Living The Simple Life In Thailand

A while back here on the blog I introduced you all to a Thai lady called Keown who now lives in the UK, but is still immensely passionate and proud of her home back in and around the area of Kohn Kaen in the North – East of Thailand.

Keown actually did a 4 part interview for me on a number of subjects and the second part of the interview has been the most popular post on the blog in three different categories. Those categories are  over the last quarter of the year, over the last 30 days and over the last 7 days. The reason I think she has these popular ratings is that she say’s exactly what she is feeling and no punches pulled, but mostly its the passion she has for her home, family and life in general that hits the spot.

Khun Keown with her son

I have put the links to the previous 4 part interview at the bottom of the post as it is great reading and when she said she was going back home a couple of months ago I asked her if she would tell us a bit about her trip and she duly obliged.

Keown’s Warning

Keown did warn me that if I was looking for her to tick travel attractions off of a list then I was going to be disappointed as she totally loves the simple life. I told her that is absolutely perfect.

Trevor: As you have been living in England for a long time now do you find you blend back in to Thai life or more to the point Issan life easily enough when you return home or does it take a few days?

Keown.  It takes a few days to settle , but that is mainly from jet-lag more than anything else and I will be up early hours annoying everybody in the house with my disoriented body clock.  As you know I enjoy the simple pleasures in life and am so happy and content to sit on my own at 3am in the morning. I enjoy the cool fresh air at that time of the morning and just listening to the noise outside , it’s amazing and excites me greatly.

Trevor: I must admit the early morning noises and activities have always fascinated me when in Thailand. How does the day plan out in the North East of Thailand for you.

Keown: Oh I so miss the simple things that Isaan life gives me. You will find that the activities of the day begin early around my home and it’s purely a mixture of fantastic sights and sounds The market traders rise so early to prepare for the day’s trading and will usually be involved in full Thai style conversation whilst making sure the children keep their getting up and going to school process moving. I love just taking a back seat and listening to all of the chit-chat. The next type of activity is generally the monks stopping off at our house to accept our morning offering and the hordes of school children immaculately turned out in school uniforms walking past our house. That is life for me.

Market Traders set up early

I can never really understand or accept life in England  although it is where I spend the majority of my time. Life in England is not real for me it’s all about work and paying bills with very little choice or chances of enjoyment and everything is far too expensive. I find it very difficult to have fun and relax the way I do back home.

Trevor: So is the agenda you spoke of above the way you would always start your day back home?

Keown: Right, brilliant. The day always starts with my English tea, I can’t do anything without that. Although I am not always complimentary about English / western lifestyle, I cannot live without my English tea and I bring stacks of it with me  .Afterwards and still very early in the morning as I previously said I must give food to the monks.

Early morning offerings to the Monks

Trevor: Although things have improved greatly in the UK with regards to getting hold of the more difficult Thai food ingredients, am I right in thinking that catching up on your favourite dishes was still high on your things to do list.

Keown: When I was back home this time I just couldn’t stop eating I made my mind up that I was going to enjoy my food. My sister and her husband would cook typical Isaan dishes for breakfast including chicken with pickle bamboo curry , chillies and Isaan basil with the Chicken being home-grown of course. To go with that for good measure would be the sticky rice, chillie dips and always a basket of raw vegetables with every meal.

Actually a lot of the day I spent eating probably as much as 3 to 4 meals a day and even in between meals I snacked on fresh fruit. I made myself so full up that I ended up sleeping it off for 3 hours only to wake up thinking about what I would like to eat next. You do not even have to walk anywhere to get delicious treats as the ice cream man and the fruit trolley stop right outside your house.

Each lunch time though would be a real treat as my distant cousin who lives next door has an allotment out-of-town and she would bring back fresh papaya and green lime for the papaya salad (som tam) ,wow life was heaven man!

I would hardly go in to the centre of town preferring to visit the local markets at about 5pm everyday I just love visiting the markets it excites me greatly. I go mad and buy all the things that I miss so much when in the UK, especially wild vegetables with mushrooms being my personal favourite My sister thought I was planning on feeding the whole soi (road) as I bought absolutely everything I could see food wise and especially the products I miss so much when I am in the UK.

Market life is best

Trevor: I know you love the country life and the village community spirit, but when do you actually visit concrete jungle as you call it or the town centre?

Keown: The only time I went in to the town centre was to visit my Mum’s sister. My sister’s children run a hotel business there and I would go and visit them all every other day, it was so good to see my Mum’s sister and each time I visited her it brought tears to her eyes. That though was the only time I would go in to the town centre as everything I needed I could get at the night markets food, clothing  or otherwise.

Lots of wonderful fresh vegetables

Trevor: So come nightfall did you paint the town red in real party animal style or favour the quieter life?

Keown: Ha ha ha, are you joking? The evening time was always the family social time we would sit around with drinks just chatting, laughing and setting the world to rights and about 1-2 am we would go and have an early breakfast of rice soup (khao tom) at a restaurant not far from our home. I treasure every moment of these type of days and I just love being around my family… that’s what life is about for me.

The market is packed out

Trevor: So aside from the markets and occasional town visits and knowing full well that you don’t tick travel attractions off of lists, where else did you go around the area of Khon Kaen and is there anywhere that you would recommend to people visiting the area?

Keown: There is a place I visit always when I am home and in fact the owners are an English man and a Thai lady and the place is called ” Castle Howchow Resort” and is about a one hour’s drive outside of Khon Kaen in the Amphue Kranaun province. The resort has the biggest swimming pool in the North – East of Thailand and my son just loves it. The resort also has fantastic accommodation and the surrounding gardens are absolutely beautiful. I would certainly recommend to anyone that they visit this resort if in the area. There are also many occasions when people hire the resort for their wedding. I will tell you a bit more about other activities of the area in a further post, but here is the link to ”Castle Howchow Resort”.

Trevor: Thank you so much Keown that was really great I felt like I had walked in to your setting and was experiencing it myself. I know we are shortly going to look at food and activities of the area with you and you are also going to give us an insight in to Isaan life and your perfect day. I look forward to that Keown and thank you again.

Engaging Thailand Website

For more information on Kohn Kaen and the North – East of Thailand:

For information on Thailand in general and subjects to do with Life design in the form of articles,guest  interviews, products and  relevant links ,please visit  the site is constantly being updated with fresh information of mine and other people’s.

Recommended Books

Thai Food:

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

Thai Food:

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.

Buy this book here

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:

Sex Talk (In search of love and romance) by Kaewmala

Gain massive insights into the courtship rituals and modern dating culture of Thailand. Insights in here that you won’t find anywhere else. Erotic, romantic and over 900 Thai words and phrases as well to learn, a must read.

The Cultural Detective by Christopher G. Moore

If it’s Thai culture that you are seeking to learn about, then look no further than the foreign master on Thai culture. This book is packed with essays on perspectives on crime fiction writing to of course a mass of clues and insights to solving those cultural Thai mysteries. Another great read.

Heart Talk by Christopher G. Moore

If you buy sex talk by Kaewmala be sure to buy heart talk by Christopher G. Moore and visa versa. Heart Talk is the clever navigation to say I love you in so many ways using  the word ”jai” or heart (ใจ). These words are essential and every day Thai words and all nicely organised and ready to read in Heart Talk.

Thailand Fever by Chris Pirazzi and Vitida Vasant

With everything in this book both in English and Thai there are no excuses for anyone. You really want to know how the Thai mind works in your relationship and you can be darn sure the Thai is trying to work out your western ways. Read in your language then pass to your partner to read in their’s and begin to close the gap as they say.

Previous 4 part interview with Keown Wangwan 

Part One

The Amazingly popular Part Two

Part Three

Part Four


4 thoughts on “Living The Simple Life In Thailand

  1. Its just make me wonders how many’s people are still love the basic life of what Issan is offer:) I thought coming to England would changed me from my Issan life to English life!but no didn’t changed of what I used to be or like for sure.And I am glad I didn’t changed;)

  2. It is quite possible that life in the UK made you appreciate your home even more. I am pleased your connection with home is just as great after all this time, if not greater. I find it pleasing to still find traditional Thai life especially the markets as opposed to the 7/11’s, Family Mart’s etc as convenient as they maybe.Thank you Keown.

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