Monthly Archives: August 2006

Phra That Doi Tung

Phra That Doi Tung, Mae Fa Luang, Chiang Rai

Year of the Pig: Earlier this year, I visited the beautiful Mae Fa Luang Botanical Gardens on Doi Tung. The late Princess Mother had a palace in the hills here which is now open to the public. About 30 minutes from the gardens we arrived at Phra That Doi Tung. These twin chedis, built in 911 A.D., are apparently the first examples of Lanna-style chedis in Thailand. They contain the collarbone of the Lord Buddha. According to legend, giant flags, called “tung” in northern dialect, were flown on this northernmost mountain over 1000 years ago. The direction they pointed was marked as a sacred site and this is where they built the chedi. The mountain is now named after these prayer flags. There is apparently a fine view from the top but the day that we were there we only saw low cloud. The weather was pretty cool as well despite being the middle of the hot season. Phra That Doi Tung is an important pilgrimage site for people born in the Year of the Pig.

Brief history of Thai-blogs

This month we celebrate the second anniversary of our Thai-blog community. What better occasion to recall the past and pay a brief visit the story of how it all started. We have to go back quite a while ago… please follow me.

Where it all began

Once upon a time there was a forum as part of a website called On this forum, some members started to write regularly about their Thai experiences. It was a diverse bunch even back then: temporary teachers, backpackers, and some expats like yours truly. Even Richard found some spare time and shared language study tips he gained while teaching his students at Srinai.

Shortly thereafter, these stories were moved outside the forum, so as to not look like posts. This was the first time they started to resemble today’s blogs – but they were very, very basic. Just plain text paragraphs, that’s it. Things like the calendar, RSS, blog-search – basically all the bells and whistles that we take for granted in today’s blogs, were nonexistent at that time. Writer profiles were those of the forum; comments were also collected as forum posts. I remember, each of us writers had their separate subforum for blog comments, and we responded there.

The lonely blogger

This highlighted an obvious problem: readers had to be forum members in order to interact with the bloggers. Since at that time the forums had yet to gain their own entity to be the popular ThailandQA we know now, the interest for our blogs was sparse. Most writers became disillusioned about this and have left. There was a period of time when I was the sole blogger on the site!

Thai-blogs to the rescue

Around that time, Richard got this brilliant idea to get a proper blog engine and run the blogs on a unique site. This became Thai-blogs that you are reading now. I remember, we had a problem with the name. Richard wanted at first, but it was (and still is) reserved by a cybersquatter. And then we vacillated whether having a hypenated URL will cause confusion amongst readers in the future… apparently it didn’t. 🙂

Content transplant

So, we had a site, we had a name, we had an enigne. But if it started empty from scratch, we would have lost valuable time waiting for content and readership to build up. Thus all of Richard’s and my previously written material has been painstakingly moved to the this new place. The timestamp has also been tinkered with, in order to make the intial posts appear as if they had been written for this site gradually over time. While that was a good idea back then, now it’s simply impossible to find our very first blog entry. Oh well… 🙂

With time readers and writers started to come. Another important milestone in the history of Thai-blogs was when Richard started to construct the Big Thailand Quiz and Steve helped out with that project. It was through their discussions about devising the questions that got Steve started out here at Thai-blogs, giving another enormous boost to this community. 🙂

Plans for the future
In this ever-changing cyberworld one has to keep up with the latest innovations to maintain a quality content presentation. The improvements to our blogs did’t just stop here. Richard told me about future plans to further improve Thai-blogs, and without dwelling on them much, let me just tell you that they can take the community to exciting new directions! 🙂

I’m glad to see that during these years, Thai-blogs succeeded to preserve its friendly and informative nature, making it an isle of peace in the sea of thai-related sites gone bad. Couldn’t have gone this far without writers giving quality content, and readers giving inspiration to the writers. Here is hope that we’re going to see Thai-blogs doing great for many years coming. Thanks to you all! 🙂

A Mosaic Painting of Buddha

For some time now, I had wondered where this painting of mine got to but I was too lazy to go find it until the other day my mother dug it out from its safe place. So, I just wanted to share it on here for observation.

buddha mosaic painting

Can you tell what it is?

It’s a mosaic of the Buddha gaining Nirvana under the Bodhi Tree. I was about 15 when I painted it for my art exam, which means it’s about 4 years old now. Originally, I tried painting a mosaic with a dark fairy theme but that proved to be too complicated and time-consuming so I began looking for a new subject and found an existing picture as inspiration. Thai Art always fascinates me especially the art one sees in the interior of most temples. I love to draw so I definitely would like to try and do some art history or perhaps even a course the next time I come to tow’. To see the difference, you’d have to squint real hard or see a tinier version for the picture to form.

tiny buddha mosaic painting

I guess one could say, it’s an eye-trick. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really appreciated my by art class, maybe it’ll get some love here on thai-blogs, or at least a glance.

PS: Happy 2 years, thai-blogs! Celebrates Two Years!

Elephant show at Rose Garden

Elephant Show at Rose Garden, West of Bangkok

This week we are celebrating our two year anniversary! Time has gone very quickly. I am very happy with the quality of Thai Blogs from our regulars and our guest writers over the last two years. There is really a wealth of information here now about Thailand which will be useful for not only tourists but for people with an interest in Thai culture. As some of you may know, we were experiencing problems with our server recently and we had to do a quick move. We are now on the new server. What we didn’t realize is that the email wasn’t working at This means that we weren’t receiving the applications from new people signing up to blog. If you have joined and haven’t received notification about blogging, can you please contact me by email and let me know the username you used to sign up.

Here is to many more years of blogging at!

Your Wonderful Thailand

Asking expats why they chose Thailand, you’ll often get enthusiastic replies like “Oh, Thailand is such a wonderful place”; “everything is so cheap”; “people are friendly”; “I just love the Thai way of life”.

Once you take a closer look at these enthusiastic folks, however, many times you will find that the “thai” life they are so enthralled about, bears very little resemblance to how the majority of local Thais live. Which in itself is no problem, of course; heck, if I made 5-10 times the local wages, I would also sneak in some more “Farang magic” to spice up my all-Thai life over there. 😉

Stuck in the Farang bubble

What I don’t really get is when, instead of adding that Farang magic, people start substituting some aspects of Thai life with Farang equivalents. What do I mean by that? Consider this old farang guy over at ThailandQA, who summarily rejects all kinds of Thai food, proclaiming that only Farang food is worth eating. Some other expats are stuck in the Farang bubble, afraid to integrate, because that means leaving the old, safe environment behind.

Can you imagine living in Thailand for decades and not eating a single dish of Thai food? Or hiding out during Songkran with the rest of the candybutt Farang in the safety of air-con flats and malls, while the Thai population crowds the klongs and waterways, having “unsanitary” fun in the April heat? 😀

Wonderful Illusion

The “wonderful Thailand” such people talk about is in fact a tiny world of Westernized illusion squeezed into very narrow limits of persistent Farang habits that they are unable or unwilling to break out of. Their professed love for Thailand is only as deep as their wallet goes, because Farang lifestyle is expensive. Would they still be so enthusiastic about living in Thailand, if they were to switch lifestyles with an average Thai worker for a few months? Would they be able to find happiness here on a salary of 4000-6000Bt a month? Doubtful.

Integration = more happiness

No one can love it all. Surely everyone has their own limits to what Wonderful Thailand is about; what’s beyond likeable is personal. Basically, the more you integrate into Thai society, the wider this likeable range is, and the easier Thailand can make you happy.

For instance, I’m equally happy munching on sai ua kao nieow (northern sausage with sticky rice) sitting near the klong with a group of Thai friends who don’t speak English, as I am while chewing on a juicy steak at Sizzler with a Farang visitor.

The boundaries of your Wonderful Thailand
I know where the boundaries of my Wonderful Thailand lie. Politics, corruption, domestic abuse and sex-tourism are some of the few things beyond my boundaries of happy life in Thailand. What about yours? How wide is your range of things that make you happy in Thailand? How many of those could you retain, if you were to live the life of an average Thai worker?