The Chiang Mai Option
Bangkok is home to Thailand's largest expat community and while most enjoy living in Thailand, Bangkok can get a bit much at times. But when we look at other places to reside in the country, what are the alternatives? Phuket is heavily touristed and expensive. Hua Hin is too quiet for many. Pattaya is just plain crazy. The deep south is dangerous and Isaan is too rural. If you want the convenience of city living and the familiarity that comes with living in an expat enclave there is one strong contender. Chiang Mai. I recently checked out the northern city as an alternative place to live to Bangkok.
Flying in to Chiang Mai from Bangkok is very different to arriving by road. After passing through quiet town after quiet town, arriving in Chiang Mai seems like you've hit a big city. Fly in direct from Bangkok and the feeling is very different – Chiang Mai really is small and quiet compared to Bangers.
It is considered Thailand's second city (Korat is in fact bigger both in size and population) by many, but Chiang Mai pales in comparison with Bangkok which is many times its size, much more cosmopolitan, wealthier and much more, well, much more everything. Bangkok feels international and citizens from every corner of the world can be seen roaming its streets. Chiang Mai has a similar concentration of foreigners although the expat community seems less diverse. But unlike parts of downtown Bangkok, Chiang Mai retains a distinct Thai flavour.
The first thing long-term expats need to arrange is accommodation and in Chiang Mai there are some real bargains to be had. Whether you're looking for a condo or a house, prices in the north make Bangkok expats envious.
Bangkok residents tend to think of condos; renting a house just isn't affordable in Bangkok unless you're happy to live so far out that you're technically in another province.
A nice house in a gated community not that far from the downtown area can be found for less than 20,000 baht per month in Chiang Mai. In downtown Bangkok you get a large studio or a small 1-bedroom condo for that. Many Chiang Mai-based expats live in a rented house.
In the area between Chiang Mai University and the city centre are many condominium buildings, some new, some old, from tiny studios to large, modern, luxurious digs. A friend rents a beautiful 93-square metre fully furnished condo on Huay Kaew Road, about 2 km from the moat and 4 km from Chiang Mai's Night Bazaar for just 18,000 baht a month. The Bangkok equivalent would be a rental in the Thonglor area where a condo of that size and standard would run 35,000 – 40,000 baht per month, maybe more. So for condos in Chiang Mai, a rule of thumb might be that renting runs about half the cost of Bangkok.
If you're looking to buy, prices are moving but aren't anywhere near Bangkok levels. 1,000,000 baht can secure a basic studio, 5,000,000 baht a large, bright condo of 100 square metres. Chiang Mai condo prices seem to be at the level they were in Bangkok 10 years ago. Condo development trends mirror Bangkok – old buildings are often poorly maintained and feature units with a funky design. New buildings are better designed, better maintained, but the units can be small.
Expats rave about the quality of medical care in Chiang Mai with Chiang Mai Ram Hospital the favourite. It's acknowledged that the best hospitals and leading specialists are in Bangkok, but there's no reason anyone seeking non-urgent medical care or checkups couldn't fly to Bangkok. Dental care is said to be of a similarly high standard to, but cheaper than Bangkok.
Getting around Chiang Mai without your own wheels is an issue with limited public transportation options. There are few metered taxis and they are as likely to turn on the meter as you are to sprout wings and fly. Songtaews are unappealing and tuktuks are expensive. Independent expats are virtually forced to have their own wheels. I miss the joy of driving, but it's outweighed by the cost and hassle of car ownership. That tin box can be a money pit. Vehicle ownership is not as costly in Thailand as the West with vehicles depreciating in value slowly and the cost of servicing and repairs easier on the wallet. But I wouldn't want to feel that I had to own a vehicle – and that's exactly how it feels in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is not like Bangkok where you can cross town like Spiderman without touching the ground.
For the most part the traffic in Chiang Mai isn't terrible, at least outside of peak hour when it can be bad, but nothing like Bangkok. Parking isn't the problem it is in Bangkok.
Less traffic means Chiang Mai has cleaner air and less pollution. But not all year round. At the end of the cool season and throughout the hot season, slash and burn farming in the north gets so bad that this year visibility in the city dropped to a few hundred metres and the air quality became a genuine health hazard. Admittedly this year was worse than usual, but every year it's a problem.
As the capital and the economic engine, Bangkok attracts Thais from all over the country seeking fame and fortune. The city has a large migrant population and there are neighbourhoods which are like little village transplanted from another part of the country. Chiang Mai may be a magnet for those in the northern provinces, but you don't see the numbers of migrant workers that you do in Bangkok. Ask a Thai in Bangkok where they're originally from and they are just as likely to answer Roi Et or Surin or Ayutthaya as they are Bangkok. Ask someone in Chiang Mai where home is and most are actually natives of the city.
The people of Chiang Mai match the description of Thais in guidebooks – for the most part polite and softly spoken. I find Northerners to be refreshingly frank without being direct. They don't tend to sugar coat things as so many do in Bangkok. I also got the feeling – misplaced or not, I do not know – that the people of Chiang Mai are more honourable than those from other parts of the country and their word is actually worth something.
Chiang Mai has more of a middle class feel about it, almost like a medium-sized city in the West. Bangkok may be wealthier than Chiang Mai, but you don't see the same slums and endless blocks of low-income housing you find around the capital.
It's often said that Chiang Mai is more akin to the real Thailand and while Bangkok is a big international city, just another modern Asian metropolis. Perhaps it comes from the visibility of temples and monks downtown? With so many temples in downtown Chiang Mai you see monks everywhere, even in the likes of Starbucks and Pizza Hut.
The profile of the Chiang Mai expat remains an incomplete picture for me, although there seem to be rather more on a per capita basis who did the hippy thing than you find in Bangkok, and fewer business types. There seem to be far more single white women as a percentage of the expat populace than you find in Bangkok, more liberals and more greenies. Many are older, single Western retirees but not necessarily the lecherous type. They seem to arrive in Chiang Mai single, whereas in other parts of the country their attachment to one of its maidens draws them there. The expat population seemed to have fewer from the Middle East, India and Africa; at the very least they are less visible than they are in Bangkok.
The influx of young expats in Bangkok in recent years doesn't appear to have been mirrored in Chiang Mai and I'd guess that the average Chiang Mai expat is older than their Bangkok counterpart. Perhaps the northern capital is not the easiest place to make a buck, or perhaps Bangkok is preferable with its employment opportunities and excitement options. Some Chiang Mai expats admit there's not a lot to do there.
Chiang Mai expats will look you in the eye and swear the quality of expat resident exceeds what you find elsewhere but then that's no different to anywhere else in Thailand – those saying these things really mean in comparison with Bangkok. Why do so many Westerners resident in Thailand have an issue with Bangkok-based expats?
Chiang Mai has never been considered a nightlife destination and the farang-centric nightlife is limited to the length of Loi Kroh Road. Naughty boys should stick to Pattaya although the city is not without its share of foreigners wearing their wife-beater with pride and whose expertise in the local lingo is limited to phrases they learned while intoxicated late at night from girls with a grade 9 education.
There's plenty of variety when it comes to eating out in Chiang Mai and prices are significantly lower than Bangkok. Restaurants speicalising in vegetarian are abundant and signs suggest there is demand for establishments serving organic food. Bangkok obviously has a greater selection of mid-range and top-end eateries and Bangkok supermarkets have a better range of imported items.
Chiang Mai has plenty going for it and I can see the attraction but I cannot shake the feeling that I would get bored quickly. It's a great place to visit and I always enjoy my time there, but being a big city boy, I don't know that there's enough going on, nor enough variety to keep me going. It's not for me at this point in my life.
If you're looking for a truly international city with the hustle, bustle and excitement of a modern Asian metropolis on the move, world class dining options, every type of nightlife option imaginable, fantastic shopping and a big, diverse expat population, Bangkok fits the bill. If you're looking for a quiet but convenient life, a more natural environment, the chance to easily escape into the countryside and a low cost of living, Chiang Mai might just be for you.
*Where* was this photo taken?
Last week's photo was taken of the pedestrian walkway over Rama 4 Road at the top of Silom Road with Chanchuree Tower in the
background. There are two prizes this week, a voucher for Sunrise Tacos and a voucher for Firehouse in Sukhumvit soi 11, known for its
Terms and conditions: The prizes are only available to readers in Thailand at the time of entering and are not transferable. Prize winners cannot claim more than one prize
per calendar month. You only have one guess per week! You MUST specify which prize you would like and failure to do so will result in the prize going to the next person to get the photo correct.
FROM STICK'S INBOX (These are emails from readers and what is written here was not written by Stick.) Preference may be given to emails which refer to the previous week's column.
EMAIL OF THE WEEK – 24 hours in Udon!
I recently stayed a night in Udon Thani as I had a flight back to Bangkok the next day. I had heard there was a farang nightlife area in Udon and it just happened to be right beside my hotel so I decided to check it out around 10 PM. I was hungry and called into a Western style bar. On the way in was an English idiot who's way of getting a drink was to say "Get me a beer, bitch!" He was obviously known there so he was tolerated but I suspect not well liked. I didn't get to sit down as when I asked if they were still serving food I was told in a not very friendly manner that food was feenit! I went to a small restaurant down the road and had a nice meal and a couple of beers. As I was finishing there was a commotion outside and police were called. I thought at first that someone had tried to escape paying their bill but a couple of minutes later an ambulance arrived to take a not too seriously injured farang away. The aforementioned idiot accompanied him into the ambulance. What's the bet that these guys were getting a bit loose with their tongue and got taught a painful lesson? My next port of call was a bar complex which I think was called Day Night. I don't want to be too harsh but it appears these girls couldn't make it in Pattaya so came closer to home, though I must say they were friendly enough. However, I had the misfortune to meet two of the "I live in the real Thailand" type of farangs, who were aghast that I could ever live in a place such as Bangkok. When I quizzed them on where they had been outside of Nana, Cowboy or Patpong their argument lost its momentum. It just became a bit irksome for me and I left before finishing my last beer. I had planned to check out the gogo bars but frankly I had no wish to make contact with any more strange characters. Oh, I almost forgot to mention the Scottish monk! Each to their own but I'll be venturing out to different parts of Udon if I'm there again.
The girlfriend experience where you least expect it.
It has time and again been lamented that there is less of the old Thai girlfriend experience to be had. This may well be right, still, it also seems to me that most of those who complain about this are people very well experienced with the Thai play-for-pay scene. Just like myself, possibly a bit hardened and been hit by a variety of scams – like the girls in the industry themselves. Some time ago I had a night all by myself, and I set my head on spending that night with a smile on my face and try to mobilise at least some of the enthusiasm I recalled about the nightlife in my early visits to Thailand. And you know what? I was totally rewarded. I had a great night out, many laughs, absolutely too many drinks, and ended with someone in my room who was at minimum 10 years in the industry but who treated me as nice as I have ever been treated – knowing clearly that I had been about before and understood I was not a target for more revenue down the line. I had a fun time in each and every bar along the way and it was my best night out for years. My venue? Pattaya Soi 6, all night! Treat them well, guys. If you play boyfriend they may still play girlfriend.
Bad economy = fewer tourists.
About "the industry' being a bit slow, I've been back in the USA for almost a year, so I have no idea. However, the economy really sucks here. The housing market is still poor and instead of teenagers, it's adults who are working at McDonald's – and complaining that their hours are being cut back. We are bombarded with news of the European debt crisis and even the roaring Chinese economy is cooling off. I think the absence of Western guys is actually economics.
A beer in Bangkok.
Reading about prices, they seem to be getting out of hand. I know that we all tend to live in the past when a Singha / Kloster / Amarite were each about 15 baht a throw but now 3 quid? Ouch! Surprise, surprise, there are no customers! Even here in London I can still get a pint of Carlsberg / Fosters for 2 pounds in a local pub (95 baht).
Jamaicans and Thais, same same?
What really amazes me about visitors to Thailand is that there is very little nice stuff said about the Thais, their hosts. This is quite disconcerting, but as a Jamaican, subject to the same digs from Westerners who visit my country from so-called first world countries, it is refreshing to learn through Thailand blogs that we are not the only 'lazy', 'thieving', 'unintelligent', 'greedy' people in the world. According to all I have read from expatriates living in Thailand, the Thais are just as bad – maybe worse! But really, can't anyone find anything positive to say about Thai people? Or does everyone gravitate to Thailand in order to shore up their own faltering egos? I intend to visit Thailand and see for myself how horrible these people really are. They look quite normal on YouTube!
Pattaya burger recommendation.
I have no doubt your 320+ baht burger was good, but I have a suggestion for when you are in Sin City. Go to the Hilton, 14th floor lunch buffet on Wednesdays. You get a top quality fire-grilled burger plus many other options, sides, salads and desserts for 350 baht. Beautiful sea-view room with 30-foot ceilings and windows, comfortable seating and pleasant service. You actually have to go to the 15th floor and then take an escalator down one floor to arrive at to the restaurant. Best to go in at the hotel entrance and not through the Central Festival mall. Different dining theme each weekday. Drinks are extra.
The Good Samaritan who settled the medical bills and Medivaced the New Zealander from Phuket back home would have dished out some very big bucks. What is interesting is that the insurance company, Covermore, is definitely one of the biggest travel insurance companies in Oz, and probably NZ too I would imagine. When you take out a policy you tick a box if you want to add additional cover for motorbike riding – just a few extra dollars a day. I am guessing most don't to save the extra money. These days I would not be caught dead (no pun intended) on a bike. In my young and reckless years I would never have thought twice, and in fact didn't. These days no way. I personally know at least 4 people killed on Samui and scores of others over the years that have had very bad accidents. Yikes, it is making the hairs on my arms stand up thinking of it! I will stick to my trusty Corolla with my safety camera. One thing I have definitely noticed is that you realise the real lunacy of other people on the road from being behind the wheel of a car more than you do on a bike.
A fight broke out around 11 PM on Thursday night in my favourite Soi Cowboy bar, Tilac. I was 700 km north and didn't witness it but on Saturday night a couple of waitresses were dying to tell me about it. From the way it was described to me, two customers slugged it out, with one really hurting the other who had blood gush from one eye as well as his nose. The reason for the fight? They both fancied the same (non-barfineable) coyote dancer and somehow things escalated into a full on brawl! It was broken up quickly by a waitress which is just as well for other waitresses had headed out in to the soi to get the mean-looking guy who lingers in the bar opposite who was once a Muay Thai champion and is available to sort out problems in the soi. Someone should have told these two idiots that in Bangkok, you don't lose the girl, only your place in the queue.
Down in Pattaya, ace bar boss "Tricky Ricky" has left Baby Dolls. It's unclear where he is going but no doubt he will show up somewhere in the not too distant future.
Feeling left out that some bars run ladies night promotions with free drinks for girls? Well, it seems blokes may finally have something to cheer about. Bangkok Beat is running a man's night promotion on Monday nights with bottled beer priced at 100 baht all night long and bottles of Jack Daniels and Johnnie Walker Black at 1,950 baht.
Thursday and Friday this coming week are Buddhist holidays. I cannot say whether bars will be open or closed, but it's very unlikely that alcohol will be served. The only venue to make an announcement so far is the Coyote chain of Mexican restaurants in Bangkok which has said that no alcohol will be sold on Thursday. If you really need to know if your favourite bar is going to be open, ask the staff the night before. They probably won't know with any certainty until then. Yep, bars are often advised of forced closure or prohibition on alcohol sales at the last minute.
If I was the owner of a gogo bar in Nana Plaza who has been forced to pay twice the rent they were last month, I'd get more aggressive with drinks pricing and target beer bar customers, especially with drinks prices in the beer bars on soi 4 on the up. Get your girls up on stage at 7:30 PM, match the 85 baht happy hour price through until say 9:30 PM – and promote it big time out on the soi itself.
Why doesn't Tilac Bar have computerised bills? Few gogo bars, especially such large and successful operations, still use a manual bill system. Most venues have switched from the manual recording of the bills to a computerised system. A few owners have told me how after changing to a computerised system overnight their take increased 10 – 15% – even though they didn't feel there was any increase in customers. No doubt some staff members noticed it in the pocket!
The Rainbow 4 sign in Nana Plaza is a riot. When the sun shines brightly you can see that instead of making a new sign when they took over from the previous venue, Woodstock, the owners of Rainbow 4 simply painted over the existing sign and attached neon to the outside. With the black paint starting to fade, you can see the words from the old Woodstock sign underneath!
I get a few emails from readers asking about why I don't care for birds with tramp stamps. When it comes to Thai women, and bargirls specifically, many get a tattoo because "they can" i.e. they have the money to do so and the wherewithal to withstand the pain – and yeah, ask any girl and they will admit that that getting inked is painful. These girls do it not because they want to, but often because they can – and it is making a statement to their peers that is important to them. In Thai society, let's be really honest about it, having a tattoo is frowned upon. Traditional tattoos are fine and won't cause any consternation, but decorative tats are not looked at with the same open mind they may be in the West. And let's not forget that many bargirls with tattoos cover them up when they go home – and that to me says everything. They hide it from those who matter to them and many are not proud of their tattoo at all.
A few weeks back I reported that turnstiles had been installed on the 4th floor of the airport between where taxis drop passengers off at Departures and the actual terminal building. You could walk through the turnstiles from the taxi side to the terminal but not the other way. Flying in to Bangkok a few weeks ago and seeking a taxi, I was forced to do a monkey's impression and clamber over the turnstiles, luggage and all. Anyway, the turnstiles didn't last and have gone! What happened? Who knows! I would speculate that the taxi rank on the lower level has limited capacity and people who used the age old trick of going up to the 4th floor to grab a cab that had just dropped someone off actually lessen the load at the official taxi rank downstairs where long queues are the norm at certain times of the day, and as such they may have been removed.
On the subject of public transport, the skytrain has got so busy that it helps to have a little local knowledge when using the system. At certain times of the day you need to consider which station you are going to try and get on the skytrain. If, for example, you wanted to get on the Sukhumvit line heading east (towards Onut and Bearing) at the Nana station early evening, I wish you luck! From Siam Square, every train heading east is packed to the brim and with very few passengers getting off at Nana, there is little chance for those waiting at the station to board. You could wait for some time, perhaps waiting for several trains to pass before you manage to get on. The easiest thing to do in this situation would be to walk to the next station at Asoke which is about 500 metres away. The Asoke station, which connects with the underground train, sees many get off so you have a better chance to get on. At peak hours – and in the evening that can mean 5:00 PM until after 9:00 PM – the skytrain has become a nightmare.
Starbucks raised the ire of some Thais this week when it announced it was cracking down on teachers and students who use Starbucks outlets as a place to study. You can see why they choose Starbucks branches for afterhours tuition with its comfy chairs, air-conditioning and of course it helps that Starbucks is still considered chic by Thais. Teachers and students take the best tables, stay for hours and often only one person at the table orders a single drink. It's not that different from the groups of Indians who try the same in gogo bars. This issue is not isolated to Starbucks and exactly the same thing happens in food courts and fast food outlets. I wonder if other venues will crack down.
There's a curious homeless fellow who has been scribbling complex equations on advertising signs and bus stop hoardings in a blue marker pen in the area around Asoke and on Sukhumvit down to Emporium over the past few weeks. I guess he'd be mid 30s and he is no moron but then neither do I think he is a genius or a mad scientist. At first glance it would seem he's penning complex mathematical equations using both Thai and English but on closer inspection they seem to be nonsense. He's amusing to watch as he recites the equation out in a loud, well-projected voice (could he be a former teacher?). The Thais find his actions, indeed his very presence, quite disconcerting.
More and more Aussies are visiting Thailand and I hear the Aussie accent and see from the server stats more Aussies tuning in to this site. For Aussies keen to take your Thai sweetheart to Australia who feel the visa paperwork looks difficult, or those have what might be termed a difficult case, consider getting in touch with Bridge Migration
which is run by a friendly and professional Australian immigration visa agent who can help.
Thailand has 3 major mobile phone providers and each offers reduced international calls rates. Instead of the usual rate of 10 or 20 odd baht per minute to call the West, you can dial a prefix which routes the call through the internet. The quality of the line is not quite as good, but who cares when the rate is between 1 and 4 baht per minute. What should be noted however is that while these internet lines are usually fine for voice calls, there can be problems if you access voice mail or phone systems where you need to make selections on the keypad. For whatever reason, this might not work. So, if you're calling home, and doing it on one of the cheap rates and find that when you press the keypad nothing happens, you might need to use a voice quality line.
Mahboonkrong (MBK) with its bargain shopping has been popular with Thais and visitors to Thailand for decades. I do feel however that it is falling behind the times. A visit to MBK has become a less enjoyable experience with more shops jammed into every square metre of the mall, causing walkways to narrow. When you compare MBK to Terminal 21 which opened late last year, with its spacious, wide walkways, large open spaces and lots of natural light, it is so much more pleasant. Where you really notice the difference is when comparing the two shopping centres' toilets. At MBK they are old and you're charged 3 baht by an unsmiling attendant. Terminal 21 in comparison has the most modern toilets imaginable, with various options including key controlled water temperature for washing your derriere and even ass drying. Who would go to MBK when it desperately needs a revamp?
I am cynical about many things, but one thing I am particularly cynical about is fortune tellers, or maw doo as they are known in Thai. For many Thais, however, consulting a maw doo is something taken very seriously. They can get very excited, or very upset over what the maw doo tells them. I have never visited a maw doo, and don't plan ever to, but I have had conversations with some. The first time was back in the early days when I got talking to a local who told me about my future and only later revealed that they were a fortune teller. She predicted some very specific things over the next couple of years and amazingly, all came true. These predictions were fairly generic and I didn't think a lot about it at the time. A few years later I got talking to another maw doo, really just polite chit chat after a girlfriend had been to see her. This maw doo said a few things that later turned out to come true too. Again, I didn't think a lot about it. And then just last week my gregariousness got the better of me after I found myself chatting with another maw doo. I was asked a few questions about myself and told the fortune teller a bunch of lies and she refuted each, outlining the actual situation with information she could not possibly have known. I am about as cynical as you can get when it comes to this sort of thing, but I am amazed at how accurate each has been with their comments and predictions about me. To be honest, the last one freaked me out!
Quote of the week comes from me, "When it comes to Thai bargirls, by all means enjoy it for what it is, just don't try to make it something it isn't."
The FT looks at booming property prices in Bangkok.
CNBC asks whether the Land Of Smiles is a dream destination or has become a tourist trap.
The hospitalised New Zealander in Phuket will fly home courtesy of an
The hospitalised New Zealander who was flown home on someone else's dime strikes me as an irresponsible idiot.
Thailand receives an unwelcome acknowledgement from Australia – more Aussie travellers die in Thailand
than anywhere else.
A survey shows many Thai women in Oslo who split with their husbands in Norway end up in prostitution.
A paedophile is jailed in Wales after he had fled
Thailand where he faced accusations for similar nasty stuff.
The Wall Street Journal took a look at some of the afterhours watering holes in the Thonglor neighbourhood.
Ask Sunbelt Asia Legal
Sunbelt Asia's legal department is here to answer your questions relating to legal issues and the law in Thailand. Send any legal questions you may have to me and I will pass them on to Sunbelt Legal and their response will run in a future column. You can contact Sunbelt's legal department directly for all of your legal needs.
Question 1: I've been given a prescription in another country for Adderall. Can I legally take this drug back to Thailand when I enter the country? If so, how many days worth can I
Sunbelt Asia Legal responds: You may bring prescription drugs with you into Thailand but you will need to bring the doctor's prescription with you. This is classed as a narcotic in Thailand so you must have the doctor's prescription and a signed note from your doctor. Be sure to declare these drugs on arrival and go through the "To Declare" line at the airport. The legal limit is 30 days.
Question 2: My new condo unit is to be transferred in a few months. I am French, and so is my daughter. Instead of putting the title deed on my own name, can I:
– Put it under my 13-year old daughter's name?
– Or under both my name and hers?
– Or is it simplest to put the title deed under my name and change the name to hers when she is 18, but then at what cost? My purpose is to have her own the condo when I die, without her going through the complicated will / succession process.
Sunbelt Asia Legal responds: It is possible to transfer the ownership of the condominium (assuming it is freehold ownership) to your daughter provided that on the date of transfer, the seller allows to transfer the property to your daughter's name at the Land Department (as opposed to the sales agreement being sold in your name). Subject to agreement, the following fee schedule will apply:
– Transfer fees of 2% and stamp duty of 0.5% of the purchase price or assessment price (fair market value of the property) whichever is higher, to be assessed by the land officer.
– Income Tax depends on the purchase price or assessment price (fair market value of the property) to be assessed by the land officer as well.
– Special business tax (3.3%) but only applicable if the property is held for less than 5 years or less than one year if possessing a yellow house registration book.
Your daughter's birth certificate showing yourself as one of the biological parents and your marriage certificate must be translated into Thai and must be certified at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Be aware that since she is not Thai it will still fall under the foreign ownership quota and the condo cannot be sold without Family Court approval until she turns 20 years old.
Sunbelt Asia's team of licensed lawyers and English-speaking paralegals can assist you in transferring the property with great ease and convenience.
While I obviously enjoy putting this column together each week, it can sometimes feel like a weight on my back. While travelling, which is often these days, I'm conscious of the need to get back to Bangkok so as not to lose touch with what's going on, and not miss any newsworthy happenings or events. Take this week for instance. While I was up north, one reader emailed me about a fire at Soi Cowboy (which I was unable to verify) and another let me know about one of the best known beer bars in Bangkok not having cold beer for 3 days. Had I been in Bangkok I would have been able to check these stories out but being away that wasn't possible. It has been suggested that when I am away I take on some sort of assistant, Stickman Junior or perhaps Twigman, but to be frank, that's not going to happen. The column has developed a certain flavour that would change if I got someone else involved. A team player I am not, and when it comes to life in general, and this column in particular, I'm quite happy to do it all myself because I very much prefer to do things my way.
Your Bangkok commentator,