Archive for February, 2014

Kanyah Signs The Usufruct And It Is Recorded In The Chanote At The Land Office

Today was a big day for me – one of the biggest since starting the retiring in Thailand project.

One of the big issued and fears I have always had about buying land and building a house in Thailand is that the land and property can never belong to me. It all belongs to my dear wife Kanyah and of course I love her dearly.

Whilst she loves to have me living here I am residing as her guest. I have no rights (until today that is) to access the land and house other than with her permission.

People change and people are fickle. In the past when Kanyah has not shall we say been in the best of moods she has reminded me that it all belongs to her and that it might be better if I went back to England. I do live here under her absolute control.

Not only that but my other bigger concern is what would happen to the land and house if she were to die before me? I have had that clarified today – the land would be inherited jointly by her heirs; her daughter Daeng and our son Alex.

But it wasn’t always like that. It is only a few weeks since Alex had his Thai nationality officially recognised and recorded in Thailand when he obtained his Thai Birth Certificate.

Previous to that I would be at the mercy and whim of Daeng whether I could live here or not. And since Alex became Thai officially I would need both their agreements. Not a very strong position for me to be in I’m sure you’d agree.

But All That Has Changed Today As I Am Granted Legal Rights To Use The Land And Property – Forever

Yes, the usufruct Contract signed by myself and Kanyah and entered on the Chanote is now fully legalised and is in force for the shorter of my lifetime or 30 years.

Even if the ownership of the property changes hands (e.g. to Daeng or Alex) I still have the rights of use.

Here is an extract from the Usufruct Contract, the key sentences:-

1.         Object of Agreement

The owner agrees to grant the right of usufruct on the abovementioned property to the usufructuary and the usufructuary accepts the right of usufruct which entitles him to the possession, use, enjoyment and management of the property.
2.         Term of Agreement

Both parties agree that the term of the usufruct of this agreement shall be created and remain in full force and effect for the lifetime of the usufructuary.
4.         Covenants of Owner

4.1       The owner permits the usufructuary to utilize the property for all lawful purposes including, but not limited to the purpose of residency, business or other matters.
7.           Miscellaneous
7.3       This agreement shall be held binding on the owner, the usufructuary, the heir(s), transferee(s), assign(s), or representative(s) in any kind of nature of each parties.

Of course, this is the English language version of the Usufruct Contract, the legal one is in the Thai language.

Photos Of The Thai Usufruct Contract And The Chanote

Note: Click on any of the photos to see a larger version. (Opens in new window)

Here is a photo of the actual front cover of the Usufruct Contract which is written in both the Thai and the English languages:-

Image showing Photo Of Thai Usufruct Contract

Photo Of Thai Usufruct Contract

A full copy of the text (English language version) is given near the bottom of this page.

Next is a copy of a document that has been attached to the front of the Chanote.  I don’t know what it says yet until I receive a translator from my solicitor:-

image showing A Legal Document Attached To The Front Of The Chanote By The Land Office

A Legal Document Attached To The Front Of The Chanote By The Land Office

And last but not least is a scan of the rear of the Chanote showing where the Usufruct Agreement has been recorded officially.

Image showing Rear Of The Chanote Recording The Usufruct Agreement

Rear Of The Chanote Recording The Usufruct Agreement

Other Advantages And Disadvantages Of The Usufruct Agreement

There are other advantages and disadvantages of the Usufruct once it has been registered at the Land Office and recorded on the Chanote.

Because the Chanote has the Usufruct Contract recorded on the back any prospective purchaser of the land would have to take that into account when valuing the land price. probably not many people would want to buy the land with a Usufruct contract attached to it.

This is an advantage for me because it makes me more secure. Kanyah is unlikely to be able to sell the land without my consent to the removal of the Usufruct.

Equally it is a disadvantage to Kanyah because the value of the land is diminished whilst the Usufruct Contract is in place.

For the same reason that the value of the land has effectively been reduced the Chanote is less likely to be accepted by a Bank as collateral for a loan.

This is both an advantage to me and also a disadvantage. The advantage is that Kanyah will probably be unable to take out a loan with the land and house as collateral without my agreement. (Safer for me)

But if I agree to Kanyah taking out a loan (say for another property development project) the Bank are less likely to agree so this is a disadvantage to both of us.

The Process Of Legalising The Usufruct Contract At The Land Office

Below I’ll give you the full details of how we had the Usufruct contract made into a legally binding contract and had the contract entered into the Chanote at the Pakchong Land Office.

Preparation Before You Go To The Land Office

I heard about the Usufruct from Steve, a friend I made via this website. Steve sent me examples of Ufustruct contracts he had put in place with his Thai wife for their properties just outside Pakchong (Pak Chong).

I could have used those examples and modified them myself so suit our names and details etc and had a local translator to change the Thai versions to suit my modified English one.

But when it comes to the law I don’t want to take any chances. be a cheapskate her just to save a few thousand Baht and you could end up without the protection you need.

So I decided to use a solicitor from a reputable legal firm. These are easy to find on the Internet.

Finding A Solicitor

As it happens I had been corresponding with a solicitor by email when I had some queries about Alex gaining his Thai passport. I had been corresponding with a Khun Patcharin who was very helpful. This exchange of emails had been free of charge and I was impressed by the quality of the information received and the excellent and polite service.

Khun Patcharin worked for Korat-Legal (website  http://www.korat-legal.com) located in Nakhon Ratchasima (AKA Korat), Thailand. There was another advantage in going back to Khun Patcharin because Korat is only an hours drive from Pakchong (Pak Chong) and I envisaged the need for a solicitor to be able to accompany us to the Land Office in Pakchong (Pak Chong) when we signed the  Usufruct Contract.

At the time I didn’t know the we had to go to the Land Office, but I suspected it. In fact I didn’t know the process for setting up a Usufruct Contract at all.

Agreeing The Wording Of The Usufruct Agreement

Through a short series of emails the wording of a draft Usufruct Contract was agreed between myself and Khun Patcharin. I had t send photocopies of various documents as listed below.

I gave a copy to Kanyah for her to read having previously explained what I was trying to achieve with it. Surprisingly she had no problem about signing it.

Checking The Chanote (Land Title Deed)

I did as much checking of the technicalities of the document as I could but when the document referred to details on the Chanote I needed Kanyah’s help because the Chanote is entirely in the Thai language –  even the numbers on the Chanote are Thai numerals.

Once everything was checked and agreed we arranged to meet  Khun Patcharin at the Pakchong (Pak Chong) Land Office at 0830 this morning (18 February 2013).

Documents You Need To Take To The Land Office

I addition to the original Usufruct Contract documents that  Khun Patcharin would bring she asked us to take originals of the following documents that I had already sent her copies of by email :-

  • Original of Chanotte
  • Your passport
  • Your house book (if any)
  • Your wife’s ID.Card
  • Your wife’s House book
  • Marriage Certificate
  • If your wife changed her name, please bring the certificate of name change as well.

Getting To The Land Office At Pakchong (Pak Chong)

Photo of Land Office Sign Thai Script English Language

Land Office Sign Thai Script English Language

Image of the Land Office in Pakchong

Photo of the Land Office in Pakchong where the land was registered in Kanyah’s name

I took the above photo of the Land Office in Pakchong (Pak Chong) when we first bought the land in 2010. Here is the address,  the SatNav coordinates and a link to an online map:-

Nakhon Ratchasima Land Office Pak Chong Branch, Highway 2, Khanong Phra, Pak Chong, Nakhon Ratchasima 30130

N 14°   40.140′, E 101° 26.416′

NOSTRA Map: http://bit.ly/1j9EzFx

Google Map:-

View Larger Map

Signing The Usufruct Contract

When we met Khun Patcharin at the Pakchong (Pak Chong) Land Office we simply sat down at the outdoor tables and we both (myself and Kanyah) signed the documents which were countersigned again by Khun Patcharin as a witness.

Note that just this simple act of having a witness to countersign the documents would have been difficult if  Khun Patcharin had not been there.

Then we went inside the Land Office to legalise the Usufruct contract.

Power Of Attorney – This Is really Funny

These are my notes from my pocket notebook as events unfolded:-

Time 0830.

Take queue ticked number 2. Good sign – not many people in there in fact almost empty.

Khun Patcharin goes to the Information Desk and there is some handing over of documents.

Time 0900.

Khun Patcharin says that the Land Office recommends that I sign a Power of Attorney that gives permission for Khun Patcharin to work on my behalf to process the Usufruct Contract at the Land Office.

The reason the Land office recommend this is because the documents are in the Thail Language and I don’t know Thai so there could be claims in future that I didn’t know what I was signing!

OK a valid point and I said no problem I’ll sign a Power of Attorney document.

(This is the funny part)

So Khun Patcharin gets a Power of Attorney form from the Land Office and fills it in. Before asking  me to sign  it she explains briefly what it says because – get this – it’s all in the Thai language! Had me in stitches that one.

Kanyah couldn’t see the funny side of it at all.

I did note that the Power of Attorney referred specifically to the work Khun Patcharin will be doing today at the Land Office in the processing of the Usufruct Agreement and not a generalised Power of Attorney that empowers her to do virtually anything on my behalf. Like emptying my bank account for example.

Time 0930.

Khun Patcharin goes back to the information Desk and takes another queuing ticket number 4. By this time the place is rather packed and things are buzzing but moving slowly. It take 40 minutes to an hour to process each person on average I was told.

At this time while we are waiting for things to be processed back of house we start to talk with Khun Patcharin about the Usufruct and heirs as recorded in the next section.

About Heirs, Inheritance And The Life Of The Usufruct

Khun Patcharin explained the following about the law in Thailand relating to heirs, inheritance and the life of the Usufruct.

  • There are two heirs to the land and property owned by Kanyah. These are Daeng, her daughter by her former Thai husband and Alex, our son. On Kanyah’s death, unless she makes a will, the land and property will be inherited in equal potions by her two children. The fact that Daeng is older than Alex is of no consequence.

(That had me chuckling about how the land and house could be divided equally into two!)

  • Both names will be put on the Chanote.

(The practicality of how this would be achieved tickled me and I naughtily asked “How, if the Chanote is locked away in a safe would Alex or Daeng be able to get to it to have their names added?” This was lost on Kanyah and Khun Patcharin intelligently sidestepped the question my remarking that Thai families and dividing up the inheritance is a hot topic in Thailand!

The practical points remain though:-

  • that I have control over access to the Chanote and nobody – except unless they have a gun pointing to my head – can force me to hand it over
  • and that if I do hand it over to one of them then they have to cooperate to get both names on the document
  • Kanyah hasn’t made a will and although she has a propensity for the land to go to Alex over Daeng she hasn’t finally decided anything.)
  • The Usufruct will still apply until I die (or until 30 years have passed) even if the land and property pass into different ownership.

Time 1000.

Kanyah and I go outside for a cup of coffee and some fresh air while Khun Patcharin sits inside to babysit the process. Well, Kanyah did go inside pretty soon and took some ice tea for Khun Patcharin while I stayed outside for a little longer.

Time 1115.

Back inside the Land Office Khun Patcharin reports that we are awaiting the signature of the Chanote by the Big Boss. Apparently the changes to the Chanote document have already been typed up.

Time 1130.

It’s all finished. Elapsed time 3 hours.

Khun Patcharin retrieves all the documents and we check that they have all been returned. Khun Patcharin explains briefly what the new documents are and promises to send a translation by email when she gets back to the office. This may be delayed by a day because she has to do the whole process again with another client in Korat this afternoon.

So we leave the Land Office, with me being so much relieved that my huge investment in Thailand is now safe and I have full access to use it as if it was my own under Thai law.

The Value Of Having A Solicitor With Your When You Go To The Land Office To Legalise A Usufruct In Thailand

Did I think is was worth the extra money in engaging a solicitor for this process?

Of course I did and I would recommend anyone else contemplating establishing a Usufruct Agreement to safegurd their investment in property in Thailand to do the same.

Here are some of the benefits of engaging a solicitor and having them to accompany you to the Land Office:-

  • Usufruct Agreement correctly drawn up in Thai and English
  • Solicitor guides the process through the Land Office – a process myself and Kanyah have (had) absolutely no idea about
  • On hand to draw up the Power of Attorney as recommended by the Land Office
  • Ad-hoc answers to questions about heirs, inheritance, Land title Deeds (see later) and the Usufruct Contract and the Thai law
  • And last but not least the solicitor baby-sits the process allowing myself and Kanyah to take a break. This alone turned a nerve-wrecking and tense visit into, whilst not quite a delight, a comfortable three hours.

Selfishness or Selfishless?

I can well understanding that some reader are thinking that I am selfish and that I’m only interested in protecting my investments in Thailand.

That’s true to an extent but not the whole story.

About protecting my investments in the land and house that’s one part of it. But I have also invested (and continue to invest) both time and money in my retirement here with Kanyah. She was so lonely and miserable when i was in England working but now she is very happy.

She would hate it if I left and returned to UK.

That’s what i was talking about when I first arrived. And it led to lots of upset and arguments.

Kanyah understood how I felt isolated and insecure with no protection for my investments.

That’s why it was easy for her to sign the Usufruct – because she wants to encourage me to stay. Now she has signed it she knows that I have no reason to leave so she is much more comfortable.

So it’s not just about me, it’s about Kanyah also and our relationship and retirement in Thailand together.

Glossary Of Terms And Other Useful Information

Usufruct

Image for Sidhi Kep Kin Usufruct in Thai Script Language

“Sidhi Kep Kin” in Thai Script Language Means “Usufruct”

In my words this is a legal right for someone (the usufructuary) to be granted the benefit of use of a land or property even though they do not own it. In essence the usufructuary is granted by the owner of the land or property the permission to use of the land or property as if it belonged to the usufructuary. The vehicle for granting this right is a Usufruct Contract (or Agreement)

It is quite common in Thailand where foreigners married to Thai’s invest a lot of money in land and houses for Thai spouses who have own the property since foreigners cannot own land in Thailand.

That’s a short-rough description of what a Usufruct is but there are plenty of learned definitions online f you want to know more, like these for example:-

Usufruct from Wikipedia

Usufruct from Encyclopedia Britannica

Usufruct from The Free Dictionary

Usufruct from Siam Legal

A (Not) Typical Usufruct Contract

A typical usufruct contract gives the rights to the usufructuary to lease or sub-lease the property subject to the usufruct. A typical clause wold be like this:-

“The Usufructuary shall have the rights to lease or sublease the Properties to any other party(ies) at any time during the term of this Contract without prior consent of the Grantor/Owner.”

 I our case I did not need that right and have no intention to lease or sub-lease the property. I therefore made sure that this was not included in our Usufruct Agreement.

Here is the final version of our Usufruct Contract, in the English language:-

CONTENTS

AGREEMENT TO CREATE THE RIGHT OF USUFRUCT (Thai Version)       2-4

AGREEMENT TO CREATE THE RIGHT OF USUFRUCT (English Version) 5-7

IDENTIFICATION CARD OF THE OWNER                                                                  8

COPY OF PASSPORT OF THE USUFRUCTUARY                                                       9

AGREEMENT TO CREATE THE RIGHT OF USUFRUCT

 This agreement to create the right of usufruct is made at Korat-Legal Law Office, Nakhon Ratchasima Province on 18 February 2014. By and Between:

Mrs. Thongplay Brown, Thai national, 60 years old, having Thai identification number 5 1032 00019 36 1, residing at house no. 231, Village No. 12, Pak Chong Sub-District, Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, hereinafter referred to as the “Owner” on one part and;

Mr. Alan Brown, British national, 64 years old, holding a UK passport no. 112132401, residing at house no. 231, Village No. 12, Pak Chong Sub-District, Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, hereinafter referred to as the “Usufructuary” on another part.

RECITAL

Whereas, the owner has the ownership of land, Chanotte No. 54589, Land No. 168, Survey Page No. 16801, which have total area of 1 Rai, together with the house no. 232, Village No. 12, located at Pak Chong Sub-district, Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, together with the house on the said land, hereinafter referred to as the “Property”;

Whereas the parties are the legal husband and wife, therefore the owner intends to grant a usufruct to ensures that the usufructuary shall have exclusive rights on the property as set forth herein;

Whereas the owner has made this agreement voluntarily, free of any coercion or deception, without being threatened, or being mistaken and with no fraud or undue influence of any kind of nature;

Whereas the owner agrees to grant the usufructuary the possession, use, enjoyment and management of the property;

And whereas the usufructuary agrees to take from the owner the right of usufruct of the abovementioned property,

Now, Therefore, both parties agree to execute this Contract containing the terms and conditions as follows:

1.            Object of Agreement

The owner agrees to grant the right of usufruct on the abovementioned property to the usufructuary and the usufructuary accepts the right of usufruct which entitles him to the possession, use, enjoyment and management of the property.

2.            Term of Agreement

Both parties agree that the term of the usufruct of this agreement shall be created and remain in full force and effect for the lifetime of the usufructuary.

3.            Consideration of Agreement

Both parties agree that there is no exchange in consideration of granting the right of usufruct throughout the term of this registered agreement.

4.            Covenants of Owner

4.1       The owner permits the usufructuary to utilize the property for all lawful purposes including, but not limited to the purpose of residency, business or other matters.

4.2       The owner shall not terminate this agreement before the term hereof unless both parties agrees to terminate this agreement or the usufructuary breach any clause hereof or cause severe damage to the property.

4.3       If the property is destroyed without compensation being paid, the owner is not bound to restore it; but; if the owner does so to any extent, this usufruct revives to that extent.

4.4       The owner allows the usufructuary to transfer the exercise of their right to others by obtaining the prior consent of the owner.

5.         Covenants of Usufructuary

5.1       The Usufructuary shall use the property for all lawful purposes and shall neither cause nor allow others to use the property for unlawful purposes.

5.2       The usufructury must, in the exercise of their rights, take as much care of the property as a person of ordinary prudence would take of his own property.

5.3       The usufructury is bound to keep the substance of the property unaltered, and is responsible for ordinary maintenance and petty repairs.

5.4       The usufructuary shall, for the duration of the usufruct, bear expenses for the management of the property such as utilities, fees or taxes, etc.

6.            After the End of Term

Upon the end of the term, the right of usufruct of this property shall be extinguised and the property will be delivered back to the owner or his successor and shall not devolve on the usufructuaries’s heirs unless otherwise agreed others.

7.            Miscellaneous

7.1       Whenever possible, each provision of this Agreement shall be interpreted in such a manner as to be effective and valid under the applicable laws. However, if any provision of this agreement shall be held to be invalid or prohibited under applicable laws, such provision shall be ineffective only to the extent of such invalidity or prohibition without affecting the validity of the remainder of such provision or the remaining provisions of this agreement, which shall remain in full force and effect.

7.2       This agreement shall constitute the entire agreement between both parties hereto and shall supersede any communications, understandings, negotiations, agreements or promises in respect hereto which have been made either in writing or orally prior to the date hereof and are also contradictory to the provision hereof.

7.3       This agreement shall be held binding on the owner, the usufructuary, the heir(s), transferee(s), assign(s), or representative(s) in any kind of nature of each parties.

7.4       This agreement may not change, amend, add or remove any clause hereof unless prior agreed by both parites in writing.

7.5       The headings of this agreement are inserted only for convenience and ease of reference and are not to be considered in the construction or interpretation of any provision of this agreement.

7.6       This agreement shall be interpreted in accordance with and governed by the law of Thailand.

In witness whereof, this agreement is made in duplicate having corresponding terms and conditions and the parties hereto have read and understood the contents hereof and thereby affixed their respective signatures in the presence of the witnesses on the date month and year first above written

SIGNED BY THE PARTIES:

The Owner:                                                                           (Mrs. Thongplay Brown)

The Usufructuary:                                                               (Mr. Alan Brown)

Witness:                                                                                (Miss Patcharin Lomlerttham)

Witness:                                                                                               

 

Chanote

A Chanote is just one type of Land Title Deeds that are assigned to parcels of land in Thailand.

The Chanote is the top level Land Title Deed and is the only one that records ownership of the land with the Title Deed Owner. If you are considering buying land in Thailand that does not have the Chanote Land Title Deed then be very careful and generally I would not recommend it.

Here is a very clear description of the types of Land Title Deeds in Thailand and what they mean.

The Chanote is registered at the Land Office. When any change is made to the Title of the land for example:-

  • if the land is sold
  • if a the land is used as collateral against a loan
  • if a Usufruct Contract is signed on the land

the details are registered at the Land Office and entered on the back of the Chanote.

The same process applies to the lesser Land Title Deeds in Thailand.

 

The Perfect Lifestyle – Retiring In Thailand?

I have been here in Thailand pretending to retire for just over 6 months now and it is beginning to appeal to me, much to Kanyah’s relief.

On a previous holiday visit to Thailand, before I came to Thailand to “retire” (quotes because I haven’t really “retired” at all) I had a list of severe reservations about retiring in Thailand. I even listed them and wrote about then on the “Why I Can’t Retire To Thailand” Post.

When I first came here to retire permanently in July I wanted to go back to the UK. I hated it here.

Gradually, over the months that list of concerns on the “Why I Can’t Retire To Thailand” Post have been either overcome or are in the process of being overcome.

Now, after being here just over six months I don’t want to leave.

I have a great – if simple – lifestyle.

I get up around 0630 (when it starts to get light) and go to the computer maybe continue designing my steam models or workshop tools or update my two websites (RetiringInThailand.net and ModelEngineeringInThailand.com) or correspond with my friends here in Thailand.

Then I go to the model engineering workshop and work at building my model steam engines or making tools for the workshop.

I don’t have to drive to work. I don’t have to get on trains. No suit, no tie. Shorts, sandals and T shirt cuts it out here.

And I just know that it’s going to be warm and sunny today. It’s warm and sunny every day.

In fact it’s getting warmer every day now after the ‘cold’ winter where the temperature struggled to top 20 deg C in the daytime and dropped to a shivering 15 deg C at night. Now instead of sleeping under a blanket we sleep with the fan on and yesterday it reached a comfortable 32 deg C in the afternoon.

Photo of the Sunrise Today Over Our Pakchong Retirement Home Garden

Sunrise Today Over Our Pakchong Retirement Home Garden

How Those Reservations About Retiring In Thailand Are Turning Out

Now I’m going to go through all the reservations I had about retiring in Thailand as listed on the  “Why I Can’t Retire To Thailand” Post and explain where we stand today.

In Thailand I’m Completely Dependent On My Wife

Kanyah is slowly releasing her total control over my life as I gradually take control myself. I should explain that she doesn’t and never did intend to ‘control’ me; it’s just that unless and until I am able to take control I will always be dependant upon Kanyah. The details are below.

Knowing Thailand And The Thai Language.

I am getting to know Thailand and the Thai people better as you expect after six months living in the country. We have travelled quite a bit including Kamphaeng Phet, Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat) ,Pattayah, Bangkok and even one trip to Cambodia.

But learning the Thai language is a different matter. I feel like I knew more Thai before I came here than I do now!

I have been learning Thai now for more than 30 years. I have dozens of books on the subject and at least three or four courses including audio courses and CDs. I have completed (for example) the “Thai for Beginners” and “Thai for Intermediate Learners” by Benjawan Poomsan Becker, and the Linguaphone course, for example.  I know thousands of Thai words.

But when I come here to Pakchong it’s like they’re talking a foreign language!

Some of it is down to the local dialect, some of it down to me being ‘tone deaf’ and mostly because since I came here I have not studied the Thai language like I used to when I lived in the UK. Just too busy ‘retiring’.

When you go to live in a completely different county halfway round the world there are many things to adjust to, many things needing your attention. To name just one I still have my house in the UK which needs attention and administration to do with silly things like the central heating, the garden, the Utility bills and the mail, to name just a few.

Taking two hours out a day to sit down and learn the Thai language is something I haven’t got round to yet, but I realise that I must do it before too long.

Security Of My Investment In The Property

I have long been well aware that my huge investment in the land, house and even the car here is at risk since none of it belongs to me and there isn’t a reliable ‘heir’ to pass it on to should anything happen to Kanyah.

Not only that, Kanyah has at times reminded me very well that all this belongs to her and not to me. I’m dependant upon her good will to be able to continue to live here. Not very secure at all.

That is changing on two fronts.

Firstly, after a lot of hard work, our son Alex has obtained his Thai Nationality. He is officially Thai and his name is on the house papers. He now has a Thai Birth Certificate. Alex is in the process of obtaining his Thai Passport and ID card from the Thai Embassy in London.

So Alex could now inherit the property.

On the other front, Kanyah has agreed to sign what is called a Usufruct and I’m having that drawn up by a solicitor as I write this. A Usufruct is a legal and binding document that will give me the right to use the land and house as if it was my own. I can’t be kicked out and Kanyah can’t sell it (without my permission). When that (the Usufruct) is signed I’ll feel much more secure.

 Driving In Thailand

I have now passed the Thai Driving Test and have a Thai driving license.

What a story that was, passing the Thai Driving Test.

Anyway now I can drive anywhere (not only in Thailand but anywhere in the world) and that is a whole life-changer itself.

 Getting A Thai Bank Account

This was another concern of mine, I didn’t have a Thai bank account.

As it turns out this was one of the easier things to do and how I did it is all explained on the “I Open A Bank Account In Thailand” Post.

Thai Visa’s And Thai Retirement Visa In Particular

This has turned out to be a real winner after a disastrous mistake by Thai immigration at the Cambodian Poipet border crossing.

I’ll not go into the details here because the story about “My Retiring In Thailand Project Changed Dramatically Yesterday When The Visa Issue Suddenly Disappeared And Now I Can Stay Here Forever” has a full Post in it’s own right but the outcome is actually better than I could ever imagine.

I came here to Thailand with a one year multiple entry visa I obtained in the UK. It allows me to stay here in Thailand and to come and go as I please but it has the restriction that I must leave and re-enter at least every three months. (Hence the trip to Cambodia).

But it was only valid for one year. My plan was to return to UK after the one year and renew it. I would have to do that perpetually because I didn’t qualify to obtain a Retirement Visa in the UK. (And still don’t.)

After the mess up by Thai immigration at the Cambodian Poipet border crossing I had to find an answer to the mess they had put me in and (missing out all the details that are revealed in that “Retiring In Thailand Retirement Visa” Post) I ended up with a Thai Retirement Visa!

This means that:-

  • I don’t have to go to the UK (or anywhere else) every year to get a new visa – I can renew this in Thailand
  • I don’t have to prove that I am married to a Thai in order to renew the visa – the visa is completely independant of Kanyah
  • I also have a multiple entry visa so I can come and go in and out of Thailand as I wish.

Another life-changer!

Healthcare In Thailand

This was another big concern of mine and whilst a couple of recent incidents have diminished my concern about minor illnesses it is still an issue for the unknow ‘big problems’.

But lets look quickly at those recent incidents that are a tribute to the Thai healthcare system and the thai people themselves.

Alex’s ‘Fever’

When our son Alex came to visit us last October to claim his Thai Nationality he developed a fever. Hot, shaking and very ill.

We took him to the local Pakchong Nanah Hospital in the evening around 1900 hrs. He went straight in to see a doctor – no waiting or asking questions – and was diagnosed with food poisoning. They gave us a prescription and  few minutes later were on our way home.

We had to pay for the prescription (antibiotics plus a few others) which only cost around 300 Baht and Alex was much better the next day and fine in a couple of days.

My Painful Leg Joints

I had been suffering from terrible pains in my right knee joint and my right hip. And I mean terrible pain.

I had been a bit silly at the turn of the New Year jumping up and down and generally prancing around with the Thai kids from next door inspired by the loud CCR music we had on for good party spirit.

A few days later the painful joints surfaced. I wondered if I had done the cartilages some damage.

As is my way – to avoid doctors and hospitals like the plague – I suffered the pain for a month hoping it would go away. It didn’t. in fact it got worse.

So it was off to the local Pakchong Nanah Hospital again to face the medicine.

There was a wait to see a doctor – the place was packed and very busy – but they asked no questions relating to me not being Thai (like how would I pay for the visit) – in fact before I could see a doctor I had to register. I now have a Thai Medical Card!

Image showing Alan's Thai Medical Card

Alan’s Thai Medical Card

Above is a scan of my Thai Medical card I received when I registered at the pakchong Nanah hospital at Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand. My name printed on it in black Thai typeface.

The time came to see the doctor and we told him the story. I also mentioned that previously in the UK I had suffered from Sciatica in my left leg.

(Sciatica results from injury to or pressure on the sciatic nerve in the spine cause by the spinal discs being out of position. The sciatic nerve tells the brain that there is pain in the leg(s) even though the leg(s) is (are) healthy. The pain can be – and was- horrific. Sitting down or lying down makes little difference.)

Anyway I want to know if I had damaged the ligaments or if it was sciatica again.

I was sent off for some Xrays. No queue. No need to make an appointment and come back another day as Kanyah had too at Saraburi hospital. No straight in and at least 6 xrays taken of my joints and spine. No waiting for films to be developed. the xrays went straight into the central computer where they could be accessed by any doctor in the hospital on his PC.

Back to the doctor again and I was diagnosed with Degenerative Spondylolisthesis which causes sciatica pain. Apparently my spinal discs are out of position. the doctor said I might need an operation to pin them back in place but he would make an appointment for me to see the orthopedic doctor tomorrow.

He gave me a prescription that included some painkillers amongst other goodies. Total cost? Just over 1,000 baht (about £20).

The following day I duly visited the orthopedic doctor who after looking at the xrays and doing some physical checks on my legs and back proclaimed my condition was mild and not serious.

He gave me another prescription that would help me sleep better.

It’s only two weeks later now and I’m fine. No pain at all.

All in all I have great faith in the Thai health care system. The doctors (and nurses) all speak English, they are very compassionate and they know what they are doing.

I’m truly impressed.

So although I would probably have to return to the UK if a big problem surfaced I know that for the occasional ailment I can rely on the Thai health service.

Good Food And English Beer In Pakchong (Pak Chong)

I previously bemoaned the lack of decent places too eat in Pakchong (Pak Chong).

Since then I have found a few places to get good food in Pakchong (Pak Chong).

One of them is called E.A.T. and they do English food and English beer as reported on the “EAT Paradise in Pak Chong” Post.

Of course they do other types of food also and also have a vast range of beers from all round the world. buy my treat is to be able to enjoy a little bit of England. Lamb chops, mashed potato and Fullers ESB Beer.

New! English Beer By Mail Order In Thailand

And if I’m too lazy to go down to E.A.T. in Pakchong (Pak Chong) to buy some English Beer I can now order it online and have it delivered to my house!

Here are just some of the beers available:-

  • Fuller’s ESB
  • Fuller’s Imperial Stout
  • Fuller’s London India Pale Ale
  • Fuller’s London Porter
  • Fuller’s London Pride
  • Wells Bombardier NRB
  • Wychwood Ginger Bread
  • Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
  • Young’s Special London Ale

I have just picked out my favourites, there are many more available, plus this is just from the english Craft Beer range. thhey also have similar ranges form other countries, like America, Australian, Belgian, Danish, Dutch, English, German, Italian , Apanese, New Zealand, Norwegian, Scottish, Singaporean, Spanish, Sri Lankan.

And there are also sections on the website for Fruit Beers, Cider, Mead , Beer Club, Discovery Cases, Mixed Sets.

Here is the website:- http://www.wishbeer.com

Stuck In Pakchong (Pak Chong) And Enjoying It

On that  “Why I Can’t Retire To Thailand” Post I complained about feeling ‘stuck’ in Pakchong (Pak Chong), but now I really am getting used to just staying at home and can understand why Kanyah doesn’t want to go out.

I have got into a little routine of doing a bit of work (like writing this Post) on the computer interspersed with building my steam engine in the model engineer’s workshop. I have also started another blog called ModelEngineeringInThailand.com so if you want to know in more detail what I’m doing as a ‘retiree’ in Pakchong (Pak Chong) then hop over to the ModelEngineeringInThailand.com website.

Sometime soon we have to make a visit to the UK – to bring the rest of our personal belongings over (my model engineering workshop mainly) and to get the house ready for renting out – and I’m not looking forward to it.

When I first came here to Thailand on my retirement trip I would have jumped at an excuse like that to go back to UK. Now I’d rather just stay here. Strange isn’t it?

That’s all for now – I just wanted to update you with how our retiring in Thailand project is going and  to report on those reservations I had previously.

 

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