In today’s post we have the first of a two-part interview with a very talented and delightful lady from Udon Thani in the North- East of Thailand. Not only does she host her own blog and make all of her own video’s but if my Thai language skills were half as good as her English skills I would be very happy. Kitiya gives us an insight in to her world and life design in Udon Thani as well as giving top-notch travel information. The north-east of Thailand quite often gets by passed by visitors, but this is quite frankly a mistake. If you have time and can fit it all in, then make sure the north-east is on your itinerary. If not perhaps arrange two tips to Thailand in order to see this region. The North-East of Thailand is full of strong traditions and culture that should not be missed.
- Full Name: Kitiya, Nickname : Pui
- Can You Tell Us A Little About Yourself And What You Do ?
- My real name is Kitiya, but I’m also known by my nickname “Pui”, I was born in 1980 I have one younger sibling, my brother and I were born and grew up in Udon Thani province in the northeast of Thailand. I studied at Udon Thani’s main university, graduating in 2002 with a BA degree in marketing at the age of twenty-one, but I havent actually been working in the marketing field since that time. In 2004 I began work as a teacher in private school, which I did for two years before leaving. I am currently a private English/Thai tutor.
- Can You Tell Us A Little About Your Blog Please ?
- My blog is all about Thailand – from a Thai girls (mine) point of view. I talk about travel information, cooking and Thai culture, in particular I specialise in information and stories about Isaan (the north-east.)
www.expat-visa.com/kitiyasthailand ( Kitiyas blog)
- Trevor: Being a North Eastern lady I expect the regional food is very close to your heart. However what are your three very favourite Thai dishes?
Kitiya: 1. Somtam (papaya salad) as it’s the most famous dish here in the north-east. In Udon Thani we don’t have a specific time of day for eating this dish, so please don’t be surprised when you see many people waiting for somtam at the fresh market/stalls in the morning, afternoon or evening.
2.Tomyumkung (spicy soup) the original one without coconut milk must be very spicy and bloody sour.
3. Pad Krapaw-Spicy stir fried pork/chicken/seafood with Thai holy basil
Trevor: I can understand the popularity of som tam it is absolutely delicious. We have a Thai Catering business here in the south-west of England and our customers just love Som Tam, mind you though Kitiya there is a difference I know between som tam Thai as such and som tam Isaan or North Eastern. You good people from the North-East do like things extra hot and spicy. I think if we gave our customers in the UK, top of the range hot and spicy north-eastern som tam we might kill some off. Not good for profit lines.
Som Tam, Papaya Salad
Trevor: If you were hosting a Thai dinner party for friends what dishes would you conjure up if you were putting it together in a Western format of appetisers, main courses and desserts
Kitiya: 1. Appetiser – Spring Rolls.
2. Main course – Tomyumkung (spicy soup) and fried rice.
3. Dessert – Mango with sweet, sticky rice.
Trevor: Desserts don’t really get mentioned that often, but mango’s with sticky rice seem to be a firm all round favourite and absolutely delicious. I love mango, but I cannot eat too many of the really sour one’s they tend to give me stomach problems. We foreigners are not so strong in the stomach area, Ha ha ha.
- Trevor: Can you give us three of your very favourite eating places in Udon Thani?
Kitiya: 1. Mae Ya restaurant In the Thai-Chinese business area of Udon thani where you can find original Thai food. For those who fancy western food instead, they also have this.
2. VT Vietnamese Restaurant has very reasonable prices.
3. UD Town near the Train Station has a variety of foods at low prices. They also have music bands playing every night while you are eating, how nice!
Kitiya In Udon Thani (North East Of Thailand)
- I know your home is in Udon Thani in the North East of Thailand, but what are your three favourite places to visit in Thailand outside of Udon Thani
Kitiya: Chiang Mai
This is 12 hours by bus and private car from Udon Thani, I’ve been there many times already and loved it. Most of the time we visited during the summer Songkarn festival for the Thai New Year. It was always crowded and extremely hot, but of course people were always throwing water onto each other so this festival definitely cools you down. In my opinion Chaing Mai is a wonderful place to visit, it is mountainous and has many tourist attractions like water springs, water falls, caves, temples and beautiful gardens. This is my dream place, I used to think that if I had to leave Udon Thani and move anywhere, I’d move to Chaing Mai. The only time I’ve visited Chaing Mai during the cold season was for the “Royal Flora Ratchapruek 2006”. I also enjoyed my shopping trips to the border market in Chiang Rai only few hours drive from Chaing Mai.
My father’s hometown. I’ve been there many times since I was a kid and have always visited the Phanom rung Stone Castle and I’ve got a photo of me that was taken there 27 years ago (me pondering). Prasat Phanom Rung in Khmer is a Khmer temple complex set on the rim of an extinct volcano at 1,320 feet above sea level. It is located in Nangrong Distict where my parents live, and is the one place that you must go visit if you happen to be in Buriram. If you ever have the chance to visit there yourself, I’d like to suggest to you guys to park a car at the front of the castle and start walking from there, so that you will be able to see the nice views of the castle, even though it is quite a walk compared to entering from behind. If you find yourself visiting around early April, there is also a festival, during which time the rising sun will be visible through all 15 gates on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th. On the 3rd it will rise straight through the middle.
http://www.youtube.com/user/puinarak28#p/u/5/Nh0A7-JoTdM (Phanom Rung Historical Park – Buriram Province)
http://www.youtube.com/user/puinarak28#p/u/11/6jfsj1pcGXk (Pimai Stone Castle – Buriram Province)
Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat)
Korat is the short name another of the major cities of Thailand, and it is the major gateway to another provinces in the northeast (Isaan). It has a big bus station (V.I.P bus) for those who don’t want to throw their budget on plane tickets. The first thing I’d suggest you guys to do when you arrive in Korat is to go and pay your respects to “Ya Mo” the heroine statue. Well, the last time I visited Korat was seven months ago, the highlight of which was Pimai Stone castle in Pimai District, and it was quite sad as we came there a day after the floods of 2010. The flood had gone and everyone was busy cleaning streets and houses, it was a bit of a mess. We visited Pimai Stone Castle while we were there, and you could see where the flood waters had been, the flood water had reached up to around 50cm deep. Luckily not much was destroyed though.
Kitiya In Chiang Mai
Trevor: Great information Kitiya I can tell you I have visited all three of those places, but unfortunately have not been to Udon Thani. I have spent a lot of time in and around the Chian Mai area and like you I love it. I intend to spend even more time there in the future if I get my way. I find that Chiang Mai days are really warm, but a cooler early morning and evening feel, beautiful to sit outside with a nice cold Singha beer and watch sun go down. Having said that I once got caught out one morning in January up on Doi Intanon mountain, Thailand’s highest point, that was really cold and I was ill prepared. I know it serves me right. It was early day’s in my Thai visits and I held the belief that not any where or at any time did it get cold in Thailand, I was wrong. It was beautiful up there though.
I really enjoyed the stone castle in Buriram and Buriram itself, there is something very exciting about exploring the towns that most tourists would not go to, I think its called ” fishing where the fewest fish”. I stayed for about four days in Korat and remember watching a lot of ”Pleng Korat” traditional music and dance of Korat, the words and rhythm of ”Pleng Korat” are unique to the deep culture of Korat.
Buriram In The North East Of Thailand
Trevor: For visitors arriving in Udon Thani, what would you consider were the three places that people simply must visit in and around the area.
Kitiya: Top 3 must visit i’d say,
Ban Chiang National Museum (camera not allowed)
I Took my boyfriend here, but as soon as we walked in suddenly the staff told us “camera not allowed here”. Never mind, we could just save those photos in our memories. Ban Chiang Archaeological Site is located in Nong Han Distict Udon Thani province, and the site became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 1992. There are souvenir shops nearby, where we bought a few things for Terry to take back to the UK.
Nong Prajak Park
In the heart of Udon Thani amongst the beautiful garden there you can enjoy feeding fish but not fishing lol. To avoid the heat I’d suggest you guys visit in the morning or evening, but especially in the evening. People go there for jogging, aerobics and to ride the bikes that you can rent. There are also many food stalls nearby and also right next to the park. Please don’t hesitate to visit Udon Thani Museum too, you can enter for free but they will ask you to sign your name in as a visitor and tell them where you are from, that’s all.
Udon Sunshine Orchid farm
Where they produced their own perfume from orchids grown on the farm, it is about 2km from Nong prajak Park.
Udon Thani In The North East Of Thailand
Trevor: Living In Thailand/Udon Thani
Can you offer any money-saving tips with regards to living in Thailand that perhaps you use, that may help others?
Kitiya: If your stomach can handle Thai food, then eat that rather than western food, as it will generally be a lot cheaper. If you’re the kind of guy who like to go out to bars for a drink, then be careful which bars you choose to go to, or it may end up costing you more than you planned on (especially if you like to drink a foreign beer such as Guinness, as this must be imported). 😉
Trevor: If you were to split life in Thailand by living 4 days a week in one place and 3 days a week in another where would it be and why? Of course one of those places might well still be Udon Thani.
Kitiya: Four days in Chaing Mai, because I have been there many times, and have fallen in love with the scenery, and also the local people, who are probably the most friendly in Thailand. There are also many things to do there, so it’s never boring. Three days in wherever my boyfriend happens to be, just him and me together. 😉
Trevor: That is very sweet and romantic Kitiya. If your boyfriend happens to be in Thailand at the time then that will be fine, but if it’s in the UK then don’t forget your big jacket.
Beautiful Scenery In Chiang Mai (Northern Thailand)
Trevor: What would you say as a Thai national were the three most important tips for new arrivals with regards to adjusting to life in Thailand?
Kitiya: The weather is usually quite hot, be prepared for this and have somewhere to get out of the sun. Traditional Thai food is usually quite spicy, this can be a bit of a shock for some westerners. Be careful and try not to get ill, as this could end up being quite expensive!
Trevor: What would you say the crime rate was like in Udon Thani, is it quite a safe place to live?
Kitiya: Udon Thani is just like any other major city, no place is truly safe, but as long as you’re careful you should be fine.
Trevor: What about the cost of living in Udon Thani, have you found things more expensive in the last couple of years. On the other hand what is still great value?
Kitiya: Things have generally got more expensive in Udon Thani in the last couple of years, but this is the same for all of Thailand, however bottled water is still a good bargain.
Trevor: Would you say the plus points out weigh the minus points for you with regards to living in Udon Thani?
Kitiya: Living in Udon Thani is still pretty good compared to living in a place like Bangkok. We have a lot of the same facilities, including the big name stores and restaurants, but with the advantage that it is less crowded, and you are far less likely to get lost!
http://www.youtube.com/user/puinarak28#p/u/20/KJ6RnlG9oTg (Udon Thani Downtown and Food)
Trevor: Could you give us a couple of your favourite nice quiet places that perhaps you and your boyfriend like to go for a night out in Udon Thani.
Kitiya: I’m not sure I’d call it quiet, but we usually love to go to UD Town for something to eat and drink, and just to enjoy the general atmosphere, there is always something going on.
http://www.youtube.com/user/puinarak28#p/u/4/PVHB3ni1bXI (Travel To Thailand In Summer – Udon Thani Town)
Trevor: For the people looking for more of a party atmosphere where are a couple of good lively venues to spend an evening in Udon Thani?
Kitiya: The same as above, we don’t usually stray too far from our hotel in central Udon Thani
In Part Two
In part two of the interview with Kitiya that will follow soon, Kitiya talks about cross cultural relationships, life design, goals and plans for the future and gives more top tips and advice. Please watch this space.
Engaging Thailand Website
For more information on Thailand in the form of articles, tips, relevant links constant updating and new guest interviews ,please visit http://www.engagingthailand.com/ the site where work will always be in progress.
A blog all about Thailand – from Kitiya’s point of view. Kitiya talks about travel information, cooking and Thai culture, in particular Kitiya specialises in information and stories about Isaan (the north-east.)
Brilliant Thai Forum
Entertaining, friendly and very informative on subjects Thai. Come along and meet a welcoming crowd of Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, Americans, Brits, Thais and others and be in the know and inform.
A magnificent book and all your need to know about Thai food including a fantastic section on food from the North East of Thailand. The full culture of Thai cuisine an absolutely superb book.
World Food Thailand by Joe Cummings http://www.amazon.com/dp/1864500263/?tag=www.engagingthailandtips.wordpress.com-20
For people who would like to re-create the Thai Street Food experience in your own home then you absolutely must obtain a copy of the Australian Thai Chef/Restaurant owner David Thompson’s book ”Thai Street Food”. Cooking authentic Thai Food is very rarely performed expertly if you are not Thai, but David Thompson is one of that very, very rare breed of foreign experts. Great recipes and stunning photos.
Popular Thai Culture:
There are some things that are very Thai and knowing about them will greatly help your understanding of Thai ways and popular Thai culture. What is Hi-So?The love affair with red bull and energy drinks, ghost stories, amulet collectors and fortune tellers. Thai Massage, What is a sniff kiss? These are just a few of the things you will read about in the excellent 256 page book with fantastic photographs called ” Very Thai” by Philip Cornwel-Smith and photographs by John Goss. You can buy this book by following this link: