How Do You Pay Bills in Thailand

Paying bills in Thailand is easy peazy. It does not feel like it is an errand. Flashback, years back in the Philippines paying electricity and water bills were tedious. It was something I hoped I did not have to do. And also it costs extra money as offices oftentimes are kilometers apart. Fast forward, it was a little over 10 years ago when we had our first business transaction with a Thai company wherein we had to pay a gadget for an eight -month installment. That was when I realized what a breeze it is to pay bills here.

Aside from paying in a company’s bills and payment department, here are other places where one could pay bills-electricity, water, credit card, car loan, and etc. 

  •  The ever ubiquitous 7 11, so one can pay bills anywhere, any time of the day.
  • Lotus Express is a 24 hour convenient store affiliated with Tesco Lotus.
  • Tesco Lotus service….
  • Big C
  • pay at post
  • CenPay
  • Affiliated Banks (almost all banks) krung Thai Bank
    bangkok Bank
    Krung Sri
    Siam Commercial Bank
    Bank of Ayudhaya
    Government Saving Bank
    Thanachart Bank

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Marigolds for the King

Today is the Royal Cremation of Thailand’s most beloved King. Thais all over the kingdom swarmed ceremonial places to show their love and bid King Bhumibol Adulyadej their final goodbyes. It is truly an emotional time, people may it be young or old queued and waited in line for hours amidst heat and rain. The Royal Cremation was meticulously prepared with huge support from Thai volunteers and support from establishments in the form of food, drinks, raincoats, or cutting business hours to give employees time to join the ceremony like Tesco Lotus, 7 11, and some gas stations, just to name a few.

Aside from the incomparable show of devotion and the lavish royal crematorium (yeah lavish US$ 90 million), another prominent feature is the use of countless Marigolds. In every corner of the kingdom may it be residences, business establishments, schools, offices, or images of the late king, Marigolds are displayed.

 

Let us take a closer look at this flower.

 

Marigold flower belongs to the genus Tagetes which are native to North and South America but which are now widely cultivated in Asia, including Thailand. Marigolds are used as decorations for weddings, garlands, or as offerings for rituals and religious events. It is regarded as the flower for the dead in pre-Hispanic Mexico.

In light of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s burial, this bright yellow flower is chosen as yellow is his official color. He was born on a Monday.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, forever you will stay in our hearts.

 

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Free Milk in Schools

As children are the future citizens of the world their health should be of great concern.  And what could be a more fitting way to promote good health among children than providing them with free milk in schools. This is a health program by governments of countries the world over including the UK, the Philippines, British Columbia, Canada, and Thailand.  Despite its benefits and noble nature, there are different political issues of some sort surrounding this program – corruption, milk quality, milk suppliers, budget and allocation, and many others to name a few. However, as hundreds of thousands of children have availed and have improved health condition every year, this should be  given priority and attention.

Milk is very nutritious.  Many believe in its role in building strong bones, which is not far from the truth. The body uses several nutrients, not just one, in doing whatever metabolism it needs to accomplish for normal body functions.  And milk provides the necessary minerals needed in building and repairing bones. It is a very good source of protein, calcium, potassium, manganese, and magnesium, which all contribute to having healthy bones. It also is a great source of water, which is rich in vitamins like vitamin A and vitamin B complex.

In Thailand, School Milk Program (SMP) was implemented and got full support from central government in 1992.  Since then school children are given free milk for 230 days annually.  Since there are only 180-200 school days in a year, each child gets 1 box of milk to be brought home during the holidays. Foreign children who are born in Thailand and are studying here, get to enjoy this as well. Hoping that this continues, and that Thai government will always look after the good of the future of the nation, the children.

 

So mainly this program aims to promote healthy growth in children. However, it is part of the program to outsource milk from local farmers, and so as a consequence this has tremendously boosts the income of local farmers.

Free Milk in Schools

My kids love this. In fact they prefer this over formula milk. They’re lucky.  I don’t remember getting any free milk during my primary school days in the Philippines.  Have you?

 

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Creative Minds

It is just so incredible how people can be so creative and ingenious. This, my friends,  is definitely one.  They turned a mini-truck into an awesome, moving restaurant.

A moving restaurant

As you can see the top is converted into a mini kitchen. A cute lift is attached at the side to serve the food down in the main part of the car which serves as the dining area.  Ingenious!

How amazing is this huh?!

Earlier that day my kids were on a Mr. and Miss Maker mood (inspired by The Mister Maker kiddie show).  They turn this tiny plastic medicine bottle into a prop plane, with a spinner toy for a propeller and pikachu as the pilot….hmmm.


Creative?  Imaginative?

How do we encourage creativity in children?

  1. Allow ample amount for play time – play pretend with others, or extracurricular and outdoor activities.
  2. Often children talk to themselves, assume a role and act like they are in a different world. Do not disrupt this or give a negative feedback.
  3. Appreciate their drawings, crafts, or creations.
  4. Let them do things on their own.  Do not provide easy answer let them find it.
  5. Buy toys that needed to be assembled or built like Lego or Plastic Model Gundam.

 

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Tira-Tira Candy


This grandpa pulls something sticky and stretchy from an elongated pouch. I have to admit it was intriguing in fact we stopped by and watched, together with many others who can’t help it as well. To our surprise,  this grandpa is selling what seems like a candy my husband and I know from our childhood days in the Philippines, the TIRA-TIRA!
The only difference is that this one is a bit on the softer and chewy side.  The TIRA-TIRA we had before were tough and sticky on the teeth,  you would have to chew on it so hard it would feel like your teeth would chip off.
We tried it,  and indeed it is TIRA-TIRA, Thai version.

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UPDATED Thai Insurance: Batprakansangkom (บัตรประกันสังคม)

Thai Insurance: Batprakansangkom

In a previous post, I talked about my personal experience using Thai Insurance: Batprakansangkom (บัตรประกันสังคม)  

It has been almost two years since I posted that. Many things have happened. Now I’m making an update on medical services covered by Batprakansangkom based on my experience.  So aside from free outpatient doctor’s fee, medicines, and maternity compensation this Thai insurance also covers the following:

  • Annual pap smear and other gynecologic tests and medicine
  • Urinalysis
  • Blood test
  • Ultrasound
  • CT scan
  • X-ray
  • Echocardiogaraphy
  • Surgery
  • Oral Prophylaxis (teeth cleaning)
  • Tooth Filling and extraction

I’ll keep this post updated every now and then, so keep on checking.

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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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Spelunking Phu Pha Phet Cave

Derick and Summer were the youngest in the group of tourists in Phu Pha Phet cave. I thought they won’t survive the two hour walk inside the cave, well I thought wrong. As a matter of fact they enjoyed it, Summer got so fascinated by the things she saw and Derick, oh well, because it’s so dark and he gets to use a flashlight.

We came as a side trip since the cave is within the vicinity of the waterfalls we went to earlier that day. Although unprepared it turned out successful. They love it and are looking forward to spelunk again.

This time though we have to prepare some things before-hand like.

  • Face mask especially if your kids are asthmatics. It might be dusty inside from loose soil or bat droppings.
  • Tiny backpacks for water bottles, face towel, and the likes
  • Comfortable rubber shoes are definitely better than open loose slippers
  • Long stretchy pants would be comfortable and it would be easy to crawl or duck if there is a need to.
  • Wear mosquito repellent lotion for protection.

For more details about Phu Pha Phet Cave Satun Thailand.

Here’s a slideshow of them in the cave

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Car Camera: Dengo

Having a car camera is in trend and beneficial. We are really not the type who would just jump in the bandwagon, but we found it useful, so we got one. Firstly, as we’re expats we could not speak the local language effectively and so explaining things is really frustrating at times. Secondly, nowadays some people would do or say anything just to get away with something, so it is better to have a piece of evidence.
We have scouted stores for the right one, by the way there are many choices to choose from, but eventually settled for Dengo Cam which is only available online. So what got us decided on this?Here are the reasons.

  1. It is a dual camera for a little over $56, great deal we thought. It has a 140 and 120 wide angle lenses for front and back respectively.
  2. It has an auto on and off, loop recording, and motion detection features.
  3. It has a built-in battery and a FHD recording resolution.
  4. Plus, installation is easy and the delivery is right on time.

Wow!

But there’s the catch.
Although the image quality is great, the recording lags all the time. We tried changing the memory card from a lowly 8gb to its maximum capacity as advertised of 32gb, then back to 8gb, and then to an even lower 2 gigabyte, it still lags. It is important that your car cam does not lag. What if an important thing happens right on the moment it lags and so that won’t be recorded.

Another is that it does not loop automatically as advertised. We found this out the hard way. We got bumped from behind and the driver initially denied it but immediately “agreed” when we told him it’s on camera. Looking through the recordings we found out that it has stopped recording two days prior to the accident. Good thing he didn’t ask for it. Whew!

We’ve learnt that aside from image and recording quality these two features mentioned above are total essentials.

Now, we know what to look for in the car cam.
Well, if something is too good to be true, it probably isn’t ……….

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You’ll Be Forever Remembered H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej

 

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The night of 13th October 2016 is the quietest in Thailand history.  The King so loved and revered not only by Thai people but also by foreigners, has died.  People are mourning, and those who have been praying outside the hospital where he was admitted, cried their hearts out upon knowing.  My family and I are one with our Thai friends, colleagues and the entire kingdom in this mournful time.  His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej will forever live in our hearts.  May he forever be remembered by his kindness, good deeds, and love for his people.

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