Archive for the ‘Travel to Thailand’ Category

What An Amazing Day – I Have Never Accomplished So Much In One Day

Wednesday 7th May, 2014 (yesterday) is a day I will always remember. Such a huge change in my life and so much achieved it’s (as Kanyah says) like a mountain being lifted from my head.

The bullet points:-

  • Container loaded with my model engineering workshop and household effects and sent to the port for shipment to Thailand
  • Booked the carpet cleaner for next Tuesday
  • Booked the decorator for next Wednesday
  • Bought my air ticket to return to Thailand on 7th June
  • Cancelled Sky contract
  • Ordered the Gauge 1 LMS 2F Tank Engine Laser-Cut parts
  • And I already had the new carpets ordered for fitting next Monday

Now for some details…

Container Loaded And Sent To The Port For Shipment To Thailand

You can’t begin to understand what a relief this was to both myself and my wife Kanyah.

We have both been working flat out 8 – 10 or more hours a day for five weeks to get all our stuff in our nottingham (UK) house packed up for shipment to Thailand.

Even our son, Alex, came to help for a few days.

We had planned to spend four weeks to pack our things but we had to delay collection by the shippers by a week because we weren’t ready in time.

This would be a fairly simple job for most normal people but I’m not ‘normal’ as you may know. My model engineering workshop and all the tools and machines was in a first floor bedroom. It all had to be dismantled, taken downstairs and packed or wrapped.

We’re taking heavy stuff here, 30 to 100 kg per item.

Not to mention the half sized traction engine castings which alone must have weighed a half a  ton.

Rusting Traction Engine Castings

By the way I decided to give our shiny brand new traction engine castings a brown patina (ie rust) to make them look old. This was interesting (for an engineer) and you can read the story on the Rusting Traction Engine Castings Page on the ModelEngineeringInThailand.com website.

To summarise we ended up with 158 individual boxes or packets some containing up to 20 items.

The whole lot would only just fit into the 20 foot container we had ordered. I took a look when it was all packed and there wasn’t an inch to spare!

A Tip For Packing Containers

If you ever have the need to pack a container to ship your personal effects to Thailand (or to ship anything anywhere) I can give you some good advice.

This is what I did to estimate how much space our ‘stuff’ would need to make sure it would all fit into the container:-

For each box or individual item if it wasn’t in box I took the measurements (Length, Width, Height) and calculated the volume.

(At first I measured in cm but the container company uses feet and ft³ so I switched to measuring in imperial units)

Then, I filled out a spreadsheet recording each item with a total volume calculated. Here is a small sample from my huge list:-

Image showing Extract From My Container Shipping List

Extract From My Container Shipping List

What is important is this:-

  • A 20 foot container has an actual volume of 1,170 ft³ but the usable space according to the shipper is only 1,050 ft³. (More on this in a minute)
  • I calculated the total volume of my items to be 632 ft³ ie 60% of the declared usable volume. But our goods only just fitted into the container!

So beware if you have a lot of items to ship in a container since unless everything is perfectly rectangular you won’t have the space you may think you have.

New Life Begins

So, now that the workshop is on it’s way to Thailand and I have booked the tradesmen to smarten up the house here in Nottingham so that we can let it out for a decent monthly income I can start to dream about the new life that awaits me ahead in Thailand.

As you should know my one single ambition in life is to build a large scale model steam traction engine and to drive it from our house here in Pak Chong, Thailand, to the local ‘pub’.

In fact I have chosen the model traction engine I want to build and as explained above have bought the castings and they are in the container on the way to Thailand. I just hope the Thai Customs God is having a nice day when that container arrives!

A simple statement but there are so many other accomplishments that must be achieved to allow that ambition goal to be realised. For example:-

  • I must live long enough in Thailand. This traction engine project is likely to take up to three years.
  • Living Thailand for three years is a challenge in itself. Not only must I remain healthy and fit I must make sure my visa is not invalidated for any reason.
  • I must have the skills and machine tools to be able to make the traction engine parts.
  • I must have the money to be able to live in Thailand for all that time.
  • And last but not least I must maintain my commitment and enthusiasm to complete the project.

And it’s this last point that excites me. I don’t want to wait three years before seeing the results of my efforts manifesting themselves into a real live working model.

So I will build other smaller models in parallel with the big traction engine so that I will have a series of little models completed every few months alongside building the big one.

Other Steam Models To Make

There are so many models I want to make but first I must complete the one I am currently (when I get back to Thailand that is) building which is the Stuart Turner Victoria Mill Engine.

Then I have to build the boiler for it.

Following that I want to build a Garden Railway and a Gauge 1 LMS 2F Tank Engine to run on it.

Here is a movie of a typical Garden Railway of the king I’m talking about:-

And here is a photo of a model LMS 2F Tank Engine of the type I want to build:-

(Click on FS to see a bigger image)

So I think now that you can see with so many enjoyable projects in mind that I can totally forget about ‘working’ and devote my life to what I have always wanted to do – making models of steam engines.

Back To Decorating

But we’re not quite at that stage yet.

Before we go back to Thailand to start our new life we have to prepare this house here in Nottingham to let it out. I said I hade arranged for a carpet fitter and a carpet cleaner and also for a painter to spruce up the walls and woodwork.

Even so there’s still a lot myself anf Kanyah have to do like cleaning, a bit of tiling in the toilet and generally making the place look nice.

Also I have a load of admin to get through all associated with extracting myself from the UK and retiring to Thailand forever!

 

Royal Silk Business Class Thai Airways Flight To Bangkok, Thailand

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

Image of Alan on His Retirement Flight To Bangkok July 2013

Alan on His Retirement Flight To Bangkok July 2013

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

Business Class Is The Only Civilised Way To Fly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Meals Thai Airways on Royal Silk Business Class

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

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

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

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

Image of Thai Airways Business Class Dinner Starter

Thai Airways Business Class Dinner Starter

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

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

Image of Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Dinner Menu

Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Dinner Menu

Click on the photo above to see a larger image.

Image of Thai Airways Business Class Dinner Cheese Board

Thai Airways Business Class Dinner Cheese Board

Next, the breakfast:-

Image of Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Breakfast Menu

Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Breakfast Menu

Click on the photo above to see a larger image.

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

Image of Thai Airways Business Class breakfast First Course

Thai Airways Business Class breakfast First Course

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

Landing at The Suvarnabhumi Airport at Bangkok

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

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

 

Fast Track Through Immigration At Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Fast Track VIP Passport Voucher

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

 

Image of Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Boarding Card

Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class Boarding Card

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

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

So, no problem here.

Filling Out Your Address in Thailand on the Landing Card

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

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

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

Here is the lable:-

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

Address of Our Retirement House in Pakchong (Pak Chong)

I needn’t have bothered.

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

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

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

Collecting Baggage

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

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

Convinced About Flying Thai Airways Royal Silk Business Class?

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

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

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

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

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

A Note About This Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please add your comments below.

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