Tag Archives: Ubon Ratchathani

Back in Ubon Ratchathani

After a great three days in Bangkok with family it was time to head to Ubon. Both girls had been sick the day before and while Marisah was a lot better Ariya was still under the weather. The taxi ride wasn’t much fun for her and just as we pulled into Don Muang airport her stomach gave way.

As I had most of the luggage (5 bags) it was quite an effort trying to deal with Ariya plus get us through the night mare that is the Don Muang bag scan and check in system. Eventually we were on our flight and made it to Ubon with only one more vomit!

Due to the girls sickness Seerung and I had decided it would be best if we rested up the night in Ubon before she came and picked us up the following morning.We caught a taxi to the T3 hotel and took our usual connecting rooms on the 4th floor. Both girls had a sleep that afternoon and when the woke they were feeling much better so we went out for an early dinner before heading back to the hotel. More sleep and by the morning we were raring to go.

After waking we packed our bags before walking down to a favourite coffee shop of ours, Balcony Kiss. Unfortunately the coffee had changed and so had the food (there was none) but we still enjoyed the cool morning sitting outside with my coffee and the girls juice. I walked down the street a little and found some kebabs and sticky rice for us all to much on for breakfast.

After a long wait eventually Seerung showed up with the car and Jacob and a nice mini reunion was had! It was then back to T3 to pick up the bags and check out then onto Central for some shopping before heading home to the village.

It is always a great feeling being back in my tojo ute pick-up making the drive over the rough dirt roads back to my second home. It was lovely to see everyone again and to notice that once again my in laws had done an excellent job looking after the house and garden.

The next few days were spent catching up with all the rellies as well as settling into the slower pace that is Village life. Before too long though it was time to head back to Ubon to pick up my brother and his family for part two of their time with us.


May 2013

May was a busy month for us all. With the tourist season in the northern half of Australia in full swing there are many events that we like to attend or end up helping out at. It was also Marisah’s sixth birthday (blog to follow) and a special anniversary for Seerung and I.

It has been 10 years since we both said ‘I do’ and not a day goes by that I ever regret saying those words. The celebrations were short lived though as I had a plane to catch. I still managed to cook up a couple of beautiful pizzas for brunch to celebrate the occasion before setting off on a quick trip to Thailand. (Check out my pizza effort for our 9th anniversary). I went over there to pick up my Niece, Bow and Nephew, Noot who we had organised tourist visas for so they could come and visit us during their long university break. More about Bow and Noot in Australia in the next few blogs. I spent two days travelling to get there and one and a half days getting back but managed to have one day in Bangkok and two in Ubon Ratchathani so was gone for a week. It was hectic but still a lot of fun.

As per my previous monthly blogs here are a selection of photos from the month of May. (I am slowly catching up to the present time!)

With the weather starting to cool down and the rains having disappeared for another year there was a lot more outside play during the month of May.

With the weather starting to cool down and the rains having disappeared for another year there was a lot more outside play during the month of May.

Give the kids a stick and some dirt and they can be amused for ages!

Give the kids a stick and some dirt and they can be amused for ages!

Fat guts Jacob would join in whenever he could.

Fat guts Jacob would join in whenever he could.

Sometimes a hose was added to the game to muddy things up a bit.

Sometimes a hose was added to the game to muddy things up a bit.


His dirt drawing stick or hose would quickly be thrown away however if Daddy came outside with a ball to kick. He loves kicking and throwing any ball he can get his hands on and I was surprised to find out very quickly that his left foot was much preferred over his right.

His dirt drawing stick would quickly be thrown away however if Daddy came outside with a ball to kick. He loves kicking and throwing any ball he can get his hands on and I was surprised to find out very quickly that his left foot was much preferred over his right.

Of course, kicking a ball with Dad is not as much fun as sitting on the ball and pretending to ignore you. Not as much fun that is until I kick it out from underneath him bringing laughs to both of us.

Of course, kicking a ball with Dad is not as much fun as sitting on the ball and pretending to ignore you. Not as much fun that is until I kick it out from underneath him bringing laughter to both of us.

We borrowed some board games from a friend and the girls really enjoyed learning how to play and ultimately master them.

We borrowed some board games from a friend and the girls really enjoyed learning how to play and ultimately master them.

Kununurra has a brand new Library so we started some regular trips to relax, read and borrow some books. On this day we ran into Jessica and she spent a little time listening to Jacob 'read' his book about Tractors to her. Look at the excitement on his face!

Kununurra has a brand new Library so we started some regular trips to relax, read and borrow some books. On this day we ran into Jessica and she spent a little time listening to Jacob ‘read’ his book about Tractors to her. Look at the excitement on his face!

With his hair cut and some snazzy threads Jacob seemed to suddenly grow up over night.

With his hair cut and some snazzy threads Jacob seemed to suddenly grow up over night.

Thank fully we only let him dress himself when he was a home.

Thank fully we only let him dress himself while he was a home.

With Jessica's help the girls got stuck into lots of Art and Craft. Here they are with their first attempt at paper mache.

With Jessica’s help the girls got stuck into lots of Art and Craft. Here they are with their first attempt at paper mache.

Ariya's painting technique.

Ariya’s painting technique.

Marisah's painting technique.

Marisah’s painting technique.


Here is something else that they made but I can;t remember what it was called. It did look pretty cool though with a torch inside it with the lights turned off.

Here is something else that they made but I can’t remember what it was called. It did look pretty cool though with a torch inside it with the lights turned off.

This photo is a bit random but I liked it. Marisah is obviously bored helping me hang up the clothes.

This photo is a bit random but I liked it. Marisah is obviously bored helping me hang up the clothes.

The girls (and Mum) went camping for a few days with friends leaving the blokes (Jacob and I at home). It was a great weekend for all of us!

The girls (and Mum) went camping for a few days with friends leaving the blokes (Jacob and I at home). It was a great weekend for all of us!

Here is Marisah and Jessica admiring the view near Wyndham,

Here is Marisah and Jessica admiring the view near Wyndham,

As your saw by the delight on Jacobs face when reading his tractor book you can imagine how animated he becomes when the tractor comes past our house to mow the lawn. He is out the house in a shot and just loves going for a few laps of the lawn with Mr Arli.

As your saw by the delight on Jacobs face when reading his tractor book you can imagine how animated he becomes when the tractor comes past our house to mow the lawn. He is out the house in a shot and just loves going for a few laps of the lawn with Mr Arli.

Another random shot and again of Marisah. This girl sure does end up in some strange sleeping positions!

Another random shot and again of Marisah. This girl sure does end up in some strange sleeping positions!

I bought Marisah a bike so that she could join her big sister on rides around the farm. She was a bit wobbly at the beginning.....

I bought Marisah a bike so that she could join her big sister on rides around the farm. She was a bit wobbly at the beginning…..

....but she quickly got the hang of it.

….but she quickly got the hang of it.


Pakse to Thailand with lunch at Sirindhorn Dam

After travelling from Thailand to Pakse, Paksong and then back to Pakse yesterday, I had hoped for a sleep in but unfortunately I was wide awake by sunrise.

I relaxed a little in my room waiting for the Delta Coffee shop to open. I had a meeting with the owner planned for breakfast but on my way my appetite got the better of me and I settled for my favourite Laos street food – a baguette with an Asian twist.

Laos Baguette

I still managed to fit in a bowl of soup at the coffee shop and a delicious Latte made from the best coffee beans around. Delta coffee grows, roasts, packets and sells direct their own coffee beans and they really are very good. They are organic and a lot of their profit goes back into building health centres in the immediate area where they farm and their staff live.

If you live in Australia and are interested in purchasing some delicious coffee beans you can order them from here.

After my meeting I was offered a quick tour of the new and very impressive Athena hotel right opposite Delta coffee. I will blog about that next. From there it was back to the hotel to pack up and hit the road.

Apart from a slight heart attack at the border I made pretty good time into Thailand and arrived at Sirindhorn dam right on noon and time for lunch! I wrote about this place a few years ago when I visited with friends.

The place was quite empty so I had a nice view from my table.

view from restaurant at Sirindhorn Dam

The wind across the lake brought the temperature down a welcomed few degrees. I immediately ordered before sitting back and enjoying the view while waiting for my food. It wasn’t long before I was tucking into some rice, pork and vegetables as well as some delicious baby pork spare ribs.

Pork spare ribs


Thai stir fry

This is outside the restaurant and the next photo is looking south across the dam.

outside restaurant at Sirindhorn Dam

Sirindhorn Dam

It really was very relaxing there but with great reluctance I eventually got back into my car for the final two hour drive home to some very excited kids!

Rat season in Thailand

I am assuming it must be rat season in Thailand, well at least in these parts (the deep dark far eastern corner of Thailand.)

In all my trips to the local market about 10kms away I am lucky to perhaps see a rat or two for sale but always gutted and in a bag perhaps meaning they had come from somewhere else. I have also been to this market specifically looking for rats as my visiting Father had built up the courage to to want to try one but alas we had no luck.

The previous evening just as I was going to bed my Brother in law was heading out hunting for rats with a rifle that would not look out of place in a war museum (must be big rats!) He said there were a lot out there and he was going to bag a few for breakfast the following morning. He didn’t.

Yesterday in search of milk for Jacob I found myself back at the market and couldn’t believe my eyes. Rats, rats everywhere – and not just the ones running between peoples legs but big plump juicy ones ready for sale.

These things were huge and were retailing at 150 baht ($5). Considering that is half a days wages for most people it would have to be a special treat.

For your convenience you could also purchase gutted and bagged ones.

I noticed a crowd had gathered at one end of the market. I ventured closer and could make out a cage or something. There was a lot of excited chatter and I eventually got to the front to see a cage full of rats. These ones on top were dead (obviously).

But the ones inside the cage were still alive. They seemed a little smaller and were retailing at 120 baht ($4).

After taking my photos (iPhone 3 so sorry for the quality) I went to walk away when this lady called out to me wanting to show me her skinned rat. Quite a plump specimen indeed. Almost makes you want to try one.

As you can see, I am in the village so my plan to live blog my way through Taipei and Vietnam fell flat after just a few days. I managed to keep up during the travels from Kununurra to Darwin and then onto Bangkok and Ubon. I put this down to looking after kids. When the little one is asleep and the others are busy playing there is plenty of time to blog but when I am by myself and there is an entire new and fascinating city to explore then I am out the door and the hotel room becomes just a place to sleep for a few hours!

I had a fabulous time and once I have sorted through my photos will upload my adventures.


Living it up for three days in Bangkok

After finally getting some sleep we all awoke a little groggy early the next morning due to blinds and curtains that were rather thin of thread.

While getting kids organised with breakfast I suddenly felt quite dizzy and ill for half a minute and had to sit myself down. A little while later we went outside to explore the apartment surrounds and got talking to another family who asked if we had felt the earth quake. Suddenly it made sense why I had felt so queezy and I looked it up on twitter and discovered that a 6.6 shake had struck next door in Burma.

Wondering around the condo complex made me realise how much of a country bumpkin my son Jacob is! In the space of five minutes he managed to walk into a glass window (instead of the door right alongside) and trip over two two steps. One on his way down the pier and then the same step on his way back seeking a cuddle from his first mishap! That and his constant amazement at every boat, motorbike and taxi in sight gave us all many a giggle.

The poor fellow was quickly tired though so we headed back upstairs and put him to sleep, set the girls up with a few games and hit the sack for a few hours ourselves!

By midday we were all awake and feeling human and went out for a massive lunch down the road then back to the hotel to meet Seerungs friend from the night before and head off together to The Asiatique.

Our apartment had a free boat shuttle to Saphan Thaksin where another free shuttle took us to the Asiatique. It is a massive shopping and eating area right on the edge of the Chao Praya River and replaces the Night Bazar that used to be located next door to Lumpini Park.

Our apartment was called the Watermark. I took this sitting on the free shuttle boat still parked up at the pier.

Here you can see the rest of the waterview complex as well as the Masterview apartment in the background. This was where Seerung and I lived for 8 months back in 2004.

The skytrain going across the Thaksin Bridge where we swapped shuttle boats to get to Asiatique.

After a few hours wandering around this new complex we decided although it was quite impressive it is best done without kids and heading back via taxi to Watermark.

The next morning we set off in search of coffee and found one not too far away. We then went back to our old apartment to see our former landlord Jiraporn. We had a great catch up with her before going back to our room so Jacob could have a sleep.

While he was sleeping I took the girls off for a swim at the fabulous swimming pool on the 5th floor. There were actually three pools at the complex but we just stuck with the enormous kids pool and left the infinity pool and the lap pool for the adults.

The girls could have stayed there all day but I pulled them out after an hour and a half and headed upstairs so that Seerung could go out for a massage. After her two hour massage was over she called me from the taxi saying she was five minutes away. We quickly packed up a few things and headed down stairs (we were on the 38th floor) to meet her.

The kids downstairs waiting for Mum to arrive. You can tell that Dad did not do the girls hair after having a swim!

We piled into her taxi and headed off to the Mall at Thaphra so that Seerung could get a little shopping done before heading to the village the following day.

While Seerung shopped the girls played in the playground and Jacob saved the world in his fire truck.

Seerungs friend then met us for dinner before we headed back to the apartment and got the kids ready for bed. We put Jacob to bed before leaving the girls with the friend to babysit while Seerung and I headed out for a massage together. It was devine! Not just the massage but actually having that little bit of time together. It set us up well for the early start the following morning to head ‘home’ to Ubon Ratchathani.


Auckland, New Zealand to Bangkok & Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand

After a great five weeks in New Zealand it was time to bid farewell, load up and head off to Thailand to continue our trip.

Loading up was easier said then done. Apart from the usual paraphernalia that you need to take when 2 adults, 2 kids and a baby go travelling for three months we also had a few extra bags along for the ride.

When we moved to live in New Zealand for a year during 2007/2008 we had brought with us a lot of belongings as well as purchasing more during out stay. While I tried to sell as much as I could there were a lot of boxes left behind in my Dads workshop down stairs which although he didn’t say much you could tell it wasn’t all that welcome!

During this trip we went through every box that we had stored and managed to throw out about 25 % of it. Along with that I managed to sell all the larger items that we had like a TV cabinet, chain saw, office chair and a vacuum cleaner. What we had left over we repacked into proper storage pods and managed to reduce the space used by over 50% as well as keep the mice out in future.

During this clean up Seerung decided she wanted to bring a lot of stuff back to the village to either use ourselves or to give away. This meant we had 28 kilograms and two extra bags then what we were allowed and I was not looking forward to the shenanigans that would perhaps play out at the check in desk at Auckland airport.

The majority of flights I have been on when travelling with my family have been no frill airlines and leave at the most awful times of the night and early morning. This flight was going to be different and I was looking forward to it. It left at a great time (3.30pm) and arrived at a good time (9.30pm local time). Sure it was a 12 hour (exact) flight but at least it was direct. It was also on an airline with a fairly good reputation, Thai Airways.

The two and a half hour drive from my parents place to the airport went without a hitch. The check in process, all things considered, went amazingly well. I played the Jacob card and right on cue he flashed a thousand watt smile at the lady checking us in and she said she would go and talk to her boss about all the extra luggage. Five minutes later she was back and said no worries, no charge and checked it all in! 9 checked pieces totalling 132 kg! She even blocked off the seat next to Seerung for a little extra room.

The flight was on time, the service was brilliant and the best thing was how smooth it was. So smooth that for the first time in many flights Seerung did not get sick at all and quite enjoyed herself. We kept Jacob to his routine and he responded well. Sure he did not sleep as long as we would have liked but while awake he was as happy as Larry and the only noise out of him was lots of giggles and laughter.

Jacob was almost too long for the bassinet and to fit him in he had to bend his legs!

After a few cartoons and dinner I put Marisah down to sleep at her normal time (NZ) laid across two seats while a little while later I put Ariya down on the floor under Jacob’s bassinet. Marisah slept all the way to Bangkok while Ariya managed about four hours. I even managed two movies plus an hour sleep as well!

So we landed in Bangkok right on time feeling pretty good and went off in search of our hotel transfer. Time now for a plug for our hotel for the night as they deserve one. As we had a 18 hour layover before our flight to Ubon Ratchathani I booked on line a place called Grand Four Wings. It looked nice, the reviews were good but most importantly they had a free shuttle service with a large bus. Without that we would have had to take two taxis (perhaps even three due to their small boot space (gas takes up half the room) to get where we wanted to go and then repeat the same process back again the next day.

The shuttle was waiting for us and the driver helped with the bags, the kids, everything! We had him again on the way back to the airport the next day and he even helped us check in. Needless to say he got a good tip for his excellent service.

The hotel was really good. Very new so everything was clean and in excellent condition. The breakfast while not 5 star was certainly very good with a wide range of choices. The swimming pool was perfect for kids and the free wifi worked very well. We had connecting rooms which was a bonus as I had not requested that when I made my booking. The only negative (common for higher end hotels) is that there was no bum gun!

The rooms were quite large and as it was so new they even looked the same as the promotional photos!

©grandfourwings.com

We settled in and got Jacob off to bed. The kids had a bath, played a little and then ate some food before settling in for what was left of the night.

After breakfast I took the girls for a swim which was cold but still a lot of fun.

©grandfourwings.com

A friend of ours, Yee then turned up ready to join us for the trip to Ubon. We have been friends with Yee for years and she has been a great help for us on many occasions. When I heard that her place of work had been affected by the recent floods in Bangkok and that her hours had been drastically reduced I offered to buy her a ticket up to Ubon and to hang out with us for a week at our expense. She jumped at the opportunity and we ended up having a really good time with her.

Soon after her arrival it was time to pack up again and head back to the airport for the short hop up to Ubon Ratchathani. Thank fully we were flying Thai airways again so managed to also convince them to take all the extra luggage. Having Yee along with just a carry on bag also helped a lot!

The flight was fine and soon we were back at our old stomping ground, the Sunee Grand Hotel. The next three days seemed to disappear way to fast as we rushed around town completing as many jobs as we could while still managing to catch up with a few people and eat way too much fabulous food. I even took the girls back to our old house which friends are now renting which they loved racing around remembering all sorts of stories.

Before I knew it my car was delivered from the village and full of excitement we pointed the car south and headed of back ‘home’ to the village.