With a string of foreigners dying in suspicious circumstances and an ominous nickname like Death Island, Koh Tao has been in the public eye for a while. Time to have a look into the history of the island, summarize the different conspiracy theories and come to a logical conclusion.
We did it. After incredible amounts of red tape, 26 documents and a whole lot of patience, Khwantippa and I were married on July 15th. As the ultimate Siam In-between column, let me tell you her and our story. An illustration of how radically different backgrounds can still imply a happy ending, and how stereotypes don’t apply.
Picture by Morty Photography
When we registered our wedding at city hall in part 1, we experienced the first challenges in marrying a foreign national in Belgium. Step 2, applying for a marriage visa, only emphasized that complex nature. This second post continues listing our experiences and contains information that isn’t documented anywhere else. Anyone planning to get married to a Thai national in Belgium will save a lot of time and effort, by carefully reading this post.
Fascinated by retail in Thailand, I started paying attention to the differences compared to its Western counterpart. One distinction is related to branding in casual wear and denim. Where Western advertising highlights when a brand was conceived, the Thai counterpart emphasizes where it originates from. This historical infatuation with foreign products has led to an ingenious new approach to branding. Counterfeit products and licencing are out. Inventing foreign brands is in.
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.
Virtually every time we are in Thailand together, Khwantippa and I spend a night at a Tawan Daeng club with her friends. Always heaps of fun, it made me curious about the style of music that is played there, which is Luk Thung. Extremely popular throughout Thai society, why is this considered as country music and what is its history? Turns out it is a very interesting story. Let me tell you all about it.
poster for Monrak Luk Thung, famous for its country music soundtrack
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.
Over the last few weeks the frequency of the updates on this blog has diminished, I am well aware. Getting a visa that allows my (Thai) fiancée and I to get married in Belgium has proven to be a daunting task. So much so, that I decided to fly to Thailand a few weeks ago to help get things sorted, locally. One Blue Monday, we found ourselves standing on the side walk outside of the Belgian Embassy, administrative challenges handled, red tape cut … and both of us with two weeks of holiday ahead, wide-open. Why not take the opportunity to experience vintage country-side living before this options disappears?
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.