living in the ‘Land of Smiles’

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thailand – Tit for Tat: mulls end to free visas

Via: Coconuts Bangkok

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This holiday season someone’s feeling the old bah, humbug!

To punish others collecting visa fees from its citizens, Thailand’s government will consider ending free-on-arrival visas for people from 17 nations.

The Immigration Bureau has formally requested the Foreign Ministry end the longstanding practice which provided free visas for arriving Australians, Britons, Americans, Germans, French, Swedes, Canadians, Dutch, Italians, Swiss, Danes, Finns, Norwegians, Israelis, Emiratis, Spaniards and Kiwis.

Why? Thai immigration officials complain it’s unfair those nations require Thais to pay visa fees, and believe the kingdom should reciprocate in kind.

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Another reason to charge visa fees is the familiar “quality travelers” (yeah, like the Russians and Chinese – brilliant) argument.

Fees would filter out criminals and cons seeking to conduct their nefarious deeds from Thai soil, according to immigration commissioner Lt. Gen. Panu Kerdlarpphol.

Panu suggested two possible structures: A flat, THB1,000 ($30.33 USD) fee, or better yet, charge them the same as their government’s fees, which range from THB750 to THB3,900.

http://bangkok.coconuts.co/2013/12/23/tit-tat-thailand-mulls-end-free-visas

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Related story:

“Teflon Thailand” is starting to lose tourists to its political chaos

It took a while, but Thailand’s political troubles are finally taking a bite out of its giant tourism sector, which along with the broader economy has been largely immune to the country’s periodic bouts of unrest.

A million tourists—400,000 international and 600,000 domestic—have stayed home while the country has been wracked by massive street protests over the past several weeks, which coincided with the peak year-end tourism season.

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Read more, HERE:

http://qz.com/156316/teflon-thailand-is-starting-to-lose-tourists-to-its-political-chaos/#156316/teflon-thailand-is-starting-to-lose-tourists-to-its-political-chaos/

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December 27, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thailand – Young epidemic victim [open cremation], circa 1900

Via: Teak Door

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See more historic photos of Siam/Thailand, HERE:

http://teakdoor.com/famous-threads/39970-siam-thailand-bangkok-old-photo-thread.html

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December 27, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Phuket – Drunk Ukrainian urinates off bridge, falls asleep, then tumbles down ditch

Via: Phuket News

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Police said locals saw Victor Zkmieziv, 32, urinating on Sapan Pak Lak bridge on Nanai Road in Patong around 4.20am yesterday (December 24). Locals said they saw him fall asleep, after which he tumbled down the steep ditch under the bridge, falling around 3 metres, and hitting his head.

They managed to bring him up to the road and called emergency services, and he was taken to Patong Hospital for treatment.

http://www.thephuketnews.com/drunk-ukrainian-in-phuket-urinates-off-bridge-falls-asleep-then-tumbles-down-ditch-43650.php#sthash.1w4M4lgD.o6MAP5Hx.dpuf

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In order to reduce unpaid medical/hospital costs, possibly Thai immigration could start giving out ‘Ukranian Crash Helmets’ to arriving passengers.

Hey, jus’ an idea.

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December 25, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pattaya – Maltese Man Beaten Up By 7 Motorbike Taxi Riders

Via: Pattaya Mail

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At 4.00 a.m. Mr. Michael Cassar, aged 48, Maltese nationality, went to notify with Pol. Lt. Col. Phattharasa Dechpharkkul (Investigation officer of Pattaya city police station, Chonburi province) with a contused and swollen face and his head was bleeding . He told the police that he was assaulted by a group of motorbike taxi riders who used STEEL PIPES, BEER BOTTLES, CHAIRS and PIECES of WOOD to beat him.

The incident occurred at the entrance to Soi 4, second road Pattaya.

From questioning Ms. Mai Suwannahong, aged 26, who is the wife of the Maltese victim, said that she and Mr. Michael Cassar (her husband) went to withdraw money from an ATM machine at the beginning of Soi 4 but the ATM machine seized the ATM card and they could not get any money so her husband got angry and attacked the ATM machine in order to get the ATM card back. The nearby motorbike taxi riders 7 in total then came over and assaulted him until he was severely injured.

After initial investigation then the police recorded the incident evidence and let him go to the hospital. The police will inspect the CCTV at the incident point again in order to identify the group of taxi riders in order to issue them with a court summons.

http://www.pattayadailynews.com/en/2013/12/23/maltese-man-beaten-up-by-7-motorbike-taxi-riders/

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December 24, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Chiang Mai – 700 Illnesses – More Provinces Declared Cold Disaster Zones

Via: City News – Chiang Mai

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We reported on Friday 21st December that parts of Chiang Mai province were declared cold-spell disaster zones, with temperatures dropping to below 5°C (below 23F) and residents struggling to cope with the weather. As of Monday, 23rd December, 10 provinces in Northern Thailand have been declared disaster zones, and will now be attended to by relief operations.

The 10 provinces are Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Loei, Tak, Nan, Phrae, Uttaradit, Sakhon Nakhon, Nong Bua Lam Phu, and Nakhon Phanom.

In Chiang Mai alone, nearly 700 individuals have reported illnesses related to the cold weather, which Chiang Mai residents are neither accustomed nor prepared for. The sudden drop in temperature has led many people to be vulnerable to influenza and pneumonia, especially young children and the elderly.

It is believe that Chiang Mai plans to provide at least 400,000 free blankets and warm clothing to the public, with cabinet members meeting to discuss plummeting temperatures in the North, and how many poorer people in the smaller towns lack suitable clothes and blankets.

In Phrae, the government has given out 10,000 blankets to the public, as well as donating winter clothes that are not commonplace in shops or malls. In Chiang Rai, the temperature has been reported to have dropped to a low of -1.4°C.

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IMPOTANT POINT: Although temperatures below 10°C might not seem newsworthy to some, Thai people are used to living in warm, humid weather most of the year, and most markets, shops, and malls do not provide affordable winter clothes. Almost no houses have fireplaces or heating, and as many Thais drive by scooter or motorbike, they are even more exposed to potentially lethal winds.

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The cold weather is expected to continue until New Year’s Day on the 1stof January.

http://www.chiangmaicitynews.com/news.php?id=2887

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December 23, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thailand – 1944 Sakon Nakhon

Via: Teak Door

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Nearly 70-years later, it’s STILL, the ‘Land of Smiles’!

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See more vintage photos of Siam/Thailand, HERE:

http://teakdoor.com/famous-threads/39970-siam-thailand-bangkok-old-photo-thread.html

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December 22, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Beginning 01- Jan-2014 / Thailand to change from left to right hand driving

Via: Thai Visa

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Beginning Jauary 1, 2014, TRAFFIC will be DRIVING on the LEFT SIDE instead of the RIGHT SIDE of the ROAD, the department of public roads has announced.

According to Tongchai Matchamonton, spokesman for the department, the change is being proposed to better prepare for ASEAN community and meant to strengthen the economy. “Most of the ASEAN member states already drive on the left hand side and with more open trade between the countries this will make transports and logistics more easy, especially with the neighboring countries Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia”.

Also important is that China drives on the right and the change will make transport to and from the greater Mekong region easier. This is an important step forwards for our economy. Already Thailand is planning its rail transport to have the same rail gauge as neighboring countries. Driving on the same side of the road is only the next logical step in order for Thailand to become a transport hub for Asia.”

The spokesman expects that the change would be without major problems or accidents. (See photo)

It is also hoped that the change will increase the safety of tourist, as most tourist are used to drive on the left. The department confirmed that many accidents with tourists happen because they go out and drink too much. When they get on their motorcycle they cause accidents because they drive on the wrong side of the road out of habit. This is being confirmed by Phuket police.

The government will demand that car manufacturers only sell new cars with the steering wheel on the left and is busy with consulting the major car manufacturers. It already agreed with the Chinese car manufactures’ that their new to open plant in Thailand will only produce cars for driving on the left.

Per 1 January 2020 all cars in Thailand, including old cars, must be refitted. However busses, trucks and taxis will be exempted as they are driven by professional drivers who can handle their vehicle safely.

The spokesmen further announced that the government is negotiating with car manufacturers in Thailand to set a fair price for refitting cars, so consumers will not pay too much to adjust their car. Under the plan owners of a car not older than 5 year will get half of the price for refitting back from the government through their personal income tax, so they don’t have to spend too much money.

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Thai Visa (01-April-2013)

http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/630001-thailand-to-change-from-left-to-right-hand-driving

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December 19, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Pattaya – Lady Boy Drugs Elderly New Zealander

Via: Pattaya Daily News

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At 2.00 a.m. Mr. Bernard John Griffiths, aged 65,a New Zealander,, went to notify Pol. Capt. Phitak Nernsaeng (Investigation officer of Pattaya city police station, Chonburi province) that on the 15th of December 2013 at 9.00 p.m. he was drugged by the Pattaya ladayboy that he met in Walking Street and had property totalling more than 300,000 THB  ($9,375 USD) which consisted of 1 VISA card, 1 diamond ring with a value of 8,000 dollars, 1 gold necklace with a value of 3,000 dollars and about 10,200 THB.

Mr. Bernard John Griffiths (the victim) said that he was walking down Walking Street then he met a lady boy that persuaded him to drink liquor at a bar which he claimed that it was his own bar so he went to the bar with him but he could not remember the bar’s name.

He drank 1 bottle of beer and when he went to pay his bill he realised he didn’t have any cash so he went to the ATM machine and the lady boy went with him but due to there only being instructions in Thai language the lady boy assisted him in withdrawing money as he told the lady boy his password.

The lady boy then withdrew 10,000 THB to pay the bar bill. Later the lady boy took him to lucifer bar and they drank 1 bottle of beer and ordered 1 more bottle which at that time he noticed that the lady boy had picked up the beer bottle to shake so he asked him what he was doing then he replied that “Nothing at all, I’m cleaning it for you” and after he drank the beer he then passed out (got unconscious) for approximately 15 minutes in lucifer bar and when he woke up he found that the lady boy had disappeared.

He then checked his belongings and realised that he had been robbed by the lady boy. He told police that he thinks he was drugged with a hypnotic drug which the lady boy had placed in his drink. He then went to notify the police to arrest the lady boy.

After initial investigation then the police made record for evidence and coordinated with the detective police team to rush to arrest the lady boy and prosecute him further according to Thai law.

http://www.pattayadailynews.com/en/2013/12/17/lady-boy-drugs-elderly-new-zealander/

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December 17, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thailand – Angry AUSTRALIAN Sets 3 Motorbikes On Fire

Via: Pattaya Daily News

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At 12.45 p.m. Pol. Capt. Banjerd Krajangsaeng (Investigation officer of Koh Chang police station, Trad province) was notified that there was a crazed foreign tourist (aren’t we all?) walking around carrying a knife waving it at other tourists in front of Chai Car Rental shop, Baan Kai Bae, Moo 4 Tambon Koh Chang, Amphur Koh Chang, Trad province, so he rushed to inspect with the police team together with Pol. Col. Phaithoon Sawaengsak (Deputy Superintendent, acted for the superintendent of Koh Chang police station), Pol. Lt. Chawin Matthayamanan (Inspector of Koh Chang police station), the volunteers of Boon Chuay Luea Rescue Association of Trad province and some tourism police.

At the incident the officers found a crazed foreign tourist who was carrying a fruit knife approximately 8 inches in length in his left hand and a hammer in his right hand. He was walking around waving the knife and the hammer on the road amongst the tourists who were running away chaotically. The crazed man was bleeding from his head. The police tried to talk with him for more than 1 hour in order to calm him down and to put the weapon on the ground but they failed, therefore the police decided to charge him until they could detain him finally.

From investigating Mr. Narong Borploy, aged 55, who is the person who owns the rental motorbike, said that this foreign tourist was a Mr. Kent Wesley Farrar, aged 47, Australian nationality, that he had rented a motorbike for over 1 week and had returned it today but when he arrived at the shop he complained that the motorbike consumed too much petrol so Mr. Narong explained that if he wanted to continue renting, he could change the motorbike for him but Mr. Kent asked for some rental fee back so they quarrelled and ended up fighting which ended up in the foreign tourist sustaining a wound to head. He then poured benzine on the motorbike and set fire to it causing fire damage to 2 other motorbikes. The initial approximated damage was around 100,000 THB ($3,125 USD).

Initially, the police charged Mr. Kent Wesley Farrar with the allegation of intending to commit arson to other people ‘s property and sent him to be prosecuted further according to the Thai law.

http://www.pattayadailynews.com/en/2013/12/15/angry-australian-sets-3-motorbikes-on-fire/

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December 16, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Phuket – Bad-mouth Brit beggar gets rough Phuket lesson

Via: The Phuket News

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Kathu police received a report that a a tourist had been knocked unconscious on Patong’s Street Where Anything Goes.
When they arrived they found Aziz Javaid, 29, lying on the ground, out for the count, with cuts on his head and the beginnings of a black eye.

Witnesses told police that Mr Javaid was walking around demanding money from other tourists and being thoroughly rude to anyone who would not hand over some cash. Unluckily for him, the witnesses said, one of his targets took exception to this abuse and knocked him to the ground.

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http://www.thephuketnews.com/bad-mouth-brit-beggar-gets-rough-phuket-lesson-43439.php#sthash.AMULjT7z.dpuf

HAPPY HOLIDAY!

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December 15, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 2 Comments