By Barry Kenyon

Anything and everything about Thailand
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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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gerefan wrote:
Fri Oct 22, 2021 5:05 am
Those of us looking at air fares from Europe to BKK are seeing prices lower than before covid. For example London To Bangkok with Emirate £488.
Isn't that wonderful? You get a less expensive airfare so you can jump through all kinds of hoops just to be able to board a flight to get you to Thailand and then more hoops once you get there. That's getting there. I don't know what you have to go through to return home.


"$6,000 for three weeks of uninterrupted diarrhea!"
- Woody Allen (Walter Hollander), 'Don't Drink the Water'

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Gaybutton wrote:
Fri Oct 22, 2021 8:13 am
I don't know what you have to go through to return home.
To return home we now have to pay about £20 for a covid test and fill in an easy on line form.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Jun wrote:
Fri Oct 22, 2021 2:50 pm
To return home we now have to pay about £20 for a covid test and fill in an easy on line form.
That is for the UK. How about some of you from other countries. What will you have to go through upon return home?

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Awaiting the tourists, Pattaya decides to suck it and see

By Barry Kenyon

October 24, 2021

There is great optimism around Pattaya about the prospect of opening up to vaccinated international visitors from 46 countries. Many businesses have their eyes set on December 1 when, maybe, the bars and clubs will reopen. It is even possible that restaurants will be allowed to serve alcohol to diners before then. After all, the “blue zone” of Phuket can already do just that. So why not here?

A popular Pattaya radio station says that the latest entry requirements mean that the arrivals procedure is “almost back to normal.” Beach vendors are delighted that there are now many more bottoms on seats than even a month ago. Deck chair concessionaire Khun Oy says, “At weekends, the beach road parking areas are packed on both sides.” He adds that the customers are not just Bangkok Thais, but also many expats from the metropolis and beyond.

New businesses are springing up too. Fast food franchises continue opening up as others remain closed. The gay-oriented Jomtien Complex is mostly shuttered, but a large double-unit has already been refurbished and renamed for a grand opening whenever permitted. Dorothy’s Showbar, a name reminiscent of the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, promises on its magic message board to offer fair prices and a warm welcome. A chatty taxi driver lounging nearby told me it was named after a drag-show club in Liverpool.

Others are not so sure about the future. Public announcements in Thailand are not always correct as each government agency speaks for itself alone. The country’s civil aviation authority recently published a chart that all foreign tourists must buy their Covid insurance specifically from a Thai company, only to be contradicted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Bangkok Post issued an apology after stating that some arriving foreigners did not need any medical insurance – no matter where issued. These mistakes were first publicly noticed by Richard Barrow, a popular Bangkok blogger with his eye firmly fixed on the ball. He rightly points out that high-level mistakes like these are anti-marketing strategies.

Many details remain to be filled in. Arriving vaccinated passengers will be able to transfer directly to Pattaya to have their RT-PCR test and wait in a pre-registered hotel until the result is known. Some reports say the Pattaya-bound passengers will need to be escorted to the seaside in special buses, others that they are free to make their own independent arrangements to leave the airport. At the time of writing, Thai embassies abroad, the consortia of insurance companies and the government’s registration portal have not updated their sites.

The 46 countries whose vaccinated travelers will not require formal quarantine do not include Russia and the Indian subcontinent whose citizens provided around 25 percent of pre-pandemic visitors to Pattaya. China, which provided an even greater percentage, is included in the OK list, but tour groups abroad are banned and individual vacationers face up to 21 days in quarantine on return.

Paradoxically, Thailand in the short term is falling back on its traditional tourist markets: UK, US, mainland Europe, Australia and the Middle East. There has been much speculation in recent years about a future neo-Pattaya, a business and leisure hub, which would look very different from the old. Those plans are now deferred as the tourist-starved city craves cash from any quarter. Expect the go-go bars to be back before Christmas.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... see-376901

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Elderly foreigners are still welcome in Thailand

By Barry Kenyon

November 1, 2021

According to the latest information by Thai embassies round the world, foreigners up to the age of 99 can still obtain reasonably-priced insurance cover required by the Thailand Pass procedures which began today. The Washington DC embassy site confirms that the US$50,000 medical insurance required is obtainable from the Thai General Insurance Association ( http://covid19.tgia.org ).

The TGIA site continues to offer a minimum of US$100,000 but restricts cover to Covid-related hospitalization. Foreigners must be outside the country on application and are charged only on the basis of the country of departure and length of the visa. All age groups up to 99 years are eligible and are charged a flat rate irrespective of age. For example, a passenger from UK pays about 4,500 baht (one hundred pounds) for one month and about 44,000 baht (one thousand pounds) for a full year.

It had been feared, following a statement from the Department of Consular Affairs last week, that Covid-only insurance might not be sufficient. However, more recent statements by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Tourist Authority of Thailand have stated simply “medical insurance of at least US$50,000” is required. Similar phrases appear on the websites of Thai embassies in UK and several European countries.

There are other Thai or foreign insurance companies and consortia offering similar cover, but many have a cut-off point between 65 and 76 years, or require a medical examination. All foreigners entering Thailand – including those with re-entry permits – require Thailand Pass authorization which will be a QR code, with the exception of work permit holders covered for hospitalization from their salary deductions to the social security fund. Thais returning home are not required to show medical insurance.

The indications so far are that medical insurance will be required only for entry and not for extensions of stay granted by Thai immigration offices. The only exceptions are O/A retiree visa holders who require insurance on an ongoing basis for renewal. The O/A annual visa is issued abroad by Thai embassies, but Thai immigration offices require insurance to renew them. Other annual visas, such as “O” or marriage, do not currently carry this renewal restriction.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... and-377675

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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said he has had no trouble renewing his “O” visa
OMG! Barry, how could you! You said 'renewing' instead of 'extending'. bkkguy will not be pleased.
_____________________________________

Pattaya retirees feel “trapped” in Thailand

By Barry Kenyon

November 4, 2021

A random group of 20 western foreigners holding both “O” and “O/A” retirement visas and extensions of stay have told Pattaya Mail that they must reluctantly remain in Thailand. They say that the latest rules of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, enforced by embassies, are hugely discriminatory to retirees wishing to take a break abroad.

“Before Covid,” said British retiree George Hunter, “we simply got a re-entry permit to return to Thailand. But the latest Thailand Pass system requires us oldies to have medical insurance which is broadly-based, not just Covid specific, to a minimum of US$100,000.” He added that no other tourist or expat groups have this restriction because those people need only Covid cover of US$50,000 which is easily available to all age groups up to 100 years. It is provided online, without reference to age, by the Thailand General Insurance Association consortium, amongst other providers.

Other elderly Pattaya expats agreed. A German expat Joachim, aged 79, said he has had no trouble renewing his “O” visa at the immigration bureau but would need high insurance to return from abroad. “Insurance companies want profits and are not interested in covering the elderly for diseases broader than Covid.” He added there were some policies around which claimed to cover people of his age, but they were either hugely expensive and/or contained exclusion clauses which ensured no claim would ever be successful.

Thai embassies round the world are not fully consistent with their instructions. For example, the website of the Oslo-based embassy says there is a last-resort, self-insure option. If retirees cannot find general health insurance, they can provide a frozen bank account of three million baht (roughly US$100,000) which can be opened only for medical, presumably hospital, treatment. But such a bank account must be confirmed as truly frozen by both the bank in question and by a Thai government official. So far anyway, this option is not available in other countries.

Pattaya expats say the entry rules are discriminatory because other elderly expats have a much easier time. “Those on one year marriage or family visas, or those with an Elite visa, are not subject to these extra insurance regulations,” said Charles Fraser who wants to return to UK to see his relatives but is afraid he can’t get back. Indeed he believes that the basic intention is to push retirees onto the Elite option which offers a five year plan for a non-returnable fee of 600,000 baht and no further need to show cash in the bank.

An alternative for some expats on retiree visas is to leave the country without a re-entry permit and obtain a tourist visa prior to coming back. This visa can then be exchanged for a non-immigrant “O” visa at Thai immigration provided the expat can show a regular income or 800,000 baht in a Thai bank. However, they would need to do that every time they left Thailand, a loophole which could well be problematical.

Government spokespeople usually affirm that adequate medical insurance is necessary to avoid unpaid bills in Thai hospitals. However, the latest rules appear to ring-fence expats with a visa based on retirement, whilst taking the real risk with all other entrants to Thailand. The recent publicity about foreigners in Thai hospitals pleading for crowd-funding to have urgent operations, or to return home, have mostly concerned much younger tourists. Illness is not confined to the elderly.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... land-37797

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Gaybutton wrote:
Thu Nov 04, 2021 1:37 pm
said he has had no trouble renewing his “O” visa
OMG! Barry, how could you! You said 'renewing' instead of 'extending'. bkkguy will not be pleased.
firstly Barry didn't say it, Joachim did

secondly you neither renew or extend a visa at Immigration offices in Thailand, you extend a permission to stay! This is not rocket science and while I couldn't give a toss about your continuing petty goading about this I am still amazed that you and many others still find this simple concept so difficult to grasp!
I’m nervous now when people cough near me, I would be much more comfortable if they would far cough.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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bkkguy wrote:
Fri Nov 05, 2021 8:05 pm
firstly Barry didn't say it, Joachim did
Looks to me like Barry did. But if you think Joachim did, maybe Barry can supply you with his contact information. That way you can correct him to your heart's content.

My "continuing petty goading about this". Really? When was the last time I did that? I won't even agree that I was goading you this time.

bkkguy wrote:
Fri Nov 05, 2021 8:05 pm
I am still amazed that you and many others still find this simple concept so difficult to grasp!
Maybe that's because nobody but you gives a shit.

bkkguy wrote:
Fri Nov 05, 2021 8:05 pm
I couldn't give a toss
Sure you do. It's perfectly obvious that it upsets the hell out of you. I'll post when I next renew my retirement visa . . .

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Gaybutton »

Part of the article says, "embassies tend to interpret visa rules in their own way." That comes as no surprise to me. That's how immigration seems to work in Thailand - just make up your own rules despite what is and is not the law and what is and is not authorized. Why should the various embassies be any different?

No matter whether you hold an O or O-A visa, if you leave Thailand you simply cannot be assured you know the rules for coming back, if you can come back. If the embassy denies you the paperwork necessary to reenter Thailand, even if they are breaking rules, there won't be anything you can do about it.

If you leave Thailand, that's the chance you take. Some of my friends and family in the USA tell me they would like me to come back for awhile, especially during holidays. I tell them I have a better idea - you come here to Thailand. So far, no takers . . .
______________________________________________________

The ongoing saga of retirees with an “O” type visa or extension

By Barry Kenyon

November 6, 2021

Asean Now has been conducting a vigorous debate about worried retirees in Thailand, based on a recent article in Pattaya Mail. That piece highlighted the concerns of some Pattaya-based expats who feared they would have difficulty returning to Thailand if they went abroad. Everyone agrees that “O/A” visa holders are ring-fenced with extra insurance requirements on an ongoing basis whether they leave the country or not. Let’s leave them in peace, or perhaps in pieces, for the moment.

The main bone of contention appears to be whether expats holding the “O” type annual extension of stay will be subject to extra insurance requirements when applying abroad for the Thailand Pass permission to return here. Of course, everyone now knows about the US$50,000 Covid insurance required of all foreign entrants, available to anyone under 100 years old on several websites, notably http://covid19.tgia.org/

The online debate in Asean Now appeared to reach a consensus that these “O” retirees, armed with their re-entry permit, would not require additional insurance cover. However, the website of the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington DC puts it this way. Under a general heading about new rules starting on November 1, 2021, the text reads, “Longstay visa holders for retirement, “O”, “O/A” and “X”, or who currently hold a re-entry permit for such visas, require outpatient treatment not less than 40,000 baht and inpatient treatment 400,000 baht.” That certainly looks like a separate burden from the US$50,000 Covid insurance needed for Thailand Pass and sounds like the old “O/A” general medical insurance rule reincarnated.

It is certainly true that other embassy websites do not state the situation clearly for “O” expat retirees with a valid re-entry permit. Maybe it’s some kind of mistake, but it certainly worried two Americans who featured anonymously in the Pattaya Mail article. I also tried to find the latest details from the Thai embassy in London, but the relevant section was unobtainable online for several hours. It may be back by now. Months ago, UbonJoe – who is easily the best commentator about visas in Thailand – wrote that embassies tend to interpret visa rules in their own way. Whether Thailand Pass has ended this practice is not yet known.

Several contributors to the Asean Now debate stated separately that embassies do not award “O” visas based on retirement since that privilege is left to the immigration bureau here in Thailand. Whilst it is true that embassies do not give “O” 12-months visas based on retirement, many do offer 90 days “O” visas specifically for retirees. For example, Thai embassies in Switzerland, Norway, Sweden and Holland all have sections specifically on this point, although they speak of 400,000 and 40,000 baht required insurances and refer readers to http://longstay.tgia.org/ not to be confused with their other site referred to in paragraph two above. This is the Thai insurance consortium which has age limit exclusions to obtain general medical cover and hospitalization. So we are back to square one.

As many commentators have pointed out, Thai insurance rules for foreigners – especially retirees – are not exactly crystal clear. Indeed. There appear to be overlapping regulations which in some cases even predate the Covid pandemic. To repeat the obvious: things need sorting out nationally. We can all agree on that.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... ion-378301

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by bkkguy »

Gaybutton wrote:
Fri Nov 05, 2021 8:33 pm
It's perfectly obvious that it upsets the hell out of you. I'll post when I next renew my retirement visa . . .
making posts to deliberately upset other people must be an "iron fist" privilege, but like a typical bully you have no qualms about using that same iron fist against anybody upsetting your delicate sensibilities!
I’m nervous now when people cough near me, I would be much more comfortable if they would far cough.

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