Na Ta Po

Ban Rai is a small unassuming town in Uthai Thani which most busy tourists simply bypass. And by tourists I am referring mostly to cyclists. They are the only ones I know of who venture this far off the beaten track in Thailand. But they are always peddling to get to the next town and seldom stop.

Coffee shops in Ban Rai Uthai Thani

But there are reasons why Ban Rai is both a destination for local tourists as well as a second home for city types looking for an escape.

Good coffee in Ban Rai Uthai Thani

It is also home to the Na Ta Po weaving and cultural centre which is tucked away off the main road behind the Ban Na Fai Bueng Ta Pho school. They produce and market exquiste handwoven fabrics which are marketed through OTOP and sold at upmarket shops in Bangkok. They also have a small fabric museum which is one of those special places I never tire of.

Handwoven cotton fabrics Na Ta Po Ban Rai Uthai Thani Thailand

Traditional Thai Hospitality

Sampran Riverside, Nakhon Pathom

Traditional Thai Hospitality riverside accommodation Nakon Pathom

About an hour away from Bangkok, covering 70 acres the Sampran Riverside is a family-run eco-cultural destination in Nakornpathom on the Ta Chin River. Visitors can experience authentic Thai hospitality and traditional food using organic ingredients. Visitors are accommodated in an antique Thai house and are invited to participate in cultural workshops or to visit local farmers who supply the kitchen with organic produce.

Golf clubs

Golf courses in Kanchanaburi Thailand

The Evergreen Hills Golf Club and Resort is two hours from Bangkok. It offers a standard 18-hole, 72-par golf course which was designed by Mr. Att-anan Yomjinda.

There is also a 97-room resort, fully equipped meeting room, clubhouse, restaurant, driving field, tennis court, swimming pool, camp fire, karaoke and snooker room.

Wild mushrooms

Every year at the end of the rainy season, the villagers in Nong Prue go in search of the termite mushrooms. These are then sold from stalls lining the road, to buyers who will drive from Bangkok for these rare and sought after delicacies.

Termite mushrooms Nong Prue Kanchanaburi

They germinate in the organic matter left behind in termite nests after the ants  swarm to establish new colonies. They can be found in Phetchaburi, Kanchanaburi and the more mountainous areas in Suphanburi. But the best, the sweetest mushrooms are found in Nong Prue where they can fetch prices in excess of B600 for a kg.

Cleaning termite mushrooms Kanchanaburi


You don’t find spring roll pastry in Sainsbury’s let alone green papaya for Som Tam. The same goes for M & S and this says a lot about the retail market in the UK.

No problem if you are looking for ready made and frozen meals.

Imported Thai food products Portsmouth, Hampshire the south of England

But if it is going to be home cooked you need to know where to look. In Portsmouth, if it’s Thai you are after, you want to find the Thai & Asian Food Mart. Around the corner from the Fratton station. Besides green papaya they stock almost everything you might need. Although I am not sure whether they have the spring roll pastry.

Thai cooking ingredients Portsmouth, Hampshire the south coast of England

Scratching through the fridge crammed full of fresh ingredients I found small trays of Sadtaw. A bitter young bean like seed which blends perfectly with into a hot Thai curry. Which when bought in a village market, come in a long, flat and wavy, over-sized, bright green seedpod which are usually bound together with a rubber band.

Fresh Thai vegetables in Portsmouth, Hampshire the south east of England

Pak bung, wild morning glory water spinach and cha-om which is a ferny young leaf shoot. A well-loved herby vegetable that is cunningly secreted into Thai omelettes to hide those spikey bits which you get even in the tender tips. Not to forget to mention the short stocky Thai bananas which I think are called gluay nam wa.

Fresh Thai fruit in Portsmouth Hampshire the south coast of England

But with fifty odd different varieties of banana in Thailand you can never be sure which is which. But if it is Thai there is a good chance you can find it. Jasmine rice, sticky rice, black rice, rice noodle sticks in the three prescribed sizes. Oyster sauce, mushroom soya sauce and fish sauce. Bottles of all sorts, tins of coconut milk, jars of palm sugar and packets of dried chilli.

They even stock Birdy iced coffee in cans, bottles Oishi teas and the notorious Mama instant noodles.

Street food in Bristol

It is impossible to define what is and what is not authentic Thai street food. It’s not about recipes, what is right what is wrong.

It is about  people, what they enjoy, about everything that goes into the preparation and presentation of the food we call Thai street food.

At the age of five, Tippy’s mother Niang was helping her mother cook food for sale at the market in Surin. Lifeskills and experience she bought with her when she opened her first market in Glouster. Skills passed down to Tippy and in turn to her sisters.

Authentic Thai food in Bristol

Preparing food they sell at the street markets throughout Bristol.