Pattaya Grapevine: The coaches are back


The coaches are back
After more than two years, the big tourist buses are back in Pattaya. Obviously not so many as before, but the extra-large coaches are already parking at night on busy main roads. Given the state of the resort’s thoroughfares, with so many unfinished projects for cable burying and drainage the hope is that the Chinese will remain at home for now. Thanks guys.

Mask nonsense
So far the number of persons actually fined for not wearing a mask in Pattaya is zero for the past couple of months. Nobody cares. The holdout venues are a couple of malls where the guy on duty might (or might not) make a fuss. With no law enforcement and infection numbers dropping daily, the public has drawn its own conclusions. It’s just a personal decision.

June 1 is the day
Or is it? From next month, gogos and airconditioned clubs will be free to open without pretending to be a restaurant. Some people say that night life will be liberalized as cocktail dresses are replaced by bikinis, or even less. But others say it won’t make any difference as these delights are already on offer. Of course, you have to know where to go.

New electricity conclusion
The latest date for the completion of the Walking Street project to install an underground electricity grid and properly pave the pedestrian areas has been announced. It’s August although the year hasn’t been specified. Until then customers may have to pick their way through the debris. Fortunately, four and two wheel traffic at night is banned.

Leisure cannabis still criminal
Thailand has legalized cannabis, but only for medical purposes and (in weakened form) to liven up food and drink. Even growing cannabis is legal from next month, howbeit subject to various rules and regulations. Whether all foreign tourists will appreciate that smoking pot is still and will remain strictly against the law is unknown. It’s a fair bet that many don’t know.

Myanmar borders semi-open
The Burmese military want to encourage tourists, but the situation at the border posts next to Thailand is unclear. Locals from the two countries and those with three-day border passes are OK, but traditional visa runners seem to be experiencing problems. The advice to foreigners who want to visit is to apply for a visa online and travel by air.

Retirement versus marriage
A married farang asks if he should apply for a one year extension based on marriage or on retirement. This one has been a bone of contention for years. Basically, the marriage route has the option that you need only half of the 800,000 baht requirement. On the other hand, the retirement route requires a lot less paperwork which is precisely why so many married farang opt for it. But you have to be at least 50 years old.

Courier mail costs
Given the vagaries of the Thai postal system, both in and out, some residents send important documents such as tax returns or legal documents by courier mail such as DHL. This avoids contact with post offices both here and abroad. However, the costs have risen substantially. Pre Covid a document would cost you around 1,200 baht, now almost 1,600 baht to a European destination.

Banking charges
Just a reminder that overseas account holders with Barclays International start paying 40 pounds a month for the privilege starting in June, unless they keep an average deposit of 100,000 pounds. This bank doesn’t pay interest on most current accounts either. The days of free banking for non-residents are well and truly over. Other UK banks are likely to join the cash bonanza.

Pricey sex
Some commentators believe that the Covid pandemic will result in higher prices for horizontal leisure pursuits. The popular internet columnist Stickman claims that a 900 baht barfine together with a gratuity of 4,000 baht is becoming the norm in the classier sex palaces. However, he adds that Pattaya has a better selection of maidens than the metropolis. So there!