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.

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4 Responses to “Held Prisoner in Pakchong”

  • George Hill:

    Hi Alan
    Just read your web update. Couple of things might make life a bit easier for you. A long time ago I found things would go missing from the house especially when I returned overseas to work. So I went to the local store and obtained a large safe. I found it had to benefits one was I could keep plenty of cash at home there was no plastic back then. Even now Thailand is still cash based. Also you will find you end up with lots of important papers and most safes are built as fire safes so should the hose catch fire there is a good chance the documents can be saved. I.e. passport with visa bank books and land papers. Pulse any cash or gold. Thais like to have gold Buddha’s chains etc.
    If you have problems with transport getting a Thai driving licence is not hard. And from the photos of where you live a small motor bike with a side car would be a simple option and not too dangerous as the roads look empty.
    I have found most doctors in Thailand can speak English, Might be worth spending a day locating the nearest clinic and hospitals near to you getting there address and phone numbers sorted out along with payment methods and any medical  insurance you might have.
        I find the local motor bike taxis can be very useful. I had been looking for some sulphuric acid for pickling copper. I spoke to a motor bike taxi drive showed him an old car battery used the Thai word for water and pretended to pour it into the battery. He smiled and went off.  Ten twenty minuets later he came back with a bottle of battery top up fluid. I tested it on a small piece of copper tube and it worked perfectly. 20 baht for 635 cc. I asked him to get another 24 bottles.  Again off on his bike only to return with two Leo beer boxes full of said acid balanced between his legs.  
    As I mentioned in an earlier post it takes time to learn the ways of Thailand but it is worth it. As you can’t change them.  


    admin Reply:


    Another great thank you for your comment. Such a lot of detail and advice for the newbie like me to retiring in Thailand.

    How Safe is a Safe?

    A safe (big very heavy one) is one of the first things I bought for the house. But how safe is it? Sure the casual thief would have no chance but what about the story I read about in Pattayah (could be Phucket) where the guy was robbed by a thief at gunpoint? With a gun pointed at your head your safe might not be so safe after all.

    Medical Care

    A good tip to get the addresses, telephone numbers etc as you said. An admin job well worth doing but I hate admin jobs. So is Kanyah.


    Thank you but no thank you. Too dangerous. Read my “Rank Bad Driving Wrecks My Budget” Post.

    Getting A Thai Driving License

    When you say it’s not hard are you starting from the position of already having a U.K. license?

    Or is it easy if you don’t have a U.K. license?

    Anyway I’ll find out tomorrow. Kanyah will be taking me to the driving license place. I expect to show my passport and Non O Visa, demonstrate that I can stop a car in their simulator and get my license.

    Will it be that easy? Only one way to find out.

    Pickling Acid

    Your story had me in fits of laughter!

    Two cases of hydrochloric acid between his knees on a motorcycle! Lucky Kanyah was nowhere in the vicinity.

    Lots to tell you about materials and shopping for model engineering supplies in Pakchong (Pak Chong) and about the model engineer’s paradise I found.

    Will follow up with all the info, photos and movies. By the way the cast iron looks lovely. I got two 5″ slices. Largest I could see was 8″ diameter but I did see some square chunks of it about 12 X 4 X 3 inches. Also I saw a lot of bronze for bearings up to about 3″ dia.

    Chok Dee
    Good Luck

    Alan and Kanyah Brown
    Surfin’ the World



  • Brian Corrigan:

    Alan you really must get rid of the socks.You are in the tropics and you don’t want to get  foot rot.


    admin Reply:

    Hi Brian and thanks for the tip.

    I wear socks usually when I’m wearing my trainers:-

    When driving the car (on our land only until I pass my test)
    When I’m working on the lathe in the model engineering workshop. The metal turnings (chips or swarf officially) fly off so hot they’r blue in colour. You don’t want those falling on bare feet!

    Otherwise it’s sandals on no socks.

    Best Regards



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