Thailand Painting Holidays

paint on the banks of the Mekong River

A wonderful combination of painting tuition and Thai culture in a small guest house on the banks of the Mekong River at Phon Phisai in NE Thailand.  During the dry cool months of October to January each year the guesthouse provides a combination of painting tuition and Thai rural culture experience to 4 guests each week.

The visits are individually tailored to provide the level of tuition and Thai experience that each visitor seeks.  This website contains details of the tuition, experiences and facilities together with prices and booking facilities. 

 

Creating art reduces stress even if you are not good at it

From http://www.lifehacker.com.au

Making Art Can Reduce Stress, Regardless Of Skill Level

PATRICK ALLAN

YESTERDAY 8:00 PM

Creating art has always been considered therapeutic, yet many people avoid the activity because they lack artistic skills. According to a recent study, however, your artistic ability doesn’t matter when it comes to reaping the benefits. Art can help you de-stress even if you’ve never touched a paint brush.

Photo by RCabinilla.

The study, led by Girija Kaimal, EdD, and published in Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, suggests that the process of making art, good or bad, is enough to significantly reduce stress-related hormones in your body. Participants in the study were given textas, paper, modelling clay and collage materials, then asked to create any art of their choice for 45 minutes. The researchers found that 75 per cent of the participants’ cortisol levels lowered significantly. Better yet, there was no correlation between past artistic skill development and lower cortisol levels. Most of the people that made art felt a lot less stressed, regardless of their past experience or skill level. So if you’re having a stressful week, sit down and make something. It doesn’t matter if it’s good, and nobody has to ever see it.

Reduction of Cortisol Levels and Participants’ Responses Following Art Making [Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association via DrexelNOW]

 

The part of Thailand tourists haven't discovered

This article by Ben Groundwater in the Traveller website was so much like the places we take our guests to at Thailand Painting Holidays that I thought I would repost it here.

You can read the original at http://www.traveller.com.au/ubon-ratchathani-province-the-part-of-thailand-tourists-havent-discovered-gowvxz

There was an argument ensuing between my host, Andrew, and the waitress at the little restaurant we'd just been eating at. It was all in Thai, but I had a feeling I knew what it would be about: she'd tried to overcharge us for something, thrown a few extra baht onto the bill to see if she could get away with it.

The row continued for a while until eventually some sort of agreement was reached, money changed hands, and Andrew and I walked back towards his car. "She does it every time," he said to me, shaking his head. "Tries to undercharge me! I told her, I'm paying for everything we ate. But she's always way too nice."

 

I had to laugh. This was not the Thailand I'd come to know and love. In my Thailand, the Thailand of Bangkok taxi drivers and Koh Pha-Ngan bartenders, you're always on your guard. You're on the lookout for the guy who will try to swindle you out of your money with his dodgy meter or his change-giving sleight of hand. Your ears are pricked up for the guy who'll tell you some tall story about the palace being closed or the hotel going out of business.

  • But not up here in Ubon Ratchathani. In the country's north-east people apparently attempt to charge you less than they really should, to do themselves out of making a living in the name of being friendly.

There aren't many tourists in Ubon Ratchathani, which might have something to do with it. There are even fewer about a half-hour drive into the countryside, in the tiny village that Andrew calls home. In fact Andrew was one of the first Westerners to ever set foot in that little rural community when he moved in a few years ago.

Eventually, however, he became part of the furniture, a sight as common as the farmers heading off to the rice paddies each morning, or the women cooking up batches of sticky rice in the open kitchens under their houses.

As a guest of Andrew's, I was another of those privileged few to experience Thai life away from the hustlers and the crowds, from the big cities and the beach resorts, from the tack and the tourist hordes. Instead of lying on a beach that could have been anywhere, or traipsing city streets in search of a shop with air-conditioning, I spent that trip sitting around watching Muay Thai boxing with Andrew's neighbours, and helping his wife prepare the lunchtime salads.

I saw things that very few tourists ever get to see. I was taken to a local restaurant where, seeing two Westerners walk in – possibly the only two Westerners for miles around – the owners scrambled to change the music from the Thai tunes they'd be listening to, to the only Western album they seemed to have on CD. Unfortunately that was Savage Garden, but you can't fault the guys for being friendly.

I witnessed daily life in a rural Thai village. I watched as the workers went off to the rice paddies each morning, carrying their baskets of sticky rice over their shoulders. I sat on a bamboo mat outside the village's only store and drank lao-lao whisky with the owner. I ate a glass-noodle and pork salad that Andrew's wife had made "not very spicy" just for me, and almost passed out from the chilli high.

You don't get to do things like this in a place like Andrew's village without knowing someone like Andrew. I'd been lucky – Andrew had read a few stories of mine online and had invited me to come and share a few days of his remarkable life. But these opportunities aren't limited to people with newspaper columns.

Travel like this is all about having a host, and there are plenty of opportunities out there to meet up with hosts like Andrew. That could be through couchsurfing.com, finding a place to sleep in somewhere obscure and interesting with a generous local. Or it could be through airbnb.com, paying to share a house with someone who can point you in the right directions, or take you into the places you would never be able to visit without a person in the know.

That's the true value of the "sharing economy". It's not the physical things that are being shared, the beds and the cars and the rooms, that are important, but the knowledge and the access being passed on. That's what means the most.

Maybe it's getting into a divey New York bar; maybe it's finding a hidden park in London; or maybe it's making sure no one tries to undercharge you at a restaurant in northern Thailand.


 

Lovely surround images of Thailand Painting Holidays

Twenty One Photospheres (surround) images taken near our arts guest house on the Mekong river In NE Thailand.  I provide painting tuition on our terrace overlooking the river and with my wife we take our guests to many interesting places to experience the local Thai/Lao culture

Click on the images to change them.  Drag within an image to see the full surroundings.  Click on the 'Views' text to see these wonderful full sized surround images.  They are linked together around the town of Phon Phisai, Nong Khai, Isaan (NE Thailand).  That is Lao you can see on the opposite bank.  Its an amazing area to explore.

Buddhist Lent 2014

International and local travelers are invited to join the Thai Buddhist community nationwide in celebrating the start of Buddhist Lent 2014. 

Referred to as Khao Phansa in Thai, Buddhist Lent, or Buddhist Rains Retreat, lasts three months, and it begins from the first day of the waning moon of the eighth lunar month. 

The first day of Buddhist Lent this year falls on July 12th. During the three-month period, Buddhist monks and novices stay in the temple to study and practice Dhamma. The custom for monks to spend the rainy season in a fixed place has been observed since the time of the Buddha. 

Legend has it that when the Lord Buddha was travelling and spreading his teachings, it was traditional for ascetics to retire to retreats during the rainy season. This period was aimed at preventing crop damage, as unnecessary travel by them during this period could damage young rice seedlings planted by villagers. 

To mark the start of this auspicious period, Buddhist Thais nationwide organize special celebrations that also reflect local traditions and beliefs. This gives tourists a chance to really connect with Thailand’s unique candle festival. 

The festival is held in several provinces in observance of the Buddhist Lent. For instance, the International Wax Candle Festival and Wax Candle Procession, is scheduled for 11-14 July at Thung Si Mueang Park in Ubon Ratchathani Province. It acts as a showcase for some of the world’s best examples of candle carving with masterpieces crafted by artists from Bulgaria, Costa Rica, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Spain, Ukraine, the United States of America, and Thailand. The celebration of the candle festival in Ubon Ratchathani has continued for several generations. It is meant to pay tribute to the Triple Gem in Buddhism, which includes the Buddha, his teachings, or Dhamma, and his disciples, or the Sangha. 

The Korat Candle Festival will be held on 11-13 July at the Thao Suranaree Monument, Nakhon Ratchasima Province. It is a display of exquisitely carved candles that depict the story of the Buddha, royally initiated projects, and historical attractions in Nakhon Ratchasima. 

The Candle Procession and merit making on elephant backs will be held on 10 and 11 July at the Monument of Phraya Surin Phakdi in Surin Province. It features a procession of nearly 100 elaborately-decorated elephants carrying some of the province’s most highly-revered monks around town in a unique and memorable merit-making ceremony. 

The Pattaya Candle Festival is scheduled for 9-10 July at Pattaya Beach Road in Pattaya City, Chonburi Province. It highlights candle processions, from Central Beach Road to the Walking Street, as well as candle carving and candle floating competitions. 

The Suphan Buri Candle Festival will take place at Wat Pa Lelai from 11 to 13 July. It presents a spectacular procession of candles around the province’s main town and also includes folk performances, and candle procession and candle floating decoration competitions.