Grapevine: Hard luck crowdfunding in Thailand


All these requests for the public to help pay for the hospital costs of injured Brits here in Thailand include many worthy cases.  In a recent case, the guy’s holiday insurance had expired when he prolonged his vacation.  But don’t forget that whilst some form of insurance is required to enter Thailand, there is no requirement if extending at immigration.  The notable exception is the one year retiree O/A visa.

Self insurance breakthrough

For the first time, Thailand has accepted the concept of self-insurance for longstay retirees with an O/A initial visa.  From October this year, they can show cash, bonds or property ownership here or abroad for cover with a floor limit of three million baht.  This move is aimed at wealthy retirees who can’t get real insurance because of age limit cut-offs or pre-existing conditions.  Clearly, this is a pilot project to see what happens on the ground.

Royal Garden boosters

Many Pattaya expats have joined local Thais to sign up for their third booster coronavirus jab (Pfizer) at the Royal Garden on Second Road.  The center is run by City Hall and there is no fee to pay.  You should take along your passport and proof of prior vaccinations (Including the 13 digit ID code) and collect your certificate on the way out.  You then have to take all the documentation to Pattaya City Hospital for a confirmatory stamp.

Vaccination passports 

It’s not clear you need one to travel to most countries as the certificates provided at jab time seem to be sufficient.  But if you do want one, visit the Ministry of Health office adjoining Naklua fish market in office hours, taking with you all documentation as in the previous paragraph of this article.  Don’t rely on the Mor Phrom app which seems (For some people) very slow in updating records and new jabs.

Best French restaurants

A group of French tourists recently in Pattaya tried out as many French restaurants as they could find.  Their consensus was that the best classy two are Au Bon Coin in Jomtien and L’Auberge on Pattaya Third Road.  Both have websites.  If wanting to pay around 300 baht, they recommend two cafes in the side street next to Tuk Com: La Petite Planete and Cuisine Au Buerre.  Let us know if there are others around Pattaya.

Test and Go revisions

Test and Go is back with us, howbeit with a few changes.  Residents from any country may now apply as there are no longer exclusions based on nationality.  But you must book two hotels for a PCR test on the day of arrival and on day five.  This is to make sure you don’t run away on day five or forget about the test altogether.  You will be quarantined for a few hours (can be up to 20 in some cases) until your test result is received back from the clinic or hospital.

Sandbox future 

Many readers have questioned why the Sandbox option has been retained for entry to Thailand as it has more movement restrictions attached to it than the Test and Go alternative.  The main reason is that the virus could flare up again.  In that eventuality, Test and Go might be withdrawn but Sandbox might remain an option.  This illustrates that immigration rules and regulations can change quickly.  Don’t take anything for granted these days.

Covid extensions are dying

The latest rules say that Covid visa extensions of 60 days are now available only to tourists and that other visa holders cannot use this particular route to stay here.  It’s always worth checking at local immigration as there is some use of a slide-rule when it comes to defining a “tourist”.  That said, March 25 is the last date available to any foreigner.  After that, the Covid extensions, which have kept Pattaya afloat for two years, are history.  Period.

Certificates of residence

These are a single sheet written in Thai and with your passport-size picture stating your address at the time of issue.  They are available for opening bank accounts, obtaining a driving licence and buying or selling a vehicle.  You will normally be expected to show supporting documentation (proof of address, log book of the vehicle, a driving licence, or what have you) and you will need a translator if you need English.  These certificates are no longer “automatic”.