An Alcoholic’s View of Rural Thailand

Wonderful Wi seems to think I drink too much. A passion for drink which she claims masks the beauty and charm which Isaan’s country life bestows upon many other people. I’ve always argued the opposite, and so I’ve decided to publish some photographs from my current Thailand holiday which prove once and for all that the beauty of rural Thailand is foremost in my thoughts, and alcohol lags way behind.

A beautiful scenic view of rural Thailand taken from the front gate of our village home in Udon Thani. Despite village life being relatively crime free it is still advisable to lock your garden gates come nightfall. The view is one which is firmly locked in my mind to help beat my mundane lengthy stays in England.

This photo is of a street food vendor and was taken in a village not too far from Ban Dung. I like the way the picture shadows the woman cooking food.

Thailand has been hit by severe floods and whilst Wilai’s village has been fortunate to escape the tragic scenes which have hit many parts of the country, the village and surrounding area is for large parts cut off from the major towns. My photograph shows the rain hitting an already overflowing water container in a typical outdoor Thai kitchen.

I can’t remember why I was laid out face down for this picture but it proves that Thai government investment is slowly but surely improving conditions of rural roads.

A typical view of a rural town in Isaan. If my memory’s right then I believe I merely slipped into Eddie’s Sports Bar in Ban Dung to ask directions to somewhere.

The picture above was on a day when I purchased something in Ban Dung which is not on every tourists shopping list. A pair of green fluorescent Wellington boots. I needed them because parts of our garden were under a squelching layer of water……and the boots got me thinking. And in some ways my thinking proved young Wilai was right.

Have you ever noticed how some foreigners dress wear in the Land of Smiles is somewhat uncoördinated colour wise, and lacking in every kind of fashion sense. I decided to mismatch my boots with the worst fashion allowable from my limited wardrobe and hit the village shop for a drink.

Below is a thickly cut, ham acted YouTube video of me returning from my afternoon’s bevvy. I think it’s a sight many Thai families have seen in Isaan’s’s villages when their daughter’s western boyfriend returns to the family home after his first drink with the locals. Heat, humidity, lao khao, beer and whisky, make a potent mix.

Believe me I was nowhere near this bad but I decided to act up a bit for young Wilai who was sporting a camera.

The hysterical laughter is provided by Wilai herself.


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.

16 Responses

  1. Great acting – I love your shorts Martyn. I was the village drunk in a rural location in Phitsanulok for a few years. I bet people are still finding my empty beer bottles. I used to hide them everywhere so that my wife wouldn’t know how much I was drinking.

  2. Martyn says:

    Paul – They are my favourite pair of daytime shorts. With a nice white t-shirt with a bit of red or black trim they go together quite well. With anything else they are a bit shocking. The rice fields in Phitsanulok must be full of your empty bottles. I think empties sell for 25 satang each.

  3. SiamRick says:

    I think you ought to be more careful about the friends you pick, Martyn. They seem to be litter bugs. They leave their half-finished mixed drinks and beer cans everywhere. You probably didn’t notice the pattern until you hoisted your images up on the computer. They’re in every shot. Really, mate, your friends need to be more sensitive to your art.

    Love your day rompers. However, did anyone try to pick you up at the bar? With four or five drinks down the hatch, one of the newbies might have seen your colourful garb and made “the classic mistake”.

    Enjoyed that.

  4. Martyn says:

    Rick – Ban Dung has five western bars which is pretty damn good for the size of the place and its location.

    I think it would have taken more than four or five drinks for my colourful gear to have tickled the parts other beers don’t reach.

    Glad you enjoyed it.

  5. Lawrence says:

    Your most artistic photos ever, Martyn. Never seen the Thai countryside looking so attractive. Locking your gate at night seems like a wise precaution with all that golden liquid in store. Loved the ham acting — thought it lucky you were taking THE (not A) piss, though.

  6. Martyn says:

    Lawrence – Definitely a new form of artistic art and one I intend following up with location posts in the future. It was ham acting of the calibre Hollywood has seen many times before. Maybe I could make a future president of some country somewhere.

  7. Talen says:

    Martyn, I thoroughly enjoyed the video and the pictures…I am concerned in your choice of beers though 😛

  8. Martyn says:

    Talen I reckon you could do a real good similar post in Pattaya. There’s lots to photo there. Have a think about it.

    I was born in August and so I’m a natural Leo man.

  9. Catherine says:

    You make a fabulous drunk Martyn. And seems to me that prior to filming you put a lot of thought and practice into making it real

  10. Mike says:

    Martyn, like Talen, I love the photos and video, great depth of field in the former 😉 Pity about the Leo though!

    BTW whilst in Tesco’s last week got 3 large bottles of Beer Singha for a fiver which I reckon is Thailand price let alone ASDA.

  11. Martyn says:

    Catherine the acting came from years of spending time in bars and observing the classic drunk in motion. The video was take two as the first was shot in photos not video.

  12. Martyn says:

    Mike – The video hamming came naturally to me especially with the boots on. Leo ? see my reply to Talen.

    Tesco’s in the UK and other supermarkets are very cheap booze wise. In fact, in comparison to Thailand then shopping in the UK isn’t that much more expensive in general.

    I see the ‘Umbrella Man’ made a similar walk to me out of the City Ground. Was it raining at the time?

  13. Talen says:

    Martyn, being born in late July I am a leo as well but I prefer Tiger 😛 but I have to say my favorite beer is Jack Coke 🙂

  14. Adullamite says:

    You? Drink too much?
    Who would have thunk it….?

    Typical English outfit mind!

  15. Martyn says:

    Talen – Animal wise a tiger is pretty close to a lion so I guess you’re supping the right beer. I haven’t seen Tiger on sale around where Wilai lives though I’ve tried it elsewhere and it tastes pretty good to me. Jack Coke gets my vote too.

  16. Martyn says:

    Adullamite – I do like the odd tipple, especially on holiday.

    Perhaps the English should have worn a similar type of kit against France in the rugby. Wilkinson’s kicking might have improved with those wellies on his feet.

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