Archive for January, 2012

 This Is Where We ‘Always’ Go For Lunch In Pakchong (Pak Chong) – Plus Buying A Lathe In Thailand

Pah Pai has been running the wonderful restaurant in Pakchong (Pak Chong) for around 30 years.

I always look forward to having lunch in Pakchong (Pak Chong) at Pah Pai’s restaurant.

It has a lovely garden and plenty of shade from the sun.

This is a sign advertising her restaurant in Pakchong (Pak Chong):-

Image of Sign Advertising Pa Pai's Restaurant In Pakchong (Pak Chong)

Sign Advertising Pa Pai's Restaurant In Pakchong (Pak Chong)

Here is a photo of  Pah Pai herself in the restaurant garden:-

Image of Photo Of Pah Pai Herself In The Restaurant Garden

Photo Of Pah Pai Herself In The Restaurant Garden

Watch this short video to see how lovely the garden restaurant is:-

Pah Pai’s speciality is Larp Phet – is a north eastern food and Phet means Duck.

Pah also does a lovely Yum Pla Muk (squid salad) and of course the usual range of Thai yams and curries.

Image of Yum Pla Muk (Squid Salad)

Yum Pla Muk (Squid Salad) At Pah Pai's Restaurant

A lunch for Kanyah and myself with about three dishes plus rice and two large bottles of Heineken costs around 500 Baht.

Buying A Lathe In Bangkok For My Model Engineering Workshop

When I retire to Thailand I intend to be making model steam engines and other kinds of models.

To do this you need a model engineering workshop which must contain a steel workbench and a lathe.

A milling and drilling machine are also important, and my lathe incorporates both of those machine tools – saving me a lot of money.

On the Model Engineers Workshop In Thailand – Buying A Lathe page I show you how I bought a lathe from a lathe shop in Bangkok. Also there is a story about using the Garmin nüvi® 2565 Sat Nav to find the lathe shop in Bangkok.

As to the steel workbench, you can see that on the Model Engineers Workshop In Thailand – Steel Bench page.



As I Struggle Here Back In The U.K. To Catch Up With My Work, Projects, And Try To Get Back To Normal Living – Retiring In Thailand Is Becoming A Bit Of A Strain!

I’ve been back in the U.K. a week now since my Christmas trip to Pakchong (Pak Chong) where our Thai retirement house is and I’m feeling under a lost of strain and pressure.

Far away is the idea of retiring in Thailand right now.

And yet a lot of this pressure is because I am planning to retire to Thailand that I am creating too many jobs and too much pressure for myself.

Trying To Catch Up, Trying To Stand Still, Trying Just To Get Some Piece Of Mind

  • Make all the posts on the RetiringInThailand website using the photos and movies of my last trip
  • Reply to and approve all the comments made on the website by dozens of readers
  • Catch up with work at my day-job
  • Catch up with my other two projects one having a deadline coming up in a few weeks and I have a stack of work to do
  • Prepare and pay the VAT for the last quater for my own limited company
  • Chase up a load of stuff I ordered last year by mail order (for model engineering) and which hasn’t arrived
  •  A major project related to my car
  • Buy air tickets for my next trip to Thailand at Easter
  • Buy tools and a model kit to take to Thailand on my next ‘retiring in Thailand’ trip to our retirment hosue in Pakchong (Pak Chong)
  • Tryto finish my model steam engine I’m building in my model engineering worshop in Nottingham.
  • Work on the design of my next model engine (a steam traction engine) to be built in the U.K.
  • Try to suport Kanyah in Thailand as she suffers the loss of the thai landscape gardener, lives on her own and tries to combat loneliness and bordom
  • Ponder on how to keep kanyah happy and occupied when she comes here in the summer and I’m still working 12 – 14 houras a day…

The list goes on and on and on… and all this while I’m working away from home in London during the week only travelling back to my home in Nottinghma at week ends.

Why Am I telling You All This?

  1. So that you can understand why I am slow respond to your comments posted on the RetiringInThailand website and to answer questions, and slow to post the photos and videos from my last thailand trip
  2. So that you’ll understand that retirning to (for me) Thailand is not at all a straighforward thing like jumping on a plane and lying in the sun for the rest of your life
  3. It may be theraputic for me to get all this stuff off my chest and written down – may take some of the pressure off me

One New Page Posted “Setting Up A Model Engineering Workshop In Thailand – Making A Steel Work Bench”

This exercise (plus buying the lathe) sounds trivial but for me it was a major test of my resolve to retire to Thailand. To see whether I am ready to make the commitment or not.

On retring to Thailand my plan is to spend a lost of time in my model engineering workshop making steam models. So, in order to do that i need to invest time, money and effort into buying the tools I need for the workshop and setting it up.

I could have easily spent the last two weeks in Thailand ‘on holiday’ – going out and around or doing not much at all. But instead I had to prove that I could start setting this model engineering workshop up in Thailand ready for my retirement.

This is not an easy thing to do in a country where ‘model engineering’ isn’t heard of and there aren’t many places you can buy the tools and materials.

Plus there is the inertia and the need to motivate Kanyah to help me go out and seek out what I need. And to fight Kanyah’s critisism of me spending a lot of money on ‘silly tools and steel’.  A lot of determination and courage was brought to bear.

Anyway the Making a Steel Work Bench in Thailand  project is finished now and the story is online.

Buying and installing a lathe in Thailand is another project that I completed but the web page is not complete yet.

That’s my rant for today – got to get back to that huge to-do list I made above.

After Our Thai Landscape Gardener Asked For An Extra 30,000 Baht I Asked Kanyah To Terminate The Contract!

Rip-Off Thai Gardener Suspected Of Being In Cahoots With Our Neighbour Over Extortinate Commisssions

Kanyah phoned me this morning to tell me that the day before yesterday our Thai landscape gardener had arrived on site at our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, with 3 labourers and cleared the garden areas of vegetation, builder’s waste and other rubbish ready to comence the garden landscaping.

She told me the labour cost 220 baht/day which is line with what some people have mentioned in comments on the previous post “Gardening Contract For Our Retirement House In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand“.

Kanyah told me how clean the garden areas looked now and promised to send me some photos so that I can post them up here on the RetiringInThailand website.

She also told me that the gardener had asked her for another 30,000 Baht on top of the 120,000 Baht we had already agreed for the landscaping of our Thai garden as detailed on the “Gardening Contract Post.

She explained that she had been angry with the gardener and was yelling at him asking why he was asking for more money now and why didn’t he ask for 130,000 Baht when her husband (myself) was there (in Pakchong) and when the contract was negotiated and agreed?

“We didn’t tell you the price was 120,000 Baht” she told him. “That was your price, not ours. If you wanted 130,000 Baht why didn’t you ask for it” she told him.

She asked me what I wanted to do. To go along with the 130,000 Baht or to cancel the contract?

Well, no doubt you won’t be surprised that I firmly asked Kanyah to cancel the contract.

Kanyah agreed with me 100% and said she was suspicious of our neighbour Noi trying to sqeeze more money out of us through the gardener.

Update As The Gardener Returns And Is Promptly Sent Packing

Literally just a few minutes ago – about an hour after Kanyah’s first telephone call this morning – she called me again the say that the Thai landscape gardener had returned and she told him that the contract was terminated and told him to leave.

She also said that when she made the first telephone call to me this morning the neighbour’s wife Tim had been standing in our doorway, listenening. Kanyah suspects she was spying for Noi.

Seems Like What People Have Said Is true

After I made the the “Gardening Contract Post several people emailed me or posted a comment on the website to say that at 120,000 Baht i was being ripped off and warned me about the neighbour being in on the deal to get a fat commission.

Seems they may well have been right after all!

Some people suggested that there were several gardening centers around Pakchong (Pak Chong) and that I should go out and visit them to get advice and costs, buy plants etc and basically ‘do the landscape gardening’ myself.

I did explain (at length) that I am back in the U.K. now and that I have not time to spend in Pakchong (Pak Chong) making a Thai garden.

I suggested this route of visiting the local gardening centers in and around Pakchong (Pak Chong) to Kanyah but she wasn’t too enthusiastic about it to say the least. here approach seems to be to leave the garden as it is until I can go over and sort it out.

Well, I guess I could sort it out (i.e. get the garden areas landscaped and looking nice) but I’m no gardener and my retiring in Thailand plans are all about building steam model engines in my model engineering workshop!

So unless somehow Kanyah manages to find another Thai landscape gardener then it looks like the Thai garden will stay rather bare for some time to come.

Gardening Contract For Our Retirement House In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

Thailand Landscaping And Garden Design Contract For Our Retirement House In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

Thoughts, ideas and a plan to make a beautiful Thailand garden design based on other Thailand gardens.

As I write this the house itself (except for the second floor kitchen) is finished but the Thai garden is still rough and needs landscaping and planting after.

My  15,000 Baht Landscaping And Gardening Budget.

I agreed with Kanyah that I would pay for a Thai gardener to produce the Thai garden design and undertake the gardening etc, thinking it would cost a few hundred £. (£= Great British Pounds – Sterling), say maximum £500 = 15,000 Baht. I was prepared to pay for a professional Thai landscape design rather than let Kanyah struggle with the Thailand garden design.

When I retire to Thailand I want a nice cool and beautiful Thailand garden, somewhere to really relax after a morning in the workshop making my models.

One thing we wanted was a “covered terrace” for want of a better word – an area with some wooden posts that climbing plants grow over it and make a shady and cool place to sit in the hot weather.

The main areas of the land, front and back to be lawn (grassed) and planted with trees. Small climbing plants to go around the perimeter fence to hide it. I did not want any water features because they need a lot of maintenance.

Enter The Thai Gardener

Our neighbour, Noi, introduced us to a Thai gardener and he came to visit us.

The scope of the gardening work was discussed and I caught hold of a few pieces of the conversation which was taking place in the Thai language like ‘clearing the land’ is not included and ‘putting the new soil is not included’. When I heard a price of 200,000 Baht I said we would do the Thai gardening ourselves.

I just couldn’t understand why Kanyah can’t hire the labour and organise them to do the Thai gardening work.

There was also some discussion that there was currently no “Malaysian Grass” available. The gardener got on the phone to “head office” and that was confirmed. Also he said that “Malaysian Grass” cost 30 Baht per square metre. We had about 1,200 m2 to be covered by lawn so that would amount to 36,000 Baht. I wondered what the other 164,000 Baht would be spent on.

It seemed that the grass would be put down in pre-grown roll form. I suggested that Kanyah could simply get the labourers to place grass seed and that would be far cheaper. The gardener said that “They won’t sell you grass seed in Thailand”. I replied that I would send it to Kanyah by mail. That started a whole lot of conversation about send parcels by mail, import duty and so on.

Exit The Thai Gardener

I had heard enough and walked away. There was no way I was interested in that kind of rip-off.

After about an hour or so of noisy discussion between Kanyah, the Thai gardener and Noi, Kanyah explained that the Thai gardener would include the land clearing and put the soil for 120,000 Baht all-in price.

I Demand A Thai Landscape Gardening Contract

I kind of agreed to the revised offer for the gardening design and work but said I wanted everything written down into a contract. Having been stung by our first builder I was not prepared to agree to a deal based on a noisy conversation in the Thai language with a 120,000 Baht price tag attached to it and nothing written down.

The Thai gardener went away and said he would come back another day with the contract.

He did come back a couple of days later but without a contract. After much discussion between Kanyah, the Thai gardener and our neighbour, Noi, he went off and return an hour later with a pre-written “Form of Contract” such as you can buy in stationery shops and places like Tesco Lotus here in Thailand.

From what I gathered the intention was to simply enter the names of the two parties (the Thai gardener and Kanyah), put the date and the cost and bingo! You have a contract.

Not The Kind Of Thai Landscape Gardening Contract I Had In Mind

That was not at all what I had in mind. I wanted a proper description of what was to be provided for the Thailand garden. If possible with sketches and the type and quantity of plants itemised. I wanted to know – in written form – exactly what kind of Thailand garden design was being provided for my money.

Kanyah kind of understood what I was driving at – particularly when I said a wanted to see a list – she knows what a list is – and she took out an exercise book and got the Thai gardener to write a list of what he was to provide. The list came to me for agreement and I sent it back to have more details added. After this repeated itself a few times Kanyah complained that I was making her (and presumably the Thai gardener and Noi) do “hard work”.

In no kindly manner (you’ll understand what I mean) I explained that it was I who had to do a thousand times more hard work back in the U.K. to earn the money to pay for the garden than she was doing in Thailand to make the list.

Eventually the list was agreed and signed by the Thai gardener.

There were still some omissions to which Kanyah said something like “Never mind he has to do that”.

Below is a copy of the list from the exercise book and a rough English translation made by Kanyah as I sit typing this out. Click here or on the image to see the full size version as a .pdf file.

Image of Pakchong Retirement House Gardening Contract

Pakchong Retirement House Gardening Contract

Gardening List English Translation

Below is the rough translation into English of the gardening contract written in Thai in the exercise book

Date: 30/12/2011

1. Put the soil 5 trucks in front

2. Put the soil 8 trucks in the back

3. Put the sand 3 trucks in front

4. Put the sand 6 trucks in the back

5. Grass – Japanese 350 Talang metre in front

6. Grass Malaysia – 16 Talang metre

7. Grass Malaysia – 500 Talang metre in the back

8. “Mai Brob” Growing the tree 50 “ton” (50 trees about 3 m high).

9. “Tiang Tong 1,000 ton”. Small tree plants 1,000.

10. Little and small plants grow around all the fence.

11. Put in the pot “Daily Ga-Tang” (Plants)

12. Four Post “covered terrace” to grow the plants. The posts to be hard wood. He will put the plants.

Everything 120,000 Baht. (£2,500 or $3,750)

Take time 3 months.

Start 10 Jan 2012

Finish 10 March 2012

Signed: Surapon Chua Ngang

Warranty people: Jalan Mea Na Lu Ji (Noi – our neighbour)

Payment Schedule:-
10 Jan 20,000 Baht
10 Mar 40,000 Baht
10 Apr 60,000 Baht
Total 120,000 Baht

Included but not written down is:-

Clearing the ground.

3 Months guarantee. i.e. after 3 months all the plants have to be healthy or the Thai gardener has to replace them. The Thai gardener is responsible for looking after the plants in this period.

What Do You Think?

Our land is 80m X 20m = 1,600 m2 (one Rai). About 600 m2 is taken up with the house and Terrace and about 200 m2 by the drive leaving around 800 m2 to be landscaped. The total in the Contract is 850 m2 – see above)

So 120,000 Baht / 800 m2 = 150 Baht/m2. Is that a fair price?

Before giving your opinion in the Comment Box below, please quickly review the Scope of Work (i.e. The Contract) above which includes 22 trucks of sand/soil, 850 m2 of turf, 50 trees about 3 m high and 1,000 small tree plants, little and small plants grow around all the fence plus the Terrace.

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