Phuket Vegetarian Festival

November 12, 2012 in Amazing Thailand

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


Want to be a Guest Blogger

August 26, 2012 in Guest Posts

Want to be a Guest Blogger?

One of the few things I miss about no longer living in England is the banter you have with your mates and random strangers in the pub. Although this is changing a little for me now as I’m making a conservative effort to ‘do more networking’.

Bangkok Guest BloggerFor a large part of the day I work alone and as I live in a predominantly Thai area of Bangkok, I have little in the way of any deep interactions. Some days no more than a friendly ‘sawatdii’ or ‘bpen ngai baang’. Maybe I should work in more bars and coffee shops. I must be getting lazy or to comfortable in my old age! In fact one of the great things about Bangkok is there is an abundance of free Wi-Fi around the city. London lags a long way behind on this and is another reason why Thailand make an ideal destination to be an online marketer.

One of the ideas behind this blog was to help other people who are in similar circumstances or who are looking to make the move and start a new life living and working in Thailand. When you move to any new city, especially a big city like Bangkok with all it’s alien cultures and customs you can’t help but feel like a stranger in a strange land. It’s always good to know one or two people who can offer help and advice and help you settle in so you can hit the ground running and start enjoying yourself.

I don’t know how often I will be writing on this blog but I do have good intentions to do it regularly. With a little  self discipline I intend to write several times a week… I think. (OK, I’ve put down in writing so you can hold me to it now!) But at the end of the day it’s a labour of love and I don’t want it to become a chore. With that being said, I also don’t want this blog to be some boring rant about my life or any of that nonsense. I’ve read to many narcissistic and masochistic  blog posts about Thai girls by jaded white guys and don’t want to go down that route. I want this blog to be a community where other bloggers, readers and Internet marketers can make a positive contribution to the community, stimulate conversation and if you’re a product or service owner provide a special deal for the readers.

How to Become a Guest Blogger

If you would like to contribute to this blog by being a guest blogger or reviewer then please contact me here, and enter ‘guest blogger request’ in the About field. Thai and Western guest bloggers are all welcome!

WTF I'm a Guest BloggerHere are a few ideas for guest blog posts to get your creative juices flowing:

* Bangkok Bar, Hotel and Restaurant Reviews

* Bangkok Nightlife

* Your Bangkok/Thailand Stories

* Your Top Ten Lists of Things to Do in Bangkok/Thailand

* Dating in Thailand

* Internet Marketing Tips & Tricks

* Internet Marketing Product Reviews

* Working from Home

* How to Live and Work in Thailand

If you have any other suggestion of what you want to see on this blog, feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment below. Khop Khun Khrab!

*****
Learn Thai… The Word of the Day: bpen ngai baang in Thai language is ”How are you?”

 Want to be a Guest Blogger


Dropbox – Your Cloud Cover in Thailand

August 22, 2012 in Product News & Reviews

Dropbox

If you are seriously thinking about living and working in amazing Thailand than you will definitely need Dropbox.

You no longer need to carry around extra hard-drives, memory sticks or SD Card, now you can host all your important folders and files in Dropbox.

Dropbox simplifies the way you can create and share you documents and media files and always have your stuff available, wherever you may be. So if you are living your dream lifestyle in Thailand or working from the beach, you know you’ll always have your information saved and instantly retrievable with this cloud storage solution.

 What is Dropbox

dropboxDropbox lets you take all your photographs, documents and even large media files like videos anywhere and share them easily with who ever you choose – friends, colleagues or your whole team. You no longer have to email files to your self to work off more than one computer. Everything you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your synced computers, smartphones and even the Dropbox website.

If you accidentally knock a cup of tea or a beer Chang over your laptop or even if it was stolen, Dropbox has you covered and none of your files will be lost.

Dropbox is also available on iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android smartphones. I have it on my Samsung Galaxy S3 and it works like a dream!

Also, for every friend you invite and who consequently joins and installs Dropbox (which is free), they will give you both 500 MB of bonus storage space up to a limit of 8 GB. So if you click the link below we both win!

Discover more about Dropbox here.

If you liked this review, read my review for Jing by Techsmith.

If you found this post useful and are making good use of Dropbox, let me know how you are getting on in the comments below.

*****

Learn Thai… The Word of the Day: Cloud in Thai language is: Meek

Dropbox


Ayuthaya – The Sacred City of Thailand

August 21, 2012 in Amazing Thailand

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