Thailand
Changwat Nong Khai

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  • Day14

    Nong Khai, Isaan

    September 22, 2019 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Nong Khai is a stunning surprise. We had no idea where we were coming to but we love it already. It sits on the banks of the mighty Mekong River and looks across to Laos. This area was once part of Laos and the people here still identify more with Laos, when asked the locals say they are from Isaan, rather than Thailand. We arrived on Sunday after long travel day and were instantly refreshed by the cleanliness and beauty of the town, our guesthouse Mut Mee is right on the river so it’s cool and calm and incredibly peaceful and quiet.

    Thursday 26th Sept
    It’s 7am and I am sitting out by the river, it‘s slow flow is mesmerizing and it keeps distracting me from typing or doing anything else. I’m sure I could sit here all day just watching and breathing it in but we are working while we’re here so will have to save that luxury for the weekend. There’s a large pedestrian (and cyclist) only paved promenade that runs all the way along the river so we’ve hired bikes for the duration of our stay here so we can get around easily. Each day we ride to Open Mind Project (OMP) in the morning and back again at night after dark. Our first few days at OMP have been orientation where we are getting to know the eight young trainees and they are teaching us about some Thai and Laos culture, language and customs to help us adjust. The first day we were given a list of ingredients needed to make Laab Kai and Som Tam (spicy papaya salad) for dinner. We learned some Thai phrases and vocabulary, walked to the market for the ingredients and then all cooked together to make these traditional dishes accompanied by sticky rice. The sticky rice is a.maze.ing! super high in energy which is released slowly and the farmers live on this to keep them sustained during their long days of physical work (we are told that people from Isaan work harder than people from Thailand). Each meal, we cook together and eat together and the food is packed with plenty of chilli and flavor. The trainees here are all from remote Laos Villages and have come to Open Mind Project to learn English, IT, business development , discover their interests and develop the life skills and confidence required to prepare for a better future. The vision is a future in which young people are motivated, confident and empowered to realize their dreams.

    I know I need to write more about our volunteering work as our friends and family are all asking about it but it’s kind of hard to write about as I don’t have the words yet. It will come out in due course.

    By Rachel
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  • Day17

    Olivia's birthday

    September 25, 2019 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Thursday Sept 26th
    We are humbled by the openness with which we have been received by the trainees at OMP and the hospitality we have been shown over the past three days. Yesterday was Olivia’s seventh birthday. That’s ‘jet’ in Thai, she knows how to say “Hello I’m Olivia, I am seven years old and I am from New Zealand” in Thai. One of the Thai staff who works at Open Mind has a daughter named Neom who comes to OMP each day after school and she and Olivia have become instant friends. They are the same age, exactly. Sharing their birthday has bonded them for life. So yesterday evening they threw a big party for Neom and Olivia and showered both of them with gifts, and ice cream cake. I was so blown away by the generosity and attention that I couldn’t even take photos but Matt took some and I’ll put some on here for Olivia’s memories.Read more

  • Day35

    Our friends at Open Mind Projects

    October 13, 2019 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Some more photos here of our friends at Open Mind, they are young students aged 18-22 from remote villages in Laos who go to the Open Mind Centre to learn English, IT skills and gain confidence to achieve their dreams in life. They are initially invited for three months and are then invited to extend their stay if they prove to be motivated and hard working. Many stay for up to two years and become trainee leaders at the Centre where there can be up to twelve trainees living at a time. Most arrive having no practice in English but progress really quickly by learning and speaking with volunteers like us.Read more

  • Day125

    Nong Khai: Bliss on the Mekong

    January 15, 2019 in Thailand ⋅ 🌫 23 °C

    What a surprise of a lovely town is Nong Khai! I stayed a total of six days, and enjoyed myself enormously in the Isãn northeast of Thailand. Pinch in the map to see where it is in the country. The Mekong River is its charm and delight. I found a guest house practically on the river promenade, so I could walk every day, admiring the flow and expanse, and lovely Laos on the opposite bank.

    A story for you. Saturday, January 12th was Children’s Day. I spent the morning at the Nong Khai Aquarium, admiring the variety of Mekong River fish in the large tank. A program was going on outside for children, with two ladyboys as MC’s. Interesting. So when I got back to the center of Nong Khai I went to another program at the City Hall, which featured dance troupes, prizes, gags and food—all for kids. This is where my story begins.

    Next to me at the program was a nine-year-old boy. He held a balloon between his knees, and was slurping a sticky red ice concoction as he watched the program. He dutifully got up to throw away his trash, get a drink of water, and play with his balloon before returning to his seat. As he sat down, his balloon escaped. It went bouncing down the aisle, and was caught by a little girl who looked to be three years old. She was surprised and delighted. The boy’s mother quickly said to him, “You’ll let her have it, won’t you.” He quickly nodded. Then I watched him. His face turned red, his ears turned red, and his eyes filled with tears. He pulled a Buddhist amulet on a chain from under his shirt, and clasped it between his hands. His hands were shaking. He mouthed a prayer, and though his tears did not spill out of his eyes, his hands shook more. I looked away, and the program ended. He and his mother disappeared in the crowd. I myself wept as I walked home.

    Another event. In this new town, I lost my impetus to talk to strangers. Everyone was warm and friendly to me, but I lost it. After cramming in vocabulary review for a few hours in a coffee shop, I felt very blue indeed. I decided to go visit the woman who had washed and blow-dried my hair two days before; she seemed friendly, and a beauty parlor is a sociable place. When I entered, she was there alone, and was happy to see me. She told me that her boyfriend, a barber living 250 miles away, was on his way for a five-day visit, and wouldn’t it be nice if we could go out for “shabu-shabu” together. (It’s a Japanese hot-pot, international it seems..) Of course I agreed, and at 5 PM met them and we drove along the Mekong to a bustling restaurant. It was my first experience in Thailand being only with Thais in a social setting! Although my listening comprehension is awful for “real Thai,” Nai and Dom were persistant in getting their meanings across to me. We ate and ate. So much fun, so friendly. My good spirits returned, and have buoyed me ever since.

    And so I lived happily until leaving for Bangkok, my next story. More about Nong Khai is revealed in the photos, though...
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  • Day91

    Vientiane

    February 1, 2017 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    Food. Food and more food.

    It felt really good to be back in a city.

    We stayed a pretty poor hostel but we had air con, so it was okay as it was bloody boiling outside.

    We strolled around the calm city streets, ate french, Lebanese and Vietnamese cuisine and did an amazing course in the countryside.

    The course was a women's NGO, that wanted to invest in keeping the Laotian art of silk weaving and natural tie dying.

    A really lovely city break before heading to Thailand and then India.
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  • Day3

    Bye Thailand... for now

    December 10, 2017 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Took a night #25 train to Nong Khai. Of course bed was about 180cm short, of course there were mosquitos. But it was a nice ride. Did 4 hours of work and now a train to Laos over the friendship bridge (see picture). Officialy I’m nowhere, checked out of Thailand. No mans land :)

  • Day22

    Weiter nach Nong Khai

    April 4, 2019 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 34 °C

    Am nächsten Tag sind wir mit dem Minibus nach Nong Khai weiter gefahren. Nong Khai liegt an der Grenze zu Laos und ist über die erste Thailand-Laos Freundschaftsbrücke über den Mekong mit Laos verbunden.
    In Nong Khai haben wir uns wieder einen Roller genommen, um die in der Stadt verstreuten Tempel anzuschauen.
    Nong Khai hatte zwei sehr schöne Drachenskulpturen an der Strandpromenade und auch sonst einige hübsche Tempel. Ein weiteres Highlight war das Bingsu Eis, dass wir in einem Café an der Promenade probiert haben. Das ist ein koreanisches Dessert, dass innen aus Eisspänen besteht, die aussehen wie Kokosflocken.
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  • Day15

    OpenMind Projects, Nong Khai, Thailand

    September 23, 2019 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    Open Mind Projects was our home base and family in Isaan for 3 weeks. The students and staff have been so warm and welcoming to our family and we have made some really special connections with the Laos students who fully embraced us with warm smiles, hugs and their fun sense of humor. We were there to provide motivation and opportunity for the Laos students to get English language conversation practice through sharing and participating in daily life tasks together.

    The daily routine was very casual but there was usually time between 9.30-11.30am to learn some new vocabulary using fun games learning apps like Kahoot and Quiz lit, or to work on the garden development project or tourism projects they had going. This was followed by a big communal lunch session between 11.30-1.30 where everyone helped to prepare the daily lunch banquets of amazingly varied and delicious local dishes from both Laos and Isaan. The meals were always a delicious perfectly balanced combination of spicy, sweet, acid and salty flavors and it was really nice to cook together and chat, have a laugh and learn some new techniques in the very basic but efficient kitchen. Every meal was centered around a huge basket of sticky rice which we have not been able to find in other parts of Asia and we now crave every day. The sticky rice is grown and supplied by TT’s family and it is the staple food for Isaan people, where the farmers work long and hard and rely on the slow releasing energy in the sticky rice to keep them going all day. These routine lunch banquets where a highlight of our day, after which we would cycle down a few blocks to our favourite iced coffee cart to sit in from of the fan and order our regular yen cafe and na manaw. That’s iced coffee for us and fresh lemonade for the kids. From 1.30-3pm there was another learning session where we would help the students work on their projects. The afternoons were so hot and we were always lazy after the feast so not so much was achieved during this time. 3pm was Mala time. The students run a BBQ cart outside OPM and all money raised from the BBQ was used to supply all the food for the center. Chloe loved this time of the day when she could help Ty prepare and sell the food. Olivia always helped at the DJ station they had set up and Jacob was the best BBQ customer. It was a fun time where they had the music pumping on the street, delicious food cooking and a special Sichuan spice rub that we are also now addicted to.

    We also had the opportunity to go to English club at the Monk University each Wednesday afternoon to give the novice monks an opportunity to practice their English language skills and also to go to a very poorly resourced local primary school to help teach English but that didn’t go too well as we didn’t know what we were doing.
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  • Day70

    Zurück in Thailand

    March 23, 2017 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 33 °C

    Laos und Thailand wird nur durch den Mekong getrennt. Während wir gestern noch auf der laotischen Seite ein Beerlao getrunken haben, gab es an diesem Abend wieder auf thailändischer Seite ein Leo. Nong Khai ist die erste Stadt nach dem Grenzübergang und wirkt wie ein kleines verschlafenes Örtchen. Wir haben ein schönes Zimmer direkt am Fluss gefunden, wo wir sowohl Tagsüber als auch Abends gemütlich sitzen konnten mit Blick auf den Fluss und auf Laos. 

    Wirklich viel haben wir in diesen vier Tagen nicht gemacht, da es zum einen nicht viel gab und es zum anderen sehr schön war einfach mal nichts zu machen und in der Sonne zu lesen. Unser einziger Ausflug führte uns in einen weiteren Buddha Park, welcher von dem selben Künstler wie in Laos erbaut wurde. Auch wenn sich ein paar Elemente wiederholt haben, war der Besuch den etwas längeren Fußmarsch Wert. Über zwei Stunden haben wir damit verbracht die teilweise verrückten Statuen zu betrachten und die Fische im See zu füttern. In Nong Khai haben wir auch endlich wieder Streetfood Ständen mit wirklich gutem Essen gefunden, so dass wir alles hatten was wir brauchten.
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  • Day79

    13. Dezember

    December 14, 2016 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Hallo Hallo,

    gestern Abend war ich mit 3 Nanny's am Rathaus, denn dort fand eine Andacht für den verstorbenen König statt. Seit 2-3 Jahren findet jeden Monat am 13. so was statt. Das traurige ist, dass der König am 13. Oktober gestorben ist genau vor 2 Monaten. Warum es genau der 13. ist, konnte mir keiner erklären hier. Wir haben uns in einer bestimmten Reihe stellen müssen, haben eine Kerze in die Hand bekommen und eine Nanny' hat jeden ein Bild vom König uns gegeben. Es waren Kameras da, die uns fotografiert und gefilmt haben. Auf der Leinwand kamen Bilder des Königs und die Lieder die wir mit sangen. Also ich konnte ja leider nicht mitlesen wie alle anderen aber habe immer versucht etwas mitzusingen. Leider hat mir auch keiner gesagt als am Schluss Bilder gemacht wurden von allen, dass man nicht lächeln darf und tada, wer hat gelächelt... Ich... sorry so was muss man mir doch vorher sagen, nur weil ich thailändisch aussehe, heißt es noch nicht, dass ich alles weiß über solche Regeln.
    Aber es war sehr interessant für mich und total lieb, dass ich mitkommen durfte.

    Bis bald ❤
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Changwat Nong Khai, จังหวัดหนองคาย

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