Archive for July, 2013

Royal Silk Business Class Thai Airways Flight To Bangkok, Thailand

Well, here I am on the TG917 flight to Bangkok on Monday 29 July 2013 to start my retirement in Thailand.

Image of Alan on His Retirement Flight To Bangkok July 2013

Alan on His Retirement Flight To Bangkok July 2013

In the photo above I look happy enough, I guess.

Business Class Is The Only Civilised Way To Fly

Below are a few photos and a movie of the superb meal and the plenty of space you get in Business Class, but they’re not the only advantages. You also get 30 kg of luggage allowance, the First Class lounge facilities at Heathrow and fast-track check in and immigration at both ends of the flight.

But even those are not the main advantages  - it’s this:-

When you arrive in Thailand you are awake, alert and feeling great – like you’ve not just been on a plane for 12 hours.

The reason is that the seats fold out to make an almost full-sized flat bed. So you really do get a good sleep.

I must have slept at least 7 hours out of the 12 hour flight. But that’s not all, for me at least. the last two flights I had – particularly the one back to London with EVA I felt physically sick. This may be part of getting older or more to do with modern planes getting lighter and therefore bouncing round more in the turbulence.

Whatever the reason I know that when a plane (or ship for that matter) is bouncing or rocking and rolling, I feel much better lying down.

There was plenty of turbulence on this TG917 flight to Bangkok and I felt it. But since I was lying down I felt discomfort but not sick.

This short movie shows you how much space you get when travelling Royal Silk Business Class on a Thai Airways Boeing 747. Note that there are only 4 seats across the cabin and note the huge gap from my seat to the seat in front. That’s the space needed for when the seat turns into a bed.

The Meals Thai Airways on Royal Silk Business Class

When I first traveled on Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class and the meal was served I was blown away.

None of that tiny tray, plastic cutlery and food served in aluminium mess cans with foil lids.

No. In Thai Airways on Royal Silk Business Class first of all they give you a table cloth. A real one.

Then the meal is served on a large tray as you can see in the photos below.

Image of Thai Airways Business Class Dinner Starter

Thai Airways Business Class Dinner Starter

For the main meal there are four courses and you have a choice of four main meals dishes. You also get a choice of two dishes for breakfast.

I don’t need to say any more, the photos tell it all.

Image of Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Dinner Menu

Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Dinner Menu

Click on the photo above to see a larger image.

Image of Thai Airways Business Class Dinner Cheese Board

Thai Airways Business Class Dinner Cheese Board

Next, the breakfast:-

Image of Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Breakfast Menu

Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Breakfast Menu

Click on the photo above to see a larger image.

By the way, there is another menu for the drinks including fine wines,

Image of Thai Airways Business Class breakfast First Course

Thai Airways Business Class breakfast First Course

Oh, and you welcomed on board with a glass of champagne!

Landing at The Suvarnabhumi Airport at Bangkok

I don’t know about you but I love to look through the window when a plane lands – particularly in Thailand when you can get a good view of the local topography.

This time I had a window seat and was able to video it all:-

 

Fast Track Through Immigration At Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport

I mentioned above another advantage of travelling Royal Silk Business Class on Thai Airways and that’s that you get to fast-track through the airport at both ends.

I first wrote about this in the “Fast Track Past The Long Immigration Queues At Suvarnabhumi Airport” Post when there were huge queses at the Thai immigration desks.

When I arrived at the Suvarnabhumi Airport at Bangkok I quickly found the fast-track immigration place.

It’s a bit beyond the normal immigration desks, in other words just walk past the sign pointing to immigration. then in about 50 yards (or metres) you’ll see the VIP sign.

When  I went in there were three desks open. Three people in one queue, a group of about seven in another and three in another.

I joined the three queue then the guy in front of me suddenly disappeared leaving me in second place!

He had jumped to first place in a new desk they just opened.

Suddenly I was in front of the Thai immigration officer and handed my passport over.

 Unexpected Behavior from the Thai Immigration Officer at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport !

I had prepared myself for two ‘issues’ that might arise when I went to immigration through the fast-track channel at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Your Fast Track VIP Passport Voucher

I remembered from my previous visit to Thailand by Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class that I had to hang on to my boarding card when passing through the fast-track channel at Bangkok to prove that I was eligible. Here it is:-

 

Image of Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Boarding Card

Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Boarding Card

I saw people in the other queues had some kind of Fast-Track VIP Pass, not just a boarding card. Anyway I was prepared.

But the Thai immigration officer just took my passport and didn’t ask for any evidence that i was qualified to be in the fast-track lane!

So, no problem here.

Filling Out Your Address in Thailand on the Landing Card

On the arrivals or landing card there is a place to enter your address in Thailand. I have always put a hotel address because it’s easier than writing a Thai address.

This time I just put “Thongplay House” then a large space and put “Pakchong” at the end.

I left that space for the Thai immigration officer to write the address (if she wanted to) from an address label I had made previously and had placed a copy in my shirt pocket ready for the eventuality.

Here is the lable:-

Image of Address of Our Retirement House in Pakchong (Pak Chong)

Address of Our Retirement House in Pakchong (Pak Chong)

I needn’t have bothered.

I noticed that Thai immigration officer lady was a but surly so I was expecting the worst and glad that I took this little precaution.

Also I noticed, with a bit of relief, that when the male Thai immigration officer opened the desk next to hers they exchanged a few words and she actually smiled at some joke they had made.

So my passport was stamped – 3 months stay and I was home and dry.

Collecting Baggage

Another advantage of travelling Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class is that your baggage is given priority.

I only had to wait a few minutes when my bag (stuffed with model engineering goodies) arrived. It was about the 25th bag off the plane.

Convinced About Flying Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class?

If you have not flown business class to Thailand before have I convinced you of the advantages?

Maybe so but have I convinced you that it’s worth the extra cost?

My flight (return ticket) cost £2,500 and that’s a lot of money. But remember I bought this ticket to travel at the peak time both sides of Christmas. I guess a normal price for July would be around £2,000.

Still a lot of money and about twice the price of an economy fare. For me this is the only way to travel. As I get older those economy flights are so uncomfortable and make me so ill I just cant stand them.

Your choice of course but once you have tried Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class there will be no other way to travel.

A Note About This Post

Because of the 6 hours time difference between London and Thailand my body clock is all screwed up.

I woke up at 3 AM this morning local time and was wide awake. No point to stay in bed so I started this Post.

Now it’s 0930 AM so it has taken me a good 6 hours!

And I still have to write and send out the announcement email and promote the page using articles and bookmarking to make sure that the search engines take note.

This is a pretty good measure of how long it takes to write these posts. A large potion of the time is in preparing the images and in particular the movies.

Also, I like to add a lot of detail. It’s the detail that counts and that makes the blog alive, I think.

Please add your comments below.

The Post Man Came to the Door Then Walked Away… A Minute Later…

… my heart fell -

- there was no package from the Thai consulate in Birmingham and that meant – no passport and no visa for Thailand…

… then a minute later the door bell rang…

“Please sign here” he said, with a Special Delivery package in his hand. Here it was…

Image of Alan Thai Non O Multiple Entry Visa

Alan Thai Non O Multiple Entry Visa

Kanyah Was Delighted

As soon as I had opened the Special Delivery packet from the Royal Thai Consulate in Birmingham and checked that all my original documents were there including my passport with Thai Non O Multiple Entry Visa I called Kanyah via Skype to tell her the good news.

I recorded the conversation using Camtasia but for some unknown reason my voice was not recorded. (Can anyone solve that issue – I would be grateful to know how to make sure my voice as well as the other person on the call is recorded?)

Listen to at least part of this recording just to get a feel for Kanyah’s happy mood. Then listen to the recording from two days before below.

A Happy Kanyah When I Told Her I Was Coming To Thailand

Now listen to a bit (or all if you can stand it) of the next recording which was made two days previously.

Very Upset And Distressed Kanyah When I Told Her I Might Not Be Going To Thailand

This recording is typical of the many calls I have made to Kanyah in Thailand over the last year since my last visit in December 2012. She is not at all happy living alone in our retirement home I had built in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand.

Packing My Bag For A Model Engineering Holiday In Thailand

Most people know about my passion and hobby of model engineering (making reals models of engines and things that really work, like steam engines)

There is a description and photos of me setting up my model engineering workshop  and building a steam model on the web page at My Model Engineering Workshop In Thailand

Packing Bags for Thailand 2013 450

I'll be on the flight to Bangkok next Monday 29 July 2013 to start my retirement in Thailand. These photos show what I'm taking with me - materials and tools to continue with my model engineering hobby in Thailand. You can see the part-finished model of a Burrell Traction Engine and a kit of parts for a model vertical steam boiler.

[img src=http://retiringinthailand.net/wp-content/flagallery/packing-bags-for-thailand-2013-450/thumbs/thumbs_01-verticle-steam-boiler-kit.jpg]00Model Verticle Steam Boiler Kit
[img src=http://retiringinthailand.net/wp-content/flagallery/packing-bags-for-thailand-2013-450/thumbs/thumbs_02-steam-boiler-fittings.jpg]00Model Steam Boiler Fittings
[img src=http://retiringinthailand.net/wp-content/flagallery/packing-bags-for-thailand-2013-450/thumbs/thumbs_03-ball-joint-bearing.jpg]00Ball Joint Bearing
[img src=http://retiringinthailand.net/wp-content/flagallery/packing-bags-for-thailand-2013-450/thumbs/thumbs_04-carbide-lathe-tool-inserts.jpg]00Carbide Lathe Tool Inserts
[img src=http://retiringinthailand.net/wp-content/flagallery/packing-bags-for-thailand-2013-450/thumbs/thumbs_05-lathe-tools-with-carbide-inserts.jpg]00Lathe Tools With Carbide Inserts
[img src=http://retiringinthailand.net/wp-content/flagallery/packing-bags-for-thailand-2013-450/thumbs/thumbs_06-steamfittings.jpg]00Model Steam Fittings
[img src=http://retiringinthailand.net/wp-content/flagallery/packing-bags-for-thailand-2013-450/thumbs/thumbs_07-tap-die-set-metric.jpg]00Tap Die Set Metric
[img src=http://retiringinthailand.net/wp-content/flagallery/packing-bags-for-thailand-2013-450/thumbs/thumbs_08-tap-die-set-model-engineer.jpg]00Tap Die Set Model Engineer
[img src=http://retiringinthailand.net/wp-content/flagallery/packing-bags-for-thailand-2013-450/thumbs/thumbs_09-burrel-traction-engine-model-2.jpg]00Model Burrell Traction Engine Model
[img src=http://retiringinthailand.net/wp-content/flagallery/packing-bags-for-thailand-2013-450/thumbs/thumbs_09-burrel-traction-engine-model.jpg]00Model Burrell Traction Engine Model 02
[img src=http://retiringinthailand.net/wp-content/flagallery/packing-bags-for-thailand-2013-450/thumbs/thumbs_10-assorted-small-screws.jpg]00Assorted Small Screws
[img src=http://retiringinthailand.net/wp-content/flagallery/packing-bags-for-thailand-2013-450/thumbs/thumbs_11-more-assorted-small-screws.jpg]00More Assorted Small Screws
[img src=http://retiringinthailand.net/wp-content/flagallery/packing-bags-for-thailand-2013-450/thumbs/thumbs_12-even-more-assorted-small-screws.jpg]00Yet More Assorted Small Screws
[img src=http://retiringinthailand.net/wp-content/flagallery/packing-bags-for-thailand-2013-450/thumbs/thumbs_13-model-traction-engine-spkes-etc.jpg]00Model Traction Engine Spkes etc

I’m not going to bore you with details of the photos in the gallery above except to to say that now I’m retiring to Thailand I expect to be able to make significant and rapid progress on these models:-

Model Burrel Traction Engine

I have been building that model Burrell Traction Engine for well over a year now. Since I was working away from home in London all week the only time I had to work on the model was at weekends. Now I’ll have all day every day!

Model Vertical Steam Boiler

I can’t remember exactly when I bought that kit to make the model vertical steam boiler but it was many years ago. And to date I have not touched it!

I recon it’t just a few weeks work to finish once I get to Thailand. (Other model engineering projects permitting)

Now I’m Actually Looking Forward To Retiring In Thailand

I just noticed something as I was writing this Post and getting ready to go to Pakchong (Pak Chong) to stay in our retirement house.

I’m actually looking forward to it!

How long it will last I don’t know. Perhaps in a few weeks I’ll be back in the U.K. working on that contract with LU? Who knows? All I know is I’m looking forward to re-starting building that steam engine (Victoria) in my model engineering workshop in Pakchong (Pak Chong).

So let’s just leave it at that for now.

 

 

Yes, It’s Finally Come True – On 29th July 2013 I Will Be Retiring To Thailand… Maybe!

A Major Unplanned Event Forced Me To Retire To Thailand Earlier Than I Would Have Chosen Otherwise

Forced Retirement

As you will know if you have read a few of my posts I have doubts about retiring to Thailand (e.g. see
Why I Can’t Retire To Thailand) and this retirement decision was forced on me not my preferred choice.

I know it sounds weird - most people would jump at the chance to retire to Thailand – but Thailand is not the country of choice for retirrment for me. Retiring, and in particular retiring in Thailand, just isn’t my activity of choice right now.

Nevertheless because of the reasons I’ll explain in a minute I am retiring in a weeks time (subject to receiving the multiple re-entry visa) to our retirement house we built in in Pakchong (Pak Chong).

It’s for real!

What Is Forcing My Retirement To Thailand?

The short answer is money – or rather not enough of it.

As I explained on a previous Post I want to Retire properly and to be able to do the things I want unfettered by worrying if I can afford it or not. To be in that situation you need a LOT of money.

Sure, I have a modest pension already and some decent savings, but I was aiming for a much bigger pension pot.

The Big LU Clear Out

I am self employed and have my own consultancy company, Dataway Ltd. I do consultancy work in the building and construction industry and have several big-name Clients, including London Underground (LU), part of Transport for London (TfL).

I had a very lucrative contract in London with LU until a week last week, when LU suddenly, on Tuesday 9th July 2013,  announced a massive clear-out of some 150 Project Managers and Engineers. I was one of them. I had a day to clear my desk and on Wednesday 10th I said my goodbyes to LU and headed for home here in Nottingham.

So, overnight, that income stopped. (And it was a very large income by any normal people’s standards)

This put my immediate managers at the time in a spot of difficulty because there was no one available with the ability to continue the specialised work on the project I was engaged on. (Called the Heavy Maintenance Project, or HMF)

 Cunning Plan Devised – But Will It Work Out?

Since someone had to continue with the work I was engaged on, the managers devised a cunning plan to re-engage me via another company. I won’t go into detail but what is intended is that my company, Dataway Ltd, will enter into a Contract to complete all the work on a fixed-price lump-sum basis. (My remuneration previously was per day)

So if that can be arranged, I will be able to continue with LU and build up my pension pot as planned. If not I will retire to Thailand.

4 Weeks To Make My Mind Up

I gave myself and LU four weeks to get this new Contract in place otherwise I would retire to Thailand for good.

Dataway Ltd  has other clients, as I said, including Takenaka Europe a Blue Chip company I had been engaged with on various projects for the last 14 years.

So I could start looking for further consultancy work outside of LU but my experience over the last 10 years or so as self employed tells me that I could get by but it would be unlikely that I would not make the same as an LU contract. After there is a severe recession on and there is very little building and construction work except in the Rail Sector.

Also I could get a ‘proper job’ but that pays even less and it’s too late for me to go back into being an employees.

So, knowing how long LU takes to arrange any for of Contract I gave myself and LU the 4 weeks window.

4 Weeks Reduced to 2 Sees Me Out To Thailand on Monday 29th September!

Of course my Thai wife Kanyah – living in our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong) – was delighted with my retirement news. She is very lonely there and want me to stop working and be beside her.

Talking all the above over with a friend at my local pub, the Plough Inn, and explaining that it seemed stupid to sit around here in the UK waiting for that LU Contract to appear when I knew I only gave it a 50% or less chance of it ever happening.

 

Image of The Plough Inn St Peters Street Nottingham
The Plough Inn St Peters Street Nottingham

My friend made a very valid point. Why not go out to Thailand now and if the Contract does materialise then return to the UK. There would be plenty of money in that contract to support another return air ticket.

So taking that suggestion on board I changed the departure leg of my existing Christmas trip ticket and booked myself on the Thai Airways International flight TG917 departing from Heathrow on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 2130.

Image of my Thai Airways London to Bangkok Flight Confirmation 130729

Thai Airways London to Bangkok Flight Confirmation 130729

Visa Woes as Thai Embassy Changes the Rules

Beware If You Are About to Apply for a Non O Multiple Re-entry Visa (Or any Other Kind of Thai Visa?)

Today is Friday 19 July 2013 and I have just visited the Royal Thai Consulate in Birmingham, UK to get a multiple re-entry visa for my retirement rip to Thailand.

Previously, as reported at How I Got My Thai Multiple Journey Visa In UK obtaining this visa was a breeze taking just a few minutes and no fuss.

This time though, there was a problem. The Royal Thai Consulate representative told me that only just this week the rules had changed.

The Royal Thai Consulate in Birmingham could no longer issue Thai multiple re-entry visas without reference to the Thai Embassy in London. They had to scan all the documents from each applicant and email them to the Thai Embassy in London for a decision.

Since this is a new process there is no knowing how long this will take. The Royal Thai Consulate representative also told me that Monday and Tuesday was a Thai holiday and that the Thai Embassy in London would be closed until Wednesday.

Bearing in mind that my flight to Bangkok is booked for a week on Monday, it only leaves three days (Wednesday to Friday) for them to make the decision, process the application assuming I am accepted and to get the passport back to me.

All a bit tight so although I’m assuming everything proceed satisfactorily so I’m organising everything for a Monday flight, I’m also prepared to have to delay it a few days.

Things to Do Before Leaving for Thailand

There are many, many issues to be sorted out before I can travel to Thailand.

It’s not so bad if you are going away for a few weeks but if you are leaving your house in your own country empty for moths or even as long as a year, then there are a whole host of issues to sort out mainly dealing with security.

I have made a huge to-do list and am steadily working through them:-

Cetegory Jobs to Do July 2013
House Cut Lawn
House Throw Bin Bags
House Beer Barrels
House Clear Office Shelves
House Hoover
House Mail In Kitchen
House Steel Everywhere
House Boiler Service
Workshop Motor On Mill
Workshop Lathe Saddle Stop
Workshop Lathe Leadscrew Handle
Workshop Lathe Suds
Workshop Clean Up
Money Amazon First Course
Money Amazon Brown Bag Course
Money Article For Model Engineer
Money Dtw Vat June
Money Daily Balance Sheet
Money All Monthly Sos & Dds
Money Utility Meters/Bills
Money LU Contract
Car Blood Test
Car Battery & Start
Car Driving License
Thailand Visa – What Is Required
Thailand Change Air Ticket
Thailand Stop Mail
Thailand Paperless Ltsb Statements
Thailand Paperless Utility Bills
Thailand Second Front Door?
Thailand Luggagle Lables
Thailand Pack Luggage
Thailand Weigh Tools For Luggae
Thailand Tool Tips
Thailand ER Collets In Thailand?
Thailand Tool Holders Thailand?
Thailand Backup All Computers
Security See Security Sheet

Where We Are Now

A Quick Summary of My Thailand Retirement Plan Situation

  • Booked on the Thai Airways International flight TG917 to Bangkok departing from Heathrow on Monday, July 29.
  • No Visa – Awaiting news from the Royal Thai Consulate on my Multiple Re-entry Thai Visa application
  • Awaiting news from London Underground on a possible Contract
  • Working trough a massive do-do list in preparation for leaving for Thailand

See you in the next Post!

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