Greetings from Rayong

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It is now four days since we moved from Minburi to Rayong. We are just starting to get on top of the unpacking, and it will probably take us a year before we get around to removing everything from boxes. The move itself turned out to be more stressful than I anticipated, and it is not something that I want to go through again in a hurry. Oa spent weeks preparing for our change of location, everything was packed and ready to go, but things still ended up being a bit messy on the day. It turned out that we had too much stuff to fit into one removal truck, and in the end we had to hire two trucks.

The moving day was nothing like how I’d planned it. I’d this image in my mind of arriving in Rayong by noon, so that we could spend the afternoon on the beach, but we didn’t arrive until early evening. By that time we felt too tired to do much of anything. I’d been looking forward to visiting a beach restaurant to celebrate our first day in the new house. We did go, but we were all too sleepy to enjoy it. I knew beforehand that there was little chance of reality matching my plans, but it was still a bit of a disappointment when it didn’t.

My First Burst Tyre

On Sunday I experienced my first ever burst tyre. I taught myself to drive a few years ago on the back roads of Lopburi, so I’ve got huge gaps in my driving knowledge and this includes how to change a tyre. It happened while I was driving down towards the beach on a road that is full of potholes. I just heard a bang and the car started to wobble a little bit – I didn’t know what happened initially. I managed to find the spare tyre and tools in the back of the car. I tried to look as if I knew what I was doing, but Oa and Timmy weren’t fooled. Luckily a passerby, who did know what he was doing, was able to spot my ineptitude and changed the wheel for me.

Mae Rampheung Rayong

Evening Walks on the Beach

I moved my family to Rayong, so that I’ll be able to go walking on the beach in the evenings. It is a selfish reason, but I need to be able to exercise outdoors after a day working away on the computer. I’ve been able to go on a walk the last three evenings, and it has been absolutely wonderful. The nearby beach at Mae Rampheung goes on for miles, and I’ve been walking for an hour and a half. It’s all sand, so I’ve been able to do this in my bare feet. I finish my walk off with a quick dip in the sea – pure heaven.

Leaving Minburi

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It is now less than two days to go until we leave Minburi and move to Rayong. They say that moving house is one of the most stressful challenges in life, but I don’t feel particularly feel stressed at the moment – although for the last few days I’ve woken up at 4 am and then been unable to fall back to sleep. Oa has been a real diamond, and she has taken on most of the work involved in this move. She began packing over a month ago, so there isn’t that much left to do. Timmy has his last day in school here tomorrow, and we’ve arranged a moving truck to come at 7am on Saturday.

Why is a Minburi Moving Company So Cheap?

Oa found a moving company here in Minburi that has agreed to take all of our stuff the 180km to Rayong for just 4,000 THB (105 Euro or $135 US). This seems incredibly cheap to me – we paid 6,000 THB three years ago when we moved to here from Lopburi. I hope they don’t decide that it is more cost effective for them to take our belongings and just sell them. We’ll be driving down in the car, so they could be going in the opposite direction for all we know. Oa feels confident that there is no need to worry, but she has suggested that I take a photo of the trucks number plate just in case.


Goodbye to Our House in Minburi

I really wish we could take this house in Minburi with us. I’ve loved living here, and I’d be happy to stay here forever if we were in a better location. The new house has only two-bedrooms, and it is much smaller than this one. The garden here is also much bigger that then what we will be getting at the new place. It is going to be sad to leave here, but I’m definitely looking forward to living beside the beach – exciting days.

The Promenade at Fashion Island Bangkok

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Fashion Island is the nearest large department store to us here in Minburi. When we first moved to Bangkok I avoided going there because I thought it just sold clothes – it took me a few months to catch on that it offers far more than this. We now usually go there once a month, but at this time of year we visit a bit more regularly because it is the rainy season – this makes it difficult to plan outdoor trips. Fashion Island is a bright modern mall with enough shops to keep my wife and son entertained for a few hours. Timmy loves it there because it has Kid’s Island on the top floor. This has a number of fun rides and one of the largest soft play areas in Bangkok – this means plenty of things for him to jump off, slide down, and swing from. My wife usually stays with him while I slip off to visit the Apple Store and enjoy a coffee at Starbucks.

The Promenade

They began building a new department store right beside Fashion Island a few months ago. It has an interesting design. It looks like something out of a fairy book because of the bright colors – it is also cleverly designed to look like an old fashioned street of shops rather than a department store. I’ve been looking forward to seeing the finished building and last Sunday we had the opportunity to visit.

The Promenade is connected to Fashion Island by a sky bridge. I didn’t realize this at first so we ended up having to dodge traffic as we made our way to there from the Fashion Island car park. It was worth it though because I was impressed by what I found inside – not so much because of the shops but because of the design.

The Promenade is obviously trying to attract the wealthy (or as they say in Thailand “high so”) so there are many expensive boutiques. There is also a new high end grocery market that sells international products so this is going to be another good option for westerners looking for home comforts. I didn’t go inside because I needed to go to Tops later – another grocery shop that caters for western tastes. One of the nicest things for me about the Promenade is that there is a Subway restaurant. This is one of my favorite comfort foods so it is good for me to now have an outlet in relatively easy reach of my home – hopefully I won’t feel the need to visit too often. There are also plenty of other restaurants inside The Promenade as well.

Overall I would say that The Promenade is worth a visit for the architecture alone. It is great that it is physically connected to Fashion Island because I wouldn’t visit often if it was just the Promenade.

Trip to Savannakhet Laos

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Building in Savannakhet

I just got back from a trip to Savannakhet in Laos. It’s a nice enough place, but I would have preferred to travel further into southern Laos. My four year old son already had enough of being stuck in a car so we ended up staying in Savannakhet for 3 days. There were a few nice restaurants, but nothing spectacular. The accommodation options are a bit limited, and the first place we stayed in was crawling with cockroaches. We ended up staying in an overpriced resort on the banks of the Mekong – nice view of the river though.

Mekong River From Savannakhet - Evening

Trip to Life Park Khao Yai

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On New Year’s Day we went on a family outing to Khao Yai. I don’t know what it is about this first day of the year, but I always like to visit somewhere outdoors. This is our second New Year in a row visiting Khao Yai, but last year we stayed overnight. I did look around for hotels this time, but everywhere was already booked out. The Thais love this mountainous area and this is their favourite time of year to go there. Many of the Bangkokonians view it as an opportunity to wear their winter clothing even though it isn’t much cooler than Bangkok – even first thing in the morning the temperature was still 25 degrees Celsius.

Life Park Khao Yai

I came across Life Park during an internet search for hotels in Khao Yai. It is right next to the Greenery Hotel not far from the Thanarat Road entrance to Khao Yai National Park. The website for Life Park made the place sound wonderful. I’ve been fooled by false advertisements on the web too many times before so I wasn’t really expecting much. I just hoped that it would be interesting enough to keep a four year old boy happy for a couple of hours.

It was just after 9am when we arrived at Khao Yai and there was already quite a crowd there. I would imagine that around New Year is their busiest time. There was no admission fee but instead you need to buy tickets for whatever rides you wish to go on. We bought a 450 THB ticket that allowed Timmy to go on 5 rides; there are other more expensive tickets that allow for more rides.

brum brum min cars Life Park Khao Yai

The scenery around Life Park is quite pleasant and the area is large enough so that it does not feel crowded. Timmy tried out the ‘brum brum’ mini cars first of all, and he enjoyed that. He got to drive around a little town complete with small houses and roundabouts. He was only allowed ten minutes in the car and this felt an unreasonably short amount of time.

After the cars Timmy tried out the ‘pony pony’. These are a type of rocking horse that can actually move around. They looked quite fun but they weren’t exciting enough for my son – perhaps we should have taken him here before the cars.

Probably the best ride of all was the kiddie bumper boats. Timmy felt a bit nervous at first but he started to really enjoy himself near the end of the ride. The boats move around a pool that is fairly small so I’d imagine that it can be chaotic when it gets busy.

Our final destination at Life Park was Inflatable Land. This is an area full of slides and inflatable structures that kids can crawl up and down on. The nicest thing about this place is that you can stay here as long as you want. The woman behind the counter even said that we could leave and come back again later if we wanted. There are a couple of places for adults to sit and still be able to supervise their kids.

There were many other rides in the park but I didn’t get a chance to try them out. From a look on the faces of other people they were all having fun. Timmy enjoyed his visit to Life Park so we will almost certainly visit again. It is a good place to visit as a day trip from Bangkok.