Grapevine: Foreigners last – July 2, 2021


Sandbox futures
The real point about Thai sandboxes (no quarantine for fully vaccinated foreigners visiting some resorts here) is not whether Thailand is open and ready to receive them. It’s whether foreign tourists will actually want to come here given that several governments (UK and US for starters) are advising their nationals not to book.

Pattaya Sandbox
The big problem is how to stop foreign guests moving outside the sealed area before they are allowed to. Not easy. Suggestions include restricting them to Koh Larn island and monitoring the ferries, ordering them to wear tracking bracelets, insisting they take bus tours which don’t stop anywhere, etc. Will people pay for that sort of holiday?

The sheer expense
Vacations abroad are rising in cost wherever you are. Many airfares are 20% more expensive than in 2019 when all you needed was a passport and a ticket to fly away. Now you have to budget for vaccinations, Covid tests before and after, hefty insurance and (sometimes) even quarantine hotels. Tourism post pandemic won’t be like the good old days.

No gambling please
Following the arrest of 16 gamblers in Pattaya for indulging in the card game Pok Heng, some quizzing souls are asking how to play it. Basically it’s three card poker but with a set of rules which can change on a daily basis. You can easily end up with a small fortune, providing of course you start with a large one.

Indian Curry Night
Bang Saray Beach Club hosts an Indian buffet-style feast every Friday night from about 6pm. Eat your fill for 300 baht which is amazing value considering the diverse dishes and the quality. Another favourite, from the ordinary menu, is the resort’s chili con carne which is spot on. Even served with sour cream and a choice of spiciness. Mosey on over.

Retirement visas
Both O/A and O visas and extensions of stay can be awarded to retirees. The difference normally is that O/A can only be issued by Thai embassies abroad but can be extended at Thai immigration. The O type can be both awarded by Thai immigration and extended by them without any embassy involvement. Clear as mud we know.

Covid insurance options
Not much of a problem if you are outside of Thailand and are less than 100 years old. Go to and see for yourself the very reasonable costs. The situation for expats in Thailand is very different and much more expensive. In other words, it’s easy to get covered for US$100,000 abroad and difficult and expensive here.

Still floating around
Many of the ideas put forward about future immigration policy haven’t been implemented yet. Still at the drawing board stage are abolition of the 90 day report requirement, the right of foreigners to buy land, the lure of permanent residency for big investors, liberalization of regulations for digital nomads. You can’t hurry the Orient.

Feeding the animals
Don’t forget, under a recently passed law, that if you feed stray cats and dogs you automatically become responsible for them – as if you owned them. Whilst there is little sign of the local authorities cracking down on good-natured people, it is as well to be aware. You don’t want to be stuck with veterinary bills for animals you hardly know.

Driving licenses required
Although Pattaya police don’t seem to be doing much vehicle checking right now, the land transportation offices are open again. The former policy of allowing drivers up to a year before renewing out of date licences is now ancient history. Online appointments might need a Thai person to help you out.