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  1. #1
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    Living in Chanthaburi

    I have just finished reading El Gibbon's 15-page thread about living for one year in Chanthaburi. It was a great read and covered almost every aspect of provincial life in Thailand. The comments and feedback were also great - the members of the forum are very helpful and friendly with broad interests that thankfully go beyond the advertisements on the forum would suggest! There were not so many female contributors to El's thread apart from Lily who said who said was in jail. Hopefully she is out now!

    So I am in a minority, as a Farang woman married to a Thai. I'm a New Zealander and he's from Ubon and we been married about 14 years. We had planned to go to New Zealand to live but as a backup plan,12 years ago we bought some land at the unspoiled seaside community and fishing village of Kung Wiman. We chose it because it was not too far from Bangkok - about a three hour drive, so I could continue to work, and we developed this land as a small 14 room resort. It was quite an expensive undertaking as our target is the expat market so we have a swimming pool, restaurant, spa and van and about eight staff. Needless to say Plan B became Plan A, and we didn't make it to live in New Zealand, which I don't regret, although I do go back to visit family once or twice each year. Our first land purchase was about 3 and a half rai, which we were planning to develop into a guesthouse but then some better land came up, larger, more elevated and closer to the sea...about 10 rai so we bought that, and that is Faasai Resort and Spa today. Then about five years after we bought the land for the resort we bought some land up the road a bit, in about 6 different lots, which we have developed as a farm, wetlands, nature sanctuary. On the first piece of land we planted over 1000 agarwood trees and it has become quite a forest now.

    I still work in Bangkok during the week and we go to Chanthaburi every weekend. This is a necessity, as unfortunately the earnings barely cover the running costs and routine maintenance, let alone all the extras that need to be done in maintaining the property.

    I experienced many of the shocks and strangeness El Gibbon did when he went to live in Chanthaburi in 2006/7.My shocks were even more actually, as we were trying to build and run a business and had to do a lot of building and maintenance work (his issues with things like plumbing, air conditioning were multiplied by about 20, given all our buildings). This is one of the worst possible stresses for a marriage. On the good side, financial necessity meant we had to stick together when the going got rough! Then of course we have the additional headaches of vehicles - one car, minivan, van, pickup truck and about four motorbikes, plus six bicycles. And, we also have the staff, they are not a headache...but they are extremely loyal and hardworking and so we feel a responsibility to take care of them.

    I do speak Thai but not so much in the beginning and that was a big struggle. I remember the poor builder looking at me blankly when I would use the Thai word for wall when I meant floor or vice versa. And we too have had many adventures with insects and other wildlife. Termites for example fly out of their elaborate homes at the beginning of the rainy season and settle into cracks and crevasses in whatever wood or organic material they can find...even gaps in the concrete walls where the wiring goes! It is amazing what destruction they have caused in 12 short years. But they do have an upside... last Saturday morning we enjoyed watching the birds catching the termites on the wing as we ate our breakfast ...there were swallows, mynahs, drongos, barbets and bulbuls doing pirouettes in the sky. And now that I have my pet chicken (and a couple of chook companions for her) I go out hunting for termites to feed them.

    In the 12 years since we have been there, there have been a lot of changes in the neighbourhood. Land prices have gone up over 10-fold and there are a lot more buildings in the street. The once sleepy little beach at Kung Wiman is now packed with cars on weekends and there are several hotel/resort developments going in..in the beginning we were the only one apart from beachside Kung Wiman Resort which had been there 20 years and Wiman House, a newish concrete block complex a kilometer or so from the sea.

    Many of the locals have sold land to Bangkok people but a lot haven't and are continuing on with their fruit orchards, shrimp farms, rubber plantations, food stalls etc. Rubber prices have collapsed and whereas 12 years ago people were ripping out their fruit trees to plant rubber, now they are doing the opposite. We have a bit of everything at our farm, including rice. We are the only people growing rice around there and so we get 100s of birds like munias and doves coming after the crop and we put nets over them to keep them away. Now this year feral chickens have settled into the farm so we are quite worried about them eating the rice --- different birds go after the rice at different stages --- the munias like it when they first get "pregnant" with sweet milky sap, the doves like the ripe grains and the chooks the first rice sprouts. We only have enough rice at this stage for our own consumption but hope to be able to supply the resort in the future. We keep trying to make improvements to our techniques so we can increase productivity.

  2. #2
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    Pleasant thread to read. Thank you for posting on your life journey and property (resort) development progress. It's a fantastic venture to share with others.

    As a farang lady married to a Thai you would be in the minority.
    Assuredly I see no problem if you're both happy. That's all that life is really about anyway (IMHO).

  3. #3
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    Thanks your comments are much appreciated. I hope it is interesting and useful for people.
    Quote Originally Posted by PeeCoffee View Post
    Pleasant thread to read. Thank you for posting on your life journey and property (resort) development progress. It's a fantastic venture to share with others.

    As a farang lady married to a Thai you would be in the minority.
    Assuredly I see no problem if you're both happy. That's all that life is really about anyway (IMHO).

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat prawnograph's Avatar
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    Add some pics
    The 'north' (towards Rayong) end of Khung Wiman, small bay here, not the best for swimming but fine for beginners snorkeling when there are not too many people rod fishing, or spearfishing



    And facing southwards, the main beach

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