern design comes into its own.

75. Markets and Ladyboys

  • Published 26 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE
In this post I write about the night markets on Chang Klan Road, which incorporates a pretty tasteful ladyboy cabaret show. The night markets are very commercialised and you’ll literally bump into many farang but I am sure you’ll find lots of things to take home as gifts.

74. Our Sunday Markets

  • Published 26 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE
About ten minutes from us are some markets that set up on a Sunday afternoon to service the local population. On the other side of Mae Jo University they are about 30 minutes outside the centre of Chiang Mai, so not on the tourist agenda and not designed to be. Join us to visit some real local markets.

73. The Road to Phrao

  • Published 26 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE
The small rural town of Phrao is about an hour literally down the road from us. We come out of the Moo Baan onto the 1001, turn left and that’s where we end up.

I have a friend who has explored this route a couple of times and recommended it as an interesting and scenic drive so with an afternoon to spare, as most of them are, we set out for an explore.

72. R Rated Temple Part 2

  • Published 26 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE
We have friends from Australia staying with us for ten days and are working through a list of my favourite places in Chiang Mai. I wouldn’t rate this one as a favourite but it is certainly different, so with a spare couple of hours I decided to show them the strange Buddhist temple I wrote about previously HERE.

I ended up taking a whole new batch of photos, which I think are better than the first lot in the previous blog because I now have an improved camera and also the light is better now we have moved out of the cloudy and smoky period earlier in the year.

71. Wat Ket Karam Museum

  • Published 25 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE
I came across this museum when we were visiting nine wats as part of Gaun’s birthday, blog entry HERE. The museum is in a lovely Wat called Ket Karam, which I recommend visiting, but we didn’t have time to explore it with another seven Wats to cover that day! The museum is almost immediately on the left as you come in through the back gates to the temple from the 106 Chiang Mai – Lamphun Road running parallel to the River Ping.

70. Natwat Home Cafe

  • Published 25 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Café/eating
  • LINK: HERE
Natwat Home Cafe is on the Charoen Raj Road, a very narrow road which runs between the Super Highway and the 106, the Chiang Mai – Lamphun Road, next to the River Ping. This can be a very busy road as it feeds into a number of bridges over the river and into Chiang Mai city. On the side facing the river there are heaps of restaurants and bars and cafes. A good area to wander although you compete with the cars for the road as there is no footpath for most of the road.

69. Thai Cowboy Bar

  • Published 16 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE
This is really just a teaser for when I cover this bar in action at night-time. In the post covering Gaun’s birthday I wrote that we finished the evening at a Thai cowboy bar set in a Lotus pond close to our Moo Baan. Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me otherwise I could have captured the evening, which would have provided some wonderful photos. With this in mind I did the next best thing and called in on the way home today to see the place in the daytime.

68. Phuphiang Cafe

  • Published 16 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Café/eating
  • LINK: HERE
I have included this cafe entry because although it is not on the main tourist to do list I wouldn’t highly recommend it for the coffee. However it is a café visited by tourists so I thought I would include it in the blog so you get an idea of the variety of offerings here.

Phuphiang Coffee is a small cafe in the same road as My Place, a cafe included in the post HERE, but closer to the 107. It is a more recent addition to the cafe scene in this area so when I saw it I decided to give it a test run.

67. The Garden Restaurant

  • Published 16 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Café/eating
  • LINK: HERE
It was only after I had started to write this post that I realised that I don’t have a name for this restaurant we visited today. This is very much a “secret” place as you won’t see too many non-Thais here. Worth a visit if you are out in the San Sai area of Chiang Mai – about 20 minutes’ drive from the centre.

We had been introduced to this restaurant by a friend of ours otherwise you would never find it and I am sure it doesn’t rate on Trip Advisor. I have given you the GPS coordinates at the end of this post but shhhh don’t tell. Hidden away in a small soi off the 1001 even by the time you get to the carpark you’d here no idea of what lies beyond.

66. The Flowers of Chiang Mai

  • Published 15 May 2014
  • Place: Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Special Interest
  • LINK: HERE
A photographic record of some of the wonderful tropical flowers you’ll come across in Chiang Mai and elsewhere in Thailand.

65. Gaun’s Birthday

  • Published 14 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Wat/temple
  • LINK: HERE
The day didn’t go quite as planned because I had heard Gaun telling me that she wanted to visit a “nice” temple for her birthday. Luckily there was one in Thapae Road that we had been to before and I knew she liked it, so all good and scheduled into the day. It was only on the day that my misunderstanding became clear and we ended up on the road to find “nine” temples, nine is a lucky number in Thai, not one “nice” temple. So this post is as much about a selection of Chiang Mai temples as it is about Gaun’s birthday!

64. Wat Chet Yot

  • Published 10 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Wat/temple
  • LINK: HERE
Wat Chet Yot is a large temple site just outside the main Chiang Mai city area along the Super Highway, Highway 11,  north of the intersection of Huai Kaeo road and Nimmanhemin road. Because it a little way outside the main tourist route and as it is more set-up for Thais than tourists it isn’t widely included on the must see list of Chiang Mai, which has to be a plus..

63. Shoe Shopping and more

  • Published 6 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE
The purpose for our expedition was threefold. Firstly I wanted to re-visit a good coffee place, secondly I was looking forward to have a beer and some very tasty moneybags at a little restaurant I had been to before and lastly we were to go shoe shopping for Gaun at a local market.

62. Moo Baan Living

  • Published 4 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Retirement
  • LINK: HERE
Gated communities are very popular in the cities of Thailand and well adopted by both Thai and farang residents. There are many new Moo Baans being constructed on the outskirts of Chiang Mai to keep up with the fast expansion of Thailand’s number 2 city – no it isn’t a little backwater no matter what the tourist brochures tell you.

Having lived in a Moo Baan for a six months now I can appreciate the benefits as well as acknowledge some of their limitations. Find out what they are in this post.

61. Huay Tung Tao Lake

  • Published 2 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai, Café/eating
  • LINK: HERE
This is one of those hidden spots in Chiang Mai mostly used by locals rather than tourists. It is a man-made lake at the base of Doi Suthep, the large hill overlooking Chiang Mai. The main feature of the lake is that there are heaps of little salas or bamboo huts next to or over the water where you can relax and have a beer or a meal while enjoying the peace and quiet.

60. A 3D Outing

  • Published 2 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE
Living in Chiang Mai isn’t all temples and elephants you know. There are other cultural experiences to be had for the mature traveller, and here I am talking temperament not age of course, looking for new artistic avenues to explore. Chiang Mai Art in Paradise is one such place designed specifically for you. Not quite at Le Louvre level but getting close.

59. A Spirit House blessing

  • Published 1 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Festivals
  • LINK: HERE
I have mentioned spirit houses or San Phra Phum as they are called in Thai in a couple of previous blog posts but have never been closely involved with one. Well that was all about to change today. Join me in the blessing ceremony for a new spirit house.

58. A Chiang Mai Backroad

  • Published 1 May 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE
We started the afternoon at Biscotti cafe for a coffee and then having nothing else planned we decided to go for a drive in the hills of Mae Rim as had been recommended by a friend. Rather than take the 1096 the main road through Mae Rim, which leads to many of the major tourist destinations and is busy, we turned off to the right at the first opportunity onto a smaller and quiet road, the 4043, heading into the hills.

57. Biscotti Cafe

  • Published 27 Apr 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Café/eating
  • LINK: HERE
Living in San Sai on the edge of Chiang Mai we certainly aren’t spoiled for choice for pleasant places to sit awhile and have a coffee or iced drink. I was therefore both surprised and pleased to come across this cafe on Route 1260, which links the 1001 to the 107 beyond Maejo.

56. A R Rated Buddhist Temple

  • Published 26 Apr 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Wat/temple
  • LINK: HERE
This temple called Wat Mae Kaet, hidden away off a small back road in San Sai will change your view of gentle Buddhism. I am not sure if the theme of this temple would sit well with Buddha himself but as we know man’s ability to alter the pure truth of all religions is……well the basis of all religion!

55. Wat Phalat, liquid gold and more

  • Published 19 Apr 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Wat/temple
  • LINK: HERE
I headed onto the internet to see what others had discovered off the tourist trail and came across this jungle Wat or temple, on Doi Suthep, which is the large hill at the back of Chiang Mai. This is a lovely quiet temple hidden away in the forest with a surprising view over Chiang Mai at the back.

54. My Isaan Wedding

  • Published 16 Apr 2014
  • Place: Si Bun Ruang, Isaan
  • Topic: Special Interest
  • LINK: HERE
For those of you that don’t know, and that’s mostly everyone outside my immediate family, Gaun and I decided to get married Isaan style earlier this year. Many of you will know that this is a pretty regular event with me and not one I was that keen on replicating when coming to Thailand. Never say never and it became quite clear to me that Gaun had become very central to my life and the best thing to come out of the shambles I left behind when coming here last year. I felt the time had come to formalise the connection and the best way of doing this was by asking Gaun to marry me and, if she accepted!, having a Thai wedding.

53. Australia – Botany Bay Part 2

  • Published 8 Apr 2014
  • Place: Sydney
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Other
  • LINK: HERE
Part 2 of our visit to Australia has us travelling down the South Coast before ending up at my brother’s place in the Blue Mountains on the outskirts of Sydney. The highlight of this part of the trip was spending a couple of days on the water both in the Hawkesbury river system and Sydney harbour. Gaun got her first taste of sea fishing and took to it like an Isaan to chilli.

52. Doi Din Dang Pottery

  • Published 7 Apr 2014
  • Place: Chiang Rai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Rai
  • LINK: HERE
I have mentioned Doi Din Dang pottery in a previous post. I was so impressed with the place I decided to do a re-visit when exploring Chiang Rai recently with my brother and sister-in-law. It is best combined with seeing the Black House as they are both a few kms to the North of Chiang Rai on Highway 1.

51. Boy Blues Bar

  • Published 6 Apr 2014
  • Place: Chiang Mai
  • Topic: Attractions and Places – Chiang Mai
  • LINK: HERE
Boy Blues Bar is a live music venue hidden away in the night markets – see map below. I have been there a couple of times and intend to make it a regular haunt, particularly on Mondays when they have a jam session. The last time I went there was with my brother and sister-in-law and we were almost the only people there. It is easy to sit in the front row and fully experience Boy’s unique personality. If you every want to see a guy who enjoys what he does and shows it come and see Boy play.