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Bangkok Thailand

Getting around in Bangkok – trains, tuk-tuks and automobiles!

Bangkok can be daunting. Like any big city – bright lights, a buzzing atmosphere, people walking past you on the sidewalk with a focused mission, foreign smells and sights at every turn – but it need not be as overwhelming as it may seem. When you embrace the high energy, fast paced city that seems to be passing you by – you suddenly realise you are a part of the hum making up this incredible metropolis.

Trains, taxis, buses, tuk-tuks – how do you choose the right transport for the journey you are on? Here are a few tips and tricks to get you around this amazing city!

Taxis 

There are many different taxis and companies, identified by their external colour – green, yellow, white, pink – but they all have the same end goal. Getting you where you need to be. Do not be surprised when you hail a taxi, that they may not speak a lot of English. This should not stop you from jumping in to these air-conditioned vehicles of respite from the stifling heat. All you need is an address, a destination, some hand gestures or at worst, a phone number that the taxi driver can call to get directions in Thai to your destination. Be prepared to negotiate with the driver for the fee, even if it says ‘meter taxi’ as they will often offer you a flat fee rather than putting on the meter to your destination. Also you may be required to pay ‘toll fees’ if you choose to go on these quicker expressway routes. The taxi driver will almost always ask you if you wish to take the expressway, and when you hit the payment points, it is your responsibility to pay the fee in cash and your taxi driver will ask you for this when you arrive at each stop. Be wary of peak hours and a lot of traffic. You can and may sit in bumper to bumper traffic for some hours depending on destination and time of day…but remember, you are in air-conditioned comfort, heaven!

BTS

One of the best train systems in the world, BTS Sky Train is both efficient and cost effective when making your way around Bangkok. The system and maps are fairly easy to understand and your journey far quicker than being stuck in traffic. BTS stations are positioned at most major tourist spots and places of interest. You can purchase a very economical pass that will allow you to travel the city with ease and be comfortable asking most ticket sellers or passersby about your destination and which platform or direction you are meant to go. Definitely the cheapest and quickest way to get around the city and see the sights at the same time, but be sure to take a jacket, as unlike the outside heat, the trains can be a little chilly when travelling.

Tuk-Tuks

Slightly daunting yet an iconic way to get around the city, tuk-tuks are an exhilarating way to see the streets. Loud, fast and fun! Although cheap, some tuk-tuk drivers are commissioned to work for various retail shops, so will ‘detour’ on your way to your destination and take you to these shops in the hope you will purchase something. So be very sure when negotiating your fare that you are extremely clear about your destination with no unwanted stop-offs or before you know it you will be in a suit shop you never wished to visit!

Bus

Buses are another way you can get around Bangkok and they are incredibly cheap, starting from around 6 baht. Although, be aware unlike trains they can be slower due to traffic and packed with sweaty and sometimes not-so-happy passengers! If you wish to board a bus, you must indicate that you want the bus to pull over and pick you up by flagging it down or it may just pass you by. Buses with blue signs in the front window will drive the normal roads throughout the city but buses with a yellow sign in their front window will take the expressway and do therefore not stop at many stops. With hundreds of routes available, your best way to navigate which bus you need is to pick up an MBTA map (available at most bus stations) and identify the bus routes by the number they display, as most buses have the destination written in  Thai rather than English.

MRT

Running from 6am until midnight, the MRT is Bangkok’s subway train system and consists of only one line which forms a horseshoe shape. With 18 stations, the trains run frequently, on an average of every 5-6 minutes. Unlike the BTS tickets are purchased in the form of tokens from machines at the stations. The subway is connected to the BTS at at Sukhumvit and Silom stations, making it easy to navigate the city.

Personal Driver

It is not uncommon in Bangkok to be able to hire a personal driver. Unlike taxis, you can be sure you are in a clean, well-maintained vehicle (some even have magazines, choice of CDs and drinking water)  with a driver who is educated on locations, routes and even general conversation in English.  There are many reputable companies and most major hotels will have their preferred service, so if you are looking for the freedom to stop when and where you want, change destinations and most importantly relax knowing that you are headed to the right location every time, then a personal driver is a great option!

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Bangkok Thailand

Things to do with expat kids in Bangkok

Word to your mother, this week’s blog is all about top tips for things to do with tots, toddlers, kids and teens in Bangkok.

Moving house is exciting and wonderful but also incredibly stressful; moving your home to a whole other city, in a completely different country amplifies those things infinitely. In much the same way, being a parent is one of the greatest joys on earth, but we know it’s also very VERY hard work. So, to show our appreciation, and in the hope we can make things a bit easier for the supermums and dads out there, we’ve tracked down some of the best activities, outings, classes and clubs in Bangkok.

Outings

At first glance it can seem like Bangkok is a playground better equipped for grown ups, but that’s not to say there aren’t lots of great activities for youngsters too.

Your little princess Elsa or Jack the lad Frost will feel right at home frolicking around Snow Town on the top floor of Gateway mall in Ekamai. There’s real snow falling from the roof and crunching underfoot; you can learn the basics of skiing, do some arts and crafts and take part in some mass snowball fights.

There’s nothing like the great outdoors for inspiring some quality family time (and tiring out tenacious tots). Bangkok’s parks make for a great day out with lots of fun things to do including going on a nature trail in search of the giant monitor lizards at Lumphini park, clambering on the climbing frames at Benjasiri and sailing on the boating lake at Chatuchak. Plunge properly into nature with a day out at Bang Krachao, known as Bangkok’s Green Lung. Take a boat from Klontoey pier, hire some bikes and spend the day exploring the suspended walkways in this massive expanse of unspoilt forest, right in the city.

Older kids developing a keen appreciation for some good grub might enjoy a food tour and A Taste of Thailand is one of the best in town. Fun, informal and kid-friendly, it includes tastes of traditional Thai dishes and drinks all over the Bangrak area and they also throw in some fascinating history and culture, not to mention a discount for kids under 13.

Classes

Whatever their talent, skill or interest, Bangkok is sure to have something to keep your bright spark occupied.

The Paron School of Art offers a range of fun, engaging classes in various visual art disciplines for a wide age range. From sketching and painting to photography and sculpture, your kids can get messy, develop their artistic skills and build confidence and creativity.

Meanwhile, at the Kids Robotics Learning Center, youngsters can explore science, technology, engineering and maths in fun, hands-on classes, in which they build, program, and test robots.

For more active kids who need physical activities, check out the ninja kids classes at Asia Parkour, where they can build strength, agility and coordination as well as social skills, teamwork and physical and mental confidence.

Communities

Being a parent is fraught with questions, trials and tribulations. Sometimes you need answers or recommendations, sometimes you just need someone to talk to, who’s going through the same thing. It’s so important to build a network and be part of a parenting community wherever you live. Bangkok has some great online resources and platforms for chat and discussion. Some of the most engaging Facebook groups are Expat Moms in Bangkok, The Mummy Club Bangkok and BKK Kids. Join up and have a good chin wag.

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Bangkok Thailand

Buying a House in Thailand ?

The Ways to Go About Buying a House in Thailand

Some expats come to Thailand to work while others come to retire. The expats retiring are more than likely the same ones who will be interested in buying a house in Thailand. It is possible to have your own abode in the Land of Smiles but you should approach it carefully and get the sound advice from a Thai law firm that deals in this area. Here are some considerations to make when buying a house in the Land of Smiles.

The Law

At a high level, you cannot outright own a house in Thailand. So how do expats buy a house here? Well, there are a three ways. First, you can put the house that you want to buy in the name of a Thai national. Second, you can get a 90-year land lease. Third, you can open up a Thai corporation and put the house in its name. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Thai Person Buying the Home

The first way is probably the easiest yet the riskiest method of buying a house in Thailand and that is putting the home you are buying in the name of a Thai national. Most would never co-sign a loan with even a family member in their home country because of the risk involved. However, in Thailand, many expat retirees meet a Thai lady, get married, and then buy a house putting it in the Thai wife’s name. The risk is that if things sour in the marriage, the expat is left with no legal recourse to recover his part of the home investment. Everyone’s situation is different but the point here is to understand the risk involved in this type of home buying arrangement.

Land Lease

The second way is to obtain a 90-year lease on a parcel of land and have a home built. In this case, the expat has a stake in the property but does not own the land it is built upon. The first 30 years of the lease are guaranteed under Thai law with an option to renew for an additional 30 years and another 30 after that.

Thai Limited Company

The third way is to open a Thai limited company and then register the house in its name. There are certain requirements that must be met in order to start a business in Thailand such as having two million Thai Baht in registered capital and hiring a certain number of Thai employees but some expats are able to secure a home in this manner.

Using a Real Estate Agent

Before going about buying a house in Thailand, you should seek the services of a licensed real estate agent in the country. The reputable agents are familiar with the area that you are interested in. They also can check the developer of the desired property for its reputation.

Title Search

Another important step that must be taken when buying a house in Thailand is to have a title search conducted with the Land Department. The primary reason for this is to ensure that the seller holds clear title to the property. Additionally, checks are done to verify that there are no liens, mortgages, or leases on the property. The title search will also identify any zoning and planning restrictions which are of interest if you are building a house on the property.

The Deposit

Take the approach of leaving a deposit on any property that you are interested in with caution. Keep in mind that if you leave a deposit on property and it is not title-cleared or there is some other problem then you risk losing it. A deposit is roughly 10-15% of the property’s selling price. Make sure that any contract has clauses so that you can back out of the transaction if necessary. Typical clauses make stipulations such as “subject to clear title” and “subject to agreement.”

No matter what, it is a big mistake to make an attempt at buying a house in Thailand without consulting a Thai lawyer. There are law firms here that help foreigners with this and many other types of transactions. Some expats might think that they can do it on their own but do not realize that they will not be able to read contracts written in Thai language. You can have a home in Thailand but the secret is to know how to go about it without losing a large investment. Consult with a real estate agent and see what is available to you.

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Bangkok Thailand

Expat Driving in Bangkok & Bangkok Car Hire

Thailand has a broad network of well maintained roads between major cities. From a total length of 57.000 km paved, about 53,000 km and only 4,000 miles without cover.

Most of the north-south route is two lanes in both directions.

Thailand is on the left. Signalling follows international conventions and is often performed bilingual Thai / English. Driving at night on road because of heavy traffic is not a good idea. Truck drivers tend to not like us very little respect from cars and reckless driving accordingly. Otherwise, driving on the main road outside Bangkok and the recreation center a safe and pleasant experience. A weekend with a car hire offers the opportunity to learn about wonderful Thai culture and at any time without any time pressure to stop if we want to explore one of the many interesting parts of the kingdom.

Bangkok itself has a bad reputation when it comes to traffic conditions. Except there was no question of toll roads, this reputation is justified. The streets are usually crowded. To someone who does not know the city well, it is very difficult to breed here. While drivers in Thailand are very polite and considerate – the horn is only very rarely – directions and often come and go change in the day, without having to be reported by major retailers (And if so, then only in English). Local land so that foreign drivers ever in locations that are away from their real target. A growing highway network within Bangkok simplify the situation even criticism.

Car Rental Insurance

International leasing companies such as Hertz, Avis and Budget are also present in Thailand. You hire vehicles insured, which the Local owners have not always or only on special request, the case is on. Although I was an uninsured vehicle in the North East on the road with themselves and all went well, I would not dare again. Danger lurks In him, I only became clear later.

Car Rental Damage

Most rental companies make the tenant is responsible for all damages during the rental period. Existing survey damage dents, scratches or missing parts should as far as possible so on the purchase slip. If your vehicle does not know, do not hesitate to have at your service. Convince yourself that everything works on the vehicle.

Thailand Road conditions

Not in a familiar environment to use a vehicle that can be risky. Since trafficking in Thailand continues to increase, there always the time of construction sites, especially when traveling at night is very dangerous. Bands left can be used as Notweg to avoid further road users. These areas usually consist of sand and gravel are sometimes extended. Must take special precautions when leaving the paved road! And the rocks falling on the shoulder of a sufficient distance from the vehicle in front stopped due.

Some owners allow the use of their vehicles on unpaved roads if they have four wheel drive.

Thailand traffic control

Left Thailand on. They allow you to get used at. Agglomerations in the general speed limit of 60 kmh (35 mph). Beyond it is between 90-100 km / h (52-60 mph) on expressways and highways. The Thurs speed controls the police. The use of seat belts is compulsory, driving under the influence of alcohol is prohibited. All insurance shall be confiscated if the alcohol limit (? ‰?) exceeded.

Travel behavior

In many countries, any person on a road or path is the right of way over those of the road between. It is not necessarily the case in Thailand. That’s why we’re constantly on the lookout market law and left the road could turn on your. Keep an eye traffic coming from behind, and drive far left as possible. If
If needed, use the left edge strips to dodge. Look in the mirror. Attention for some animals on the road. When you want to pass another vehicle another, using their horn in a polite Thai, by briefly just to let them know the person before, where they are and what they are do.

Fuel prices in Thailand

The vast majority of cars run in Thailand unleaded gasoline. Vans budget require diesel. Both fuels are readily available throughout Thailand and cost about 29-35 baht per liter. Most gas stations accept major international credit cards, The country is on cash, but usually required. On main roads there are
Open all service stations clock, which include the country overnight.

Driving Licence

All drivers must possess a valid driver’s license and not tentative. In addition to the Thai driving license is therefore foreign driving license (with English translation) and of course international driving license (with the original license). The driver license and a valid passport at all times must be made. Age: The car rental companies rent their vehicles for drivers who are At least 21 years.