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.

Posted By Gecko

Thailand monks

The ordination ceremony for our eldest sons at the local village temple was a colourful affair that blended Isan traditions with Buddhist rites.

Above, the ordination ceremony has just been completed and our sons are about to then start their seven days of life as Thai monks in the village temple gounds. The white, cloth-coloured items on their backs are their new alms bowls, which they will put to first use on their alms gathering rounds the following morning.

Festivals, ceremonies and traditions in Thailand offer rich material to keen photographers aiming to catch some of the numerous indigenous ways of life around Gecko Villa.

Posted By Gecko

Thai monk ordination isan

A Buddhist Monkhood Initiation ("Buat Phra")in a Rural Thai Village

Last night, a freak electric storm with tree-rending winds - and rain reminiscent of waterfalls - hit our village. The winds downed a major high voltage power line, and the entire region, for kilometers around, sank into darkness.

For Note and Joy, our two eldest twins, it will be a night to remember - as it was the eve of their Buddhist merit-making ceremony. 

This morning started early as we prepared food for the hundreds of guests - villagers, friends, relatives and local officials - who started to arrive in the morning. Whisky and beer started to flow. At midday, under a cerulean sky and a relentless sun, Note and Joy each sat on a chair, holding a lotus leaf in front of them. Friends and respected elders then took it in turn to briefly wai them before cutting a small bunch of hair from the head of each and placing it in the lotus leaf.

Gradually, their carefully-crafted carefree coiffure dissipated, until a cutthroat razor was used to finish the complete shave of the head and eyebrows... They then dressed in white, were positioned atop a pickup truck, and paraded slowly through the village, surrounded by well-wishers who danced around the vehicle to the tempo of morlam songs.

This evening, for those still sober, suckling pig will be served and more alcohol consumed, and at dawn  tomorrow morning a procession will be arranged for our sons  to the village temple. Here they will dress in Buddhists' traditional saffron robes, observe the hours, tenets and restrictions of temple life, and call the temple home for the next seven days.

In Thailand, nearly all young men will at at some stage go through such an ordination ceremony, to make merit for their parents, and particularly for their mother. Karma remains a reality in the Isan spirit, where we believe that both good and bad deeds follow a man as surely as does his shadow...the shadow follows the bod

Posted By Gecko
Thailand travel advisory
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.

Posted By Gecko

The pink lotus sea near Gecko Villa in Thailand
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 Green Gecko

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 darting birdlife...

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.




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