Visa Run

From the Border Bridge

For Thailand, I have 12 month Type O non-immigrant multiple entry visa. A condition of the visa is I must leave the country and re-enter every 90 days.

This works fine for me because I go home to Australia every six months and for the other two times I do what expats here call a border run (visa run) to Myanmar.

It means driving to the Thai border town of Mai Sai, four hours, then walking over the bridge to Tachilek in Myanmar, passing through both Thai and Myanmar immigration. I make a short hohiday of it by overnighting somewhere and buying duty free.

Vendors on the Border Bridge


Burmese Car Park Attendant

While in Myanmar, I park in the car park down the alley beside the Wang Thong Hotel, which is in easy walking distance of the border bridge. I took a photo of the Burmese car park attendant who was wearing Burmese make up used by women and men.

Along the way home I made a few tourist stops and took some photos. Firstly I called into a small factory between Mai Sai and Chiang Rai which makes lanterns and brooms. I have bought lanterns there before for loy krathong.


The White Temple

Next morning I first visited  Wat Rong Khun “the white temple” about 20 km south of Chiang Rai. It was designed and funded by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a rich and somewhat eccentric artist from Chiang Rai. I have visited the temple many times but it is a life time work for him and I wanted to see the latest progress. Work began in 1996. It has become a major tourist attraction.

Further down the road, there is a village that specialises in making sticky rice in bamboo. I watched a lady boiling up a batch in her humble abode.

At this stage the battery in my camera went flat…so no more photos!

I passed the King Naresuan Shrine and then bought some stuff at a roadside stall near the hot springs. Avocado 3 kg for 100 baht (A$3.55) and mangoes 20 baht (A$0.71) per kilo.


Roadside Sign for Sticky Rice

Boiling Pot






Humble Abode

Boiling Sticky Rice


Ranggoli Indian Cuisine

Rangoli Folk Art

On Thursday night the Dining Out Group at at Ranggoli Indian Cuisine located in Nimmanhaemin Soi 11.

It’s a pleasant restaurant set in an old wooden house, you can sit outside or inside an air-conditioned room.

Rangoli is a folk art from India, but there was no sign of it in the restaurant

The restaurant is fairly large but our table of fifteen were the only customers. Maybe because it is fairly new.

Our orders were taken promptly and served in reasonable time, but then the staff disapeared and it was hard to get any attention.

We were served an attractive complimentary salad of white radish, carrot, tomatoes, cucumber,onion, lime etc. I then ordered crumbed lamb chops(3), mutton curry, and two garlic naan bread. All the food was fine.

Lamb Chops with Foil Handles

Complimentary Salad



Mutton Curry and Garlic Naan





Our Table - Thanks Steve at CityNow!















Long Weekend

This is a long, long weekend.

Monday is Asarnha Bucha Dayand Tuesday is Wan Khao Phansa.

Wan Khao Phansa is Buddhist Lent Day, when many monks retreat to their temples. In some monasteries, monks dedicate the time to intensive meditation. Some Buddhist lay people choose to observe the day  by adopting more ascetic practices, such as giving up meat, alcohol, or smoking. Thai people present large candles as offerings to the temple to make merit.

Both days are public holidays. Government offices and banks etc will be closed. Selling alcohol in bars will be banned. Restaurants may open but cannot supply booze.

Shopping malls and movie theatres will be open.

In Ubon Ratchathani, in the north west, they hold a candle festival and parade. I have embedded a video of the event. (16 mins )

Ken (Achira)

Achira Assawadecharit (Ken)

You may remember the pianist, Achira Assawadecharit (Ken), who performed for Friends of Music Makng in Chiang Mai a couple of years ago.  He performed last night at the CRK Recital Hall at the Kaew Nawarat campus of Payap University, along with help from Remi Namthep in duo. Ken has just completed a year of advanced musical studies at the Yong Siew Toh, Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore.

He played in the exciting Piano Extravaganza at the Thailand Stock Exchange in Bangkok in late June. Continue reading

Esther Cha

Esther Cha, pianist, played a recital last night at the CRK Recital Hall, Payap University, Kaew Nawarat campus.

I attended a Junior Recital featuring her some time ago.


Esther Cha



1.  BWV866 Well-Tempered Clavier : Prelude & Fugue No. 21 im Bb Major                         J.S. Bach

2. Etude-Tableaux op. 39 No. 9                        S. Rachmaninoff

3. Sonata op. 58 No.3 4th movement              F. Chopin

4. Concerto No. 20 in D minor K.466              W. A. Mozart

Esther was joined by Atsuko Seta for the Mozart Concerto playing the orchestral part on a second piano.

A very enjoyable concert, especially the Mozart, although the air- conditioning was a little noisy in quieter parts of the music

 I have embedded Friedrich Gulda playing and conducting Mozart’s  piano concerto No.20 in D minor, K.466, first movement (allegro), with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra.
Recorded in Gasteig philharmonic hall in Munich, in 1986, during the “munich piano summer” festival.


David’s 70th Birthday


Yesterday was David’s 70 th Birthday. He celebrated the occasion by inviting a group of his friends to Le Crystal restaurant.Yes I was included!

Now this is a very posh French restaurant and we were all given strict instructions to dress proper.and behave. It is arguably one of the best restaurants in Chiang Mai. Here is our menu.


I choose the strip lion steak for my main course.

Brian from Pern’s restaurant said a few words to our guest of honour and proposed a toast to his health.

A great evening of delicious food and impecable service ended with the release of Khom loys on the lawn beside the river.

David & Me






Brian Proposing a Toast to David




My Partly Demolished Steak

Luca & Jay lanch a Komloy

Mathilda & Me


Piano Recital

Another day, another concert.!

Again at the CRK Recital Hall , Payap University, Kaew Nawatat campus, Saturday evening

The eight pianists were

Morakot Cherdchoo-ngarm

 Piyaonn Musikabum,. Napat Sermatana,  Somrudi Suchiphanit, Duangruthai Pokaratsiri, Phumin Boonprapakorn, Vuthithorn Chinthammit, Achira Assawadecharit, and Puripat Paesarach. Their ages ranged from 13-30 years. Morakot Cherdchoo-ngarm played the second piono where required.

  They are all students and former students of Dr. Nopanand Chanorathaikul, a respected piano teacher from Bangkok. Some of them are still in high school, some studing in World Class Music Conservatories abroad and some have just graduated. Repertoire of the evening included masterpieces by Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Ravel. Shostakovich,Rachmaninoff, and others.

It is always amazing to hear the superb talent that exists in this country. The final work played was the 1st and 3rd movements from Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto N0. 2 in F Major, Op. 102, with pianists Piyaonn Musikabhumma and Puripat Paesaroch, which brought the recital to an exciting finale.

Puripat Paesaroch & Morakot Cherdchoo-ngarm 2nd Piano

The Pianists



Payap Choir


Last night, The College of Music, Payap University, presented “An Evening of Disney Songs” featuring The Payap University Choir canducted by the popular Ayu Namtep.

The concert was held in the CRK Auditorium at the Kaew Nawarat campus.

What a great night! This choir is simply outstanding. Moast of the songs were not static presentations, but involved some movement and choreography. Their rendition of The Lion Sleeps Tonight from the Lion King, was the greatest version I have ever heard.

The programme included When You Wish Upon a Star, It’s A Small World, Can You Feel the Love Tonight, A Whole New World, and many other favourites.

The accompanient was Ester Cha on piano and a small percussion group.

A very bright, happy evening, sung to a near capacity audience.The concert will be reoeated on Sunday night.

Choir Singing Everybody Wants to be a Cat

Choir Members

Choir Members

Choir Conducter Ayu

The Percussion Group

Choir Members

Choir Members

Choir Members


Dining Out Group – Natwat Home Cafe

Me & My Macaroni Cheese

Last night the Dining Out Group ate at the Natwat Home Cafe. Fourteen of us enjoyed a very pleasant evening.

This small restaurant is located in Jareanrad Rd and occupies the ground floor of a house. It has a small but adequate menu, consisting mainly of pasta dishes. Our large table of 14 took up almost all the restaurant space. There was one other small table and a bench with stools. There is also an outside eating area.

The parking area is limited to about 4 or 5 cars.

They serve beer but not wine, however they arranged for a staff member to purchase a bottle of wine for Don and myself  from a nearby wine shop.

I ordered a caesar salad followed by macaroni au gratin. Both were delicious especially the macaroni. Service was a little disjointed but OK and very pleasant.

Don & Nop Sharing a Joke

Another Happy Camper


The Dessert Showcase

Coffee Corner

Our Table

Travel Club – New Zealand

On Monday night the Guest Speaker at the Travel Club , Al Trussel, spoke about New Zealand. It was interesting to hear an American’s perspective on our friends accross the “ditch” from Australia.

His discussion was richly illustrated with photos. He travelled by rental car and stayed overnight mainly in motels. Altogether he was 5 weeks in the country, visiting both North and South Islands and driving1748 miles.

It was a story of 4.5 million people and 36 million sheep.

Al claimed that New Zealand offerred the most beauty, intrigue, and variety of the over 50 countries he had visited. He did find it expensive however.

He seemed a little confused about Dunedin, which he claimed was the most English city outside the UK. Dunedin in fact has a strong Scottish heritage. Christchurch is considered to be most English city.

A very interesting presentation appreciated by the audience. Funny, he didn’t refer to the All Blacks once!

A relaxed Al

Part of the Audience