By Barry Kenyon

Anything and everything about Thailand
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gerefan
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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by gerefan »

5,500 baht. That’s extortionate. Last time I did a border run it was about 2000 baht. Before covid obviously.

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Thai baht caught in international currency crosshairs

By Barry Kenyon

September 24, 2022

The cost of a foreign holiday in Thailand now depends increasingly on the currency you wish to exchange. The US dollar continues to rise on the back of Federal Reserve hawkish interest hikes and investors’ preference for the greenback during a time of general instability in world affairs. One dollar is now worth nearly 38 baht. Kasikornbank Research says there isn’t much the Bank of Thailand can do to stem the rise of the dollar, which is hiking the cost of foreign imports and fuelling Thai domestic inflation. However, the rise in foreign tourist arrivals and the increase in Thai exports should bring an improvement later in the year. CIMB Thai Bank points to a likely rise in GDP (gross domestic product) of 3.2 percent for the whole of 2022.

Meanwhile, the British pound is in headlong retreat against all major currencies including the Thai baht. Thai exchange bureaux are currently offering barely 40 baht for one UK pound, compared with 42 just weeks ago. The British chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, has introduced a massive tax-cutting budget (mainly benefitting the rich) to kickstart a dash for economic growth. But the Institute of Fiscal Studies warns the UK will need to borrow an extra 72 billion pounds at a time of high inflation everywhere. The independent Bank of England could well raise interest rates substantially to dampen inflation, but this would have the effect of making mortgages and other borrowing more expensive in a continuing inflationary spiral.

International financial gurus such as Bloomberg say it’s currently very difficult to predict currency movements. For example, a Russian withdrawal from Ukraine, however unlikely, would immediately have a reducing effect on international oil and gas prices. Thus the British pound would be boosted in spite of the recent budget. As regards the US dollar, some speculators argue that the greenback’s share of the world’s foreign exchange reserves continues to fall even as the rise of crypto-currencies poses a threat to traditional theories. As physicist Stephen Hawking hinted, “The only way to predict the future is to invent it yourself.”

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... irs-411426

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Pattaya visa runs to Cambodian border now “much easier”

By Barry Kenyon

September 28, 2022

Visitors to Thailand say that the restarted visa runs to Pong Nam Ron (Hot Water Spring) on the Cambodian border are much more straightforward than before. “The border post was quiet without long queues and we only needed our passports, not even a photo,” said Mr and Mrs Turner on a long vacation from London. They added that they began their journey from outside Jomtien Immigration in a minibus at 8 am and were back before 5 pm.

During the Covid crisis, border runs were mostly off-limits or required two or more nights of accommodation on the Cambodian side whilst applications and health records were checked. The bureaucracy has now vanished. However, the longstanding Thai rule that a new land entry stamp to the country is restricted to two in a 12 months’ period remains intact. Entries by air are not formally restricted.

The latest visa runs are designed for two groups of foreign visitors: those who entered visa exempt and were given 30 days (45 days from October 1) at the airport and those with non-immigrant visas with double or multiple entries. However, foreigners entering with 15 days visa on arrival (30 days from October 1) – mostly Indians and Chinese nationals – cannot be processed through the Cambodian visa run route.

Jessataporn Bunnag, owner of Thai Visa Center Company Ltd located next to Jomtien Immigration, said, “We are finding that the pre-Covid departure time of 6 am was too early and unpopular. It’s far better that we start from the immigration bureau at 8 am.” He added that those who cannot do the land visa run, for whatever reason, can join another new program. This involves travelling to Vientiane, capital of Laos, by air and obtaining a new visa of any type with travel, hotel and embassy contact already arranged.

More details are available from Mr Bunnag on 087 513 3333. The inclusive cost of the one day visa run to Pong Nam Ron is 5,500, including lunch, currently running Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. For the Vientiane air trip, it’s 35,000 baht including all travel, hotel and embassy charges. Both services require prior payment at the visa and law office next to Jomtien Immigration.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Jun »

Barry Kenyon wrote:
Thu Sep 29, 2022 4:18 pm
Visitors to Thailand say that the restarted visa runs to Pong Nam Ron (Hot Water Spring) on the Cambodian border are much more straightforward than before. “The border post was quiet without long queues and we only needed our passports, not even a photo,” said Mr and Mrs Turner
So far, I've not done a "Visa run", but I have been to all the neighbouring countries for a proper visit. The last time I entered Thailand from Cambodia was at the Poipet border, just pre-covid in Dec 2019. I was in the queue for over 2 hours for Thai passport control to enter Thailand. That was arriving by taxi, so I beat the hordes arriving on buses. They seemed to be on some kind of deliberate go slow.

In comparison, entering Thailand from Laos a few weeks later, there was no queue at all.

I often deliberately travel over land in one direction, as you see more that way. However, if I find any border is as bad as the Poipet one, I'll be flying.

About a decade ago, it was fairly easy to find other travellers comments on such matters on the Lonely Planet and Travel Fish forums. However, even before Covid, the activity there had mostly died out, so these ceased to be a useful resource.

Now Covid restrictions are gone, I'll be visiting other countries again. Particularly as the next trip is intended to go beyond 90 days.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Pattaya supermarket site finally bulldozed

By Barry Kenyon

October 9, 2022

The former Tops supermarket at the junction of Second and Central Roads is finally under demolition to make way for yet another five-star luxury hotel complex. The shopping center closed in 2015 and has been vacant ever since.

Originally known as PS Plaza, the area at one time housed a popular bowling area, conference center, retail shops and several eateries. The land, located near Beach Road, is one of the few central plots remaining for sale and has hitherto remained empty pending legal process and planning permission.

The buyers have not yet been named but are believed to be a hotel consortium with heavy investment along the eastern seaboard. With massive reconstruction already completed or underway across the city, Pattaya is struggling to find a new upmarket identity less dependent on Sin City traditions without abandoning them wholesale.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... zed-412907

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Undaunted »

Who do they think will occupy these new mega hotels and condos……..I will put this on my “I don’t get it list”.
"In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king"

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Immigration police detail restrictions on Cambodian visa runs from Pattaya

By Barry Kenyon

October 13, 2022

Thai and Cambodian border police at Aranyaprathet and Pong Nam Ron, a three hour drive from Pattaya, have detailed the rules for foreigners wishing to obtain a further 45 days to extend their stay in Thailand. The new entry stamp can later be extended for a further month at Thai immigration offices for 1,900 baht. The scheme is popular with Brits, western Europeans, Americans and Australians.

Borey San, a Cambodian clearance officer, said it was essential that applicants register with a Pattaya tour and minibus operator in advance of travel to the border. The company must then send a passport copy to the border post of choice to check that the applicant is eligible for the new permission. Unregistered individuals arriving at the frontier under their own steam could not be serviced the same day and would need to spend several days or a week in Cambodia on vacation pending a review of their application. The alternative was to remain in Thailand to risk overstay.

A Thai immigration captain explained that most nationalities could take advantage of the visa run scheme, but there were 19 countries whose citizens could not get a new permission at any land border. The countries included China, India, several central Asian “stans” and a dozen states in Africa and the Indian Ocean. Separately, no individual could take advantage of the scheme more than twice in a 12 month period to prevent foreigners living permanently in Thailand by regular border trips. He said prior submission of passport copies was necessary to avoid international visitors wasting their time by turning up unannounced.

Jessataporn Bunnag, owner of Thai Visa Center located next to Jomtien immigration bureau, said the new scheme was introduced last month after the Thai government confirmed its willingness for foreigners to stay longer without the hassle of applying for prior visas from Thai embassies in their home countries before travel. “The important thing is to show us your passport well in advance so that you can be sure you are eligible for the extra time by this particular route,” he said.

Thai Visa Center offers the service, including all costs and even lunch, for 5,500 baht. Other companies may look cheaper, but there can be hidden extra costs such as the price of the Cambodian entry visa (US$30 or around 1,200 baht) or the minibus fare. Cambodian visa runs, which can also be done from Bangkok, disappeared during the Covid pandemic as land crossings remained closed long after airports reopened.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... aya-413339

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British expats in Thailand could lose personal tax allowances says experts

By Barry Kenyon

November 2, 2022

With the British Treasury looking to fill a financial black hole of up to 50 billion pounds, the UK general public has been warned to expect tax increases as part of an unwelcome pack of measures to be announced on November 17. But premier Rishi Sunak and chancellor Jeremy Hunt have not exempted expats from a bitter pill to swallow, whilst the Treasury has emphasized that absolutely everyone rich and poor will be expected to chip in.

Brits with a status of “non-ordinarily resident” already are penalized because in most countries of residence, including Thailand, their so-called old age state pensions are frozen unless they go back to the UK for several months to unfreeze them. Campaigns over the years to abolish the cash discrimination have got nowhere with officials usually hinting that restitution would cost the British tax payer around 2 billion pounds annually to an unpopular group: those who choose sunshine over patriotism.

In 2014 the then chancellor George Osborne set up a review further to penalize expats by abolishing their right to a tax-free personal allowance which is now 12,570 pounds a year (2021-22 Inland Revenue figures) per individual. Osborne at the time said, “The personal tax allowance is essentially for people living in the UK using British public services and not to subsidize living abroad.” His policy was aborted when the government collapsed following the 2016 European Union referendum fiasco. If the tax allowance is now removed, each UK expat who fills in an annual tax return will be around 2,500 pounds a year actually worse off, assuming the basic rate of tax remains at 20 percent.

In practice, they might well be additionally worse off as the abolition of the personal allowance would lower the threshold for them paying the higher rate of tax at 40 percent. Not to mention the whole issue of expats owning property in UK and renting it out to improve their overseas income. Forth Capital, a Scots-based finance house, has already predicted a move along these lines and suggested that some expats may have to return to UK and live in their property to safeguard their standard of living. Otherwise, their loss of annual income could reach 5,500 pounds. Other financial planners have made similar predictions if the worst comes to the worst.

Of course, the argument to the contrary is that expats in most countries have already been penalized by the frozen state pension and the insistence of many UK banks that expats must close their mainland accounts and re-apply in the Isle of Man or the Channel Isles, crown dependencies which are not part of UK and where monthly bank charges are higher. There is also the point that ageing expats living abroad are not a drain on scarce national health resources at home and should be rewarded rather than punished. But whether Messrs Sunak and Hunt will be impressed by such special pleading is another matter altogether.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... rts-414858

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Jun »

I'm not entirely sure what Barry Kenyon is talking about here.

UK residents are subject to UK income tax and have the tax free personal allowance.
Residents of other countries are not subject to UK income tax, so have no need for the tax free personal allowance. That's why the very wealthy move to places like Monaco. To pay Monaco taxes and not UK taxes.

One exception is capital gains tax, where it's not possible to leave the country for just one year to avoid it. A little more effort is needed.

Last time I looked, there were just two countries which levied income tax on their citizens when living abroad. One was the US and the other was some relatively small place.

If anyone does know what scenario he's talking about, I'd like to hear about it.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Jun wrote:
Wed Nov 02, 2022 3:09 pm
there were just two countries which levied income tax on their citizens when living abroad. One was the US
The USA even taxes our Social Security as income, despite the fact we were taxed in the first place to pay for Social Security for our entire careers.

You don't even have to be on earth to be taxed by the USA. During the famous Apollo 13 mission, astronaut Jack Swigert, who at the last minute replaced Ken Mattingly, during the mission realized he had missed the deadline for filing his income tax. President Nixon actually had to request IRS to give him a break on the grounds he was out of the country. They allowed him to file late without penalty.

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