Archive for the ‘Pak Chong’ Category

Held Hostage for 5 Days in My Own Home in Pakchong

The Food Ran Out, The Beer’s Running Out, Cash is Running Out  And My Patience Is Exhausted!

Following the two car accidents just after I opened my Thai Bank account we decided that we could save 1,000 Baht by getting the car body repaired privately.

We made the appointment to drop the car in the car body repair shop on Tuesday 6th August which Kanyah duly did.

Despite Kanyah phoning every day and being told “It will be ready tomorrow” it’s now Thursday 15 and still no car.

Bear in mind that before this we had a Sunday and the Queen’s Birthday both holidays with all shops closed.

So that’s 5 days in a row already marooned here in the house. And now it’s mid-day and the weather is shaping up to poor down. I doubt we’ll get the car today.

The only place to get food is the local roadside shack-restaurant 5 minutes walk away. (See below for full details)

That’s where I’ve been eating for the last three days!

Please Do Not Dismiss This Post As Trivial

As you read this Post you may think ‘so what his car’s in the garage for a few days.

But it’s not the story that’s important – it’s the message.

This Post demonstrates two of the key concerns I expressed about retiring to Thailand on the Why I Can’t Retire To Thailand Post.

Kanyah’s Bad Foot Is Healing

What about Sunday – why didn’t I go out then?

Apart from all the main shops being closed Kanyah was suddenly struck with a huge swelling on her foot that was exceedingly painful. She couldn’t walk and couldn’t drive.

I was worried and she stubbornly refused to go to the hospital.

Instead she sought help from the old man across the road who rendered his witch-doctor magic on her.

Some magic words, blow on the foot, put on some red powder and three day’s later she is nearly better.

Here is a movie of Kanyah hobbling up the road to the local roadside shack-restaurant. Notice at the end she shakes her stick at me!

The Mother Of All Shopping Lists

At least during this time stuck at home I had time to prepare my shopping list even if i couldn’t print it out because the ink’s dried up in the printer and we can’t get to Tesco to buy new cartridges.

It’s always been difficult trying to explain what I when I go to buy tools and materials for my model engineering workshop.

In most cases there in no translation in the dictionary for what I want since it’s all technical stuff. Like how do you translate “14 mm Ripper End Mill” or “15 mm twist drill with shank reduced to 1/2″?

Here’s how. It’s a shopping list with, for each item:-

  • Decription (English Language)
  • Decription (Thai Language)
  • Photo
  • Dimensions or Size
  • Quantity Required

Finally there’s a column for them to write the price since from experience I won’t be able to get this easily from the receipt.

Here it is, click on it to see a bigger version in pdf format.

Image of the Thai Shopping List

Thai Shopping List

Two Hours later and Still No Car

It’s now 1415 and still no car and no phone call.

I may as well take a walk to the near food-shack (wish there was a proper name for these roadside food stalls) and get some lunch.

The Near House Quiteo Ruea Restaurant

So it’s off to Lunch. I took some movies and photos on the way.

Here are some photos.

Photo of the Near House Quiteo Ruea Restaurant

Near House Quiteo Ruea Restaurant


Photo of the Sign of the Near House Quiteo Ruea Restaurant

Sign of the Near House Quiteo Ruea Restaurant

Above, the sign of the Near House Quiteo Ruea Restaurant. Translated it means “Quiteo Ruea -Baahn Phen”.

(Thai Boat Noodle Soup – from House at Phen). Let’s just call it the ‘near house Quiteo Ruea restaurant’.

Photo of Alan's Lunch 'Pak Ka Naa Moo Gob' at the Quiteo Ruea Restaurant

Alan’s Lunch ‘Pak Ka Naa Moo Gob’ at the Quiteo Ruea Restaurant

Above, Alan’s lunch.

The food is called ‘Pak Ka Naa Moo Gob’.

‘Pak Ka Naa’ is a green Thai vegetable and ‘Moo Gob’ is the fatty rind of roast pork.

It’s stir fried together with other vegetables and some chillies etc.

The meal cost 30 Thai Baht (Under one US Dollar and about £0.62).

Leo Beer from the shop next door cost 50 Thai Baht.  ($1.6 and about £1.03).

1530 Back Home And Kanyah Says The Car Is Ready

I mentioned the money was running out. We have to pay 3,000 Baht for the repairs and a quick count up shows we only have 2,860 Baht between us.

Getting to the Bank and then to the car Body Shop is problematic. there are local buses (Pick-up trucks) but they are far and few between. Could take two hours to reach the car body shop. The alternative is to find someone to take you on a motorcycle.

Not so difficult for Kanyah on her own but more difficult with me in tow. (She has no money in her bank to it’s down to me to use my new ATM card.)

She decides to borrow 500 Baht from the Old Guy and off she goes to see him.

A few minutes later she returns and announces that the young man in the near house will take us to the car repair shop in his pickup for 100 Baht. So off we go.

Whaaay I Love Tesco. Got My Printer Ink And Food Essentials

Pick up our car and off to my favorite store Tesco Lotus.

After emptying my Thai bank account at the ATM, get the printer ink – now I can print out my Shopping List – and a few essentials like bread, milk, butter and beer.

Happy Days Are Back!

What This Post Demonstrates

Look back at the Why I Can’t Retire To Thailand Post and you’ll see this amongst the other bullet points:-

  • I don’t have a Thai driving license so I can’t drive in Thailand, since I don’t have a UK driving license either. Without a car and the ability to drive it I would be marooned in our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong). Not a nice thought. Tesco Lotus is a short drive away but impossible to shop there without wheels.
  • Knowing Thailand and the Thai language. Sure I can speak enough everyday Thai to buy me a beer and a meal, but supposing I was ill and needed a doctor. Or how about if I needed a Lawyer – perhaps to deal with the ownership of the house.The point here is I need Kanyah to take me to collect the car and to go to Tesco Lotus.

That Post was written on 15 February – exactly 6 months ago to the day – and nothing’s changed.

Looks Like I’m Here To Stay Retired In Thailand

Read The Emails Below To Get An Instant Update and See Where My Own Son, Alex Said I’m Not Normal!

Post Added Friday 9th August 2013

Below are two real emails copied from my email account.

The first is an email from me to our son Alex, updating him on the situation here.

Email No. 1 – My Update to Alex

Update Dad and Mum in Pakchong

Alan Brown <alan@ emailremoved>                           Thu, Aug 8, 2013 at 8:17 AM

To: Alex Main Brown <alexbrown@ emailremoved >

Hi Alex,

Just a quick update.

Seems like I’m here to stay…

LU Work

That LU work just isn’t materialising.

Plan A) They tried to get me appointed through another contractor, then decided that they ought to ‘be transparent’ and re-hire me through the same agency as before. (Plan B)

That was stopped by a blanket ban on re-employing any staff released on 9th July.

Then I had an email saying they were back to Plan A. And by the way, the guy (Mike) said, “I’m on holiday until 19th July”.

I gave them (and myself) 4 weeks to get that LU work sorted out otherwise I would retire to Thailand.

That 4 weeks has gone and it will be 6 weeks before Mike gets back off holiday then he’ll have a whole load of other stuff to sort out.

So I’m just glad that I took the decision to come out here when I did. Can’t see that LU work becoming reality.


When she met me at the airport she was noisy – talking a lot and in the car on the way home she went to sleep so I was fearing the worse. (She had engaged a driver so don’t worry about that bit)

She really is a changed person. I mean now that I am here she is visibly happy and doing jobs around the place that she would never have done on here own. (Weeding the drive for example)

Whenever I mention going back to UK she gets visibly agitated. Example. I tied long lengths of red and white ‘Danger’ marker tape around my bag so I could spot it easily in the airport.

She asked me if she should throw them away. I said ‘No I need them’. ‘What for?’. ‘When I go back to UK’.

Well, that really upset her. She really, really, fears me leaving her.

Thai Bank Account

We went to the bank yesterday (Wednesday 07/07/2013) to try to open a bank account for myself.

I got all dressed up in a freshly ironed white shirt and black trousers and black shoes that Mum had spent two days polishing. Mum too wore trousers, a smart top and proper shoes and socks!

I was nervous about what what would happen.

In fact it was a breeze. The whole process took about half an hour and no questions and long forms to fill out. All they wanted was my passport with Non O Visa and our address, plus sign a few bits of paper.

I now have a Thai Bank Account and an ATM Card.

Apart from the general convenience it means I can now send my pension money (plus any other money) to myself and so be able to control where it is spent.

Your Thai Nationality

We went to the local Amphur on Tuesday (06/07/2013) to make enquiries. But we were told they only do births, deaths, marriages and divorces.

We were told to go on the website or to go the big Amphur in Korat.

So I’ll go the website route first and then if necessary we’ll phone or visit the big Amphur in Korat.

I imagine (based on the bank account application) that it’s really straight forward.

Thai Address

Attached is the letter I used to open the bank account. It has our address in Thai and English. It’s perfect and you can send letters etc here just using the English part.

In the workshop every day about 8 hours but nor really enjoying it too much because the lathe/mill is crap and I don’t have all the tools and materials I have back in the UK. So everything is very slow. Heh, never mind I tell myself – Iv’e got all the time in the world.

Making Money

I can easily live on my pension here in Pakchong. I mean day by day stuff costs very little.

I need more money for my model engineering and for emergencies, etc.

Before I came I mentioned selling stuff on Amazon. Well that’s my plan (plus selling from my own website)

What will I sell? Artifacts from Thailand and surrounding countries. Mum has been told that ‘ornaments’ are very cheap in Cambodia.

Mum is fully on board with this idea.

I bought a book about it to read on the plane. See attached.

Also I’m going to sell articles to the Model Engineer magazine. They pay £50 a page. We can live on that for a week! (Except beer and model engineering expenses)

To get the ball rolling they are going to print a letter I wrote about Model Engineering in Thailand in the next edition.

Model Engineers Workshop

You should be receiving this every two weeks or every month together with the Model Engineer (and Engineering in Miniature).

On the plastic cover of the Model Engineers Workshop magazine there is a reference number. I need this so that I can read the magazine online. Can you please email it to me?

Other Things

Lots of other stuff going on but those are the main points.

I have started another website Nothing on it yet but the intention is obvious.

Still doing bits and pieces for Takenaka. Haven’t told them yet that I’m in Thailand.

That’s all for this update, Alex.

Hope you and Ashley are doing well.

Keep your spirits up about us and about yourselves – it makes a lot of difference.

Love Dad.


Email No. 2 – Alex’s Reply

Update Dad and Mum in Pakchong

Alex-Ops Brown <alex-ops.brown@ emailremoved >             Thu, Aug 8, 2013 at 4:27 PM

To: Alan Brown <alan@ emailremoved>

Wow dad

You’ll be surfing before you know it

I’m so glad you’re not sitting idle and you’re out there chasing your dream.

It’s so refreshing to hear you say that you now have all the time in the world to play in your workshop. You seem to have such high spirits and a positive outlook on your retirement. I’m pleased for you.

I was dreading the norm where normal English people retire and do nothing but sit around watching daytime TV, looking forward to the next crossword and constantly moaning about the weather, the government, the neighbors, the state of the country etc. It’s evident that you’re not one of these people, and you have never been normal.

Also its good to hear mum is well emotionally. She needs company and something to do so I’m happy that she’ll be contributing to making some money. She needs direction so she doesn’t get diverted in to depression etc

Anyway keep me updated. I’ll send you reference number for your magazine.

Love Alex


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!

Support Messages From Visitors Helping My Recovery

The last time I did anything on this Retiring In Thailand website was the last Post

Why I Can’t Retire To Thailand – Looks Like My Dream Fell Through Post and that was four months ago on 15 February, 2013!

 174 Email Messages In My Inbox To Get Through

Since then I have not even bothered to check my email account until yesterday. I did that because I am just about to buy my air ticket for my trip to Thailand next Christmas and I had used my email address when registering for Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus Membership and I had a log-in problem.

So I was sent them a message and looked in my email account and saw all these messages sent from the contact Us Form on the website.

Image showing 174 Messages from the Contact Us Form
174 Messages from the Contact Us Form

Looking through them I was amazed at the level of support there was.

Many were from people who had experienced the same doubts that I have. Some were from people who knew why I felt like I did.

I was blown away.

Proper Conduct, Please – My Apology

Now I know it’s my website, my blog, and I don’t have to write on it or update it if I don’t feel like it.

But what I shouldn’t do is to invite people to post comments on the site, or to sent me messages through the Contact Form and then just ignore them.

That’s not the proper way to treat people and I can understand people who have sent me a message or a question feeling let down.

To those people I offer my apology.

In future I will check the inbox frequently and reply to messages. Meanwhile I still have those 174 messages to read and respond to.

Some Messages from Website Visitors about Retiring in Thailand

Some of the messages from the Contact Us Form are personal, others are questions and some are visitors explaining their thoughts and experiences on retiring in Thailand.

Some of these thoughts and experiences on retiring in Thailand are very interesting and I’m sure that other visitors would like to read them and perhaps respond to them.

So with the writers permission i’m going to start to post them here on the website for all to see. I’ll be adding my own notes where I can but obviously since these people are already retired to Thailand it is their comments that will be most interesting.



Looks Like My Dream Fell Through

I just returned from a holiday trip to our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, which turned out to be a real life changer.

Perhaps life-changer is a bit strong (or perhaps not) but it certainly gave me a completely new perspective on life and a drive in a new direction.

The experience was so powerful and so uncomfortable that it has taken me more than a few weeks to drum up the courage to write this dialogue.

The fact is that I discovered several very strong reasons why I don’t really want to retire to Thailand after years of planning to do just that and after spending a fortune on buying land and a car and building a retirement house there. You can imagine what a shock this realisation was to me.

Image of Farang Retiring In Thailand - Retirement House Photo 17 Dec 2012

Alan In The Pakchong House 17 Dec 2012

The Frightening Event That Brought Home The Reality To me

What brought about most of this change of heart about retiring in Thailand was a rather frightening event concerning my wife’s health. To cut to the chase she had developed a lump on her throat and I insisted that she go to hospital in Saraburi to have it checked out.

Over the days this was an obvious concern to both of us but we tried to put it out of our mind until the hospital visit which we had scheduled for the following Monday.

Tears Flow Freely As She Sobs Out Her Concern

In the meantime Kanyah sought solace with some local Thai friends when the obvious and unspeakable concern was finally aired and led to a great deal of anguish and crying.

That night I couldn’t sleep and the same problems kept spinning round in my mind. These were the same concerns about retiring in Thailand I have already aired on the website – to be dealt with somehow at a later stage – but this time, when the real possibility of them coming true was so real, the intensity of the concerns was overwhelming.

The next day I tried to articulate these concerns to Kanyah and that backfired completely. Instead of getting her understanding and support in trying to resolve my issues she launched into a tirade about how selfish I was thinking always about myself!

The Top Reasons Why I Can’t Retire To Thailand

I’ll repeat again my concerns about retiring in Thailand.

In Thailand I’m Completely Dependent On My Wife

The first concern is that I am so dependent upon Kanyah that if she was no longer around I wouldn’t be able to cope with living in Thailand.

These are some of the areas where I depend so much on Kanyah:-

  • Knowing Thailand and the Thai language. Sure I can speak enough everyday Thai to buy me a beer and a meal, but supposing I was ill and needed a doctor. Or how about if I needed a Lawyer – perhaps to deal with the ownership of the house.

I couldn’t even renew the car insurance by myself!

  • That brings me to concern number two. If Kanyah was no longer around who would the house belong to? Would I lose all my investment in it? Are there any ways I can protect my huge investment in Thailand?

(The answer to the last question is yes, but it will take time and I’m looking at a possible scenario where there is no time)

  • I don’t have a Thai driving license so I can’t drive in Thailand, since I don’t have a UK driving license either. Without a car and the ability to drive it I would be marooned in our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong). Not a nice thought. Tesco Lotus is a short drive away but impossible to shop there without wheels.
  • I don’t even have a Thai bank account. I can withdraw cash form the ATMs but I have no facility to deposit money (for example if I was able to sell the car or the house)

Yes, I know you can arrange those things in time – but in the scenario I was envisaging there was no time.

Thailand Doesn’t Have Much to Offer Me As A Retirement Destination

And it doesn’t stop there. Whilst I was staying in Pakchong (Pak Chong) for the three weeks holiday I realised that apart from a low cost of living and warm weather Thailand had little else to offer me. On the contrary (as was proven when I returned to the UK at the end of the holiday) England has plenty of reasons to be the retirement county of my choice!

I didn’t hate Pakchong (Pak Chong), but it was terribly drab and boring. No English style pub, no English beer, no English (or other westerner) to talk to. I lived like a Thai (except for my model engineering workshop) for the whole three weeks. No English was spoken except with Kanyah.

In the evenings after day (1800 hours) there was nothing to do except go to bed. Kanyah had bought a satellite TV system with a huge screen and there was a choice of over 200 channels – 99 % in Thai language and zero in English.

On my last trip I was able to get Russia Today which was at least in English and one sports channel in English. On this trip even those dubious luxuries were denied me.

That Western Image Of Colourful and Spicy Delicious Thai Food Is Just A Myth

As to food most Farangs have a completely distorted and rosy-specked image of Thai food. All that’s available at the local stalls around Pakchong (Pak Chong) is local Thai food. Kwiteo (Thai noodle soup) is lovely once in a while but it’s a bit boring as a daily staple diet! Not surprising that I lost a stone in weight!

Image of Kwiteo -Bowl of Thai Noodle Soup

Kwiteo – Bowl of Thai Noodle Soup

In Pakchong (Pak Chong) there is no European food. Not even potato chips unless you cook them yourself. I tried some ‘good quality’ steak from Tesco Lotus cooked at home but is was so tough and tasteless.

Even the ‘fresh’ fish in Tesco Lotus stinks and is tasteless if you can bring yourself to eat it. (I tried red snapper and crabs at different times and won’t be trying them again)

Let’s face the truth. Food stalls and Tesco Lotus give the Thais what they want. CHEAP FOOD. No catering for the rich Farang who wants something a bit better.

Forget your ideas of Kaeng Massaman or Kaeng Daeng served with Khao Suey served in handsome Thai bowls with a table cloth, napkins and a nice glass of whine, doted on by a pretty Thai lady in a traditional Thai silk dress. All this in an air conditioned restaurant with low level mood lighting putting a warm glow on bamboo and silk screens and the polished wooden floor.

All that you can find in Bangkok, not Pakchong (Pak Chong).

Here we are enjoying a fresh seafood dinner and live music at the Color Living Hotel, near Suvarnabhumi Airport, Srinakarin – Teparak Intersection, Teparak, Bangkok, Thailand:-

(We chose that hotel for it’s closeness to a shop where I went to buy some equipment for my model enginering workshop in Pakchong (Pak Chong))

The food wasn’t superb by Bangkok standards but you’ll find nothing approaching it in Pakchong (Pak Chong).

The Drab Reality Of Eating In Rural Thailand

Substitute that vision for reality. Dirty floor, plastic chairs, metal folding tables with plastic ‘table cloths’ held down with duct tape, lighting by flickering bare fluorescent tubes that attract a swarm of insects and the cook cum serving lady wearing short grey trousers and plastic flip-flops.

Just like this series of photos of Kanyah eating at the food stall not far from our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong):-

Did you see the last photo? that big heap of dirt?

The last word in that last sentence sums up the whole Pakchong (Pak Chong) experience for me.


Sitting in the Dirt.

Living In The Dirt

Kids, parents, families, even Kanyah does it. Sitting, playing and eating in the dirt. The next two photos are of a family that Kanyah likes to visit in Prong Sai, a village near Pakchong. You can see Kanyah on the right in the red shirt in the first photo.

image of typical poor Thai family sitting in the dirt

Kanyah On The Right Laughing With Her Friends Playing In The Dirt At Prong Sai, Near Pakchong

Close-up image of typical poor Thai family sitting in the dirt with animals running round

Close-Up Of The Thai Family Happily Sharing The Dirt With Their Animals While They Eat Rice

They all do it. It’s surrounding you. Kids playing in the dirt. Ducks and chickens in the dirt. Kids playing with ducks and chickens in the dirt. Charcoal cooking fires in the dirt. Empty bottles, bottle tops, broken toys, cigarette packets, dirty hair combs, and huge centipedes the size of sausages all competing with the Thais to sit in the dirt. Yuck! I wanna go home.

These photos taken in Pakchong and Saraburi:-

These pictures taken at the same street food stall you have seen in the gallery above. The pictures show a beat-up ancient rusty Thai truck and the junk they carry around with them. There’s no escaping it!

I could go on. But what about the more serious concerns I have about retiring in Thailand?

I have mentioned them before.

Real Difficulties Facing You If You Retire To Thailand

Healthcare In Thailand

What about healthcare if you get seriously ill? Hospital treatment and operations would eat a huge hole in your retirement pot. Even an unscheduled flight home to a British hospital would knock you back a few £000s.

Thai Retirement Visas

Then there’s visas. Or a retirement visa to be precise. Difficult enough to get one of these when you have a Thai wife but what if you no longer have one.

Better go home and leave your Thai house and belongings for the Thai family to squabble over because there’s no way you would want to or be able to continue to live there.

Having said all that when it came time for me to leave and come back to England I didn’t want to leave.

Ahh! You say. Got you!

Great Britain Is A Great Place For The British

No. I wanted to come back to England for the good things. To get away from the heat, to get some decent food and beer – basically to be back with my own Western comforts. And oh boy wasn’t I happy to be back. (In UK)

So why didn’t I want to leave? Because I was actually enjoying not going to work every day. And I was returning to England to go back to work.

If I retired in the UK and didn’t have to go to work every day (definition of retiring) I would be VERY happy.

Retiring In Thailand Adventure Fails the Test

To summarise, this whole Retiring in Thailand experiment has been one huge mistake. One huge vastly expensive fiasco.

It had to be done to provide a house in Thailand to Kanyah and to test the retiring in Thailand concept – but I wish I hadn’t been so enthusiastic and spent so much money.

What Next In This Thailand Retirement Debacle?

Where does that leave things?

When I explained all this to our son Alex on my return to the UK he pointed out, possibly quite rightly, that I had previously overcome much more difficult problems than the ones I have outlined above. Citing our marriage and the appearance of himself as an example. (Another story there)

Maybe I’m getting too old to face the challenges I used to ride over. If that’s the case and as you get older problems assume a larger dimension then when you are younger and have more energy then that’s another reason not to retire to Thailand. You want to retire in a place that’s easy to deal with. your own country.

Alex Agrees About Life In Pakchong

As a caveat to what Alex had said, he also went to Thailand a couple of weeks ago and stayed a few days in our Pakchong (Pak Chong) retirement house. When he returned he conceded that what I had said about their being nothing to do and nothing ‘nice’ in Pakchong (Pak Chong) was true.

Thailand More “Interesting” Than “Exciting”

After Pakchong (Pak Chong) he went island hopping in the south of Thailand and described it as “interesting”. Mmm. Tells you something.

Let’s end this utterly true story on a couple of bright notes.

Where To Get The Best Meal In Thailand

A Tale Of Angus Beefburgers

On the way home in Suvarnabhumi Airport I had an hour to kill before the flight and went hunting for some food and a beer. I opted for an Angus Beefburger (Angus beef from Australia – go work that one out!) with CHIPS and it smelt absolutely delicious and tasted even more so. The best meal I had in all of my three weeks in Thailand!

Kanyah’s Health

Image of Saraburi Hospital in Thailand

Saraburi Hospital in Thailand

At the visit to the hospital at Saraburi the doctor said that Kanyah’s lump on the throat was not a major concern and she was booked in for an X-ray on 18th January.

We waited anxiously for that day to come and when it did the result was a huge relief. It was some kind of cyst arising from her childhood and of no medial concern at all. (It has subsequently considerably abated, Kanyah reports)

Time to Sort Things Out?

So that give me a breathing space to sort out all the issues I mentioned above. Even if I’m not going to retire to Thailand as a minimum I must take steps to protect my investment.


I guess you must think this Post a bit negative and that I am depressed? No I’m not depressed, now that I’m back home with my other model engineering workshop and my English beer, on the other hand I’m very happy.

In fact if you just take a quick look at my previous Post “A Steam Model Engineering Holiday in Pakchong Thailand” – which I started when I first arrived in Thailand before Christmas but never finished – you’ll see me lively and happy.

I have a few enjoyable moments to share with you in future about my time in Thailand. most of the happy times revolve around my model engineering hobby.

I think that gradually over the three weeks of staying only in the vicinity of our Pakchong (Pak Chong) retirement house I felt “stuck”. Perhaps I’ll expand on that but for now I just look forward to posting the happy and enjoyable moments of my stay in Thailand Christmas 2012.

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