John Quinn's blog on ajarn.com.


Impressive school, impressive owner

A place where educating youngsters really does matter

For this month's blog I would like to take an in-depth look at one of the most impressive schools in Thailand: Varee Chiang Mai School


Treading the boards

Theatre is alive and well in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai has become a sort of bohemian centre for new age people and its expatriate community is actively involved in music, yoga, dance, alternative medicine and amateur theatre. There is today an eclectic mix of activities for an eclectic community.


A stroll around Chiang Mai's Eastern District

A fun-filled glimpse into the past on every street corner

I was sitting in a small garden coffee shop just behind my school sipping a cooling iced-coffee yesterday afternoon, when I started to think about the area surrounding me. Its history is the history of foreigners in Chiang Mai, as this area is where the first foreigners settled, lived and worked in the late nineteenth century.


The battle of Nong Sarai

Following the life stories of a revered Thai king

King Naresuan is one of the most revered monarchs of Thai history. His victories over the Burmese during the years around the end of the 16th Century prevented Burma from consolidating their earlier military victories and hence extending further their empire to encompass large swathes of Siam.


Getting ready for 2015

What will be the effects of the new ASEAN community on foreign teachers?

English is clearly the key to success and opportunity in the new ASEAN community. It is not only the official language; it is also the ‘world' language which is used across the globe for nearly all international dialogue and trade. English will be used at all levels of Thai society from 2015.


A splendid horticultural experience

A day out at one of Chiang Mai's finest horticultural expositions

This blog is about a beautiful and enjoyable day I recently spent at the Royal Flora Ratchaphreuk horticultural exposition in Chiang Mai. It's a mix of pavilions, gardens, events and activities all nestled into a small valley off the irrigation road around 15km south of the city.


Temple spotting

A guide to Chiang Mai's most popular temples

Chiang Mai is a city of temples, and these temples are at the historical and cultural heart of the city. In fact, one houses the City Pillar which gave the city its cosmological chart and hence the blueprint for its construction in 1296 by King Mengrai . There are hundreds, but for this blog, I will write a personal guide for some of the ones I enjoy visiting.


Christians in Chiang Mai

Western followers in Chiang Mai of the Christian God - past and present

When I arrived in Chiang Mai to teach EFL in a Buddhist country back in 1999, I was surprised at the size of the expatriate Christian community here. At that time I knew very little about them and certainly hadn't chatted with any.


Chiang Mai's hot season

The good, the bad and the ugly

I’m sitting writing this blog to the sound of cicadas producing their screeching song outside my window, and the feeling of sweat running down my chest and back, which means to most Chiang Mai people it’s the hot season


The foreign cemetery

Off the beaten track in Chiang Mai

The remains of missionaries, teak company employees, diplomats, soldiers, children, adventurers, teachers and assorted expats from a wide range of countries lie side by side neatly arranged to follow the borders of this small plot of Thai soil that is ‘forever England’.


Dara Academy past and present

The Dara Academy is one of Chiang Mai's largest and most famous schools

To really find out what it’s like working at the Dara Academy, I contacted a couple of old friends who have both taught at Dara for a number of years. Todd Cikraji is American, married to a Thai teacher and speaks Thai fluently. Deborah Baker is also American, and she is one of the few foreign teachers I know who has successfully passed the TCT Exams in order to obtain a permanent Teachers’ License


My Chiang Mai

People, places and events and all things Northern Thailand

I guess for my first blog I should talk about my journey to become a teacher in Chiang Mai. It started way back in 1990 when I travelled from Australia back home to the UK.

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