Author Archives: Van Barneby

Patong’s Interesting Side – Lad’s Adventure Continued

Patong’s Interesting Side – Lad’s Adventure Continued

Well the following year we decided to go back to Thailand once more. To see how everything was since the tsunami, to see friends and just enjoy Thailand.

Now over the years we had had some problems and my wife was not getting better, in fact after a couple of attempted suicides the relationship was changing which probably led to that fateful day in Patong. We saw all our friends again including the ladies at the bar. On the walk home from the bars my wife suggested we take Mar to the hotel saying “she needs money for her children”… That evening we all met up and I was supposed to have sex with this lady and she would have money for her family. As I said before nothing goes to plan and that evening was no exception. Sure we all went to the hotel but as we lay there about to have sex I looked into this beautiful ladies eyes and knew she wanted more than just a quick wham bam and thank you ma’am. I saw into her heart and soul and although (honestly) we had never talked about anything she wanted I knew it was time to change my life and plans. Well the short of that was we did not have sex, my wife and I had huge problems because I would not have sex with this lady. All this led to me leaving the hotel, walking the beaches at night and sleeping on the beaches when I was tired.

In a strange country, speaking little Thai with only the clothes I stood up in, money and my passport…what was I doing was a thought that came to mind. Late into the night and still walking on the beach I got a call from this lady asking if all was okay as my wife had been to the bar and poured out the story to her. She had just finished work and said she would come to talk and we sat and talked for hours. I wanted to throw away my passport and vanish into the back of beyond in Thailand thinking that will solve everything, ha ha ha. This lady had a wiser head on her shoulders. The short of it is we had sex that night and without condoms (I hear you all) which is a strange thing to do I know. There was something about this lady and how she was living. She lived in a room with a corrugated roof, no kitchen as we would imagine and when she told me to take a shower I was shocked how it was not surprising to find a big black bucket of cold water and a scoop was all to shower with. Many years on I know that so many girls/ladies in Thailand live like this just to be able to send hard earned money back to the family.

Anyway she told me if I wanted to come back to Thailand I should deal with all the problems I have in England, did I want to hear that…..not at all but she made sense.

Now at this point I had to find somewhere to stay for the rest of the holiday, so we searched for a hotel. That was a fantastic two weeks and we enjoyed going around the island, eating at inexpensive roadside restaurants, but it had to come to an end. Now this may come as a surprise to many people who think they have found the perfect Thai lady. They do not think they love you even though they tell you it, “love you longtime” I heard many people say, but actually Thai love is something that will grow or so I am told. It is possibly money that many people love firstly and then love for you will grow, well that is depending on how you treat them and their family. That is what happened with Nusang and myself, Mar was her nickname.

Since the tsunami it has been an ongoing adventure back and forth to Thailand. I have spent a week up a mountain in a cave with a monk in Kathu, living as he did. I have been accepted into the village, not as a farang but as a Thai, we have land and have built a beautiful home (building managed by me). I spend time doing all the things Thai people do including going to the temple, giving alms to the monks who pass the house every morning paradise it is, but even in paradise there are problems.

My Thailand Adventure – Lad’s Story Continued…

My Thailand Adventure – Lad’s Story Continued…

As a person who rarely gambled in his home country it was fascinating to see how so many people (mainly women) play a game called Hi-Lo in the northeast, however this fascination led to frustration. Can you imagine a life that revolves around going to someone’s farm in the middle of nowhere, then gambling for eight or nine hours, only to come home broke!! Well I have seen it with my own eyes and it was heart breaking because it was nearly the end of my relationship with Thailand.

The northeast is as we know a pretty poor area and when there is no rice or sugar to harvest there is little else to do, other than working in Korea or going to Bangkok to find work in bars, clubs or shirt factories I am guessing. When there is not that you have to find ways to live and support the family or your children. This can lead to so many people borrowing and that is the start of the downward spiral to doing whatever work you can get. Yes bars and clubs are near the bottom of that spiral. That gorgeous woman you want to have relations with, or even marry will not tell you about how much they have borrowed to survive before they met you, but be assured many have borrowed and it does have to eventually be paid somehow.

I have seen this first hand and I have helped enormously (mug I hear you say) which is alien for me having lived in England all my life. I view it like this: I want to live in Thailand, I want to be with my Thai wife, in our home and I do not want people calling asking for money every day and if someone else’s need is greater, then I as a person should dig deep into my heart to do the right thing.

Those times are long past since we had long discussions about how to do things and the fact that everything, including home, land, car and bike are all paid for. Now over the years of going to Thailand and living there I know I have given an enormous amount away, sacrificed staying there for a full holiday to make sure the family can pay for things and this is just something you may come across. If you do and you think this is not for you, then I would suggest you walk away. If it is for you then you will see the rewards 10 fold. As I am typing this to you I have just had a call from Thailand (I am working in England at the moment) saying she has no money because the money I sent did not get a good percent when it arrived at her bank. She gets money every month and this is just one problem you may face, so think hard about what you are doing when you want to live the Thai life.

Think hard about it and consider that weddings and funerals will also be possibly so different than in your country…..I did not consider anything at all when I chose my path to Thailand, so when her pa became ill it was up to me to make it as easy for her as I could. This meant that we had to take him to hospital at anytime of the day or night, sleeping under/beside his bed to care for him. To take him home when he became so ill he wanted to die at home. To seeing him die in our car as I was driving him home. To making sure she could do all the right things for her pa’s funeral and the week long celebrations of his death. This goes for weddings also as it will possibly be the westerner who is expected to help as most Thai ladies who have children want to see their children have a good wedding.

The Story of the Blue pill

The Story of the Blue pill

THAI TIDBITS No.1.

Personal observations on matters of great, little, or no importance

The famous little blue pill – or any of its derivatives.

Let’s start with this important traveling companion for many men.

A guy I know from the UK, well into a romance with a Thai girl in Pattaya, stocked up with what he thought were good value pills, purchased online. In fact, he considered them excellent value, so doubled the order, ending up with enough to take on holiday, and leave backup stock at home, ready for use when he returned with his girlfriend. To be precise, this trip happened to be specifically to marry his girl.

While in Thailand, he received an email from his employers, informing he no longer had a job. He managed to find work in Thailand, obtained a business visa, stopped paying rent on the UK house, and arranged for a relation to clear out personal belongings. When asked what should be done with a large padded envelope containing masses of blue pills, he flipped somewhat. His reply doesn’t take a lot of working out, but I wouldn’t recommend it – could have nasty side effects.

It seems the new wife wasn’t too pleased on discovering she couldn’t go to England after all. To add fuel to the flames, the blue pills didn’t work either. The marriage lasted three months.

Pity really, because I could have directed him to a homemade aphrodisiac that some say works. Take a watermelon, cut it up – skin as well, and smash it in a blender. Boil the liquid until reduced to next to nothing. When cool, strain the residue into small bottle and drink. According to an alleged pharmacist, it actually works. However, after all that preparation, the reason for making it doesn’t make sense anymore.

What I’m Going to Miss About the USA when I move Back to Thailand

What I’m Going to Miss About the USA when I move Back to Thailand

Soon my accustomed standard of living in the US will become my past. One minute I would say I miss Thailand so much and could not wait to go back to my homeland, but the next minute I start to feel stunned and don’t know what its going to be like to leave this country. I will probably miss you so much America!!! So today I’m thinking why wont I write about what am I going to miss when I’m not here anymore 🙂 .

US family and friends – We usually go to my husband’s parents house every Friday to have dinner together. And since I quit my job to be a full time mom we’ve been so close. They’re all so good to me and my daughter. I have no doubt in my mind about why my husband is such a wonderful person, just because his parents are such a great people also.

Friends: I really don’t have many friends here beside my Thai friends who live in New York, Chicago, Texas. Other than that would be friends from the places I used to work.

I will miss their company!!!

The best (junk) food I ever ate – 4 and half years ago when I moved to this country, I didnt really care for junk food that much. I weighed about 128 lbs when I first moved here, but since Ive been living in this country I have to admit I LOVE JUNK FOOD!!!!! And of course my weight has mirrored that clearly 😉 .

Pizza – I’m a big fan of pizza now and so on, especially from Lombardis in New York, they have the best Pizza ever in my opinion! And even around where I live there are several places that have decent Pizza too. Of course in Thailand beside Pizza Hut and Pizza Company, there is nothing else that I ever tried. When we started dating we used to try pizza from one of those place together, and he said its taste sucked! I didn’t believe him at that time because my opinion was that was how Pizza should taste. Up until I got a chance to try pizza in the U.S. and I thought to myself that my husband was totally right and I don’t know that Ill enjoy eating pizza from those places again. The weirdest thing is Pizza Hut in the US and in Thailand don’t taste the same, but McDonalds does.

Burgers – I wasn’t crazy about burgers either, but I had to change my mind as quick as I could after I have tried burgers in the U.S. I don’t know how am I going to deal with this issue when I move back. Probably end up have to make my own burgers after all.

Other than that would be..

Good Steak – Im talking about $20 and up (per person) in general and decent restaurant. I know that here we can afford it once in a while and on special occasions. Hmm…in Thailand I cant see that happening quite often at all. He told me in Thailand we have to import beef from Australia and the price would be double for what we would pay here. Plus it doesn’t taste the same as U.S. beef anyway. Nonetheless we will not be able to find in general restaurant or from the street vendor for sure!

International food – First impression would be Italian food. I’m pretty sure if I do some good research about it I can probably find some good Italian restaurants out there somewhere in Bangkok. One bad thing is they don’t have the family style restaurant like Olive Garden, Buca di Beppo or anything like that with decent food and reasonable prices.

Mexican food it is kind of awkward to talk about Mexican food in the US, but cmon looks like half of this country is Mexican people anyway. It is impossible if we cant find good Mexican food all over the place. I definitely will miss it and once we move back to Thailand, I dont think we will get any Mexican food unless we will make our own. There was a Mexican restaurant on Convent Rd. around Silom area that we tried. We ordered Nachos and what we got was a dish with big pile of chips and a **it load of cheese on top of them. And something else I forgot what it was, but everything turned out to be awful and it’s not worth it to remember. When we went back to Thailand last time it was closed already and that pretty much proved my thoughts. So if anyone knows an awesome Mexican restaurant please let us know!

Japanese, Korean, and South East Asian food – I have no doubt in my mind that it will not be a problem for those kinds of food since Thai people are pretty much into these cultures with all the Japanese and Korean trends right now.

Bye bye Snow and see you Flood!!! I used to ask this question to myself and my husband. We are still not sure which one we would prefer the most. Neither of them are good. Snow will be nice and cool to just stay home and watch all the pretty snowflakes falling down, playing outside with the snow ball fight, making snowman (but mostly for the young kids would enjoy that anyway), but once again I HATE the snow storm and hate even more when I have to drive in the snow season (wouldnt mind so much though when it doesnt turn to ice on the road).

Flood: Bangkok is the low land so whenever the raining season or big storm hits Thailand, Bangkok will be one of the cities that is effected by that. And the drain pipe systems in some area aren’t that good to drain all the water down. Even some provinces in E-sarn and the south of Thailand don’t escape as they had big floods last time.

Drive thru – OMG! I LOVE the drive through its so so convenient for everyone who doesn’t want to step outside their car, who has no time, who wants to pick something up quick, etc. I love to use the drive thru bank because its so easy and no need to carry my baby in and out from the car seat, so it works out perfectly for me. It seems like they have drive through for almost everything at all from bank, food and restaurant, liqueur store, grocery store (not in my town though, but my husband said in some states they have it), or even pharmacy.

I definitely will miss it very much and I wish Thailand would have something like that..LOL

Returns and customer satisfaction – I came from a country where we usually buy things outside the store; as you can see they have the street venders, weekend markets and night markets all over Thailand. The seller will get the stuff for wholesale price from somewhere else and sell it at retail with their own price. So maybe you will find exactly the same T-shirt with a different price in the different shops (that Thai people and foreigners who live or used to live in Thailand familiar with). But that does not mean the seller will have the right to accept the return of the stuff.

I happened to have this experience for myself with several things I wanted to return in the past. Some of them were stuff from the outside shop. The seller will say NO to you as soon as you are just about to open your mouth. He/she will talk to you like you have never been to his/her shop before even though you just walked out from that shop like 5 minutes ago, they would say they have so many costumers and they don’t remember you. Some of them would say you can buy the stuff from somewhere else and want to return at their place, etc. Thats why when I buy the stuff from outside the store I will make perfectly sure that I like it, its in a good condition, etc. It will be even better if you buy stuff from the shop that they let you try it on (but barely that type of shop exists anymore). Nowadays some of the shops they are smart enough to have the sign up for “no return”.

Another experience happened with the big chain store when I bought an MP3 player and it didn’t work right so I wanted to return it. I don’t remember what happened to be exact, but turned out that I cant return it but they were willing to exchange for a new one. I wasn’t happy about it, but heyat least I got a new MP3 player not a broke one. And I bet they didn’t really care that I was happy about it or not.

So I was so shocked when I was treated differently about returning things in America. Almost everything the customers are not satisfied with even food! I remember last year when my mother-in-law ordered take out from one of the franchise family restaurant here. They screwed our order up big time so we called to complain about it and ended up that they were willing to not charge for anything and besides that they also gave us a coupon discount for the next visit. I was like…are you serious? Because the price would have been almost $120 but we got that meal for free. If that happens in Thailand what would that be??? LOL

I think that is pretty much everything that I can think of for the time being. I know even those things are still missing in Thailand, but up to this point nothing will change our mind from moving back to Thailand 🙂 ). Nowhere in the world will have everything perfect. We just have to get use to it and the most important is be happy with it.

Conclusion of my Lad’s Story

Conclusion of my Lad’s Story

I returned and met up with this lady, no not a young girl, this lady was in her late 30s and had two children. Now at this point in my life I have given up everything, my family, home and pretty much everything I/we owned including our £160,000 home, however I was as skeptical about Thai ladies as the next Westerner.

Yes I had heard they only want your money or just want a good time on the Westerners money, so it was a little strange that I had met this lady who did not seem to want much from me. Yes the occasional meal, some clothes when we went out shopping and of course gold, but she did not like drinking or even going out to bars or clubs even though she was working in one. We would eat out whenever I came back to Thailand, but nothing would ever cost a lot and she would never ask for anything expensive. This was not the norm of what I had heard from other Westerners or read about in books about Thailand.

Well since those fateful first trips to Thailand we have bought land, built a home, have had two cars and several bikes. Okay so as we all know the land is in the wife or the girlfriends name, but this is where it can all go wrong, or not!! Coming from England I too was focused on money, material aspects of life and that what I bought was mine, just to name a few things. All those years ago I was lucky to have a girlfriend/wife (Thai) who would teach me right from wrong when it came to the Thai culture and the ways of Thai life and living. We have had many problems, but they have been on both sides and due to the cultural differences as well as the game they call Hi-Lo that is played in the northeast (Isaan) and probably other parts of the country. I have probably spent in the region of £60/70,000 in the few years I have been living in Thailand and a big part of that was given to help my Thai wifes family. I still love life in Thailand, we have a beautiful home, I have a gorgeous Thai wife (same lady) and of course when things don’t go well for us, for whatever reason I get stressed, but I think about where I am, who I am with, how she now loves me unreservedly and I know however many things or people test us and sometimes to the limits I am living in paradise with my Thai angel.

My Thai Adventure – A Story from a Fellow Married Lad

My Thai Adventure – A Story from a Fellow Married Lad

My adventure started around the year 2002/3. We were planning the trip of a lifetime (for my wife and myself), but it didn’t start out as a trip to Thailand although in the end that’s what it was. For many reasons the trip we wanted to take was not working out the way we wanted it to when we were deciding on the details for the trip and so the Asia trip was born. Firstly though, we had to get all details finalized with the travel agent due to my wife being disabled. That was not a problem on any count as we were told the Thai Airways flight team would make sure everything would be dealt with for my wife to have an easy trip. I have to say at this point they were fantastic and always on my subsequent trips back and forth from England or Thailand I try my best to use Thai Airways. However we did not consider if it would be easy to use a wheel chair on the coast of Phuket or anywhere else in Thailand, but when we eventually arrived in Thailand it was lucky my wife was able to get around without it as roads, curbs and pavements were not really suited for wheel chairs.

Having never been to Thailand or any Asian country this was going to be an adventure to tell the grandchildren (yes we have two) and probably never do again we thought, however we can never know what is around the corner…can we!! Unknown to us was the adventure fate had in store or how it would have an amazing affect on our lives which would change so much for us both. We arrived in Bangkok late afternoon around Xmas time (we decided it was time for us to use the Xmas break for our adventure as the children had grown up and Xmas time was always stressful).

The 2002/3 Xmas trip was an amazing assault on our senses in every aspect possible. The beauty that is Thailand was overwhelming to say the least, but no more so than the first steps after getting off the long flight from England. My first steps were greeted with what can only be described as the feeling of someone walking straight through my body and at that point it was as though I had returned home An epiphany would probably sum it up, but why now and why me!! The 3 weeks we had from that point was amazing, we met lovely people (almost everyone at the hotel, but none more so than Orropan and Siriwan) at our expensive hotel the Patong Merlin in Patong Phuket, we had awesome food, went on beautiful trips and of course did the tourist bars and pretty much most things associated with going to bars and clubs, as my then wife was very liberal minded due to the fact that our love life was slightly lacking due to her being disabled. This enabled us to have special friends whom we had great nights with, so as you can imagine I was given my cake and allowed to eat it, so to speak.

Anyway let me go back a little to Bangkok…. Our package deal gave us beautiful hotels and the one in Bangkok was no exception. We stayed just three days in Bangkok or as I know it now as Krungthep, this allowed us time to get around the summer palace, winter palace and all the sights one should see when you go the first time. Of course this meant Patpong market, bars and clubs and I have to say it just made the senses tingle with a feeling of electricity surging through your body!!! This from a man whose wife would pretty much let him have sex at anytime and with anyone as long as she knew about it and was there. Yes were cajoled into bars and clubs, but in the best possible fun. We saw ping pong shows that left us in disbelief of what people would do for money, we bought many things from the market, fake or not who knows, but whatever they were and for how long they lasted it all added to the great Asian/Thailand adventure, so after drinking at several bars this was the first time I had ever had sex (I was going to say “been to bed with”, but you cannot call 20 minutes going to bed) with an Asian girl/lady. Even then we all agreed condoms (2) had to be used. At that time (so many years ago) I am guessing my wife paid a few pounds, although I am not sure. Afterwards I talked with my wife and said I am not sure it should have happened, but as all of us were consenting adults she said it should not be a problem.

Three days later and we were heading down to the coast of Phuket/Patong and that fantastic hotel Patong Merlin on the Patong beach. Not an inexpensive hotel by any means, however the staff was the best we had met on any trip we had made in all the other countries we had been to in the past. Staying in one hotel for a long time and you will strike up friendships and probably more so with Thai people as they are the friendliest people we have encountered in our trips. Orropan and Siriwan tried to teach us little words in Thai as I am sure they did with many other guests and even today almost 10 years on I still have contact with them and other people you will encounter in this adventure. As a keen photographer I would go out every morning and walk the beaches and streets to capture something of everywhere we went and Thailand was no exception, but with even more beauty to excite the camera lens and myself. We would go out most nights by tuk tuk and see more of the island during the day and then go to the red light/bar area of Patong in the evenings. At this point I have to say I was in paradise, good food, great beaches, fantastic people, great scenery and a fun nightlife. So it was no surprise to us to sit in a bar watching a show and end up chatting to the girls/women about our children, their children and their lives working in bars. It was there that we met a lady called Mar who with her friends danced at this bar in between the shows they would put on. Entrancing I would say she was as she danced (if you could call dancing against a pole dancing) on the stage; we chatted with this lovely lady and showed each other photos of ours and her children. Now at this point you could not imagine the turmoil that was going to befall ours and our families lives from that very first trip to Thailand.

Well the trip of a lifetime was soon over, the 3 weeks passed and we were on our way home and planning the next trip for December 2004.

Thai Women and Farang Men

Thai Women and Farang Men

So what I want to share is an interesting conversation I had recently with a friend from Australia, he is a friend of my husband actually and what he talked to me about made me want to ask all of you Farang readers here a question.

The question is, even though many Western men have had a bad experience with Thai women what is it that still makes them want a Thai woman as a wife or girlfriend.

Now I do know some of you dont think that way and wouldn’t want another relationship with a Thai and some have had a bad experience but still happy with a Thai woman and that’s what made me curious to ask.

What was interesting with what my friend told me was that he had experience in relationships with Thai woman that had left a bad taste in his mouth. He had not really been scammed for any money but he had been cheated and lied to when they had other boyfriends, usually from different countries. He told me how a girl he had met would not return phone calls and would make very strange excuses for not being able to answer the phone when he would ring her, like she had lost her phone, or it was broken or she was in the shower all the time, yet when you see many Thai women they have their cell phone glued to their ear every minute.

I have heard of this many times also this is how they behave and is normally a good sign that something is wrong and they are not sincere and usually means they are with another man.

My friend made a good comment that why could they not just love one man and be happy with him. One day they will grow old and probably be alone. But I suppose that does not really enter their mind when they are young and think they have everything they need because they make easy money. I must confess that it does make me wonder too.

So when he told me that one day he hopes to find a good honest Thai woman it just hit me that why would he still want a Thai woman then, what is it about Thai women that make him forget about his bad experiences like that? If Thai women make him worry so much about whether he can trust her or not why bother to look for a Thai woman again. Wouldn’t it just be easier to find a woman in his own country?

What he told me was he loves Thailand, he loves the food, the culture and Thai people and would want to live in Thailand when he retires, he is early 50s by the way. So this really made me think because I hear this quite a lot about Farang who even though they have a bad experience they still want to find the right Thai woman and live in Thailand.

So that is why I would very much like to hear what you think here because I know there are so many of you with different backgrounds and opinions and experiences.

Why the Strong Dollar and Pound Won’t Last

Why the Strong Dollar and Pound Won’t Last

I haven’t chimed in about the strength of the Thai baht in almost 2 months and in that time we have actually seen a bit of retreat in the value of the Thai baht. We are now seeing the U.S. Dollar at over 31:1 against the baht and the Pound Sterling over 49:1. Does this mean that we can hope to enjoy some respite from the weakening currencies over the course of the coming year?

I honestly think that this strengthening of Western currencies is a blip and the normal downward trend will soon re-emerge. I truly wish that weren’t the case as I would be a very happy man if I was getting 35+ baht to the Dollar once again, but I think this current baht weakening is a short lived affair.

What we’ve been seeing is the result of some profit taking in the SET. Over the past 2 years investors in the SET have seen their investments gain close to 170% and now that they are seeing the market as fully valued they are beginning to pull their money and profits out of Thailand and moving on to greener pastures. This capital flight causes some weakening of the baht in the short term as investors sell baht to convert back to dollars, pounds and euro’s.

Long term though there is no way the baht can do anything but become stronger. Western monetary policy is sure to keep interest rates low in the west and keep currencies weak by design. A side effect of the increasing money supply in the West is the increase in inflation throughout the world as the newly printed dollars, pounds and euro’s seek out higher returns than can be had in their home countries.

Thailand has seen this effect first hand as inflation continues to heat up, mostly thanks to the incoming capital flows, not due to any internal pressures. Now that profits have been made some of this inflation should be released, which is good news for everyone in Thailand as prices have been increasing on many goods and services, squeezing the consumer somewhat.

So, enjoy this short respite while your pounds and dollars get you slightly more baht. The tide will soon turn and the upward trend for the baht will continue for at least several more years.

Phuket Beaches

Phuket Beaches

Kata Noi Beach

Given it’s reasonably small size, Kata Noi is packed with plenty of activities to keep kids amused. All in all a pretty beach with plenty to do.

Hobie Cats, Banana Boats, Jetskis, Kayaks, Parasailing are all to be enjoyed on Kata Noi beach. Additionally there is some great snorkelling around the rocks. Food can be bought in the form of snacks from beach vendors or from the hotel situated at the beach. To secure a sunlounger on this small stretch you do need to arrive early, additionally parking can be limited. Kata Noi is a very pretty beach with lovely soft white sand and beautiful bay views.

Toilet facilities are provided by the hotel and there is not much shade so probably not a great beach for smaller kids but the older ones will have lots of water fun.

Laem Ka Beach

Laem Ka is a wonderful (East coast) ‘safe all year round’ beach which also offers you and your family the chance to experience beach life Thai style.

Driving towards Rawai you need to turn left at the 7-Eleven before you take the road bending right for Rawai sea front. The 7-Eleven is opposite an entrance to a Thai Temple. Follow this road straight up all the way (you will drive past a security guard) and through some coconut fields which wind and eventually bear round to the right. Follow this road around and you will arrive at car park. Laem Ka is then a short stroll down some steps next to the Evason Resort.

Laem Ka is a lovely beach for a picnic under the trees and the beach trees provide ample shade all the way along. It’s a small beach which is very popular with locals who descend here at weekends for a picnic while the kids have loads of fun swimming and playing with inflatables. There is a beach vendour selling snacks and drinks but you will need to bring a beach mat or towel to sit on.

Although there are one or two deckchairs available for hire. Laem Ka does not have any watersports which makes it a lovely safe gentle beach for smaller kids.

12 Ways to Add Character to Your Thai Home

12 Ways to Add Character to Your Thai Home

With so much choice for the potential purchaser in Thailand it amazes me just how blind and misguided many sellers are. Additionally, several Real Estate agents here in the ‘land of smiles’ are scared of upsetting owners and rarely provide constructive criticism to improve the chances of a speedy sale at maximum value.

Want to increase the price of your home without spending a fortune? Here are some well proven ways to add value to your property.

If you are looking to sell your home then chances are that you’ll want to squeeze out every penny possible from the sale. So what can you do to get the best price?

1. Sort out the exterior

When a perspective buyer arrives to view your home it’s likely they will already know the asking price. As a result they will immediately start judging whether it’s worth the cost?

Making sure that the outside of your home is neat and tidy can make a powerful positive first impression and have a knock-on effect for the rest of the visit.

It’s not very expensive to weed the garden, paint boundary walls and if wood, paint your external windows. However doing these things can make a big difference to the value of your home.

“Keep it simple’ – white or off white paint only. You or your partner might like purple but most buyers don’t!

2. Sort out the roof

Problems with structural essentials can easily reduce the value of your home; but a damaged roof is on display for everyone to see.

It’s important to remember that your roof forms part of the image of your home, unlike the foundations or pipe work; because of this any visible damage will immediately be evident to potential buyers and no doubt have a significant impact on the amount they’re willing to offer – if it doesn’t put them off completely.

The best thing to do is repair any damage before anyone comes to see your property even if it is just a few loose tiles. Clearing gutters and drains is also a cheap way of improving the appearance of your roof.

3. Make your home lighter

Light creates the illusion of space. A dark and dingy property is of less value than a lighter one, even if it’s slightly smaller. So making your home lighter is a cheap and easy way to increase the value.

One of the first steps you can take is to clean your windows, this will allow more light in to the house and make both the inside and outside look more appealing.

Secondly, consider installing brighter and more energy efficient lights. This can be especially important if you are looking to sell your home in the rainy season when it can be dark and miserable outside.

Within reason – the more lights the better. Without question make sure you opt for the crisp, brilliant white energy lamps and not soft yellowy white, as these do not create the right sort of ‘white’ and can actually make your rooms feel old fashioned.

You could also install skylights, or additional sliding patio doors to increase the illusion of space your home. While these are more expensive options, more natural light and an unobstructed view of the garden can be very appealing to buyers.

4. Paint & Decorate

This piece of advice comes as standard for homeowners looking to sell, and the simple reason is because it works!

If you home falls under the category ‘needs work’ then you can bet that it will have a bearing on the price. Doing odd jobs such as fixing door handles and painting drab looking walls can make a significant difference to the price.

While a home covered in Magnolia can be somewhat uninspiring, if you do decide to wield your paintbrush avoid using bright colours. Painting a room in lime green or a deep violet will likely be unappealing to most buyers, and it will simply draw attention to the fact that they will need to redecorate themselves when they move.

It’s worth thinking, every job you do and room that you decorate is one less task that the new owners will need to worry about. Inexpensive updates can make all the difference. If in doubt – stick to white!

5. Flooring

If the flooring in your home is quite old then you may want to consider modernising. Larger (60 x 60) plain off-white floor tiles with a gloss finish are all the rage and here to stay. Go check out any new development and you will see a common theme with the flooring tiles used. Why? Again – because it works! Labour and materials in Thailand are relatively cheap and modern floor tiles will transform your property and you are highly likely to recoup your costs.

If you have wooden floors in your home then consider freshening them up by sanding them down and adding a light oak varnish finish, or again just give them a thorough wash before viewings.

Remember, if a buyer thinks that they will have to replace the flooring they will expect this to be reflected in the price.

6. Front Door

A solid, attractive front door is as important for a house as it is a condo. First impressions! A ‘spy whole’ is also a simple yet appreciated feature in any external door.

7. Security & Locks

Making your home secure is a must when it comes to selling your property. Installing extra security measures from a chain on the front door to an automatic light sensor can add to the value of your home.

Remember, if the person viewing your home doesn’t feel that it is secure then it may put them off making an offer.

Of course be careful not to try too hard with this improvement, if you install motion detectors and CCTV surveillance, they may wonder just how safe your neighbourhood is!

8. Extra Sockets

In a world where we rely on electrical appliances a house with cables trailing everywhere is unlikely to be very appealing. In a sense it may show a perspective buyer moves that they too would end up with cables everywhere if they moved in.

So consider getting an electrician to install a couple of extra electrical sockets in more convenient locations, especially in the living room, kitchen and bedrooms and remove this irritation.

While it’s unlikely to add thousands on to your purchase price it could equally be that little extra positive that seals the deal.

9. Internet Connection

In Thailand it seems that 99.9% of people now rely on a mobile phone as their main means of communication day-to-day. This has meant many houses and condos are without a telephone line. Just like there are increasing numbers of people who will not book a hotel if it doesn’t have internet access (or it is expensive) there are an increasing number of purchasers who will be put off buying your house/condo if there is no telephone line installed.

You really do need to install an [ADSL] phone line, even if it is not connected. Making it easy for a buyer to connect to the internet is an absolute must nowadays – and will help no end to maximize the attractiveness of your property.

You do not need to install more than one internet access point/telephone socket as the majority of people now use WiFi, but it is handy to have the telephone point ‘central’ to your property so that any WiFi signal is likely to be picked up anywhere around the house/condo.

10. Kitchen

Old fashioned solid wood cabinets everywhere, two tiny electric hobs and no oven sound familiar? You might not be a budding Michelin Chef but with eating out becoming increasingly expensive, many long-stay expats eat and entertain at home.

Replacing your whole kitchen can be expensive, so unless you own a larger house or condo with the ‘wow factor’ (panoramic sea views or beautiful garden) a new kitchen is unfeasible. Instead why not retain the units and change the doors for something clean, crisp and modern? The carcasses and be repainted white/off white and any work surfaces covered or replaced with marble/onyx-look work tops.

Installing a four hob stove and an oven will also win-over any expat wife/partner and believe you me, they are the ones who wear the trousers when it comes to deciding whether to put in an offer or not!

11. Don’t overspend

Although the tips listed are focused on what you can do to increase the value of your home on a budget, there is sometimes the temptation to keep spending in the hope that you will re-coup your money and more when you sell.

However, be warned! No matter how many extensions and extra features you add to your home there is likely to be a ceiling price for your property. Essentially this is where your home becomes too expensive in comparison to the other properties in your neighbourhood/building.

If you are unsure what this might be for your area then you may want to contact your local Real Estate Agent or simply look online to see what prices homes in your area are being sold for.

It may also be a good idea to see what properties currently on offer in your area offer potential buyers and their asking price so you can match or better what’s available.

12. Buyers need to be led

Take some time to consider what type of lifestyle you have and the kind of person who is likely to be attracted to your property? If you have a beautiful, quiet or private garden then put tables and chairs outside. Similarly, outside seating on the balcony of a condo with great views will inspire purchasers, who will subconsciously imagine themselves outside relaxing and/or eating.

It is also worthwhile prompting Real Estate Agents and buyers with a list of positives about your property, such as any of the items (above) that you have already seen to.