By Barry Kenyon

Anything and everything about Thailand
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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Future insurance requirements for foreigners entering Thailand still muddled

By Barry Kenyon

May 9, 2022

There is growing speculation that Thailand may abolish the Thailand Pass pre-registration system for foreigners within the next three months, following a trial period with Thai nationals. This does not necessarily mean that international entrants will revert to the pre-Covid system of boarding a plane armed only with a passport and, if necessary, a visa. Obviously, they will have to produce at Thai immigration their vaccination certification which, according to the Ministry of Health, will be two jabs plus at least one booster. At present, full vaccination eligibility requires only the first two injections.

The other macro issue for foreigners is medical insurance which, at present, requires a minimum of US$10,000 cover for Covid-related illness under the Thailand Pass bureaucracy as it stands. If Thailand Pass was abolished, would all foreigners become exempt from any kind of insurance? Actually, nobody knows. Last month, a spokesperson for the Thai Cabinet said no decision had been taken to abolish medical insurance for international visitors, although it was no longer needed for Thais who were covered by the public health system. Foreigners, of course, are not so covered unless in possession of a work permit authorized by the Ministry of Labor. That’s a tiny number.

Another key ambiguity lies in the future of visas and extensions based on expat retirees over 50 years of age. As is well known, the 12-months O/A visa – only issued by embassies abroad – requires comprehensive medical insurance. All embassies appear to require cover of at least 3 million baht or US$100,000 for the whole year. Solely, the Thai embassy in Norway offers self-insurance as an alternative for those too old or sick to obtain cover. Instead, applicants may place 3 million baht in a bank account at least two months before application. This sum is on top of the 800,000 baht ordinarily required as a bond: a grand total of 3.8 million baht. Annual O/A extensions at immigration offices require the continuation of comprehensive medical insurance, but the details vary from office to office.

It is usually claimed that an “O” visa based on retirement requires no insurance, but the true picture is more complicated. Most embassies require comprehensive medical insurance of 400,000 baht (inpatient) and 40,000 baht (outpatient) to cover the single-entry three months permission, although some (Norway again) specify only a smaller US$10,000 health minimum. Once in Thailand, there is currently no insurance requirement when extending the “O” visa for a year or replacing a tourist visa with an immigration-issued annual “O”. Many retirees stuck with the O/A visa or extension try to change to the less-oppressive “O” but must leave the country first to have the chance.

A final confusion is the again-delayed 300 baht tourist tax on foreign arrivals of which 50 baht would go into an insurance slush fund for foreigners. The scheme has been widely misunderstood as a bond to fund foreigners receiving treatment in hospital, but it is in fact a much more modest bankrolling of compensation for international tourists who die in unusual circumstances such as transport accidents. The published details say nothing of routine hospitalization or any cash for operations, mishaps or Covid illnesses. At best, the government scheme would provide some limited cover for out-of-pocket hospitals to bid in a handful of controversial cases which risk harming the country’s reputation.

As Thailand opens up again to international visitors of all kinds, it has a golden opportunity to sort out its insurance requirements and introduce some coherence across the board. The quality of policies available both in Thailand and abroad varies from excellent to utter scam. The worst are designed only to be a thinly-disguised entry tax on which any subsequent claim is impossible because of the small-print wording. One can only hope.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... led-398177

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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When Dodger finds out about this, he's not going to be happy. Neither am I. To me it seems sheer greed and Thailand's current obsession with trying to attract the wealthiest of the wealthy, and it doesn't matter what gets destroyed in the process, is going to ruin Bang Saray. And the few who would profit by it couldn't care less. Does anyone truly believe this would stop with a harbor, marina, and a yacht club?
____________________________________________________

Bang Saray, near Pattaya, scheduled for huge marina project

By Barry Kenyon

May 15, 2022

The largely unspoiled town of Bang Saray, situated 20 minutes drive from bustling Pattaya, is famous for its sloping beach, relaxation, calm waters and freshly-caught seafood. Now the government has earmarked the district for a massive marine development project to boost tourist revenues by creating a new harbor for luxury vessels.

Tourists travelling on yachts are believed to have high purchasing power, so the project is in line with the government’s aim to encourage quality tourism, a term more or less synonymous with wealthy vacationers as well as those seeking first class surgery in private sector hospitals. The Transport Ministry has already started collecting analytical data of foreign yachts entering Thai waters.

There are currently four marinas operating in Thailand’s eastern region including the Ocean Marina Yacht Club based in Pattaya. A 700 million baht cruise terminal for both passengers and cargo is scheduled for Pattaya’s Bali Hai district but awaits environmental assessment clearance and funds from the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). Marina and cruise liner port projects are all on the government’s development list to boost international tourism.

The permanent secretary for transport, Chayathan Promsorn, said that several stages were necessary prior to construction of the Bang Saray harbor starting. They include environmental impact assessment, beach replenishment proposals, public hearings and participation from funding agencies including the EEC. Criticism of the project will center around the fears that local fishermen could lose their livelihoods and that Bang Saray’s “olde worlde charm” will sink beneath the waves.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... ect-398633

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Jun »

Whether they attract enough people to "spoil" Bang Saray remains to be seen. The Yacht Club certainly doesn't spoil Pattaya.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Jun wrote:
Sun May 15, 2022 10:36 pm
Whether they attract enough people to "spoil" Bang Saray remains to be seen. The Yacht Club certainly doesn't spoil Pattaya.
Pattaya is a major city. Bang Saray is a small town. Quite a difference. And Pattaya already has three yacht clubs. I almost never see any yachts, but there they are. What anyone thinks they need a fourth for goes beyond me.

Over-construction and greed has done a great deal to spoil Pattaya. It is too much change too quickly, in my opinion the wrong kind of change - and it hasn't stopped.

A luxury yacht club is way out of place for a community such as Bang Saray. Even if by some miracle it doesn't spoil Bang Saray, I believe it is only the beginning. Some places are in no need of change or what some see as improvement. Bang Saray is one of them.

I think building a yacht club there is a terrible idea and would do much more harm than good. If they do build it, I hope nobody uses it. I hope it goes the way of that ridiculous Betong Airport Thailand built in Yala, but so far I don't know of any airlines going there.

Did Thailand bother to do a study to determine a need and demand for that airport prior to building it? Has anyone at least done a reliable study to find out whether there would even be a need and demand for a yacht club in Bang Saray before setting out to ruin Bang Saray?

If they do build it, no matter what Bang Saray will never be the same - and that would be very sad. I hope the decision is to just leave Bang Saray alone.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Dodger »

Rumors of this marina proposal have been circulating for about a year now, but so far, at least from what the locals are saying, final approval seems doubtful for several reasons:

The Royal Thai Navy has royal veto power over any/all construction projects in Bang Saray due to its proximity to the Navy who routinely uses the Bang Saray beach front for training exercises. Also, the tide (sea level) in Bang Saray is much lower than other areas along the eastern seaboard making it difficult, if not impossible for large cruise ships and mega yachts to navigate without making a significant investment. Considering the fact that many of the EEC mega projects which were on the drawing board have died on the limb due to economic conditions - I imagine this will fall by the wayside as well. Most locals seem to agree - but some see $$dollar signs$$.

I have never believed for a minute that Thailand could ever transition to attracting the "Rich & Famous" to its shores because there's simply nothing here that the Rich & Famous would be interested in. My opinion on this has not changed.

Being a believer in "Plan for the worst - and hope for the best"...if they were to build this mega marina on our shores I would wait until the project was complete to take advantage of the property value increases - rent or sell my condo - and Jai and I would move farther south down the shoreline to escape all the rich and famous people flocking to the shores of Bang Saray...LOL.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Dodger wrote:
Mon May 16, 2022 9:49 am
I imagine this will fall by the wayside as well.
I hope so. I'm greatly encouraged by your post. Thank you.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Jun »

Getting the "rich & famous" to Bang Saray or Pattaya might be too ambitious. We all know what Pattaya is known for and whilst board members can safely wander around, if Tim Cook or Bill Gates were hypothetically spotted leaving Toy Boys with some "trade", the paparazzi might spot it.

Targetting merely the rich would make more sense. I would have thought they stand a chance of getting the rich to somewhere with a better image, like Phuket (whether or not the better image is deserved).
As it is now, does Bang Saray even have any high end hotels ?

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Dodger »

Jun wrote:
Mon May 16, 2022 3:05 pm

As it is now, does Bang Saray even have any high end hotels ?
There are a few hotels on the ocean that are very nice but I'd grade them 3 stars at best.

There is nothing "High End" in Bang Saray at all, and certainly nothing I can see that would be a magnet for attracting wealthy tourists.

NOW...if they were to open a string of gogo bars (gay and str8)...fill the town with gorgeous young prostitutes and turn this into a party town they'd probably have some luck. Wealthy people like to party and get laid at night like everyone else. They're not going to float their boats halfway around the world just because Bang Saray Thailand has a place to park.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Trongpai »

Dodger wrote:
Mon May 16, 2022 6:10 pm
Jun wrote:
Mon May 16, 2022 3:05 pm

As it is now, does Bang Saray even have any high end hotels ?
There are a few hotels on the ocean that are very nice but I'd grade them 3 stars at best.
How about: https://www.x2pattayaoceanphere.com/

It gets full on weekends, especially long weekends. The parking lot is gets full of BMW's and Benz's with Bangkok license tags.

Go for the floating champagne breakfast in your private swimming pool. Also on offer a floating high tea set late afternoon at 4 pm of course.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by gerefan »

The floating breakfast is no less than 2856 baht!
The room start at 7098 per night.
That’s B&B for a minimum of 9954 baht per night!

I will let you know about that!

It’s no wonder the car park is only full of expensive cars...

I agree with Dodger. I went to look at Bang Saray a few months ago and have to agree that without any expensive investment an upmarket marina won’t work.

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