Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Raunchy RoiEt. Irresistible Isaan.

Hill Tribe Village

We went to Wan's still electric-free village to celebrate a wedding. Were these kwai an ominous sign? A 16yo lass had married an 18yo lad. When I was 16 I couldn't tell 'me arse from me elbow' and things aren't much better 26 years later. Marriage? F*ck that.

They don't get many foreigners in these parts.

Those empty bottles had LaoCao in them.
Before enlightenment: carry water, chop wood. After enlightenment: carry water, chop wood.

I'm not enlightened. I simply like swinging axes into piles of wood dressed in traditional Karen attire.

Wan went foraging in the forest.

My job decreed that I had to source some SWG22 copper wire with a diameter of precisely 0.711mm. Finding this in Chiang Mai was like looking for rainbow-coloured-rocking-horse-shit. After much perseverance and use of the local lingo I stumbled upon this copper-coloured goldmine. Finally. After days of trying. Another school had to use acid to strip the insulation off miles of regular electrical cable.

Brendan built some little trolleys to demonstrate Centripetal Force giving the kids a laugh in the process.
Another WaiKru day. Always an impressive demonstration of Thai culture.
Massive Tree Coffee

Took her out to some local landmarks. Namely a cafe in a massive tree overlooking some jungle. She was happy.

I ran through the whole gamut of expat paperwork again. A medical check gets you a work permit which then gets you a one year visa extension. Having a full Thai Teaching Licence massively lubricates the process.

At the Town Hall there's a map of Chiang Mai's districts made out of flowers. I love shit like this. North is to the left of this photo. Felt mint having been to all 25 of them.

Now that the bike's 5yo it requires an MOT. Costs 60bt at a place like this. Once you have that you can buy some insurance (600bt) and get a tax disc (100bt).


Just can't seem to get off it. Whether it's LaoCao rice wiskey at Wan's village or gallons of Leo in the local shops I just can't seem to evade it entirely. Always suffer the next two days of course.

Canny view of Chiang Mai at night.

Me and wor lass returning to the spot we met over 6 months ago. Just before we went on a massive trip.

Massive Trip

If you've ever read The Guardian's educational supplement you'll likely hold the opinion that teaching is a nightmare. However, my current job is the best I've ever had. It's Mon-Fri, 8-4, interesting, challenging material, small classes, keen kids, clean and easy on the body. Admittedly, there are drawbacks like stress and pay but it's better than running cables through a submarine's shit tank or spending two weeks wanking on an oil rig every month.

Additionally, we get 6 weeks off in June/July. This affords one the opportunity to embark on interesting bike tours. This 3,500km journey took 16 nights. PangMaPa (1), LomSak (1), RoiEt (3), Kemarat (1), PrakonChai (1), Pattaya (2), BangSaen (2), Bangkok (4), NakonSawan (1).

The only obligations were to visit RoiEt and Bangkok.

However, the night before leaving we spotted this massive snake being manhandled into a bag about 100m from our apartment.

It's a bit dark and the flash wasn't working but you can make out the monster's outline. It had been eating chickens in a nearby garden. You could see a recent meal causing a bulge in its gut.

Not into snakes me like.

Then we were off on a quick PangMaPa, KhunYuam, Doi Intanon loop. Here's a shot of The Bridge over the River Pai.

As she sat swinging on this swing, I was wondering how the hell you're meant to get a person in each of the four seats?? Could be a starter for next year's physics class.

No questions about this view though.

It's rainy season so you're gonna be waiting under a few salas. Never stopped her smiling though.

We made it to the top of Doi Inthanon. The highest point in Thailand.

Then it was off to RoiEt in Isaan. The road from Phitsanulok to KhonKaen was a pleasant surprise. Check out this spot just west of LomSak in northern Petchabun Province.

I met a group of Indian women here who had ridden from India on some KTX offroad contraptions.

It was in LomSak that I set the alarm for 0200 and stayed up until 0400 watching England's pathetic capitulation against Iceland. Newcastle relegated, England thrashed by Euro minnows and CMFC winless in 11. I give up. I'm sick of supporting shite.


After passing through countless emerald green rice paddies we'd arrived in RoiEt. Located in the center of town is an island within a small lake giving the place a very laid back vibe. I can easily see why Jo moved here from Chiang Mai. It reminded me of an Isaan version of Trang.

The name RoiEt actually means One-hundred-and-one as you can see from this white wire sign on the small island known as the Bueng. Twas mint seeing Jo again. Three nights on the lash.


Next was Mukdahan and a ride along the Mekong River to Kemerat in Ubon Province. We passed through Amnat Chareon ensuring that I have now DEFINITELY been to all 77 of Thailand's provinces. One of my students last year scrutinised the maps of my previous trips and noticed I'd neglected this small Isaan province. Now rectified.

I love the Mekong. One of the world's greatest rivers. It forms the border between Laos and Thailand for hundreds of kilometers before leaving Thailand at this point on its way through Laos and Cambodia before emptying into the South China Sea via Vietnam's massive Mekong Delta.

Sin City

Next was Pattaya. I had managed to avoid this sad caricature of Thailand for four years. However, I wanted Wan to see the sea for the first time and hopefully catch up with an old Royal Navy lad who retired here.

We stayed in a ubiquitous short time hotel with interesting furniture. Other than delivering babies or conducting gynecological examinations we had no idea what this chair might be used for??

We took a ferry to nearby Ko Larn and swam in Pattaya's infamous waters.

Taking a girlfriend to Pattaya is daft. It's like taking coals to Newcastle or sand to Saudi. I took her for a jaw-dropping stroll along Soi6 before following hordes of Chinese tourists along Walking Street. I can't believe the same lass was foraging in the forest a few weeks earlier.

Of course, riding through Pattaya without getting fined is impossible. We got done for 400bt as Wan had forgotten her helmet.

I've been done four times in Thailand and they've all been in Pattaya.

The bargirl scene is as depressing as ever. I used to live in the Nakleua area - a place bargirls go to perish - a whore cemetery if you will. LoiKrap in Chiang Mai is marginally better - more of a whore crematorium. However, there's still no shortage of fat pathetic Farang with a Planck's length of self respect willing to pay dowries for these well-oiled mingers.

We had to get out of here. Too much of everything. Too much police, fines, traffic, whores, traffic, tourists (Russian and Chinese) and noise. Our hill tribe heads were spinning.


Is just a bit further up the road and way more chilled than Pattaya. Somtam is consumed on deckchairs beneath umbrellas. Foreigners never venture here so there isn't an army of coppers waiting to pounce.

There's a 2km arrow straight promenade along the beach that's perfect for jogging. I managed 8km up and down there one night. A sea view, palm trees and a breeze .... what more can a man want? Up on KhaoSamMuk there's an army of monkeys ready to pounce.


Was next. I took Wan on a tour of the SaenSaeb Canal, KaoSan Road and the ChaoPraya River. I remember waiting 30mins for tickets at Asoke MRT station. And then a further 15mins to board a train. This is meant to be Mass RAPID Transport. Admittedly, transporting Bangkok's masses would be a challenge I'd be reluctant to embrace.

I put Wan on a flight back to CM. This trip saw her first tastes of Isaan, the Mekong, the sea, Bangkok and a trip on an airplane. I was meant to follow her home the following day but I got pissed, kicked out of the hotel and then proceeded to drink the whole next day with Matt and some women of dubious character.

I finally started the long slog from BKK to CM at 0700 on a grim Monday morning shaking, sweating and generally hanging out of me arse. This malaise was a contributing factor in taking a wrong turn and crossing a bridge west over the ChaoPraya when I should have been heading north to Ayuddaya. It seemed to take forever to escape the Kok's gravity.


The bike was battered - making peculiar noises at Lampang. I purchased the following:

Chain           1000
Brakes          800
Mirror           350
Air/Oil filter   250
Oil Change    200
Labour          300
Wash            100
Total            3000

And it was just like new despite covering almost 74,000km since I bought it 3yr6mth ago.


BuengPalanChai - RoiEt's peaceful island
BaiSai - Isaan lingo for where you go?
SeabBoh - Isaan lingo for delicious?
KaaBrap - police fine
ลืมหมวกกันน็อกทำไม - why did you forget the helmet? .. Muppet!


  1. Hi, Wilz here. What are doing now, Evil Knievel? Yes, THAT Wilz.

  2. Boongwingdanzwootseeahboooblala - 'You dropped a fish on my pet dinosaur'

  3. BTW, this place has REALLY gone down hill since you left a decade ago. Literally tumbleweed among the lawless cowboys. Empty wooden shacks with semi-warm food left on the tables...the only sound that of the hot arid breeze blowing through your empty head (well, perhaps YOURS if you were here, :-)). Actually, NOT literally, it's hard to describe. We've a posh new giant ASDA (Wallmart) in place of Portland park (no-one went to see it anyway, only myself on one occasion with a friend, and we were the only ones there...). Where once there were three banks (the monetary kind) there remains only one plus a building society...and now about six charity shops...no department store (remember 'Shepard's???), no Woolworths...in IT's place we've a pound shop (more or less). Every small shop is half alcohol (the stock, not the bricks). And on the subject of CRIME, our wee housey and me has suffered THREE assaults (one near physical on wee Willie, the other two glaring attacks at our door, hand held bricks and all!!!). Oh and god...the pitbulls...they outnumber the people 10 to 1!!! Jeezus! I wish I was there with you!!!

  4. I'm awaiting a reply. Remember...always watch for children running into the middle of the motorway...sound advice, yes?

  5. Re : 'School' that's a well skanky thing they asked of you. If you transfer some funds to my UK bank account, I could just post you some. Just an idea.

  6. Is this William Rae? Who I went to school with? Ashington sounds drab man.

  7. Hey! It is he, yes. Good to 'hear' from you! Yep, A-shit-ton, says it all really. Man!

  8. My apologies for the foul language. BTW, this place is also call 'Wansbeckistan' and 'Ashganistan' to the sensible inhabitants. I'm replying as I thought we be in a dialogue by now. Hope I'm not being greedy. Anyways, it's 'drab' and 'scary' (good adjectives), because of the attacks I mentioned yesterday. So...Woodbridge (that council estate) caused me psychological problems (too violent etc)...hence I presented for psychology into a mental hospital, however, sadly (for me) I came out with a cerebellum (I'm pretty sure it's there) microchip and schizophrenia. I have to be careful I'm not aggressive/hostile with frienndlies, so to speak.

    Keep grafting pal, but not too hard. Live long and prosper.


  9. Hi again. It must be early evening in Thailand now. I wanted to mention my brief military career. It was the in TA. I hated it, but discovered I was a crack shot. That's about it. They're a bit 'I need anger management' aren't they? Yeah, I got distracted by my new computer (for about FIVE years) and did very well at Mathematics at college, which is what YOU teach. Then the schizophrenia started, and conversely, then my normal life ENDED. If you find me too depressing, I suggest a good motorbike ride, perhaps to find some car batteries to bring electricity to your gf's village!!!

  10. Me and Mam (same arrangement as when you were last here) are going on holiday...just to the back door and back (back, back, back, errk.) mind you. Right, I'm eating biscuits, so I have to say goodbye.

  11. Re: Bureaucracy - that's some cheap economy you have there! Makes your pension go further. 'Mint' as you would say!

  12. Me again : I hereby present my only mode of transport open to me : tadah! I'll never catch you on THIS particular mode of transport : https://s22.postimg.org/7n5m6j1mp/Wilz_wheels.jpg

  13. Hello there sleepy head/s! Do you and Wan have a tab occasionally? What brand would that be?

  14. Areet Will lad? I smoke tabs when drinking. LM Fah they're called. Or LM Blue in ye olde English. Thinking about you takes me back to the late 80s. You me and Dickaz at Asha High. Hope you're well.

  15. Thanks Hepp. lad! Yes, it takes me back, too (talking to you, I mean). You left me in for dead one Saturday night, I went wonky in a doorway and lost sight of you...as you faded into a beer haze/mirage, up station road. I just couldn't keep up! Anyway, thanks for answering my questions like I am some sort of Gestapo interrogator. Looking forward to your next page. Goodbye for now, I'm going for a ciggy and a cuppa, not that these insignificant Twatter type ramblings are EVER very interesting. Later bonny lad.