A Thai Rural Village in Pictures

A Thai Rural Village in Pictures is my latest pictorial post which has spawned a new category in my sidebar titled Thailand in Pictures. Previous pictorial posts have included Udon Thani in Pictures and My First Time in Chiang Mai in Pictures which have proven to be very popular.

The photographs in this post are once again not aimed at being necessarily dynamic but ones which include a couple of my favourites and others which display Thai village life in general. I just hope they convince one or two people to take the plunge and visit a Thai village for the first time.

The above photograph is hardly that of a typical village in rural Thailand because not every one  has a river running alongside it but Wonderful Wi’s village in Udon Thani is fortunate to have the Wang Chang River lapping at its sweet potato clad soil beach. The downside…this year’s terrible Thailand floods did partially immerse the houses nearest the river but a slight incline leading up into the village saved the vast majority of homes from the destruction and devastation caused by the rising waters.

When the Wang Chang River is ripe for fishing, villagers hit the banks and water to catch some of the healthy stock of fish which are such a major resource of village food.

This is village transport for some families. A work horse on wheels but also ideal for a family jaunt to the market in a nearby town.

The same mode of transport but this time a village band rocks the suspension springs as they tour the village collecting money to help fund a village festival party. This one was for the village’s Bang Fai Rocket Festival celebrations.

This is one of my favourite photographs and one I have published before on Beyond The Mango Juice. These village kids aren’t collecting money in their buckets and bowls, they are their weapons of mass destruction for Thailand’s New Year Songkran water festival.

Monks offer prayers at a funeral at the village temple grounds. Another motorcycle accident has taken a life, this time it’s that of a young man barely out of his teens.

Love it or hate it…cock fighting is a way of life for many village men and the weekend heralds a cock fight or two as friends gather to share lao khao, beer, booree (cigarettes) and pit their best fighting cocks against each other.

Cattle and buffalo can be seen everyday in Isaan’s villages when herdsmen and women lead out their stock to graze for the day. A strong and healthy well bred cow can sell for around 20,000 baht (US$666) and some villagers have a score or two of them. I wonder how you say in Thai ‘where there’s muck there’s money’.

If you stay in a Thai village long enough then you’ll start to notice snakes and realize you’ve walked past many unseen ones before. Look dead centre into this picture (click to enlarge) and you can see a snake peering out above the tall grass. I’m not sure what kind of snake it is and I sure as hell wasn’t going to tap it on the head and ask. You can get a much clearer view by clicking on the photo.

If the snakes are oblivious to you then these beautiful beasts won’t be. Occasionally travelling mahouts and their elephants will pass through a village and the rural countryside is much better suited for the elephants than the dangers of the city streets which beckon their mahouts with the lure of bigger money.

Udon Thani city has its shopping malls, bars and restaurants but in Wilai’s village much of the daily social life revolves around a visit to one of the local shops. This one is a community shop and yearly profits are shared equally among the villagers. Last year Wilai picked up a whopping 45 baht (US$1.50).

Rice farming is by far the biggest industry in rural Thailand but villagers earn a crust in many other ways too. Livestock, fruit, vegetables and fish are a few. In this photograph a charcoal kiln smoulders away giving one family another source of valuable income.

I hope you have enjoyed viewing some of the photographs and below are a few more which capture a Thai rural village in pictures.

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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.

15 Responses

  1. Great photos! That photo of buffalos is naughty 😀

  2. Martyn says:

    Simon – My favourite by far is the picture of the kids with their Songkran buckets and bowls.

  3. Catherine says:

    Martyn, I do love the photo with the kids but the one of the Wonderful Wi framed by Water is a classic beauty. And thanks for reminding me about the charcoal kilns (I need to build them in my dreams …)

  4. Martyn says:

    Catherine – The picture of Wilai was taken shortly before sundown, and believe me the Wang Chang River looks absolutely amazing when the sun is finally settling and reflecting an orange glow over the water.

    Keep building your dreams and here’s a snippet from you about my charcoal kiln post.

    ‘I have seen loads of charcoal kilns…………I saw a big one just this weekend on a mangrove walk. The King built a beautiful mangrove park for the people, his daughter took it over. Locals moved in and built a kiln… so the mangroves are covering less area now……….There is more to the story so I’ll wait until I research it properly (or as proper as I can).’

    How’s the research going?

  5. Mike says:

    Martyn, love the photos. The top one is excellent as are the buffalo’s. I think the snake is a Cobra without its hood extended!

  6. Martyn says:

    Mike – A cobra….Aaaaaaaahhhh!

    I’ll take that back….!hhhaaaaaaaA….arboc A

    I was sat in a car when I took the photo, I shot it through a wound down window. I have wondered ever since if it was a cobra or not. It’s frightening to think it might be because the wall beside it is that of the kids school. That’s kind of scary.

    Aside from the Songkran kids I think the picture of the fighting cocks is a pretty good one, especially with a £100 camera.

  7. Catherine says:

    “How’s the research going?”

    So much to do… so little time…

  8. Martyn says:

    Catherine – I know the feeling. I don’t know where the year has gone. It’ll soon be Christmas and….Easter a few days later. I’ve really got to try and slow down the days in my life. We all have to.

  9. Martyn says:

    I contacted Vern at ThaiPulse and he looked into what snake the one in the picture might be and came up with evidence that it’s probably an Indo-Chinese Rat Snake, Ptyas korros.


    A big thanks to Vern

  10. Catherine says:

    Gawd, I know Martyn. It’s going to take me all next year to finish the projects I meant to complete this year. Dunno where the year went (Ok, a third was underwater).

  11. Martyn says:

    Catherine you have had a bit of a waterworld year, hopefully 2012 will give Thailand just the right amount of rain it needs.

    Here’s my latest project….still tweaking it.


  12. Catherine says:

    Martyn, that’s a great idea for a site. We need one like that for the design industry (for sure).

  13. Martyn says:

    Catherine thanks for the nod and thumbs up.

  14. kris says:

    Martyn, loved the pics and story. Liked the work horse on wheels and the village band rocking the suspension springs……. Mate.. they don’t have any springs!! Solid axle with solid flat bar to the cart. You can put as much weight into them so long as you put heaps of air in the tyres. Just don’t expect the wheel bearings to last very long, that’s all.
    Fabulous story and again fabulous pictures, thank you. Kris

  15. Martyn says:

    Kris – Thanks for the technical info on the work horse wheels….I must admit I meant the phrase more as a pop music thing than the real thing.

    It’s amazing how the work horses or Chinese Buffaloes as they are referred to in Burma stand up to the strain without any suspension. I don’t know how much they cost but they sure as hell get through a lot of use. I have travelled in the back of one before on a three click trip to the local town. Happy days.

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