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  1. From MSN Art is in the air at Bangkok’s townsquare for three days, as Colorful Bangkok Expo 2024 is here for all the artsy people of the city. Famous for being fenced off for political protestors, the Lan Khon Mueang Townsquare in front of Bangkok City Hall is about to get a very vibrant makeover for three days: 18-21 January, 2024. In this expo, you’ll get to walk through an art market with more than 90 stalls featuring Bangkok artists and designers. It’s a great way to support local talents as they showcase their works and put up their art up for sale. Colorful Bangkok Expo 2024 is created to transform Lan Khon Mueng Townsquare into more of an artspace and potentially exposing people of Bangkok to art. This time, we’re really up close and personal. Entry is free of charge. Link to event schedule of activities https://www.msn.com/th-th/news/other/colorful-bangkok-expo-2024-to-turn-the-townsquare-into-a-space-full-of-art/ar-AA1n3kVT
  2. I follow fairly simple tipping formula. For bar or other "offs", I tip the agreed amount. If guy asks for more, I'll give him taxi fare. I'll always ask him if he wants to get something to eat before or after and never factor that cost into tip. For massage shops with minimum tip, I tip 200 extra if he showers with me so that's usually 1200 for an hour. For shops without minimum tip, I tip in the same range for a satisfactory service. There are, of course, exceptions for "exceptional" service. We all define exceptional by different standards but we know it when we experience it. In both cases, the best extra I can offer a guy is my repeat business. I'm usually in town for a month or two and have ample opportunity to do so. In the past when I agreed to an off's request for an extra 500 or 1000 (and the service was not out of the ordinary), it quickly became known to others who worked that bar that I could be manipulated. I'm not suggesting this is the way others should tip; it's just the way I do. Tipping is and always should be an individual matter.
  3. From NHK Newsline JAL pilots: What happened and how they evacuated burning jet More details have emerged about the collision between a JAL jet and a Japan Coast Guard plane at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on January 2. The following link contains new and updated information, videos and visual reconstructions of the crash and the evacuation following interviews with the captain and two co-pilots. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/backstories/2976/index.html
  4. From Thai PBS World Pol General Roy Inkhapairote, a deputy national police chief, has been appointed the new secretary-general of the National Security Council (NSC) – the second police general to assume the post. The previous NSC secretary-general, General Supot Malaniyom, retired at the end of September, since when his deputy, Chatchai Bangchuad, has been acting NSC chief. The appointment of Roy, 59, was approved at an NSC meeting chaired by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on January 5 and is expected to be endorsed by the Cabinet on Tuesday (January 16). The NSC’s top job has often been held by an Army general, particularly over the past decade. The last five NSC chiefs have been retired Army generals – all of them serving under the nine-year term of previous PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha. Of the 23 chiefs of the NSC, since it was established in 1959 to replace the Kingdom’s Defense Council, 17 had military backgrounds (15 from the Army and two from the Air Force), five were civilians, and one was from the police force. Pol General Wichien Poteposri was the first police officer to become NSC secretary-general, serving for a year between October 2011 and September 2012. The national police chief Wichien was appointed as NSC chief after the incumbent, Thawil Pliensri, was removed from his seat. Thawil’s removal led to a case filed with the Constitutional Court against then-prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra. In early May 2014, the court found Yingluck guilty of power abuse, which resulted in her removal as the caretaker PM and defense minister. Wichien was replaced as police chief by Pol General Priewphan Damapong, a relative of Yingluck. Roy’s appointment as NSC chief was delayed after the previous NSC meeting to consider the matter was postponed indefinitely from November 2. PM Srettha explained that certain legal complications needed to be resolved first, but he denied there was any conflict related to the appointment. In September, Roy failed in his bid to become the national police chief despite being the most senior of the four deputy police chiefs vying for the seat. However, PM Srettha nominated deputy police chief Pol General Torsak Sukvimol, the least senior candidate among the four, to the top job at the Royal Thai Police, and most Police Commission members voted for Torsak. Rumors emerged at the time that Roy would be moved to become the new NSC secretary-general. He initially wanted to remain in the police force but later changed his mind – reportedly after being persuaded that the appointment was compensation for his being denied the police chief’s position. Roy’s old post is expected to be taken by assistant police chief Pol Lt-General Prachuab Wongsuk, who reportedly enjoys close ties with the Shinawatra family. Observers reckon that as a new deputy police chief, Prachuab will become a contender for the top police job this September, as current officeholder Torsak is due to retire in October. Prachuab was assigned to oversee security and traffic plans for former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on August 22 when he returned to Thailand to face imprisonment for corruption after 15 years of self-imposed exile overseas. Thaksin, who arrived at Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport on a private jet, was taken to a nearby police station, court, and prison under escort by Prachuab. Born on August 6, 1964, Roy graduated from the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School and the Royal Police Cadet Academy. He obtained a master’s degree in public administration from Ramkhamhaeng University. Later in his police career, Roy completed a professional course of study for international law enforcement managers from the FBI National Academy in the US. After graduating from the Royal Police Cadet Academy, Roy first joined the police force as a deputy inspector at the Crime Suppression Division. He later moved to other units in the Royal Thai Police, including the Special Branch, Forensic Science Division, Highway Police, Tourist Police, Immigration Bureau, Central Investigation Bureau, and Police Education Bureau. As deputy police chief, Roy is in charge of security and special affairs while overseeing the Police Cyber Taskforce and the Anti-Fake News Center. He was also tasked with overseeing security during previous elections and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit in Bangkok in November 2022.
  5. A little Lao can go a long way!
  6. Great way to bounce back!
  7. NOTE -- Take extra care in entering the given name and family name in correct places. Be extra careful if you are buy a ticket for a traveling companion. From Tourism Authority of Thailand The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to advise non-Thai passengers travelling on domestic flights in Thailand that they must adhere to the rules on boarding pass and identity verification process announced by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT), effective from 16 January 2024. CAAT has heightened the rules which require the passenger’s name on the boarding pass to exactly match the passenger’s government-issued identification documents. The boarding pass can be in a form of: A paper boarding pass issued either at an airline’s check-in counter, self-service kiosks, or via the airline’s check-in website. A PDF file issued and sent to passengers by the airline and can be shown via a mobile phone or other electronic devices. An e-boarding pass that can be shown via the airline’s mobile application or application wallet, or an e-mail sent by the airline. A boarding pass that is screen-captured from a mobile phone or other electronic devices is not applicable. This is except for when a passenger validation system or a boarding pass barcode reader, or a boarding pass scanner is applied at the airport. Along with the boarding pass, non-Thai passengers travelling on domestic flights are required to present a government-issued identification document. In normal circumstances, non-Thai passengers must present their boarding pass along with one of the following documents: • Original passport issued by the state of the nationality of passport holder. • Original UN Laissez-Passer. • Original travel document for refugees and people seeking asylum issued by the United Nations or by the government of issuing countries. In case of lost passport or identification documents, non-Thai passengers must provide one of the following documents: • Original emergency passport or emergency travel certificate. • Original non-Thai ID Card issued by Department of Provincial Administration of Thailand. • Original driving license issued by Department of Land Transport of Thailand. TAT wishes all visitors a safe journey and a relaxing holiday in Thailand.
  8. No worse place to be when feeling ill than plane, train, boat or bus.😞
  9. Just want to pit in a good word for the half-dozen SE Asian entries that represent about 25% of the list. 2. Bali, Indonesia 4. Hanoi, Vietnam 10. Hoi An, Vietnam 15. Bangkok, Thailand 18. Phuket, Thailand 21. Siem Reap, Cambodia
  10. Glad to hear of your good luck, Keith!
  11. From Canadian Broadcasting Corporation On the small Thai island of Koh Samui, Niall Harbison sets out every day to feed dozens and dozens of street dogs. Hearing the familiar sound of his moped, "they all come running out, wagging tails and they're delighted," said Harbison, author of Hope: How Street Dogs Taught Me the Meaning of Life. "They're like, 'Oh there's the little Irishman coming.'" Harbison's book details his efforts to feed, sterilize and rehome some of the 6,000 stray dogs on Koh Samui, a fraction of the estimated 1.6 million stray dogs in Thailand. Videos of the dogs he rescues from abuse and malnourishment have gained him more than a million followers online. But while he's been busily saving dogs, he says those dogs have also saved him. Harbison moved to Thailand in 2018 amid a deteriorating addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs. "There's a good chance I'd be dead, I'd say. I'm not even joking … I was addicted to Valium, and I was drinking three bottles of wine a day," he told The Current's Matt Galloway. Years before he moved to Thailand, Harbison was a private chef on the yacht of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, serving celebrity guests like Bono. In 2009, he pivoted to media and marketing, setting up and later selling two social media companies. Beneath that success, Harbison was dealing with depression and anxiety, and using alcohol to cope. His move to Koh Samui was partly in search of a healthier life, but by the end of 2020, he landed in the ICU after a heavy binge of alcohol and prescription drugs. Harbison lay in that hospital bed over New Year's Eve, convinced he was dying as he listened to the fireworks outside. "I just said, 'God, there has to be something more to life than what I lived, there has to be something that has some meaning,'" he said. After three days in hospital, Harbison was discharged in early January 2021 to recover at home. He spent the year rebuilding his health, and thinking about what is important to him in life. While out walking one day in early 2022, he stopped to feed some dogs in the jungle. He came back the next day to feed them again — and soon it was a daily ritual, feeding more and more dogs as weeks turned into months. Continues with photos and video https://www.cbc.ca/radio/thecurrent/niall-harbison-thailand-street-dogs-1.7074526
  12. Indeed agree. The ""extra earnings" doubles the minimum. Hell of a lot better than halving their earnings!
  13. Ans sometimes that's a good thing.
  14. From Pattaya News The Pattaya Entertainment Industry Association highly praised the Thai government’s policy of extending entertainment opening hours until 4 AM, citing its positive impact on the local economy, and urging further expansion of legal entertainment zones. The extended hours, officially implemented on December 15th, 2023, as part of a pilot program in five provinces, have garnered positive feedback from a large number of Pattaya business owners. According to Mr. Damrongkiat Phinijkarn, secretary-general of the Pattaya Entertainment Industry Association, most entertainment businesses reported a significant increase in daily income, ranging from 20-30%, since the longer hours were implemented. This success translates to benefits for employees as well. Mr. Damrongkiat revealed that service staff and waiters are seeing their daily earnings increase by 300-500 baht, translating to roughly 9,000-15,000 baht per month. This extra income has reduced their reliance on the government’s assistance programs and greatly improved the financial well-being of their families, Mr. Damrongkiat stated. “This policy is a game-changer for our nightlife community and the local economy as a whole,” said Mr. Damrongkiat. “We express our sincere gratitude to the government for listening to our pleas and implementing these measures.” However, the association also urges the government to consider expanding legal entertainment zones in Pattaya. They believe the current Entertainment Places Act, which has been in place for 21 years, is hindering the city’s development and limiting its potential. In response to public concerns surrounding the zone expansion, Mr. Damrongkiat stated that balancing the needs of entertainment venues with local residents with the concerns is crucial. He emphasized that operators must manage noise carefully to ensure minimal disruption to residents and non-nightlife tourists seeking a peaceful experience. Proposed areas for expansion of legal nightlife and entertainment zones are parts of Jomtien, especially around the popular gay nightlife area at Jomtien Complex and Soi 7 area, parts of Naklua around the Space Hotel, Third Road to Sukhumvit, and perhaps even parts of Eastern Pattaya.
  15. From Pattaya Mail By Barry Kenyon Pattaya Mail continues to receive so many enquiries about when Thai Revenue will publish a voluminous explanation of who exactly will need to pay tax under its much-publicized enforcement beginning January 1 2024. Of course, we don’t know and maybe the answer is never. But we explore below the issue from the Revenue point of view rather than from the perceptions of potential expat payees whether in panic mode or not. Although most income tax payers are Thais, and always will be, the article examines only the expat perspectives. There’s no hurry is there? Any international cash transfers to Thailand from January 1 are not in any case taxable upon entry. Thailand does not operate a PAYE system and those with tax to pay will only record transactions on their income tax form – for the financial year 2024 – in the period January to March 2025. Eleven months to go. Tax registration voluntary. The Thai tax system has always operated on an honour basis, relying on voluntarism for the most part, quite unlike the mandatory requirements of the internal revenue services in the UK or most of Europe. It is unlikely that this situation will change quickly in Thailand, not least because the officers would be overwhelmed if a compulsory registration was introduced. In any case, Revenue has many other national fish to fry including VAT, commercial activity within Thailand etc. But we should add that financial penalties can be, and are, levied on those deliberately hiding taxable income. So will I be required to obtain a TIN or tax registration identification? Up to you. Some expats, for example with work permits, already file tax returns via their TIN. If you believe you are a Thai taxpayer, go ahead. Examples include currency speculators, investors in tax free overseas enterprises and holders of off-shore bank accounts for example in Hong Kong or Singapore. Digital nomads could be caught in this particular net but not if they stay in Thailand less than half the year. The vast majority of TIN holders use the services of a tax accountant since the detail can be complex. Are there specific exemptions? Amongst those who do not need to file are foreigners with less than six months Thai residency in a year, those who do not bring any overseas cash into Thailand in the entire year 2024 and those with a 10-year Long Term Residency visa whose benefits include specific exemption from the particular issue we are discussing here. Thai Revenue, of course, could add to this list at any time. What about pre-taxed income and double taxation? Ah yes the million dollar question! Double taxation agreements are not holiday reading and are not primarily concerned with the welfare of pensioners, so don’t expect too much. The best advice, endorsed by major tax accountants in Thailand, is to assume that pre-taxed pensions and income are exempt from the current Revenue enforcement unless and until a government source tells you otherwise. That applies whether your home country has a double taxation agreement or not. What is the Thai Revenue rationale? To raise more cash on behalf of the Thai government to help pay for populist schemes is the most likely answer. But the Revenue hasn’t changed a lot of detail in its enforcement decree. It simply says tax must now be paid on foreign income no matter in what year that was brought into Thailand. The old rule, which covered Thais and expats too, stated that tax was due only if the cash was brought into the country in the same tax year it was earned. So what’s different? The vast majority of countries (exceptions include North Korea, Afghanistan and the Vatican) are now operating a standard reporting system which means that financial institutions worldwide report information on customers who are resident outside of the country where they hold their accounts. In means, in practice, your international transactions as a Thai tax resident are visible to Thai Revenue. Many commentators believe that, in the early years, the Revenue will be on the lookout for those who, in the past, effectively used tax loopholes to make vast profits. That’s probably not you. And it’s certainly not me.
  16. From Pattaya Mail By Jessataporn Bunnag, attorney at law Expats know, or should know, that making a Thai will is good practice and will ease your passing at any rate for those named as beneficiaries. We still see poorly drawn up wills which, for example, name two independent witnesses as beneficiaries or contain ambiguous wording or even omit the signature of the testator. Of course, the Thai court will acknowledge only a will in the Thai language, though it is common practice these days for an English translation to be included. But it is only the Thai version which can be assessed for probate. Photocopies of originals of relevant documents should be attached to the will. This may include house or condo ownership proof, the ID page of Thai bank accounts, registration papers of vehicles etc. For smaller items such as jewelry or house furniture and contents it may be useful to include a statement such “and all other items belonging to me and not mentioned above”, of course making clear who gets what. If the testator has assets in more than one country, it is highly desirable to make a separate will(s) for each jurisdiction. The executor, Thai or foreigner, must appear in person before the Thai judge assessing probate and may be asked questions about the deceased, such as the family tree. Normally in Thailand, the bulk of the assets will be inherited by next of kin or nearest and dearest. The will needs to spell out the reasoning if, for example, a son or daughter is excluded. In a recent case, a foreigner in his will did exclude his son, but attached paperwork to show that the younger man had received a large cash sum to open a business two years previously and had accepted this was his share of the inheritance. If there is still a problem, the probate judge may well invite the disputants to settle the issues but will make a unilateral decision if necessary. In serious cases, the probate will be reviewed by the appeal court (in Rayong for Pattaya area cases) and can only be referred to the supreme court in Bangkok if the appeal judges so agree. Appeals can be both expensive and time consuming, hence the all importance of writing a will in the first place which will stand close scrutiny. In summary, it’s best to remember that comprehensive and unambiguous documentation is the key to smooth passing in the world of wills.
  17. Best cruising apps ever invented...and they're free.
  18. I think the industry term for used is frequently "refurbished." If you put that in your search engine it might improve results.
  19. Exactly. For my first five or so years of Bangkok visits, Robinson’s marked the beginning of some of the city’s best street cruising. It included the entire block of Rama IV from Silom to Surawong. Many uni students from the school across the way.
  20. Haven’t been to a blk sauna in over a decade but I’d suggest two places that have received fairly good reports on these pages in the past year or so. Sauna Mania is in easy walking distance of Silom. Although it attracts a young crowd, some members report enjoying their visits. 39 Underground Sauna is a short walk from Saphan Kwai BTS. Attended by a local crowd of mixed age, it reportedly welcomes foreigners. Use this site’s search engine for more information.
  21. You've received very sound advice above that covers everything you're likely to encounter on your trip. Macaron's is certainly the most detailed and comprehensive. You won't go wrong with his tip suggestions. The only thing that I'd add is to go in feeling comfortable and at ease. If the first thing your masseur does when he enters the room is smile and introduce himself, that's an encouraging sign. If he doesn't, don't hesitate to smile and introduce yourself and offer to shake hands. Say your name and ask him his. Most guys will have enough English for that exchange. Then allow the experience to unfold. Actually, that's the signal that your tip recommendations represent the mainstream of practice. The sign of a true consensus is when what you say fully satisfies no one on either side of the debate. 🙂
  22. KFC location, KFC man 🙂 Silom and Rama 4
  23. Fro Newstalk (NZ) Best destinations in the world 1. Dubai, UAE 2. Bali, Indonesia 3. London, UK 4. Hanoi, Vietnam 5. Rome, Italy 6. Paris, France 7. Cancun, Mexico 8. Marrakech, Morocco 9. Crete, Greece 10. Hoi An, Vietnam 11. New Delhi, India 12. Istanbul, Turkey 13. Cusco, Peru 14. Barcelona, Spain 15. Bangkok, Thailand 16. Dominican Republic 17. Playa del Carmen, Mexico 18. Phuket, Thailand 19. Hurghada, Egypt 20. Madrid, Spain 21. Siem Reap, Cambodia 22. Lisbon, Portugal 23. Amsterdam, Netherlands 24. Kathmandu, Nepal 25. New York City, US For complete list of award categories https://www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-Destinations-cTop-g1#filters-area
  24. From The Nation Thailand’s rail transport network saw a 40 per cent increase in use by the public in 2023, the Department of Rail Transport reported on Friday. Commuters from Bangkok’s metropolitan areas were the biggest users, accounting for 94.97% of total, while only 5.03% came from interprovincial trains operated by the State Railway of Thailand. Factors contributing to increased users included expanding rail networks in metropolitan and urban areas, the department said. These networks included the Yellow Line (Lat Phrao-Samrong section), Pink Line (Kae Rai-Minburi section) and Red Line (Taling Chan-Bang Sue-Rangsit), which helped facilitate the commute from urban areas to inner city zones and vice versa. The department also ranked the top five electric train routes that recorded the most users in Bangkok’s metropolitan area last year, as follows: 1. Green Line - 264,066,131 people/trips, or 54.03% of total rail usage in Bangkok metropolitan 2. Blue Line - 137,336,127 people/trips, 28.1% 3. Airport Rail Link - 22,495,300 people/trips, 4.6% 4. Purple Line - 18,398,106 people/trips, 3.76% 5. Yellow Line - 8,296,347 people/trips, 1.7%
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