Monthly Archives: September 2012

‘Chickynet’ : Local social networking for women in Thailand

Chickynet is a social networking website for women in Thailand. What started as a facebook site in Phuket has now become a multi-sited social network with over 2400 members scattered across different parts of Thailand. Chickynet was founded in April 2009 by Berthe Mandaat to make some new friends when she moved to Phuket from the Netherlands. Since then the site has expanded from its stronghold in Phuket, where over 1000 members still reside, to other locations such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Koh Samui and Pattaya. Although the vast majority of members are ‘expats’ of different nationalities, Berthe estimates that around 10% of the membership is Thai, with the average age of members being 35 years old. The site is 100% member driven and an important source of information for both new arrivals in Thailand and established residents. Members offer advice and signposting to different services and amenities in their local area, such as where to find ‘good vegetarian restaurants in Phuket’, ‘yoga classes in Chiang Mai’, ‘hotels in Bangkok’ and ‘top quality sausage and bacon in Hua Hin’!

But Chickynet is more than just an online information portal, it is a local community of members that meet up and support each other offline in different places. As Berthe says ‘Chicky Net is sort of your own local neighborhood where you help each other out, the atmosphere is very friendly and positive…it’s a small and intimate network compared to other social media’. During my time in Hua Hin I was invited to two very welcoming (and fun!) Chickynet events where I met an international group of women who came to establish new friendships and re-connect with old ones (over a very civilised bottle of prosecco). As well as providing a social function for women to meet new people, Chickynet also acts as a support network in times of personal crisis, as Berthe says ‘Chickynet offers women an opportunity to find support that was not available before’.

Chickynet also showcases the experiences of women in Thailand through its blog roll, featuring interviews with expat women and showcasing women bloggers. British expat Teresa Shaw kindly agreed to share her Chickynet interview with us. She talks about her move to Thailand from Nottingham with her husband on a ‘gap year’ that never quite ended and her experiences as an English teacher in Hua Hin. Interestingly, she reveals that a key positive aspect about Thailand is the ‘lifestyle’. Read the full interview here.

Meeting royalty in Malaysia

Sally Addington, Chairwoman of the Association of British Women in Malaysia sent us this photo. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“One of the rather fun things about living an expat life, and trying to be community-spirited by becoming a Chairman or President of an Association or Society, thereby becoming a big (ger) fish in a small (er) pond:  you have the privilege and honour to meet royal visitors and other British VIP’s when they visit these far-off shores!  This photo is of our ‘Royal Tea Party’ with William and Kate last week”.

Landscapes of Hua Hin, THAILAND!

After spending a month living on Soi 68 in Hua Hin in Thailand I am back in the UK and ready to impart a few reflections on my time there. During my stay I met and interviewed a diverse range of very interesting and friendly lifestyle migrants and I want to say a big thank you to all of you that took part and who continue to show interest in the project. Everyone had a different story to tell about their lifestyles in Hua Hin and there was an overwhelming positivity about moving to Thailand and settling in Hua Hin in particular. I hope to reflect on why Hua Hin is so popular for lifestyle migrants who have made it their home.

 Hua Hin is a small coastal city two hours and 200km south of Bangkok in the province of Prachuab Khiri Khan. It is promoted by tourism operators as Thailand’s Royal beach resort and an impressive variety of high end resorts hug the beaches. The other side of the Petch Kasem road, towards the mountains, are the night markets and food stalls, the railway station and recently developed Western style shopping malls. More on this to come, but first here are some of my first impressions of the different landscapes of Hua Hin.

 Hin Lek Fie

Hua Hin Beach 

Anantasilla Resort on Khao Takiep beach 

 

 

 

 

 

Hua Hin’s Night Market

 

 

 

Street Traders at the night market 

Starbucks, Boots and the Queen on Petch Kasem road

 

 

 

Random images from Penang

 

Line dancing at Gurney Plaza, 7.30am.

This mixed nationality group meets every day to practice line dancing, before the sun comes up. If you look closely you will spot one British woman in there dancing with the locals. This group travels throughout Asia with their sport.

 

 

 

 

 

 

An impromptu temple for the hungry ghosts

It is the season of the hungry ghost and this temple was set up in the street under canvas. It had an altar where joss sticks could be lit, and paper money burnt and food offerings made for the ghosts.  There was also an impromptu opera! We missed the event unfortunately, but it’s been impossible to miss the little bonfires that keep cropping up in the street, and the food offerings left dotted about outside people’s houses.

 

 

 

 

Lovely lifestyle migrants

This is Becky and Tami, who kindly told me about their lives in Penang and let me take their photos too! We are in Becky’s house, which has some fascinating Japanese influences from her life there.

 

Blogs on Penang

I have found two wonderful blogs that are both about life in Penang for ‘lifestyle migrants’ (I hope they don’t mind me calling them that).

One is Tropical Expat

The other is  Musings on Penang

Just click on their names for the link. They are both full of lovely photos, fascinating insights, and many meandering musings. I love them!

Do let us know if you find others, and any on Thailand.