Posts Tagged ‘Money’

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.

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.

 

 

 

Yes, It’s Finally Come True – On 29th July 2013 I Will Be Retiring To Thailand… Maybe!

A Major Unplanned Event Forced Me To Retire To Thailand Earlier Than I Would Have Chosen Otherwise

Forced Retirement

As you will know if you have read a few of my posts I have doubts about retiring to Thailand (e.g. see
Why I Can’t Retire To Thailand) and this retirement decision was forced on me not my preferred choice.

I know it sounds weird - most people would jump at the chance to retire to Thailand – but Thailand is not the country of choice for retirrment for me. Retiring, and in particular retiring in Thailand, just isn’t my activity of choice right now.

Nevertheless because of the reasons I’ll explain in a minute I am retiring in a weeks time (subject to receiving the multiple re-entry visa) to our retirement house we built in in Pakchong (Pak Chong).

It’s for real!

What Is Forcing My Retirement To Thailand?

The short answer is money – or rather not enough of it.

As I explained on a previous Post I want to Retire properly and to be able to do the things I want unfettered by worrying if I can afford it or not. To be in that situation you need a LOT of money.

Sure, I have a modest pension already and some decent savings, but I was aiming for a much bigger pension pot.

The Big LU Clear Out

I am self employed and have my own consultancy company, Dataway Ltd. I do consultancy work in the building and construction industry and have several big-name Clients, including London Underground (LU), part of Transport for London (TfL).

I had a very lucrative contract in London with LU until a week last week, when LU suddenly, on Tuesday 9th July 2013,  announced a massive clear-out of some 150 Project Managers and Engineers. I was one of them. I had a day to clear my desk and on Wednesday 10th I said my goodbyes to LU and headed for home here in Nottingham.

So, overnight, that income stopped. (And it was a very large income by any normal people’s standards)

This put my immediate managers at the time in a spot of difficulty because there was no one available with the ability to continue the specialised work on the project I was engaged on. (Called the Heavy Maintenance Project, or HMF)

 Cunning Plan Devised – But Will It Work Out?

Since someone had to continue with the work I was engaged on, the managers devised a cunning plan to re-engage me via another company. I won’t go into detail but what is intended is that my company, Dataway Ltd, will enter into a Contract to complete all the work on a fixed-price lump-sum basis. (My remuneration previously was per day)

So if that can be arranged, I will be able to continue with LU and build up my pension pot as planned. If not I will retire to Thailand.

4 Weeks To Make My Mind Up

I gave myself and LU four weeks to get this new Contract in place otherwise I would retire to Thailand for good.

Dataway Ltd  has other clients, as I said, including Takenaka Europe a Blue Chip company I had been engaged with on various projects for the last 14 years.

So I could start looking for further consultancy work outside of LU but my experience over the last 10 years or so as self employed tells me that I could get by but it would be unlikely that I would not make the same as an LU contract. After there is a severe recession on and there is very little building and construction work except in the Rail Sector.

Also I could get a ‘proper job’ but that pays even less and it’s too late for me to go back into being an employees.

So, knowing how long LU takes to arrange any for of Contract I gave myself and LU the 4 weeks window.

4 Weeks Reduced to 2 Sees Me Out To Thailand on Monday 29th September!

Of course my Thai wife Kanyah – living in our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong) – was delighted with my retirement news. She is very lonely there and want me to stop working and be beside her.

Talking all the above over with a friend at my local pub, the Plough Inn, and explaining that it seemed stupid to sit around here in the UK waiting for that LU Contract to appear when I knew I only gave it a 50% or less chance of it ever happening.

 

Image of The Plough Inn St Peters Street Nottingham
The Plough Inn St Peters Street Nottingham

My friend made a very valid point. Why not go out to Thailand now and if the Contract does materialise then return to the UK. There would be plenty of money in that contract to support another return air ticket.

So taking that suggestion on board I changed the departure leg of my existing Christmas trip ticket and booked myself on the Thai Airways International flight TG917 departing from Heathrow on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 2130.

Image of my Thai Airways London to Bangkok Flight Confirmation 130729

Thai Airways London to Bangkok Flight Confirmation 130729

Visa Woes as Thai Embassy Changes the Rules

Beware If You Are About to Apply for a Non O Multiple Re-entry Visa (Or any Other Kind of Thai Visa?)

Today is Friday 19 July 2013 and I have just visited the Royal Thai Consulate in Birmingham, UK to get a multiple re-entry visa for my retirement rip to Thailand.

Previously, as reported at How I Got My Thai Multiple Journey Visa In UK obtaining this visa was a breeze taking just a few minutes and no fuss.

This time though, there was a problem. The Royal Thai Consulate representative told me that only just this week the rules had changed.

The Royal Thai Consulate in Birmingham could no longer issue Thai multiple re-entry visas without reference to the Thai Embassy in London. They had to scan all the documents from each applicant and email them to the Thai Embassy in London for a decision.

Since this is a new process there is no knowing how long this will take. The Royal Thai Consulate representative also told me that Monday and Tuesday was a Thai holiday and that the Thai Embassy in London would be closed until Wednesday.

Bearing in mind that my flight to Bangkok is booked for a week on Monday, it only leaves three days (Wednesday to Friday) for them to make the decision, process the application assuming I am accepted and to get the passport back to me.

All a bit tight so although I’m assuming everything proceed satisfactorily so I’m organising everything for a Monday flight, I’m also prepared to have to delay it a few days.

Things to Do Before Leaving for Thailand

There are many, many issues to be sorted out before I can travel to Thailand.

It’s not so bad if you are going away for a few weeks but if you are leaving your house in your own country empty for moths or even as long as a year, then there are a whole host of issues to sort out mainly dealing with security.

I have made a huge to-do list and am steadily working through them:-

Cetegory Jobs to Do July 2013
House Cut Lawn
House Throw Bin Bags
House Beer Barrels
House Clear Office Shelves
House Hoover
House Mail In Kitchen
House Steel Everywhere
House Boiler Service
Workshop Motor On Mill
Workshop Lathe Saddle Stop
Workshop Lathe Leadscrew Handle
Workshop Lathe Suds
Workshop Clean Up
Money Amazon First Course
Money Amazon Brown Bag Course
Money Article For Model Engineer
Money Dtw Vat June
Money Daily Balance Sheet
Money All Monthly Sos & Dds
Money Utility Meters/Bills
Money LU Contract
Car Blood Test
Car Battery & Start
Car Driving License
Thailand Visa – What Is Required
Thailand Change Air Ticket
Thailand Stop Mail
Thailand Paperless Ltsb Statements
Thailand Paperless Utility Bills
Thailand Second Front Door?
Thailand Luggagle Lables
Thailand Pack Luggage
Thailand Weigh Tools For Luggae
Thailand Tool Tips
Thailand ER Collets In Thailand?
Thailand Tool Holders Thailand?
Thailand Backup All Computers
Security See Security Sheet

Where We Are Now

A Quick Summary of My Thailand Retirement Plan Situation

  • Booked on the Thai Airways International flight TG917 to Bangkok departing from Heathrow on Monday, July 29.
  • No Visa – Awaiting news from the Royal Thai Consulate on my Multiple Re-entry Thai Visa application
  • Awaiting news from London Underground on a possible Contract
  • Working trough a massive do-do list in preparation for leaving for Thailand

See you in the next Post!

Retiring To Thailand. Searching for Overwhelming Reasons Why.

Reflections On The Retirement Trip To Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

(Typed in the Thai Royal Silk Upper Deck of a 747-400 on Flight TG916 bound for London. Sunday 15 April, 2012)

  • Am I ready to retire to Thailand?
  • Why should I retire to Thailand?
  • What is it that wants to make me to retire to Thailand? (If, in fact, that’s what I really want to do)

These are the questions that I went to Thailand on this discovery trip to try to answer.

I guess the key question is:-

Why Should I Retire To Thailand? Is there something special about Thailand that would make it, for me, a better place to retire to than the U.K.?

Yes, there is. But there are also special things about the U.K. that would make it a better place for me to retire to.

After spending two weeks in Thailand pondering the subject as I run a test trial of retiring in Thailand, I have come up with some basic answers.

Firstly, did I come across any single outstanding feature that stood out in big bold capital letters and said “I MUST RETIRE IN THAILAND BECAUSE ….“.

The answer to that is. No.

There was nothing spectacular about my trip that made retiring to Thailand a MUST for me.

Model Engineering In Thailand

Well, now I reflect on that there is one. It’s my model engineering workshop, and the size of the garden and land upon which to play with my steam engines. (When I have built them)

All that could be corrected, though, if I had enough money to buy the same sized house and land in the U.K. Which at the moment I don’t.

So that just comes down to one thing. Money.

Gradually, in Thailand, I am finding the shops and outlets that can supply me with the tools and materials I need for my model engineering hobby. But the scope of what is available is far, far, short of what I can buy in the U.K. Of course, I could order what I wanted from the online shops based in the U.K. from Thailand and pay for the shipping. There would be a time delay while the items were shipped and of course the shipping charges. Again, basically, it comes down to money.

Is The Weather In Thailand A Reason To Retire There?

The weather? Hot and humid, with frequent torrential rain. 32 + deg C in the daytime dropping to 26 ~ 20 deg C in the night. Always “close” until a thunderstorm comes along and clears the air. That’s fine – reduces the temperature – but there’s not much you can do in a tropical thunderstorm in Thailand except to sit and wait it out. That can take hours or days. See the movie I took during one of the hurricanes we had that blasted a ‘mini Tsunami’ wave of water through our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong).

Except before a rainstorm, very little wind. Often zero breeze to take away the overpowering heat.

In short, whether it was raining or not, it was mostly uncomfortable at best. The heat made me tired and lethargic. Could be down to loss of salts from the body. My legs in particular always felt tired. That is a phenomenon I recall from my ‘pioneering youth’ when I worked in Lagos, Nigeria. In those days I was tired and lethargic until I discovered the magic of salt tablets.

Weather not conducive to smart thinking whilst designing and making steam engines in my model engineering workshop. Do a bit, take a rest was the order of the day. I was wondering if I would become acclimatised over time and discussed that with Kanyah. It turn’s out that she (along with all the local Thais) suffer in the same way. It’s definitely the weather and not just me.

Weather in the U.K. In the winter not very nice I agree. But if I’m retired why the need to go outside? If that is necessary, I have a car so it’s not so bad.

My model engineering workshop in the U.K. is indoors and centrally heated, so no problem there.

Thailand – A Low-Cost Place To Retire To

The only problem really is that central heating in the U.K. is expensive and getting more so.

In Thailand heating is not needed and we don’t have air conditioning (yet) so fuel bills are absolutely zero.

So the U.K. will be considerably more expensive a place to retire to just because of the heating bills. Again it’s money that matters.

Thai Food. Is The Thai Food A Reason For Retiring In Thailand Or One Of The Reasons Why Not To?

Thai Food. Is it worth basing a decision on which country to retire to on the basis of what kind of food is available? Not in the case of Thailand. It used to be difficult a few years ago to find anything but local Thai food in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, but with the opening of the Tesco Lotus Supermarket and having our own house, all that has changed. Now I can have virtually any western style food I want if I get fed up of the Thai food. Apart from the occasional egg and bacon breakfast (with mugs of tea) I managed quite comfortably on the Thai food.

In the U.K. There are plenty of Thai food supermarkets and Kanyah has lived in the U.K. before for about 2 years and can eat most of the Thai food she is used too.

One big ‘food’ issue for me is beer. I love my English beer or “Real Ale” as it has become popularly called these days. Lager (and particularly Thai larger) I find hard to get on with. Too strong and lacking taste and absolutely disgusting if not absolutely icy cold. Worth making a retirement issue over? Carries a lot of weight for me.

Steam Traction Engine Rallies

What? What on earth has “traction engine rallies” have to do with retiring in Thailand and what the hell are they anyway?

Quintessentially British (probably English, actually), traction engine rallies are where weird eccentric Englishmen bring their old steam traction engines for a week-end’s play time. Steam fairs, steam organs and all things steam dating back to the glorious days when England was the power house of the Industrial Revolution that changed the world.

So what? Well, my single goal in life is to build myself a steam model traction engine and drive it on the road from our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, to the local “pub”. (Which would be a local roadside shack-type restaurant).

That’s fine as an ambition but what will I do with the thing the rest of the year? In the U.K. I can take it to the traction engine rallies and show it off to the public and other steam enthusiasts. But in Thailand? It will most likely be the only steam traction engine in the country and apart from George in Pattaya who has a model steam engine (locomotive) as far as I know it would be the only steam engine of any kind in the LOS.

Who to show it off to? Who to talk to about these lovely machines? A reason to retire to England rather than Thailand? Possibly. It carries weight. But wait a moment. I haven’t built the thing yet.

I don’t know the average time to build an engine of the size I am planning ( 1/3 full size i.e. 4″ scale) but the time is probably measured in decades rather then years. I plan to make it within three years, but if you read my piece about the model engineering workshop debacle on this trip you’ll probably be thinking in terms of three decades instead of three years.

Is Your Mental Health Likely To Improve If You Retire To Thailand?

What about mental well-being?

I must admit to an uncomfortable feeling when I was first in Thailand even on this trip. This I put down to a feeling of vulnerability and generally being away from familiar surroundings and people. Towards the end of the trip I became more comfortable as I assimilated into the country and started to talk more Thai with the locals.

Long term I don’t think that would be a problem for me. After all I have worked overseas for some 20 years and I know from experience that it takes a full year to adjust to living in a strange country.

But what about Kanyah? I know she is soon bored when living in the U.K. and that has lead to some severe problems we have had in the past.

Long-term living in the U.K. (i.e. as in retiring to the U.K.) would be a complete disaster for her. She simply couldn’t cope with it.

So there’s one good solid reason to retire to Thailand – the metal well-being of my Thai wife, Kanyah.

And as I have mentioned above several times, your money goes further in Thailand. That is another big reason for retiring there.

The other issues, the weather, the food, the beer (there is a way around the Beer/Lager issue but I’ll not mention it here), are all minor issues that probably balance each other out.

Has The Retireometer Swung Any Closer To The Yes Vote?

I’ve borrowed the electioneering concept of the swingometer (Steve from The Plough’s idea) and created the Retireometer to measure how comfortable I think i am about retiring to Thailand.

After this trip I feel the Retireometer has notched up a couple of percentage points towards the Yes vote.

But not for the reasons you’d expect.

Reading the above you may be thinking that there are plusses and minuses and you’d be right. In fact you might be thinking there are probably more minuses than plusses. And I guess you’d be right there, too.

The experience of this trip to test out my readiness to retire to Thailand logically cranks the Retireometer over to the No vote.

If I could go back a few years and plan my retirement a bit more carefully with the knowledge and money I have now which I did not have a few short years ago I would I would possibly be planning to retire to England.

England, the Home of Real Ale, Model Engineering and Steam Rallies.

But time has passed by. And I have invested more and more money into our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand. I am emotionally committed to delivering a Thailand-based retirement life to my dear wife, Kanyah.

My Get out Of Jail Card

But there’s a get-out clause in that last sentence if you read it carefully.

Can’t spot it? I’ll quote:-

a Thailand-based retirement life

To get all the benefits of retiring in Thailand (mainly low-cost) and to get all the benefits of retiring in England (Real Ales, Model Engineering and Steam rallies) all I need is….

More Money!

Now there’s an idea to think about.

Lets see how that works out over the next couple of years.

After Our Thai Landscape Gardener Asked For An Extra 30,000 Baht I Asked Kanyah To Terminate The Contract!

Rip-Off Thai Gardener Suspected Of Being In Cahoots With Our Neighbour Over Extortinate Commisssions

Kanyah phoned me this morning to tell me that the day before yesterday our Thai landscape gardener had arrived on site at our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, with 3 labourers and cleared the garden areas of vegetation, builder’s waste and other rubbish ready to comence the garden landscaping.

She told me the labour cost 220 baht/day which is line with what some people have mentioned in comments on the previous post “Gardening Contract For Our Retirement House In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand“.

Kanyah told me how clean the garden areas looked now and promised to send me some photos so that I can post them up here on the RetiringInThailand website.

She also told me that the gardener had asked her for another 30,000 Baht on top of the 120,000 Baht we had already agreed for the landscaping of our Thai garden as detailed on the “Gardening Contract Post.

She explained that she had been angry with the gardener and was yelling at him asking why he was asking for more money now and why didn’t he ask for 130,000 Baht when her husband (myself) was there (in Pakchong) and when the contract was negotiated and agreed?

“We didn’t tell you the price was 120,000 Baht” she told him. “That was your price, not ours. If you wanted 130,000 Baht why didn’t you ask for it” she told him.

She asked me what I wanted to do. To go along with the 130,000 Baht or to cancel the contract?

Well, no doubt you won’t be surprised that I firmly asked Kanyah to cancel the contract.

Kanyah agreed with me 100% and said she was suspicious of our neighbour Noi trying to sqeeze more money out of us through the gardener.

Update As The Gardener Returns And Is Promptly Sent Packing

Literally just a few minutes ago – about an hour after Kanyah’s first telephone call this morning – she called me again the say that the Thai landscape gardener had returned and she told him that the contract was terminated and told him to leave.

She also said that when she made the first telephone call to me this morning the neighbour’s wife Tim had been standing in our doorway, listenening. Kanyah suspects she was spying for Noi.

Seems Like What People Have Said Is true

After I made the the “Gardening Contract Post several people emailed me or posted a comment on the website to say that at 120,000 Baht i was being ripped off and warned me about the neighbour being in on the deal to get a fat commission.

Seems they may well have been right after all!

Some people suggested that there were several gardening centers around Pakchong (Pak Chong) and that I should go out and visit them to get advice and costs, buy plants etc and basically ‘do the landscape gardening’ myself.

I did explain (at length) that I am back in the U.K. now and that I have not time to spend in Pakchong (Pak Chong) making a Thai garden.

I suggested this route of visiting the local gardening centers in and around Pakchong (Pak Chong) to Kanyah but she wasn’t too enthusiastic about it to say the least. here approach seems to be to leave the garden as it is until I can go over and sort it out.

Well, I guess I could sort it out (i.e. get the garden areas landscaped and looking nice) but I’m no gardener and my retiring in Thailand plans are all about building steam model engines in my model engineering workshop!

So unless somehow Kanyah manages to find another Thai landscape gardener then it looks like the Thai garden will stay rather bare for some time to come.

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