Cost of Living in the Land of Smile

Living in Thailand, generally speaking, is not pricey. Although prices have definitely gone up in the past ten years, it is still decent.

Prices may differ though from place to place depending on the density of foreign visitors the place have. The likes of Pattaya, Koh Samui, Koh Lipeh, Koh Phi Phi, and Phuket are expensive unless you know the right places that sell meals at a local rate. Major cities like Bangkok, ChiangMai, ChiangRai, and Hatyai have fairly minimal rate per meal. The province of Songkhla has surprisingly higher rate at about 10 baht more. For instance, a 50-55 baht meal in Hatyai is about 60-65 baht in Songkhla. Even items on sale in grocers and thrift shops are 10 baht more expensive than Hatyai. Well they say, the oil rig companies are to be blamed for this.

Speaking of oil, gasoline prices had been a roller coaster. It fluctuated greatly in the past seven years or at least since I got conscious of oil prices due to necessity. Sixteen baht was lowest so far and that was in 2008 to 2009, I just couldn’t be certain of the date but it was definitely within these years. It was a  great time but a short lived one. After that, it has gone up and down, with 27 baht as the priciest so far in 2016.

We have gone to several places, eaten at restaurants, and shopped at local market and grocers, one important thing we observed, once sellers know that you are a foreigner they would jack up the price. So friendly tips, it is best to buy at places where prices are displayed. It happened to us countless times and we saw it happened to “Phalangs” right before our eyes.

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Thai Teaching License

Do you need to get or renew your Thai teaching license?

Working expats in Thailand especially English teachers have to acquire a teaching license from the Teachers Council of Thailand (คุรุสภา), and regularly renew this every five years.  It is necessary to have a Thai teaching license as this is one of the requirements for non-B visa extension (working visa) which is done annually.  For first-time getters, attending a seminar on Thai culture is a must.  This Thai culture seminar is regularly scheduled by the teachers council.

Download these forms, comply all requirements,and follow the procedure.

KS 02 Professional License renewal application Form

KS 02.10 Qualification Declaration Form for License Renewal Applicant

Teaching license requirements

Pay to post payment form

Send these papers to
Mailing Address
Teaching License
Professional License and Registration Bureau
Professional License Services Unit
Secretariat Office of the Teachers’ Council of Thailand
128/1 Nakhon-Ratchasima Road,
Dusit Sub-District, Dusit District
Bangkok 10300

To get the teaching license card, you can either go there yourself or authorize someone to collect it for your.  You may need to send an authorization letter and a copy of the information page of your passport duly signed.

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Thai Insurance: Batprakansangkom

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Process You Need to go Through Before Registering Your Thailand Born Child

Here are the steps you need to do before registering your child in your respective embassies.

Steps
1. Have pertinent documents like your child’s birth certificate translated  to English and passport of parent(s) translated to Thai by an English translator authorized  by MFA, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
2. Fill in necessary forms at MFA . At this moment there are no updates on the downloadable documents.
3. Bring these to the MFA office  at

Legalization Division , 3rd floor
Department of Consular Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
123 Chaeng Watthana Road
Bangkok 10210

or by mail

It would take 2 working days to process this.

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Maternity Preparation: Expat’s Concern

Being a working expat we have limited support system.  Technically we’re on our own. With a child on the way my husband and I needed to have all things covered.

Both my kids were born in a hospital. I wouldn’t probably have it any other way since there were possibilities of Caesarian Section specially with my second child. Luckily though I had normal delivery for both despite the risks.

Here are some preparations we did.

  • Days before the delivery schedule, we mapped out the route to take from the house to the hospital taking into consideration time and traffic conditions.
  • Necessary things were all placed in one big bag to prevent cases of things getting lost or forgotten.
  • Pack only the essentials like mom’s going home clothings, sanitary napkins and toiletries (although these are provided), enough new born necessities – clothes,  diapers, baby wipes.
  • It would also be great to have hot packs to warm your mammary glands,  otherwise milk won’t come out and breastfeeding is painful (my nipples were bruised). Government hospitals are strictly implementing breastfeeding program. So formula milk is not allowed. But we sneaked in some,  no milk was coming out and my daughter was bawling her eyes out of hunger.  What can we do we’re parents.
  • Secure pertinent documents like passports,  work permit, and insurance card (I’ve got Prakansangkom, government insurance). And also a copy of house registration  (สำเนาทะเบียนบ้าน) is needed . Secure this from the house owner.
  • Prepare your baby’s name written in Thai letters on a piece of paper. Birth certificates are in Thai which require name written in Thai. So you would have to have it translated to English or your countries language for registration. Here’s how.

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Free SMS Philippines

 SMS-20day

Homesickness is nothing new to an expatriate like me.  To most Filipinos living and working overseas, it is inherent.  Being able to communicate or express concerns to loved ones is the only consolation to ease up this homesickness.  That is why mobile phones and laptops are expatriates and OFW’s best friends.

Just recently, I came across free SMS Philippines.  It is a new SMS portal, which allows sending of text messages to any mobile network, take note, any mobile network in the Philippines.  Registration is not needed. All you need is an internet connection, open the website and send UNLIMITED messages FOR FREE.  Yes, that’s right. For free! No hidden charges or fees.  Plus, you can send messages in any language.

It is easy and very simple to use, it works and it’s for FREE! Messages are received almost in an instant.  It is an uncomplicated and honest app.  If you need to send a quick message to your relatives back home or you are out of load, this is the right app for you.

For an expatriate like me, this is heaven sent.  It could not get any better than this.  It works.  Most of all it’s FREE

 

 

 

 

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Our Family’s Precious weekend

Baby #59

Baby #59sewage baby

This is the incubator name where the Chinese sewage baby boy is now recuperating.

He incurred minor bruises and cuts. But generally speaking, he is Ok.

As I was watching the video two days ago, I felt a lot of mixed emotions.  My first reaction was ” OMG, if you don’t like to rear the baby have him/her for adoption”. I pity the little, helpless  angel so much. My goodness, I can just imagine the dirt and germs around. This is very degrading.  He is a human being for crying out loud, not some kind of insect.

On the lighter side, when the divine, supernatural force intervenes nothing is impossible.  The baby survived this ghastly, horrible ordeal unscathed. He could have died of asphyxiation, or could have been contaminated by whatever bacteria in that sewage.

This is a sad reflection of humanity’s profanity and weaknesses as a whole.  This should not be treated as of the Chinese community alone because reality bites, this is rampantly happening all over the world across all races and religions. STOP RELIGIOUS HYPOCRISY! World leaders and religious people alike should look at this issue of sex and abortion with open mind. Set aside political and religious agenda, and just deal with the problem head on with logic and humanitarian disposition.

 

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Khun Mei Yu Nai Khrub?:

Mama Where Are You?

Airport Security

 

Safety is as important as health.  It is a right, not a privilege according to Avira antivirus software.  It is the foundation with which we build security and functionality.  Otherwise, security is ruined, and functionality diminished.  I remember the movie, “The Okinawa’s Dream”.  The village in that movie has no electricity – that means no street lights, no street cameras.  But the people were safe.  Nowadays, one’s safety is threatened even during daytime.

In the past years there had been a regular occurrence of terrorism, which has enormously spread fear in every homes, every establishments, and every countries in the world. Thus the “safety first” signage in gates, bags and body inspections in malls and establishments; and finally, the strict and yet eccentric airport security check were implemented.

Speaking of airport security, I just had a very annoying experience with this in Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark Pampanga, Philippines.  I brought with me a traveler’s grooming kit.  It is as dainty as an iphone 4s.  Inside are the following;  nail cutter, nipper, nail file, tweezer, eyebrow trimmer, and pimple extractor (whatever you call it).  Upon arrival as they are made of metal, they got detected by the x-ray machine.  The male officer cordially asked for the inspection of my bag.  When he found out that it was only a grooming kit, he returned it to me.  At the domestic departure before we get to the boarding area, is yet another inspection.  The female officer saw the grooming kit.  She asked me to show it to her.  She opened it and said “ oohhh”.  She then took the nipper, nail file, and eyebrow trimmer.  She went on to explain that those three are sharp objects and they’re not allowed on board.

I was in a state of disbelief.  It already passed international inspection during my trip to the Philippines but now she’s not allowing it. Was she thinking that I might stab the people on board using the nipper??!! OMG! So ridiculous.  Well, don’t get me wrong.  I am for safety.  But what irked me was the inconsistencies with the airport officials implementing security policies.

 

security

airport

 

In their suggestion box, I wrote;

I suggest that any confiscated item(s) should be named and packed individually.  And be made known to the owners that they have the option of claiming back their items in their way in or out of the country.

Where do confiscated items go to? Are they given out for donations? Or are they used for personal purposes?

I left my email address.  But up until now, I have not received any reply from them.  Could it be that it’s customary not to reply? Could it be that they are not checking their suggestion box regularly? If these are the cases, why ask for the email or why ask for suggestions?

 

Do you have any similar experiences? Feel free to leave your creative responses or your comments in the comment section below.

 

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Babies Travel 101                                                     Helium vs. Asthma

Expat Babies Travel 101

For expat mommies who have kids born in Thailand and will be travelling out of the country for the first time, it is important to bring 2 very essential documents aside from your kid’s passport.  These are your child’s birth certificate both Thai and the English Translation, photocopies of the birth certificate.

Summer and I went to the Philippines for an emergency visit.  As I was travelling with a kid, I didn’t want to bring any check-in luggage.  It would definitely lessen the hassle. So I packed just the basic necessities, and a few shirts and shorts for Summer and I.  I did not bother to really think about the documents to bring, which I normally do when travelling.  I would even bring the not so necessary papers. But I was in a hurry, so I just brought my work permit, contract, and our passports.  At first I did not bring the birth certificate thinking that the passport is already one good identification.  When we were about to go I turned to my husband and asked ” should i bring Summer’s birth-certificate?”  He glared with a huff and said “Dalaa uie! Naunsa gud!” (Bring it! ) and hurriedly took Summer’s birth certificate.

I was so thankful.  I listened to my intuition.  We were held a bit longer than usual in the immigration section of Hatyai International Airport.  I was glad as well that we went there really very early.  Had we used “Filipino or Thai time”, it would have been a disaster. Summer’s passport was “clean” – no stamps, no visa, no departure card.  This had caused confusion to the officer.  He had to make a call. And this scared me a bit.  Although, technically everything is good.  Summer was born in Thailand, we got her passport in the Philippine Embassy in Bangkok. It’s her first time to travel out of Thailand. The officer talked on the phone for a long time, asking questions every now and then – where did you get this passport?  Where did you give birth to Summer? I listened intently to their conversation, and was relieved when the officer mentioned “ohk dai, chai mai?” (She can go out, right?).  He then asked for the original and photocopy of the birth certificate.

At that moment, I was so thankful to all the angels who gave me that pressing feeling to ask and confirm to bring the birth certificate.  I was thinking. OMG! Had I not brought the birth certificate, what would have had happened?  Would they have asked me to go back home and get the document? or Would have they simply refused passage for Summer?

 

Do you have any similar experience with the immigration?

 

Feel free to post your comments, reactions, opinions or even share you own experience.  Cheers!

 

 

Summer in Jollibee Philippines

Philippine Cybercrime Law

Have you heard of the Republic Act 10175 or better known as Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 ? This is trending now.  It is known all around the globe.

It was originally intended to prevent cybersex, online child pornography, identity theft and spamming. Well this is good! But what is suspicious and repugnant about this is the inclusion of libel as a cybercrime.  To make things even worst, Government officials are given new power to pry and seize data from people’s online account.  Any “libelous” comments online including facebook, twitter, and blogs are punishable by up to 12 years in jail. The inclusion of libel as a cybercrime and the prying thing I think should be modified.  They are not directly relevant to the original purpose of this law. That is if they do not have any hidden agenda.  We should practice responsible journalism.  But the 12 years jail punishment, the searching and seizing of online account are definitely too much.

I just have one question;

What are they doing to prepare the country for the 2015 AEC?

 

2015 Asean Economic Community: Boom or Doom

The 2015 AEC is fast approaching! DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA WHAT IT IS? WILL YOU JUST LET IT UNFOLD BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES WITHOUT KNOWING HOW WILL IT AFFECT YOU, OR HOW YOU CAN MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU?

Its time to wake up people and be involved. Please read through and share your thoughts.

The 2015 Asean Economic Community brings mixed reactions and confusing thoughts among us.  Some talk about it with optimism.  While others, who know  about the taxation system and red tapes in the Philippine politics doubt its success.

I was reading the AEC blueprint.  It says about one market for the Asean where there is free flow of goods, capital, services, investments, and skilled workers.  All tarrifs for intra-Asean goods will be eliminated.  There will be custom integration which requires modernisation, harmonised system, and especially transparency, which is so difficult to achieve.

For me, all of these are exciting and something worth looking forward to.  But as I gave it a more serious thought, a lot of questions come to mind.  How would the peso fair in the Asean market?  Will there be loopholes that can be used by the Oligarchs to monopolize the economy? Does it mean lower prices since there will only be single tax for all goods? Are we ready for honesty and transparency? How free are the skilled workers? Does this mean no more visas, and people can just come and go? What will happen to expatriates?  Will there be changes in the laws regarding immigration, expatriates, and residency?

This is a big leap for all of us.  It is something that we should get ourselves involved with.  This is no time to sit back, to be aloof, and wait for everything to unfold before us.  We have to know every single details about 2015 AEC.  It is only in this way we will be able to make it work for us.