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About donnacha

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  1. Thank you. Yes, the 800K is unfortunate, it would have been lovely to just keep using the tourist visas, but I suppose it doubles as an emergency nest egg tied to the currency of the country I may spend much of the next few decades in. As for working, it is taking a Thai job or soliciting for business client work here that is illegal. There is no law against working on your own projects if they have no economic tie to Thailand. Business people on vacation had been doing that for decades before the Digital Nomads decided they invented it. Writers, too, have a long history of coming here to work on their books. Certainly, no one cares what Mr. Falang Ba is doing on his laptop if he quietly gets on with it.
  2. Thank you @elviajero, @crazygreg44, @lamyai3, and @LomSak27, I am grateful for your advice and very pleased that what I want to do is possible. The reasoning behind living with one foot in Thailand and one foot in Europe is that my woman has a pretty good setup in Chiang Mai but, after this year, she recognizes that it is too dangerous to stay there during the burning season. So, our plan is to get out in January, spend 90 days bumming around the Schengen zone, then 90 days in a cottage in Ireland, then back to Thailand for the nice half of the year. I think we can probably make it work financially and my hunch is that the variety will be stimulating rather than draining. I'm hoping that she can get into a relaxed rhythm and that her online business will keep her occupied wherever we happen to be. I am aware that staying in one place would probably be better for my own business focus but am gambling that changing the scenery on a regular cycle will keep things from getting stale. We'll give it a shot for a few years anyway.
  3. If I get a retirement visa, would there be any problem if I actually spend half of each year out of Thailand? Does the 90-day reporting requirement apply if you are not actually in the country? Can I simply fly back in and file 90-day reports for each 90 days that I am in Thailand, and renew the retirement visa itself on the same date each year within Thailand? Thanks in advance for any insights anyone can share.
  4. Only around 5% of Macbooks are 15" Macbook Pros. The simple reason why airport staff will not extend this to all Macbooks is that the entire airport would grind to a halt. 15" Macbooks are distinctive - there are times when a mere two inches makes all the difference. In June, Apple sent out emails to all affected customers urging them to bring their MBP's in for a free battery replacement, worth around 8,000 baht and a nice boost for any out-of-warranty laptop. With a fresh battery they are allowed on planes as normal, a verification sticker with the replacement date is placed on the underside. The process takes one day and you can do in in any country you happen to be in. Apple are extremely good in these situations. If you are caught out and do not have time to get it done before you are due to leave the country, I would expect Apple to courier it to you in your next country, on their dime.
  5. I thought the TM30 was a "relocation package". It's certainly persuading me to relocate.
  6. Exciting that he will get to meet the world's only other infallible leader.
  7. "No. If you no hab twenty thousan', cannot. You go home now!"
  8. If that any sort of reflection of current farang levels in Thailand, it is truly shocking. We really are on the way out
  9. Could not agree more with everything you said. The magical ability to boost their tourist industry and economy is right there in their hands: allow the people who already have the "Thailand habit" to stay for longer. The rule should be 90 days visa exempt for all advanced nations, but let people come in and out, so that Thailand can once again be a safe hub for all S.E. Asian tourism, possibly saving Thai Airways from bankruptcy along the way. Each tourist should have a maximum of 6 months within any 365 day period. So, you could bounce in and out, getting a 90-day stamp each time and use as much or little of that as you want, but if you have already been present in the country for, say, 4 and a half months, you would only get a 45-day stamp. No tourist could stay for more than 90-days in one visit or six months in one year. That would eliminate the possibility, which seems to worries immigration officers so much, that the tourist is secretly living in the country or taking a Thai job. Within those lines, there should be no question of anyone being denied entry. The publicity around each denial sends a ripple that further erodes the credibility of Thailand as a major air hub. The uncertainty is the damaging thing. The flexibility of such a system would once again establish Thailand as a relaxed destination and easy choice. Instead, they continue to move in the opposite direction. 60-day single-entry tourist visas from the UK embassy now require bank statements proving a certain level of income, flight tickets, and your hotel booking. None of that was required when I got mine last year. It is insanely restrictive for a simple, short-term, single-entry tourist visa. I am now pretty much restricted to a 30-day visa waiver entry plus 30-day extension. The next shoe to drop will be mandatory insurance. Thailand is making less and less sense as a destination. Am I crazy to think that there were a considerable number of people who liked to spend their winters in S.E. Asia and primarily Thailand? Regular people on relatively normal incomes would put aside money throughout the year so that they could spend three months having a nice, relaxed time in sunny country with nice food and the occasional massage while their friends at home dealt with dreich weather and winter gloom. They wouldn't spend a fortune, but it was real money, going into the Thai economy and creating jobs. To get there, they would have one hell of a long plane journey and, beyond a certain age, that really takes it out of you. For a lot of people, going to all that hassle for just a month or two and returning before the winter has ended simply isn't worth all the hassle. I wish there was some way to sit down with whoever is making these decisions and help them see that what they are breaking will not be as easy to replace as they imagine.
  10. Good to see that a firm, strategic, military approach is being taken to the economy. This should allow the pattern of success we have seen over the past five years to continue well into the future.
  11. Ikea's usual 2,000 baht delivery fee to Chiang Mai is currently reduced to 570 baht. Their motorized sit/stand desks are terrific, I am standing at mine right now. I physically could not work the hours I do if I could not alternate between sitting and standing. They also have a small, non-motorized sit/stand desk for less than half the price but, realistically, if you have to hand crank that thing every time you feel like standing you will probably end up sitting most of the time. Make sure to get some sort of thick rubber mat too, I use the Topo Anti-Fatigue Standing Desk Mat which costs around $100 on Amazon and is terrific, but the shipping fee import duties to Thailand would be another $150, it is a great big hunk of rubber. You can get a rubber anti-fatigue mat which is thinner but still useful on Aliexpress for around $50 including delivery to Chiang Mai. That will probably do the job unless you are particularly heavy. I can also recommend Ikea's Markus office chair, which is 5,000 baht. I have the black leather one and really love it. A lot of my friends, who work the same crazy hours online as I do, agree that it is the best sub-$800 chair you can get. There are better chairs if you can spend a grand or so, but they would be hard to find in Thailand and you would probably have to pay a hefty premium to a "luxury" retailer. Don't even think about importing one, the tariffs are crazy. A lot of people turn their nose up at Ikea but, in the context of Thailand, and whatever special deals they struck to be able to import their stuff without crippling tariffs, they are a godsend. I wasted weeks trying to find a standing desk at a reasonable price when I was getting set up a few years back. Their prices when they first opened were slightly less than Ikea in Europe but, obviously, the rise of the baht has skewed that. Still worth it. You also have to pay a 200 baht picking fee per order, but the order can be as big as you want. This pays for someone to go round the Bangkok store collecting all your purchases, as you would have to if you were there yourself (and you'd probably end up having to file a TM30 too ). Then the 570 baht pays for the guys who drive all your stuff up to Chiang Mai. My understanding is that the deliverly guys will lift your heavy orders into whichever room you want them, that is all part of what you are paying for. You can assemble them yourself, I found both the desk and the chair pretty easy, or can opt to pay an extra 7% for any item you want the delivery guys to assemble for you. Honestly, I would not bother unless you are particularly cack-handed, the visual instructions are clear and easy to follow. It is probably worth loading up on a load of small purchases within the same order. Ikea has some good stuff, definitely better than Index, Big C and the other Chiang Mai options. Good luck with getting set up, you will never regret the money you spend on good work equipment ... unless we all get thrown out of Thailand next month to make room for all the Indian millionaires.
  12. I do sometimes wonder if the Thai authorities will ever recognize that it was a mistake to torpedo their reputation, built up organically over half a century, as an easy-going destination for Westerners. Just this week, I was talking to a friend making his first visit to S.E. Asia. He will be using Kuala Lumpur as his hub because, somehow, he heard that Thailand are no longer happy to have Westerners coming in and out of Bangkok - he wants to visit Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam but has now arranged it so that he will have to make only one entry into Thailand. I have not said anything to him, but his understanding is that if you leave Thailand and then return a week later, you can be put in a cell and flown back to your home country. I do not know how representative my friend is of casual Western travelers, but awareness of Thailand's anti-Western sentiment is clearly filtering into that mainstream. That represents a truly massive destruction of hard-won, irreplaceable brand value. I understand the political reasoning - the Chinese government will never ask awkward questions about democracy - but it seems short-sighted to apply pressure to one group who have been reliably pouring money into your country for decades, in favor of other groups who may not ever actually deliver the five-star visitors that the Thai elites dream of. I like Thailand, but it is not a five-star destination. For all the lovely things about Thailand, there are very real trade-offs. That's fine with me, because I am not a five-star guy. Thailand was, for decades, the right trade-off for me and many other westerners seeking a break from the world of 9-to-5 and competent driving. I know that there are Chinese and Indian multi-millionaires, lots of them, but why would they come here? If you have real money, there are far better destinations. I am pretty sure that, at the end of this grand switch, the Thais will end up with roughly the same amount of tourists on roughly the same budgets, but will far less stability and long-term durability. The real insanity is that they could have continued attracting tourists from both the West while simultaneously developing these new markets. Why jettison their existing market?
  13. What security risk? Surely the Indians won't fail to submit their TM30's?
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