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My first Isaan visit.


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I don't go to bars but still think Issan is the mostly ghastly area with probably the worst corruption, poor infrastructure, boring landscape and decidedly primitive health care. Oddly there is more Issan music in Bangkok than Issan, if you like it there then good for you.

Have you been to Loei, or the Mekong, or many of the National parks in Korat, ? Take your google glasses off and get a grip. Take a look at Bangkok now....or the Oily stenchy beaches of Pattaya.... Clean up here, pal.

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I don't go to bars but still think Issan is the mostly ghastly area with probably the worst corruption, poor infrastructure, boring landscape and decidedly primitive health care. Oddly there is more Issan music in Bangkok than Issan, if you like it there then good for you.

There are an increasing number of Farangs who do not share your view.

There is more corruption per square kilometre in Pattaya than you can shake a stick at - and that is just the Farangs - never mind the imported Thais.

If you think Isaan is ghastly just come and have a beer on my patio, watching the sun down with khao Phanom Rung on one side and khao Pribad on the other.attachicon.gifCopy of DSC03402.JPG

Is this photo your view from your patio..? thumbsup.gif

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I don't disagree with you. I am kind of disappointed that people think of my home these ways. It is not the most desire place for most Falangs but it is a good enough place to live a comfortable life. Wonder what it is going to take to make Falangs desire Issan cities, obviously Issan girls is not enough, lol.

For me after visiting some places in Thailand there have been two favorites : Ayutthaya and Udon Thani.

Due to the fact that my ex GF lived close to Udon I decided for Udon (province, Kut Chap) so she won't be as alone when I'm in Germoney.

Even after separation I stayed in Udon as I like the place and the people.

There are not too many tourists here so you are treated as an expat farang mostly.

I enjoy going to restaurants with only a Thai menu and then working out what I would like to eat. Never a problem, same as in motorbike workshops.

Only in places where there occur tourists I have to be careful and try to place some of my little Thai conversation pieces to point out that I'm not...

For me the climate is perfect, not as humid as in Bangkok, the city not as crowded, I rented a house in Amphoe Mueang but surrounded by greens - what else can I whish?

OK, the perfect Thai Girlfriend is still missing cheesy.gif

Bye,

Derk

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The OP is on the right track...one can be generous without becoming an ATM.

If the relationship continues, rest assured that some family member will ask to "borrow" some money. It is on you to evaluate such requests and say 'yea' or 'nay'. A refusal will likely result in a bunch of talking and you being asked again...just stand your ground and set the precedent.

I guess your crystal ball is 100% accurate?

Been living with my wife for nearly 5 years, legally married for 3 years. Very large extended family. No one has asked for a handout or a loan. Everyone works. Neither do I pay my wife a "salary".

Maybe you have been reading TV too long?

Rest assured my comments are based on experience and living in Isaan. If we want to have a pissing match about it, I have you beat on years with my wife and years married to her...so what?

If you have never had a single person ask you for a baht, good on you. I admit I might have been generalizing a bit...but, I was doing so in an attempt to prepare the OP for his next visit, in case it did happen. I would be happy to see an update from the OP after his next visit where he says "the second visit is completed, with no requests for money".

Can you truly say that no family member or any of there drinking buddies has not tried to get you to buy a bottle of whiskey?

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Lets be honest though apart from a few nice towns like roi et and ubon, issan is one hell of a boring place to live, bit like an open prison, Most falangs who claim to live in issan do not live in villages miles from anywhere they live in places like those mentioned or KK or Udon, not really the same experience. Life in a village where the highlight of the week is insect hunting or fishing (emptying a pond) is not very attractive. There are falangs of course who live in nice houses they have built insulated by sat tv, internet and a bike ride into a town for sanity and maybe eatable food. But this is not the issan of wooden shed houses, nothing to do and being surrounded drunken lazy villagers. issan sucks, that my opinion after 20 years of visiting the place, towns excepted.

I don't "claim" to live in Isaan. I LIVE in Isaan. Granted, I'm a relative Isaan newbie, only 5+ years now (17 years full time in Thailand).

And I plead guilty to living in an area that doesn't give me your Isaan " .. experience ..". But that's personal choice. So Isaan doesn't necessarily "suck". Your choice of lifestyle "sucks" -- in your opinion.

For me, at my age, KK is my smartest and most comfortable choice.

I can see Khon Kaen as being a good compromise between being in one of the more "mainstream" larger metro areas and being in a 40-house village swatting flies.

I spent some time there for work some years back and liked it pretty well.

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Boring people would be bored anywhere. If you are a happy, adjusted person and like clean living, and good healthy habits, Isaan can be heaven. The weather is in the 60's and 70's, sunshine, happy people, I hear birds in the day, and at night, the critters and frogs. Bring your hobbies with you. Nobody can be a tourist 24/7. Any beach is a short hop on an airplane. Udon to Phuket is 1000 baht on air asia...same costs as your taxis. Have to laugh. Can get to Pattaya by flying one hour to bangkok, and then a quick bus ride of 1 1/2 hours. Some nonsensible people think there is nothing to do because they have nothing between their ears. Its not prison..its freedom.

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Isaan does not mean "farm" it means a geographical plateau Region. Includes towns, villages cities and yes, farmland. However, you will find farmland in all regions of Thailand. So saying cities are not Isaan is just silly. Many Isaan people live in cities...or perhaps unread and unwise self proclaimed experts have actually thought that Isaan only refers to farmland.??? Shaking my head. Just incredible, but when your only tour is to Pattaya and Phuket, then its just sad.

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Isaan does not mean "farm" it means a geographical plateau Region. Includes towns, villages cities and yes, farmland. However, you will find farmland in all regions of Thailand. So saying cities are not Isaan is just silly. Many Isaan people live in cities...or perhaps unread and unwise self proclaimed experts have actually thought that Isaan only refers to farmland.???  Shaking my head. Just incredible, but when your only tour is to Pattaya and Phuket, then its just sad.

According to my wife, Isaan is just the name of the region, it does not mean "farm" or "dry place" or anything else.

But she is an uneducated Isaan lady, so maybe she does not know as much as some farang ;-)

Sent from my Xoom using Thaivisa Connect Thailand mobile app

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Isaan does not mean "farm" it means a geographical plateau Region. Includes towns, villages cities and yes, farmland. However, you will find farmland in all regions of Thailand. So saying cities are not Isaan is just silly. Many Isaan people live in cities...or perhaps unread and unwise self proclaimed experts have actually thought that Isaan only refers to farmland.??? Shaking my head. Just incredible, but when your only tour is to Pattaya and Phuket, then its just sad.

According to my wife, Isaan is just the name of the region, it does not mean "farm" or "dry place" or anything else.

But she is an uneducated Isaan lady, so maybe she does not know as much as some farang ;-)

Sent from my Xoom using Thaivisa Connect Thailand mobile app

I was always under the impression, it means, north east, but then again I am just a dumb farang.

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The OP is on the right track...one can be generous without becoming an ATM.

If the relationship continues, rest assured that some family member will ask to "borrow" some money. It is on you to evaluate such requests and say 'yea' or 'nay'. A refusal will likely result in a bunch of talking and you being asked again...just stand your ground and set the precedent.

I guess your crystal ball is 100% accurate?

Been living with my wife for nearly 5 years, legally married for 3 years. Very large extended family. No one has asked for a handout or a loan. Everyone works. Neither do I pay my wife a "salary".

Maybe you have been reading TV too long?

Rest assured my comments are based on experience and living in Isaan. If we want to have a pissing match about it, I have you beat on years with my wife and years married to her...so what?

If you have never had a single person ask you for a baht, good on you. I admit I might have been generalizing a bit...but, I was doing so in an attempt to prepare the OP for his next visit, in case it did happen. I would be happy to see an update from the OP after his next visit where he says "the second visit is completed, with no requests for money".

Can you truly say that no family member or any of there drinking buddies has not tried to get you to buy a bottle of whiskey?

I can truly and honestly say that no family member (don' know any of their drinking buddies) has even hinted at getting even a free beer from me. Maybe part of the reason is that I don't drink. Sorry I don't fit the stereotype that you seem intent on advancing.

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The OP is on the right track...one can be generous without becoming an ATM.

If the relationship continues, rest assured that some family member will ask to "borrow" some money. It is on you to evaluate such requests and say 'yea' or 'nay'. A refusal will likely result in a bunch of talking and you being asked again...just stand your ground and set the precedent.

I guess your crystal ball is 100% accurate?

Been living with my wife for nearly 5 years, legally married for 3 years. Very large extended family. No one has asked for a handout or a loan. Everyone works. Neither do I pay my wife a "salary".

Maybe you have been reading TV too long?

Rest assured my comments are based on experience and living in Isaan. If we want to have a pissing match about it, I have you beat on years with my wife and years married to her...so what?

If you have never had a single person ask you for a baht, good on you. I admit I might have been generalizing a bit...but, I was doing so in an attempt to prepare the OP for his next visit, in case it did happen. I would be happy to see an update from the OP after his next visit where he says "the second visit is completed, with no requests for money".

Can you truly say that no family member or any of there drinking buddies has not tried to get you to buy a bottle of whiskey?

I can truly and honestly say that no family member (don' know any of their drinking buddies) has even hinted at getting even a free beer from me. Maybe part of the reason is that I don't drink. Sorry I don't fit the stereotype that you seem intent on advancing.

Truly, I am advancing no stereotype...I am only relating my experiences, and those of a few other Westerners I know here (I am not depending upon ThaiVisa posts for this information).

My wife has a large family and there are a couple that have big ideas, but never the money to do anything (which is probably just as well). If they come to me with a request, I politely listen, then just say no. They know that they can ask me once.

It does not make them bad people.

And why are you apologizing? I have no idea what your situation is, other than what you have stated here. You may have missed it, but I did give you kudos for never having been asked for money.

Hey, your life in Isaan is going well, as is mine.

Life is good.

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Asking for a loan is commonplace in Thailand, particularly between family members, paying them back isn't quite as commonplace lol. However it's part of life here, and so will likely happen, you just need to work out how you're going to deal with it. Generally Thai people don't like to directly say no, and so make up flimsy excuses instead (lying is often more acceptable than blatantly saying "I think you're untrustworthy" lol, which is where farang often rub people the wrong way, we're too honest lol). Your gf should divert anyone who wants to ask for a loan, as she'll know that it's not something you want to deal with.

Since I met my gf, she has been asked for loans from 1 uncle (Who lives in BKK), her half brother (who lives nearby) and her half sister (Who she met for the first time at her father's funeral last year).

When the uncle asked ~2 years ago, my gf didn't want to say no (But also knew he wouldn't repay any loans, as already had long term debts to her mother), as it might be impolite, so just told him she'd give him 3000 THB instead of loaning him the amount he wanted. He hasn't asked again since.

When her half brother asked, it was so that he could buy an old truck to use in a water delivery business. I know that he's hardworking and honest, so loaned him 40,000, and he stuck to the repayment schedule without fault and repaid it in full. His business was successful, and so I'm really glad that I loaned him the money.

When her half sister asked for 3000, both my gf and I knew she probably wouldn't pay her back, but we both agreed that it was only a small amount of money, and it'd be worthwhile to see if she was trustworthy and honest or not. She lived up to our expectations, and we haven't heard from her since (Apparently she also skipped town as she'd borrowed from the mafia as well).

I've had a few random drunks ask me for whiskey, they're usually just randoms though, rather than family/friends, and easy to turn away.

But my point is, just use your judgement well when deciding who to loan money to in Isaan. Your gf should be able to tell you who is trustworthy and who isn't. If you're not sure, then only risk a small amount of money with them, as 1000 THB or so isn't really going to break the bank if they can't pay it back, but it'll teach you a valuable lesson about the person's character (Which is important since you'll probably be stuck with your wife's family for the rest of your life lol).

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Re: Stereotype: In your own words, "I admit I might have been generalizing a bit..."

Re Apologizing: Not an apology, just a manner of speaking.

Re Kudos: Odd way to give kudos. In the same post you said:

"If you have never had a single person ask you for a baht, good on you. <snip>

Can you truly say that no family member or any of there drinking buddies has not tried to get you to buy a bottle of whiskey?"
One of us is confused.
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Nobody claimed Issan was just one big farm, it is indeed a plateau, and as such mostly boringly flat and dry as a bone, when it's not flooded that is! Every small town looks like a concrete copy of another with very little of interest that Thais have ever constructed. However I am all for issan folk keeping up their culture, Lao and kahmin should be taught in Schools, instead Thai authority does not and would be happy to see regional language die away altogether. Similarly 'real' Issan music is almost totally ignored by Thai TV networks, there are no regular morlam programs on the main TV channels and is there any TV broadcast in lao? I think not. No wonder there is such a split down the middle of Thai society when a large part of it has been ignored, sidelined and when they do vote in who they want the tanks roll them over. I don't see any support at all in Issan for Suthep and his laughingly called 'democrats'.

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Nobody claimed Issan was just one big farm, it is indeed a plateau, and as such mostly boringly flat and dry as a bone, when it's not flooded that is! Every small town looks like a concrete copy of another with very little of interest that Thais have ever constructed. However I am all for issan folk keeping up their culture, Lao and kahmin should be taught in Schools, instead Thai authority does not and would be happy to see regional language die away altogether. Similarly 'real' Issan music is almost totally ignored by Thai TV networks, there are no regular morlam programs on the main TV channels and is there any TV broadcast in lao? I think not. No wonder there is such a split down the middle of Thai society when a large part of it has been ignored, sidelined and when they do vote in who they want the tanks roll them over. I don't see any support at all in Issan for Suthep and his laughingly called 'democrats'.

Ubon has, or rather had, 3 Democrat MPs in the last Parliament, Peua Thai 6 I believe.

Today in Ubon and other Isaan areas there were large demonstrations against the government.

My 'real' Isaan friends regularly listen to 'real' Isaan music on TV; and why have Lao and Khamin taught in schools - the locals speak Isaan and Thai. I know very little of the local dialect, but manage OK with the locals because they speak speak Thai to me.

You have a thing about slagging Isaan and its people, why do you bother? I don't go on the General section saying nasty things about your negative contributions.

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Nobody claimed Issan was just one big farm, it is indeed a plateau, and as such mostly boringly flat and dry as a bone, when it's not flooded that is! Every small town looks like a concrete copy of another with very little of interest that Thais have ever constructed. However I am all for issan folk keeping up their culture, Lao and kahmin should be taught in Schools, instead Thai authority does not and would be happy to see regional language die away altogether. Similarly 'real' Issan music is almost totally ignored by Thai TV networks, there are no regular morlam programs on the main TV channels and is there any TV broadcast in lao? I think not. No wonder there is such a split down the middle of Thai society when a large part of it has been ignored, sidelined and when they do vote in who they want the tanks roll them over. I don't see any support at all in Issan for Suthep and his laughingly called 'democrats'.

Ubon has, or rather had, 3 Democrat MPs in the last Parliament, Peua Thai 6 I believe.

Today in Ubon and other Isaan areas there were large demonstrations against the government.

My 'real' Isaan friends regularly listen to 'real' Isaan music on TV; and why have Lao and Khamin taught in schools - the locals speak Isaan and Thai. I know very little of the local dialect, but manage OK with the locals because they speak speak Thai to me.

You have a thing about slagging Isaan and its people, why do you bother? I don't go on the General section saying nasty things about your negative contributions.

Lao and especially khamin are actually spoken far less than a generation ago and that's the way Thais want it to go, not dissimilar to the Chinese policy in Tibet. Please let me know the morlam programs on mainstream TV i'd really like to see those. You might be under the impression that luktung is 'real' Issan music, it's central Thai in origin and all the power of it is in Bangkok mostly owned by Chinese Thai business men. Of course there has been a lot of Issan input into the genre over the years but it's just an influence luktung is not essentially lao. When was the last time you saw the much marginalised kantrum on mainstream TV, I don't remember the last time I did yet it's as popular in the khmer areas of Issan as luktung, more so in many villages. These are issues of Issan culture that central Thais have no interest in as it's not their culture.

Issan people were marginalised and ignored for far too long until they woke up a few years ago and started to vote in their own interests as they saw them, looks like they will do it again, the only hope the 'democrats' have are tanks or paid demonstrators.

Anyway that's my view on Issan, wonderful culture but something the ruling class still look down on in Bangkok.

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ah! no info from any issan 'expert' as usual.

Like you, would love to know what channel they are watching "real" Issan music on?

Whats "the locals speak Isaan" dont think I have ever heard of passat esan, maybe he means dialect of the Lao language, no mention made of Khmer, or Mon.

Of course no mention of where the poster lives, cant be anywhere near Surin where they speak pasat suay (apologise for transliteration, not allowed to post Thai script).

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Nobody claimed Issan was just one big farm, it is indeed a plateau, and as such mostly boringly flat and dry as a bone, when it's not flooded that is! Every small town looks like a concrete copy of another with very little of interest that Thais have ever constructed.

Ridiculous post. Many mountains, streams and rivers with beautiful scenery. Try Loei, or the Mekong River West of Nong Khai. Several National Parks. Very nice people. Some nice village fronting the Mekong and with a view to Laos (Fabulous hills) near Nakhon Phanom. You must have just slept inbetween bus stops. Sorry for your lack of travel knowlege.

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^^^^^,

forgot to mention, if they speak pasat issan, why cant my friends wife from Surin understand another friends wife who is from KK?

They have to communicate in pasat klang.

I'll take a stab in the dark and say its because your wife doesn't speak Isaan?

Or possibly that your friend's wife doesn't.

Not everyone from Isaan can speak Isaan. One of my friends wives, who was raised in Sarakham, is only fluent in Thai (Although can understand Isaan), as she never spoke Isaan at home with her parents.

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I know a school teacher in S. Isaan, in a village sort of between Sisaket... Well, S. of Sisaket in Sisaket Province. It isn't far from Cambodia.

They have children from 2 villages that attend there, and each village has a different dialect. One has a Khmer influence, and I don't know what the other is - maybe Lao. Neither is true Thai.

I don't know if any of that is "Isaan Thai" because she can't communicate well with people from far NE Isaan. She can speak "Bangkok Thai" and got her master's degree in Bangkok. I believe she told me that she can speak Khmer and Lao.

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^^^^^,

forgot to mention, if they speak pasat issan, why cant my friends wife from Surin understand another friends wife who is from KK?

They have to communicate in pasat klang.

I'll take a stab in the dark and say its because your wife doesn't speak Isaan?

Or possibly that your friend's wife doesn't.

Not everyone from Isaan can speak Isaan. One of my friends wives, who was raised in Sarakham, is only fluent in Thai (Although can understand Isaan), as she never spoke Isaan at home with her parents.

SA, NS in the next post to yours #144 basically nails it.

In the lower part round Buriram/Surin/Sisaket way the are speaking a Khmer influenced language, in the north its a Lao influenced, they are both speaking "Issan" same same but different.

As mentioned before wife from Surin and wife from KK dont understand each other unless they speak in Central Thai.

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ah! no info from any issan 'expert' as usual.

Like you, would love to know what channel they are watching "real" Issan music on?

Whats "the locals speak Isaan" dont think I have ever heard of passat esan, maybe he means dialect of the Lao language, no mention made of Khmer, or Mon.

Of course no mention of where the poster lives, cant be anywhere near Surin where they speak pasat suay (apologise for transliteration, not allowed to post Thai script).

Passa suay cannot be understood by either lao or kahmin speakers in Surin, it's spoken in a small area near the 'elephant village'. There are many more languages spoken in Issan than mentioned, phoot Thai is another, completely different to Thai. This is why Issan culture should be preserved and taught and not steamrollered by Thai culture. Issan culture is rich and fascinating. As for the landscape though, apart from the odd national park and the banks of the mekong it really is nothing to boast about.

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My 4 year old daughter (we live in southern Sisaket) speaks Thai, Isaan and Khmen (Khmer - many villages of Pol Pot refugee Cambodians around here). It's a real bu$$er getting her to speak Englishsmile.png

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Yeah, I remember this thread from before. I think what you did sounds alright. 5k isn't an insane amount, especially if you are seriously interested in the girl. nice gesture.

Really, I find you can't win either way in the short run. If you spend a bunch, you will be an ATM; if you don't spend anything, you will be "ki niao." So, I don't pay much attention to that junk.

Now just realize that, even though I think your 5k gift was fine, what others are saying is true. You are expected to set limits when it comes to money--NOBODY ELSE WILL DO IT FOR YOU. They will take and take and take. I have seen it between Thais. People are just always on take mode, but in the village it mostly turns out to balance out (although some take more than they give, for sure). Since you are a foreigner, you are definitely seen as having more to give.

Anyway, here is a suggestion: next trip, stop by spend regularly and then NO GIFT at the end, or like 500 for mom and 500 for dad. See how that goes down. Don't make a thing of it, but try it. You will get some idea of how they will adjust.

Honestly, my wife and family will spend whatever you give them. It is an endless, gaping maw of need. My wife even knows it and gives me what she earns and lets me divvy it out to her as needed (I keep it separate from my money).

I figured it out, though, several years ago when my wife was talking to me about finances and said "I know you would never let us run out of money." After some clarification, it turned out that she meant that she trusted me to use the money appropriately--even if it meant saying "no" to her or her family.

This will sound bad, but many Thai ladies are like that. They like to spend their husbands' money, but they also expect the husband to manage the money. You lay down the law. Say no when it is overboard. Say yes when you want to and it is reasonable.

I still give money to my in-law (the parents) and sometimes to brothers and cousins and nephews, but I don't feel bad if I can't (or don't want to) and they recognize that and don't make trouble about it.

Set boundaries.....sorry, rambling over.

I agree with you.This seems to be how I have seen it.

Agree 100%

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