Thai Life


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12th December   

Update: Excessive...

Thai Airways charge $2200 for excess baggage
Link Here

One unlucky traveler got hit with an excess-baggage charge of $2,200! So outrageous, he may as well have bought his luggage its own seats on the flight. The offending Party: Thai Airways

At the counter, Bob Wolfe was told that his four bags were each about 2 kg or 3 kg over the 32 kg limit, and that he'd have to pay a penalty. (See 50 essential travel tips.)

Wolfe was sent to a Thai Airways office where he says a number of employees discussed how much he should be charged for the bags. They argued with each other. They made phone calls. They looked generally confused, he says. More than an hour later, a verdict was rendered: Wolfe owed 66,000 Thai baht, or approximately $2,200.

Anxious to catch his plane, Wolfe reluctantly coughed up the penalty, vowing to take up the case when he returned home. After exchanging numerous letters and e-mails with representatives of the airline, Wolfe is still unsure why he was charged so much, or how the confused employees arrived at the 66,000 baht figure.

The Avenger contacted Thai Airways, and a rep provided the same letter that had been sent to Wolfe. It read, in part, Any bag or piece which exceeds 32 kilos shall be charged at three times the applicable excess-baggage charge of 5,500 baht. Huh?

After a few weeks, the airline finally provided its overweight-baggage policy in writing. The explanation was that Wolfe was charged three times the normal fee because his bags were overweight and oversize. The policy, while confusingly written, seems to say that bags over 32 kg with total dimensions of more than 80 in. would get socked with a triple penalty.

Fine, except that Wolfe insists no Thai Airways employee ever measured his bags. So the Avenger had Wolfe do it, then sent photographs to the airline of the bags next to a tape measure. The first two bags each totaled 60 in., while the second two totaled 67 in. each. All four were under the 80-in. limit, and should therefore have not been charged the triple penalty.


5th August   

Oh My Buddha!...

Export of Buddha Images from Thailand
Link Here

Buddha shop Export of Antiquities or Buddha Images from the Kingdom of Thailand

1. Buddha images, Bodhisattva images or related fragments, part of ancient monuments and prehistoric objects, are forbidden to be taken out of the Kingdom.

Newly cast Buddha images in complete condition can be exported for worship, cultural exchange or educational purposes with licenses issued by the Fine Arts Department. Not more than 5 pieces per person shall be allowed.

2. Reproductions of antiquities can also be exported with licenses.

3. Procedures to obtain a license for export of antiquities or Buddha images:

3.1 The following documents should be produced together with the application form :

(a) two copies (3x5 inches) of front view photograph of the object(s)

(b) a photocopy of the applicant's passport (in case of export of Buddha images the photocopy of passport must be certified as true copy by the related Embassy or Consulate in Thailand.)

3.2 Bring the object(s) and the documents to apply for a license at any of the following places:

(a) Office of Archaeology and National Museums, 81/1 Si Ayutthaya Road, Theves, Dusit, Bangkok, Tel: 0 2628 5032

(b) Chiang Mai National Museum, Superhighway Road, Amphoe Muang, Chiang Mai, Tel : (053) 221-308

(c) Songkhla National Museum, 13/1 Jana Road, Tambon Bohyang, Amphoe Muang, Songkhla, Tel : (074) 311-728, 311-881

(d) Thalang National Museum, Tambon Si Sunthorn, Amphoe Thalang, Phuket, Tel : (076) 311-426

3.3 Please allow 4 working days for license issuing process.


20th June   


First Aid for jellyfish stings
Link Here

jelly fishWhat should you do if you get stung by a jellyfish? Here's our cut-out-and-keep guide: pack it, or tuck it into your trunks.

There are different types of jellyfish - and also things that look like jellyfish but are different entirely (like man-of-wars) - and their stings respond to different treatment. But rather than wade back into the sea to identify the offending creature there are a few general steps you can take. Most stings will cause little more than pain and discomfort but if you are in any doubt, call for medical help.

  1. Avoid them. If you see one in the water, get out. If it's on the beach, walk around it - their tentacles can still sting.
  2. If you're stung, get out of the water and don't thrash around. A Portuguese man-of-war may wrap its tentacles around you if you start flailing.
  3. If you see tentacles on you, pick them off with a towel or the corner of a credit card. Don't rub the area. This will make the sting worse. But if you use a towel, be careful. The stinging cells - called nematocysts - might stick to it.
  4. Vinegar, applied liberally, can stop the remaining nematocysts on the skin from discharging. This is particularly important if you are in tropical water, because of the types of jellyfish found there.
  5. If vinegar is not available, rinse the area in salt water.
  6. Contrary, to popular opinion and American sitcoms (Friends), cleaning with urine or fresh water and rubbing with sand are best avoided.
  7. Put a bag of ice wrapped in a cloth on the affected area to relieve pain.
  8. If you have is any difficulty breathing, dizziness, or an allergic reaction, call for medical help immediately.


1st March   

New 2 Baht Coin...

A bit easier to spot
Link Here

new and old 2 baht coinsThe old silver 2 Baht coin is only a little larger than the very similar 1 Baht coin and is very difficult to tell apart. (Many people kindly wrote a prominent 2 in marker pen to help)

Anyway the authorities have now introduced a bronze coloured 2 Baht coin to make it a little easier to spot.


25th January   

Foreign Tourist Police Assistants...

Who are the black shirts on Walking Street?
Link Here

They're expats helping local police help tourists in Pattaya, but not all visitors are happy with their public presence on the streets

Amid the neon kitsch of Pattaya's notorious Walking Street they're hard to miss. In the real world they are journalists, businessmen and retirees from around the world. But when the sun goes down they don the military-style black uniforms of Foreign Tourist Police Assistants (FTPA) and patrol the streets with local police offering help to foreign visitors.

The job is unpaid volunteer work, and they pay for their own uniforms and equipment. Briton Howard Miller, the FTPA's group leader, tells Spectrum. 'We all love Thailand and that's why we're here, to serve the tourists.'

Police Captain Suprapan Phothiphirom from the Tourist Police station in Pattaya said the FTPA's job is to ensure the safety and security of foreign tourists and give them information and assistance.

We started the project in 1994, first with the Thai Tourist Police Volunteers, which now numbers 369, and later we added the FTPA component to it, said Capt Suprapan. Now we have about 30 assistants, which is not enough. We would like to recruit more people, particularly the ones who can speak Italian, Korean and Russian. We need also women, something very hard to find.

But the farang police , despite their good intentions, have been subject to criticism, particularly over what people see as their intimidating black uniforms, their imposing appearance and the carrying of handcuffs and batons.

Capt Suprapan said that foreigners who want to join the FTPA must come to his office with a passport and fill out an application form. Applicants with a non-immigrant visa are preferred because they can be granted a one-year extension. A tourist visa is not acceptable: We will send the information to immigration to conduct a background check. After that, we will investigate what the person has been doing in Pattaya and in Thailand. We don't check the person's history from his native country, but in some cases, we will do so with the embassy.

If accepted, we will send the new recruit to our Tourist Police mobile unit on Walking Street positioned there every night for training with our assistants. This will last about three months, which is also the probation period. If the trainee performs well then he will become an assistant and receive an identification card.

Capt Suprapan said qualified assistants carry a baton, gloves, handcuffs, a torch and a radio. He stressed that they can only assist Thai police to help subdue suspects when an arrest is made.

Thai Life  Background: Thai National Anthem An illuminating translation (Aug 2007)
 Background: The Wai To wai or not to wai...that is the question (March 2007)
 Background: Gestures Just a Matter of Interpretation (Feb 2006)
 Background: Rent Not Buy Mixed Blessings of being hitched with a Thai (Feb 2006)
 Background: Red Tape Hard lessons in expat paradise (Dec 2006)
 Background: Thai Whiskey How tax keeps Thailand tipsy (Feb 2006)
 Background: Living Up Country Stickman doesn't recommend the 'Real Thailand' life (14th Dec 2005)
 Background: The Morning After Ever woken up with LT girl only to wish you had gone ST (Nov 2005)
 Background: When Last Orders may Really be Your Last Be wary of late night violence (Aug 2005)
 Background: Use of the Word Farang ie Westerner (July 2005)
 Background: The Bangkok Hilton Life on death row (June 2005)
 Background: Opting out of the Thai Family Pension Scheme (May 2005)
 Background: Foreigner in your own House Farangs have names you know! (March 2005)
 Background: Mia Farangs Thai wives and the Thai economy (June 2004)
 Background: Why Wai? when it is better not to (Jan 2003)
 Background: Grovelling A Primer (Jan 2010)
 Background: Losing Face Stickman explains (Jan 2003)
 Background: Foreigner Prices Dual pricing (Sep 2003)
 Banking: Would you Credit it? Rules for farangs to get Thai credit cards (July 2008)
 Banking: Mortgages More on Bangkok Bank mortgages to foreigners (Aug 2005)
 Banking: Farang Friendly Banks Which banks will open a foreigner an account (July 2005)
 Books: Book Reviews About the Thai Life
 Business: Thai Time Businesses to record internet transactions using Thai Standard Time (Aug 2008)
 Buying a Bar: Renovate Your Ideas Successful Bar Ownership (March 2007) 
 Buying a Bar: Business GoGo Going Gone Why do people want get into the GoGo business (Feb 2005)
 Buying a Bar: A Bar in a Million Will people come to yours? (Nov 2005)
 Buying Property: Home Affairs Buying property in Thailand (June 2004)
 Climate: Climate Change Act now to stop Bangkok sinking, urge scientists (Feb 2010)
 Crime: Guns in Thailand Thailand near the top of the league in gun murder (Dec 2006)
  Driving: Tea Junction Identifying hot spots for illegal traffic police 'tolls' (Feb 2006)
 Environment: Tap Water is Clearly Green Whereas bottled water is clearly not green (July 2007) 
 Health Box Aware Deadly box jellyfish new to Thailand (Oct 2008)
 Health: Jellyfish First Aid for jellyfish stings (June 2009)
 Health: Cancerous Joss Sticks Beware of health hazard in Thai temples (Aug 2008) 
 Health: Don't Let your Typhoid Jabs Lapse Food hygiene is not good in Thailand ( Nov 2005)
 Health: Rabies First aid after an animal bite (May 2005)
 Law: Work Permit Law Official Memo (Jan 2007)
 Law: Sex Toys Illegal to sell in Thailand but tolerated by Customs (July 2005)
 Law: Young Adults Should Avoid Thai Holidays Drinking age is 20 ( July 2005)
 Law: Farang Volunteer Tourist Police Their role in kill joy operations (June 2005)
 Law: Divorce Thai Style essential reading by Stickman (June 2004)
 Law: Age Related sex & marriage (Sept 2003)
 Marriage: Murderous Wives Bar girl and the expat: a killing foretold (Aug 2008)
 Marriage: Farangs seek the warmth of large Thai Families: Bollox conclusion from survey (April 2008) 
 Marriage: Married to Isaan How Issan ladies meet their husband (Dec 2006)
 Marriage: Pizza vs Somtam How Thai life adapts to accommodate farang husbands (Nov 2006)
 Marriage: A Good Little Earner Farang/Thai marriages a hot in Isaan (Aug 2006)
 Marriage: The Ultimate Mother In-Law Joke Paying the bride price (March 2003)
 Motoring: Drink Drive Limits in Thailand (April 2006)
 Police Foreign Tourist Police Assistants Who are the black shirts on Walking Street? (Jan 2009)
 Politics: What's Up Down South Summary of the unrest in South Thailand (2Oct 2005)
 Politics: Who Runs Thai TV? Ex Prime Minister Thaksin, the army and Thai Rak Thai (Nov 2005)
 Tax: Tax Allowances to Raise (Aug 2006)
 Travel: Passports Last 6 Months Longer Change of immigration rules (May 2006)
 Travel: One Way Tickets and travelling to Thailand without a visa (April 2006)
 Travel: Tourist Police Overstay their Welcome Overstayers 5 day ordeal (Feb 2006)
 Travel: Surviving Homeland Customs Tips to minimise hassle on your return home (21st Dec 2005)
 Travel: Mug Shots for the Surveillance State New specification for UK passport photos (Aug 2005)
 Travel: Border Hassle Beggars Belief Beware of thieving Cambodian children (Aug 2005)
 Travel: UK Immigration are Coughing Blood Long stay UK visitors need pre-travel TB test (July 2005)
 Travel: A Customary Warning An unpleasant welcome to Thailand (Oct 2006)
 Travel Oh My Buddha! Export of Buddha Images from Thailand (Aug 2009)
 TV: Truely Bollox Work permit required to subscribe to True telephone, TV or internet (Nov 2007)
 Working: Working it Out Work Permit changes being implemented (Aug 2008)
 Working: Extending Non-Immigrant-B Visas More hoops to work in Thailand (May  2007) 
 Working: Prohibited Occupations for Farangs (Oct 2006)

Speak Thai  A Thai Primer an introduction to speaking Thai (10th August 2007)
 Months in Thai (15th May 2007)
 Not Enough Hours in the Day to Learn Thai (July 2006)
 Learn Online Suggested websites (March 2006)
 Sex & Slanging A few useful words and phrases (Jan 2006)
 Learn to Speak Thai in 1 Easy Lesson...and then ten years of summer school (Oct 2005)
 Use of the Word Farang ie Westerner (July 2005)

Pattaya Information  Diary Public holidays and special days in Pattaya
 Pattaya Hotels Reader reviews
 Pattaya Phone Book Emergency Numbers & Hospitals (Dec 2005)
 Pattaya Transport Bus, Train, Plane


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