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About tko

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  1. tko

    Muang Rayong

    So on a cool and rainy day, only a couple days before school starts, we decided to run down for lunch on Saeng Chan beach. That's the beach we stayed at 18 years ago. The restaurant is at the end of the beach where the Rayong river empties into the gulf of Siam. Established 40 years ago, they apparently invented the popular Sea Bass fried in Aromatic Fish Sauce that is now found everywhere including several branches of this restaurant that have now opened in BKK, etc. It's right on the beach. The river side of the restaurant (photos from inside to outside on a rainy day don't work well). A colorful collection of boats are moored on the opposite bank. Saeng Chan beach is designed well, with circular breakwaters running the length of the beach. 18 years ago it was very popular, unfortunately they absolutely need a litter patrol like Ban Phe and Mae Phim beaches to restore it. They're building condos all along the beach. Maybe that expansion will convince them to clean it up. In the 18th century, there was a famous poet named Sunthorn Phu whose father was from Rayong. Rayong is sometimes locally called Muang Sunthorn Phu. The large creature in this photo is from one of his writings and is named Phra Apai Manee. Statues of her (or it) are scattered at various intersections around the city.
  2. When I lived in Buriram I was a little way north of you, fairly close to Pranom Rung in Prakhon Chai district. I built a big 4 bed (One was my office/man cave) 3 bath on the Mrs land, but after 4 years it was just too remote so we moved to the coast. The place is built like a fort, so I put a GSM alarm system in it and her folks look after the yard while we're away. We still stay there during the March/April and October school holidays.
  3. tko

    Muang Rayong

    First photos. After describing the very nice beaches in Ban Phe district, I realized we hadn't been there since we got back from Buriram. Solved (from earlier today). The beach. To the left is the start of the hill going up to Ban Phe town. A lonely Banana boat driver looks for customers. He had plenty of business later. I'm not very good at cell phone photography (blurry). One of the good things about this beach is the well maintained forest canopy at the edge. The gents at the nearby table shouted "hello" to me earlier to show that they were also drinking Sangsom, and if I ran out let them know. As I said, a friendly lot, here. More poorly composed photos later.
  4. tko

    Muang Rayong

    My daughter is attending a local Catholic girls school. A new student pays about 65KBaht for the first year for the standard program. It comes down after the first year entry fees by about 25%. The standard program is 50% Thai, 40% English (native speaking teachers) and 10% Mandarin (Native speaking teacher). They also have an all English program that adds about 20KBaht to the tuition. https://sjrenglish.weebly.com/ I cover the extra English at home, so the standard program is fine by me. You are correct that the A level international schools are about 5 times that cost. I knew of one before on assignment in Norway and didn't find them more effective than the program my daughter is in now, though there is probably some cachet to having that type of school in your child's records.
  5. tko

    Muang Rayong

    I expect you're correct, now that I think about it. LOL.
  6. tko

    Muang Rayong

    Thanks for all the comments. I guess I need to do some area photos. Most of the time I just snap pics of family/friends, but I'll do some general ones over time and post them here.
  7. So I've been living in Muang Rayong a little over a year, so I thought I'd offer a description of the place. This is coming from a retired guy with a couple young children. We've been renting, but have decided to stay, so we'll buy a place early next year before this lease runs out. Rent here isn't terrible, we're staying at a 4 bed/4 bath house in a gated community for 20KBaht/mo. The house was laid out for an invalid parent of the owner, so it's a bit odd, but the kids use the wheel chair ramps as slides and like it. We've been looking at new builds. 3-4MBaht will get a good sized 3 bed/2-3bath house. Figure another 500KBaht to finish it out. We'll also look at existing houses for sale. Schools are good. From upscale Thai private schools to foreign run Catholic schools. Our daughter is in one of the latter. I'm amused that because her English is so good, she's occasionally asked to translate between the American/Canadian/Australian/NZ teachers and the Thai teachers. Our son is autistic, and the Rayong provincial government entered him into their system so he now attends a special education center not far from the house. There's a wide variety of health care options. We use the Bangkok Rayong hospital because it's two minutes from the house. There is the usual Bangkok system price premium but it's less expensive than Bangkok Pattaya hospital. The road just outside our village is the main restaurant/bar road. Many great Thai restaurants with live music, a very good German restaurant, very good Italian/Asian/steak fusion place, and even a soapy massage place that I haven't tried but mentioned to a punter on another board who was visiting, and he gave it mixed reviews. The local malls have the usual mix of stores and restaurants. Sizzler, McDonald's (I have kids), KFC (kids), Burger King, Pizza co and hut, a myriad of chain Japanese places, etc. I can find most of what I need here but I still visit Pattaya a few times a year for some harder to find shopping and cuisines. There are also good mom & pop restaurants and markets around the city. We honeymooned at a resort on the beach just eight minutes from where we are living now 18 years ago. Unfortunately the beaches haven't been looked after so well, but we're 30 minutes from the very nice beaches and excellent seafood in Ban Phe district before you climb the hill into Ban Phe itself. 30 minutes the other direction is Ban Chang, with a good sized retired Farang community, with the associated amenities. The people here are extremely friendly and helpful. It almost doesn't seem like a city at all. They are especially gratified if you can speak Thai, as there is a good sized foreign population at the nearby industrial estates that they run into regularly who generally don't. Within a couple of weeks of moving into our rental house, my wife and kids knew pretty much everyone in the village from the mothers and children get together at the village playground every evening. Every one helps each other with finding things, covering bills while away (we visit Buriram at least twice a year) and invites to homes or local festivals. They also dress for Halloween here, which my daughter had missed since we moved to Thailand. Speaking of festivals, they have several a year in the Rayong sports arena grounds which are adjacent to my daughter's school. So for the 3-7 day festival picking her up from school is not much fun due to the traffic, but a least we get a good view of what rides/shows/attractions we might want to visit. Finally, after discovering it took as long to get to Pattaya by car as by air when I lived in Buriram, Rayong is much better. Due to the distance from our house to the Buriram airport and the fact that it only flies to Don Muang. Now when I want to go I call a Taxi the day before, and around 1 hour after pick up in Rayong I"m at my Pattaya hotel. So I think I've found the right place for me. I can visit Pattaya for a few days a few times a year, but live a quiet family life in the relative sanity of a small Thai city for most of the rest of the year.
  8. The dollhouse was one of my favorite bars while Clinton plaza was around. I was only visiting Thailand once a year then, so it disappeared fast for me.
  9. Yes, it's a vehicle barrier, only down in the daytime, with a guard.
  10. I always used to stay in the walking street area, and secrets was a daily visit. Larry was a great host. The last few years it was worth the visit. Sad.
  11. They knew nothing of halloween upcountry, but in our little moo ban in Rayong they celebrate it. Our daughter was thrilled, she got to dress up and "trick or treat" again. Little guy went out for his first halloween as spiderman. It turns out most of the houses here didn't realize part of the tradition was handing out candy, they thought it was just about kids in costumes. Between us and the one other house that did the candy, I'm sure the kids will have many dentist visits and time exercizing, as there was a lot more candy than kids.
  12. I never really lived in cities in the west, but always within easy driving distance of one. Here I lived nearly four years in a village that was 60 km from the provincial capital and 15 km from the nearest small town. I had built a place with all the mod cons, but eventually it was too remote for me. Now I'm living in a small coastal city and that works for me. We visit the country house during school breaks. Google satellite view of the country house.
  13. I self insure, so I've just been showing the seasoned lump sum in a Thai account, plus it avoided an annual trip to the consulate. So now, if I wanted to show income, can I show printouts of my deposits in an overseas account? I'm paperless on all my accounts, so I don't get snail mail concerning them. I also don't transfer to Thailand every month.
  14. Our daughter is my pride and joy. Smart as a whip and a great kid. Our son was born a few years after her and sadly is deeply autistic. He's 4 1/2 yo, doesn't talk, and is still in diapers. He's a challenge but we're doing what we can for him with doctors, therapists, a special education center, etc.
  15. In the US it was card for everything. Here cash except for online.
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