Posts Tagged ‘toyota hilux’

Our Retiring In Thailand Project Seems To Be In Deep Trouble

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, here are some photos of the wood:-

Image of Pakchong House Floorboards Sample 1

Pakchong House Floorboards Sample 1

Above, the “Approved” floorboard alongside unacceptable planks.

Image of Image of Pakchong House Floorboards Sample 2

Image of Pakchong House Floorboards Sample 2

Above, a close up of the floorboards.

The Biggest Problem Of All – Lack Of Progress

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

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


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


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


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

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See you in the next post.

Collected The Toyota Pickup Yesterday

Just a quick update on buying a car in Thailand.

If you have read an earlier post on this Retiring In Thailand website where I describe how I went about buying a car in Thailand, you will know that we settled on a brand new Toyota Pickup (Toyota Hilux 4WD 2.5 D-4D HL2 Single Cab 2dr) for 550,000 Bhat. That included road tax and one years free insurance.

Well on that day almost a month to the day my wife paid a deposit of 100,000 Baht for the pickup to the Bangkok car dealer, due to be available for collection on the 15th March.

When she called them near to the time to ask about collection they confirmed that yes, the car (pickup) would be ready on the 15th. And so it was. But.

There’s always a but! For some unexplained reason she didn’t go to pick up the car until yesterday, 16th March. When I called her later on the 16th she had taken the pickup home and complained about some problems with the windows and keys!

When I here the word ‘problem’ coming out of Thailand my wallet gives a twitch and snuggles down deeper inside my pocket. ‘Problems’ always need money to sort them out…

Anyway, as she explained, the pickup when she collected it was provided with manual windows (wind up – wind down by hand0 and you had to lock each door with the key. Now when she was talking about locking doors, keys and problems, my first thought was that she had locked the keys inside the pickup.

No, it seems she asked the car dealer to change the windows to electric operation and the door locking to central locking, radio controlled type.

She said all that was done for ‘only 6,900 Baht.

The other thing she mentioned was that it was ‘a lovely colour’.

Explaining this to a friend later I made the comment that I didn’t understand why she hadn’t spotted those things when she first inspected the cars on sale in Bankok paid the deposit. His reply:- “Because she’s a women. She was probably more interested in the colour”. Well I did then tell him that her delight about the colour was one of the things she liked best about the pickup!

Anyway, seems she took possession of the car without too much hassle. I was worried how she was going to pay for the car – I didn’t think the idea of carrying and handing over 450,000 Baht in cash was very safe and asked her to get a debit card form her bank and pay using that. I still have to check with her what she dis in the end. Also she is taking some photo’s today of the car and I’ll post them and some information about the dealers address etc as soon as she emails them through to me.

So that’s a brief update on buying a car in Thailand.

Of course, it’s only about a Thai national buying a car in Bankok, Thailand, not how a farang can buy a car in Thailand.

For more information on why we decided to buy a brand new car in Thailand rather than a second-hand car please read the previous post on buying a car in Thailand.

New! Just Added – Complete Car Information And Photos

Today (18 March 2010) I have just created a new page on the website giving all the details of the Toyota Hilux Viga pickup we bought in Bangkok, Thailand.

There is a mass of information on that web page including a breakdown of the cost for the car itself and the extras, a full list of what was included in the price, the name and address of the car dealer and a few photographs.

This detailed information will be invaluable for anyone thinking about buying a car in Thailand.

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