In the year and a half this site has been online, I have done my best to give advice to those who need it. Free advice. Every day I get e-mails, messages, and comments asking question after question about living and moving to Thailand. Some ask simple questions that can be answered in one sentence, others ask five-pages of questions that take quite a bit of my time to answer.
I've been living in Thailand since November 1995, well before the internet exploded with information, well before forums, blogs, and e-books became popular, and well before anyone had heard the words digital nomad. In my many years here I have exported Thai products, worked as an accredited photojournalist, and worked with professional boxers giving me access to much of what is unseen by most foreigners.
When I decided to live in Thailand, I sold my business to finance the move. I received $10,000 and a verbal promise for a $1000 a month for 24 months. I took the $10,000, paid a few bills, bought a ticket to Thailand and arrived in Thailand with $8500. I came with one duffel bag stuffed with clothes, a suitcase full of DVD's, and a small backpack with a couple of magazines and books. Now I have a house full of stuff, a wife, and two children.
During my first few years in Thailand, I was truly a stranger in a foreign land. When I first came here, everything I knew about Thailand came from a couple of friends who had come to the country and two books; Let's Go Thailand and The World's Most Exotic Party Destinations. Over the past 18 years I have traveled all over Thailand and also the rest of Southeast Asia. I picked up knowledge and experience along the way, slowly learning what I needed to learn while building a life for myself here.
If I you need help planning your trip, moving here, advice about a relationship, need to know about Thai schools, or how to get the most for your money, check my YouTube videos or blog or feel free to send me a quick message. Save time, money, and receive more in-depth advice using my consultation service. Simply send your message and I will respond within 48 hours. Once we agree on a price, you will then receive an invoice through PayPal.
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The children were eager to practice their English and were constantly running by us saying one of two phrases; "Hello!" or "Sawasdee Khup." The adults kept to themselves although a few said hello and waved. While they weren't unfriendly to us, they were nowhere near as friendly as the children and probably viewed us as more of a nuisance than anything else.
Klaus was intent on going to a restaurant that was on the way back to our bungalows. However, getting to the restaurant was a major endeavor. We left the Moken village and instead of walking back along the trail that led us there, we decided to follow the coastline.
"We can go, we can go!" said Klaus.
"I don't think so Klaus. It looks like we might get stuck."
Several locals assured us it was possible to follow the shore. 'It was low tide,' they explained. 'No problem." Despite having reservations, I agreed and we strode forward like any true adventured would.
We walked, and walked, and walked. "I think it is around this next corner," said Klaus. There were far too many corners though and after an hour or so, Klaus began to complain. He wanted to turn back. Although the rocks were sharp and it was tough going, I had started sweating and was feeling good.
"No, no," I said. "We need to find this place. I'm not turning back."
We continued on, with Klaus complaining all the while. The sharp rocks and uneven terrain made walking difficult. Eventually we were forced to go up into the forest. We trudged along through thick brush until finally, we reached a small house nestled in the corner of a group of trees. An old woman waved and said hello. I walked over and asked the way to the nearest bungalow. She pointed to the ocean. I thanked her, then looked over and saw a pathway leading to the beach. Klaus and I were both tired by now but we continued forward. We made it around the bend and walked down a long stretch of beach. A row of bungalows could be seen through the trees and we headed straight for them. Where there are bungalows, there is food and drink.
At the top of one of the many hills, we saw a small sign with the words Rattana Restuarant on it. At last.
"Is this the restaurant?" Klaus asked. "I think this is not the restaurant."
"Klaus! Does it matter?" I asked. "Have a beer."
We sat down and relaxed. He ordered a beer, I ordered a coke. The rest was well deserved and much needed. The restaurant was small and quaint but provided a nice view of the ocean. For 30 minutes we sat and talked with the owner, sipping our drinks and recharging out batteries.
After his beer, Klaus seemed revitalized.
"Let us go!" he said. "We will eat at the bungalow."
We said our goodbyes and began walking.
What we thought would be a two to three hour trip, had become a trek. Our journey began at 10 in the morning and by the time we reached our bungalows, it was 4:30. We had walked for at least five hours. As we came upon the Cashew Resort, the sun began to fade and the heat began to subside. It had been a long day but it was a trip that was well worth the energy.
Though I had an idea of the cost of my bungalow per night, not a word had been spoken about this so on our way out to our walk I stopped in an asked the most two important questions that can be asked at a bungalow: "How much" and "When does the electricity go on and off?"
"400-baht a night," said Mr. Yonjuit, the owner. "Electricity goes on at 6PM and off at 10PM."
I would later find out this is a loose guide to when the electricity goes on. If something electrical is needed during the day, the lights may go on for an hour, or they may go on for three hours. But from 6PM to 10PM the lights will definitely go on.
I had this meal twice during my stay, the second time I informed the chef that he should make the dish as spicy as possible without ruining it. The second time, I was served the same excellent dish, only spicier. A perfect dish and for 80-baht, you won't find a better bargain on the menu.
The next day, Klaus and I decided we would go to the Moken Village. The Moken people, or Sea Gypsies, are nomadic fishermen who normally live on the sea. Politics have forced the majority of them to live on land and their village on the island has become a tourist destination. However, when we went, we were the only foreigners in the village.
The walk to the village is supposedly an hour or an hour and a half away. It took us two hours. There are areas of the walk that are difficult at times, but the majority of the trek is easy. It is possible to get to the village in under an hour and a half however, there are plenty of things to see and there is no reason to rush through the walk.
Bring water. The lone store along the way to the village is at the very beginning of the walk. The heat can be intense and there are no stores in the Moken village. To get water you either drink the tap water (not recommended) or take a thirty-minute walk past the village.
Mention Koh Chang to those who live in Thailand or who have traveled here and many will say they have been there or know the place. Koh Chang in the Trat Province is well-known, increasingly popular tourist destination. I went there five years ago and was impressed. It is beautiful, there are nowhere near as many tourists as Pattaya or Phuket, and if you want peace and quiet, you can still find it. What many people do not know, including many Thais, is that there is more than one Koh Chang.