Posted in Exploring Chiang Mai

My 17 favourite Chiang Mai eats!

Eating out in Chiang Mai and Thailand itself, is much easier and cheaper than cooking at home. There’s so much choice, why would you want to stay in and cook? Having lived in Chiang Mai for 6 months now, I’ve found a lot of amazing places to eat that aren’t always catering to the tourist population, although there are some that are very worthy of a place on the list! Here’s my favourite’s!

Thai food

Cooking Love

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Situated behind Coffee Club at Thapae gate, this small restaurant serves some delicious Thai food. I once spent a whole week just eating here for dinner. Their menu is big, loads of choice and the portion sizes are great! Prices are low too. They do a delicious young coconut curry and a mango curry too and their morning glory is just perfect! Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area, it won’t disappoint!

Aroon Rai

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Located just up from Thapae gate, Aroon Rai opened in 1967 and serves up some incredible Thai food. Try their Pad Kra Pao (stir fried chicken with holy basil) it’s delicious and cheap too! They even have home made brownies and ice-cream if you’re feeling tempted!

Ugo restaurant

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Situated across from Thapae gate in Chiang Mai’s most popular area, Ugo restaurant does some incredibly delicious Thai food. They have increased their prices recently but still reasonable considering the area it’s located in. Their Massaman curry is one of the best I’ve had in Thailand!

Spoon De Best

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Located in a quieter area of Chiang Mai’s old town, Spoon De best is another delicious eatery. Due to its location, it’s fairly quiet and you’ll often find you’re the only ones dining there at the time. Despite this, their food is incredible and reasonably priced. And their deserts are a must! Double crème brulee or a heart-warming chocolate fondant cooked to perfection!

Fahmui Noodle

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Hands down, the best Khao Soi I have tasted in Chiang Mai! Very authentic and rich in flavour, with fresh deep fried noodles for added texture, A must try dish in Northern Thailand! Try their Wanton’s too with delicious plum sauce, and all for a very good price. Located at the Harbour, on Huay Kaew Road!

Japanese

Tsunami

Little Japanese restaurant on Huay Kaew road opposite Chiang Mai University. Delicious dishes including freshly rolled Sushi in front of your eyes.  My recommendation would be their rich Curry Ramen full of spices and only 89bht!

Mu’s Katsu

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If you like Katsu, you’ll love this place. Located on Nimmanhaeman opposite Salad Concept, down a small back road just before Soi 8.  Specialising in Japanese Katsu, their Katsu chicken with rice is creamy and rich in flavour; you can even have it in a sub if you want! Just bear in mind it closes at 19:30pm every day, it’s worth an early dinner!

British Classics

Being a Brit, there’s nothing like a few home comforts once in a while. Searching for the best Sunday Roast was hard but I think I’ve finally found it, complete with all the condiments you could want! Here’s a few of my favourite British classic eats here in Chiang Mai:

Archers

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The famous Sunday roast! Archers is exactly like a British pub, and their Sunday roast is incredible! A little pricey compared to Thai food but so worth it. Yorkshire puds, pork crackling, mountains of roast potatoes, pumpkin mash (nice addition) and tons of gravy! You can’t beat it!

Dee’s Fish ‘N’ Chips

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Fancy a hearty British take away? Find Dee with his little motorbike stall driving around Chiang Mai’s old town. His main location is outside Loco Elvis although he has a timetable for where he is at what time. Delicious deep fried fish and chips, complete with home made tartar sauce and malt vinegar, you can’t go wrong!

UN Irish Pub

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Looking for good old British food, you’ll probably find it in the UN Irish pub. Pie and mash, Cornish pasties, Full English breakfast, the lot! Check it out, you won’t be disappointed, again a little pricey but that’s western food I guess!

Burgers and Satay

My Steak House

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The best priced burgers I’ve had in Chiang Mai. Chicken burger with home made sauce – 39bht!! Fries with a choice of size (max 50bht) and seasoning including delicious BBQ or paprika! Situated in Jed Yod, just off the Super highway near Maya, this place is not to be missed! You can even play a game of connect 4 while you wait!

Rock Me Burger and bar

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OK so this is one of the more touristy restaurants on the list but very worthy of a place. If you haven’t been to Rock Me Burger, you have no idea what you’re missing! A bit more expensive than the burgers in Jed Yod, but these burgers are huge so you get what you pay for! Try the barbecue aloha, a great beef burger with BBQ sauce and a slice of pineapple on top. It comes with home made potato wedges and the most satisfying onion rings I’ve ever had! Located on the road leading to the night bazaar, from Thapae gate!

Cowboy’s Satay

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If you like satay, or even if you don’t (like me) you have to try Cowboy Satay. Situated within the night bazaar, it’s a small stall near the back; you’ll smell it before you see it! Order half a rack of ribs for 150bht with an incredible satay sauce to accompany it. Or a mix of chicken and pork grills smothered with satay sauce, oh and a freshly barbecued corn on the cob to go with it, all for just 180bht. You won’t leave this place hungry let me tell you!

Mexican food

I love Mexican food, so I have been on the hunt for the last 6 months to find the best Mexican restaurant in Chiang Mai. There aren’t too many to choose from, but I still have 3 places, which are all worthy of the top spot!

Loco Elvis

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Near Thapae gate, Loco Elvis is great! Treat yourself to a Mexican there one night, order their beef nachos, you will not be disappointed! Their burritos are huge; one is enough to share for two people. I haven’t quite yet found a place that tops their nachos, cheesy sauce, sour cream, salsa, Jalapeños, the works!

El Diablo’s 

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Talk about competition, this Mexican specialises in Burritos and is literally opposite Loco Elvis. Free tortilla chips when you arrive with an array of salsa’s to choose from! And as you may expect, their Burritos are incredibly tasty! The veggie burrito is great and they have other more extravagant options like chorizo and egg, which again is very delicious!

Sunrise Tacos

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Hidden amongst the various eateries in Star Avenue, opposite Central Festival, Sunrise tacos is great! Their nachos are on par with Loco Elvis, and their free salsa selection is divine! Jalapeno salsa, guacamole, Pico de Gallo, thick and chunky, green tomato, hot and spicy, there’s loads to choose from! If you’re wandering through Star Avenue around lunch time, you may even be given a 100bht voucher to use with no clauses attached! Perfect!

Indian

Hinlay Curry House

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Last on my list, away from the tourism and situated by the Ping river, Hinlay curry house is very satisfying, with great prices too! Now I know I’ve listed it as an Indian restaurant but their speciality pork Hinlay curry is deliciously rich and tender. They have a large selection of Indian dishes from huge veg samosas with a tamarind dip, incredible curries and sides of naan bread, Prather, raita and mango chutney. Don’t miss their pumpkin curry too!


Posted in TEFL experiences

10 tips for teaching in Thailand!

Becoming a Teacher and teaching English as a foreign language can be a daunting experience for anyone. Especially if you have never professionally taught before or handled a class of 20+ students. Here’s some top tips I have learnt since becoming a TEFL teacher 6 months ago, hope they may help your experience too!

  • Enjoy it! There’s nothing less motivating to children if their Teacher isn’t happy. I once had a student from a different grade tell me they didn’t like a particular lesson because their Teacher was always angry. Motivate your students by motivating yourself!
  • Expect informality – In Thailand, Parent’s view Teachers very highly and are often happy to bring you gifts from their children or take you out for dinner. They want to let you know if their children aren’t coming into school so may ask for your phone number and email address, just give what you’re comfortable with.
  • Dress appropriately – Thailand is a Buddhist country which includes a very respectable dress code. Males need to wear a shirt and tie to school and females are required to have their shoulders covered and wear skirts no shorter than knee length. Don’t turn up for school or interviews/demo lessons in your normal clothes, you need to make a good impression!
  • Have good classroom management strategies – Nothing worse than have 30 children running around in the classroom or refusing to work and talking to their friends instead. Have some good management strategies lined up before you start. Don’t worry though, it takes a while to gain control over a class, just keep at it. I have a few strategies I’ve learnt since becoming a teacher that might help if your teaching Kindergarten to grade 3:

– Good job tickets reward scheme (if children do a good job for someone or do well in their work, they will get a good job ticket. After 5, they can exchange for a prize, be it a toy or some stickers. If they haven’t been on their best behaviour, give them a warning and then take away a good job ticket if they carry on – work’s wonders!

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– Faces on the board (The green face is happy, yellow is a warning and red is the angry face. If children have done well, they go on the green, if they have been given 2 warnings about the same issue (such as talking whilst the teacher is) they will go on the yellow. If they are told a 3rd time, their name will be placed on the red face and they will lose out on golden time (free time) or short class games/activities.

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– Classroom jobs. I’ve made a few class jobs for the children and they love the responsibility. The quiet crew, distributers (to hand out books), 5 minute warning, lights (my students love this one as they know they might be watching a video or playing a game!) and the cleaners (erasing the whiteboard and making sure everything is away ready for their next lesson). They have these duties for a week but if they haven’t been good, I will erase their name and choose someone else.

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  • Expect disorganisation – Thailand is known for being the ‘land of smiles’ but it’s also known to be very last minute. If you expect this before you come, you’ll fit right in. I struggled at the beginning, not being told about wearing a particular colour until the last minute of school the night before, therefore having to go out and buy something that night! There’s quite a separation being a Farang member of staff, in that Thai’s will often know important information before Farang’s. They will always let you know, it might just be right before something happens!
  • Be prepared – Sometimes you may be given a class to teach without much notice. This can be difficult if the Teacher’s lesson plan is basic and you haven’t taught the class before. Be prepared by having a few back up lesson ideas for all ages or games children can play to help in the lesson.
  • Be consistent – Children have a great ability to remember things you wouldn’t think they would. If a child misbehaves, explain your discipline method and why the child is being disciplined. Stick to it – if another child does the same thing, make sure to discipline them using the same method. Children will remember that you ‘didn’t punish him but your punishing me for the same thing!’
  • Don’t be too harsh on the kids – Learning a new language is difficult, particularly one that is so different from your native language. Children in Thailand learn a foreign language from such a young age, they are incredible, don’t forget that! I have 5 year olds who can speak fluently in English and Thai and are learning Chinese too!
  • Thai children can be timid – A lot of Thai children feel shy and timid in their lessons, often unwilling to put their hands up to answer questions aloud for fear of getting them wrong. Try and encourage them to get involved and that any answer is a good answer.
  • Have fun! Nothing is worse than sitting behind a desk 6 hours a day and writing in books. This is important and their work has to be completed but try to teach the concepts in a fun way! Think of ways children can work with their friends or use objects to help them get creative! My class had to learn about patterns for maths, so instead of looking at different patterns in the books all lesson, I took them on a walk around the school to draw any patterns we see. Simple but effective!
Posted in Exploring Thailand

My 16 favourite things to do in Bangkok!

Bangkok is an incredible city. I’ve been 6 times now and still finding new places to explore. One side of Bangkok you have the chaotic lifestyle, huge complexes and extravagant shopping centres. On the other, you have a relaxing atmosphere cruising down the Chaophraya river and sightseeing around Buddhist temples. Researching things to do in Bangkok can be time consuming especially trying to find things off the typical backpacker/tourist trail. Here’s a list of my 16 favourite things to do/ see in Bangkok:

Wat Pho

Stunning temple complex located to the south of the Grand Palace. Visit Thailand’s largest reclining Buddha, numerous Buddha statues and incredible temples. At only 100bht to get in, it’s well worth a visit and you can arrive by boat along to Chaophraya River too!

The Reclining Buddha
The Reclining Buddha
The Grand Palace

A must-see in Bangkok, The Grand Palace is just as its name suggests. Situated near to Wat Pho, the Palace was the King’s home for 150 years. Today, the Palace is home to the emerald Buddha and is the most sacred place in Thailand. There’s a strict dress code to enter, so make sure you cover up and it costs 500bht to get in.

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The Golden Mount

Wat Saket (Temple of the Golden Mount) is a well-known landmark in Bangkok. Built on a small hill, it’s home to a magnificent golden chedi. Walking approximately 350 steps to reach the top, the views you’re met with are stunning, looking out across the huge city of Bangkok!

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Chatuchak weekend market

The biggest market in Bangkok, Chatuchak Market is situated in Chatuchak park, next to the Mo Chit BTS station. Spanning over 35 acres, the market is full of everything touristy you could want, from elephant pants to wooden frogs and plenty of counterfeit goods. There are loads of street food stalls to choose from and a few bars with cheap beer too! Definitely check it out if you’re in Bangkok for the weekend, just bare in mind it closes at 6pm.

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Asiatique

Take a boat along the Chaophraya River to the final destination, Asiatique. A lovely shopping quarter, with an incredible atmosphere surrounding the area. Plenty of quirky, unique stores selling handmade items and children busking to pay for their education. You can watch a Muay Thai show or a ladyboy caberet, have a drink in a little bar or have a lovely meal by the river.

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China town

Bustling China town is in the heart of Bangkok. A popular tourist hotspot with plenty of restaurants and some incredible seafood. Take a look at the unique Chinese temples too. You will be amazed at the scale of Bangkok’s China town. The evening is the best time to go so be sure to fit this into your night!

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Little India

Little India is an amazing find! Hidden near China town, it serves as a quiet spot for some amazing Indian treats. Perch yourself in Tony’s restaurant down a small backstreet. Enjoy an Indian feast for as little as 80bht for a main dish and a freshly made roti for 6bht a piece! Treat yourself to some delicious Indian sweets too for an after dinner delight!

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Bangkok’s Flower market

Take a stroll through Bangkok’s little known flower market (Pak Khlong Talat). Hundreds and hundreds of freshly picked flowers with many different colours and varieties to choose from. You can buy a bunch of roses for as little as 50bht , huge handmade bouquets and many different types of Buddhist offerings made from marigolds. You’ll notice the lack of tourists! In fact, we were the only farang’s around but that added to the experience, being surrounded by local Thai market traders. Not to be missed on your trip to Bangkok!

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Wang Lang Market

Bustling local market situated by the side of the river. Rows and rows of unique stalls selling handmade items. What stands out the most is the numerous Thai restaurants you walk by in the middle of the busy market. Usually markets are full of street food vendors so it’s a nice surprise to see! The market still has some incredible street food though, including a bag of Thai samosas for 50bht! Delicious!

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Siriraj Medical Museum

Across the river from Wang Lang Market, on a 3bht boat ride, you find yourself at Siriraj hospital. They have a medical museum inside but let me warn you, you have to have a strong stomach to go in as it is VERY gruesome! Great if you’re into medical research as you get to see actual body parts and bodies which have suffered trauma. 200bht to get in, it’s your decision to make, but you may just leave more creeped out than you have been in your entire life!

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Jim Thompson House

The Jim Thompson house is a great little find. Quiet spot for tourists to explore a traditional Thai house made from Teak wood. Jim Thompson was the founder of Thai silk, and his house is incredible to see! A guide will take you around and point out all of his traditional Thai furnishings. You’ll see old Buddhist statues with bits broken off or missing, adding to the age of the house. It’s very unique and well worth a visit!

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Sirocco Sky Bar (Lebua hotel)

With Bangkok’s amazing skyline, it’s easy to see why people choose to visit a sky bar for incredible panoramic views of the city. There are loads to choose from, but it was easy choice to visit the Lebua hotel for me, since I loved watching the Hangover 2! 820ft high, the views you’re met with are unbelievable, but then so are the drinks prices! 800bht for a glass of wine – but the hotel is free to get in to. Call it your entrance ticket, the views are worth it!

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Khao San Road 

If you’re visiting Bangkok for the first time, it’s a must to go to its famous Khao San road. If you’re looking for a party/ backpackers scene, you’re in the right place! Cheap Thailand merchandise, counterfeit goods, fried insects, street food pad thai for 50bht and happy hour all night long! If you’re not into that, take a look anyway, it’s crazy!

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Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn)

Beside the Chaophraya River, take another 3bht boat journey across the other side and you’ll reach Wat Arun. Another spectacular temple although currently under reconstruction. Despite workers painting every fine detail to make it look new, you can still take a look around the stunning grounds. Full of beauty and overlooking the river, this temple is very impressive!

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Artist House (Baan Silapin)

Difficult to find hidden in the middle of Bangkok, close to Bang Wa BTS station is the Artist house. Only a handful of tourist’s embark on the adventure to find the house, although you may pass by if you take a trip in a long tail boat along the river. See an amazing, traditional Thai puppet show at 2pm and walk through the house admiring stunning paintings and architecture. Pose for a photo with the puppets and feed the huge catfish in the river. A lovely place to go to see more of Thailand’s culture.

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Lumphini Park

My favourite place of all in Bangkok is Lumphini park. Situated in Silom, you can reach the park by the BTS Sala Daeng (Sky train) or MRT Silom (Metro) stations. Take a stroll through the huge park or rent a swan shaped pedal boat to cruise around the lake. If you visit around sunset, you’ll see hundreds of people jogging around the park or taking part in aerobics classes! If you’re lucky, you might even spot a giant Monitor Lizard crawling out of the water too!

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So there’s my 16 favourite things to do in Bangkok. Hope you check some of them out if you visit!