This morning I did wake-up at 5:15 and took the bicycle for a spin at 5:45. Just a short ride between small Tai Lue villages, along a small river and back via another village. Although it is supposed to be the not so hot raining season (green season) it has not been raining seriously since weeks and it is bloody hot from about 10:00am. So next time I will start riding my bicycle at 5:00am.
One of those Things Typically Thai is Thai food. Thailand is famous for its delicious food and food is a big part of the way of life in Thailand and of Thai culture. You will find places to eat almost everywhere and if Thai are not eating they probably think about eating or buying food. So yes when on holiday you should at least try Thai food. But be a little bit careful. Some Thai food can be very spicy and some food has ingredients that might not be safe to eat if you are not used to it (like Pla ra).
A few other things about Thai food, many Thai dishes are promoted as typically Thai but in reality origin from India or China. And Thai food is promoted as delicious & healthy but the latter is not always true. In the Thai kitchen a lot of sugar and fish sauce (replacement for salt) is used. And the farmer growing the vegetables are very easy in the use of pesticides, also the one's that are worldwide forbidden to use. And be careful where to eat as not all street-side places take food-safety in high regards.
Phad Thai Kung - Photo by : Takeaway
Phad Thai (fried rice) is a famous street food most times sold along the road in small carts. It is basically fried noodle with meat (chicken, pork or shrimp). Phad Thai is originally a typically street food thing but nowadays also sold in real restaurants. It is said to come from the Ayuthaya during the time of the Ayuthaya Kingdom although there are also other source that mention a more recent time.
Khao Phad Kung
Khao Phad (fried noodle) is another famous Thai dish that is sold both along the street or in real restaurants. It is basically fried rice with meat (chicken, pork or shrimp) and a little bit vegetables. And for westerners there is the American Fried Rice. My favourite is Khao Phad Pak .... no pork, no chicken, no shrimp. Just a lot of vegetables (pak) and without hidden chillies.
Kuay Teaw Nua
Kuay Teaw (noodle soup) looks to me like an dish from Chinese origin but adapted for Thai taste. It is sold along the street from food carts or at small simple kind of restaurants. The latter are the so called Noodle Boat Restaurants because this dish became famous as being sold from a small boat on the canals of Bangkok. But it is also served in real restaurants. And again there are many variations of course, first of all made with rice noodle or egg noodle. Secondly the meat can again be chicken, pork, shrimp / fish balls) or beef. And there are variations from different parts of Thailand like Khao Soi that is famous from Northern Thailand (actually a Burmese dish).
Som Tam with Kai Yang and Sticky Rice
Som Tam (papaya salad) is a famous dish from North-East Thailand but popular all over Thailand. There are many variations of this dish. The most famous are Som Tam Pla (with fermented fish), Som Tam Thai (no fermented fish), Som Tam Talay (with seafood), Som Tam Falang (no chillies and no fermented fish).
Selling Kai Yang
Kai Yang (bbq chicken) also know as Kai Ping most times sold at a place where they also sell Som Tam but also sometimes sold just along the road. Kai Yang is said to be originated from Laos and is in Thailand famous as coming from North-East Thailand (Isan). The real Kai Yai is sold as street food. The best chickens for Kai Yang are said to come from Wichanburi and along the road between Khon Kaen and Udon Thani is a village (Khao Song Kwan) that is famous for its Kai Yang. Kai Yang is a full BBQ chicken leg but sometimes they also sell other parts like the wings, ass, small chopped parts (a lot of small bones).
Sweet Mango with Sticky Rice
Khao Neeo Mamuang (sticky rice with sweet mango) is a kind of dessert (although the Thai kitchen actually does not have desserts). It is sticky rice with a little bit of coconut sauce and pieces of sweet mango. Delicious but not very healthy as it is full of sugars. Sold as street food but also in restaurants.
Although I am not a real photographer, I have always liked making photos. And I like cameras as gadgets. So I have always had a camera since I was 10. The best camera is the one you have with you, so it has to be small for me. This new camera is replacing my Sony HX90V that I dropped from 4 meter high. In the race for replacement were the Canon G7X 2, Panasonic LX100 2 and Sony RX100 3 or 4. I finally bought the Sony RX100 3, just because the shop made me such a good offer. My personal reason for choosing this type of camera are Small Size, Wifi, View-finder, Good Quality Zeiss lens but not too much zoom. Of course there are few drawbacks .... The Con's
A bit short zoom
It is a camera from June 2014
But the best ..... it is small ..... very small .... but yet it has great software & hardware features like tilting screen, view-finder, Wifi, etc. I will not bother to write a real review ... just do a google and I am sure you will find a great review of this little beast. Short ReviewAs for Connectivity the little beast comes with ...
NFC but I did not use or test that yet
HDMI but I did not use or test that yet
To make this all work I had to install some software on my Macbook (Wireless Auto Import and PlayMemories Home) and on my Samsung phone (PlayMemories Mobile and Sony SmartCam Remote). Update of software of the camera can all be done straight from the camera.
The camera has View Finder that can be adjusted for your eyes. But I did what I not like is that closing it also closes the camera. At my HX90V I could disable that function. The LCD screen can be tilted and the screen can be automatically rotated or adjusted for making portret photos.
Shoot mode are Superior Auto, Intelligent Auto, Program Auto, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority Manual, Memory recall (3 sets), Movie, iSweep Panorama and Scene Selection. Until now I use Intelligent Auto, Aperture Priority and Manual.
Charging can be done with standard USB cable to any charging device. I love that! Most functions of buttons on the camera can be changed. Two very handig "buttons" are the front-ring and the back-side ring (can not be changed). I love the sensors on the camera. They make this an intelligent little beast! And it really works.
Although the settings are a bit "typically Sony" (that means I do not understand the logic) but there is one great button "Fn" what gives you the option to change settings directly. And the changeable settings to choose from can be changed in the settings. I love that and use it a lot. You can install all kind of apps on the camera, like Time Lapse. That is nice in itself but actually it should be included. This app costs 330 Thai baht. My camera came with a SDHC 32GB card and screen protector film. No bag but I still have one that perfectly fits. I bought my camera at an official Big Camera.
The young kids are awaiting a performance to be given at a local OTOP day near our village in Nan province. The older ladies just continue their work of making their traditional cloths. Yes of course the kids & ladies are a bit dressed up for the party but in the villages in the mountains you will still seem some people wearing their traditional costumes. Not for tourists because there are no tourists coming to those villages. For more information about the beautiful Nan province see Destination Travel Guide Nan, North Thailand.
Background information : Mien people are also called Yao people. The latter is the international name. More as 100 years ago they migrated from China to Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. The all speak the same language, but in Vietnam they have a bit other traditional dress.
The thousands of light of The Big Mango seen from the rotating floor at the 84th floor of the Baiyoke Tower in Bangkok overlooking the city by night. The Baiyoke Tower is home to an hotel, multiple restaurants and of course a rooftop bar. A great place for an evening out, although there are now higher buildings in Bangkok. For more information have a look at Baiyoke Tower
One of those Things Typically Thai are the Songtheauws, a mode of public transport. I am sure that anyone who has been in Thailand on holiday has used at least once a Songtheauw. In places like Chiang Mai and Pattaya they are very (in)famous. Most times it is a pickup car with in the back two (song) bench (theauw) seats for passengers and a roof to cover the passengers against sun & rain. But the number of passengers is not limited to the people sitting on the 2 benches. Sometimes there is a third bench in the middle and/or people are standing inside and/or outside. The Songtheauws have different colours in different cities, also as remark to what route they are riding. And in bigger cities also a number to designate the route they are driving. Basically they are riding a fixed route and stop along the route where ever people flag them down. For this kind of transport is a fixed price ranging from 10 to 30 Thai baht, depending on the length of the trip. But some Songtheauws can also be hired as private transport, but you should negotiate a price BEFORE leaving. Also many Songtheauw drivers have the habit of over-charging "rich" tourists (Thai & foreigners alike). I would also like to add that in my personal opinion Songtheauws are not safe for highway transport. There are no safety belts and not much protection when the Songtheauw would have an accident. And accidents they have as many Songtheauw drivers are not know for driving safe.
As an add-on : In Bangkok you will also see small mini-van's that are in between a Songtheauw and a Tuk Tuk. And there are also bigger trucks that look like a Songtheauw but are actually used as a kind of bus (most times for example factory workers).
One of those Things Typically Thai are gold shops. OK it is not typically for only Thailand because you will see Chinese run gold shops all over South-East Asia. But when you have been on holiday in Thailand I am sure you will have noticed the always red coloured gold shops. They are everywhere, even in small towns. And in shopping malls. Yaowarat road in Bangkok is famous for its gold shops. In Thailand gold shops are not really jewellery shops but more a kind of bank as you can not only buy gold but also sell gold. So gold becomes a kind of investment and a way of showing how wealthy you are. On the windows of gold shops you see the daily price of buying & selling gold. Mind you that is the price of just gold, not the price of gold jewellery. For the work that is done is added a certain % of the weight price. Gold is sold in weight. And there is an Thai weight system used as 1 baht of gold = 15.2 gram. An half bath of gold is also called 50 satang. In gold shops they jewellery is most times categorised in 25 satang, 50 satang, 1 baht, 2 bath and 3 baht. And more for the really rich people.
Thai gold is much more pure as gold sold in Europe or US. Thai gold is 23 or 24 karat (96.5% pure gold) while in Europe most gold is only 18 karat. And because of that Thai gold is softer and different in colour. And for that reason for rings is most times used 22 or 20 karat. And because Thai gold is more pure gold, Thai people do not really want to have non-Thai gold because they can not sell it here. So gold is here not really sold as jewellery but as gold material. And at weddings it is normal that the groom will give gold to the bride as showing his love for his new wife. This gold is for her a good investment for her future. But most times this gold is sold after the marriage.
Yesterday was a lovely cool day with a hour of rain and this photo is the last photo my Sony HX90V camera made as I dropped it out of the window 4 meters lower into the garden. And the camera landed on its lens. After the rain we had a beautiful misty sunset with some bright beams coming from the sky reaching out to all people in Pua and Thung Chang. Safe travels Mike, see you somewhere over the rainbow.
Today 7 July it is more or less exactly that I am living for 20 years Thailand. I lived a few years in Bangkok, moved to Pattaya, Khon Kaen and finally Nan. And I love it! Especially our new house in the middle of the rice fields and overlooking the mountains. But of course everything has its pros & cons. Also living in Thailand. Although living here now 20 years I still need a yearly visa to stay here. And slowly there are more regulations being enforced for foreigners living here. And slowly I start to dislike that sometimes. Also life begins to be more expensive with the current exchange rate. So I am even considering to think about other options, about a exit strategy. And with the current exchange rate it is a perfect time to recoup investments made in the past.
First they came for the blacks & illegals, and I did not care for I am not black or illegal. Then they came for the criminals & overstayers, and I did not care for I am not a criminal or overstayer. Then they made it more difficult for getting a visa, and I did not care as I could still easily get a visa legal. Then they made it more difficult for retirement visa's, and I did not care as I am married with a beautiful Thai lady. Then they started to enforce registration of foreigners, And I do not care yet as it is easily done by internet (hopefully). Then ..... what is next?
I love traveling by train, especially in Thailand where it is like traveling in time. It is like an open-air museum. Not only the trains itself but also the train stations. They look like they have not changed since they build the first railroad lines in Thailand in 1889. This little train station Khlong Pai (near Sikhio in Nakhon Ratchasima province) looks on the outside unchanged, but unfortunately the inside has been changed. This photos have been made in 2015 or 2016 and I am not sure if this little train station is still unchanged as there is a lot of modernisation going on at railways in Thailand. So if you like old train stations hurry up and see them all in Thailand!