Peter Clarke

Interesting Thailand stuff - June 2016

Another selection of interesting blog and article links

Let's kick off this time around with a really fun read from the Bangkok Bits website. They've put together a terrific list of ten Thai superstitions or strange beliefs that you probably didn't know about. For example, it is a common Thai belief that if you bring a virgin lady to stab an upside-down lemongrass on a rice field, it stops raining! You get the picture. 

And while we're in the mood for a list of all things Thai - here are eleven of the most wierd and wonderful festivals that take place in the kingdom, guaranteed to keep you busy for a year.

Becoming a digital nomad and wandering around Asia making money from on-line content is becoming more and more popular these days. Here's TechinAsia's list of the eight most nomad friendly cities in Asia. No real surprise to see Chiang Mai in pole position I guess. And in this related article, Sasiwan Mokkhasen explores why Thailand generally, is such a great place to call home if you're part of the 'wireless workforce'.

Something else gaining in popularity is on-line teaching. But how much does it pay? How difficult is it to find students and then keep them? There are so many questions - but thankfully Sara has a lot of the answers in 'Flattening The Globe - a guide to teaching English on-line.  

What jobs can a foreigner do in Thailand? Well, there's English teaching of course. But there's also jungle clearance and owning a roadside restaurant. Hold Steve Edwards serious about this? 

Asia's 'cool kids' are all flocking to Chiang Mai according to Pip Usher from the Vogue website, although I must confess that I didn't get very far with reading it. The opening paragraph made me lose the will to live. Sorry Pip. 

From Chiang Mai all the way to the island of Koh Samui. What did 'The Fit Brit' get up to while she was on holiday there? Thai boxing, cookery classes, intensive gym sessions......I'm exhausted from just reading.

It's got nothing to do with Thailand but I'm making no excuses for promoting what I think is one of the best, no-holds-barred, straight-between-the-eyes travel blogs I've ever read. I've never been to Manila in The Philippines but I loved Thos Major's trip report. Hard to believe it was Thos' first attempt at travel blogging. All I can say is 'more! more!

Here's an excellent article by Lindsay Newhall from the Fightland website. It's the story of Rose, a transgender kickboxer who lives in rural Thailand. This detailed account of Roses' life delves into her background and why she took up Thai boxing as well as the opinions and thoughts of her fans and opponents. A great read for Thai boxing enthusiasts! 

Let's slip in another Thai human interest story - this time a young lady by the name of Suwattana "Mai" Chanthalert, who is aiming to be the first female pilot in the Thai Air Force. Good luck Mai!

OK, let's get back on to English teaching and the story of Mike, who arrived from The Philippines to try and secure a teaching position in Thailand. Mike's put together a photo-blog to help take you through every step of his journey so far from first arrival, settling in and then finally applying for jobs. You've done a good job there Mike.

Even though teachers may have worked in Thailand for some time and have no intentions of leaving at the moment, it's always fun to read how Thailand compares with other Asian countries as regards opportunities for chalkies. Here's Michael Allan Charles with a few notes on Cambodia as an alternative TEFL destination.

You can always rely on Richard Barrow to put together a quality teaching article. Richard needs no introduction as one of Thailand's best known teachers and social media contributers. This time around he's tackled the topic of applying for a job as an English teacher in Thailand. Having worked at the same school for well over twenty years, he's seen it all. Who better than Richard to offer a whole bunch of valuable tips?

There have been some interesting articles and blogs on the What's On Sukhumwit website recently. Let's start with Steph Johnson, who asks the question - What's the problem with Western women in Thailand? Steph examines the attitudes of Western male expats who have settled in Thailand and their often cruel and unfair opinions of Western women (when primarily comparing them to Thai females of course)

And while we've got our 'social culture' head on - has Bangkok itself become too Westernized? Interesting question. Jamie Harkis investigates.

Also from the What's On Sukhumwit website, are you looking to get out of Bangkok for the day but don't have a car? No problem! Here are nine destinations within easy reach of the capital by public transport. Why not let the train take the strain!

I know Paul Gibbs from Twitter and I would describe him as one very serious Bangkok cyclist. Paul's written a terrific blog on getting out and about on two wheels and exploring some of the city's klongs (canals) The blog certainly made me want to get on a saddle and start pedalling. I can't begin to tell you how much I miss my cycling.

Steve Edwards recently did a visa run to the Cambodian border, Poi Pet to be exact. This is his humorous account of the whole experience. It's funny how I love reading about visa runs a lot more when I'm not the poor devil who has to do them.

If you don't fancy a visa run to Cambodia, then there's always Penang. I haven't been there for donkey's years and was never all that impressed but places do change of course and according to Chris and Angela, Penang offers the perfect opportunity for what they call 'an easy peasy visa run'

On a distinctly darker note, there seems to be more and more stories in the media concerning assaults on foreigners in Thailand. Has Thailand suddenly become dangerous? In his 'Why You Shouldn't Fear Violence in Thailand' article, James Newman doesn't think so - but he advises caution all the same.

Let's switch to a recent Thai immigration issue. Numerous on-line forums and expat discussion boards have been buzzing and getting their knickers in a twist over a new application form that is apparently being handed to foreigners whenever they go to their local immigration to do visa business such as extensions and 90-day reporting. The form requests foreigners to divulge personal information such as what social media platforms they use and bank account numbers, etc, etc. The Khaosod English website has gone some way to explaining the new requirement and hopefully putting some people's minds at rest.

There are plenty of folks interested in photography out there and photo-blogs are always popular. I really enjoyed this webpage featuring 24 photographs that truly capture the essence of life in Thailand and its unique culture. Top marks for some wonderful pictures.

Are you a Bangkok amateur or a Bangkok expert? I'm not sure I want to answer that one - even after reading 'The Art of Being a Bangkokian' from April's Bangkok Post. And I see that the mighty BBC website featured Bangkok last month as part of their 'capital City' series. Why is Bangkok such a great place for expats?

Something for the Thai foodies? Don't worry, I'm not leaving you guys out this month. Here are 15 ultimate Thai noodle soups to try while you're in Thailand. I think I'm going to go for number nine.

Still on the topic of Thai cuisine, how many of these unusual Thai foods have you tasted? Anyone for water beetle chilli paste? No, I thought not. Be warned - there are photographs as well. LOL

Stuck in Bangkok early morning and looking for somewhere to get a quality breakfast? Surely you can find somewhere in this incredible list (with photos) of no fewer than 40 eateries! And no water bettle chilli paste I promise. 

Chris and Angela up in Chiang Mai are often featured in these blog and article round-ups and this month is no exception. One of the most common questions they get asked is - is it safe to eat Thai street food? So as Chris and Angela usually do, they've put together a corking blog to answer that very question. Top work guys! 

Where can you buy some of the best bread and baked goods in Bangkok? Here's a selection of bakery shops that take the art of bread-making very seriously. You'll never want to buy a sliced white loaf from 7-11 again. 

And last but certainly not least. Facebook / internet Thai sensation 'Sexy Pancake' passed away last month from penile cancer. Rest in Peace and thank you for all the genuine belly laughs that your brilliant photographs gave us all. 



By Jack, In front of my computer (3rd June 2016)

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