We met Laurent while he was working behind the bar of our favorite tennis club. For years he entertained us with amusing tales about life in Isaan, Thailand’s North-Eastern region. His stories would cast such an enticing net that eventually we would be drawn to Siam ourselves. A taste of paradise can slowly turn into a lethal dose of poison. This is the story of a severe case of Thai expat’s disease, as I like to call it.
Increasingly modern as Thailand may become, it will always remain a mystical country. Buddhist beliefs are intermingled with legends about magic, ghosts and local folklore. In this series of posts I will try to open the door to these stories. The legend of Mae Nak Phra Khanong may be the most famous Bangkok ghost story. In this urban metropolis, people still fear ghosts. No wonder, as many sites of these ghost stories can still be visited today. Just like a key location in this legend.
To truly start understanding Thai society, keeping up with the news is essential. Expats and foreigners in general often regard Thai newspapers as inaccessible. The language barrier does not have to be a problem, though. Thailand has several English-language newspapers. In fact, Thailand’s oldest newspaper has always been exclusively available in English. Additionally, an increasing number of publications and periodicals have an English-language edition. Here is an overview of my favorite online news outlets. They feature news, analysis, opinion and op-ed pieces. Do post a comment if you spot another one.
Holidaymakers set on visiting Thailand regularly ask me where they can get the best exchange rates, converting their Euro’s into Thai Baht. In my experience (so far) the best deals are had by bringing cash over and converting them the old-school way at an exchange office. Let me explain where the best exchange rates are offered. Update (25/05/2017): Added additional exchange agencies.
On Friday, I hopped on the red-eye to Bangkok, as some of you have noticed on social media. A little while ago, I started writing about the process of getting married to my Thai fiancée in Belgium. After battling through the red tape at my local city hall and the Belgian Ministry of Foreign affairs, the very last part of the administrative journey takes place at the Belgian embassy in Bangkok. As we want to manage the process ourselves and in person, I decided to fly over. As a bonus, I’ll have more adventures and discoveries to tell you about. Updates coming soon. Sawasdee khrab.
Sunset at Ploenchit Skytrain station
Central World in Bangkok upheld its yearly tradition of putting on a holiday light show in the plaza in front of the mall. This year’s theme is Winter White, the Garden of Happiness. Completed by a Christmas market, one almost feels the temperature drop below freezing while walking around the attractions. If you’re into the festive season, it is worth the visit. Some smartphone snapshots are available in this gallery. Sadly, once again I left the DSLR home. I guess we know what my New Year’s resolution is. Happy Holidays everyone! Hope you can spend them with your loved ones.
The Erawan shrine has fully recovered from the 2015 bombing and looks amazing in Bangkok’s nightly lights. Please excuse the blurry smartphone picture. The first chance I get, I will return, better equipped.