Thailand Blogs – June 2011 Review

There is both high quality writing and a variety of subject matter in the 15 posts which make up the contents of my Thailand Blogs – June 2011 Review. Thailand’s July election, the Laguna Phuket International Marathon, volunteer teaching in Thailand and black sheep are just some of the diverse topics included. However I have deviated from my normal review format by finishing this post with a blog which dates back to March this year. I hope that has intrigued you enough to read all the way through this review because that last post is worth it.

All photographs included in this month’s review were taken in Wonderful Wi’s village in May during the village’s three-day Bang Fai Rocket Festival celebrations.

My Thailand blogs June review starts in Pattaya with the penultimate post in Thailand, Land of Smiles great series Living Like a Thai. Talen was attempting to survive the whole month of June by living Thai style on 200 baht a day and Living Like a Thai Day 23: Put a Fork in it…I’m Done has a clue to the conclusion of Talen’s experiment in its title. Things were going so well until…..if the post title has teased your taste buds and tickled your tonsils then click on the link and find out what went wrong down in Pattaya.

If you’ve ever watched Thai TV soaps then you’ve probably been bemused and amused by their ‘same same’ storylines and tame acting. Thailand Musings guest blogger Angella has written a post which turns the tables and puts a high heel on the other foot. A Thai woman’s shock with western Reality TV provides a look through Thai girl Angella’s eyes at the openness and frankness of western reality TV and how those two TV traits make for such shocking yet compelling viewing for many Thais.

Another guest post is aired at Thailand Blogs when Dan Ogilvie slots into the guest blog role and pens a beautifully written post titled Give your Heart to Thailand. Dan writes about his love of Thailand and how despite the country lacking in the trappings and luxuries which more ‘grandeur’ western countries like Canada, America and the United Kingdom supposedly have, a sheer love for a place and the feel of being at home there far outweighs the welfare benefits and glossy, cellophane wrapped surroundings of western suburbia.

Paul recounts the joys of riding a motorbike through Thailand’s Isaan mountains laden down with so much supermarket shopping the local Thais couldn’t help but stop and stare at the mad farang on his motorbike. Paul and his Honda Wave made many happy journeys together but that all changed when he and his family upped roots and moved nearer to Bangkok which prompted Paul to buy a car. The Forgotten Joys of Riding a Motorbike in Thailand is Paul’s memories of having wind in his hair and feeling carefree riding his motorbike around rural Isaan.

Johnny Foreigner was back in June after a self-imposed break from blogging. A dose of inspiration for Thai learners is all about getting to grips with the Thai language and Jon places a strong emphasis on learning to read and write Thai from the beginning. Jon’s post also includes three videos from a gang of farang comedians who act out comedy sketches in Thai.

If you’ve ever considered becoming an English teacher in Thailand then jump on the school bus and head over to Snap’s blog Cooee. Snap’s husband Stray is teaching for a not for profit organisation which offers language and arts programs to Burmese refugees. Snap’s post Volunteer English Teaching and Learning Thai has some great photographs of Stray and the kids having fun in the classroom. There are lots of Burmese smiles in the photos and a big beaming Australian one too.

Walking two or three kilometres in Thailand can bring you out in a hot sweat and running a marathon is absolutely unthinkable except for mad dogs and ….. Dutchmen.

Koh Samui’s superfit Camille Lemmens has lived on the island for many years and works as a  PADI Course Director (scuba diving instructor trainer), and last month he hopped islands and took part in the Laguna Phuket International Marathon; Race day raising money for Project Aware, a global force of divers mobilizing to protect the ocean planet in more than 180 countries and territories. Camille completed the 20 kilometre course in a staggering two hours four minutes and I can only assume having run the race that fast he must have had a mad dog chasing him the whole way. The post on Camille’s Samui Info blog includes two very different ‘before and after’ race day pictures of Camille. Well done superman.

Ben Shillington, aka The Thai Pirate, lays down on the psychiatrists couch and jots down his own personal thoughts on an ‘animal’ even Thais wouldn’t dare eat. The black sheep of the family. Many westerners married to Thai partners end up with a black sheep brother-in-law and Ben analyses the reasons why the bad boy of the family turns out so. The Infamous ‘Thai brother-in-law’. Thoughts has Ben switching from his normal jocular writing mode to a more studious one.

Building a Hut on forestry land at the foot of a mountain in Thailand may sound appealing to many of you but for me it would be a big no-no. I’d be too worried about snakes and things which ‘growl’ in the night. For Thais it’s a dream come true. One of Malcolm’s Thai friends starts building a small thatched hut with a balcony in woods not too far from Wang Pho village and Malcolm grabs his camera and follows events to witness a pile of logs being transformed into a quaint weekend retreat for a man and his dogs. Grab your rucksack and sleeping bag and trample down the long grass on your route to Retired in Thailand and Loving It.

June saw Thailand edging ever closer to its July elections and Catherine Wentworth and Women Learning Thai…and some men too got in on the act with a superbly written post titled Thai Politician Chuwit Kamolvisit: A Man. His Dog. Their Park. Thai politician Chuwit Kamolvisit’s election strategy was based heavily on a Bangkok poster campaign which promoted Chuwit as the man to tackle corruption in Thailand and essentially Thai politics. Chuwit himself was once the country’s biggest massage parlor owner with a flourishing empire in Bangkok. Catherine heads off to Chuwit’s election headquarters, meets his campaign poster bull terrier dog Motomoto and visits Chuvit Garden Park, now a public park created by Chuwit in 2006 but formerly the home of his nightlife business empire. This one’s an excellent read and contains many Thai language phrases with English translation.

MeMock returned to Australia with his family earlier this year and last month a stork carrying a baby explained the reasons for their departure from Ubon Ratchathani. On June 22 MeMock’s wife Seerung gave birth to a bouncing bonny boy and newly born Jacob weighed into the world at a healthy eight pounds. Life in rural Thailand has pictures of young Jacob in its post Another little MeMock is born. Congratulations to Seerung and Andrew (MeMock). The photograph on the left has a strong connection to MeMock’s post.

Politics is banned in Isan from Thai Life in Phana is a story which lightly touches on the subject of Thailand’s July election. An Isaan man has banned all talk of politics on his farm and Lawrence visits it to chat about anything but politics and to take a few pictures of the dragon fruit orchard and the splendid weekend hideaway home that has been built there. Lawrence parks his bicycle and guides us through a tour of a place which looks an ideal setting for a late afternoon barbecue and a few cold beers.

Siam Rick resists a short cut to the nearest hair salon, avoids the back street barbers and sides with both Thais and tourists by taking a trip to an air con shopping mall where he decides to get his ears lowered. Rick ignores a friend’s recommendation to get his haircut for a whopping 1,000 baht at a plush Bangkok salon and instead opts for an express cut at a pay as you go barbers booth in Metro Mall. The 100 baht haircut that will last a lifetime is my June selection from Behind the Noodle curtain.

My pick from Beyond The Mango Juice for last month goes to a post which gives an overview of my first impressions of Thailand’s second largest city, Chiang Mai, which Wilai and I visited in May. First Time in Chiang Mai is my humble review of a city steeped in cultural history and one which brings me nicely on to that promised post from March.

Frogblog Thaidings is one of the best Thai based blogs I have ever read but due to personal reasons its author Peter Garwood hadn’t to my knowledge posted on his site since December 2009. A couple of days ago I visited Peter’s blog and discovered the Frogblogger had published a story in March this year. Global travel on the cheap? is the article and any readers who haven’t viewed Peter’s blog before then this post is a perfect example of the man’s polished writing style. I’m sure many of my fellow Thai bloggers may have missed the post as well and I’m equally as sure they’ll want to read it too, and hope the Frogblogger’s next post is visible on the horizon. I know Peter’s stories about Chiang Mai and Thailand have been missed by many people.

That’s it from my Thailand Blogs – June 2011 review.

If you have enjoyed this post then why not get Beyond The Mango Juice delivered free to your desktop or by email via my RSS feed.


I'm a sixty-year-old Englishman living in the town of Swindon in rural Wiltshire and I have a real deep desire to retire in Thailand one day. If you don't have a dream then you won't have a dream come true.

22 Responses

  1. Colin says:

    Some great blog posts here that i seem to have missed this month…

  2. Martyn says:

    Colin thanks for the read and I hope you enjoy picking up on those missed posts. As you’re heading for Chiang Mai a good read of Peter Garwood’s Chiang Mai based Frogblog Thaidings will really put you in the mood for your forthcoming trip.

  3. Thanks for the mention again Martyn. I always enjoy your monthly roundups. I’m sure a lot of people appreciate the efforts you put into these posts.

  4. Martyn says:

    Paul the post does take a bit of putting together but it’s one I enjoy doing once I get into it.


  5. I’ve already read most of those articles, but there were a few in there that I missed. Posted on July 8th? I bit late on the monthly wrap up aren’t we? 😉

  6. Martyn says:

    Lawrence M – I was a bit late with this one , I like to get the post out by the fifth at the latest but I’ve been working a lot lately and ran out of time.

  7. Lawrence says:

    Many thanks for the mention, Martyn. Your monthly review (I have learnt patience in Thailand, so don’t mind when it appears) always reminds me that I should get on with some more posts. And like others, I have always been pointed to something I missed. You’re doing us a great service.

  8. Martyn says:

    Lawrence I should post more often myself but I never seem to have the time or energy to do it. Work interferes with my blogging one helluva lot.

  9. Talen says:

    Martyn, Thanks for the nod as usual…It’s great to see that Peter has written again it gives hope that he may resume his writings full time one day.

    As for living like a Thai…I am so glad that’s over as this weekend is the Pattaya Food Fun Fest and man did I buy some serious food and fun.

  10. Martyn says:

    Talen Like you I’m glad Peter has posted again as I really do miss his musings on Thailand and his tales about Chiang Mai.

    I bet you enjoyed the Food Fest after some of the meals you ate last month. Those scales must be creaking already.

  11. Catherine says:

    Martyn, I can’t say this enough – I depend on your monthly wrap. Life continues to be crazy and I’d hate to miss out on what’s happening, so thanks megga 🙂

  12. Martyn says:

    Catherine thanks for reading my review and wherever you may be right now have fun.

    London, Oslo, Bangkok, you must have a stash of air miles.

  13. SiamRick says:

    I must say Martyn, you do get around . . . the web!

    I know what you mean about writing more. My friends have been complaining the last couple of months about my tardiness. There’s sometimes 10 days to two weeks between posts. That’s usually deadly for a blog; readership starts to decline noticeably. So I am endeavouring to raise the post count and it’s been having a very positive effect on the overall daily average page views. As if I need reminding.

    And thanks so much for the review link!

  14. Martyn says:

    Rick I’ve tried to write more regularly myself but the reverse seems to have happened because right now I’m doing a few extra shifts at work which help my bank balance but not my blog. Having said that, the Juice’s hits for this month have been good so far and could get near to the 8,000 visitor mark. I’m glad to read your hit counter is purring too.

  15. Snap says:

    Martyn, I feel so ashamed…I barely have had time to write posts now days, let alone read those of others. Thanks for the plug once again! This month’s posts will have more of a Vietnamese slant.

  16. Martyn says:

    Snap – See my reply to Rick with regards to finding time to write.

    I’m very interested in your Vietnam posts as I want to visit there next year. I’ve read your first two and will comment tomorrow. Most interesting.

  17. Catherine says:

    Martyn, I’ve just read Malcom’s ‘Building a Hut’ post. It’s great stuff. When I was away this time I filled in the odd hour researching bamboo hut building so his post came at a perfect time.

    The reason for the bamboo hut? I’ve always wanted to know how to be self-sufficient so went at the research as if I were stranded in the jungle with just a machete. I found a number of interesting resources and even ordered a few books.

    Ah. What one gets up to when they allow their minds to wander wherever…

  18. Martyn says:

    Catherine I too found Malcolm’s post to be most interesting, it was the kind of story where I felt like I was there chopping logs and helping out. Then I thought…snakes…and got the hell out of there.

    Your book source company must think you’re going off to some remote Thai island. Buying books about Thai language learning and how to be self-sufficient must have a few of their employees scratching their heads.

    Keep on letting your mind wander. I’m sure someone will have written about whatever strange thoughts absorb you next.

  19. MeMock says:

    Haha, nice picture to go with my mention!

  20. MeMock says:

    Well the girls are doing great but Jacob is giving Seerung and I a few headaches hence why I am posting messages on your blog at 4am.

    Mind you, that means it must be 3am your time – what the heck are you doing up??? 🙂

  21. Martyn says:

    MeMock thanks for the read and I’m glad you approve of the photograph.

    I hope you, Seerung, Jacob and your two lovely girls are doing fine Down Under.

  22. Martyn says:

    MeMock I guess young babies and headaches go hand in hand. You have to suffer a little for all the joy they bring. The headaches turn to migraine when they reach their teens.

    The time here in the UK is now 11pm, one hour before midnight. Maybe you’re thinking I’m in Thailand but unfortunately I’m not.

    That’s me done for the day. Sweet dreams.

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