Posts Tagged ‘Baht’

How I Bought A Stunning Hi-Fi With Blu-Ray And DVD/CD Player In Pak Chong, Thailand

I Bought A Delightful Hi Fi And Cinema System In Pak Chong For A Fraction Of The Cost Of My UK Hi Fi

Learn From My Purchasing Tactics To Buy Your Dream System For A Song

You may find my purchasing tactics a bit strange but they worked for me.

I ended up with a superb Hi-Fi and home cinema system delivered to my do and installed and tested for a fraction of the cost I paid for my system in the UK. And it’s far better quality in delivering the sound and pictures.

My home hi fi and cinema centre cost well over £15,000 (750,000 Baht) but I bought a system in Pak Chong that delivers a better experience for only 43,820 Baht (£876.40) and we got a free electric barbeque and an electric kettle thrown in! Now on to the tips that you can use when shopping in Thailand to get such a bargain as I did – whatever it is you’re buying.

Video Showing The Hi Fi We Bought In Thailand

Hot Buying Tip No One – Buy A Fluorescent Light Fitting First

This will pay off handsomely as I explain below. To give you a guide here is a photo of the florescent light fitting I bought:-

Image of the Fluorescent Lighting Fitting Essential Equipment When Buying A Hi Fi In Thailand

Fluorescent Lighting Fitting – Essential Equipment When Buying A Hi Fi In Thailand

This is actually a LAMPTAN light fitting. you could try other makes but I can only vouch for a LAMPTAN light fitting. And here is the box it came in:-

Image of the Box From The Fluorescent Light - Essential To Buy A Hi Fi In Thailand

Box From The Fluorescent Light – Essential To Buy A Hi Fi In Thailand

Above the LAMPTAM fluorescent light fitting box. Now that you can have the box, you can throw the light fitting away. It’s just the box that is needed.

Next I Went To The Hi-Fi Shop And Looked At Some Systems

The hi-fi shop was actually not a hi-fi shop at all it was a do-it-yourself superstore called Home Pro. They sell kitchens, bathrooms, lighting (this is where I bought the Lamptan fitting), and all that kind of stuff for fixing up or fitting out a house.

Image of Signs Indicating Home Pro Thailand

Signs Indicating Home Pro Thailand

They also have a small section selling TVs and Audio systems.

I didn’t actually go to the store to buy an audio system either. I went to buy another light fitting like the one I had already and took the empty box along so that I could get the same model.

The Security Sticker – Don’t Steal Empty Boxes!

When I walked into the store with the empty Lamptan light fitting box an assistant stuck a sticker on it. this apparently is what they always do so if anyone takes anything into the store. the idea is that when you leave the store you show the sticker at the checkout point and they can’t accuse you of stealing the object.

I didn’t mind having their sticker on my cardboard box but thought it rather funny that they thought someone might want to steal an empty box!

Buying The Hi-Hi Audio System In The Home Pro Store At Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

Once in the Store with my empty Lamptan cardboard box with their sticker on it I went over to the Audio System stand and was quite taken with the clarity of one of the systems playing. It was badged as Pioneer which I recalled from a long time ago was an American reasonable make.

My Own Hi-Fi System In UK. Before I carry on with the story I should add that I am a bit of a Hi-Fi addict and have a superb system at home that cost well over £15,000 (($22,000 or 750,000 Baht).

That system has PMC Speakers and Cyrus electronics. Each loudspeaker has it’s own amplifier and each amplifier has it’s own power supply. The CD player also has it’s own power supply.

The clarity is superb. But it’s really not the right system for me. I play heavy rock music a la Creedence Clearwater Revival (AKA CCR) and I want a loud sound with full bass. This hi fi can’t give me that.

The Demo Of The Audio System In Home Pro

The audio salesman asked me if I wanted to hear any particular music since it was currently playing Thai music. He showed me a box of DVDs and CDs and I chose one called (can’t remember) but it turned out to be an American rock band which suited me fine. It was a DVD and the picture appeared on the TV of a live recording. The sound was excellent, plenty of deep bass.

The Last Day Today Sale

To cut a long negotiation story short the salesman kept offering me all kinds of price cuts and money-off vouchers (there was a sale on which I now know to be a permanent sale) saying that this was the last day I could get the system at that price.

I asked a lot of questions about what was included and couldn’t get a clear answer, except that he said ‘everything’ was included.

That didn’t satisfy me so I got the the salesman to point to each piece of equipment that was included in his price.

It seemed that there were five loudspeakers! Also it turned out that the DVD player wasn’t included.

So we had a negotiation on that and I bought a Blu Ray player that would also play DVDs and Audio CDs.

Also some cables weren’t included so we had a negotiation on that.

A Hi-Fi Schematic Drawn On An Empty Lamptan Light Fitting Box

To be absolutely sure I borrowed the salesman’s pen and drew each item of equipment on the only piece of paper I had which was our good friend the empty Lamptan Light fitting box.

You can see from the sketch that one HD cable was free but the other cable I had to buy.

Image of Hi Fi Schematic Drawn On Lamptan Box

Hi Fi Schematic Drawn On Lamptan Box

Click on the image above to see a bigger version. Opens in new window.

A Hi-Fi Quotation Drawn On An Empty Lamptan Light Fitting Box

It was the same story with the price.

I had to mark up the Lamptan box with what I thought the total price was.

I started out at 44,480 Baht then the salesman said no, it is 42,480, then he said to add 670 x 2 for the cables.

The total then became 45,040 – no 43,820 Baht!

Image showing Hi Fi Price Drawn On Lamptan Box

Hi Fi Price Drawn On Lamptan Box

Click on the image above to see a bigger version. Opens in new window.

I should add that the salesman spoke very little English hence the need to be clear with the Lamptan box what was included. I loved that Lamptan box!

Anyway we sealed the deal when he agreed to deliver the system and install it that same day. I paid for it using my U.K. Debit Card.

Installing The Hi Hi Audio System In Our Retirement House In Pakchong (Pak Chong)

The salesman and his worker duly turned up with the system and started to install it. He said we should have some shelves at the back of the sofa to put the small speakers and this was when I discovered we had bought a surround sound system.

Well we didn’t have the shelves so he just wired it up as it was in the shop.

Image showing Pioneer Hi Fi System In our Retirement House

Pioneer Hi Fi System In our Retirement House

Above, click on the image to see a bigger image. Opens in new window.

There were more speakers behind the TV!

Image showing More Pioneer Hi Fi Speakers Behind TV

More Pioneer Hi Fi Speakers Behind TV

After the salesman had left I put on some CCR rock music and turned the sound up.

It was terrific.

That sub woofer which has it’s own power supply and amplifier really got the floor vibrating.

Now we frequently put on some CCR CDs turn up the sound and go into the garden to listen to it!

The neighbour loves it and sometimes asks us to put it on and turn the sound up! They listen to it from their garden!

I don’t need to bring my Hi-Fi from the U.K. over after all.

The Surround Sound Experience

When our son Alex came to visit us a few weeks ago we watched a movie on DVD. The sound was absolutely fantastic.

When bullets were flying  I was ducking  out of their way and when helicopters were crashing the house shook with the nose of the impact.

It was fantastic.

Alex said it would be much better with the rear speakers in the correct position. Must put up those shelves one day.

The Pioneer Audio System Specification

I never bothered to ask the salesman any technical details of the system.

I would normally ask what the power rating are for example. I just bought it on the basis of the sound.

I still don’t know what the power ratings are.

But just in case you may considering buying a similar system I have scanned the technical details from the manuals that came with the system but that until now I have never opened!

When I opened the manuals not all of them had the specifications, so I got those from online.

First here is the list of equipment and the prices. This is from the Home Pro Receipt:-

Number Item Unit Total Description
101595 PIO VSX-523-K 1 EA 13,990 13,990 Multi-Channel AV Receiver
249646 SUBWOOFER PIONEER S-RS3SW 1 EA 6,000 6,000 Speaker-Woofer
101083 PIO ANDREW JONES SP-FS52-LR 1 EA 10,000 10,000 Speaker-Front
101083 PIO ANDREW JONES SP-C22 1 EA 4,000 4,000 Speaker-Center
101090 PIO ANDREW JONES SP-BS22-LR 1 EA 5,000 5,000 Speaker-Rear
100436 PIO BDP-150 1 EA 6,490 6,490 Blu Ray Player
281950 HDMI HAI HC-2018 1.8 M 2 EA 670 1,340 Cable
600061 TPW 1 EA 0 0 Installation?
TOTAL 46,820  Thai Baht
Less Voucher 3,000  Thai Baht
TOTAL to Pay 43,820 Thai Baht

Next here are the specifications for the loudspeakers:-

Enclosure SP-BS22-LRBass-reflex Bookshelf SP-C22Bass-reflex Center Channel SP-FS52Bass-reflex Floorstanding
Configuration 2-way 2-way 3-way
Frequency Range 55 Hz – 20 kHz 55 Hz – 20 kHz 40 Hz – 20 kHz
Nominal Impedance 6 Ohms 6 Ohms 6 Ohms
Sensitivity (2.83 V) 85 dB 88 dB 87 dB
Maximum Input Power 80W 90W 130W
Cross-Over Frequency 3 kHz 3 kHz 250 Hz & 3 kHz
Magnetically Shielded No Yes No
Dimensions (W x H x D inch) 7-1/8″ W 12-9/16″ H 8-7/16″ D 18-1/8″W 7-1/8″H 8-7/16″ D 8-7/8″ W 35-3/16″ H 10-5/8″ D
Weight (each) 91bs 2 oz 13 Ibs 7 oz 25 Ibs 13 oz
Woofer 4″ 4″ (x2) 5-1/4″ (x2)
Midrange N/A N/A 5-1/4″
Tweeter 1″ 1u 1″

And here is the Subwoofer specification:-

S-RS3SW Specification
Enclosure Bass Reflex
Driver 30cm Cone
Frequency Range 27 – 1000 Hz
Power Output (PEAK) 330 W
Power Output (RMS) 200 W
Dimensions (W x H x D) 360 x 437 x 455 mm
Weight 15.2 kg
Power Requirements AC 220-240 V 50/60 Hz
Power Consumption/Stand by 184 W/ – W

Then we have the amplifier specification which Pioneer call a Multi-Channel AV Receiver:-

VSX-523-K Specification
Audio Technologies
Phase Control Yes
MCACC Room Calibration Yes
Advanced MCACC Room Calibration Yes
Advanced Sound Retriever Yes (2 ch)
Auto Level Control Yes (2 ch)
Video Technologies
Ultra HD (4K) Pass Through Yes
Deep Colour Yes
 x.v.Colour Yes
Audio Formats & Licenses
DTS-HD/Dolby TrueHD Yes
DSD Playback (2.8 MHz) Yes (Disc)
Sophisticated Listening Modes
Front Stage Surround Advance Yes
Connectivity
HDMI™ (3D, ARC) Yes
Made for iPod and iPhone Yes
Digital Audio from iPod/iPhone via USB Yes
Front USB Input Yes
Advanced Control
Standby Pass-Through without CEC Yes
HDMI Standby Input Switching Yes
Auto Power Down Yes
Terminals
HDMI Input/Output 04-Jan
USB Input 1
Digital Coaxial Input 1
Digital Optical Input 1
Preamp Output 0.1 ch (SW)
Audio Input 1
AV (Composite) Input 2
Monitor Video Output (to TV): Component/Composite 0/1
Specifications
Power Output (1 kHz, THD 1 %, 6 ohms 1ch Drive)
Front 125 W/ch
Centre 125 W
Surround 125 W/ch
Dimensions (W x H x D) 435 x 168 x 331.5 mm
Weight 8.3 kg
Power Requirements (depends on region) AC 110-127/220-240 V
50/60 Hz
Power Consumption/During Standby 415 W/0.1 W

And finally you will want to see the Blu-Ray PIO BDP-150 player specification which you see by clicking here.

Here are the system details and specifications online:- http://www.pioneer.my/ProductDetail/default.asp?ProductId=1242&CatId=210 http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/Blu-ray-Disc/Pioneer-Blu-ray-Disc-Players/BDP-150

I’m sure you’ll agree that it is a superb system?

Shame I can’t demonstrate CCR playing on it for you.

But I Can Show You Some CCR Music Right Here

I didn’t get into CCR thirty or forty years ago when they were in their prime. In fact my journey of discovering CCR and the music of the founder John Fogerty started a couple of years ago right here in Pakchong (Pak Chong) at the Pakchong Cowboy City Countdown 2011. Here is a video I took featuring the CCR Song “Bad Moon Rising”.

Thai Video Movie #4 – Pakchong Cowboy City Countdown 2011 – Bad Moon Rising

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bad Moon Rising lyrics:-

I see the bad moon arisin’
I see trouble on the way
I see earthquakes and lightnin’
I see bad times today

Don’t go around tonight
Well, it’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise

I hear hurricanes a-blowin
I know the end is comin’ soon
I fear rivers overflowin’
I hear the voice of rage and ruin

Don’t go around tonight

Well, it’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise
Alright

Hope you got your things together
Hope you are quite prepared to die
Looks like we’re in for nasty weather
One eye is taken for an eye

Well don’t go around tonight
Well, it’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise

Don’t go around tonight
Well, it’s bound to take your life
There’s a bad moon on the rise

Remembering Two Years Ago

This CCR song reminds me of two years ago when we went to the Pakchong Cowboy City Countdown 2011 – Happy New Year 1 (plenty of movies on that page).

It was at that time (Dec 2011) that we were negotiating a contract to build our house with our first builder, Pongsak. The contract was signed on 2 January 2011. Now it seems like light years away, but it was only two years.

The Pakchong Cowboy City Countdown 2011 – Happy New Year festival will be on again this year. I don’t know if I will go or not. It’s late at night and I’m normally in bed at 8 pm or before.

We’ll see.

 

Getting A Thai Driving License – The Driving Test

I’m out this morning in our Toyota Vigo Hilux pickup getting some practice for my This driving license test this afternoon.

I could find more interesting and enjoyable things to do on Friday afternoons but heh it’s got to be done.

It’s years since I drove the pickup and I never did any serious or close-up reversing. The truck is just too big and visibility too poor to do anything but basic reversing.

But the Thai driving tests requires you to reverse into a car parking spot.

Under the Thai driving laws you are supposed to do that with the wheels not more than 250 mm from the curb. I don’t know yet if that is a requirement of this afternoon’s test but I’m practicing it all the same.

I can just about manage it now but not at any particular longitudinal position. If i had a s,all car it would be a piece of cake. I have read on various websites that you can hire a car just for the test on the day for 100 Baht and if that’s available I’ll probably do that.

So today it’s do a bit of typing here, go practice reversing, do a bit in the workshop, practice reversing etc.

 

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.

I Open A Bank Account In Pakchong (Pak Chong) Thailand

 Post Added Wednesday 7th August 2013

I Couldn’t Believe How Easy It Was To Open A Bank Account In Thailand

For my retirement in Thailand it was essential that I obtain a Thai Bank account. I had already bought the land and built a retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, and had moved there to retire just over a week ago

After years of worrying, waiting, researching and preparation I finally took the plunge and went into the Kasikorn Bank in Pakchong (Pak Chong) and asked to open a Bank Account.

Photo of Kasikorn Bank Pakchong Branch

Kasikorn Bank Pakchong Branch

Above, I’m just about to enter this bank, the Pakchong (Pak Chong) branck of Thailand’s Kasikorn Bank to open a bank account. I’m a bit apprehensive.

Why We Chose the Kasikorn Bank

Kanyah had always had a bank account with the Thai Farmers bank, but somehow in the distant past it was closed.

When living in the UK and Kanyah was preparing to go to Thailand (this is quite a few years ago) we wanted to open a bank account for her in Thailand that would be easy for me to send money to from my U.K. Lloyds bank account.

Lloyds recommended the Kasikorn bank as it was their reciprocal bank in Thailand. So she opened an account with Kasikorn bank.

As it turns out the Kasikorn bank used to be called the Thai Farmers bank. It appears that “Thai farmer” is pronounced Kasikorn the Thai language. So it seems they just changed the name to be more recognisable with the Thais.

Image of the Translation of the Kasikorn Bank Branch Logo

Translation of the Kasikorn Bank Branch Logo

Anyway here are the reasons then why I chose the Kasikorn bank:-

  • Kanyah had a bank account there. I thought that would make it easier for me to open an account.
  • Reciprocal bank to my Lloyds bank in U.K. – easier to send money.
  • I already had set up bank transfers from my Lloyds U.K. bank account to Kanyah’s Kasikorn bank. (Including a Standing Order transferring my pension) It would be easy to change these over to my account.

Tips On How To Get A Thai Bank Account

I had heard so many stories on various Thai forums about foreigners (farangs) being refused a bank account or being required to have various documents like a letter from the foreigner’s Embassy in Bangkok, the Thai wife’s house book and more.

I had read various tips on what you need to do to improve the probability of being granted permission to open a bank account in Thailand.

One tip I did take up was to dress smartly. Yes, I was wearing a neatly ironed white shirt crisply pressed black trousers and polished black shoes. Kanyah also dressed up for the part with smart trousers, proper shoes and a neat top, I was taking no chances!

Another tip I took up was to take plenty of cash with me for the deposit. the idea is to look as though you intend to do serious business with the bank. So I had 30,000 Baht in fresh 1,000 Baht notes to deposit into the account.

The last tip I had read about and which I also followed was to take a letter written by Kanyah with our house address on it English and Thai stating that I lived in the house and asking the bank to open an account for me.

It took me days to prepare that letter – including getting the address translated from Thai and getting it written on paper in neat Thai writing. I’ll show you the letter later.

Opening this bank account was a do or die thing for me. I simply MUST have one if I am to stay retired in Thailand.

Lets see how we got on at the bank.

How I Opened A Bank Account In Thailand

Close-up Photo of Kasikorn Bank Pakchong Branch

Kasikorn Bank Pakchong Branch – Close-Up

On entering the bank we were approached immediately by a bank official and asked what we wanted. Kanyah told her that I wanted to open a bank account. Kanyah had already taken a waiting ticket from the ticked machine so the bank official invited us to sit down and wait until our number came up.

A minute later our number was called and went to sit at one of the Customer Service desks. The bank lady behind the counter was quite young and I wondered to myself if she would know what to do.

As soon as Kanyah had stated our business she asked for my passport (speaking English) and turned to the non O multiple-entry visa page. I also showed her the letter from Kanyah. She glanced at it but wasn’t interested really.

She seemed satisfied with that and what followed was a loot of her clicking on the computer keyboard and organising a few forms. Seemed like everything was going ahead!

At one stage she asked about my address and I showed her Kanyah’s letter. She seemed to compare the two versions of the address I had put at the top of the letter – the English and Thai versions. it didn’t look as though she was typing my address into the computer though and I couldn’t see the screen so I can’t say that categorically.

When she asked if I wanted an ATM card I naturally said yes and had to pay 500 Baht for that.

The bank lady certainly knew exactly what to do and what forms to use. It was as though she did this all day every day.

At one stage she asked for my telephone number and not having one in Thailand we used Kanyah’s, that seemed to be quite important.

I had to put my signature on a few Forms – I have no idea what they were for being entirely in Thai – I handed the 30,000 Thai Baht over and suddenly it was all over – almost.

She handed over a few documents:-

  • Bank Book just like Kanyah’s. This you can update at the machine by pushing it in the machine.
  • An ATM card
  • A Receipt for my 30,000 Baht deposit
  • A PIN number in a sealed envelope

But we weren’t finished. She asked us to go over to an ATM in the bank where there was another Thai lady bank official. This time the conversation – or at least part of it was in English. The lady at the desk had spoken 90% in Thai – when she spoke – because she said very little.

Anyway the lady at the ATM put my ATM card in the ATM machine, opened the PIN number and entered it into the ATM.

After pressing a few buttons I was asked to enter my own PIN and presto the PIN was changed.

Next we had to enter a telephone number and to sect the telephone company. There was a bit of confusion there because Kanyah gave the wrong name for the telephone company, but eventually we got it right again using Kanyah’s phone number.

Then it was all over! I had my Thai Bank Account.

The whole process had taken just about half an hour from start to finish. A few Sawatdee’s and we were outside.

Checking My ATM Card and Bank Book

Back home I inspected the ATM Card and the Bank Book.

Security Feature

The following images are scans of the genuine articles. However the numbers have been digitally altered for security reasons.

The Thai Bank ATM Card

Image of Alan's Kasikorn Thai Bank ATM K - Debit Card Scanned

Alan’s Kasikorn Thai Bank ATM K – Debit Card

The ATM Card came in a little plastic wallet and both were 95% in the Thai language.

On the front of the card was a green sticker with a Headline and a message in a ‘Window’.

Kanyah translated these roughly as;-

Headline:- “Read Before Use”

Window:- “You can watch a movie using this card for 100 Baht, normally 140 Baht.

There was also a web address where it said you can check your account:-

www.askkbank.com/kdebitcard

I tried that but there was a hitch – see below.

It had a place to sign your name on the back so did that.

The Thai Bank Book

Scan of Alan's Kasikorn Thai Bank Account Book

Alan’s Kasikorn Thai Bank Account Book

This had my name, my account number and the balance – 30,000 Baht.

My address did not appear.

Registering A ATM Card At The Kasikorn Website

I went to the website at www.askkbank.com/kdebitcard and looked for a “Register” link.

There wasn’t one but there was a “Log in” link in English. This took me to a log-in page but it was clear that this was for people already registered.

Underneath the Log-In Form there were two links, both 100% in the Thai language. I could read the “Click Here” on both links and tried the first one.

Screenshot of Thai Kasikorn Bank K-Card Website - Registration Form

Thai Kasikorn Bank K-Card Website – Registration Form

Sure enough this took me to a registration page and I started to fill in the Form.

One mandatory field was a telephone number. It seems that a telephone number is a vital piece of ID in Thailand. Guess I’ll have to get one.

One field asked if I was Thai or Foreign. As soon as I clicked foreign another Field can up “Passport Code” and a message saying “Please fax certified copy of passport to number 0 2562 8714″.

Screenshot of Thai Kasikorn Bank K-Card Website - Registration Form - Passport Field

Thai Kasikorn Bank K-Card Website – Registration Form – Passport Field

At this point the process obviously stopped because I didn’t have a certified copy of my passport and what’s more I don’t know how to get one in Pakchong (Pak Chong). Maybe I’ll go back to the Kasikorn bank and ask them…

… so watch this story.

Other Facts About The Thai Kasikorn Bank ATM Card

Kanyah said the there are other benefits you are entitled to as a holder of a Kasikorn ATM Card (which the bank seems to call a K – Debit Card, or just a K-Card).

For example, she said you automatically are insured for hospital treatment up to (200,000? Baht) in case of accident.

Also you can use it in shops to buy things. (Well it is a debit card!)

This is the K – Debit Card features page but it’s all in Thai:-

https://mycard.kbankcard.com/TH/KDebitCard/Pages/KDebitCardFeature.aspx

I’ll get it translated so again, watch this space.

 

 

 

Is Retiring In Thailand As Wonderful As They Say? My Impression After A Few Days Trying It

Post Added Saturday 3rd August 2013

Note to people already living in Thailand.

Some of these observations will seem trivial to you. Later on I’m sure they will to me two. But catching and recording first impressions is important and you only have one chance to do it.

After I have been living in Thaland for a while and get used to the place I dare say there will be less commonplace things to write about. So let me put it all down in the beginning for posterity’s sake.

Proof I’m Actually Retired In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

Before we get into the story here let me first prove that I am actually in Thailand and at our retirement home inPakchong (Pak Chong). And what better way to do than than with a photo:-

Photo of Alan In Pakchong On His First Day Of Retireent In Thailand

Alan In Pakchong On His First Day Of Retireent In Thailand

Now On To The Retiring In Thailand Story

It’s 0415 on Saturday morning and I’m wide a wake again. So nothing better to do than to write about the few days I have been here since my inaugural retirement flight to Thailand. on Monday 29th August, 2013.

In fact it will do me good to get everything off my chest that I have been doing, thinking about and noting down over the last few days. I wake up every morning with a new Post to write in my head and it just gets worse if i don’t write it.

So here goes…

Day One Of Retiring In Thailand – Tuesday 30 July 2013

Collected at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi aiport by Kanyah at about 1545 – with a driver in tow, her nephew called Peng. She doesn’t like driving long distances and always finds someone to drive for her.

1605 on the road to Pakchong (Pak Chong) and arrived in Pakchong (Pak Chong) at around 1630 after a smoking break for Kanyah.

Arriving towards our house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), I bought few cold beers from the local shop. Leo beer not too strong and 50 Baht a bottle. (About £1.05 or $1.60)

A few minutes unwinding at the house where Kanyah introduced my to her ‘gardener’ who had cut the lawn for her the day before, a guy called “On” also from Prong Sai – a tiny wizened character with half his teeth missing which didn’t stop him grinning from ear to ear and sporting a goaty black beard. I noted the temperature – a cool 28 deg C outside and 25 deg C in the house, this being the rainy season.

Kanyah made me give 1,000 Baht each to On and Peng for their help. I thought that was a bit steep but there’s another more important point here. Since (apart from my pension) my income has stopped we can’t afford to live the way we did before. Kanyah never did anything herself around the house – she always employed the locals to do it.

Well we have now got to start to do things ourselves.

Then it was all four of us of to a local ‘restaurant’ for a meal. I took care to make a note of the name of the restaurant and the cost of the food, as I’ll explain next.

The meal including three beers cost 520 Baht. Take out the beers and it’s 340 Baht or 85 baht/person. (About £1.80 or $2.7)

Cost Of Living In Thailand

Of all the questions I get this is the most frequent “Can I live on $1,250 a month in Thailand?”. The amount varies but it’s always around $1,200 a month.

Well in order to answer the question accurately and also for my own information since I’m on a fixed pension, I started to take note of all our expenditures.

I’ll put all the details on a separate page for everyone to pour over – or not as the case may be.

Day 2 Of Retiring In Thailand – Wednesday 31 July 2013

This was the day I wrote the Retirement Flight To Bangkok, Thailand Post starting at 3AM!

Pottered around in the model engineering workshop and unpacked my bags, then we went to the Tesco Lotus supermarket – a visit quickly abandoned. Since Kanyah claimed to have no money I tried the ATMs but kept getting my UK Bank Debit card rejected.

I had some cash from my last visit so tried to buy an Internet SIM card for my AIS dongle. The normal shop “Telewiz” was closed and none of the other mobile phone shops could help. Then at about 1005 the Telewiz shop opened and bought the SIM card. Unlimited access for a month and a maximum of 5 GB data for 850 Bhat.

Next I tried to buy a case of Leo beer. But they told me (via Kanyah and in Thai) that until 1600 they couldn’t serve alcohol. Kind of. It seems that I could buy 16 bottles of Leo beer. (A case of 12 plus 4 loose ones) Very strange I thought.

Update Added on my next trip to Tesco

Next time I went to Tesco I saw this sign in Thai and English:-

Liquor Selling Time

1100-1400, 1700-2400

 No time restriction for purchases more than 10 litres at a time.

 

An attempt to reduce unsocial  behavior? I guess the idea is that people buying 10 litres are likely to be taking them home and not drinking them in the streets?

By the way, the Leo beer was 249 Baht a case. That’s 41.25 Baht/bottle (£0.88 or $1.33). That’s about half price of cheap beer in UK from an economy supermarket like Lidle or Aldi.

Why Leo Beer?

Well, it doesn’t seem too strong and it doesn’t give me the hangover that I invariably get if I drink Chang or Singha. I hate strong beers. Except for some English beers of course – particularly stouts and porters.

Thai beers are typically  well over 5% plus and Chang is 6 % or over.

I can’t actually see the strength of the beer on a Leo bottle. Perhaps it’s too weak they don’t want to admit it? A quick internet search reports it to be 5% but it certainly doesn’t feel like it. (Note, since then I have found the alcoholic strength of the Leo bear. It us printed on the bottle and it’s 5%)

Anyway, back to the plot, after the aborted Tesco trip we went home to get on the Internet and try to get my card authorised for use in Thailand. Couldn’t do that at Tesco because Kanyah had left her phone at home.

About two hours of messing trying to get in touch with the Bank none of the phone numbers worked neither on Skype nor on Kanyah’s phone – and finally got through on Skype using a number saved from my last trip. OK the card is now cleared for use in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia – all places we intend visiting although Kanyah doesn’t know about that yet!

Back To Tesco For More Upset

Back at Tesco the card worked and I had the cash to do some shopping.

What a miserable disappointment that turned out to be.

I Hate Tesco Lotus in Thailand.

In Thailand Tesco is a culture killer. It is pushing all these convenience and Western style products and packaging on the Thais instead of selling really fresh local produce in loose form.

I wanted to make (and I did later – kind of) a favourite dish of mine a simply tomato curry.

But in Tesco they…

  • only had one kind of fresh tomatoes and these were cherry tomatoes in a tiny plastic carton
  • had no large onions. (Spanish type). They only had red onion.
  • did not have any large “fresh” dried prawns only tiny “hard” dried prawns.
  • had no dried or desiccated coconut or any kind of coconut come to that.

All the above I can buy in the UK.

It’s shameful that such common ingredients aren’t available from Tesco Lotus in Pakchong (Pak Chong).

On the way home I had lunch at the local roadside shack – Thai noodle soup (Quiteo) 25 Baht (£0.85 or $0.80) and a Leo beer at 50 Baht.

At home I spent an hour with Kanyah trying to work out the price of the things we bought from the Tesco receipt. We got most of it I think, but Kanyah really struggled to understand the Tesco receipt.

For what it’s worth I’ll put the receipt and the English translation on the Cost of Living in Thailand Page.

Then it was time to make the tomato curry (with the wrong or missing ingredients).

Quick Time Check and Why This Is Important

It’s now 0645, the sun is shining, it’s light and bright and a comfortable 22 deg C.

I’ve been typing here for 2 1/2 hours and still have a tone more to write about and movies and photos to upload.

I should now be in the model engineering workshop making my model steam engine and that’s what I’ll do in a minute.

The point I’m making is that I could spend all day on this blog writing and recording with photos and movies what life is like retiring in Thailand.

But that wouldn’t get my steam models built. So I’ll give it a rest now and come back later.

Saturday 3rd August

Today we went to the Market in Pakchong (Pak Chong).

Normally, I wouldn’t make any point of this or bother to write about it. After all, I have been to Thai markets so many times and probably so have you.

So what’s different this time?

A lot! All previous visits to Thai markets have been on a ‘need something’ basis. Need it – find it as fast as possible – and leave.

Not this time. This time our visit was recreational. Since I have now ‘retired’ in Thailand I can afford some recreation time and what better than to wander through the market with no time pressure and take movies and photos of things that you would normally just pass by?

I took loads of photos and movies – far too many to post here.

I marveled at the stalls selling every part on an animal’s anatomy, pigs heads, pigs ears, stomachs, intestines and you name it if it’s from an animal it’s for sale here. The only thing I can’t be sure of is which animal it’s from!

There were live animals too. Live eels and fish. Live turtles and frogs.

All presumably destined for the cooking pot.

So many photos also many videos I’ll put them all on a new page separate from this Post. Just as a taster I’ll show this photo:-

Image Showing Pakchong Market Thailand Pigs Heads Stall

Pakchong Market Thailand Pigs Heads Stall

Apart from the market stuff we went to some other shops to buy things for my workshop:-

  • Steel Blanks for the lathe
  • Electrical test meter to fix the gate lights
  • Locks to replacethe broken ones on the workshop windows
  • New watch batteries for my measuring instruments
  • Screwdriver set

Not a glamorous list at all but it just demonstrates that I’m busy and not just sitting back ‘waiting for the next crossword’ as Alex put it in his email on the “Here To Stay” Post.

Sunday 4th August

Another trip to Tesco Lotus at Pakchong (Pak Chong).

There are some useful stalls outside Tesco Lotus (on their site)

I bought a pair of shorts two inches too big for me! Cost 100 Baht for those interested in the cost of living in Thailand. The lady searched for at least twenty minutes looking for my size amongst a great big pile of clothes and then she dived under the stall to open a huge bundle of other clothes ‘just come in’. I felt obliged to buy something.

Heh, they’re fine for the workshop and generally messing around in.

Monday 5th August

I don’t have any notes for that day except that we spent 90 Baht on dinner.

Model Engineering Workshop

Every day I am in the workshop working on my  models and making tools to make the models.

I take videos and photos of everything I do with a view to putting them on the other website Model Engineering Thailand. (Nothing there yet – just an empty website)

So Is Retiring In Thailand Bliss Or Not?

Not Bliss. But if I work at it maybe I can get used to it.

I know I would enjoy retiring in UK – if I could afford to. I’m missing the usual list of things I like about the UK.

So what is here in Thailand that I can’t enjoy in England?

Is it the weather – often cited as a reason to go to Thailand? Not really. When I left the UK it was a hot summer with temperatures up to 28 deg C.

Here it’s about the same but more consistent and more humid.

It’s the rainy season so it’s a bit cooler than normal about 30 deg C in the day time dropping to about 26 deg C at night. I must say this is the best weather I have experienced in Thailand. Despite being the rainy season it doesn’t rain every day. We have just had a week with no rain.

And when it does rain it’s not for long and it’s still warm.

No, it’s definitely not the weather.

So what is it then that’s better here than in the U.K.?

My Top Five Reasons To Enjoy Retiring In Thailand

Here’s a list of bullet points:-

  • Bullet Point No. 1
  • Bullet Point No. 2
  • Bullet Point No. 3
  • Bullet Point No. 4

I couldn’t even think of bullet point No. 5!

I’ll come back and fill those in if I can think of anything.

PS Don’t Misunderstand Me

Please don’t leave this page thinking that I’m a miserable old Geezer!

I am definitely enjoying my retirement in Thailand.

Stuff working (i.e. as in going to work to earn a living) – this is far better.

It’s just that I’d be just as happy retiring in the U.K.

Kanyah

Perhaps the main difference between here and the U.K. is that Kanyah is here. It’s really nice for her to have me beside her and she wouldn’t be happy in the U.K. on a long-term basis.

So lets not think about is Thailand a better place for me to retire to from my perspective.

From Kanyah’s perspective it’s a 1000 times better. I know because she told me.

 

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