Showing posts from 2011

Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihan

Yes, you did read that name correctly and no, a chimpanzee hasn't taken over the writing of my blog. Although sometimes it may seem like it!!!

Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihan, is actually a Buddhist temple in the province of Chachoengsao, about 80km east of Bangkok and a 1 hour 30 minute drive from my home town of Banglamung near Pattaya.

It houses one of the most revered Buddha images in Thailand known as "Luang Por Sothon" which means the "venerable father of Sothon".

There is a interesting story surrounding how the statue of Luang Por Sothon came to be at Wat Sothon.

Legend has it that 3 Buddha images were found floating along the Chao Phraya River towards the Bang Pakong River, where local villagers tried in vain, to tie the statues together and bring them ashore.

The statues continued on their watery journey until fortune smiled upon the inhabitants of Ban Leam who were able to retrieve one of them. The second statue was rescued at the town of Bang Phlee and the f…

Spirit houses

A spirit house is a shrine that is placed at an auspicious location within a building or its grounds.

They are common throughout South East Asia and can be found in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Burma (Myanmar).

Thais believe that when a new building is erected, it might disturb the spirits who inhabit the site. In order to appease them and prevent bad luck, a spirit house is put up to provide shelter.

Spirit houses come in all sizes and generally take the form of a house or temple mounted on a pillar and can include models or images of people and animals. They can be made of stone, concrete or wood.

The vast majority of homes and businesses will have a spirit house which is known as a san phra phum and is written ศาลพระภูมิ in Thai. The location of the spirit house will be chosen in consultation with a brahmin priest.

We have 2 spirit house complexes, with a total of 4 houses. One is located in the garden next to our house and the other is at the entrance to our guesthouse.

Here are some ph…

Attempted murder

During the course of last night a rather unseemly incident occured. One of our tenants narrowly escaped being killed afer being targeted by gunmen.

Around 10.30pm, 2 shots ran out which woke my wife and sister-in-law and caused a bit of a commotion.

At first I didn't believe they were gunshots and I casually dismissed them. The reason for my nonchalence is that loud noises are a regular occurance here in Thailand and it's not unusual to hear fireworks or firecrackers being set off late at night.

However, in the cold light of day it was obvious that our tenant had been very lucky to avoid serious injury or death.

The tenant in question has recently upset some local political bigwigs and it transpires that she also owes money to loan I fear there may be more trouble to come!!!

It's suddenly feeling more like Baghdad than Banglamung at the moment......I may have to invest in a bullet-proof vest and make sure I carry a change of underwear too!!!

Pattaya highlights: Baan Sukhawadee

Having been hard at work planning our wedding, we recently decided to take a day off and do a bit of sightseeing. The attraction that we chose visit was Baan Sukhawadee.

Baan is the Thai word for "house" or "home" and sukhawadee means purity and happiness.

The estate was built in 2001 and was formerly the private home of Dr. Panya Choititawan, who is a well known farming mogul here in Thailand. It has since been opened to the public and is now used as a venue for weddings and social functions and as a setting for films and television programmes.

I don't think Bernard Matthews can boast such a grand residence.....ahhh bootiful!!!

As you can see from the pictures, it's s a hotch potch of architectural and design styles with Baroque, Neo-classical, Moorish and traditional Thai elements. I immediately thought of the Palace of Versailles when I saw the landscaped gardens and interior decoration, although a much gauider version!!!

It is certainly a nice place to whil…

A guide to getting married in Thailand - Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of my guide to getting married in Thailand......

Our day started with an early morning taxi ride to the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The journey took about 45 minutes, due to horrendous congestion and cost over 250 baht.

The reason for our trip was to get the Freedom of Affirmation document and translated copy, stamped and certified by the Legalisation and Naturalisation Division.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, shares it's offices with the Department of Consular Affairs and the full address is 123 Chaeng Wattana Road, Laksi District, Bangkok, 10210. Their opening of hours are officially 8.00-11.30 and 13.30-17.30

Here is a link to their website.......

We arrived just after 8.30 and the ministry was already starting to get busy. I dread to think how long the queues would have been if we'd arrived later!!!

The Legalisation Department was on the 2nd floor. Upon arriving, I advised the staff on the front desk what I needed, they …