Posts Tagged ‘Journey’

Does Anyone Know Where I Can Buy Guinness Foreign Extra Stout In Thailand?

Following the success at opening my Thai Bank Account and obtaining my Thai Driving License I’m hot on the heels of my next challenge on my retiring in Thailand journey:- Finding some decent beer.

Many years ago somewhere on the coast just south of Bangkok around the area of Samut Sakhon I enjoyed a few delightful bottles of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout sometimes also called Guinness Export.

Now it seems to have disappeared completely from the Thai market.

Can anyone please help me to get a pickup or two full of crates of the stuff?

Its The Real Guinness Foreign Extra Stout I’m Talking About

I’m not talking about the normal draft Guinness (but I will be a bit later) but the special Guinness brewed for export. It has a lovely real-ale flavour and is possibly bottle-conditioned. It’s around 7% alcohol by volume (ABV) but this varies from country to country.

I have had it in England and also in Nigeria where it’s very popular.

This movie shows you what Guinness Foreign Extra Stout is:-

Where Can I Buy Normal Draft Guinness?

Since I’ll probably draw a blank on finding supplies of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout I’ll ask if anyone can tell me where to buy normal draft Guinness as sold in the bars in Bangkok and other holiday resorts.

I’m really looking for a keg of it that is dispensed with a tap and a bottle of CO2 (or Nitrogen?)

Failing that where can I buy a few cans of the stuff?

Nearest big Tesco to us at Saraburi doesn’t sell Guiness of any sort.

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Our Retiring In Thailand Project Seems To Be In Deep Trouble

This is just a quick text update on out retiring in Thailand house-build project. Since I arrived here in Pakchong on Friday 22 April, 2011, we (myself and my Thai wife, Kanyah) seem to have been very busy, but not accomplished much.

In fact the house build project seems to be in serious trouble. (I say ‘seems’ because you can never quite get to the truth about things here in Thailand.)

I have taken a ton of videos and some photos here in Thailand to show you and I’ll start uploading them to the website over the next few days. In the mantime here is a quick synopsis of what we have been up to in the last 7 days.

  1. Day 1. Friday 22 April arrived in Thailand 1500 local time and met by family and friends at the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport. Went to Kanyah’s daughter’s house (her daughter’s name is Daeng) in Bangkok for an hour, picked up some of Kanyah’s belongings and then driven to Pakchong in our Toyota Hilux Viga pickup by Kanyah. That journey normally takes two hours but we wasted two hours trying to get out of Bangkok and on to the road to Pakchong! ‘They’ blamed the new roadworks and bridge build that was going on as the reason they they couldn’t find the way..All I know is that after spending 18 hours travelling to Thailand I wasn’t very happy at spending two hours trying to get out of Bangkok and then another three hours driving to Pakchong…
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  3. Day 2. Saturday 23 April. Visited the Thailand retirement house build plot and met the builder. Discussed a whole load of issues then went to the wood merchant to agree on the wood for the walls and floor and then to Home Pro to select doors and sanitaryware.

    Buying Wood For The Wooden Floors from The Wood Merchant In Pakchong (Pakchong), Thailand
    Before we went to the wood merchant, I had a look at the few lengths of wood on site. The wood was tongue-and-groove and quite narrow and thin. Many of the planks had large areas of discolouration - white colour – which even when stained still remained noticeably lighter than the darker areas of the wood. Not at all what I was expecting.

When we arrived at the wood merchant in Pakchong I must admit I was most disappointed by the lack of variety and poor quality of the wood available. I have learned a lot bout the kinds of hardwoods in Thailand and will do a separate article on wood and the hardwoods of Thailand and South East Asia later. (I’m talking about woods like Teak (obviously) Mai Makah, Mai Pradoo and many others.

I expected to see all these woods at the wood merchant, but was told that no, these woods are not available in Thailand. In fact the only wood they had was “Mai Malay” – a hard redwood from Malaysia. The wood offered was well undersized (1″ by 6″ was specified by my Thai Architect on the house plans), more like 5/8″ instead of 1″ when I measured it. O.K. I know that 1″ is nominal and sawn size and that the planed size is less, but 5/8″? Somebody is pulling a fast one here.

Many of the planks were bent (in the horizontal plane) and had the white discolouration of the planks that I saw back at the site.

After much complaining (by me)  I selected a short (about 2 m long) piece of wood that looked half decent and decided that that would be “the standard or the “sample”. Only wood up to “the standard” would be accepted. Having agreed the type of wood we left for the site with me carrying the sample piece of wood. On the way out we were asked to pay for the wood! And we paid. Not the builder – us!

Anyway, here are some photos of the wood:-

Image of Pakchong House Floorboards Sample 1

Pakchong House Floorboards Sample 1

Above, the “Approved” floorboard alongside unacceptable planks.

Image of Image of Pakchong House Floorboards Sample 2

Image of Pakchong House Floorboards Sample 2

Above, a close up of the floorboards.

The Biggest Problem Of All – Lack Of Progress

The main issue that we discussed was the program and that’s where we have a major problem. Our builder keeps asking for payment for the next stage of the build when he hasn’t even finished the stage that we have already paid him for. It seems he has a cash-flow problem and as a result our build is a couple of weeks behind program whereas a month ago I was reporting that we were two weeks in front of programme.

This is a major issue for us because the build is progressing very slowly and we wonder if this builder has any intention of actually finishing it.


It’s verging on the nightmare scenario where the builder walks away taking all the profit he has made up front and leaving you with a part-complete house to finish – if you can find another builder willing to take it on. More on this later when we have sorted it . (If we can)


  1. Day 3. Sunday 24 April. Can’t remember much about this day except that Jalan (Kanyah’s nephew who is checking the house build for us) had to go back to his farm in Kamphaeng Phet to make a claim for some government hand out to farmers and that his son, Suranat was driving to Pakchong so that he could take us to Hua Hin – Kanyah  (and myself) not knowing the way. By the way I insisted that this time I was going to get some real holiday (as in seaside and seafood) instead of just watching a house being built in Pakchong (or not being built as in our case).
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  3. Day 4. Monday 25 April. Suranat drove us to Hua Hin. Stopped at  Samut Songkhram, a coastal province at the mouth of the Mae Klong river to buy dried seafood stuff, like dried squid, dried prawns and Kapi. Found a very nice apartment to rent for 900 Baht/day for the three of us. Nice room and huge balcony where later had a seafood dinner.
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  5. Day 5. Tuesday 26 April. A day the beach at Hua Hin. Bloody hot. Apart from the heat, just like Blackpool (In U.K.) masses of deck chairs and beach vendors, including donkey rides! Had a seafood lunch (photos later) that had no taste and was very expensive. I went back to the apartment in the afternoon to get on the Internet and Kanyah and  Suranat went to Cha Am and bought  load of seafood for our evening meal. By this time I was sick of prawns and crab meat! Decided we had had enough of Hua Hin and would go back to Pakchong tomorrow.
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  7. Day 6. Wednesday 27 April. Suranat drove us to Pakchong. Stopped again at Samut Songkhram again to buy seafood stuff. This time they bought a load of Hoy Dong – a kind of fermented or preserved clam. Seafood lunch (again!).
    On arrival at Pakchong (a seven hour journey by the way including  breaks for shopping & lunch) went directly to the construction site. Our neighbor reported that nothing much had happened while we were away. A bit of wood delivered and some rendering – that’s all. The site labour had asked our neighbour for money to buy food because our builder had not paid them!  Had a beer or too and a joke with the neighbors listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” and others.
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  9. Day 7. Thursday 28 April. Waiting for Jalan to return from Kamphaeng Phet so that we can have a meeting with our builder and see how to progress the build. Finally met the builder late in the afternoon on site at our land in Pakchong and held an impromptu meeting.
    The meeting was held on site with with drawings and papers placed on a variety of  desks comprising various planks of wood covered in cement droppings,  a pile of wooden window frames, the drop-tail of our pick-up and so on. Not the kind of environment I am used to for site meetings in the UK. (Remember I am a professional engineer in the construction industry).


    The subjects discussed fall into two categories, one being various technical standards, materials and methods used in the build, and the other being the program and money. In short an agreement was reached on all subjects, although I conceded  on many of the issues and agreed to pay the builder 50,000 Baht towards buying wood for Stage 5 even though we had already paid 100% for Stage 5 and it was not complete. I’ll be posting more info on these discusions in the next post, but this is long enough already so I’ll wrap it up now.

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See you in the next post.

Buying A Car And Land In Thailand To Build A Retirement House On

My experience this week has been very eventful in our quest to buy land and build a retirement house in Thailand.

Both my wife and my son flew out to Thailand on the first leg of the journey toward building our retirement home in Thailand.

Here’s what happened this week.

Our Strategy For Buying Land In Thailand

In case you haven’t already discovered from other sections of the website I’m married to a Thai lady and we have a half Thai son, Alex, aged 22 who was born in the UK.

Since a Farang (myself) can’t own land in Thailand I had to come up with another strategy other than to buy the land (upon which to build our retirement house) in my wife’s name.

Why don’t I want to buy the land in Thailand in my wife’s name? Well, it’s not related to whether I trust her or not.

It’s a more practical problem I face and I wonder if other Farangs retiring in Thailand have thought about it.

The issue is this: If the land is in my wife’s name, what happens to ownership of the land and house if she dies before I do?

Under those circumstances:-

A) I don’t know if I would be allowed to continue to live there legally

B) I may not want to continue to live there. I might want to sell up and repatriate myself and the funds back to UK.

So I came up with (what turned out to be not such a…) cunning plan…

Our son, Alex, is eligible to get Thai nationality. So that done, I could buy the land in his name.

That was the strategy. But it didn’t turn out that way. Here’s why…

All Thai Males Aged 20 to 30 Are Eligible For Conscription Into The Thai Military!

They flew out to Bangkok on Sunday 7th February, 2010, and arrived the next day. On Tuesday, they went to the Amphur to undertake the first step of getting Alex’s Thai nationality – registering on the house papers of my wife’s Thai daughter, Daeng.

That day, the Thai computer system was down, so it was a wait until Wednesday.

They returned to the Amphur on Wednesday and Alex phoned me “Dad, there’s a hitch” he said. “They are telling me that if I put my name on the Thai house papers I am eligible to be consripted into the Thai Army”.

So I did some research on the ‘net and it seems to be true.

I even posted the question on a Thai Forum and received the answer, as follows:-

Hi, I’m a half Thai male aged 22 and want to get a Thai passport so that I can buy land in Thailand. My mother is Thai, my father is English (UK), I was born in the UK.

If I get a Thai ID Card and am put on the house papers am I then eligible to be conscripted into the Thai Military?

Or can I be exempt as a naturalized citizen?

Even if liable to be drafted I doubt if the Thai army would want me because I’m not ‘Thai’ like the Thais. I can’t speak Thai, I’m not a Bhudist, and know nothing about Thai culture.

You are eligible for draft Military service if you get yourself a Thai ID/passport.

I understand after age 30 they will not bother you…

Being a dual national does not exempt you from Military Service have a look at your British passport says exactly this.

You have to make a choice, get yourself your Thai citizen and take your chance with the call up or wait till your 30…

you are not a naturalised Thai citizen. Rather, you are a Thai citizen by birth who is only just getting around to getting his paperwork in order.

If you were born in the UK, you’ll need to approach the Thai embassy to get your Thai birth certificate issued. At the same time, you’ll can apply for a Thai passport.

I am unsure if purchasing land requires you to be in Thailand personally. However, if not, you could get someone to take power of attoerny and they can process the transaction on your behalf without having even to go to Thailand. Should be possible as power of attoerney is available for most things.

Alternatively, if you are a little worried about it all, your mum can purchase the land on your behalf.

If you want to read the thread on the forum, here is the URL:-

Here are some more links on the subject of conscription into the Thai military:-

Anyway, that’s the first clever idea blown out of the water!

Bearing in mind that the main reason for sending Alex to Thailand was to get his Thai ID then it’s been an expensive and time-wasting trip for him.

And things weren’t getting any better…

Buying A Car (Pickup) In Bangkok, Thailand

You can buy pretty decent motors (cars, pickups etc) here in Uk for a few thousand pounds.

Daeng (and my wife) warned me not to expect the same thing in Thailand.

I wanted a second hand pickup (preferably Japanese) for about $6,000. (Say 200,000 Baht). I was ready to accept a diesel vehicle with 100,000 miles on the clock.

Not to be. It appears that the Thai’s run their vehicles into the ground. Often the mileage isn’t given and if it is how true is it?

So may forums warn “buyer beware” when it comes to buying a used car in Thailand.

Examples of second hand cars (Toyota pickups) for sale in Bangkok:-

2008 Pickup TOYOTA HILUX VIGO D4D 2.5 [E] D4D (Mileage not given)

Price ::  410,000 Thai Baht

Pickup  TOYOTA  HILUX VIGO D4D  2.5[J] (Milaege not given)

Price ::  375,000 Thai Baht

2007 TOYOTA HILUX VIGO 3 l Diesel (Mileage 102,087 km)

Price ::  $20,909 US, about 693,000 Thai Baht

These are just afew exanples of the prices you’ll pay to get a second hand Toyota pickup in Thailand. My research on the Internet indicated that there was not much available below $10,000 (330,000 Baht) and with milages of around 200,000+ km.

Alex and his Mum in Bangkok found a brand new Toyota Hilux 2.5 l diesel for 550,000 Bhat. That included road tax and one years free insurance.

The price in UK for this model (Toyota Hilux 4WD 2.5 D-4D HL2 Single Cab 2dr) is £17,753 (905,403 Bhat)

The pickup comes complete with ABS, driver and passenger airbags, power steering, electric windows, air conditioning, tilt adjust steering column, remote central locking and an audio system with CD player with MP3/CD-R compatibility. The engine is the latest development of the Toyota 2.5-litre D-4D diesel engine.

This is an excellent website to review the technical details and prices of the Toyota Hilux range.

So we paid our deposit and take delivery on 15th March 2010.

That’s all for this post. Next time I’ll be running through the trials and tribulations of our experience of buying land in Thailand.

Update On Buying A Car In Thailand

On 16th March 2010 my wife collected the car we had ordered from the dealer in Bangkok. It was a day late (not sure why) and she had problems with central door locking and electric windows. it took an exchange of money to sort that out, but finally we have the car.

Go to the new update called “collected the Toyota pickup yesterday” to read about collecting the car and the expensive problems on a brand new car that we had to pay to sort out.

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