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Everything posted by CrazyExpat

  1. Weeks of running in a charity marathon by Thailand’s rock-star, Toon Bodyslam, has officially concluded in Mae Sai District of Chiang Rai Province. At the end of the cross-country marathon, donations totaled 1.16 billion baht as Artiwara 'Toon Bodyslam' Kongmalai reached his destination at the Thailand-Myanmar border checkpoint in Mae Sai District. The amount collected means all 11 hospitals chosen to be the recipients of the donated funds will each receive over 100 million baht. Members of the public are also advised that donations to the fund are still possible until the end of January 2018.
  2. I love Vitamix and for years I had my USA 110 watt Vitamix for use in Thailand. However, it required that I use a converter that was about 20 pounds and taking that from place to place is a pain in the butt. So, I finally gave in and decided to buy a 220-240 Vitamix. There are some stores around Bangkok that have these machines. However, the best place to buy a Vitamix in Thailand is Bon Cafe. They have a selection of not only coffee machines but also the full supply of Vitamix machines. I had wanted the Prep 3 Vitamix and they often have sales. Vitamix is not cheap in Thailand. Mine cost 30,000 baht. But, overall, I am thrilled with the purchase. It is high powered and blends anything. It is also easy to clean up. If you are looking for a Vitamix in Thailand, Bon Cafe is a great place to start!
  3. The construction of the first section of the Thailand-China railway line officially began on Thursday with a ground-breaking ceremony in the northeastern Thai province of Nakhon Ratchasima. The 253-km first phase of the railway links Bangkok with Nakhon Ratchasima province. China is responsible for design of the railway, supervision of construction and manufacturing of trains and signal systems, among others. Once completed, the railway with a maximum speed of 250 km per hour will be the first high-speed railway in Thailand. For the full story:
  4. Thailand's parliament on Tuesday named Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn as the new king, completing a formal step for the heir to take the throne following the death of his father last month. The Cabinet, following a 1924 law on succession, submitted Vajiralongkorn's name to the National Assembly after a brief meeting, where members formally acknowledged him as the new monarch. "I would like everyone to stand up and give their blessings to the new king," said National Assembly president Pornpetch Wichitcholchai. His statement was followed by a cheer of "Long live the king" by all assembly members. Pornpetch said he would invite Vajiralongkorn to take the throne, the 10th in the Chakri dynasty, which was founded in 1782. He did not say when Vajiralongkorn would formally accept, but Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan told reporters earlier that the royal audience would be in the next few days. Vajiralongkorn was originally supposed to assume the throne the day his father died, but in a surprise announcement, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said the prince asked for the ascension to be put off so he had time to mourn.
  5. According to Khaosod English, the Thai government has approved 10 year visas for foreigners. Affluent foreign residents over 50 will soon be able to apply for 10-year visas, a government spokesman said Tuesday. Intended to promote Thailand as a hub for medical services, the policy was approved by the interim cabinet on Tuesday, according to spokesman Athisit Chainuwat. It would replace one-year renewable visas and come in two installments of five years each, Athisit said. It was not immediately clear when the plan would be implemented. Applicants must either earn a monthly salary of at least 100,000 baht or have more than 3 million baht in their bank account, which cannot be withdrawn within the first year after receiving the visa. They must also have health insurance that covers hospital stays and provides at least USD$10,000 in annual coverage.
  6. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to advise the following during this time of sadness for the Thai people: Most mourners in the country will be dressed in black or white clothing as a display of the reverence to our Beloved King and as part of Thai culture, but this is not mandatory, especially for visitors. Tourists should kindly wear appropriate and respectable attire in public. Visitors should refrain from conducting any inappropriate or disrespectful behavior. The Government has asked for the cooperation from entertainment venues to refrain from conducting any boisterous performances. Most of the traditional, religious and cultural events including MICE and weddings will be taking place as usual, although the celebrations may be changed for appropriateness as a mark of respect, or the events may be dedicated to the memory of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Meetings, receptions, and other related occasions that are held in indoor premises can be held as usual. Tourist attractions will be open as usual with the exception of Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) and the Grand Palace, as they will be the venue of the Royal Funeral Rites. All transport, banks, shopping areas, hospitals and other public services will be operating as usual. We would like to recommend that any visitors with travel or tourism plans reconfirm with agents and check local media regularly as well as follow the advice of the local authorities for announcements and updates. Many people will be travelling from the provinces to Bangkok during the mourning period to pay their respects to the King. This may cause some congestion in certain parts of the city as well as to commuters. Visitors planning travel and trips should stay updated via the local media about road closures or delays. Due to the commuting of the people during this time, the safety and security measures for all Thais and visitors is a major priority of the related authorities. For any enquiries, please contact our TAT domestic and overseas offices or the TAT Call Centre Tel.: 1672.
  7. "The government will proceed with the succession. The government will inform the National Legislative Assembly that His Majesty the King appointed his heir on Dec 28, 1972," Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said in a statement broadcast on all television channels. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn was appointed the Crown Prince.
  8. The entire country mourns the passing of His Majesty the King.
  9. The normally quite and peaceful country of Thailand had 11 bombs go on in the past 24 hours. As of this post, there are 4 dead and over 30 injured. The US Embassy has issued a travel advisory for the country. This is an update to the Security Message sent to U.S. citizens on the morning of August 12, 2016. Since late on August 11, multiple bombing incidents have occurred in parts of Thailand, including in Hua Hin, Phang Nga, Trang, Surat Thani, and Phuket. The latest incident occurred at approximately 10:30 a.m. today, August 12. Thai local law enforcement and media are reporting at least four deaths and 37 injuries. No U.S. citizens have been identified among the victims. Royal Thai Police have indicated that the immediate areas near the incidents will remain closed for investigation. Law enforcement presence throughout Thailand is expected to be enhanced until further notice. U.S. citizens should avoid affected areas; remain aware of surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance, take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security, and follow instructions of local authorities. We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Thailand enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at www.Travel.State.Gov. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Thailand. For additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” on the State Department’s website. Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips. The American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy is located at 95 Wireless Road in Bangkok, and can be reached by calling +66-2-205-4049, or by e-mailing The Embassy’s after-hours emergency telephone number is +66-2-205-4000. You can also follow us on Twitter @acsbkk. The U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai is located at 387 Wichayanond Road in Chiang Mai. The American Citizen Services Unit of the Consulate General can be reached by calling +66-53-107-777 and by e-mail at The after-hours emergency telephone number is +66-81-881-1878.
  10. Wanting to get a BTS card that would last a while, I bought the Rabbit Card. It is a refillable card that you can put baht on and use that for future rides. The card costs 80 baht and you have to put 100 baht on the card the first time. So, the total for the first trip is 180 baht. After that, you can just go into the BTS office and add more money. I found this much easier than just getting a different card each time. To use the card, instead of inserting it into the turnkey, you just put it on top and it reads it. When you exit, you do the same. It is that easy!
  11. Thailand's infamous sex industry is under fire, with the tourism minister pushing to rid the country of its ubiquitous brothels and a spate of police raids in recent weeks on some of the largest establishments providing sex services in Bangkok. Those who work in the industry say curbs on commercial sex services would hurt a flagging economy that has struggled to recover after political turmoil took the country to the brink of recession in 2014. Thailand is predominantly Buddhist and deeply conservative, but is home to an extensive sex industry, largely catering to Thai men. Hordes of tourists also flock to the bright lights of go-go bars and massage parlours in Bangkok and main tourist towns. Thailand's beaches and temples have been the poster child for Asian tourism for decades and the country expects a record number of arrivals in 2016. Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul played down the role of the sex industry in drawing visitors.
  12. Somsak Sreesomsong was 18 when he was jailed for selling illegal drugs. Now, turning 30, he is not yet half way through his 33-year sentence at Bangkok’s high-security Klong Prem prison. Somsak was “just a kid, not a big-time dealer”, his older brother Panit told Reuters after a visit to the jail. “We’re also serving time, waiting for him to get out so he can help the family.” More than a decade after Thailand declared a “war on drugs”, the country is admitting defeat. As the prison population soars, Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya told Reuters he was looking at changes to the country’s draconian drug laws. “I want to de-classify methamphetamine but Thailand is not ready yet,” said Paiboon, meaning downgrading the drug, popularly known as “meth”, from a Category 1 substance, which would reduce jail time for possession or dealing. Use of methamphetamine is spiralling across Southeast Asia, and authorities are struggling to respond.
  13. The new draft constitution has been written and distributed and it gives the military ultimate power in the country. While the Thaskin supporters still hold the majority of votes, the military will not let go of the ability to control the elections and the power base of the country. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in August.
  14. Chin Chinawut, famous singer and actor, cried on national television yesterday after he was drawn to serve in the military for two years. After being exempt for six years, the 27-year-old superstar was surprised with a military duty call yesterday after his exemption plea was rejected, causing Chin to abruptly withdraw from two upcoming television dramas and a movie. Chin has been exempt due to an injury from a bicycle accident nine years ago which left his wrist broken. The actor still has a metal plate in his arm. However, yesterday, the military decided Chin was healthy and eligible to serve in the military. Since he failed to attend his mandatory conscription two years ago, Chin was automatically recruited without getting a chance to draw a card. Photo Morning News! Article: Coconuts Bangkok full article
  15. A Thai gardener behind a $20 million gem heist from a Saudi palace that has long soured relations between the two countries became a monk Thursday in hope of redeeming his karma. Kriangkrai Techamong stole the precious gems from the palace of a Saudi prince where he worked in 1989, triggering a feud between Thailand and Saudi Arabia dubbed the "Blue Diamond Affair" that has yet to be resolved. Thai police later returned some of the jewels but Saudi officials claimed most were counterfeits while the whereabouts of the most precious gem -- a rare 50-carat blue diamond -- remains unknown. Today, Kriangkrai told local media his life has been haunted by the theft that unleashed an "avalanche" of suffering on his family. "I am confident that all my misfortunes are the result of a curse from the (blue) Saudi diamond I stole, so I've decided to enter the monkhood for the rest of my life to redeem my bad karma," he told Thai Rath newspaper.
  16. Time Magazine had a good article today on the Thai Generals wanting to reserve their seats in the future Senate. With the upper chamber being appointed and including these Generals, it does not see like the new Constitution truly has a democratic tone.
  17. The quality of Thailand's education remains unsatisfactory, Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong admits. Speaking at the presentation of the government's one-year achievements Wednesday, ACM Prajin said the standard of education remains low, as reflected by the 46th ranking worldwide which it received from the World Economic Forum (WEF). Thailand's university education was also ranked 8th among the 10 Asean member countries, added ACM Prajin.
  18. A Thai court sentenced two Myanmar migrant workers to death on Thursday after convicting them of the 2014 murders of two British tourists on a holiday island in a case mired in controversy and a dispute over DNA samples. The battered bodies of backpackers Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were found on a beach on the island of Koh Tao in September 2014. Police said Witheridge had been raped and bludgeoned to death. Miller also suffered blows to his head. Following weeks of pressure to solve the case, police arrested Myanmar migrant workers Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun and later said the two had confessed to the crimes. The brutality of the murders dented Thailand's image as a happy-go-lucky holiday paradise and raised serious questions about its treatment of migrant workers. The verdict and sentence follow an investigation and trial that triggered allegations of police incompetence, mishandling of evidence and DNA tests and torture of the suspects. Both later retracted their confessions saying they had been made under duress.
  19. Thai authorities have ordered schools to carry out urgent background checks on the country's foreign teachers after Australian convicted paedophile Peter Dundas Walbran was discovered teaching children in north-eastern Thailand. Education officials admit that some foreigners applying for teaching jobs falsify their credentials and many schools fail to carry out proper background checks on applicants. A Fairfax Media Australia report revealed last week that a simple Google search would have found that 59-year-old Walbran raped and sexually molested children as young as eight on the Indonesian island of Lombok over a nine-year period. The Sydney man turned up teaching at Narinukun international school in Ubon Ratchathani, 630km from Bangkok, in April.
  20. Since it seized power in a military coup in 2014, Thailand’s military junta, led by Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, has become increasingly obsessed with controlling public debate. This reached absurd proportions on Wednesday, when the Thai police announced they were investigating United States Ambassador Glyn Davies for possible violation of the country’s lèse-majesté laws that make royal insult a crime. The investigation focuses on remarks Mr. Davies made last month reiterating the United States’ concern about efforts by the junta to curb free speech, specifically the “lengthy and unprecedented prison sentences” given to civilians by Thai military courts for violating the same lèse-majesté laws. The government should know that its decision to investigate Mr. Davies only confirms the truth of what he said. And there is no way his well-founded criticism of the draconian efforts to curb freedom of expression can be construed as insulting to King Bhumibol Adulyadej. In fact, Mr. Davies praised the king in his remarks. But the king is 88 and ailing, and the junta appears intent on maintaining an iron grip at least until after a royal succession. The junta has come down hard on critics. Media outlets have been raided and journalists, along with academics and politicians, have been sent to camps for “attitude adjustment.” Some of those arrested have disappeared. People have been sentenced to decades in prison for Facebook posts, and the military apparently has plans to reduce Internet traffic to a single gateway it can control.
  21. The students at MIS Year 5 are all around 10 and 11 years old. While there are many students from around the world, what these children have in common is being immersed in the English language during instruction time at this Pattaya international school. Since literacy is comprised of the four elements of reading, writing, listening and speaking, I’ve found that the use of drama in the classroom helps children become successful in all four areas. In particular, in those whose second language is English, confidence, fluency and good times are the natural by-products of drama and theatre in class. Although play script creation began in the earlier years, many of the students in Year 5 are becoming more acquainted with acting, its strategies, and the use of emotion and humor, through acting this year. Just recently, the After-school Drama Club staged several performances of “Little Rabbit Foo Foo” for Year 5 and other classes. The children were very proud of their work and pulled together all the different stage aspects of memorization, use of voice, stage directions, editing scripts, and costume and prop creation.
  22. The New York Times Company stated today that they will end the printing of the International New York Times in Thailand. Much speculation has been given to this decision but most think this has to do with the clamp on freedom of speech (or lack thereof) in Thailand after the coup last year.
  23. A story by Dumrongkiat Mala in today’s Bangkok Post reports that the Education Ministry plans in March to kick off its first six-week “train-the-trainer” program me for 500 Thai teachers to teach English in state-run schools. Deputy Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin, who oversees the program, said Tuesday the teachers will be trained by 50 British Council English specialists. “The 500 teachers will live in what we call an immersive environment for six weeks, speaking only English. I was one of about 100 Peace Corps volunteers who did our Thai-language training in Hilo on the big island of Hawaii. We had twenty Thai teachers and for about two months we had five hours of classes a day, with a different teacher for each class.
  24. Thailand will be launching a new six-month multiple-entry tourist visa (METV) on November 13. “The visa, costing Rs 10,000 (5,000 baht) will grant travelers multiple entries during a 6-month period, for up to 60 days per entry. All foreign nationals are eligible to apply for METV,” said a release issued by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) on Thursday. There has been speculation about the METV since August this year with travelers and travel trade in India excited about the prospective added convenience. Soraya Homchuen, director, TAT Mumbai office said: “I expect that frequent travelers from India as well as Indian travel agents, will be very happy with the news of the METV. Of late, Thailand has gained popularity for weekend getaways, especially on long weekends, in addition to already being India’s favorite for family vacations and annual holidays. I am certain that the convenience of already having a visa in-hand will encourage more impromptu trips to Thailand.” Under the current rules, tourist visas are valid for just 60 days, after which visitors must leave the country or apply to a local immigration office for an extension. The new visa will allow visitors to enter and leave the country as often as they want over the six-month period; provide they leave the country every 60 days.