The 30 days issue
Some foreign tourists are avoiding applying for a pre-applied Thai visa by using the “visa exempt” category which limits your stay in Thailand to 30 days. Citizens of UK, US, Australia and most of Europe all qualify. Even though they are staying for much longer than one month, they point out that the 30 days stamp on arrival can easily be extended at Thai immigration. So why bother with, say, a 60 days tourist visa in advance? The problem might be at the airport as you check-in. Some reports say that airline staff require you to show an onward flight ticket, dated not more than 30 days after you arrive in Thailand. Apparently, some Middle East-based carriers are especially vigilant.
Booze and the law
Over 300 Pattaya-based foreigners have been discovered drinking alcohol in local bars and restaurants over the past few months of prohibition. Some have been jailed overnight and appeared in court – usually a fine but without any further penalty – whilst others have been fined on the spot without any paperwork being issued. Customer fines have varied from 5,000 to 20,000 baht, so it’s a matter of pot luck if caught. Other foreigners say they have simply been warned. It’s all a matter of chance. But it is now abundantly clear that secretly drinking wine from a teacup, or pouring a beer from a teapot, fools nobody in authority. Coronavirus has finally broken that myth that hiding your alcoholic drink somehow turns it into lemonade.
Two types of insurance
All foreigners applying to fly to Thailand require a minimum of Covid-related medical insurance worth at least US$50,000. It is available to everyone aged under 100 (99 year olds welcome) and charged according to the length of the visa in your passport and your country of departure. Your age is immaterial and not asked for. Easily checked on http://covid19.tgia.org/ What creates the confusion is that some foreigners applying for the Thailand Pass, notably some longstay retirees or holders of the 270-days Special Tourist Visa, might require additional non-Covid general medical cover. The way to find out is to consult the embassy website of the country where you will board your flight. The detail can vary from embassy to embassy.
Pattaya wakes up
It’s still too early to predict Christmas and the New Year, but the sprucing up has begun. The big entertainment companies, which require hundreds of bottoms on seats for the glitzy transvestite cabarets, are not likely to resume business until Chinese tour groups reassemble later. Smaller bars and clubs all over town, including the Darkside, are planning to open once booze is legal as their overheads are lower. The Walking Street looks like it’s getting a dust down, although its future is very much in limbo. But it is the most famous street in Pattaya and it mustn’t look like a bombed-out war ruin. Just imagine the photos on social media.
The world has 7.8 billion people. But if you condense them all into 100 persons, the statistics are surprising. Out of 100, 11 are in Europe, 5 are in North America, 9 in South America, 15 in Africa and a whopping 60 in Asia. Out of 100 again, 75 have mobile phones but only 30 have access to the internet. Still out of 100, 49 still live in the countryside with 51 in the cities. 83 can read, but 17 are illiterate. 33 are nominal Christians whereas 22 are Muslims and 7 are Buddhists. A mere 8 out of 100 are over 65 years old. So if you are a pensioner who can surf the net, you are in a tiny minority in the world of today. You should be enjoying life to the full. If you have access to clean drinking water and have enough to eat, those are extra reasons to feel great.