Posts Tagged ‘Retirement’

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:-






Looks Like I’m Here To Stay Retired In Thailand

Read The Emails Below To Get An Instant Update and See Where My Own Son, Alex Said I’m Not Normal!

Post Added Friday 9th August 2013

Below are two real emails copied from my email account.

The first is an email from me to our son Alex, updating him on the situation here.

Email No. 1 – My Update to Alex

Update Dad and Mum in Pakchong

Alan Brown <alan@ emailremoved>                           Thu, Aug 8, 2013 at 8:17 AM

To: Alex Main Brown <alexbrown@ emailremoved >

Hi Alex,

Just a quick update.

Seems like I’m here to stay…

LU Work

That LU work just isn’t materialising.

Plan A) They tried to get me appointed through another contractor, then decided that they ought to ‘be transparent’ and re-hire me through the same agency as before. (Plan B)

That was stopped by a blanket ban on re-employing any staff released on 9th July.

Then I had an email saying they were back to Plan A. And by the way, the guy (Mike) said, “I’m on holiday until 19th July”.

I gave them (and myself) 4 weeks to get that LU work sorted out otherwise I would retire to Thailand.

That 4 weeks has gone and it will be 6 weeks before Mike gets back off holiday then he’ll have a whole load of other stuff to sort out.

So I’m just glad that I took the decision to come out here when I did. Can’t see that LU work becoming reality.


When she met me at the airport she was noisy – talking a lot and in the car on the way home she went to sleep so I was fearing the worse. (She had engaged a driver so don’t worry about that bit)

She really is a changed person. I mean now that I am here she is visibly happy and doing jobs around the place that she would never have done on here own. (Weeding the drive for example)

Whenever I mention going back to UK she gets visibly agitated. Example. I tied long lengths of red and white ‘Danger’ marker tape around my bag so I could spot it easily in the airport.

She asked me if she should throw them away. I said ‘No I need them’. ‘What for?’. ‘When I go back to UK’.

Well, that really upset her. She really, really, fears me leaving her.

Thai Bank Account

We went to the bank yesterday (Wednesday 07/07/2013) to try to open a bank account for myself.

I got all dressed up in a freshly ironed white shirt and black trousers and black shoes that Mum had spent two days polishing. Mum too wore trousers, a smart top and proper shoes and socks!

I was nervous about what what would happen.

In fact it was a breeze. The whole process took about half an hour and no questions and long forms to fill out. All they wanted was my passport with Non O Visa and our address, plus sign a few bits of paper.

I now have a Thai Bank Account and an ATM Card.

Apart from the general convenience it means I can now send my pension money (plus any other money) to myself and so be able to control where it is spent.

Your Thai Nationality

We went to the local Amphur on Tuesday (06/07/2013) to make enquiries. But we were told they only do births, deaths, marriages and divorces.

We were told to go on the website or to go the big Amphur in Korat.

So I’ll go the website route first and then if necessary we’ll phone or visit the big Amphur in Korat.

I imagine (based on the bank account application) that it’s really straight forward.

Thai Address

Attached is the letter I used to open the bank account. It has our address in Thai and English. It’s perfect and you can send letters etc here just using the English part.

In the workshop every day about 8 hours but nor really enjoying it too much because the lathe/mill is crap and I don’t have all the tools and materials I have back in the UK. So everything is very slow. Heh, never mind I tell myself – Iv’e got all the time in the world.

Making Money

I can easily live on my pension here in Pakchong. I mean day by day stuff costs very little.

I need more money for my model engineering and for emergencies, etc.

Before I came I mentioned selling stuff on Amazon. Well that’s my plan (plus selling from my own website)

What will I sell? Artifacts from Thailand and surrounding countries. Mum has been told that ‘ornaments’ are very cheap in Cambodia.

Mum is fully on board with this idea.

I bought a book about it to read on the plane. See attached.

Also I’m going to sell articles to the Model Engineer magazine. They pay £50 a page. We can live on that for a week! (Except beer and model engineering expenses)

To get the ball rolling they are going to print a letter I wrote about Model Engineering in Thailand in the next edition.

Model Engineers Workshop

You should be receiving this every two weeks or every month together with the Model Engineer (and Engineering in Miniature).

On the plastic cover of the Model Engineers Workshop magazine there is a reference number. I need this so that I can read the magazine online. Can you please email it to me?

Other Things

Lots of other stuff going on but those are the main points.

I have started another website Nothing on it yet but the intention is obvious.

Still doing bits and pieces for Takenaka. Haven’t told them yet that I’m in Thailand.

That’s all for this update, Alex.

Hope you and Ashley are doing well.

Keep your spirits up about us and about yourselves – it makes a lot of difference.

Love Dad.


Email No. 2 – Alex’s Reply

Update Dad and Mum in Pakchong

Alex-Ops Brown <alex-ops.brown@ emailremoved >             Thu, Aug 8, 2013 at 4:27 PM

To: Alan Brown <alan@ emailremoved>

Wow dad

You’ll be surfing before you know it

I’m so glad you’re not sitting idle and you’re out there chasing your dream.

It’s so refreshing to hear you say that you now have all the time in the world to play in your workshop. You seem to have such high spirits and a positive outlook on your retirement. I’m pleased for you.

I was dreading the norm where normal English people retire and do nothing but sit around watching daytime TV, looking forward to the next crossword and constantly moaning about the weather, the government, the neighbors, the state of the country etc. It’s evident that you’re not one of these people, and you have never been normal.

Also its good to hear mum is well emotionally. She needs company and something to do so I’m happy that she’ll be contributing to making some money. She needs direction so she doesn’t get diverted in to depression etc

Anyway keep me updated. I’ll send you reference number for your magazine.

Love Alex


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:-

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 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:-

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




Visiting The Amphur In Pakchong (Pak Chong) To Investigate Requirements For Our Sons Nationality

Post Added Tuesday 6th August 2013

Today we went to the Amphur in Pakchong (Pak Chong) to enquire about the process and requirements to allow our son, Alex to obtain Thai Nationality.

Re-Cap on Why We Want Alex to Have Thai Nationality

As I explained on the “Why I Can’t Retire To Thailand” one of my major concerns is losing all my investment in our retirement house and land in Pakchong (Pak Chong) if Kanyah should die.

Not a nice subject, I know, but better to face up to the possibility now that to do nothing face the consequences if it should happen. As we are at the moment with the land in Kanyah’s name ownership would I’m sure go into limbo if Kanyah passed on. Certainly I would not be able to sell up and return to U.K. and repatriate my huge investment and I can’t envisage living here without her.

As you know, a foreigner cannot own land in Thailand. The idea is for Alex to get Thai Nationality and then transfer the property and land into his name.

The Thai Army Conscription Issue

We have been over this Thai Nationality issue previously and even had Alex come over here to get his Nationality. That’s when Alex was 22 and he flew to Thailand on Sunday 7th February, 2010,

It was only when he went to the Amphur to apply that he was warned that he could be conscripted into the Thai Army as a Thai National until he reached 30 years old. At 22 years old he was eligible and because he was scared to be conscripted ho decided not to go any further with his application – the trip was wasted.

All this was covered on the Our Strategy For Buying Land In Thailand Post.

So What’s Changed?

It’s 3 1/2 years later and Alex is 27 years old. The Thai conscription laws haven’t changed (as far as I know) so what’s changed if Alex is now prepared to seek Thai Nationality?

Well, Alex has accepted my argument that the chances of him being conscripted are very slim. Just look at his “qualifications” for joining the Thai Army:-

  • He’s under 30 years old
  • He can’t speak a word of Thai, nor read nor write
  • He’s tall and still. He can’t sit cross-legged on the floor
  • He has a bad back and suffers from sciatica
  • He doesn’t know very much about Thailand or its geography, customs etc
  • He’s not a Buddhist
  • He can’t eat hot spicy Thai food
  • In a couple of years he’ll be thirty years old so unless he’s called up right now he’ll be to old
  • He lives in the U.K. and not Thailand. I just cant see the Recruiting Seargent flying out to England to look for him and apply for the Extradition Order to get him back to Thailand where he has a 50% chance of picking out the black ball and (presumably) they’ll have to fly him back again!
  • And probably more important I have been told that one of the reasons for National Service in Thailand is instill a strong sense of pride and Nationalism in the young people which will benefit themselves and the Thai Nation when they have completed their tour of duty. This will not apply in Alex’s case because if ho did the national Service in Thailand he would most likely return to UK afterwards.

I Didn’t Pursuade Alex to Change His Mind

Please be assured of this – I put no pressure on Alex at all about this matter. It was Alex’s decision to help me protect my investment by seeking Thai nationality.

So enough of the history and off to the Amphur.

A Visit To The Amphur Office In Pakchong (Pak Chong) To Obtain Thai Nationality Requirements.

This didn’t take long. I spent more time taking photographs than we did inside the building.

Kanyah enquired at the information desk and was told that they don’t do Nationality. At this Amphur they only do births and deaths, marriage and divorce.

For Nationality issues we had better ‘go on the website’ (whichever website that is) or go to the big Amphur in Korat. (AKA Nakhon Ratchasima).

Why Couldn’t They Have Done This Three Years Ago?

I was led to believe from Kanyah all those years ago when Alex came to Thailand to seek his Thai Passport that it would be a simple formality only not pursued because of the conscription issue.

If they had only asked what the requirements were then we would have know three and a half years ago that more research would be needed. research I’ll have to do now.

It’s never easy is it?

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

Post Added Saturday 3rd August 2013

Note to people already living in Thailand.

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

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

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

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

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

Alan In Pakchong On His First Day Of Retireent In Thailand

Now On To The Retiring In Thailand Story

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

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

So here goes…

Day One Of Retiring In Thailand – Tuesday 30 July 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cost Of Living In Thailand

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

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

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

Day 2 Of Retiring In Thailand – Wednesday 31 July 2013

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

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

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

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

Update Added on my next trip to Tesco

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

Liquor Selling Time

1100-1400, 1700-2400

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


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

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

Why Leo Beer?

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

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

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

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

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

Back To Tesco For More Upset

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

What a miserable disappointment that turned out to be.

I Hate Tesco Lotus in Thailand.

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

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

But in Tesco they…

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

All the above I can buy in the UK.

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

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

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

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

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

Quick Time Check and Why This Is Important

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 3rd August

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

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

So what’s different this time?

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

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

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

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

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

All presumably destined for the cooking pot.

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

Image Showing Pakchong Market Thailand Pigs Heads Stall

Pakchong Market Thailand Pigs Heads Stall

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

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

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

Sunday 4th August

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

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

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

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

Monday 5th August

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

Model Engineering Workshop

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

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

So Is Retiring In Thailand Bliss Or Not?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No, it’s definitely not the weather.

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

My Top Five Reasons To Enjoy Retiring In Thailand

Here’s a list of bullet points:-

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

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

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

PS Don’t Misunderstand Me

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

I am definitely enjoying my retirement in Thailand.

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

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


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

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

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


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