Thursday, March 31, 2016

The best laid plans

Well, having planned to upload a daily blog I have failed miserably. This has several reasons, mostly due to the internet.

I was up doing the first blog at 5am, having woken with back pain; I had gone to bed at 10pm and slept through with no problems, but woke and had a combination of pain and a need for toilet. I decided that I wasn't going to sleep again so stayed up. After nearly 4 hours the epic first issue wasn't finished and still isnt, and now tonight, I have another day's filming done.

I went to the true move shop and got them to install a sim into my unlocked mifi, which you can discover but does not give you internet. It was a 12gb package  for one month and it connected however only when i got home did i see the problem.

I also finally got the hotel wifi to connect simply because neither understood the password given by staff at check in.

I will talk more about the hotel later but sleep beckons me.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Monday, March 28, 2016

It's Coming! One day and one night left

One whole day and tonight left.  I decided to pack the case today and it all fitted - but with several things left behind. You know, you always take too much and when you get there you tell yourself never again, but do the same.

So, this time I got rid of some stuff.  However I also have a few gifts that I won't have on the way back so it should be lighter.

I also have the camera kit and tripod (the monopod with legs is not working - the legs fold up and don't lock any more). I tested the tripod in Imber and it was okay, but I did have the scooter and I wasn't walking much with it.  The reason I wanted the monopod is because there are only 3 clips to extend the leg, whereas you have 3 clips x 3 legs on the tripod.  Also a little lighter and smaller. It is as non-spontaneous pain.

As far as weight is concerned, there is a dilemma, though.  Thai Air allow 30kg London to Bangkok.  They used to run the Khon Kaen route, and it was 30kg.  But end of last year the Thai Smile (allegedly a different company after splitting from Thai Air) now runs the route, but only give 20kg. I spotted this after buying the ticket, and having made a mistake with the return flight, the cheap ticket became dearer following a revision charge.

Before, it was easier. Same carrier, one web site, one booking.  This one involved finding a slot near to arrival but not too close due to reasons mentioned later.  Thai Smile have already changed the time slots by 10 minutes for my flight, luckily it is in my favour on the way out but not on return.  It will give less time for re-check in but hopefully it should be smoother outbound as there isn't as much customs.

My main suitcase is approximately 21-22kg. I have a rucksack of presents plus my camera case and separate tripod.   Basically, I will put money on them trying to charge me money for over weight baggage.  I know what the system is like.

There is little choice for Bangkok to Khon Kaen unless you change airports. Then, Air Asia are cheap but charge per bag per kilo, so that could be expensive.  I think Smile also run from the second airport too, but there is also Bangkok air which are quite good, Nok air (another budget airline) as alternatives.  The transfer would be best by Taxi and is a fair way, I know because I have driven it or by bus.

However, this time as per every other, I am staying put in Suvarnaphumi.  I have a tight window of 4-5 hours to transfer, which is pushing it.   There's customs, baggage reclaim, check in (domestic) and security again all while being wheel chaired through by customer service assistance (who generally don't speak English).

The video blogging will begin in earnest, Wednesday at 6am.

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SHORTS: thailand upcoming blogs promo (coming soon)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport acolade

I saw on my facebook page that the airport I go to quite a lot is number 36.  At first glance of the article it said 5th, I  am pretty sure.  However, upon loading this I see it is actually 36, up from 49!

Anyway, worthy award for a nice airport.

Friday, March 18, 2016

10 things I didn't know about Thai Culture

Thai culture can be a little strange to outsiders at times, and many Thai customs and traditions take some getting used to.

From men not washing women’s underwear to it being bad luck to nap at 6pm, I’ve heard some weird and wonderful things, not all of them understood by or even heard of by some of the Thais I know.
Like dialect in Thailand, customs differ from region to region, and on your travels up and down the country, you’re likely to come across many a different custom and tradition.
thai culture
Here’s a list of 10 you may or may not have heard before…

1. Unopened Gifts

Should you visit a Thai home and take a present for your host, you may find it is put on the side and left unopened. Don’t be offended by this, though. It’s actually considered rude to rip the present open there and then in front of the giver. A Thai person is more likely to wait until you have left to open the gift. This is part of  the “grengjai” custom (in consideration of).

2. Asking a Ghost’s Permission

Historically, overnight visitors to a Thai home were requested to ask permission from the phra phum (spirit ghost of the land) to stay in the house. The visitor would then be asked to thank the ghost when they left. This custom still exists in some rural areas of the country, but you probably won’t be asked to do this as a foreigner. However, some Thais will even perform this ritual before going to sleep in a hotel room.

3. Keeping Your Cool

Raising you voice is unacceptable in Thailand, and considered an act of losing control. Me and a couple of friends caused quite a stir once in Chiang Mai when debating current affairs at the table of a restaurant. Quiet and humble is always the best approach in the Kingdom; you certainly won’t achieve anything by becoming aggressive or loud. Jai yen yen (cool heart)instead of Jai rawn (hot heart)

4. Wearing a Bra

As a foreign women in Thailand, you will see women, particularly in Bangkok, dressed in short skirts, heels and backless tops, and often think, “that’s a bit dressy just to go to the mall”! This may appear as a green light to dress liberally, but in actual fact, as a foreign women, you should always exercise modesty if you want to be perceived in a good light.
The perception of western women is one of a highly sexed bunch who like to let it all hang out, a notion borne out of western movies and different cultural upbringing, and therefore, not wearing a bra underneath your vest top with your nipples poking through or cleavage hanging low, is likely to cause a fair few looks of judgement .
It may feel a little contradictory as you see a Thai lady walk past with shorts on shorter than your knickers, but that’s just one of those “Thainess” things you’re going to have to get past to enjoy your holiday.

5. Pregnancy Taboos

Pregnant women in Thailand will generally avoid visiting the sick, eating chilies and fishing. Chillies, I guess, are bad for the baby, visiting sick people might make you or your baby sick, and fishing…hmmm, no idea.

6. Take Off Your Shoes, Always!

Shoes must be taken off upon entering someone’s home. Even if you get a “mai pen rai” (no problem/it’s okay), still take them off! Shoes walk on the ground and pick up all manner of dirt. A no-brainer really.

7. Don’t Touch The Head

Don’t touch anyone on the head unless you want trouble. You may see Thais rubbing kids on the head, but I would refrain from this unless the child is in your extended family and a bond has been established. In contrast to feet, the head is considered the sacred part of the body and not to be touched without permission; certainly don’t put your feet near someone’s head!

8. Don’t Point!

Pointing is a no-no in Thailand. Your Thai friends won’t take offence if you point when joking around, as they will understand that as a foreigner you may point instinctively. However, don’t point at monks or pictures of any of the Royal Family, and as a general rule don’t point at people to make reference to them. If you need to point (indicate) someone out, instead of extending your finger, bend your hand downwards with your fingers leaning toward the floor and your palm facing upward.

9. Paying For Meals

If Thailand the inviter pays for the meal. In cases where it is unclear who the inviter was, the superior will usually pay. Remember, if you are going on a date with a Thai woman, don’t think going “Dutch” is an option. It isn’t, and you may well be seen as tight (kee-nee-ow) for expecting to split the bill. In this part of the world men pay the way on the dates, I’m afraid.

10. Ducking Down When Walking Between Two People

You’ll see the majority of Thais duck down slightly when passing in front of two people engaged in conversation. It’s a polite gesture of respect to acknowledge the interruption. The same applies if you walk past a person and block out their vision for a split second.
This list is a fairly brief overview, and there’s  a ton of other customs and traditions out there. There’s also likely to be variations and completely different customs found as you travel between regions. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Thailand is nearly here

So, with 15 days left to go until my trip back to Thailand to visit the wife, I am not getting too excited because I still have another week or so of working.  Once it is the weekend of the 26 / 27, then I shall be becoming more excitable!

I'm still trying to put into place the mechanisms for blogging. You'll see the majority of blog entries here have been video entries from the You Tube channel. My aim is to produce a daily blog of videos of my time in Thailand.  I'm not sure how this will work out as I often spend a long time editing videos, although to be fair I do wake up early most days.  Instead of facebooking I can edit and upload videos!

I have a MIFI device, which I purchased on Ebay and is unlocked (but actually O2, the same network I am already with). So the first job is to get a sim card with True Move (the better of the two) for one month's unlimited data. This is going to be a challenge simply because my Thai is non-existent, my wife's English not much better.... Hey Ho, that's what the English speaking nephew is for.

My website is nicely updated and I'm quite pleased with the outcome.  I have yet to do the forum but it can wait for a while.

Details for future reference:

Travel blog site,

You Tube Channel, (Travel Playlist)

You Tube (just the user name)  /soyoukan/

This blogger page

Please go and subscribe to the You Tube channel and return often to see the daily reports, as from 31 March.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016


Well there's 29 days to go before I go to the country 6,000 miles away where my wife lives. I am planning on vlogging every day, but my experiments with travel blogs has been a technical disaster of equipment failures.. so I have just ordered new kit, an EOS Rebel T5 1080p camera DSLR with a Rode microphone. I will need to take my tripod, extra hassle as I'm going to the airport on the train this time rather than a £120 taxi.  I hope it will be here in time for me to practice!