Our Retiring In Thailand House Build Project In Pakchong (Pak Chong) Inches Forwards

The dream of completing our retirement house build project in Pakchong (Pak Chong) never seems to waver in Kanyah, even though in previous posts I had reported how wobbly it felt for me.

Kanyah’s Update Progress Report

This is roughly how a telephone call from Kanyah in Pakchong (Pak Chong) to me went today:-

The builder is not ready to start for another 5 days. (Funny, I seem to have heard that before..)

By the way 5 days from today will be 14th June, three weeks since construction under our previous builder stopped when Kanyah terminated his contract on 25th May. (Story on the Kanyah Has Terminated The Builder Today – All Work Stops” Post)

Kanyah has purchased the following materials ready for when the house construction starts again:-

  • Wood to finish the walls
  • Nails for the wood
  • Bamboo Mat and wood for the bamboo lining (I reported on this in the “It’s Clear Why She Sacked The BuilderPost)
  • Wood to make the scaffolding for the workers to access the higher levels of the house from
  • Plastic doors for the bathroom/bedrooms

Why On Earth Buy Plastic Doors For The Bathroom/Bedrooms At This Stage?

I didn’t say anything to Kanyah when she told me she had bought the plastic doors for the bathroom/bedrooms, but I was thinking “why on earth buy Plastic doors for the bathroom/bedrooms at this stage?”.

Why didn’t I say anything to her? It’s pointless trying to have a discussion with Kanyah over the phone. She tells me what she wants me to know and that’s just about it. (Appear familiar anyone?)

If I really have a point to make or something to explain I have to spend hours crafting a carefully worded email to send to her. Then it can take a few days to a a weeks to get her to open the email. Very frustrating.

As I have said before, communication is extremely difficult. Don’t forget by the way, that Kanyah speaks and can read English very well and understands English perfectly.

Like the Bamboo mat, these are the last things to be fitted. Like the Bamboo Mat, they will just lie around in the workshop for weeks or month getting dirty and deteriorating.

I really must put an email together to explain a logical purchasing strategy to Kanyah.

Do All Thai’s Have Backwards Logic ? – Question Answered.

On the same subject of purchasing doors, I suggested to Kanyah that since she has 5 days to wait (doing nothing) she should go to Korat and spend her time usefully looking for the exterior doors, i.e. the main folding door for the first Floor and my workshop door. From our visits to vendors in Pakchong (Pak Chong) she is unlikely to find them locally.

What was the answer? “It’s not time yet. Wait for the builder”.

Now I ask you, my dear patient reader, where is the logic in that? We need the exterior doors to close off the building and make it watertight so that we can fit the interior doors and Bamboo Mat. But she buys the interior doors and Bamboo Mat but refuses to buy the exterior doors!

Do all Thai’s have backwards logic or is it just Kanyah?

The answer is that there is no logic in what she has bought. Logic is not one of Kanyah’s strong points. She is strong willed, hot tempered and emotional. Logical she is not.

I really must put an email together to explain a logical purchasing strategy to Kanyah.

Progress Photos Coming Tomorrow…

Kanyah has promised to send me photos of the house tomorrow. These will show the house with the wooden walls half finished and unobscured by the wooden ‘scaffolding’ (that the old builder took away when he was kicked off the job).

So I look forward with eager anticipation for the email containing the photos tomorrow!

(That’s a joke by the way) I have about as much chance receiving the photos tomorrow as Kanyah has seeing the new builder on site in 5 days time…

Talking of builders what has come of our previous one…?

As it happens, apparently he is not bothering Kanyah, and that is something I was really worried about. Still time for an arson attack, though.

If he’s not bothered to make trouble then I can understand why. According to my figures he’s already made a handsome profit from us. Take the 200,000 Baht we paid him for work he never did, for example…

I Lost 200,000+ Baht When She Sacked The Builder

Having now checked the documents and worked out what the previous builder was paid and what he didn’t do for the money he had already been paid, I reckon that I have lost around 200,000 ~ 250,000 Baht because of the sacking.

The 200,000 is made up of Payment No. 6 of 155000, Baht for which the main part of the work was not complete, secondary ‘wing’ roofs not complete, (Payment No. 5), 63,000 Baht for the scaffolding which we paid for and which the builder removed from site plus the cost of removing and replacing the wood walls.

This is mitigated by 6 X 10,000 Baht = 60,000 Baht that we underpaid the builder compared to the original agreement.

(This 10,000 Baht reduction per Stage Payment from the original Contract was negotiated with the builder by Jalan to protect us from what has actually just happened!)

However, I still think we can complete the house in the original budget, if Kanyah is careful with her purchases.

I just mentioned that Kanyah should be careful with her purchases. Well you have seen how strong-willed she can be when she wants her own way (the sacking of the builder episode) but when it comes to negotiating a purchase she is… ruthless.

Here’s an example of something that happened a few years ago but which I’ll never forget because in retrospect it’s so funny.

Kanyah and the Cheap 500 Baht Folding Camping Table

The Negotiating Skills Of A Thai In The Marketplace

A few years ago, December 2006 to be exact, when this whole thing started, we were staying as always at the Mansion in Pakchong (Pak Chong).

The rooms in The Mansion don’t have tables as standard and I wanted one to work on with my lap top.

Here’s a photo of me using the very table I’m going to tell you about:-

Image of Alan And His Cheap Folding Table In Pakchong (Pak Chong)

Alan And His Cheap Folding Table In Pakchong (Pak Chong)


Above, this is me in 2006 staying at The Mansion in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand. I am sitting on the balcony overlooking the open-air Atrium. I’m online through The Mansion’s wireless broadband.

In the shop in Pakchong (Pak Chong) they wanted 800 Baht for the table. Kanyah beat them down to 500 Baht, but she wanted blood. they wouldn’t go lower and the sales girl walked away to serve another customer. We had been there about an hour already and I was getting tired and fed up of it.

In typical (to a Thai) westerns style I told her to pay the 5000 Baht and lets go.

I got a real mouthful from Kanyah blaming my presence (as the Farang) for the reason she couldn’t get the price down further.

Anyway I paid the 500 Baht and we took the table away. But Kanyah was not finished with me yet! She was furious that I had capitulated to the sales girl and insisted that I would never go with her when she went shopping again. I have written this in a few minutes but it took well over an hour and at the end of it we weren’t talking to each other… anybody connect with this?

If so please leave a comment below.

The end result, though was 2:0 to me. I got the table and Kanyah refuses to let me go shopping with her. Perfect.

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4 Responses to “House Build Project Out Of The Doldrums?”

  • mel howard:

    hi Alan

    I feel for you in your wish to build your retirement home and all the things that are going wrong, but for us your followers it is a great insight into the way the Thais work and what to look out for if we undertake a similar project.

    Some of your posts are so funny in that the logic of the things Kanya does I can relate to so you are not on your own in that respect I run a catering firm in Jersey and my girlfriend drives me up the wall sometimes and she is with me most of the time so for Kanya to be let loose alone in Thailand must be frustrating to say the least, my girlfriend has a habit of putting things in bags then in another bag then in a box ok if your storing for safe keeping but food in the fridges not good it costs me a fortune replacing stuff i cannot find then throwing it away when i do find it.

    Hope your new builder comes up to scratch and you make up for lost time keep the funny bits coming.

    All the best



    admin Reply:

    Hi Mel,

    Many thanks for the comment, I’m thrilled you like my humour, it’s a bit under the radar at times…

    Incidentally I did live in Guernsey for a couple of years and remember hopping over to Jersey by plane just to get to the pub on Sundays. (At that time the pubs in Guernsey were closed on Sundays. It may still be the same.)

    Your mention of women and logic is a bit of challenging concept to get my head round…

    I’m not too concerned about how long it takes to finish the house in Thailand, so long as it’s good quality and not a million over budget. On this topic I have just calculated that Kanyah sacking the builder has cost me 455,401 Baht (Equivalent to £7,253 or $11,465) – that’s serious money and much more that I previously estimated on the House Build Project Out Of The Doldrums? page!

    I wonder – does Kanyah have any idea how much she has cost me by overpaying the builder and not controlling him?

    I doubt it and have just sent an email to Kanyah explaining the 455,401 Baht overspend. Wonder what her reaction will be?

    Best Regards



  • Brian:

    Hi Alan,
    I have just found your website and have read most of your latest posts on things that have gone wrong on your building site. I feel your frustration probably more than you seem to do, I wish I had your amount of tolerance.
    In relation to the Cost of the table VS the cost lost in constructions, there is an old (western) saying that may apply to Kanyah ,penny wise pound foolish but in Thailand that logic does not seem to apply.
    I sincerely hope you work you way through the problems you have been having, Lord you deserve a break sometime soon.
    Best regards


    admin Reply:


    Many thanks for your comment, helps to make the website more interesting for other visitors.

    My mother had a saying for everything and every occasion. I noticed that for every saying she had a “contra saying”. For example, “Penny wise and pound foolish” can be contradicted by “look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves”!

    The Thai’s also have a lot of sayings and I delight when Kanyah explains them to me. Can’t think of one just off hand to fit the table-buying story though.
    It’s taken me a couple of weeks to get round to responding to your comment and in that time the construction of our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong) is going well again under the control of the new Thai builder. In fact one of the wooden walls of the house is now complete and the others are nearly finished.

    This progress is all down to my wife, Kanyah, not to me – I just send the money and ask ‘stupid’ questions. It’s extremely frustrating that I go to huge lengths to send detailed emails to Kanyah with lots of drawings and photographs like this one to explain some construction issue or to try to ask a question about the house construction, progress, or building costs and when we speak on the phone all she says is “Yes, I understand – you don’t have to concern yourself – don’t worry”.

    If I press her she gets angry and flustered and her temperature and voice start to rise. I know it’s time to back off then…
    … very frustrating.

    Anyway, thanks for the comment and good luck.



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