Monday, 20 February 2017

My Remote Goal

Hi Guys

Just a quick heads up that I have created a new website which I am going to be updating reguarly

The site is going to mainly focus on my goal of developing online income streams but obviously i'll be touching on Thailand along the way. I still want to write some new articles for this site but my focus for the time being is going to be this new site.

Join me over at


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

I'm Missing Thailand???

A few days ago something remarkable happened I found myself reminiscing about living in Thailand and for the frist time I looked back with fondness, nostalgia and actually thought to myself 'I miss Thailand'. Now this doesn't mean that I'm planning on moving back to Thailand anytime soon but I think this is a huge breakthrough and I thought it would be interesting to get back on here and share some thoughts about it. 

My reasons for leaving Thailand wern't anything to do with country, in fact I love the country. I left Thailand because I had become disillusioned with Teaching and after 3 years of working in a Thai state school I knew it was time to do something different. Unfortunately in Thailand opportunities for foreigners outside of Teaching are sparse and I mean really sparse. I think it would be a fair assumption to say that any Tom, Dick of Harry could walk in to a teaching job in Thailand but finding a job in any other industry is almost impossible. I must say that I personally have never really looked for jobs in alternative industries as I wasn't interested in living in Bangkok at the time but this is a story i've heard time and time again from others. 

I am in no position to move back to Thailand at this stage and I don't really have any plans to do so in the forseeable future but I still have ties to the country and I find my change in mentality to be really interesting. I'm hoping that when I go back to Thailand in July on holiday I'll be able to fully appreciate the country again as an outsider and enjoy the beautiful weather, amazing scenary and laid back culture without the bitterness which inevitably comes from staying anywhere too long in a job you quite frankly can't stand.

Cheers Guys & Gals

P.S. I will update this more xxx

Monday, 6 June 2016

I Left Thailand!!!

On the 5th August 2015 I made a huge decision and left the place I had called home for the previous three and a half years and return to the place I was born... I did the unthinkable and left Thailand for England!!!

I have not updated this blog at all since I left and randomly decided to login into my blogger account to find myself pleasantly surprised to see that some of my old posts are still being viewed and some people have actually made some really nice comments. I am happy that the articles I wrote have been informative to people looking to move to Thailand or teach there. 

Thailand is an amazing country and whilst I believe that i've probably made the correct decision for me to move away at this time, I would recommend that everyone should experience it. 

I've decided i'm going to update this blog with a few new posts detailing my reasons for leaving Thailand and my thoughts and feelings looking back nearly a year after leaving, and I'll take it from there... probably not much interest in reading a blog about Thailand from a guy who doesn't even live there!!!

Cheers Guys 

Friday, 2 January 2015

My 5 Most Read Blog Posts of 2014

I started this blog in March 2014 and although I didn't manage to update it as much as I would have liked to it has still had a decent amount of success. I have made it a resolution that I will update it more in 2015 but for now these are my top five most viewed post of 2014.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Motorcycles in Thailand

One of my favourite things about living in Thailand is the popularity of the motorcycle. Motorcycles are the primary mode of transport for a large percentage of the population and they are such fun and great value!

Should I get a Motorcycle?

'I'm in Bangkok' - no
'I'm in the provinces' - yes

I would recommend that anyone who lives in the built up areas of Bangkok should avoid riding a motorcycle unless they are an experienced rider. The sheer number of vehicles on the road in Bangkok combined with the erratic driving style seen in Thailand make it a far too dangerous proposition. The public transport system in Bangkok is developed that I would just stick to this really.

If you live in the provinces however riding a motorcycle is a completely different proposition. Once you leave Bangkok you'll find that not only does the population decrease dramatically but you'll find that there are less cars and more motorcycles. This means that the risk of an accident involving another person is far less then in the city and that most accidents are either a fault on the riders part or from bad road conditions. Transport links in the provinces are not very developed and you may find that a motorcycle is your only way of conveniently getting out the town in which you live. 

(Honda Wave)

Why not buy a car?

'Its too expensive & I don't know how long I'm staying for' 

Cars in Thailand are expensive and I mean really expensive. The price of a new car in Thailand can be double what you would pay for the same car in Europe. The used car market is even worse. Thai people typically do not like to buy used things so the used car market isn't as developed at what you would find for example in the UK. If I wanted to buy a 10 year old runaround in the UK I would look on auto trader or check out Ebay and be able to find a car for around £400 - £800. I have seen absolute wrecks advertised in Thailand for four times this amount. In a country with no reliable MOT like testing procedures I would stay well clear!. I also imagine that selling the car at short notice would be very difficult if you had to leave the country for whatever reason. Selling motorcycles is far easier.

If you have the money and plan to stay in Thailand for the long term then purchasing a new car might be a decent investment because they do hold there value fairly well. The other alternative is of course a motorcycle. 

Do I need an international motorcycle licence?

'yes and no'

Officially you should be in possession of a valid motorcycle licence to drive a motorcycle in Thailand. You can use your international driving licence or you can take a motorbike test in Thailand and obtain a Thai drivers licence. In reality though I don't know anybody who actually has a valid motorcycle licence. The vast majority of people including myself had never ridden motorcycles before they came to Thailand. 

I have never once been asked to produce licence documentation when renting a motorcycle either short term or long term. I do have a valid UK car licence which I will produce if requested by a policeman and this has always been sufficient for them. I would imagine that in the highly populated expat areas of Bangkok & Phuket they might be a little more switched on to the different categories of licences and possibly inclined to use this information to make a little extra money on the side. In the provinces however they're very unlikely to stop foreigners, even if they are clearly breaking traffic laws. 

Should I buy or rent?

'If you are staying for more than six months' - yes
'If you are unsure of your short term plans' - no

There is an old saying that renting is just throwing money onto the fire and this is also the case with motorcycles. I rented an automatic Honda click for about 18 months for 2000 baht per month. This works out at a total of 36,000 which is almost the price of a brand new bike! The reason I was hesitant to take the plunge and purchase my own bike was the convenience that renting gave me. 

The standard price of renting a motorcycle is around 2000 baht per month for automatics and between 1500 - 1800 for manuals. This includes insurance and often doesn't require a deposit either. The main advantage to renting the bike is the flexibility you have to change the bike or leave at short notice without having to deal with the headache of selling your bike beforehand. 

The sensible option for anybody who is planning to stay in Thailand for the medium or long term is to buy a motorcycle. The price of new motorcycles is significantly cheaper than in the west and can be seen as a real bargain. You can get a decent spec automatic Honda Click for around the 50,000 baht and a manual bike for even cheaper than this. The used bike market, unlike its car equivalent is plentiful and extremely good value. I've noticed that manuals bikes tend to dominate the used bike market and are often the preferred choice of the Thais due to their reliability and economical running costs. 

The main problem with purchasing a motorcycle seems to be the paperwork which goes with transferring the bike into your name. The general requirement appears to be a non immigrant visa and proof of your address. I have heard conflicting reports about whether or not a work permit is required but I'm sure there are ways around these requirements if needed. I was lucky enough to have a coordinator from my agency to help me with the motorcycle registration process and I would recommend that everyone uses a Thai native to help them with the documents as this will make the whole process much easier. 

The other main problem with buying a motorcycle is that if you need to leave you are left with the burden of selling this bike. Most things in Thailand are sold through word of mouth and unless you can sell it to one of your farang buddies generating leads for your bike can be tough. If you sell to a Thai they are likely to try and play on your ignorance and get a lower price especially if they think you are a 'rich' farang who doesn't need the money anyway. I know a number of people who had to sell their bikes at well below their intended sale price due to time constraints and a lack of buyers. 

(Honda Click)

Automatic vs. Manual 

'if you're only going to drive in town' - automatic
'If you're planning on doing long trips' - manual 

If you've decided to buy a light motorcycle your first decision will be whether to get an automatic or a manual bike. Automatic bikes are very easy to ride and all the rider has to do is regulate speed with the throttle and break accordingly. Automatic bikes are highly recommended for new riders. My first ever bike was a automatic Honda click and despite having three minor scrapes it was the safest option for me in the beginning. The automatic bikes are fun to drive around town but are not as ideal for long distance riding. They drink petrol far quicker than their manual counterparts and the parts for them are generally more expensive. 

The manual motorcycles you commonly see in Thailand, such as the Honda waves aren't really manual bikes at all. They are actually semi automatics as there is no clutch to control. These bikes are sometimes referred to as 'four steps' because all the rider has to do is switch between the four gears using the step pedal on the side of the bike. Although the initial learning time is slightly longer than with the automatics they are still really easy to ride. The toughest part initially is probably knowing when to change gear because the bikes usually don't come with a rev counter so you must train your ear to listen to the engine. 

The manual bikes are like workhorses. They are strong, reliable and economical. I currently own a Honda Wave 110i and I get almost double the petrol efficiency that I used to get with my old Honda Click. The bike feels far more stable at faster speeds and the parts are extremely cheap due to the fact that they are literally everywhere. I would highly recommend a manual bike to anyone who is planning to go on road trips as these bikes will perform much better over long distances than their automatic cousins. 

Thinking of getting a bike?

Go For It!

If you are thinking of getting a motorcycle and are mature enough to take all the proper safety precautions I say go for it!. It won't take long for the motorcycle bug to bite you and you'll have the freedom to explore what you want, when you want, how you want - bliss!

Monday, 29 December 2014

ASEAN Common Time (ACT)

In 2015 the ASEAN group of nations will officially come together to implement the ASEAN free trade area. This is essentially a trading block which in theory should allow each member country to benefit by standing together with its neighbours in areas of trade and commerce. The concept is similar to the EU and the EEA and such as was experienced in Europe its is likely that its implementation will be rolled out slowly over many years. 

The issue of free movement of labour and capital will probably become a contentious issue as the union progresses and there have even been talks of a common currency being implemented at some stage. One of the most interesting changes that has been discussed is the implementation of a common time zone which would be used throughout the ASEAN region.

ASEAN common time or ACT is seen as a way to increase commerce between member states as they strive to develop the ASEAN economy. The most discussed option is to align all the ASEAN member states to the GMT+8 time zone. This is the time zone which is currently used in Singapore and Malaysia two of the most developed countries in the region. This is also the timezone which is used by mainland China and its special administrative zones, which are an important trading partner for the region. 

There have been arguments against the implementation of a common time zone from member states particularly Myanmar and the furthest eastern islands of Indonesia. The concept on the whole however does seems to make sense, at least economically, although there may well be agricultural implications. It would not only benefit trade between the member nations but would also better facilitate trade with China, a trading partner who is likely to be vital for ASEAN over the coming decades. 

From a personal point of view I would love Thailand to move to the GMT+8 time zone. I can't speak for those who live in the north of the country but those here in the south would only see benefits. In Thailand if you leave work at 5 o'clock you only have about an hour of daylight left to enjoy. I really love that extra hour of daylight that you get when you visit Malaysia or Singapore. It really makes your day seem longer and more valuable, much like summer in the UK when it gets dark really late. 

I hope we will see ASEAN common time in the future at GMT+8 so we can all start enjoying more daylight in the evening!

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Five Disadvantages of Spending Christmas in Thailand

In my previous post I wrote my top five advantages of spending christmas in Thailand. The idea of spending the christmas period in a tropical country can certainly sound idilic. Whilst there are many benefits to being in Thailand over the holiday period there are also many disadvantages. These are my top five disadvantages of spending christmas time in Thailand.

1. Family
The chances are that if you are spending the christmas period in Thailand you are probably away from most of your family who are spending christmas time together in your home country. Christmas is traditionally the one time of the year that all family members come together at the same place at the same time. If you are away in Thailand it can leave you feeling slightly out in the cold and as good as friends are they can never really compare to spending the holidays with your family. 

2. Food
A huge downside to spending christmas in Thailand is missing out on all that yummy home cooked christmas food. Roast turkey, potatoes, stuffing all those traditional christmas comforts and traditions - forget about it!. The best you can hope for is to try and make your own christmas dinner using extremely overpriced import food from luxury retailers such as tops. In the provinces you can forget about getting anything even resembling a christmas dinner at a restaurant but if you head up to Bangkok i'm sure you could find a restaurant doing christmas roasts aimed at the tourist market. Hardly the same though is it? 

3. Work
If you are like me and you work in Thailand then the chances are that you will have to go to work on christmas day. Thailand isn't a christian country and you'll find that most Thais will be completely oblivious to the fact that it's christmas or maybe not even know what christmas is!. You should be able to wangle a day off of work providing your boss isn't too mean or you can just pretend that you're a diehard christian and you need to go to church on christmas day (that always works!!!)

4. General Sense of Missing Out
If you use social media you will find that most of your friends back home are posting about how they are preparing for christmas and how exciting everything is. At the same time you look around and everything is normal, no references to christmas and life going on as normal. This can easily make you loose your christmas spirit and be tempted to simply 'not bother with it this year'

5. Homesickness 
I'd imagine that christmas is the number one time that expats feel homesick which is the reason that so many of them decide to go home over the holiday period, even though practically it's probably the worst time of the year to do so. I think the reason that we feel particularly vulnerable to homesickness at this time of year is that all of our memories, traditions and cultures are bought to the forefront of our minds. This can lead us to look around at our current alien surroundings and think 'why the hell am I here?'. If you are particularly prone to homesickness I would suggest that you stay away from trying to recreate a traditional western christmas and embrace the change. I'd say head to the beach, eat exotic food and create unique christmas memories - everyone at home will be well jealous!