Jun 17, 2020
Peoplescape of Nong Khai
Location : Nong Khai, Thailand
With the Covid lockdown and the isolation of Nong Khai, there weren't much of any socials happening. Still, my 3-month stay amounted to meeting some interesting souls.
Mut Mee Owners and Staff
They were very nice to me. Pao especially. I would share my workout with their son Benny, focusing on the Wim Hof method of breathing while breaching a wall. Julian was generous with his terms about my extended stay. I would have wanted to interact with the staff more, but at best, their English was limited. I particularly liked the gardener and the receptionist, Namtan. They both exuded a calm and pleasant demeanor. Mut Mee Pets
I'm not usually a pet guy, but their 3 pets, Dolly the Golden Retriever and the 2 cats, Tawan and Leo, were all endearing. I saw them as distinct individuals with their own unique personalities. Interestingly, Tawan, the Calico cat, was aloof by nature. But she 'chose' me. I would wake up in the middle of the night to go to the washroom and I would see her sitting and almost waiting for me to open the door. I would talk to her and say, "You wanna come in?". And she would, sniffing things around my room. I would talk to her again, "I'm gonna close the door now. You wanna go out?" And she would go out like she really understood what I meant.
They were the closest thing to my community. They were doing a daily course with Pancho and Beatrix (I was not), but I would join them for the daily 2pm unguided meditation. If not for anything else, that hour regularized my practice. I was able to implement new ideas and creative methods to my practice. Normally, I would default to such a community, but I wouldn't exactly say they were the social type. They would convene at the studio for the classes and leave after. I can't even say there was a sense of community there. Everyone seems to be into their own private space.
She had an inviting and friendly smile from across the tables. When I bumped into her again, we walked and talked a good stretch of the promenade. She is an attractive American from Wyoming, a science teacher in an international school in Nong Khai, and a Muy Thai fighter. With just 6 months residency, she can speak conversational Thai already. At just 23, she's doing plenty and I was impressed. We talked twice and I never saw her again. I could imagine she was able to take the last flight out before the lockdown was enforced - as was the case for most travelers who got lucky.
She was part of the ongoing yoga courses and also a guest at Mut Mee Garden. We would talk at any of the pavilions whenever she would pass by or go together for dinner, lunch or walk the long promenade. She is reserved and carefully chooses her words. Also, she is attractive, adequate in English, and enterprising. I initially spent time with her the most, but as the days wore on, energies shifted. Maybe it was a cultural misunderstanding.
China Girl blogs:
- Coming Back To Chiang Mai Jun 29, 2020
- Peoplescape Of Nong Khai Jun 17, 2020
Richard is a friendly French photojournalist in his 70s who smoked a lot, knew people, and privy to events in Nong Khai. Like most guests, he has been coming here the last few decades. I defaulted to him for local info. He was in the Philippines at some pivotal moments to cover historical events - the Marcos-Aquino election, the failed coup by Arturo Tolentino, etc. He looked like a dashing playboy during his younger days...always with a pretty woman. It's a treat to listen to wise men who have seen a lot and experienced a lot.
Joe is a healthy 70-year-old who jogs every day on the promenade in the heat of the afternoon sun. He always stops by when he sees me working on one of the pavilions of Mut Mee. He has many interesting stories. At 70 years, he has a wealth of insight and experience on his belt. I may not agree with everything he says, but he's always interesting. At some point though, I would have to tell him that I have to get back to work.
I meet people everywhere I go. Having acquaintances is not a problem. Still, I envy people who form deep bonds with one or two people before they leave a place. I can't say that happened to me here. I'm not in search of friendship, but I always welcome one if and when it comes knocking on my door.
--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit | Learn English | Travel like a Nomad | Donation Bank
Leave a comment?
Nong Khai Map
Vientiane to Nong Khai by bus
At the Khua Din Bus Terminal, you can board the #14 bus bound for Buddha Park. It will make a stop on the Friendship Bridge border - 15 mins, B8000. Go to Laos Immigration to exit. Board the special bus to cross the Friendship Bridge, Kip 4,000 or Baht 20. It will stop at Thai Immigration. Get processed. From there, board a tuk-tuk for Nong Khai, 5kms.
Nong Khai Attractions
- Nong Khai Aquarium -
- Salakaewkoo (Wat Khaek) -
- Issan Rum Distillery -
- Wat Pho Chai -
- Lan Phaya Nak -
- Tha Sadet Market -
- Nong Khai Muay Thai Gym -
- Phrathat Bang Phuan -
Travel Tips for Thailand
How to Get a 60-Day Thai Tourist Visa and then Extend by another 30 Days
This process is BEFORE Covid 19. Not sure what it is now.
- Bring the following to the Thai embassy:
a) proof of money (bank statement will suffice)
b) flight booking to Thailand
c) onward flight back to your country from Thailand
d) filled-in tourist visa form
e) 2 passport pictures
f) hotel booking in Thailand (they didn't ask me for this but better be safe)
g) passport with at least 6 months validity
- After handing over all the documents, they will ask you to come pick your passport with the visa the following day from 4 to 5pm. That's it!
- NOTE: after 2 successful attempts, I was already questioned the 3rd time.
60-Day Thai Tourist Visa
NOTE: There is no need to go back to your country to get the Thai tourist visa. Any major city with a Thai Embassy will do. Apparently there is also no need to have an invitation from a Thai establishment to justify the visa.
- bring the following to the Immigration Office:
a) passport (make sure your Tourist Visa hasn't expired yet)
b) Baht 1900
c) photocopy of your passport + visa duration date stamp + TM6 card (white immigration card) and sign all the copies
d) completed TM7 visa extension form (available at the Immigration Office)
e) one 4cmx6cm passport picture
- submit the above to the Front Desk. They will give you a stub with your number on it. Take a seat and wait for your number to be called
- when your number is called, your picture will be taken. Then go back to your seat. They will call you again.
- when they call you again, they'll give you your passport with your extended visa. That's it!
- when there are no lines, the whole process can take only 10 minutes
NOTE: When your 60-day visa is close to expiry and you want to extend your stay. No need to leave Thailand.
Book Train Tickets in Thailand
Book Train Tickets in Thailand Online by Train36.com
General Travel Tips
- avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
- power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
»» next story: Life in Nong Khai
»» next Peoplescape story: The Podcast Series: Alan "Heart Math" Strydom
»» back to Peoplescape
»» back to Homepage
1970 | 1973 | 1975 | 1976 | 1979 | 1981 | 1996 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023 | 2024 | ALL BLOGS