Occasional news and details from Gecko Villa, among the rice paddies of rural Northeast Thailand. Other Thailand travel information may also be posted here, as may photographs from the vacation villa, from visitors or from events at or near the Thai villa. If you would like to post pictures of your Thai holiday at the villa here, please feel free to contact us by email.
December 4, 2013 02:03:53
Posted By Gecko
Many countries have issued updated travel advisories in
respect of remaining safe on holiday in the country. Visitors
are advised to avoid the scenes of any protests or
demonstrations, and to stay away from areas in Bangkok
such as Democracy Monument and Victory Monument. An
example of such a travel advisory on Thailand may be seen on
the UK government''s site here
Udon Thani itself and Gecko Villa remain peaceful, and life
is currently carrying on completely normally, so we look
forward to welcoming those travelling this month or next.
To the normal travel advice given by government websites,
we would add a simple but practical tip - wear neither red nor
yellow and so avoid being identified as a "red
shirt" or "yellow shirt" (the main party
colours of the two groups) by the locals.
October 9, 2013 03:10:19
Posted By Gecko
The rainy season is now over: we wake up to uninterrupted blue
skies, and the evenings are now pleasantly cool. Next month,
the Pink Lotus Sea will once again be in bloom,
through to March next year. Now is the time to visit for those
keen to experience the breathtaking beauty of the tranquil
local lake when carpetted in thick swathes of dramatically
pink lotus flowers, and to enjoy a relaxing, fully catered
pool villa holiday at either Gecko Villa or
Remember to bring a fully charged camera for the boat trip!
Beyond the beauty of the lotus sea itself, you will see local
fishermen throwing circular nets, children collecting lotus
stalks for lunch, water buffalo wallowing and a wide array of
September 29, 2013 11:15:41
Posted By Gecko
Bangkok Air have announced the launch of
twice daily flight between Bangkok's
Suwwanabhumi airport and Udon
Thani. This service will start on the 29th November
2013, and offers an additional option for those seeking a
connecting flight from Bangkok's main international airport
and Udon Thani, alongside Thai Airways' domestic service.
Given the popularity and growth of this domestic route, it
would appear that Bangkok Air are taking advantage of their
base at Suwwanabhumi to steal a march over Nok Air and Air
Asia (both of which fly from Don Muang airport) to offer an
easy onward connection for those arriving on international
flights. Whilst their launch rate of approximately THB3,600
return seems competitive, time will tell to what extent they
raise this fare after the introductory period.
July 30, 2013 08:30:25
Posted By Gecko
A vacation is fundamentally about change - about escaping
the dismally routine - so it surely follows that a memorable
holiday will best be had in a unique setting. The niche
website One Off Places
focuses on holiday rentals which stand out from the
crowd. We are delighted to be listed with them, and recommend
our readers mosey on over to have a look at the wonderful
suggestions they have for your next holiday, wherever it be
around the world.
You'll know if this is the site for you if your choice of
an ideal property is one that is comfortable, fun and
experiential - but at the same time unusual, quirky, whacky,
weird...or in short, One Off. Distinctiveness,
personality and individuality suffuse its pages: indeed, the
Times Online referred to their selection as "a portfolio
of perfect places."
The range of possibilities encompasses - among other
options - boats, castles, converted churches, windmills,
yurts, villas and even antique train wagons. For a site that
ferrets out places which offer something unique, it is all the
more surprising to find that they offer almost 1,000
properties around the globe. Once you've made a choice, you
can then simply contact the owner directly - always the most
reliable way, in our opinion, to ensure that you are looked
after in the best possible way.
Owners of unusual, eclectic and carefully managed
properties may like to approach the team at One Off
Places and consider listing with them. We have worked closely
with them since 2008, and have consistently found Olly
and Tabitha to be very helpful and hard working - and,
importantly, keen to promote the special places which make for
truly different holidays.
They may not yet have a listing for a a holiday in a Yellow
Submarine, but we're confident they're working on it!
best holiday home,
July 11, 2013 03:19:26
Posted By Gecko
In Udon Thani last week, at a market featuring produce from
Chiang Mai, we spotted a lady selling freshly grilled
"Sai Oua" (northern Thai sausages) with a Nam Phrik
Num (young green chili) dip. This is one of our favourite
dips, so we bagged a couple of sausages and some pots of the
freshly pounded paste. Eating the soft and spicy dip
with the grilled and spiced pork sausages, together with some
fresh vegetable sticks and pork crackling for crunch, was a
Here is how we make our own Nam Phrik Num. If you prefer a
less spicy dip, or alternatively are addicted to climbing the
Scoville scale, some tricks for amending spice levels are
12 big green chilies (as per photo above, around 5 inches
Half a cup of garlic
9 ping pong ball sized shallots
Half a teaspoon of shrimp paste
A tablespoon of fish sauce
3 tablespoons of coriander leaves
Lime juice & additional fish sauce to taste
If making a gentler version, substitute 6 of the green
chilies with long green aubergines. If making a spicier
version, add bird's eye chillies to taste.
Roast the chillies, garlic and shallots (and aubergine if
used). Wrap them in aluminium foil and place them on hot
coals, in a hot oven, over a gentle stove flame or even in a
hot dry frying pan. Roast until all the contents are soft.
Allow to cool, then peel the skin and seeds from the peppers,
and peel the shallots and garlic.
With a mortar and pestle, pound the roasted chilies, the
add the shallots and garlic and pound again until you have a
soft but not a uniform mixture, rather like a chunky salsa:
you want to retain a definite texture so do not pound to a
smooth paste! Add the coriander leaves, fish sauce and
lime juice to taste, and mix thoroughly. If you want to
spice things up, add the optional bird eye chillies.
Allow to stand for an hour so the flavours develop and
combine. Serve with grilled sausages or meats, pork
crackling, and raw or gently steamed vegetables.
The chili dip may be kept in the refrigerator for a couple