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18 August 2013 ~ 5 Comments

Pattaya Bars; Relaxing in Thailand

Pattaya Bars; Relaxing in Thailand

Pattaya is, as anyone with any familiarity with Thailand knows, renowned for its nightlife. The party atmosphere in most Pattaya bars never stops and it really is a place that every nightlife-lover should experience at least once in his or her lifetime. Having said that, there are many other dimensions to the nightlife, it’s not just about late-night partying. Many bars are, for example, just great venues to kick back and relax, or enjoy a meal… or two!

A selection of slower paced Pattaya Bars

There are literally hundreds of bars in Pattaya and regardless of whether or not you know where to go, you will find plenty of entertainment to suit your needs. That is true regardless of your age, your nationality, your music preferences or your food preferences. There are places for singles, places for couple and places for entire families to while away the night.

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Since there are already an endless number of reports covering all the crazy late-night stuff that goes on in the bars of Pattaya, I thought a sober reflection on some of the more peaceful options might be in order.

The bar in the Picture above is my favourite bar of all. It is called the Pattaya Beer Garden and it is found at the end of the pier on Beach Road (just before Walking Street). This place is perfect for quality food at low prices in a romantic setting.

Since Pattaya bay is west facing, you get to see the sunset over the sea and that gives lots of photo opportunities. The music played here tends to be Western pop music, anything from the 1980’s to the current time. The menu has a wide selection of Thai and Western food and both are well prepared (quite unusual for the restaurants here as most restaurants tend to excel in either one or the other).

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For an altogether different sort of bar, there are a number of converted Volkswagen Camper vans dotted around the city. I really like this sort of thing; if you are from a cold northern hemisphere country you’ll probably agree that there’s something relaxing about the whole outdoor lifestyle in Thailand. That outdoor aspect is typical of most Pattaya bars and it’s something you don’t get in countries with cold climates. A converted Camper van with a few tables and a mobile sound system belting out some songs helps me to kick my shoes off, sit back and enjoy!

Another good thing is that, if you like a smoke, the outdoor aspect means that you don’t have to worry about any no-smoking signs! I don’t care much for cigarettes, but I am a fan of the sheesha (tobacco and molasses) that many of the bars sell.

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You can even relax in the busier, louder Pattaya bars throughout the city. With temperatures rarely falling below 22 Celsius (even at the dead of night during the coolest months), you’ll find that most people head out into the nightlife wearing shorts, t-shirt and sandals… it’s all really informal and laid-back… and I love it!

14 July 2013 ~ 7 Comments

56 Cobras Infest Thai Home

This video is insane, especially if you are scared of snakes. I’m not particularly scared, but I’m not too crazy about them either, especially if they are sharing my living quarters. The worst we’ve had here in Bangkok is some ants and the occasional cockroach. This video of 56 cobras in a home in Krabi is totally off the hook. If you are comng to Thailand and don’t like snakes you should probably stay in Bangkok!

03 July 2013 ~ 3 Comments

Big Bite Bangkok Food Tasting Charity

I used to love events like this back in the U.S. and am so glad to see the beginnings of artisanal movements here in Bangkok. It’s kind of ironic really because in essence many of the street vendors are the embodiment of artisanal food; that is food which is made by hand using traditional methods.

Big Bite Bangkok – The city’s only charity food tasting market!

Big Bite Bangkok is a series of outdoor markets featuring the best of the cityʼs small-scale artisinal food producers.

Food lovers from around the city come to taste, mingle, and donate money to charity.

At long last, a market for people who love food in all its forms: be it Thai, non-Thai, grilled, stir-fried, solid, liquid, or sold on a stick. From nam prik to bagels, doner kebab to freshly baked bread, Big Bite celebrates all that is delicious, edible, and thoughtfully made in Bangkok. The market will do this by featuring the handiwork of vendors from around the city.

Everyone attending the market samples big bites of the food on display for free. If they love what they taste, you can purchase bigger portions of the items from any of the vendors to eat or take home for later.
How to Attend Big Bite

The next event is July 14th, 2013 & will take place in the parking lot of the Maduzi Hotel (accessible by MRT & BTS).

Maduzi location map

Note: Please ride or walk, there’s no parking available.

Watch our facebook page or signup for our newsletter to make sure you’re invited!

Big Bite Bangkok donates its proceeds to In Search of Sanuk, a volunteer-led organization sponsoring at-risk families in Bangkok (for more info visit

01 July 2013 ~ 15 Comments

Activities for Teenagers in Bangkok

If you have them, you know them well. Teenagers can be a joy in their openness and proud march into an ever expanding world. They can also be a nightmare of angst ridden needs. Needing to be accepted, needing to expand their independence, and often needing to be entertained. While Bangkok offers many entertainments for adults, what do you do with your teens when they are looking for entertainment in Bangkok?

Fortunately, Bangkok offers a plethora of activities for teens. There are the common activities that will keep them busy for several hours such as movies and bowling, which are available at most every shopping mall from the Central branches to Emporium and Esplanade, among others.

Those who enjoy skateboarding can find plenty of empty (and sometimes full) parking lots to shred on as well as a few actual skateparks such as The Ramp in Esplanade shopping mall (located on the ground floor in the back of the NY/LA store, 90 baht admission), Muang Thai Live X Treme Park at the Saranraj Maneerom Park (located at the corner of Ekamai and Petchaburi, also known as the Pink Skatepark), Zeer Rangsit Skatepark (in the Zeer Shopping Center, Don Muang), and under the Rama 8 bridge on both sides of the river.

Some other activities that should keep the teens happy for the weekend include the following:

Dancing – See my post on Bangkok dance schools.

Flowboarding – This is a combination of skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding and to a lesser extent, wakeboarding and skimboarding and is a great day out for young and old alike. Flow House Bangkok is located centrally on Sukhumvit Soi 26 and is open from 10am to midnight Mon-Fri and 8am to midnight on Saturday and Sunday. You can get lessons from trained instructors if necessary, and there’s no charge to enter Flow House so parents can come and enjoy the free WIFI while the kids shred the flows. Prices are 750 baht per hour, but they offer student discounts of 500 baht per hour or 900 baht for 2 hours (with student ID), and also have multi-hour cards available (buy 5 hours get 2 hours free, buy 10 hours get 5 hours free, buy 15 hours get 10 hours free).

Paintball – While you may think of paintball as an activity that happens on large expanses of forested land, there are a couple operators of paintball parks right within Bangkok. One is Combat Zone 62, which has been in operation for 15 years and is located on Sukhumvit 62 near Seacon Square. Another is Tubchang Paintball and BB, located on Ramkamheng 118 (Opposite the Tab Chang station on the airport link). Combat Zone 62 charges 350 baht for 100 balls, while Tubchang is just 250 baht for 100 balls.

Flight Simulation – Ok, so this one might be just as much for the parents as the teens, but either way it is a rush. If you’ve ever wanted to fly a jet airplane, the simulators at Flight Experience Bangkok can make your dreams come true. At 6,900 baht for an hour it certainly isn’t cheap, but it’s cheaper than flying the real thing…and safer too. You will find them located in the Sibunruang Building on Soi Convent (which runs between Sathorn and Silom).

Of course that’s just a taste of all that’s available in Bangkok, but next time you are stumped for something to keep the teens entertained you might want to consider some of the options above. I’m sure your teens will be truly surprised and delighted and they may even forgive you the next shopping trip or temple you drag them along to.

01 July 2013 ~ 4 Comments

Bangkok Airways Awards; Thai Airways Fare Sale

Airlines are in focus today in Thailand. First we have news from Bangkok Airways:

SkyTrax has revealed the winners of their prestigious awards program called “World Airline Awards 2013″ that had more than 18 million airline passengers from around the world voting for their favorite travel experiences. Bangkok Airways was voted the 3rd place in the category of World’s Best Regional Airline and the 2nd place in the category of the Best Regional Airline in Asia.

Bangkok Airways SkyTrax Award

Next (possibly in response to the Bangkok Airways awards?) we have Thai Airways announcing a fare sale for domestic tickets. I’ve always liked flying with Thai Airways, but usually their ticket prices are far more expensive than other airlines. With this sale, they are more in line with their competition. It’s a good opportunity to pick up an excellent fare on a good airline if you are planning on flying within Thailand.

“Domestic Hot Sales” special fares promotion for domestic flights!

Ticket reservation can be made from 1 July 2013 until 10 July 2013 (Passengers may depart from 1 September 2013 – 30 September 2013). Fares are inclusive of all taxes and surcharges.

To make a reservation, please visit http://www.thaiairways.com, or call the THAI Contact Center at +662-356-1111 (24 hours).

**Important: Tickets are available for reservation on 1 – 10 July 2013 only.

Thai Airways July Fare Sale

30 June 2013 ~ 6 Comments

Dance Schools and Classes in Bangkok

My daughter Alivia simply adores dancing and anything to do with dancing. So, as soon as she turned 3 we were keen to find a dance program to get her some professional instruction and hopefully nurture the love she has for dance and music. While many programs won’t accept three year olds, we were delighted to find several that do. We eventually settled on Cala Dance which is located in the Emporium Tower just behind the Emporium shopping center.

Cala Dance Studio doesn’t have a website, so if you aren’t referred to them by someone you might not even know they exist. Still, they are very popular and classes fill up quickly. The staff is fluent in Thai and English and I believe they also speak Japanese and Mandarin (not sure how fluently though). They also offer a free trial class for kids, which is a huge bonus if you aren’t sure about the school or your child’s interest level in an organized dance class. They are on Facebook though and you can contact them there or by calling 02-664-8985. Prices are 420 baht for an individual class or 4,200 baht for 12 weeks (1 hour per week). There is also a 500 baht registration fee. If you pay with cash there is a 5% discount.

Granted it has only been 1 class, but we were quite pleased with Cala Dance Studio based on our initial impression. They really care for the dancers and are quick to ensure that every girl participates and that they are having fun as well. I suspect we will stick with Cala for the foreseeable future. If Alivia shows a real talent or dedication to dance however I think we would consider moving to a larger dance school.

Cala Dance Studio

There are many other dance studios available in Bangkok as well. Your choice will probably be determined by what type of dancing you are looking for (ballet, jazz, latin dancing, etc), and the location of the dance studio in relation to your home, work or school. Below are the dance schools I was able to find during my search for a suitable place for our daughter:

Bangkok Dance Academy – They offer a variety of dance types, including ballet, jazz, contemporary, Spanish and Thai dancing. They also have a rhythmic gymnastics offering and a strength and flexibility class. With 12 locations available you can probably find something suitable no matter where you are located. Check out their schedule of classes here.

Dance Centre School of Performing Arts – Located on Sukhumvit 33, this school follows the curriculum of the Royal Academy of Dance in London. Pre-ballet classes are available for children aged 4 and over. Prices are 4,650 baht for 12 weeks (1 hour per week) or 500 baht drop in rate. There is also a 500 baht annual registration fee.

Rising Star Dance Academy – Since 1996, Rising Star has been teaching ballet, jazz dance, rhythmic gymnastics, hip hop, belly dance, Spanish dance, and ballet exercise to students ages 3 to adult. They are located on Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thonglor).

Bangkok International Dance Academy (B.I.D.A.) – Located in the Peninsula Plaza, on Rajdamri Rd. (Pathumwan), B.I.D.A. specializes in Ballroom and Latin dancing. They also offer the popular Zumba fitness dance class.

rumPUREE World Dance Studio – rumPUREE has two locations, Silom soi 4 and Amarin Plaza, making them accessible for a wide variety of dance enthusiasts. They offer a wide variety of dance classes, from traditional ballet to the popular Zumba fitness and even classes in pole dancing and striptease! Most of the classes are held at their Amarin Plaza location, with the Silom location being primarily the Latin dances (Salsa, Flamenco, Tango). Ballet is available for children as young as 4.

Studio Zoom – Located on the ground floor of Biohouse Sukhumvit 39, they offer ballet, jazz, hip hop, belly dancing, and even yoga. They also have Zumba fitness classes. Kids are welcome from as young as 4 years old.

Aree Dance Arts School – Aree has been training dancers in Bangkok since 1987 and has had several dancers go on to secure scholarships at top dance academies abroad and later pursue professional dance careers. They have two branches, the main branch on Sukhumvit (next to the Phra Khanong BTS) and a second branch on Silom (5th floor of the United Center Building), making them accessible to anyone in central Bangkok. They offer classes in Ballet, Jazz, Spanish dance, and Contemporary dance.

Alliance Francaise Thailande – Offers introduction to dance for 5-6 year olds, ballet for 7-12 year olds and jazz dance for 8-18 year olds. Located in Sathorn Mansion on Sathorn Tai.

30 June 2013 ~ 7 Comments

The Corn Dog Dude in Bangkok

A quick post to let you know that there are now corn dogs available in Bangkok, and what amazing corn dogs they are!

Yesterday after working up an appetite browsing through the Bangkok Farmers Market we decided to drop in on the Corn Dog Dude for a quick bite to eat. I had heard about this place before and it was rumored to be good. While I’m not one to believe in every rumor I hear, in this case it was true.

Golf actually said that these are the best hot dogs she has ever had. I don’t know if I would go that far, but I can attest to the fact that there are some damn good hot dogs, corn dogs and chili cheese fries being served at the Corn Dog Dude.

chili cheese fries

The hot dogs have just the right amount of spices in them and the rolls are soft and fluffy, providing a perfect counterpoint to the dogs. The corn dogs were just as heavenly. The outside had that great crunch and the inside was moist with just the right amount of sweetness. And the chili cheese fries were without a doubt the best I’ve had in Bangkok (with the exception of my own haha).

I also found it interesting that the owner of the Corn Dog Dude is not American (corn dogs are definitely an American invention and treat), but is French. All I can say is “Viva le corn dogs” because he is making some killer corn dogs and hot dogs in general. If you find yourself craving an authentic American type hot dog while in Bangkok check out the Corn Dog Dude, you won’t be disappointed. And tell Pascal that Steve from Thailand Musings sent you.

A selection of hot dogs available from the Hot Dog Dude in Bangkok.

The Hot Dog Dude is on Facebook and is located at the K-Village shopping center (Sukhumvit 26) on the ground floor. They are open 7 days a week from 10:00 until 22:00. Hot dogs start at 75 baht and corn dogs are just 69 baht.

Corn Dog Dude

29 June 2013 ~ 3 Comments

The Bangkok Farmers Market

It was a great day yesterday. We started with dance lessons for Alivia (more on dance places in Bangkok later) and from there we headed to K-Village on Sukhumvit 26 for the monthly Bangkok Farmers Market event.

Bangkok Farmers Market

If you haven’t been to the Bangkok Farmers Market, I can definitely recommend that you check it out. Considering the number of people who were there today I would have to guess that some of you reading this may have already experienced this fun farmers market. It truly was packed from the time we arrived at 11 until we left sometime around 1:30. And when we arrived at 11:00 some of the vendors were already sold out of product (such as Conkey’s Bakery, who ran out of their secret recipe meatballs just as we arrived).

The Bangkok farmers market features predominantly organic products, which are becoming more popular and sought out by the environmentally conscious Bangkokians. Everything from organic fertilizers to natural soaps, organic fruits and veggies, breads and charcuterie, sweets and other delectables are available. They even have something to keep the kiddies entertained with a painting station, ponies (just to feed, not to ride), and a small play area set up.

They also have some live cooking demos, classes on how to make soaps at home, organic gardening classes and live music. It is definitely a good way to spend a few hours, just browsing around and talking to some of the vendors to learn more about the dangers of chemicals in the foods we eat here. And you can even pick up some great treats! We are totally enjoying the raspberry mustard, sourdough bread and cold smoked duck we picked up there. Add a wedge of cheese and a glass of wine and lunch is served.

Breads and other deliciousness from Maison Jean Phillipe

Breads and other deliciousness from Maison Jean Phillipe

To learn more about the Bangkok Farmers Market, check out their website here or follow them on Facebook.

Bangkok Farmers Market crowds

Feeding the ponies delicious organic carrots.

Feeding the ponies delicious organic carrots.

27 June 2013 ~ 2 Comments

The Thai Baht in Focus

Those who need to convert foreign currency into Thai baht have had a mixed week. The baht has held steady against the U.S. dollar at just above the 31.00 level, which is a vast improvement over the levels under 29.00 that were seen at the beginning of June. The Australian dollar rate is also basically unchanged on the week with the AUD/THB trading right around the 29.00 level.

Our friends from the U.K. and Europe haven’t fared as well however. The Euro has been falling relative to the baht since last Friday and has gone from roughly 41.25 at the beginning of trading last Friday to as low as 40.40, though it has recovered somewhat today and is now sitting at 40.65. The Pound has also seen a fairly significant decline since last Friday going from 48.40 to its current level of 47.50.

Dollar question mark Euro

Dollar or euro?

What can we expect for the Thai Baht going forward?

I think this week’s action is fairly indicative of the trend moving forward. The Euro may improve somewhat, but until the economy in Europe picks up, the Euro will stagnate. The Pound has been one of the weakest currency’s in the world in 2013 and based on recent announcements for continued austerity and spending cuts in the U.K. that isn’t likely to change.

The Australian dollar is at risk from the continued weakening of the Chinese economy and may slide slowly until Chinese growth picks up once more.

The USD has been rallying throughout 2013 and as the economy there continues to improve, and more importantly once the U.S. Federal Reserve decides to actually begin tapering their bond purchase program rather than just talking about the possibility, the U.S. dollar should continue to strengthen relative to currencies around the world, including the Thai baht.

Of course, baht rates are also dependent on internal economic factors within Thailand. Those factors actually look as if they support a weaker baht in the medium to longer term. Yesterday the Thai Finance Ministry cut their estimated growth rates for 2013 from 4.8% to 4.5%. The downgrade was based on slowing consumer spending in Thailand and a weakening of the growth prospects of China, which is one of Thailand’s main trade partners.

The government is continuing with its 350 billion Thailand baht water-management project and 2.2 trillion baht infrastructure development projects in an effort to spur growth, but those are unlikely to have an impact on GDP this year or next. And long term I believe they will drive up the debt to GDP ratio to an extent that they will be a net negative for the strength of the Thai baht.

How has the baht strength affected you? And where do you see the future of the baht? Continued strength or a correction after a decade of appreciation?

26 June 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Bangkok Kids Activities June 28, 2013

With an active 3 year old in the house I know it can be important for parents to find activities for the little ones. If you need some ideas for where to go with your little ones here’s a list of places that might suit you. Thanks to the Bkk Kids Facebook community page for compiling this list.

Little Lions Parents & Toddlers Group at Harrow Playgroup
Phone 02 503 7222 or visit http://www.harrowschool.ac.th

Kid’s Kingdom Playgroup

Phone 02 258 7242 or visit http://www.kidskingdom.ac.th

Kids Academy International Pre-School Playgroup
Phone 084 071 1115 or email info@kidsacademy.ac.th

O.I.S.C.A. International Day Care Playgroup
Phone 02 3819 8525 or visit http://www.oiscakindergarten.ac.th

KiDO Thonglor Playgroup
Phone 02 712 6466 or visit http://www.kidothailand.com

Tiny Tots at Christ Church Bangkok
Phone 02 234 3634 or visit http://www.christchurchbangkok.org/Toddler.html

Ladybird International Kindergarden Playgroup
Phone 02 382 3338 or visit http://www.ladybird.ac.th

26 June 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Paste Restaurant

I don’t normally do restaurant reviews, but I should because there are some chefs beginning to do some amazing things here in Bangkok. One of the newest up and coming new places is called Paste, and by all accounts the Thai inspired menu there is nothing short of otherworldly.

Paste

The brainchild of chefs’ Jason Bailey and Bee Satongun, Paste bills itself as being about “allowing the best locally sourced ingredients to fully represent themselves, in turn we refrain from heavy seasoning. By adhering to native Asian herbs and spices, on occasion we choose to bend Thai culinary rules, all from a desire to ensure our cuisine is as crisp, lively, and naturally flavor packed as possible. If a sauce needs thickening, rather than add an artificial starchy solution, we use more natural thickeners or methods of reduction.”

The two chefs come to Bangkok from Australia, where they operated a restaurant that won the Best Thai Food award from the Restaurant and Catering Association of Australia. Seeing a void in the Bangkok Thai food scene, where too many restaurants simply try to dress up street food or recreate palace dishes from bygone eras, they decided to open a restaurant here in the City of Angels that would take advantage of the wealth of fresh local ingredients available.

They have certainly created a splash. Within months of opening they have been featured in Elle Thailand, Bangkok 101 magazine, the Bangkok Post, the Wall Street Journal, and about a dozen other publications. Clearly the pair are on the right track with their food, presentation, and service.

While I haven’t had the opportunity to dine at Paste yet, it is definitely on my “must eat there” list. And if the food taste even half as good as it looks, it will be well worth the average bill of 1,000 THB per person for food and drinks. Now, if someone out there would like to watch our three year old so we can go enjoy dinner at Paste…
Paste

Address: 120/6 Sukhumvit Soi 49 (Thonglor)
(Opposite Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital)
Klongton Nua, Vadhana,
Bangkok 10110
Tel: +66(0)2 392 4313

A Thai inspired dish of succulent grouper and ocean prawn filled dumplings in an herb filled green curry.

Rich herb infused green curry with ocean grouper & wild king prawn dumplings


Slow cooked Australian beef cheek with fresh 'hung lay' curry paste, pickled garlic, ginger, lemongrass & dry spices

Slow cooked Australian beef cheek with fresh ‘hung lay’ curry paste, pickled garlic,
ginger, lemongrass & dry spices


Oven roasted wild seabass with a fresh red curry paste.

Oven roasted wild seabass with a fresh red curry paste.

24 June 2013 ~ 1 Comment

How Do Thai Girls See Foreigners?

I want to preface this with the statement that I personally don’t believe that all Thai girls see foreigners in this way, but I am also aware that some do. Anyway, with the perception of some being that foreigners are nothing more than ATM’s to Thais I thought some of you might get a chuckle out of this image.

man and woman kissing - the man is made from U.S. hundred dollar bills

Is this how YOUR girlfriend sees YOU?

Hopefully everyone takes this in the vein of humor in which it was meant.

What do you think? Are Thais only interested in our money? Is it possible to find love in Thailand or is it really only all about the money?

17 June 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Pattaya Ladies and Thailand Smiles

Pattaya Ladies and Thailand Smiles

One thing that you’ll notice about Pattaya ladies, during any trip to Thailand’s premier nightlife orientated city, is the ready smiles that will come your way. Thailand is, of course, known the world over as ‘the land of many smiles’ and it really is a name that is well deserved.

Everywhere you go you will be greeted with a smile and it’s infectious, you’ll find yourself smiling all the time and the whole thing really lifts your spirits and makes you feel happier!

Pattaya Ladies and Tourism

As you can imagine, it is the tourism industry that brings the girls to Pattaya. The jobs available here are not really that much better than what can be found elsewhere in Thailand. They range from cleaning work, cashier work, receptionist work, waitressing, bar work and so on.

The typical wage for these jobs is anywhere from 8,000 baht to 12,000 baht per month. Even in Thailand, where the cost of living is extremely low, this is not much money. Most Pattaya ladies that arrive for work come from the poorest area of Thailand, a place called Isaan which is located in the Northeast of the country, and wage rates there are even lower. I know of several Isaan workers that are paid only 200 baht per day!

The dream for many Pattaya ladies is to escape poverty by finding a Western husband that will take care of them and their family. This is one thing that the visitor really needs to be aware of; tales of broken hearts, broken marriages, fortunes lost and so on are very common amongst long-term Pattaya visitors that fell for the charms of an often much younger Thai lady. Not every visitor is looking for love though, in fact most are looking for short-term arrangements. Some are looking for very brief, discreet encounters… you can read more about that on this page which looks at the Pattaya Escort Scene.

Romantic attachment should be avoided at all costs, the cultural barriers that exist between Thailand and your typical Western country are enormous and easily overlooked during a 2-week vacation in the sun. Add to that the obvious difficulties with effective communication, different education levels, different belief systems, and so on and you’ll find that forming a lasting relationship is nigh on impossible and yes…. there are lots of opportunist Pattaya ladies that are only looking for an easy route to prosperity, so be on your guard!

 

Pattaya Ladies and Food

One of the more comical aspects of the girls’ behaviour is their eating habits; Thai food culture is quite different to anything I’ve found in other parts of the world. You can take a Thai lady to an upmarket restaurant and order some of the most delicious food that you’ve ever tasted and I’ll bet you one thing…. if you are with an Isaan lady she won’t like it! As soon as you depart the restaurant there’s a good chance that she will order some street food to take away the taste of the delicious morsels that she has just eaten in a top restaurant, hehe.

Isaan food tends to be very spicy and one particular spicy offering that is popular with Pattaya girls is called ‘Papaya Salad’. I know, it sounds harmless enough, but don’t be tempted to eat this stuff…. it burns! Another thing you’ll notice is that the girls eat together and they eat frequently; if you like people watching whilst you are having a drink in the bars, you will see some things being eaten that will cause you to rub your eyes in disbelief. I’ve seen chicken claws, insects, fish heads, dried squid and all sorts being served up. If you’re the adventurous type, give it a try and leave me your thoughts in the comments box below?

18 April 2013 ~ 4 Comments

How Was Your Songkran?

Hey y’all, I’ll bet you thought I dropped dead from a coronary after the last post about all you can eat moo kata! The truth is I was off celebrating Songkran and despite ignoring all the common expat wisdom I was able to travel some 1000km round trip without incident, drink myself silly for 3 days without incident, and throw water from the back of a pickup truck…you guessed it, without incident (well except for the obvious drenching).

Overall a very good time was had by all, although at just 34 months, Alivia was not quite ready for the water play. She doesn’t appreciate wet clothes AT ALL, so that put a damper on her festivities until we found that she was very happy to sit inside the truck and have water splashed at the windows. And before the comments come, my father in law was driving and no he did not have any drinks prior to driving.

After spending various Songkrans’ in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Krabi, I have to say that this was the most laid back and enjoyable of all the Songkrans I’ve experienced. Perhaps it’s because in 4 days of celebrating I saw not 1 other foreigner? I certainly hope that isn’t the case, but I can say that Thais are every bit as enthusiastic about throwing water (especially the younger Thais), yet they are also more respectful of those who don’t want to participate. At least in Mae Sot they were. Arriving back in Bangkok was a bit of a different story.

While anyone in Mae Sot who was told mai na khrap promptly backed off and left me be (during the short times I wasn’t interested in playing), the neighbors around my condo were not as easily swayed. After arriving back in Bangkok I was doing some writing and needed to go out for cigarettes. I headed down to the local corner grocery, thinking Songkran was over and I was safe. I was wrong.

At the end of the soi were the tables and lights, music and dancing, drinking and of course water play. Despite telling everyone mai nam, mai na khrap, ow thamngan tee baan, I was thoroughly drenched not once but several times. Oh well, it was a quick walk back to the condo to change and I also got several glasses of beer and some great fried chicken out of the deal. And of course I know most of these people from daily life so couldn’t protest too much.

How was everyone else’s Songkran? I hope you didn’t hide in your condo for the duration of the celebration. If you live near your family or in laws I hope you made the rounds of visiting the elders on the 15th. Most of all though I hope it was a great experience and all of you were safe and sound for the duration of the holiday.

Oh, and if you haven’t gotten enough of Songkran you could always head to Pattaya this weekend to celebrate some more. I’m just sayin’.

10 April 2013 ~ 0 Comments

I’m a Glutton and You Can Be One Too At a Moo Kata Place

Though Thai food is most well known for its spicy side, such as Som Tam, its streetfood, and perennial favorites such as Pad Thai, these are no longer my favorites. In true American style I have come to love the all you can eat buffet style Moo Kata (literally ‘pork pan’) places. In addition to the fact that they are a great value (129-159 THB for all you can eat), they are also great fun as you get to cook your own food and having a dinner there with a group of friends is a blast.

So, I try to convince Golf to head off to our favorite Moo Kata place as often as possible (which is usually no more than once a month – she doesn’t share my enthusiasm). Fortunately we got to go last weekend and as always I had a great meal for less than 400 THB for all three of us. The moo kata price also includes all the water and soda you care to drink, though beer is extra and if you want whiskey you’ll need to bring your own.

What can you eat at a moo kata place? Well, each place is different, but in all cases it is a huge array of choices from marinated chicken, pork and beef, to organ meats, seafood, grilled fish and prawns, a variety of prepared dishes like karaage chicken, French fries (for the kiddies), and you can even make your own som tam (or have your Thai partner do so). Also included are a selection of fresh vegetables and several varieties of noodles.

Unfortunately the moo kata seems to be on the decline in Bangkok as there are many places that have closed down over the past 5 years or so. I guess offering all you can eat isn’t all that profitable, or perhaps all the new middle class Thais aren’t very fond of this style of eating, choosing instead to spend their new found wealth in more upscale and trendy restaurants. I’m not food snob though and enjoy anything that tastes great and provides a good value.

Our favorite place is on Chareon Krueng (Soi 64 I believe) and we have also had a good time at other places, one on Sukhumvit 71 and the other on Ratchadaphisek near Esplanade. I believe there is also a popular moo kata place in the Pinklao area, though that’s a bit far afield for something I can get much closer to home.

So, if you are looking for something different in Bangkok for dinner why not give moo kata a try? You’ll get a great meal at a great price and have fun as well.

See you at the Moo Kata Bar-b-que!