Perry by Perry

Giving Back – Cambodian Kids Care Center

December 22, 2014 in Amazing Thailand, Koh Chang by Perry

Cambodian Kids Care Center

It’s always good to give back. This year we choose the Cambodian Kids Care Center on Koh Chang, Thailand.

voluteer thailandCambodian Kids Care Center is a school for the children of illegal Cambodian workers on the island of Koh Chang, Trat Thailand.

The children’s parents work in construction, gardening and in the luxury resorts throughout Koh Chang. Often you will see children of these poor migrant workings on the building sites.

This center offers these kids aged between 6 and 15 years old a safe refuge and free education by teacher Uan. They learn Thai, English and Maths from Monday to Friday.

We had a fun day making strawberry smoothies, distributing presents and helping out over lunch. The kids sang Christmas carols in perfect pitch and pronunciation.

We would like to thank all our friends in Bangkok, Foto Relax, friends in Siam Royal View, Monkey’s Restaurant and Scuba Dawgs for donating presents, money, food and their time and making a real difference to these bright young kids.

If you would like to help visit the Cambodian Kids Care Center Facebook page or contact teacher Uan or Administrator Aaron on 09-243-4712.

Cambodian Kids Care Koh Chang

Merry Christmas everybody!

Perry & Katae

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Giving Back – Cambodian Kids Care Center


Perry by Perry

Is It Hard to Learn Thai Language?

November 21, 2013 in Amazing Thailand, Guest Posts by Perry

Learning Thai LanguageI’ve been living in Thailand since 2011 and when I catch up with old friends and acquaintances from back home, one of the first questions they ask is “So, do you speak Thai?” I usually reply “Phom phut passa Thai nid noi”, which is usually enough to impress them and move along to another subject. The truth is, I’m a poor Thai language speaker. I have a stock of questions and answers but I’m embarrassed to say, living here as long as I have, I should know a lot more and be a pretty fluid conversationalist by now.

I went to a Thai language school in Bangkok for a year and learned the basics of reading, writing and speaking but never progressed like I should. I think this was largely down to the classroom dynamic (going back to school and sitting behind a desk) and the size of the classes (to large). When I completed my year, I never went back. This got me thinking why some people excel at learning new languages and some, like me fail miserably. I asked a few Thai language teachers this question “What are the biggest obstacles people face when they try to learn a new language like Thai and how can they be overcome?” Below are some of the replies:

Robert Greene

Robert GreeneI would say that the biggest obstacle for most people is the belief about whether or not they can actually learn a new language. You have to keep in mind that for most people, when they are picking up a language such as Thai, more often than not it’s the first time they’re attempting to learn a language.

By that I don’t mean they’re mute, but that we’re so young when we pick up our native, mother language that it’s never something we really have to practice or think about. We just realise that we can speak the language. It’s good to surround yourself with success stories of other people who have been able to make it. Once you have the belief that it’s possible, then you’re more be more likely to actively seek ways to learn the language and continue pushing yourself to learn.

Baby steps.

You can discover how Robert learned Thai at his resourceful website Thairang and connect with him on Google+ here.

—– x —–

Mai Rongsiaw

Mai the Thai TeacherThe biggest obstacles people face or believe they are facing is “I’m too old to learn”

This concern somewhat true and fault.

True: the fact is our learning ability is gradually decrease with age, there is no argue about it. Our physical appearance is telling us so.

Fault : As far as my 7 years of teaching Thai as a foreign language tell me that “you are never too old to learn” (if you put all you’ve got and work twice harder than younger people).

Countless of students under 30s have started to learn Thai and end up giving up for many reason eg. it’s not for me, I’m too busy, I work 2 jobs or I didn’t want to take it seriously in the first place.

On the other hand, my students you are above 60s set up his goal to retire in Thailand in 1 year. They are working 10 times harder. Learning Thai is their first or second job.

To compare between 2 kinds of students, it all come down to the end at determination and encouragement . Determination come from within and encouragement come from people around you, including your Thai teacher. 🙂

Please check out my latest graduate’s interview VDOs below:


You can start to learn Thai with Mai today by visiting her website Learn2SpeakThai.net and connect with her on Google+ here.

—– x —–

Orrawee Naksuwan

Orrawee Naksuwan1. The first thing is to try and “forget” your language and “pick up” the new system. This can be quite difficult, but a serious learner should make the effort.  In other words, try to think in the new language. It will help immensely.
2.  Try to listen to the sounds of the language closely – this is especially important in Thai which is a tonal language. The way to succeed here is to listen, then speak and practice as much as possible.
3.  Finally you should study from the best source you can find. Ideally a language tutor is the best. It is difficult to learn from books alone and you don’t want to learn something incorrectly. Then it is more difficult to get it right.

 

Learn Thai using Skype, simply visit here website KruuWeeTeachThai.com Connect with her on Google+ here.
—– x —–
I’d like to thank all the Thai language teachers who contributed and made this blog post possible.
Looking to learn Thai language from you smartphone? I wrote an article and reviewed some language apps that helped me learn more Thai anywhere, anytime.
If you are learning Thai, I’d love to hear how you are progressing and feel free to share any tips and tricks you use to progress below.
Khop Khun Krap

Loy Krathong Festival

November 27, 2012 in Amazing Thailand by Perry Stevens

One of the most beautiful festivals in Thailand takes place on the full moon of the 12th month in the Thai calendar or November in the West. Loy means ‘to float’ and Krathong refers to the small floating vessels that are made to resemble a lotus flower. Traditionally these were made from banana leaves.

Loy Krathong Festival

Along the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok where I live, large boats and rafts are adorned with bright lights and loud music while above the sky is lit up with thousands of Khom Loi or sky laterns. These rice paper lanterns contain a small candle that heat the air trapped inside allowing the Khom Loi to rise in to the night sky until the candle has burnt out. Later in the night fireworks round of the festival.

Loi Kratong – Saphan Thaksin – Bangkok

 

Loy Krathong Festival


Phuket Vegetarian Festival

November 12, 2012 in Amazing Thailand by Perry Stevens

Phuket Vegetarian Festival

Starting on the evening of the 9th lunar month and lasting ten days and nights is the incredible Phuket Vegetarian Festival or Jai Chai in the local Hokkien Chinese dialect. This is one of Thailand’s most colorful festivals and has been held annually since 1825.

I recently flew down to the beautiful island of Phuket to witness this festival having missed it last year. I stayed in Phuket Town to be in the thick of the action as the things I wanted to witness started very early in the mornings.

Phuket Vegetarian Festival – Jai Chai

A short walk from my accommodation at 5.30am led me straight to the Jui Tui Shrine were already a sizeable crowd had gathered. Here hundreds of males and even some females were piercing their faces and other body parts with an array of  large metal spikes and inserting chains, guns, a boat, daggers and just about anything else you can imagine… yep even the garden gate!

Some others had hundreds of small needles with feathers attached inserted under there skin along both arms, across their shoulders and around their eyes. In all cases these extreme piercings resulted in little or no blood and each individual seemed to be in some kind of trance state.

After photographing dozens of these people with extreme pieceings, they all gathered together and a procession left the shrine to wind it’s way through the streets of Phuket.

I caught up with the procession in the centre of town where thousands of people all dressed in white lined each side of the street. The carnival atmostphere was no matched for the noise of thousands of fire crackers that were set off making it almost impossible to breathe in the clouds of acrid smoke.

By midday it was all over for another day so we made a retreat from the hot and dusty streets for a hearty brunch at The Gallery Bar.

There are many other rituals to to see and experience throughout the festival week including fire-walking, food offerings, incantations and bladed ladder climbing. There are also ten rules for the Vegetarian Festival that the locals follow.

10 Rules for The Phuket Vegetarian Festival

Phuket Vegetarian Festival - Thailand1. Cleanliness of bodies

2. Clean kitchen utensils

3. Wearing of white clothing

4. Behaving both physically and mentally

5. No meat eating

6. Abstaining from sex

7. Abstaining from alcohol

8. People who are in the mourning period should not attend the festiva

9. Pregnant women are forbidden from watching any rituals

10. Women menstruating should not attend the rituals

I was surprised by the small number of tourist at this festival and while it may not be everyone’s cup of tea it is definitely worth attending at least once to witness this unique Thai/Chinese Buddhist/Taoist festival in amazing Thailand.

Phuket Vegetarian Festival


Ayuthaya – The Sacred City of Thailand

August 21, 2012 in Amazing Thailand by Perry Stevens

Ayuthaya – The Sacred City of Thailand

Wat Yai Chaya Mongko - Ayuthaya

Stupas at Wat Yai Chaya Mongko – Ayuthaya

Bangkok is not only a great place to live because of its obvious treasures, nightlife and people but also because the city is located in such a great place.
You can jump on a flight from one of the two airports that service it – Suvarnabhumi Bangkok Airport, which is the Hub of South East Asia for all International and many domestic flights but also Don Mueang Airport (The old international airport but now mainly used for domestic flights) and see amazing Thailand and beyond. Chiang Mai in northern Thailand in about an hours flight, Ho Chi Minh City (Siagon) in Vietnam in about 1 hour and 20 minutes or try Singapore in less than two hours.

If you want to stay closer to home and escape the heat of the city for a weekend, you don’t have to travel far either. There are dozens of mini buses, slow trains and taxi’s that will take you just about anywhere you wish to go.

Recently a friend of mine took me to Ayuthaya, the old sacred city and religious centre of Thailand. In a little over an hours drive north of the Bangkok (Krung Thep) lies the old royal capital of Siam.

Ayuthaya is an island city surrounded by water of three rivers, The Chao Phraya (runs down to Bangkok and then out to sea) Mae Nam Pa Sak and the Mae Nam Lopburi. Most of the ancient ruins and sights are on ‘the island’.

Ticket for Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol - Ayuthaya

Wat Yai Chaya Mongko

The cities population in its hay day around the end of the 17th century was reported to be over a million people and the city grew wealthy through trading with the Chinese, Japanese, Dutch, French, English and Portuguese. However in 1767 the Burmese sacked the city and what you see today is mostly ruins and reminders of a bygone age. There is still plenty worth seeing and some of the Wats are particularly impressive especially Wat Phra Si Sanphet with its three bell shaped stupas. Inside the sanctuary hall you’ll find the third largest Buddha image in Thailand. Not far away is the impressive sleeping Buddha at Wat Yai Chaya Mongko. As you can see from the ticket on the left. The entrance fee is 20 Baht (around 50 pence UK Sterling) and is only applicable to farangs not the locals.

Ayuthaya has a floating market not to be missed on your visit and an elephant village which I had very mixed emotions about visiting. These poor beasts are forced to dance for entertainment of the locals and few farang tourists. I must admit, it was kinda funny but also embarrassing for the elephants. It was kind of like watching your favorite uncle drunk at a wedding, dancing and groping his way round the dance floor. You want it to stop but keep watching anyway. We bought these kings of the jungle a big basket of vegatables, fed them and left to find some food of our own.

I made this video on a Samsung S3 smartphone using the Animoto app

We headed down to the riverside and ate on the terrace at Baan Kun Pra Restaurant and Guesthouse. Unfortunately for me there was an alcohol ban on as it was a local election day. (They ban the sale of alcohol a lot in Thailand when there is an election or special Buddhist day).

Is Ayuthaya Worth a visit?

Yes, definitely go for a day or two and soak up the meditative state and dream about a life gone by in a bygone era amongst the ruins. If you are interested in Thai culture and history you will love it.

I’d give it a 8-10

Getting to Ayuthaya

Wat a View - AyuthayaAyuthaya is easily acceable by all forms of transport and can be reached within an hour or two from Bangkok. We drove to there by car which took less than an hour once we got out of the city.

There are no passenger boats to Ayuthaya but if you go to Central Pier (BTS Saphan Thaksin) there are several tour companies you can join to take you north.

Trains run from the central Bangkok station – Hualamphong every hour or so and cost less than the price of a cup of coffee back home.

Buses and mini vans constantly make the run between Bangkok and Ayuthaya. Catch one for pennies at Bangkok’s Northern and Northeastern bus terminals.

Learn Thai: Chang in Thai Language means elephant. It’s also a very popular larger beer! Chook-dii!! Good luck!

 Ayuthaya – The Sacred City in Amazing Thailand