5 December 2017

Exploring the Death Railway Via A Train To Kanchanaburi - Thailand

As I have said in many of my Thailand posts, you'll never run of places to explore and things to do here, this trip is one of the many one has to experience. The Death Railway Line carries a lot of Thailand and Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) history during the World War II, the railway line was built through some blood shedding and slavery through 1943 -1945.
A day trip Exploring this Railway line is possible through a tour guide or even more interestingly doing it on your own or with your mates for as little as 120Baht, approx. $3.50 by taking the weekend train offered by the government. This train trip was introduced to encourage the locals to have a getaway during the weekend with family and friends but they still welcome foreigners.
There are four destinations that the train stops for exploring and sightseeing; however there are other spots where you’ll just view from the moving train.

1.    Wat Phra Pathom Chedi - Chedi Temple -Nakon Pathom
The train stops for around 40 mins

This is where you will visit the tallest stupa in Thailand which stands at 120.5 meters and is the second tallest stupa in the world after Jetavanaramaya in Sri Lanka 

2.    The Birdge of The River Kwai  – approx. 20 mins
The train stops for approx. 20 mins

This spot became famous all over the world, when it was featured in movies and books. This is part of the railway lines in the World War II and of course built during the bloodshed era. The bridge was renovated by the government around 1946 after it was destroyed during the war, it has also been renovated and walk ways have been made for easy walks along the bridge. The curved bars on the bridge are the originals bars and the straight bars we added during the renovation.

3.    Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

The train will stop for 30mins or more, ask the driver and the people in charge how long you have.
It is known locally as the Don-Rak War Cemetery; it is the main Prisoner Of War Cemetery for victims of Japanese imprisonment while building the Railway Line by Commonwealth, Dutch and American prisoners of war. During the construction of the Railway Line, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. The graves of those who died during the construction and maintenance (except for the Americans, whose remains were repatriated) were transferred from camp burial grounds and isolated sites along the railway into three cemeteries at Chungkai and Kanchanaburi in Thailand and Thanbyuzayat in Myanmar. There are 1,896 Dutch war graves, the rest being from Britain and the Commonwealth. Two graves contain the ashes of 300 men who were cremated. The Kanchanaburi Memorial gives the names of 11 from India who are buried in Muslim cemeteries. The graves show men who died very young with one showing an 18 year old boy.

4.    Nam Tok Sai Yok Noi

Depending on what time you arrive you’ll spend about 3 hours
This is a small town in Sai Yok district, Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand, on the route of the Death Railway linking Thailand with Myanmar (former Burma). There is a waterfall located a few meters from Nam Tok Train Station. This shows an amazing nature that Thailand has. There are a lot of restaurants to have a 2 -3 hour picnic and cool off too.

 This are some of the site that you’ll get to see and enjoy without the train stopping
5.    Wampo Viaduct – Wang Po as known by the Locals

It is near Kra Sae station, the rail is supported by the plank ledges, the trail slows down crosses the creaking Wampo Viaduct. A ledge had to be carved out of the cliff face to form a base for the bridge and embankment construction. It was built in March-April 1943 and was completed within 14 months. I was renovated and reinforced after the war but still carries a lot of its 1940s originality.

Scenery of the the River Kwae Noi

Just opposite the Cemetery lies The DEATH RAILWAY MUSEUM

Here are a few tips if you decide to do the train trip:

Decide on which cart to ride – air conditioned or non-air-conditioned.
If you choose a non-air-conditioned one which is the cheapest 120baht (approx. $3.50):
1.     Bring along your shades, scarves and mask to protect yourself from the dust, hopefully you’ll arrive back in good health.
2.     Be prepared to wake up early to catch the train at the start of your journey, you can check the stations the train stops, we took the train from Bangsue at 0650hrs, I think there are 3 to 4 stations that the train stops in Bangkok, take note and the times if you don’t want to take it from the departure stations Hua Lamphong. Check out The Longest Way Home for more info.
3.     Be prepared to deal with the bugs on your way back in the evening, the best way to do is to shut the windows, work together with the people you would be sitting with
4.     Buy food at the final destination to carry along as your dinner, i.e. if you don’t mind the menu on the train which to me didn’t look appetizing, but then again you might like it, to each their own right!?
5.     The train reaches Hua Lamphong around 1930hrs; it might not always be on time though, so plan wisely.

So my pal and I rode on the non-air conditioned cart and I must say despite both of us getting sick we got the chance the experience the scenery and took a few great shots heads out from the carts, in an air-conditioned cart the windows are shut throughout the trip.

I would recommend this cart for people who are looking to get really nice shots.

Check out this BLOG for more information on the times, directions and more about this trip -à The Longest Way Home

Thank you so much for the GUIDE, The Longest Way Home highly appreciated.

Signing out
Mr Orsen
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26 November 2017

The Beginner's Guide to Teaching English Abroad for Black Africans

As a black person, especially from African, the ESL industry here in Asia can be cruel, it's a dirty game. I’ve had experiences where agencies screwed me up, some trying to offer me less pay than what other teachers got. I am an experienced ESL teacher, with 3 years’ experience teaching in classroom and 2 years online and I am half way through my BA in TESOL. To get where I am now wasn’t easy and still isn't, I still have to work extra hard to break grounds. I am from Botswana, a small country next to South Africa, colonized by the British in the late 1800s and left us their language, hence, English being our Official Language. Is my English perfect? Well, If it was, I would be an English professor somewhere with 29 books under my belt, but I am pretty sure I can read, write and speak very well.

Anyways let me get to the main point of this post, I am here to share a few tips that you as an African should consider when you want to do well or join the English teaching industry.
1.    Accent
We are ALL already stereotyped to have a very thick accent that is hard to comprehend that even Hollywood is pushing. Your accent will be the first thing that would get the employer's attention before they get to anything else, that is if ever the give you a call for an interview. A much clearer accent is preferred. Work on it, I for one is still working on that "posh" accent as it helps to pay bills.
2.    Qualification & Paperwork
Get your qualifications in check, make sure that you do have at least a bachelor’s degree, TEFL, CELTA or TESOL certificate. Your degree here is very important as it would help leverage on your 120 hours TEFL certificate that you can get in Thailand within 3 weeks and get a chance to get placed in a school and or get resources on how to go about looking for jobs. Get your police clearance from your home country as it will be required when you get your visa done along with your qualifications.
3.    Network
Expats networking is very crucial in Thailand, there is a huge network of Expats especially in the Capital City, Bangkok. Most Expats always know or are looking for people to work with or know of some openings somewhere around the city and or the country, getting in touch does improve your chances of getting a job. Moreover, it is a good community that would help you realise that home is not always where you are from but rather where you belong.
4.    Work Hard And Smart
Once you get a job, give it your all, you’ll definitely experience a lot of differences concerning the work ethics, the system, the people and all the like, but your goal here is to work, give it your all so that once you leave you’ll be remembered. Remember, you are representing the whole BLACK community that will come after you. Avoid being around the negative gangs, there will sure be people who will always complain and talk ill about the management, the system and everything around them. If you aren’t happy with your job, work on getting another one in silence. Being black, and especially from AFRICA in Thailand Working System makes it hard for one to get a job as compared to Caucasians, so you don’t want to fuck up your job opportunity and go on a struggle without a job and a visa.
5.    Racism
There will sure be some negativity towards you, being shunned down because you are black, being offered way less pay because you are black, being called names because you are black, being offered LEFTOVER jobs because you are black. At this point you have to be in control of your universe, choose whatever it is you find beneficial to you, get rid of the negativity that comes your way. I’ve gotten used to this that I don’t even feel it anymore, I choose whatever I want to affect my life, if it’s something that's not worth it I just brush it off.
6.    Jump on the Opportunity
If this is your first time in Asia as a teacher and you have no idea on how things work, you are running against time and your finances and visas aren’t helping at all, jump on the first opportunity you get and make use of it as your base ground where you will build your network, get your experience and understand the industry. Get to save money and plan your next move to your ideal job.
7.    Target the Hiring Season
The hiring seasons are from April and October respectively, I’d advise you to come in April to take you TEFL so that by May it won’t be hard for you to get a job, same goes to the following term, come in October so that by November you are able to get a job faster. If you already have your TEFL I’d advise you to come in May or November, this is the time where schools are very much in need of teachers, so they will be ready to take almost anyone to fill in the posts.
8.    Always Have your round trip Ticket
Finally, always make sure your round trip is open, why?
1.      You might need to fly back to Africa go get your VISA done, though some countries around Asia still let some Africans get their work visas, more and more are closing down on us.
2.      You can’t get a tourist visa anywhere around Asia (Except if you are SOUTH AFRICAN), so you’ll need to fly back to get it done, that is if you still want to give Thailand another try.
3.      In case it doesn’t work out and you are broke, at least you'll have your ticket to go back home, better than being stranded in an Asian country where it is already difficult for a black person

All in all, the ESL industry is a bit rough for a BLACK AFRICAN, but with hard work and perseverance you can get to where you want to be. I have been at it for the past 3 years and now I already know the ins and outs to survive and get things done.
I hope some of these tips will help you to get started in becoming an ESL teacher. I am learning each day to perfect my skills, so should you.

Mr Orsen
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25 November 2017

2 Years, 24 Months, 730 days and counting - NESRO Turns TWO

Content creation is one of the most interesting and exciting jobs in this digital era, however, it is not as easy as one might think, I have so much content that I created and not shared on my Blog because half way through it I felt it wasn’t worth sharing. It can also be exhausting at times, especially if you have other commitments. I have 2 full times jobs, a part time student, photographer and have since added sewing into my active hobbies, now do the math.
I am actually proud of myself that I still create content for my Blog, trust me, it is not a joke. Statistics show that most Blogs don’t even stay online past the first 6 months of inception, I am glad we have past that 4 times.
Today marks a very important day to me, NESRO Is 2 Years Old. 2 years ago I started this baby in a hostel somewhere in Vietnam Hanoi and we are still here up and running. I am very happy to see this child of mine grow and very excited for what I have planned for it this coming season.

Last year I during the anniversary month, gave away a few Goodies to my followers and readers, the response was amazing, check it out --> 

Above all, I am very motivated to share more of my travels stories and my professional life. I'm turning into a professional photographer next year, I'm very nervous and excited at the same time, but I'm ready for the challenge and very excited for this new season.
To everyone who has been with me on this journey THANK YOU SO SO MUCH from the bottom of my heart, couldn’t be happier.

Stay tuned and check out my social media platforms for updates.

 Mr Orsen
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13 October 2017

Travel to Thailand - Guide to get a VISA for a Motswana

Travelling is therapeutic, the joy it brings to the soul is impeccable. However, It can also be a pain­ if it is not well planned. Don’t get me wrong, spontaneous trips are great too but there is some little planning in between that little time you have to be on the move. Planning is necessary for greater adventures, know a little bit about the place you are headed to beforehand, it comes in handy to get your travel time’s worth.

On this segment, I am going to give a Motswana out there, who might be interested in holidaying in Thailand, some TIPS on how to go about acquiring and preparing all the documents needed. I have shared a lot about my Thailand experience in a couple of posts, you can have a read of some here:

Of course there are a few things that one needs to prepare before Jetting out on a vacation to Thailand. Here is a list of things that you need and how to get them.
1. Of course you need to have your PASSPORT ready as you’ll be leaving the country, it has to at least be valid for 6 months with at least 6 pages left on it to apply for a visa. Yes, citizen of Botswana do need a visa to travel to Thailand.

2. After getting your passport ready, make sure you book your RETURN FLIGHT TICKET or else you won’t be able to get the VISA or if you get it, you might not be able to enter the Kingdom. The bookings can be done with any travel agents around the country, most of them do know how things go, walk in and tell them that you need flight bookings on particular dates to get your visa done.

3. Book a place to stay, it is very important, 1. You will have to fill up a form before arrival with the address of where you are going to stay 2. You might be asked at the airport in Thailand to present your accommodation bookings. There are a few trusted sites that people book accommodation from - AirBnB, bookings.com, agoda.com Hostelworld (for budget travelers), just to mention a few.

4. Make sure you have at least 600USD, approximately BW6,000, cash in hand (carry dollars, pounds or Euro) to present at the airport, the immigration department at the airport might ask you to show some cash as proof that you'll be able to take care of yourself if ever something happens to you during your stay.

Thailand visa is not a hassle to get, especially if you are still in Botswana, the visa can be done in South Africa, there is a Thai Embassy in Pretoria, visit their website and email them to get the requirements, they are very efficient. The last time I checked the basic requirements were as follows:

1)    TWO completed and signed visa application forms. 
(Please note: A separate form is required for each passport holder, regardless of age.  The application form MUST be signed by the APPLICANT personally, unless applicant is a minor.)
2)    The applicant’s PASSPORT (which should be valid for at least SIX MONTHS from the date of application)
3)    As well as a COPY of passport
4)    Certified copy of your I.D. document (besides passport – ID card; driver’s license, etc.)
5)    2x  colour passport PHOTOS  (recently taken)
6)    Travel details document (one of the following: photocopy of return air ticket / return flight booking / return flight reservation / return flight itinerary)
7)    Bank statement, recent 3 month statement, with a balance equivalent to 20,000 Baht (approximately 7,000 Rand or $700 US) per person, or 40,000 Baht (approximately 13,500 Rand or $1,500 US) per family, PLEASE NOTE, if travelling more than 60 days, more funds must be available.
8)    Employment confirmation letter (& certified copy of ID of person who signs letter) for employment in your country of residence
Or:  Business Registration Certificate (CC, etc. if self-employed)
Or: Letter confirming you are a student / unemployed
9)    Deposit slip for visa fee 

You can actually get your visa without leaving Botswana to South Africa, DHL services are well knowledgeable with the arrangement, everyone I have recommended and helped to get visa have never complained about their services, give them a call to enquire.

Payment for visa processing; An easier and stress free option is the use of an EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) with your trusted bank. It will take at least 2 days for them to receive the money, during that time just send a copy of the EFT along with the required documents via DHL, by the time they start processing your visa the money will be in their account.
Another option is to go to the nearest South African city/town, make a cash deposit, go back to Botswana and send your stuff via DHL or visit Pretoria and do it yourself.

5. Wait for at least a week after you have submitted everything required from you through DHL, you will get a call from DHL to collect your passport when the visa is ready. Moreover, give your email more attention in case they might require something from you as they will communicate with you via it.

Where to go to in Thailand?
Depending on what you like, there are a lot of choices for travels, but I have realised that people are more into the BEACH holidays which in my opinion as a young Motswana it is WORTH it. Coming from a landlocked country a beach is to die for, it’s something we aren’t used to, unless you are the special one.

On my next segment I will share of some places to visit in Thailand.

See you next time. Leave any questions in the comment section I’ll get back to you. You slide into my DMs or inboxes on my social media platforms.


Signing out
 Mr Orsen Pepe
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7 October 2017

Hey Orsen! Where Are You? What Are You Doing?

24th September 2017 marked 3 years since I quit my job as a banker in Botswana and I’ve never been happier in life. I’ve shared about it in more detail 2 years ago when I started this blog à

I’m now back in Asia, my first ever visit was in 2007, then I  was a student in Malaysia, everything was easy as it was all handled by my sponsor, now I am on my own and it a LOT OF WORK. And of course people are asking questions on how I managed to comeback to ASIA (I wonder if those who never went home get the questions as well) Gazillion questions like:

Where are you? What are you doing there? How did you get there? How does it feel to be a minority there? What do I need to be there? Is it safe? Aren’t those people racist? Is it easy to get a job?

Questions? Questions? Questions?

Honestly, sometimes it doesn’t bother me and I don’t blame them, I would ask too. So, Finally, here I are, addressing all of them and feeding all the critics and those sneaky bastard as to where I am and of course part of what I do, come on, you can’t serve a strangers your best wines unless you have a much finer one brewing in the cellar. I swear this will always be my go to post if someone throws one of those questions, I don’t know how many times I had to answer them but today is the last time.

Towards the end of 2014, I packed my bags and flew to Thailand, see why I keep saying it’s good to be single? I had no worries about a single thing when I packed my bags besides my family of course, it wasn’t like the first time I left them I came back before, nope gake moeriko (I’m not a prodigal son).

Thailand, touched based. The first few months of course I indulged in everything that is Thailand touristy. It was during my excursions that I met expats who lived in Thailand and guess what they were doing? TEACHING

I dug deep to understand the hype, NOPE I had no desire to go back home yet.
1. I had no job to go back to 2. I had sold everything back home.
January 2015, the journey began, all of what is to become what I am now. All came at a price, being it money, sacrifices, emotional hurt, struggles, you name it, shit that a true hustler goes through, ask one, they will break it down for you.

So I enrolled into a TEFL course, YES, being an ESL teacher in Asia is like THE WAY OF THE BOSSES, quite a lucrative and easiest job to get (well, not as easy when you are a shade darker, but it’s easier than the other industries.) Imagine a Financial Risk Management Banking & Finance Graduate with 3 years’ experience in Accounting studying to become an English teacher, Hahaha Unbelievable right? Well it happened, 2 years 10 months later I am still in ASIA as both an Online and in classroom ESL teacher.

Was it easy? Definitely not!! It wasn’t and still isn’t. Being black with an African passport is never easy out of the African soil. Your worth is judged based on the shade of your skin and worse by the passport you hold, ESL employers here don’t really give a rat shit if you are qualified or not, yep that is the shit we deal with all the time.

Is it easy to get a job? I still reference to the point above, the shade of my skin, so you can do the math. One has to work EXTRA hard to get a proper job or settle and be exploited. I have had my fair share so did some of my African friends here, well there are some who really got lucky.

Is it safe? Play by the rules, don’t fuck up then you are safe. As compared to Malaysia, Hell yeah it is, I can walk to a convenient store without any fear, I got robbed more times in Malaysia than I did in Botswana and none in Thailand.

Why Am I still here? Listen, despite all the setbacks, I must say this place makes one work beyond their capabilities, there is something about the air that makes you want to do more and push yourself beyond your imagination, you go far beyond your comfort zone. There are a lot of opportunities, you just have to be VERY hungry, aggressive, resilient and smart.

I have never in my wildest dream thought I would one day be a teacher, I guess sometimes we can never run away from destiny (well, whatever it is). I feel very much free and enjoy the ride. Yes, had I known, I could have done this sooner, but nope!! I guess the timing wasn't right.

To get where I am now, my friends and family can attest that I had to go through shit, A WHOLE LOT OF SHIT it wasn't fun but I am very grateful because that has laid down a foundation of what I believe is to be great. I am very excited for the future, where am I headed next? I don’t know yet, but wherever the wind blows and it feels right I am in.

Take a chance in life that ONE CHANCE might be the GREATEST decision you've ever made in your life.

Signing out
 Mr Orsen Pepe
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About Us


A blog by an African Born and bred in Botswana, a peaceful country in the Southern part of Africa. I am somewhere wandering the continent of Asia.