Monday, December 31, 2012

Chiang Mai 2012 Half Marathon and Fundraiser Finale


First of all, I want to say THANK YOU to everyone that donated to the fundraiser and supported me in my first 1/2 marathon.  Both the fundraiser and the race were enormous successes!  With the help of some amazing family, friends, and strangers, we more than doubled the original goal, raising a total of $2,221.89!  All the money will go towards education of Burmese migrants in Mae Sot, Thailand.  That money will go a long way and do amazing things.  It means a lot, both to me and to the students at Knowledge Zone.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Year In Reading 2012

In December 2011 I made a short list for the upcoming new year, not of resolutions, but of specific goals I wanted to accomplish. Some were big (trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp... check), some small. One of the smaller tasks I set for myself was simply to read more. I've never really been a big reader, but after moving abroad with no television, traveling and being on the move so much, I have a newfound respect and enthusiasm for reading. My goal for 2012 was to read 25 books by the end of the year; roughly, a book every two weeks. With 2013 just a few days away, I'm pleased to say that I knocked it out of the park. I read a total of 31 books this year. To some that may not be impressive, but it's definitely a personal best and I'm pretty pleased. Some of the books I read were better than others, but, disaster or masterpiece, I enjoyed them all.

If anyone's looking for something new to read, I've made a list of what I read in 2012, along with a few thoughts.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Songthaew Overload!

How many Thai people can fit into one vehicle?  You'd be surprised...

Check out this trailer for one of my upcoming blog posts!

(It's only a minute and 45 seconds... Watch it!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Blake's Racing for Burmese Education!

In less than 25 days I'm running a half-marathon in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Did I mention that I have zero training and I'm going to be... “barefoot”? 


For the past 2 ½ years I've been teaching English in Thailand. Recently, I left the sun and islands of the south for a small town on the northern Thai-Burmese border. For the next three months, I'll be volunteering my time, teaching English to Burmese immigrants-- economic, educational, and political refugees-- that fled their country to escape human rights abuses and to pursue the opportunity of receiving a proper education. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Baan Thai Cookery School in Chiang Mai

          After fending off unruly Canadians in Chiang Rai, my tour of the north continued by backtracking three hours by bus to Chiang Mai. The last time I was in Thailand's “City of the North” was over two years ago and in an entirely different situation.

During Songkran, you can run but you can't hide!
(photo credit:
          In April of 2010, I first visited Chiang Mai with a couple of friends during songkran on our way to Laos and Vietnam. Songkran is the annual water festival held in celebration of the Thai New Year. Chiang Mai happens to be home to the biggest and wildest songkran hullabaloo (I love that word) in all of Thailand. What was once a simple and traditional celebration has grown to be a week-long music and beer fueled water war. Every April thousands of Thais and foreigners, young and old, pillage Thailand's old capital for six or more days of drenched revelry. Unfortunately, this time my stay in Chiang Mai would accommodate no such debauchery.

Songkran insanity!
photo credit:
          No jungle trekking, no Muay Thai fights, and no late nights staring down empty beer bottles. Nope. This time, my four days in Chiang Mai were spent relaxing, reading, writing this blog, and hammocking in the garden of my guesthouse (Choke Dee Guesthouse- 350 baht/night). In fact, the most exciting thing that I did was take a cooking class. Scoff away, but taking a Thai cooking class is something I've wanted to do for a long time. I've mentioned many times that one of my favorite parts of living in Thailand is the incredible food, and it would be a shame to leave the country without at least attempting to acquire some of it's culinary wizardry.

          For 700 baht (about $22 USD) I attended a 4-hour "half-day" course at Baan Thai Cookery School. It was great. First, the instructor walked us through the local day market and showed us how to find the different fresh ingredients that we'd need for each dish. When we returned to Baan Thai we broke up into groups depending on what dishes we were cooking. There were three courses in all. We started with an appetizer, then a soup along with a rice or noodle dish, and with a curry for the grand finale. For each dish, the instructor showed us how to prepare the ingredients and follow the recipe. Then... Cook. Eat. Repeat.

the new sauce boss
For my appetizer I made som tam (shredded, unripened papaya salad with lime juice, fresh-ground chillies, peanuts, fish sauce, and palm sugar).  And for my soup creation, I made tom kha gai (chicken soup with coconut milk, basil, ginger, lemongrass, and chilli paste, lime juice, and cilantro)...
tom kha gai (left) and som tam (right)
Next, I mastered Thailand's most renowned noodle-dish, pad Thai (Thai-style stir-fried noodles with egg, shrimp, peanuts, coriander, lime, and fish sauce)...
not even flexing.
I finished strong with my masterpiece-curry, khao soi gai (a northern-style curry famous in Chiang Mai, made with egg noodles, Indian curry paste, coconut milk, pickled cabbage, and ground chillies fried in oil). One of my favorite dishes in Thailand the world...
food porn
After we cooked each dish we took it back to the table to taste test our creations. By the end of the class I had learned how to cook four awesome Thai meals, in less than four hours total, and devoured every one of them.  I was stuffed. 
imm maak maak!  Sooo full...
It was a fun experience and I'm glad I did it.  Not only did I get to eat some awesome food, but I learned a lot.  We even got to keep our own got our own copies of the cookbooks we used.  What's that old saying?  You can shear a sheep once, but if you teach it how to fish you'll never be hungry... yeah, something like that.  I know that one day the time will come when I'm somewhere else in the world, and I'll have an insatiable som tam craving but can no longer walk across the street and buy a plate for a buck.  I'll be ready!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Blake vs. the Canadians in Chiang Rai

          A busy October. Back to America for three weeks for my dad's wedding and to visit some friends and family. Then, just as the jet lag was wearing off it was back to Thailand, half-way around the globe. I spent a few days in Bangkok at some old haunts near the oh so infamous Khao San Road, met my girlfriend's parents for the first time, and showed them around the city hitting the Grand Palace and several other tourist spots. Having packed up all my belongings and moved out of my house in Surat, I still had three and half weeks to kill before orientation for my new job. After four days in the city, I was already dying to get away from the noise and stink of Bangkok, so north I went. First stop: Chiang Rai.
Chiang Rai

          It took 15 hours on a sleeper train from Bangkok, then another three hour bus ride, and finally a 10 minute tuk-tuk to reach my accommodation (Chat Guesthouse) in Chiang Rai town. I checked in and paid for a night (90 baht/person/night for a double bed), took a hot shower, and went to sleep.
          At 5:30 am Mother Nature sounded the alarm clock in the form of several screeching roosters just below my window. My goal for the day was to see what Chiang Rai had to offer without breaking my budget (I'm paycheckless for the foreseeable future). For 150 baht (about $5 USD) I rented a motorbike for the day and followed the free map I got from the tourism authority to Chiang Rai's famous Wat Rong Khun (the White Temple).
Wat Rong Khun
Narnia/Chiang Rai, Thailand.

The White Temple

          Reminiscent of a Narnian castle, Wat Rong Khun is a Buddhist and Hindu temple as well as a seemingly never-ending art project for its creator, the artist Ajarn Chalermchai Kositpipat. Funded entirely by public donations, the project began in 1997 with a projected completion date for the year 2070. The inside of the White Temple (which is not allowed to be photographed) is somewhat of a social commentary and features scraps of pop culture painted atop of traditionally designed Buddhist walls. Aside from the beautiful and unique architecture there's also a gallery with paintings, drawings, and sculptures by Kositpipat.
Britt's new friends
          After Wat Rong Khun, Britt and I hopped on our trusty two-wheeled rental and sputtered another 20 km down a scenic connection of badly paved mountain roads until we found Khun Korn Waterfall.   From the entrance of the park it was a 45-minute hike up and down a muddy trail cutting though bamboo thickets and jungle. Brittany was immediately befriended by three little Thai girls that were in absolute awe that a foreigner could speak their language so well. The mist from the waterfall cooled us off as we took some photos, then back down the trail to the motorbike we went.
Khun Korn Waterfall
Chiang Rai, Thailand

          We only wanted to pay for the bike for 24 hours, so the next day we were on foot. In the morning, we checked out Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha). Guess what I saw? A temple. And an emerald Buddha.
          We killed some time in the afternoon at the Hilltribe Museum and got our learn on about the local native cultures and the history of opium in the region... welcome to the Golden Triangle.

          Finally, just before dusk, we were picked up in an ancient Land Rover-style 4-wheel drive SUV by Nok, the owner of Bamboo Nest Guesthouse where we'd be staying for the next two nights. About 30 km outside of town, we turned on to an unpaved driving path and it was all off-road and uphill from there. Upon arrival at Bamboo Nest we dropped our bags in our private bamboo bungalow and followed the moonlit trail back to the common area for a home-cooked Thai dinner. There were six other travelers there but unfortunately four of them were Canadian so conversation wasn't exactly electrifying.
          Noi, Nok's husband and co-owner of Bamboo Nest, lit us a fire in the fire pit. Britt called it a night and went to bed. I made the ill-considered decision to stay up drinking cheap Thai beer with the Canadians and two others. I was outnumbered and ended up defending America as the subject of a relentless interrogation. They bombarded me with an unending barrage of half-witted questions like,  “Why do we know the name of you're president, but you don't who Stephen Harper is?”
“Stephen Harper? Hmmm. You mean the guy in the wheel-chair with the robot voice that's always talking about space and time travel and worm holes? Oh. No. Wait. That's Stephen Hawking,” I half-jokingly answered. 
          In truth, I had no idea who Stephen Harper is (the Canadian Prime Minister-- thanks Google). Didn't know. Didn't Care. I don't go around asking stupid questions to Canadian people like, “Why do you think its okay to wear denim shirts?” or “Are you growing that mustache because you lost a bet or are you actually serious?”
          Outnumbered as I was, I easily fended off these haters from the land of snow and syrup. The truth is, Canadians are jealous of Americans. Robin Williams said it best, “Canada is like a loft apartment over a really great party”. While things were still in good spirits I said goodnight to Joni Mitchell and the other hippies and went to bed.  
          I woke up the next morning with a slight headache and a dry mouth. It all disappeared when I stepped on to the bamboo balcony outside of my bungalow. It was a comfortably cool morning and the sun sparkled off the shiny green jungle, still wet with mountain dew. Leftover mist trapped in the valley blanketed rice paddies in the distance. Otherwise it was clear. This is the type of scenery that Northern Thailand is renowned for. It was an entirely different kind of beautiful than what I am used to in the south. The guesthouse was appropriately named. It really is like a Bamboo Nest in the side of the mountain.
          I spent the rest of the day exploring the compound a bit, but mostly laying around in the hammock on my bamboo porch. Nok had done a superb job with the landscaping and there were various flowers, plants, and trees strategically placed to add that much more to the already naturally impressive terrain. There's an abundance to do at Bamboo Nest. They offer jungle treks and 4x4 off-roading. It's only an hour's hike to a waterfall and natural hot springs. If that's too far, a ten minute stroll down the mountain will bring you to a Lahu hilltribe village.
          Since I've been back in Thailand, the two days I spent at Bamboo Nest de Chiang Rai have been by far my favorite and the most relaxing. It's easily one of my top 3 places I've stayed in all of my travels. I could go on and on into more detail about Bamboo Nest, but I figured the best way to show how great it is would be to show you with a quick video. Here's the newest Blake's World episode... Enjoy!

Want to see what it's like at Bamboo Nest de Chiang Rai?  Watch the video above!
my porch view

photo credit: Britt D

Old Whitey

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Shipping Container/Jungle House in Thailand

          I've lived in a lot of different places since I made move to Thailand in 2010.  In Bangkok I had a small apartment in a great part of the city.  In Surat Thani, I lived in three different houses with a handful of awesome roommates.  But, by far, the most interesting place that I've lived (and my favorite) is a shipping container in the jungle.
          It's not exactly as it sounds.  It's actually two shipping containers welded together in the middle and renovated into a small "house" complete with electricity and running water.   It stands on stilts over a pond in the jungle, just 5 minutes across the river from town.  Living in the jungle was an adventure in itself.  I'd routinely see giant monitor lizards lazily crawling through the tall grasses and there was monkey that lived a stone's throw away.  Not to mention all the cool flora and fauna.
          After six great months in the jungle and almost two years of living and teaching in Surat, it's time to move on.  I'm trading the sun and the islands of Thailand's south for the cool, green mountains of the north.  Surat Thani, you will be missed.

Here's a quick video of the jungle crib...  (not the best quality)...

And some snapshots...
front porch

you may enter...

living room area

Britt's art room... I wanted a gym.

And some cool plants growing around the house...

*not pictured: bedroom, bathroom, drawbridge.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Rock Climbing and Penis Caves at Railay Beach!

          During my last semester of teaching I didn't get to travel as much as I would've liked.  My primary focus was working and saving money.  I needed cash for my trip back to the States and to hold me over through my next gig volunteering in the north.  I did, however, plan and budget for one 4-day trip to Railay Beach in Thailand's Krabi province. 
          I've been to many of Thailand's most stunning islands and beaches, but never to Railay.  A few friends have told me that, with it's towering limestone cliffs and clear blue water, it's their favorite beach in Thailand.  I was set on spending some time there before I left the south.

          My girlfriend and I took advantage of a 4-day holiday weekend in August and hopped on a bus (and then a tuk-tuk... and then a long tail boat) to Railay.  After we checked in to our guesthouse, we walked around and toured the small peninsula that Railay is stretched upon.  Railay is only accessible by boat and has three main beaches.  Railay West is the most beautiful beach on the peninsula, but Pra Nang is more... mmmm... interesting.

It's home to Tham Pra Nang Nok (Princess Cave), a cave dedicated to an ancient fertility goddess.  The cave is full of hundreds of phallic symbols of all kinds-- big, small, wooden, plastic-- as well as garlands and offerings to the goddess for “increased potency and prosperity”.   
Unless you're talking about Vietnamese currency,
I never want to see "hundreds of dong" again

          After I finished my photo shoot with the giant wooden penises (or is it peni?), I needed something to bring my self-confidence back up.  We strolled up the small Walking Street and I booked a half-day of rock climbing at King Climbers, one of the many rock climbing shops that Railay is home to.  Krabi province is world famous for its limestone walls and first-class rock climbing. 


          The next morning, Britt and I met our guides, grabbed our gear, and followed the shoreline.  The sand turned to jungle and quickly we found the giant stone face that we were to scale by five different routes.  A brief tutorial on knot-tying and gear rigging was all we were given before the guides let us loose upon the rock.  As I gracefully floated to the top of what normal humans think of as a challenging climb, I could hear the guides talking to each other on the ground below.  I couldn't make out exactly what they were saying in Thai, but I think it was something about how I reminded them of an angel.  I briefly paused at the top to look over my shoulder and take in the incredible view of the bay behind me. Then, I pushed off the rock and effortlessly repelled back to the ground.  The guides' faces were awestruck, like they just found out Spiderman really does exist.
got a light?
          Later that night we went to dinner at the last bar on the beach, creatively named Last Bar.  I ate good food and enjoyed a bucket of booze while I watched the fire show.  Fire shows are popular for nighttime entertainment on most Thai beaches.  Between one and ten locals perform dances and acrobatics while twirling ropes, sticks, and other primal props, all soaked in oil and lit on fire.  It's wise to always be paying attention during one of these shows.  More than once, I've seen a handler lose control of his flaming baton, sending it like a medieval fireball into the crowd of spectators.   Fortunately, on this night there were no such mishaps.
          The following day, we booked a snorkeling trip that had been recommended by friends.  A long tail boat took us to a few small islands off the coast to snorkel, swim, and lay on the beach.  The water was cloudy and visibility was low so I challenged Brittany to a jumping contest on the beach.  I clearly dominated.
didn't spill one drop
          At dusk, the boat pulled ashore a private island for us to watch the sunset, while the crew cooked up a BBQ seafood dinner on the beach for us.  While we waited for our food, Brittany wanted to redeem herself from her horrible showing in the jumping contest and challenged me to a cartwheel contest.  I'm not quite sure what she was thinking.  I've been told that my cartwheel execution is reminiscent of a young Kerri Strug.  Again, I dominated. 

          On the way back to Railay beach, the boat stopped in the middle of the bay for some night snorkeling.  I jumped in and the water immediately lit up all around me with the glow of thousands of phosphorescence.  I swam underwater and it felt like I was in outer space.  Holding my breath I threw out some ferocious karate chops and ninja kicks, each one trailed by a bright, yellow and blue, electric glow.  Then, I almost drowned and realized that I was not in the Matrix and swam back to the boat to take me home.
          All in all, Railay was great. It's a beautiful beach with tons of activities and it isn't as overcrowded as many of the islands are.  It's a bit more expensive then other places, but still, a 4-day vacation (including transportation, accommodation, food, drink, rock climbing, and snorkeling) only cost me about 6,000 baht ($200 USD).  Hopefully, before I leave thailand I'll get one more trip to the south.  If I do, I'll definitely visit Railay again.

low tide

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Best Food in Surat Thani- My Picks!

The south of Thailand is renowned for it's delicious and spicy cuisine.  Surat Thani, where I've called home for the past two years, is no exception.  The following is a quick video I put together of what I think are the best dishes from some of my favorite local restaurants in Surat.

The total video is about 8 minutes in length so if you want to skip around, the featured foods and restaurants are below.  *In Surat Thani, many of these restaurant names are written in Thai.  Since most of my friends and I cannot read Thai, we've made up these nicknames for the restaurants based on their location or what is served there (i.e. "Corner Guy" is a small hole-in-the-wall eatery run by one guy on the corner of an intersection).  Enjoy.

pic from wiki
Place: “Corner Guy”
  1. pad see euw- stir fried noodles with vegetables, chicken, and brown sauce
  2. yam yawd ma praew- fried coconut tips with a spicy salad (more like a dip) of lime, seafood, and vegetables

Place: “Earth Zone”      
  1. pic from joyfulabode
    kao rad pad ka praew gung- Fried Thai basil and spices with spicy shrimp over rice with fish sauce, chili, and garlic. I add a kai dao (fried egg) on top.
  2. kaew muu sap- Chinese style, crispy fried dumpling stuff with minced pork and spices.

Place: “Rice Soup Place”    
  1. pic from oomame
    kao tam- breakfast soup of boiled rice and spices (I add egg and pork and lots of crushed chili)
  2. batong go- fresh donuts served with condensed milk

Place: “Kampan”
  1. massaman curry- Muslim curry dish ranked # 1 by CNNgo's 50 Most Delicious Foods in 2011. It's delicious flavor comes from coconut milk, brown sugar, peanuts, potatoes, cinnamon, fish sauce, palm sugar, and Thai chili, cooked with giant chunks of chicken breast.
  2. pic from wiki
    kao saway- white rice (served aside the massaman)

Place: “Good Health”   
  1. pic from satay
    geng keaw won gai- Thai green curry with chicken. This spicy curry is blend of onions, chili, cumin, lemongrass, minced garlic, brown sugar, cilantro, basil, and lime juice, with plenty of vegetables and chicken tossed in the mix. Served with white kao saway (white rice).
  2. red curry with tofu- I don't support tofu nor this dish so I don't know what's in it.

pic from flickr
Place: “Shack By The River”     
  1. pad ka praew (gai, sai kai dao)- Thai fried basil and spices with minced chicken over white rice. I add a fried egg on top. Chicken broth soup comes on the side.

*Not mentioned:  "Rice Lady",  "Muslim Fried Chicken Stand",  "Chain-link Fence Place"

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Food at the Surat Night Market

"Sooo, what do you eat over there?" is a question a get a lot from friends and family.  After two years, I'm finally leaving my Thai town, Surat Thani, to try my luck in the north of Thailand.  The food in the north is very different from the southern Thai cuisine I've grown to love so much.  In an effort to help capture some memories of the south's amazing tastes and smells before I leave, I decided to put together a blog dedicated to my favorite Thai eats in Surat.  This way, everyone back home can get an idea of what kind of food I've been eating and I can have an excuse for visiting all of my favorite restaurants one more time.  Instead, of taking pictures of food and scribbling a few boring sentences about what it's ingredients are and what it tastes like, I figured I'd give video blogging a shot (now all my friends that can't read can follow along too!).
photo credit to chungkingdiary

In the first installment of my food-based mini-series, I take you to one of my favorite places to eat... (talad senjao) The Night Market.  Just like every other Thai town, Surat Thani has an evening market where hundreds or even thousands of residents flock to buy and sell.  Whatever you're looking for the night market has: clothes, jewelry, puppies, DVD's, but most of all... delicious FOOD.

Thai people love food and the night market is recognized as a prominent aspect of Thai culture.  In Surat, we have four main markets: (1) the day market- where you can find all your raw meat and sea food for sale early in the day; (2) the Saturday night market-- only open on Saturday nights, mostly consisting of clothing, knockoff goods, and handicraft vendors; (3) the Sunday night market-- only opens Sunday nights on the far end of the pier and is mostly food vendors; and finally, (4) talad senjao, which is the common night market, located near the Tapee River.  It's smaller than the other markets, but open every night of the week to sell a variety of merchandise and food.  Take a look at the quick video I shot at talad senjao to see some of my favorite night market grub.  I tried to keep it short and sweet  spicy!  Enjoy!

*Featured: Pad Thai (Thailand's most famous stir-fried noodle dish) and som tam (shredded green papaya salad, muddled with lime, seafood, Thai chili, palm sugar, and other veggies)... Check it out!

In my next post, I'll take you around town to some of my favorite restaurants in Surat!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Suan Nai Dum... THIS PLACE IS THE $#%!

A few weeks ago, the Thai teachers in the English Department at my school invited me to their end of the year weekend retreat.  We left early Saturday morning for Koh Pitok, a small island off the east coast of the Chumpon province.  It was supposed to be about an hour and a half drive to the coast.  The Thai teachers told me that on the way, we would stop at a beautiful garden called Suan Nai Dum (Garden of Uncle Black).  I had no idea what to expect... garden?  Boorrrring.  Right?  WRONG.  It turned out to be the highlight of the weekend, even better than the island we were heading to.  Suan Nai Dum is, quite literally, the shit!
Brittany was there too and she already wrote about Suan Nai Dum as an article for our company's website.  I'm going to be lazy and use her article as a "guest post" here on my own blog...  
Enter Britt...
Our recent visit to Suan Nai Dum convinced me that Thai culture is more full of toilet humor than I ever conceived. Otherwise, how would this statue – a giant, giant pile of poop – be possible?
Like Shelby wrote, Suan Nai Dum is a rather interesting rest stop in Chumpon, on Highway 41.  More than just a beautiful garden, it was also “proclaimed by the Ministry of Public Health to be a Thai public toilet learning centre, which is regularly visited by students and organizations,” according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
All of the toilets are fully-functioning and they’re creatively constructed into various venues, like the Sky Toilet (360 degree views!), Tarzan and Jane toilets, a Pig Butthole toilet (?!), and the toilet that was voted Toilet of the Year 2006 – certified by someone who has the awesome job of being a Toilet Ambassador.
sky toilet
sign for the treehouse-style "Tarzan Toilet"
Though the toilets were certainly amazing, I also found myself drawn to the informative and lighthearted signs (which were, of course, posted on toilet seat lids).  These offered some insight into Thai language, which “has countless of idioms and proverbs [sic] linked to the word ‘shit’ for teaching morals to children.”  These are some seriously golden nuggets of wisdom (khee – said in a falling tone – means excrement):
  • Fon tok khee moo lai (ฝนตกขี้หมูไหล): bad people meet together
  • Khi moo raa khee maa hang (ขี้หมูราขี้หมาแห้ง):  not useful, nonsense (don’t split hairs)
  • Hen khee dee gwaa sai (เห็นขี้ดีกว่าไส้): lit. to see shit as better than entrails/family (blood is thicker than water)
  • Gin bon ruan khee rot lang ka (กินบนเรือนขี้รดบนหลังคา): lit. eat in the house, shit on the roof (to bite the hand that feeds you) [source / source]
  • Gum khee dee gwaa gum tod (กําขี้ดีกวากําตด): lit. grabbing shit is better than grabbing farts (having something is better than having nothing) [source]
  • Maa khee mai mee krai yok hahng (หมาขี้ไมมีใครยกหาง): lit. nobody lifts the dog’s tail when it shits (self praise is not recommended). [source]
  • Hen chaang khee khee dtaam chaang (เห็นช้างขี้ ขี้ตาม): don’t try to shit as large as an elephant’s shit (curb your lifestyle to match your means) [source]
Those last three are my personal favorites.  Thai language also has some good euphemisms for using the bathroom, including “go to the paddy,” “go to the dock,” and “go to the jungle.”  This sitealso mentions, “If you are a woman and you bpai det dork mai (‘go to pick flowers’)you might actually be going to the loo, while the equivalent for men is bpai ying gratai (‘go to shoot rabbits’), expressions which no doubt have their origins in the fields.”
If you listen for it, you’ll hear the word “khee” used a lot.  Yes, it’s a waste product (as in feces), but it could also be snot, (khee muuk), cigarette ash (khee boo ree), or even eraser shavings (khee yaang lohp).  When “khee” is placed in front of adjectives, it’s an idiomatic prefix implying a negative personality trait – all of which is detailed on this page.  For example:
Some of my Mathayom girls actually come up to me quite often and say “bpuaat khee” (ปวดขี้) – which I’m pretty sure translates to “I’m dying to crap.”   Not entirely sure if this is polite or not, or if they just think I can’t understand them.
As you can see in the sign above, Suan Nai Dum also offers a taste of Buddhist philosophy.  A sign near the entrance to the garden explains:
The amazing distinctive “Thai Toilet” reflects Thais’ philosophy of life through their positive and creative thinking about toilets. They appreciate the significance of toilets as “the place for disposing both physical and mental sufferings.”
Another sign, describing the Underworld Toilet, notes:
This place is located beneath a volcano where it is believed to be the hottest abyss of hell. Remarkably, the atmosphere inside the toilet is pleasantly cool. This help to reinforce the message that “the surroundings cannot bring happiness, if your mind is unhappy”, or as a Buddha Proverb says, “Heaven exists in our soul, while Hell exists in our mind.”
Our whole visit to Suan Nai Dum was unexpectedly hilarious and memorable, and it reminded me how much I like Thai peoples’ easygoing and lighthearted way of looking at life.  We never would have encountered this magical place had we not been with Thai people, traveling like Thais do.
So next time someone tells you that you’re going to a garden with amazing toilets, don’t be skeptical! You could be going to Suan Nai Dum … or, if you’re in Korea, you might just be visiting Mr. Toilet’s toilet theme park.
..."squat pots" are a Westerner's worst enemy.
At the gift shop... poop-themed tea sets, salt &pepper shakers, you name it...