Grapevine: Thanks Mr Ambassador


Thanks Mr Ambassador
Views differ on why the British ended the virtual ban on Thailand earlier this month. Some say the reason was lobbying by Thai ministers on the new British ambassador Mark Gooding. Others point out that the UK lifted its arrival ban on all but nine countries, all of which are in or near Latin America. So what’s all the fuss about?

Vaccine passport not necessary
Provided the hospital certificate issued to you after two jabs has all the details of your ID, passport number and date and description of the vaccine brand (as long as it’s not Chinese), you won’t need a vaccine passport issued by the Ministry of Health to go abroad. The certificate from the hospital should be enough but must have the details in English as well as Thai.

Mor Phrom problems
Although the official advice is to register with the Mor Phrom app once you are fully vaccinated, some farang are experiencing difficulty in signing on. Assuming you have the 13 digit code on your hospital certificate, it should be plain sailing. But the error code keeps coming up, perhaps because the data hasn’t been uploaded yet or because foreigners not included yet. TIT of course.

Honesty during arrest
During a recent booze and drugs raid on a gay club in Bangkok, the owner said the club had been raided last May so he thought the police wouldn’t know what was going on now. Just goes to show that lightning can strike twice in the same place. 57 people were arrested in May and another 10 in October. We assume no farang involved – otherwise the publicity would have been so much greater.

Cold feet on property
As predicted, many Thais are getting nervous about allowing property (not condos) to be bought outright by foreigners. Now the Thai Chamber of Commerce wants to have zoning and price rules to prevent foreigners from buying up Thailand and denying ordinary citizens somewhere to live. Much exaggerated scenarios. If the foreigner is only able to buy a house worth 10 million baht or more, and a new one at that, there won’t be much of a stampede to buy.

Resuscitating Pattaya
It would be quite a simple matter to bring back the crowds. Abolish the certificate of entry for short vacationers, open up the bars, allow late opening and avoid mentioning the word quarantine, voluntary or enforced. What you should need to vacation here is a passport, an air ticket and a certificate of completed vaccination. It’s the only answer.

Gay marriage far off
Two years ago, it looked like Thailand might be the first country in Asia – leaving aside Taiwan – to allow gay civil unions or even orthodox marriage. But the two bills for consideration by parliament are stuck as house members await a decision by the constitution court on a delicate matter. Chances of progress this side of a general election? Minimal.

Aussie hospitality
The Wombat and Kiwi bar, Jomtien Beach Road at Soi 9, is a popular place with a friendly environment. Some good dishes on offer too. The BLT for instance has more bacon on it than we’ve ever since on a sandwich before or since. Even during the no-alcohol period, it’s doing a good trade with expats and locals. It’s next door to Tulip House which is popular with the Dutch expat community and their families.

Avocado party
Imported avocados are notoriously expensive in Thailand with prices usually around 95 baht for one. But you need to check around as they have a short shelf life, once ripe, and the supermarkets are keen to sell them off. Shop around and you may find them at 45-65 apiece, even if you need to eat them within a couple of days. We think Macro, Tesco in Central Festival and Villa often have the best buys.

Visas and vaccines
Growing expectations that a Covid double-shot vaccination will be required for visas and extensions of stay within the next calendar year. Several immigration offices are already conducting informal surveys to ascertain how many applicants for one year renewals have the right bit of paper. There will be a huge outcry from anti-vaxxers complaining about civil liberties and the dangers of having injections in the arm. But nobody in authority will be listening.