Posts Tagged ‘Pak Chong’

Fullers London Pride, Fullers London Porter And Other Fullers Beers At Cheap Low Prices Now Available In Thailand

Just When I Was Reporting How Good Things Were Getting In Thailand They Suddenly Got Better Still!

Here’s a photo showing just how good retirement life in Thailand has become:-

Photo of Alan Enjoying Fullers London Porter Beer

Alan Enjoying Fullers London Porter Beer

Getting hold of Fullers Beers like London Pride and ESB for example is not difficult in Thailand, even where I have retired to in Pakchong (Pak Chong). I have already reported how I bought some Fullers London Pride, ESB and Trappistes Rochefort at the E.A.T. Paradise in Pak Chong.

Half Price English Beer In Thailand!

But this time it’s a lot different because the beer is so cheap – cheaper in fact than you can buy it in the U.K. where it was brewed!

Take a 500 ml bottle of fullers ESB for example. The price of this beer from E.A.T. at KhaoYai (Pakchong actually) was 250 Thai Baht per bottle. That’s GBP £4.70 or USD $7.76.

Now compare that with the list price for the same beer from this new supplier:- 125 Thai Baht equal to £2.35 or $3.88.

Half price!

O.K. I did a quick check online and you can buy Fullers ESB in 500 ml bottles for £1.99 in UK supermarkets. But if you buy Fullers ESB in a normal shop or a Pub in U.K. it will cost you much more than you can buy in Thailand.

The Fullers Official online shop lists Fullers ESB at £2.125 per 500 ml bottle.

But we’re getting off the point here. ESB may be a beer that Fullers are promoting heavily and selling cheap. But the beer source in Thailand doesn’t just sell ESB.

And, as you saw in the photo above I bought Fullers London Porter which is not so readily available in UK, especially at low prices.

Image of Bottles Of Fullers London Porter Beer

Bottles Of Fullers London Porter Beer

Where Can You Get Cheap Fullers English Beers In Thailand?

So what is the source of my cheap beer in Thailand and how did I find it?

Well I’ll tell you the source in a minute but let me first tell you about the guy who introduced me to this beer supplier in Thailand.

His name is Shaun Burke and he’s the manager of Cromwell Tools in Bangkok, a massive supplier of tools and a great boon to us model engineers in Thailand.

Shaun came to visit me here at our retirement home in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand and was interested to see my model engineering workshop.

I took Shaun down to see the top tool shops in Pakchong as he was keen to develop some business relations with them. It was a fun trip for me.

Anyway, back at the house, I placed an order for some cutting fluids with Shaun and the topic of conversation migrated towards English Beers.

I don’t know how but Shaun got hold of the idea that I was keen on real ale and english Beers. As luck would have it so was Schaun and that’s when he introduced me to the supplier in Bangkok and he kindly offered to bring me a box of beer next week together with my cutting oils since he wanted to follow up with the tools shops in Pakchong.

I should explain that I paid for the beer and Shaun was doing this as a personal favour to me – it was nothing to do with his Cromwell Tools business.

That said here is the price list for the English Beer that anyone can buy from the supplier in Bangkok:-

Image showing Price List of Fullers Beers You Can Buy in Bangkok

Price List of Fullers Beers You Can Buy in Bangkok

If you want to compare prices the current exchange rate is 53 Thai Baht/£ so to get to Great british Pounds divide by 53.

The name of the company supplying these beers is Paulaner Thailand and they have a website at

Here are some more useful links at their website:-

Fullers London Porter

Address and Map of Paulaner Thailand

You can download a copy of the Paulaner Thailand full beer price list in pdf format here.

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
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
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
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:-

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

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.


You Won’t Believe The Degree Of Cunning Used To Steal Our Watercolour Prints Just To Get A Few Baht

Big Time Art Thieves Could Learn A Thing Or Two From This Heist

If I was disenchanted with retiring in Thailand before we discovered this rip-off last night then I hate it now! And Kanyah knows this.

I just couldn’t believe how low ‘people’ will stoop and what tricks the will play just to get a few Baht in their pockets.

This episode disgusted me and Kanyah also. Please read the story below exactly as it unfolded last night (Saturday 14 Sept 2013).

Background To The Picture Thieves Story

A few years ago in a small local pub in Derbyshire, U.K. Kanyah and I marveled at a display of water colour paintings of typical Derbyshire country scenes signed by a J Manning. His address was shown on the display so we went to see him.

He showed us his prints taken from the originals he had painted himself and the degree of realism and detail was stunning.

Here is an example of one of the prints. Note that this is a scan of a photocopy of a print off the original master so much of the detail and realism is lost.

Photo showing J Manning Water Colour Derbyshire U.K. Winter Photocopy Scanned

J Manning Water Colour Derbyshire U.K. Winter Photocopy Scanned

We bought three of the prints all signed J Manning 2006  and I kept them at home while Kanyah came to Thailand to build our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong) where we now life.

I bought the prints to her on a previous visit and she had them framed. I put them on the wall on this visit and you will see them in the photos below.

Kanyah Casually Mentioned That The Print Looked Smaller Than She Remembered

So, last night we were sitting in front of the TV. We weren’t watching it – it was switched off since although we can get 400+ channels they are all in the Thai language and just show trivial stuff.

Photo of Thai Retirement House Pak Chong TV and Two Paintings

Thai Retirement House Pak Chong TV and Two Paintings

Above a photo of our TV and two of the three pictures.

When Kanyah made that remark I took a closer look at the picture. I recalled that when I hung the pictures on the wall a couple of weeks ago I did notice that they seemed not to have the depth of quality that I remembered. (I have learned not to raise difficult issues though so I said nothing at the time.)

This time, however, I could see the lack of detail but I noticed something else. It seemed that behind the glass there was no board frame around the picture.

Normally when you have a picture framed they cut a rectangle of the correct size in a piece of board and your picture is framed within it. The board frame and the picture are then mounted in the wooden frame you have chosen.

I was positive that what I was looking at was a single sheet of paper like a photocopy of the picture and the frame.

Looking at the other two pictures I noticed that the pictures were all different sizes whereas the prints had all been exactly the same size.

I Opened The Picture Frame To Reveal The Photocopy

I persuaded Kanyah to let me open the frame and as I suspected out came a photocopy of our original prints.

Photo of J Manning Water Colour Derbyshire U.K. Winter Print Copy and Frame

J Manning Water Colour Derbyshire U.K. Winter Print Copy and Frame

Above is a photo of the picture frame and the photocopy of the print. You can see that the ‘print’ is integral with the border – it’s all one sheet of paper.

Kanyah Was Ripped Off In  Front Of Her Own Eyes

It was clear to me that the prints had been swapped for photocopies and that this all took place on Kanyah’s watch.

I was furious and Kanyah when she eventually believed me was also upset.

Complaining To The Framing Shop Was Out For Starters

I wanted to go back to the shop where she had the prints ‘framed’. (Hah! We’d been framed not the prints!)

No can do.

Kanyah explained that it was well over a year ago when she sent them to the shop.

Notice what I just said? “she sent them to the shop.”

She then explained that she had given the prints to our neighbour who took them to the shop. So Kanyah didn’t even know which shop it was.

The Three Week Waiting Trick

Kanyah go the frames and ‘prints’ back after three weeks, she told me.

Then it all clicked into place. The shop had photocopied our original prints, framed them and that is what our neighbour delivered back to Kanyah.

The three week wait was obviously so that Kanyah would forget what she had just handed over to be framed. She never noticed the difference.

You can get prints framed immediately in Thailand. I never heard of a three week wait before.

What the shop or the neighbour did with the original prints we have no idea.

We have no idea if this was just a trick by the frame shop and the neighbour had no knowledge of it or whether he was an accomplice in the heist.

The Other Two Pictures Are Also Fakes

If you look closely at the other two pictures below you will see that there is no border or shadow-line between the picture itself and the white border. Clearly these two pictures are also photocopies of the original prints.

Photo showing J Manning Water Colour Derbyshire U.K. Summer Bridge Photocopy in Frame

J Manning Water Colour Derbyshire U.K. Summer Bridge Photocopy in Frame

Above is a close up of one of the other two pictures of typical countryside scenes in Derbyshire, U.K. by J Manning.

Photo showing J Manning Water Colour Derbyshire U.K. Spring Bridge Photocopy in Frame

J Manning Water Colour Derbyshire U.K. Spring Bridge Photocopy in Frame

I’m Sick Of Living Here In Pak Chong

This episode sickens me. I was fed up already of living in Pak Chong and Kanyah and I have discussed this and discussed returning to England. This just adds to my disillusionment with retiring in Thailand.

She is refusing to go and I can’t afford to keep two people in two different houses in two countries.

Perhaps things will pick up here. I certainly miss all the things about England I have listed out previously.

If I had my full workshop machines and tools here it would be better. I’m limited what I can do with the tools I have and it’s not easy to buy the stuff I need in Thailand.

Perhaps The LU Project Will Let Me Off The Hook?

If you can believe LU that contract I spoke about before I came hear might materialise. Then, if it’s awarded to me, I can go back to U.K. to do it. At least some of the time.

PS They Stole The Telephone Wires From Len And He Had No Communications For A Week

This is a separate story but it just shows that they’ll steal anything to get a few Baht.

They stole 100+ meters of telephone cable and the telecoms to the village were out for a week.

Read the story here:-






How I Passed My Thai Car Driving License Test And Got My Thai Driving License Today

Monday 9th September 2013

Wow! I can hardly believe it – I passed the Thai practical driving license test today and got my Thai driving license. This is the fourth time I have attempted to pass the Thai driving license test and finally I succeeded.

Photo Of My Brand New Thai Driving License

Screenshot of Alans Thai Driving License

Alans Thai Driving License

There it is, my Thai driving license valid for one year.

The Re-Test Today Was Far From Easy – But I Did Learn A Trick

I was out on my private test track early this morning practicing the manouvers for this afternoons practical test at the official testing site at Pakchong (Pak Chong) in Thailand.

I did about 20 parallel parking into the box manouvres and failed (by hitting posts) on about three of them. I did notice that after about five manouvres I was loosing concentration.

The stopping on the white line I had a lower success rate. About 20% success.

I wasn’t recording these test exercises as I did before. We have gone past statistics now.

My Performance On The Real Official Thai Driving License Test Track

I only had parallel parking and stopping on the white and yellow lines to do having already passed the reversing test.

First The Parallel Parking Test

From the practices I had been doing on my own private test track I knew every move to the centimeter.

But I screwed up right at the beginning.

When you start the reverse the nearside rear wheel has to be withing 10 cm of the nearside post. At that point you stat your revering turn.

But my rear wheel was about 30 cm away and the narrow distance between the posts didn’t give me enough room make a correction. I tried and hit a post with my wing mirror. It was only a millimeter and I suppose they didn’t see it because technically it was a fail.

As you will have read on the Best Thai Car Driving License Test Videos Post my technique is to enter the box on 2 moves and exit on 4 – total 6.

But for some reason I couldn’t get into the box on 2 moves. It seemed shorter than my test track and the fact that I started from the wrong position didn’t help.

I was getting desperate now. Another failure staring me in the face. Because I hadn’t started from the ideal position. I had no choice but to sacrifice another two moves to get into the box. Total moves now is 4 so only 2 to get out! In effect that meant a simple straight reverse up to the the rear posts then exit in one risking clipping the nearside rear wheel on the first post. (I did this on the first test)

I managed it but it was literally with a millimeter’s clearance.

To be honest I had stopped counting the gear changes – such was the tension. I just knew instinctively that I didn’t have too many lives left! Then it was round to the stopping exercise.

Stopping On The White And Yellow Lines

I always found this difficult on my own private test track.

Stopping exactly on the yellow I had mastered by lining the yellow line up with the front wheel mud flap about 50 mm from the top by leaning out of the window.

But stopping on the white line was another matter.

This is a white line 100 mm wide and 140 mm from the edge of the curb. You have to stop with both nearside wheels on this line and both front wheels exactly on the yellow line. (The latter as I explained I mastered).

By standing for half an hour or so and watching people attempting this test before I had my go was very informative and useful.

I was watching the people stopping and seeing if the inspector failed or passed them. This is what I learned:-

  • If you hit the kerb with your wheel (I thought this was a sure failure) but are able to continue it’s OK.
  • If you park in the 140 mm zone between the white line and the kerb it’s OK as long as both nearside wheels are on the white line.
  • You only fail if:-
    • You hit the kerb that you mount it or you can’t proceed without reversing.
    • You don’t have both nearside wheels at least partly on the white line.

As to stopping directly on the yellow line (which I have perfected) that didn’t seem to matter today but I have seen people failed on other days for not doing it.

How About My Stopping Test?

Seemed it was perfect.

I had been practicing at home in our beautiful retirement home in Pakchong (Pak Chong) and as I have said in another post the stopping lines on my own test tract are not an exact mimic of the official one because you approach the official ones from 90 degrees whereas mine are parallel to the drive.

So I practiced at home by driving close to the start of the white line then turning towards it to simulate the 90 degrees turn on the official driving test track. This practice plus allowing my wheels to get closer to the kerb did the trick. I passed this test too!

The Relief When He Handed Me The Passed Papers!

When I had finished this last manouver I had no idea whether I had passed or failed again. So image my relief and joy when he handed me the passed papers! And Kanyah’s relief was actually traumatic to witness.

No Joy To Be Enjoyed In Success

Sadly, although we were both relieved to be rid of this damned driving test curse there wasn’t much you to be had. I had a celebratory bottle of Leo at the nearby shop (much to Kanyah’s disgust) then we went home.

A Little Luxury Denied

There is a riverside restaurant in Pakchong (Pak Chong) that is pretty (ish) but being beside the river it is a relaxing respite for me.

I often asked Kanyah to go there but for her it’s too expensive and food it not so good.

She is right of course but she did promise to take me ‘when you pass your driving test’.

That time is now Kanyah. But no she refused.

Then the heavens opened and there was no point anyway, the way the rain was falling you’d be as wet as if you had jumped into the river yourself.

So it was off to home with satisfaction but no celebration.

That’s how my life is in retirement in Pakchong (Pak Chong).

Car Freedom Is Not Mine Yet

You could be forgiven for thinking (as does Kanyah) that now I have the Thai driving license I will be free to take the Toyota Vigo pickup and go where and when I want. Not so.

Freedom doesn’t come so easily.

First off before I take the car (I expect – I haven’t tried it yet) more than just down the road I’ll be quizzed and challenged by Kanyah. “Why do you want to do that” and “petrol is too expensive.”

But the biggest challenge yet to be sorted out before I drive anywhere is:-

Car Insurance

Kanyah has a typical Thai approach to driving on the roads. Scant care for driving licenses or insurance.

But before I venture out I want to be sure that I and the car is covered by comprehensive insurance. They call it No. 1 here.

This is the next battle I face with Kanyah. I’ll just insist that my name goes on the insurance documents and that it’s fully comprehensive. May be expensive but I can’t go digging into my pockets to pay for a major accident. I know she’ll argue until she’s black in the face that this isn’t necessary.

Watch Out For Joyous Times Ahead – ?

Getting the Thai driving license is supposed to give both of us some freedom and flexibility to travel around. The purpose of which is to get more (or in my case some) enjoyment from life. Let’s see how that pans out. Stay in touch by joining the Announcement List

Thai Driving License Driving Test Track for Sale

The first thing Kanyah did (made me do) when we got home was to pack away my own personal private Thai driving license test track. See photo below:-

Photo of Thai Driving License Driving Test Track for Sale

Thai Driving License Driving Test Track for Sale

Now I no longer have use for it it’s up for sale:-

  • Pass your Thai driving license test as I did
  • One careful owner – used only 1,000 km
  • Portable – can be used anywhere
  • Guaranteed to work – I passed my Thai driving test using it
  • Flexible – make it any size you want to suit your car
  • Full instructions included

Asking Price Only 10,000 Baht ($300 or £200) ONO.

Flexible payment terms available:-

  • PayPal
  • Cash – GBP (£), Thai Baht
  • Cheque
  • Canned or bottled Guinness
  • Air ticket to U.K.

Free Delivery

I will deliver free of charge to your pickup truck. (Your pickup must be parked in our drive)


Free to the buyer these invaluable bonuses to help you pass your Thai driving license test:-

  • Videos of me on the private test track performing the manouvers
  • Written description of the manouvers and how to perform them
  • Detailed drawings of the test track complete with dimensions
  • Tips on how to pass your Thai driving license practical test from my own real-life experience

 PS Thank You All

Traumatic would be too strong a word to describe this particular episode of our retiring in Thailand journey.

Tense certainly. Fraught certainly. But no quite traumatic.

For me anyway. For Kanyah it seems like it was (and still is) traumatic – but then she seems to turn everything into a trauma.

But what I want to say is to all those people who have supported me through this Thai driving test rigour is Thank You.

Please don’t under-estimate the value of your support. Simple words of support like “You can do it mate” spurred me on to do those practice sessions every day that eventually lead to passing the test.

Thanks to all of you.

I Failed My Practical Thai Driving Test Again Today!

Yes, full of confidence that I would surly pass today I failed – again!

Before we go into why I failed, just look at the results I was getting on my own Thai driving license test track.

Results From Driving Tests On My Own Private Thai Driving License Test Track

Here are the results of four days of practicing the Thai driving test manoeuvres:-

Scanned Image of Thai Driving License Test Track Results 130904

Thai Driving License Test Track Results 130904

Let me summaries these results:-

Parking (Reversing into the box) 29 out of 30 attempts

Stopping (Stopping on the white and yellow lines) 37 out of 46 attempts.

How could I possibly fail on the day of the re-test?

Reasons Why I Failed The Thai Driving License Practical Test Again

Depends on what type of person you are.

As an engineer I do a logical assessment as follows below, but other people (like my wife, Kanyah) would blame me fro poor performance, the Gods or the day. (Wednesday when I took my test is a notoriously bad day for business she tells me)

Here is my logical assessment of why I failed my Thai driving test the first time.

1. There Must Be A Reason

If something works – or it doesn’t – there must be a reason say the engineers and scientists. And me.

So there is a logical reason why I can get the outstanding near 100% success rate on my test track and fail at the official Thai driving license test center at Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand.

Here are some possible reasons:-

  1. It was the wrong day
  2. The Gods were having an off day
  3. The actual track is different from my test track
  4. I don’t understnd the rules
  5. I am under psychological pressure which affects my performance
  6. I rush instead of taking my time

3. The Actual Track Is Different From My Test Track

Dismissing the first two possible reasons let’s examine the most logical, number three “The actual track is different from my test track”.

The Parking Box

I must admit that the reversing lane seemed narrower than my own test track and the parking box seemed a bit shorter.

Whereas at home I can reverse into the box and get the nearside rear wheel in the box in one movement here it took two manouvers. And to get the front offside wheel into the box is normally one manouver at home but on the official test day it took two manouvers.

I’d say that the driving official test track was smaller than my private test track. Look doesn’t have to be by much a few centimeters is all we are talking about.

Action Plan 1: Go back at the week end and measure the real driving license test track again.

Action Plan 2: Before that move the posts closer together on the test track and more practice.

Another thing I was aware of is that one of the sticks in my rear view mirror was bending away from me instead of standing upright. Therefore I couldn’t accurately judge my distance and I may have been stopping shorter than I needed to.

4. I Don’t Understand The Rules

The 7 Gear Change Rule

I was told at the beginning by Kanyah that when reversing into the box you are only allowed to change gear seven times.

That’s not a problem because as I said I can do it three and sometimes in two only.

But getting out of the box is more difficult than getting in because the rear wheels are trailing and it’s not easy to get the rear wheels out of the box and in line with the reversing lane. Three of four gear changes are needed.

On this test day I didn’t count how many gear changes I made to get in ot to get out of the box. I just made sure I didn’t hit any posts and took my time.

I failed for going over seven gear changes.

The Seven Gear Change Rule Explained.

Well now I have learned that that the maximum of seven gear changes applies to the whole manouver ie getting both in and out of the box. Seven gear changes (which means seven changes of direction) is all you are allowed to get in and out of the box.

Why didn’t she tell me that in the beginning?

A Close Look At The Seven Gear Change Rule For The Thai Driving Test

Your only have seven gear changes. You need (on average) three to get in and since getting out is ore difficult you need the other four.

But let’s just look at that more closely and count those up:-

Getting Into The Box

1 Reverse in as far as possible on full lock to get the the rear wheels in the box.

2 Forward on full opposite lock to get the front wheels in.

3 Reverse to get the car parallel to the box and the wheels parallel to the car.

Getting Out Of The Box

4 Forward on full lock to get the front wheels out.

5 Reverse as far as possible.

6 Forward again on right and left lock to get the rear wheels as far out as possible.

7 What can you do with this. only Reverse is a gear change. And if you reverse you’ll not have No. 8 to drive down the reversing lane.

So you only have 6 gear changes available to you!

It’s quite obvious. Seven is an odd number so if you change direction seven times you will be going in the wrong direction on the last change.

So the seven gear changes is a myth. You only have six. 3 In and 3 out!

And that’s difficult because you need four to get out!!!

The Stop Line

No doubt about it here. My test track is certainly different from the real track.

My own stop line is on the drive at 90 degrees to the length of the drive. The approach is parallel to the white line. (Which in turn is parallel to the drive)

The actual test track has the approach at 90 degrees to the white  line making getting the car parallel to the white line in a short distance very difficult and something I have not practiced.

It’s Like A Roman Amphitheater – Only The Lions Are Missing

Don’t think that this just a driving test. You and the tester.

Far from it. This is entertainment.

The drivers bring their family their friends,  who bring their friends to watch this amazing spectacle. This feast of masochism where out of 50 would-be drivers only two or three win the freedom of the roads.

The rest are doomed to repeat it again in five days – but unlike the Roman Amphitheater they are not slain – merely humiliated.

In fact I was wondering why the Thais didn’t throw in a few lions just to gore up the show a bit. Probably ’cause there aren’t any lions left in Thailand.

This huge audience certainly puts the performers. I tend to be thinking more about giving them a good show rather than concentrating on getting the pass. Heh! I’m a Farang after all. Gotta show these Thai’s what a Farang can do. Never mid the test results let’s put on a damn good show for them.

Joking Aside – This Is no Longer A Joke

Failing the first time is understandable. I had no idea what the test was and what the rules were.

Failing the second time could be excused.

Failing the third time after building a replica of the the driving test center’s own test track and getting near 100% success rate on it is ridiculous.

It’s now gone beyond a joke. Now it’s serious. I need that driving license and I have to pass the test.

More than that, it’s now personal. The testers and the Thais there know me now. I’m the farang who can’t pass the test. This can’t go on much longer.

If I was Thai I could just melt into the background and exit quietly. Not so a farang. When I’m on the test track I can hear them saying “Look it’s a farang”.

Kanyah Went Ape!

Lovely as Kanyah is when she’s in a good mood, she does have a terrible temper. On this occasion (of me failing the Thai driving test the third time) she went absolutely bananas to put it mildly.

“Why didn’t you do what I said” she screamed.

(Thought to myself “well if I could do it I would have done it wouldn’t I”, but being wiser kept my mouth shut.)

I tried to explain that her blaming me would not in the least help me to pass the test on the next attempt.

No. Wrong strategy.Just wait until she cools down. Like next year.

My Fourth Test Is Tomorrow!

While the heavens open and we are getting all the rain we should have had over the last month in one day I go out to practice parking because my next re-test is tomorrow!

I can manage 2 in and 4 out butt am prone to hitting sticks.

Not a good omen and the weather isn’t helping.

Not looking forward to tomorrow at all.


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