Two Accidents In As Many Hours – And Why You Need A Ton Of Money To Retire In Thailand

Post Added Wednesday 7th August 2013

No sooner had my spirits been elated by the success of opening my Thai Bank Account in Pakchong (Pak Chong) I was immediately deflated by what happened next.

Kanyah Knocked A Woman Of Her Motorcycle

I have seen, as we all have. the ‘heroic’ driving of the motorcyclists in Thailand.

So often you will see on a tiny moped type motorcycle a Mum with two or three kids none of them wearing crash helmets, or a cyclist carrying some huge load balanced on their shoulder or on the floor plate.

Image of Typical Thai Family on Motorcycle

Typical Thai Family on Motorcycle

On the shoulder it could be wood, plastic pipe or steel bar for reinforced concrete. On the floor plate it could be 5 gallons of water or two crates of battery acid!

Irrespective of the load these motorcyclists weave between moving cars with apparently little regard for anybody’s safety including their own.

It’s Just A Joke Until It Happens To You!

They do it all day and every day. Weaving in and out overtaking and undertaking big heavy loads and little kids aboard. it’s the Thai way and the Thais get used to it.

But when someone is hurt in an accident then all the risk-taking and bravado comes home to roost.

Thai Woman In Grisly Motor Cycle Accident in Thailand

Thai Woman In Grisly Motor Cycle Accident in Thailand

And it may not even have been the motorcyclists fault as it wasn’t in our case.

The Pictures Above Not My Photos

The above are not the photos of Kanyah’s FIRST accident today. I didn’t take any because I didn’t think about it – I was too engaged in looking after the injured woman.

Kanyah’s First Accident Of The Day

Leaving the Kasikorn Bank where I had just opened my Thai Bank account we went to the backstreets of Pakchong to drop off a duvet (yes, a duvet) at the laundry.

Then heading off towards home Kanyah missed her turning. A U turn was needed.

Cursing the traffic coming from behind which took an age to abate Kanyah waited impatiently at the roadside. When the stream of cars subsided as viewed in the rear view mirror, she spotted her moment.

Without any signal, and not checking the wing mirror she swung the Toyota pickup towards the centre of the road. I heard a Bang and then witnesses a Thai woman and a motorcycle skidding along the road in front of the car.

I leapt out and could see that the woman was injured at her knee and ankle and could see oil coming out f the motorcycle gearbox.

My first instincts were to get the woman off the road and I lifted her under her shoulders and helped her to sit on a seat that at the roadside. I then moved the motor bike to the same spot.

I can tell you I was distraught.

“We have to take her to the Hospital” I said to Kanyah as a small group of people gathered.

I couldn’t see any broken bones but her knee was swollen up and it looked to me like it was dislocated. She seemed more preoccupied with her foot which was bleeding.

I checked our car and there were a few marks on the wheel but no body damage. The motorcycle however was a different matter.

I was still anxious about the Thai lady’s health and of course me wallet. If this was in the UK the police would be there, an ambulance would be called and a big insurance claim would be following.

I could see a claim for a new motorcycle and personal injuries coming my way.

After a while, with Kanyah getting involved an agreement was reached.

The lady didn’t want to go to hospital but Kanyah would take her to a nearby shop where she worked.

A couple of guys- one from the nearby motorcycle repair shop diagnosed the broken gear shift and wind shield amongst others and took it off to be repaired. One guy on the broken motorcycle and the other guy pushing him with his foot whilst riding his own motorcycle. It looked like they did this stunt every day.

At the shop which had a pharmacy some first aid was administered.

The lady was given 1,000 Baht for her discomfort and Kanyah’s telephone number to call when the bike was fixed.

 The Abundant Generosity Of The Thai People

What struck me through all of this was the generous pragmatism of the Thai people.

  • The lady didn’t want to sue us for thousands in damages.
  • She didn’t want to go to hospital which may have escalated the situation.
  • The guys from the motorcycle shop were pragmatic in taking the machine to get it repaired.
  • It was apparent that a repair of the broken parts of the motorcycle only would be acceptable.

Compare that with the rip-off stories you her from the jet-ski operators at Phuket and Pattayah.

The Motorcycle is Fixed

The next day Kanyah had a phone call from the Thai lady to say that the motorcycle had been fixed.

We went to meet her at the shop and then walked across the road to the motor cycle repair shop.

New gear lever, wind shield and mirror plus a few other things I wasn’t taking in. I was too busy counting out the 1,950 Baht for the repair bill.

We left on good terms with everyone.

The Second Car Accident

This happened only a couple of hours after the one described above.

After the motorcycle accident we were both feeling a bit low.

Kanyah suggested that we go to Rabiang Chom View for lunch. It’s only 5 minutes from our home in Pakchong and has nice views over the hills. It’s a ‘proper’ restaurant and has a huge menu with many dishes we have both not tried before.

The food is excellent but the place is rather quiet. I have never seen more than three tables occupied and it was the same this time.

We enjoyed our lunch and went home.

The I saw a huge dent in the front wing of the pickup. The photo below is real.

Photo of Our Toyota Pickup Wing Dented in Accident

Our Toyota Pickup Wing Dented in Accident

This definitely was not a result of the motorcycle accident since I had checked the car for damage at the time.

It could only have happened when the car was parked at the Rabiang Chom View restaurant.

Kanyah phoned up the insurance company and they sent a gut to see us the next day (Thurday). He drove all the way from Korat – a two hour drive.

He took notes and photos and gave us the news.

There was a 1,000 Baht excess on the policy so we would have to pay that directly to the garage where we have it fixed.

Kanyah’s Insurance Policy would not increase on renewal as a result but normally it would drop by around 3,000 Baht with no claims. So we would be losing the 3,000 Baht on the insurance renewal plus the 1,000 Baht excess.

We took the car to the recommended car body repair shop who then said that they no longer deal with our insurance company. The nearest garage they new who was still affiliated with our insurance company was many miles away, they said.

About to go back home and I asked Kanyah to ask them how much it would cost if we had it fixed privately.

They said 3,000 Baht so since that gave us a ‘saving’ of 1,000 Baht and no more travelling the deal was done. We were to take the car in for repair on Tuesday after the Queens Birthday on Monday.

They took three days to fix it much to my surprise and chagrin and we were marooned in our house (not a bad place to be I might add) as explained on the Held Hostage for 5 Days in My Own Home in Pakchong Post.

The Hidden Message Here I Have Often Repeated

The most common question i get is along the lines of “Can I live in Thailand for $1,200 a month?”.

It’s a silly question and the answer is of course you can. the normal cost of labour in Thailand is around 300 Baht a day, 7,200 Baht or 232 US Dollars a month.

$1,200 is four times that so of course you can live in it. Provided you are only counting your everyday living costs.

As I keep saying, everyday living costs in Thailand are low.

On the day of the two accidents we spent 420 Baht for the lunch at Rabiang Chom View and 120 Baht for dinner at the local ‘food shack’.

But look at our other expenses not related to everyday living:-

Reparation to Motorcycle Lady 1,000
Fix the Motorcycle 1,950
Fix our car 3,000
Travelling to take our car and to pick it up. (Car, Bus and motorcycle Taxis) 150
Bank Account ATM Card 500
Total Non-recurring Expenditure 6,600 Baht

6,600 Baht ($212) spent in one day on items not part of everyday living costs.

That’s completely blown my budget for the week – all in one day!
It’s these extra costs that nobody allows for that tell the real cost of living in Thailand.

Here are few more examples that we expect to have to pay for at one time or another:-

  • Hospital treatment
  • Dental treatment
  • House maintenance
  • Car maintenance and repair
  • Air tickets
  • Cost of keeping the house in U.K.
  • Travel for visas and visa costs
  • Internet costs (850 Baht/Month)

All those are potential huge costs that will far outweigh everyday living expenses.

And I have not even mentioned my very expensive model engineering hobby, holidays, cost of bringing belongings from U.K. allowance for inflation and so on.

And if you don’t own your own home in Thailand there will be the rent to pay.

So forget about everyday living costs in Thailand. Work out all the big ticket items in the list above (plus some) and you’ll get better idea of retirement costs in Thailand.


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One Response to “Rank Bad Driving Wrecks My Budget”

  • Len:

    Keep I mind that the government wants to raise the taxes on beer and alcohol. Your list
    also forgot the “tea” money. Everything adds up but your should be fine. One day
    6,600 baht the next 4-5 days 500 baht – there are always bad days but it usually evens
    out.

    [Reply]

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