Yantra tattoos are extremely popular, even beyond Thailand’s borders. While Western tattoos typically have sentimental value, Thai tattoos have deeper meaning. Their distinctive style and magical powers date back millennia. Here is the result of my research into the history and practice of Sak Yant.
At least twice a year I fly from Brussels to Bangkok and back. My wife usually makes the same round-trip in the opposite direction every 12 months. With intercontinental flights not exactly cheap, we try to maximize our budget. Let me teach you the tricks we have picked up over time. Some are obvious, others a lot less so. Most European frequent flyers will probably benefit from reading this post. As an example, my latest air fare was just EUR 314.
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.
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.
My post listing Thai newspapers in English triggered so much positive feedback that I decided to compile a follow up. This time I listed my favorite Thai-related magazines, blogs, vlogs and podcasts. Not the common guides to street food, temples and nightlife but valuable content by real people that know their subject matter. This list is not final in any way and will be added to over time. What are your favorite blogs?
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.