Archive for the ‘Build A House In Thailand’ Category

Now She Want To Ruin The View From The Balcony By Doubling The Size Of The Ground Floor With An Aircraft Hangar!

I’m talking about Kanyah of course and whenever she says “I’ve been thinking” or “I’ve got an idea” that’s when I get nervous and start to deep-bury my wallet!

But before I get into detail about what she’s planning lets look at a few photo’s of the view from the balcony and the view of the balcony from the  garden all of which will be obliterated by her latest “Grand Design“!

How To View the Photos.Click on the buttons below the screen,  SL for Slade Show, FS for Full Screen FIA-Gallery-Click-Buttons


What’s Behind Her Latest Grand Design Idea?

Here’s a photo of the patio at the rear of the house, overlooked by the balcony:-

Ima ge of Pakchong House Rear Convrete Patio Area

Pakchong House Rear Concrete Patio Area

I like to sit at that marble table at lunchtimes and sometimes I put a sheet of protective plywood over it and do a bit of hand work on one of the model steam engines I am building.

You can see now that the seats and table are in the shade, so it’s a bit later in the day –  afternoon. The air temperature will be around 30 to 34 deg C. I’m acclimatised to around 32 deg C so that’s OK as long as I’m in the shade.

But when there is no shade, as in the photo below, it’s far too hot.

Below, the entire patio area is exposed to the sun and it’s too hot for any practical use – except to use as a car park!


The Rear Patio Used As A Car Park

So I agreed at first with Kanyah’s idea of proving some shade over the patio.

I had a marquee idea like this:-

Image of Another Garden Marquee Idea for Pakchong House Patio

Garden Marquee Idea for Pakchong House Patio

or even a larger version of our garden ‘sum’:-

Image of Pakchong House Garden Shady Sum

Pakchong House Garden Shady Sum

or even a well-built wooden Pagoda:-

Image showing Thai House Garden Shady Pergoda

Thai House Garden Shady Pergoda

She Said NO! To All Of Those Ideas

But Kanyah flatly rejected all of my ideas out-of-hand. No, No, No. (Heard that before?)

She wanted ‘one of those new roof ideas’.

I had no idea what she was talking about until we went to the Home Pro DIY superstore and she pointed to their hideous car parking canopy.

Back home to try to get an idea of what she wanted I made a few sketches and after more No!s and lost of pointing up to the balcony I ended up with the sketch you can see below.

Her idea is to extend the balcony roof out over the Patio and out over the road to act both as a car-port and to stop the rain blowing in onto the balcony from the side. (Of course this roof would also stop the rain blowing in from the garden side)


Sketch Of Kanyah’s Idea Of The New Patio Shade

As you can see it’s a massive steel-roofed structure.

The underside will be treated with a proprietary foil-backed foam insulation to reduce radiated heat.

What you will see from underneath will be structural steelwork and the foil finish. Hardly rustic at all!

The View From The Balcony Will Be Completely Wiped Out

And of course all you will be able to see from the balcony will be the underside of  this huge aircraft hangar of a structure!

  • Gone will be the panoramic view of the countryside from the balcony and even the view of the garden.

Instead all that will be seen will be hideous structural girders and a sky of silver foil!

And all the heat from the underside of the sun-shade roof will rise to the balcony and enter the house.

  • Gone the cooling breeze from the lounge windows that we enjoy in the evening.

Also the sun-shade roof will block out the early morning sun that streams through the windows at dawn to wake us up.

  • Gone will be the dawn light shining into the house.

Trying to be constructive I suggested that in the corner on ground at the end of the driveway  floor we build a cheap block building to keep all our ‘unwanted in Pakchong’ items.

What I’m referring to is all the soft furnishings and other junk that has followed us all over the world for the last 30 years, such as:-

  • Carpets from Morocco at least 27 years ago.
  • Carpets from Lesotho (Tiny Kingdom buried in South Africa) about 23 yeas ago.
  • Blanket from Saudi Arabia about 30 years ago.
  • Bed sheets, Duvets and blankets that we will never use in Thailand.
  • A mass of for want of a better word ‘crockery’ which means plates, bowls, mugs, cups and even a full Wedgwood Dinner Service.
  • And so on. She can never throw anything away.

For my brilliant idea I got another well-earned NO!

To my question of ‘where shall we put it then’ the answer came back “on the  balcony” – since it wouldn’t be splashing with rain anymore.

  • Gone will be any recreational use of the balcony.

Wait For The Next Episode To See What Happened Next

That’s enough for this post. it gives you the background to a serious issue.

She want this hideous sunshade which will ruin all the benefits of the balcony and probably de-value the house enormously.

I don’t want that and I don’t want to spend what I expect to be a significant amount of retirement capital on such a monstrosity.

I have a derailment plan – let’s see if it works.

Update – The Next Installment Has Now Been Posted Online, The Bold Headline And Link Are Given Below

How To Successfully Design And Manage Building Construction In Thailand

That’s one massive promise and it assumes that there is a construction project in Thailand to be managed.

Visit the page to see if my secret derailment plan will work. Go to:-

How To Successfully Design, Procure And Project Manage A Construction Project To Quality And Budget In Thailand

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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 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′


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


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:-




IDENTIFICATION CARD OF THE OWNER                                                                  8

COPY OF PASSPORT OF THE USUFRUCTUARY                                                       9


 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.


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


The Owner:                                                                           (Mrs. Thongplay Brown)

The Usufructuary:                                                               (Mr. Alan Brown)

Witness:                                                                                (Miss Patcharin Lomlerttham)




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.


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.

Second Day Report (Boxing Day) From Our Retirement Home In Pakchong (Pak Chong) Thailand

First The Good News About Our Retirement House in Thailand (Later to Be Followed By The “Bombshell”

(It’s actually taken me 7 days to get this post written and published. busy with the house and my workshop and Internet connection problems which you can learn about on the “Mobile Broadband Internet In Thailand” page.

This trip to our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, is the first for me since the house was completed just a few weeks ago.

I see the visit as a ‘test’ or perhaps a research project to see if I really can commit to retiring in Thailand. One thing I have been told (AKA the “Bombshell”)  has really put me off but lets put that to the side for a minute and look at the good things I have found so far.

The House Is Really Fantastic

The house really has a big ‘airy’ feel to it, especially the outside concrete area (I’ll call it the Patio) and the huge Utility block both of which I have complained about as being a waste of money. Maybe they are but it’s still a great feeling to be sitting there and enjoying the space and the amenities.

(Having great difficulty getting videos uploaded to YouTube. Could be the G3 mobile broadbandI’m using.

If you want to be informed when the videos are uploaded then simply Join the Announcement List)

Kanyah had been telling me for weeks before I came to see our completed retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, that it was very windy and cold. I believed her but when I arrived I was no quite prepared to find out exactly how cold and windy – and dusty – it was. The wind howled through the wooden house and literally whistled as it blew through the gaps between the windows. That made it very noisy and cold in the house but there was another downside… the dust.

The dust was everywhere, and we know about dust from our days in Saudi Arabia. Little did we know that it would follow us here to Pakchong (Pak Chong)!

So the days start cold and very windy but after around 1000 am the sun breaks through and we get a hot (by U.K. standards) day. The windy mornings are quite spectacular. Here is a video on a windy morning showing the views from different positions aound the house. Make sure you wait until the end to get a glimpse of Kanyah’s Thai humour.

How To Quickly And Easily Get Online In Thailand With Mobile Broadband Internet

When I asked my readers and posted the question “What is the best option for mobile broadband Internet in Thailand?” on the Mobile Broadband Internet In Thailand page there was a mixed response.  Some people had a “work-around” linking their lap-top to the Internet via a mobile phone and others suggested a landline connection.

The solution was so easy I almost couldn’t believe it.

I walked into Tesco Lotus in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, and spotting the “Mobile Phone and Internet” counter made a simple enquiry.  “How do I get mobile Internet in Thailand?”.

Minutes later I walked out with a device and when I got home plugged it into my laptop and was online in less than a minute!

I’m still using it now! Go to the Mobile Broadband Internet In Thailand page to see how easy it is to get mobile broadband in Thailand.

So much for the good things going on with our retiring in Thailand project. Now for the “bombshell” I have mentioned before…

The “Bombshell” That Rocked Me To The Core And Dashed My Retiring In Thailand Plans

I don’t remember how this came up in conversation but Kanyah mentioned that once you reach 60 years old you are no longer allowed to drive in Thailand.

That was like a bombshell to me.

“The maximum legal age to drive in Thailand is 60 years old” – was it true?

Apparently our neighbour had told Kanyah that you can’t drive in Thailand if you are 60 years old or over.

If true, this was a major blow to our retirement plans. Although we don’t live deep in the country, our retirement home in Pakchong (Pak Chong) is about 10 minutes drive from the nearest shops of anything but the daily needs kind. We simply could not survive without a car.

Kanyah is not 60 yet (officially anyway but that’s another story) so she can still drive, this would mean that I would never be able to drive in Thailand.

And another thought struck me – it’s a recurring thought actually – what would happen should die before me? How could I get around?

You can understand that this was a terrible blow to me. Kanyah seemed not to worry too much, she doesn’t seem to care too much about dealing with the police. So long as she has ready access to cash I suspect…

Anyway that is not my way so I immediately start looking on the net for any upper age limit on driving in Thailand.

I tried all the usual keywords in major search engines. Key phrases like “age restrictions driving Thailand”, “upper age limit driving Thailand”, “can’t drive over 60 Thailand”, etc.

These two websites said there was no maximum age for driving in Thailand:-

This website tells you how to get a Thai driving license but doesn’t mention an upper age limit to be allowed to drive in Thailand:-

So Was I Told A Bummer – And There Is No 60 Years Old Upper Limit On Driving In Thailand?

I have spent a couple of hours on the Internet searching to see if there is an upper age limit (e.g. 60 years) on driving in Thailand and have not found any mention of it.

Quite the reverse, several websites say that there in no upper age limit to driving in Thailand.

So maybe there is no “can’t drive over 60″ law in Thailand? Maybe it’s OK?

As far as I can tell from my Internet research there is no upper age limit for driving in Thailand. but to be sure i want to hear from people who know.

Most of the readers of this website have more experience than myself about retiring in Thailand and have more knowledge about the driving laws in Thailand and the age limits.

So please, if you have any actual experience on this subject I would be most grateful if you could take a moment to leave a comment on your experience below.

It will only take a few minutes of your time and could influence the decisions by many whether it’s a good idea to retire in Thailand or not.

Thank you very much.

Update: From “The Source” About The Upper Age Limit For Driving In Thailand

Last night our Thai neighbour. Noi, came round and we shared a few beers together. I raised the question with Noi about the law relating to a maximum driving over age in Thailand, since it was Noi who made the statement in the first place.

Noi “clarified” as follows:-

After you are 60 years old in Thailand you can still drive a car.

But after you reach 60 years old the officials will not issue you with a new driving licence in Thailand.

I’m trying to grasp the concept he explained. That up to the age of 60 if you drive you must have a driving license. but when you are over 60 you don’t need a driving license to drive a car.

So I posed the question “I am over 60 years old and I do not have a driving license. Is it OK to drive a car?”

Noi answered “Yes, no problem, just make sure you have 200 Baht in your pocket.”

Add a zero for farangs I guess…

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