Friday, 29 November 2013

A Spirit House

Walking around Thailand, you will notice little houses (picture below), they are located outside peoples homes and business's. On closer inspection you will find that they will have a drink and usually some food on them. Anyway the food and drink is to feed the spirits, because if you don't have somewhere for the spirits, particularly the bad ones, to go, they will come into your home. So that's why you see little houses outside...quite a good idea when you think about it, will have to get one when I get home, although can't seeing Sue being very pleased. It will be just like feeding the birds, which I do every morning, so as well as feeding the birds, I can also feed the spirits....I have this feeling that she will be sold on this idea as soon as she reads this....

A little 'Spirit House'

Last night had a meal in the same little restaurant, this time had hot Thai soup, yes it was hot. Was 
chicken and coconut if I remember correctly....will have a go with this one when I get home.


Thai chicken & coconut soup

Anyway, it's afternoon now, so going soon for my last free massage, just an hour left, so having a foot massage, as definitely don't want that lovely masseuse doing another 12 mile hike across my back, then tomorrow off to my little £8 per night B&B for a couple of weeks, then it will be time for home...

Next Saturday I think I will treat myself to a little excursion, so off to watch football. Chiang Mai FC are playing their last home game, so may as well go and have a look. They play in a stadium called the 700yr old stadium, so I presume it's at least 700yrs old, thinking about it as it would be impossible to change the name every year, it could be 750yrs old, and therefore would have been called what it is 50yrs ago!!!....when you are sat in a little Thai restaurant waiting for another day to end, as you can tell, you think of some right stupid things....


700yr old stadium..CMFC 




Another day in paradise

I think Elton sang the song ' another day in paradise' .... Me I'll just hum it at the moment, otherwise might get funny stares in the little Thai restaurant I am sat in (mainly because I am starving, it's very cheap, and it has fast Wi-Fi). The songs playing in here at the moment, so thought I would use it as my title. Is Thailand paradise, probably yes, it's lovely weather, the people are always smiling, and the food is out of this world, especially the frogs I ate last week. But depends who people class as paradise. There is a lot of suffering here behind those lovely smiles, poverty that we English can only imagine, but they still smile....always!

Anyway, what did today bring,....last 2 days of free swimming and free massage, so had both. The massage lady I had yesterday I had again....mistake! She was lovely, but no one said don't ever have someone walk on your back 2 days in a row, because the recuperation from yesterday is still well...recuperating! So ones back was still recovering from yesterday's little hike she had on my back, so today's 12 mile walk she did on my back was damn painful, but I am assured there is a reason for it, so I await the benefits!!!!

Last night I had a lovely meal of Pork with hot chillies and garlic, see below (may have to order different stuff...but I love it) was served by I think her name was 'Aum' She was lovely, she even wrote down a few phrases for me to learn. I think she felt sorry for me being the only guy on his own, but I assured her I had a girlfriend....the reason I mentioned her was....yes we have all seen the programme about Ladyboys recently, well if there was any guy wondering why any of these guys on the programme would marry a Ladyboy, well if you have any doubts come and say hello to Aum, and  no Sue, my lovely girlfriend, I won't be appearing on the next Ladyboy programme!!!! I promise, but any bad press to thoughts about them, well for what I have learn and seen, they are lovely human beings who deserve respect and are more happy and lovely to talk to than most English people I have come across (well the ignorant ones anyway). So here's to Aum, a very lovely person, who made me laugh
and smile, and believe me, for those who know me, it doesn't happen that often, at least not when my lovely Sue is at the other side of the world.

Best have some tea, a couple of pici's below from today....

Outside my B&B in Chiang Mai

My spicy beef with chillies...served by Aun

My beer, like insects, you have to have a picture of a beer!

My pork with oyster sauce from yesterday...


Well tea's on its way....I think tonight's it's £1, so pushing the boat out!!!!


Thursday, 28 November 2013

More from yesterday!

Today hasn't added to my touristy things I have visited, mainly because don't want to spend any more money so had an easy cheap day. Had breakfast (free) then went to the swimming pool I found and stayed there for a couple of hours (also free), there was some expense as got a 'sorng-taa-ou' which is a small red pick up truck fitted out with 2 benches in the back facing each other, as I went to a restaurant for my lunch I saw as I was walking around last night. The 'sorng-taa-ou' was B20 which is 40p, and my lunch B120 (£2.40) which was a bacon, cheese burger, fries and and a coke, as decided that at least once a week you need a burger.

A 'Sorng-taa-ou'


Then off to my free massage for 2 hours, thought I would have another Thai Massage, but with a different masseur, so there were 2 available, I thankfully was given the more petite masseur, my thinking here is that with a Thai Massage, there wouldn't be as much pain....wrong!!!! It was yet again amazing, putting my limbs in places that limbs aren't supposed to go, and more creaking than last time, however this time the very nice masseur decided (whilst I was laid on my front) she wanted to walk all over my back and shoulders, not once but probably 100 times, after even more pain and creaking of ones joints, how she didn't break something is anyone's guess, but I was reassured whilst it was occurring, that at least she will have had some training on not breaking things, mainly my back!
One feels rejuvenated, so off for tea, with a budget of  B100 (£2).

Finally for today, yesterday as I was at Tiger Kingdom I came across, but thankfully a wire fence this time between us, as he did look very menacing, saw a White Tiger, it was beautiful......

White little pussy cat!







Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Another Wat...and a Tiger!

Well, thought I would do a little sightseeing today as the next few days whilst I have a free swimming pool, I won't be doing much, but will still write a little of what I have been up to.

One of , if not the most famously known Wat in Chiang Mai, is Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. So off I went with my tour guide Rattana, on the 30min or so drive up a very steep mountain until we reached the wat.

We went up in cable car as the steps up count over 300, and as I aren't as young as I once was, decided to take the easy option. The wat itself was amazing. It was built by King Keuna in 1383. I also whilst there took a prayer in front of a monk, whilst on my knees and praying, I was then given his blessing whilst been splattered by water, this was to give me good luck and also to grant me my wishes, so we will have to see on that one!!

The wat is placed high up on the hillside above Chiang Mai, and was worth the visit.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep


A lovely little Buddha image at the Wat


Off then to a place that wasn't on my small list of things to do in Chiang Mai, I visited Tiger Kingdom. The reasons I hadn't wanted to was firstly I thought it would be a little too commercialised,  and secondly, never really thought it would have been too good for my health to get too close to a tiger, in a tigers cage. There have been stories of people being eaten doing the same thing, so one was a little apprehensive.

However my guide Rattana seemed to think that it would be good for me, probably because she didn't was me as a customer anymore....anyway I was wrong!

Actually walking into a cage with a tiger, was a little not good on the old heart beat, but I was reassured by the presence of the man with us who had a little bamboo stick in his hand!! So cuddled the tiger I did, played with his tail, and rubbed his tummy.... and thinking back now, it was an amazing experience, something that I would definitely love to bring Sue my girlfriend to experience in the future, not because I want her eaten by a tiger, but because I know she would love it...so that's something for the future.

Me stroking the cute tigers tummy!!!

Anyway best go have some tea. Had for lunch today pork with ginger, so I will end today with a picture of food my lunch (thankfully not me being the tigers lunch)...lovely!

My pork with ginger!









Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Wat Phra Singh

As you can probably tell from the title, been to a Wat today. It is the most visited Wat in Chiang Mai and houses the most revered Buddha in the whole of Chiang Mai, it was built in 1345 by King Pa Yo. I then went for lunch at a local cafe (pici of me below having a Phad Thai)....which basically means rice noodles mixes with egg, flavoured with tamarind, fish sauce, chilli pepper and roasted peanuts then with a meat of your choice, usually pork or prawns....yummy, especially with an extra helping of fish sauce!!

After lunch went for a sunbathe at the swimming pool I found which was free, then off to my free massage, which was a foot massage today, which was fantastic, apart from the small blunt instrument the masseur pushes up on to the sole of your foot, damn well hurts, but I tried to keep my composure.

Off for tea now, so may have another Phad Thai for 60p as one has to keep ones expenses down because I want to buy something nice to take home for my lovely mother and my wonderful girlfriend....x

Wat Phra Singh

Me having my Phad Thai

Also today started my Thai language course, which to be fair, wasn't that successful. I think at one time my tutor Rattana wanted to scream and give up on me. After 2hrs only learnt two sentence's which was (I think) Sabay-Dee-Mai which means 'how are you' and Sabay-Dee-Krap which means 'I'm fine'. All I can say is thank god I can speak English, also I learnt my age...Sii-Sip-Kaaw which is 4 x 10 plus 9 (which of course is 49)....ohh well another day is nearly at an end, so must go have my Phad Thai...





Monday, 25 November 2013

Chiang Mai....

Firstly to anyone reading this, I haven't blogged for a couple of days, 1 day was travelling, the rest of the time I have tried but failed to get Wi-Fi is the place I am staying, however managed to find a little bar (very convenient) that has decent Wi-Fi (the proof being if you are reading this).

Anyway arrived at Chiang Mai last night. Quiet happy to get out of Bangkok, 6 days is far too long...the crowds, traffic, smog and the smell of drains...oh and the odd rat.

Anyway back to Chiang Mai, weather is cool ( so no suntan). Much slower pace, not as many ladyboys, and more little gorgeous eating places. And..... A lot cheaper, my tea I am waiting for now, which will be pork roasted in garlic and basil, with rice....50p

Managed to wangle a free massage this afternoon, my digs for the first few days here are giving a free 1hr massage everyday, so had 2hr Thai massage (can't have one tomorrow as learning Thai). The Masseur put my poor body in positions it hadn't been in before, so there was a lot of creaking....but god do I feel better now..

Tomorrow brings the first (and maybe last, if I give in) of my Thai language lessons, so my next blog will tell you if I learnt anything that resembles Thai...but a little learnt will get even more respect from these lovely Thai people, as they know you are trying, even if it's just a little bit.

Right best get back to my Thai pork garlic and basil stir fry......amongst the aroma of incense and the sound of tuk tuk tuk tuk tuk...yes you've guessed it, coming from tuk tuks....

Street were I live (well this week anyway)


Saturday, 23 November 2013

Bye bye to Bangkok....for now

Just a quick bit about today, then off to Chiang Mai in about 12hrs. Went to Chatuchak Market today, 15000 (so I learnt today) stalls, selling everything...just about. Good job I had a map. Just in case anyone thinking of visiting in the future, the Nancy Chandlers Map of Bangkok does a great layout of the market, definitely a must have, otherwise you will get lost.

Again amazing food ( as per picture below) and loads of everything for sale...including hedgehogs ( although these are pets, not for eating!)

Anyway off to sleep as Nok Airways flight awaits soon...will say hi again in Chiang Mai

Korp Koon


Thursday, 21 November 2013

Boat trip, a Cow and bugs...

Friday now so soon off up country to Chaing Mai in a couple of days...yesterday brought a boat trip. My friend Kevin who I stayed with in Thailand last year advised on this boat trip up the klongs in Bangkok. So off I went, it was about 30mins walk from we're I'm staying. On arrival on the jetty, which if anyone interested when they visit Bangkok is just over the river on Soi 3, Sukhumvit. The boat type thing arrived, and with my heart in my mouth (think that's the right expression) I managed to place myself on the boat, whilst mistakingly looking downwards into the poo infested Klong, anyway I managed it...just.
One thing Kevin did say, was to get off at the shopping centre. To others the stop that had 'mall' in the title may have given a bit of  a clue, but no...I managed to miss it and ended up at the end of the line, and all there was there was some bloke's cow to look at, anyway realising that you can't have too many pictures of a cow, I took a picture of the cow!

The cow


Anyway, after saying goodbye to said cow, I got back on the next boat and returned to my jetty on Soi  3, taking a few pictures on the way including one of many interesting pieces of graffiti seen on the klong walls. 

Graffiti

My boat arriving


I decided to have my daily massage, so went up Soi 4 and were I had been before for my pedicure, I decided to have a foot massage for £4, so off I trundled up 2 flights of stairs into this very dark foot massage room, the whole room decked out in typical Thai murals, incense looming in the air...absolute bliss...the magical smell of Bangkok.

Anyway foot massage done, also had hair cut, but had to barter from B300 to B200, which I thought was still too expensive, but one needed a 'kojak' looking style so it had to be done! (Sorry mother, I know you like your little boy with some hair, but at 49yrs old, I am now old enough to decide I don't see any point in having hair, sorry)

I know I said earlier in my blog, about not too many pics of bugs, well maybe just 2 more for now!! I think one was a locust (my Animal Management trained other half will be able to tell me if I'm wrong on this one) the other definitely a cockroach. So with a little salt and garlic seasoning, they all went down a treat, although the cockroach's legs got stuck a bit between my teeth, and although I do love eating all things bug like, I do sometimes have trouble swallowing when I eat cockroach, but I suppose I will get used to it with practice.


My Cockroaches

Locusts...yummy







Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Torture....

No, the title doesn't mean I am having an horrendous time, it was what the Prison Correctional Museum was all about....
Before I went I understood a little about torture in our times, however, never thought humans could do some of the things depicted in the museum, to another human being. This was the site, and remaining buildings of the Maha Chai Prison, and showed types of torture used frequently in the Siam Ayutthaya period during the 14th to 18th century.
I only managed to take a small number of photo's, as the museum and grounds were controlled by Thai Police, and when they say you don't do something, you don't do it....however I did!....but was glad to get lens cap back on my camera as my old heart beat went a little faster!
It showed living conditions which had a 6' x 10' cell which housed about 20 persons...which isn't too different from today's Thai prisons like Bang Kwang and Lard Yao...however the torture that took place has stopped....thankfully
Why a human would cut open the top part of a mans scull (and I mean slice through from front to back, about an inch from the top of the head) then insert a red hot poker! Certainly an insight into something I never knew happened, or that it was ever possible to happen!!
As I walked through the old prison, I could imagine (although no one could ever fully imagine, obviously) the horrors that went on in those days.
One of the more recent ways of prisoner torture, which continued until recently, was by placing a human being in a ball made of I believe tree branches, then placing the prisoner curled up inside, then allowing it to be a football for an elephant to play with, and those of you who know a bit about elephants, they get bored very quickly. So at the time of boredom, which may have being only 5-10mins later, the elephant brought his front foot down on the ball a few times and slowly crushed the prisoner inside the ball....just for the sake of a bit of fun (except for the human being inside the ball that is)...see pici




Ball showing man inside curled up



One of the old prison towers, were armed guards stood

Anyway enough about torture, off for a £3 foot massage now, as after my prison visit yesterday, decided it would be a good idea to walk through Chinatown back to the main Hua Lampong train station, but instead of taking the direct route, I excised to walk through the backstreets of Chinatown. Now anyone reading this, depict your thoughts about what this would be like, and it was even more amazing than that! Very narrow streets full of what (but obviously wasn't) appeared to be opium dens, the place was filled with a smell on incense with the odd rat passing every now and again, on its way to do whatever rats do!...one word for it...Amazing...absolutely amazing. However got lost many times, which probably added to the excitement a little, and fully expected that Chinese man out of Hangover2 to jump out with his monkey!.....but he didn't! 

Off to find a little boat now for a little sail up the Klongs, something that depicts a cruise through the backwater rivers of England...not! Should be filled with the aromas of food, Incense and drains, and lovely Thai people waving at you and smiling (so definitely not England, as we don't smile much) and if we do, it's not the lovely lovely smile of a Thai...which is probably the most lovely smile in the world......




Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Bangkok's Fine Food.....

Ok, I admit, I love eating bugs! But the last thing anyone reading my blog will want to see, is bugs every time I post, so I will do my bug bit it today's post, and promise not too many bug pictures in the future....although that can't be guaranteed!
On Monday evening I visited a place were I have had been before, but she wasn't there with her bug cart, so was a little sad.....however last night passed the same place...and she had returned!
So as you can see below, the picture of the stall, which had a collection of cockroaches, frogs, grasshoppers, locusts and larvae. So after pondering a little, I settled for a few frogs in a garlic marinade, and a cockroach. Only had 1 cockroach as it was quiet large!

My bug cart I visited....yummy!

Cockroaches...a bit chewy!

Anyway, enough of bugs....for now! Didn't manage the Museum of Corrections yesterday, as I went for a foot massage! The massage wasn't a problem, it was amazing, all for £3. However after being prodded on the soles of my feet by the use do a very painful prodded type thing, my masseur said I may be a little sleepy, so I thought I had plenty of time, so went back to my lodgings for half an hr rest...big mistake! She wasn't kidding about the 'sleepy' bit, started my half our rest at 12:30hrs and woke up at 18:30hrs...which wasn't the plan! So off in a few minutes to the museum, this time without a foot massage beforehand!



Monday, 18 November 2013

1st Day in Thailand....

I arrived safely, KLM yet again did very well...as soon as I set foot out of the airport, and smelled the Thai aromas, I knew why this lovely place always attracts me...and I'm talking about the aromas of incense and food, not garbage and drains.

The hour drive to my little hotel took about 1hr as there was, as always in Bangkok, loads & loads of traffic, and the cost....£8

Last night had a bit of the old let lag, but what better way to help get rid of it is a great tasting Thai dish with a beer, so off I popped to a little restaurant I know on Soi 23 Sukhumvit, it's typical Thai (picture hopefully below if I am able to upload), it's got plastic tables and chairs, no air-con and a few dogs and cats coming to say hello...I had Beef in Oyster Sauce with some lovely Thai fish sauce in my rice....yummy....cost....60p

One of my favourite Thai Restaurants...on Soi 23


Beef in Oyster Sauce....with loads of Fish Sauce..


This morning had what is know as a lie-in, never had one of these since the last time I was in Thailand, got up at 9am, had Full English (decided to not have much so am able to eat lots on the street during the day, see pici) then went for a foot massage up Soi 8 which I have used before, and is amazing, the foot massage being £3...although I sometimes wonder why I put myself through this as my masseur I use tends to get extreme pleasure in what feels like a blunt instrument very hard on the soles of my feet, and yes it does hurt...but I assume it's supposed to!


Full English!



Another of my Favourite Thai Restaurants....


This afternoon off for a look around the Thai Correctional Museum, which shows all types of Thai Prison Torture, so should be interesting!!!

dtorng bpai la......


Friday, 15 November 2013

Suitcase Full!

Tried to get my very small amount of items I am taking with me into my very small 'carry-on' suitcase today....not good....will probably have to leave one of my 6 pairs of spare glasses at home...also my waterproof coat will have to stay behind.
When one has landed in Thailand I hope to post a blog article at least once a day if not more, so anyone interested in seeing some of the things I am getting up to, please follow my posts. Any comments or things you may wish me to write about, please let me know...
In all my previous travels to Thailand, one of the first things I see on arrival that makes me realise I am back...is the Thai Tuk Tuk, the wonderful Thai way of getting about.

Thai Tuk Tuk

Off to do a bit more packing, or at least to see whether I can leave anything else at home...may have to consider changing the size of ones case! Can't wait for my first Thai body massage...after all this stress!!!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Bangkok Itinerary

Only me
Just a little update with my present itinerary for the first 6 days in Thailand, which will be in Bangkok.
As soon as I arrive things will probably change itinerary wise, but the following list is my initial one...


  • Lumphini Park...a relaxing park in the centre of Bangkok
  • Chatuchak Market...the mother of all markets, approx 7000 stalls, open on a Saturday & Sunday
  • Khlong Toey Fresh Market...up early one day as opens at 4am, hopefully chance for some good pictures...of all things strange!!!
  • Yaowarat aka Chinatown...never been before so need to take a look, more culinary delights
  • Live Shrimp...something also not ever done...eaten live shrimp, hopefully another chance to do something new! I would really be good on 'I am a celebrity..get me out of here, as I hopefully can eat anything!!! (As soon as I wrote that quote I realised that one day I may regret it)
  • Massage's...pedicure 1 hr for £3, oil massage 2 hrs for £5...bliss!!!!
  • Khao San Road... The backpacking place to be....
  • Boat ride on the Khlong's ... A private boat ride along the smaller rivers in Bangkok viewing the non touristic area's, showing how the Thai's live...
Yep..Bangkok is all to do with temples, shopping, food, fun, and more food... Probably one of the most diverse cities in the world...and certainly one of the most amazing...you have to visit to believe!!


Bang Kwang Prison, Bangkok

I won't be visiting Bang Kwang this year, however I did visit it last year....that's another story! This prison is also known as 'The Bangkok Hilton'...when I visited as a 'visitor' I certainly was happy to be on the outside again... As one of the books written by an ex inmate quoted...it was a place similar to 'hell on earth'...




Sunday, 10 November 2013

Thailand's Hill Tribes....

In a weeks time one will be sat in Humberside International Airports departure lounge. Packing done and itinerary written! at least for a few of the days I will be away.
On my last visit to Thailand end 2012, when I was in Chiang Mai, I made a trip out of the city into the Hill Tribe countryside. One of the Hill Tribes I visited were the Padung Karen Tribe, made famous because of their neck rings. This visit, although predominately is a fact finding mission (to gain more ideas as to whether I could live permanently in Thailand) but also hopefully will take me to parts that will give me even more of an insight of all things Thai....

I have posted a couple of photos from my last trip showing the Padung Karen Hill Tribe, and some lovely young tribe children, who were more than happy to have their picture taken with me (for a few Baht's payment..of course).

The sight of the living accommodation these Tribes people have, would make some feel sorry for them, but everyone was happy, and to be fair, they have got more going for them than most of us (in my opinion) no money worries (they can live on very little money)  everyone is happy and smiling (unlike us Brits) they eat gorgeous food (we have to eat mostly boring English food). So maybe these people have got something money can't buy....and unless you really study these people, we probably don't realise how lucky they are....and what we are missing...

Ok, maybe the chewing gum didn't portray the typical Padung Karen Hill Tribe living....


Me and my new found friends....

Must get back to my packing...(yes I know, I said I am travelling light, however it still takes me weeks to make sure everything is sorted!).....





Saturday, 9 November 2013

Packing list......

Something I have always done, and Sue who I live with, has always taken the 'mickey' out of me by doing so, and that's having a 'packing list'. I have one for every trip and it's set out in order. Titles are toiletries, clothes, tickets & paperwork, and miscellaneous. Can't understand how anyone can organise any trip without their packing list....but we all have different ways of doing things.

I am going this time with just 1 small rucksack, which I use as my 'carry-on' luggage. Then I have a very small suitcase I use for the outward journeys for my 'hold' luggage. On the return I then use my small suitcase as my 'carry-on' luggage (make sure it's small enough for all your flights dimension wise, mine is 55 x 24 x 34cm which is ok for KLM and Nok Airways. Whilst in Chiang Mai, I then purchase a suitcase to use on the return journeys as my 'hold' luggage.

I do the above because when you visit Thailand you only need your toiletries, 1 change of smalls, iPad, Camera's and assorted chargers etc, when you fly out. Don't do what some people do, they take a small wardrobe with them! When you are out there you buy things as you need them, then bring them home. A t-shirt in Chiang Mai costs less than £1 so why take more than 1 with you.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Less than 2 weeks.......


A little update on my future travels. Less than 2 weeks now before I venture east. In fact in 2 weeks I will be 3 hrs into my flight from Schipol to Bangkok.
A slight change has accured since my last post, as I am now only visiting Thailand for 4 weeks, so will be back in the UK for crimbo. Decided to shorten my visit, because I feel 1 month is enough this time to visit possible retirement accommodation etc, also if I save a little of my saved money, I will have enough already for my flight again next year.
A few pics follows from my last visit, November 2012

A scene showing a favourite small market I visited in Chiang Mai in the old town. As you can see the fish are having a little swim whilst you choose which one you fancy for lunch, and if I remember correctly, they tasted awesome.








The markets in Chaing Mai (and all of Thailand for that matter) do appear at first sight, a little dirty. However on closer inspection, the food has to be the most lovely and clean I have ever come across, an absolute culinary delight.

Whilst I was walking around Chiang Mai last year, I saw this cafe bar...... the coffee was amazing, the service the best ever, and the price....that's why Thailand is an amazing place!