Grapevine: Foreigners last – August 27, 2021


Banking on it
The news that Thai banks will now guarantee deposits only up to one million baht, though unwelcome, has followed a trend since 2008 when the deposit law was introduced. In fact, Asian countries have lower protection than Thailand. According to some press reports the Government Savings Bank, which is state-owned, guarantees all deposits no matter what the size.

Expat vaccination access
After months of waiting and endless internet signups which resulted in nothing, July saw several opportunities for elderly farang to get their jabs in Bangkok. In August, the chance to do the necessary in Pattaya also flourished with vaccination centers and hospitals all organizing registration procedures which actually worked. If you are over 60, you should have had your first jab by now.

Thais still waiting
The vaccination rollout for Thais seems to be unfolding much more slowly with citizens complaining they are having difficulty actually securing appointments. In many countries of the world, governments have placed adverts on TV and on social media reminding people that having your jabs is a really good idea. That has not been necessary in Thailand. By any stretch of the imagination.

Discouraging travel
The news that the US has classified Thailand as a top infection-risk country comes as no surprise, although the American authorities stopped short of banning travel here. What’s often overlooked is that entry into Thailand is not easy in the first place. With the exception of the Sandbox which requires completed vaccination prior to arrival, all visitors must serve 14 days in hotel quarantine, vaccinated or not.

Indoors or outdoors
We are all told to go out as little as possible and to leave home only when absolutely necessary. But there seems to be no published research on whether more infections are passed on in accommodation or outside. It does appear, casually, that many cases happen in crowded conditions in homes, shanty towns, prison dormitories, etc., where people sleep several (or more) to a room.

Good Thai takeaway
Surf Kitchen, one of the most popular Jomtien Beach Road restaurants and located very close to Soi 5, has a highly efficient and safety-conscious takeaway facility. For lovers of Thai food, it’s well worth a visit for the quality and for the cash discounts now that in-dining is out of bounds. Almost all choices are within the price range 90-130 baht with ample portions.

Covid visas again
There’s a lot of speculation whether or not the immigration bureau will extend beyond the end of September the 60-days special Covid visa for foreigners unable or reluctant to return to their home bases. Nobody can be sure, but the chances are that there will be further extensions until the land borders are fully open once again. That could be next year.

RIP Walking Street
The prediction in a Pattaya Mail article that the Walking Street won’t reopen on traditional lines led to an outburst of disbelief and ridicule on social media. But how many of the critics know about the Eastern Economic Corridor and the huge investment by Thai and Chinese multi-nationals? That mega-cash has already transformed the whole area from Rayong to Laem Chabang.

Unmanned road blocks
This crackdown is like no other for lack of enforcement. People are still reporting that there appear to be very few or no daytime roadside checks between Pattaya and Bangkok on their travels. Even during curfew hours, there are reports that some vehicles have been waved through without any questions being asked. It’s a truism that many people will do their own thing without realistic sanctions.

Re-entry confusion
A reader with an Elite card asks whether he can return to Thailand without hassle as this visa is multiple-entry by definition. The answer is that he cannot simply turn up at overseas airport and board the plane. All entrants to Thailand must apply to the local Thai embassy for a certificate of entry. There is a whole host of documentary requirements including Covid insurance. The easy-rider days are gone.