Around Town

50-YEAR LEASES

The government is mulling the likelihood that 50-year leases (rather than 30 maximum) will be introduced soon, thus enabling foreigners to have more control over their property for a longer time. Cambodia, Myanmar and the Philippines already offer 50-year leases to foreign investors. But Laos and Indonesia restrict the law to 30 years.

VISA FEEDBACK

Thais who unsuccessfully apply for a foreign visa are treated in different ways by various embassies. The British give you a personal statement outlining the perceived weaknesses, the Canadians send you a pro forma with appropriate boxes ticked, but the Americans offer no feedback whatsoever. That kind of silence breeds arrogance in officials.

WINDING DOWN

Paul and Sandra, of Cats4You, based in east Pattaya, have achieved so much in caring for and rehoming literally hundreds of abandoned felines in the greater Pattaya area. They are now getting ready to return to UK. They have done, and continue to do, a first-rate job and – when they do leave – will be sorely missed.

CAMBODIAN BANKS

A reader asks how easy is it to open a Cambodian bank account. Normally you need a one-year visa, but some Cambodian banks will allow tourists to have a current account if they can prove they are regular visitors. Try ANZ or ABA for starters; best if you use a private address rather than a hotel base.

CAMBODIAN VISAS

Last year, the Cambodian government promised the introduction of a three-year tourist visa. But silence has reigned since then. A similar story with the 10-year Thai visa for aliens which, some say, could replace the well-known retirement visa. We are told that there is no breaking news on either promise.

DRIVING AND DRINK 

The massively increased police presence at night and all those flashing lights at spot-check venues in Pattaya have certainly had an effect on the number of drivers caught over the limit. Consumption in excess of one beer or one weak gin and tonic could well see the green light on the machine turn to red. Then big problems!

FRIENDSHIP STRIKES AGAIN

A reader asks where she can find tahini or sesame paste, an important ingredient in the making of hummus. Friendship supermarket on South Road has turned up trumps again and you can find the paste in the aisle, prominently displayed next to the nuts and amongst the jams.

INFLATION RESTRAINED

Contrary to received wisdom, some prices in Pattaya have not risen in over 10 years. If you shop around you can still obtain a photocopy for two baht a page and the monthly charge for city hall’s refuse collection has been 40 baht a month for as long as anybody can remember. Foot massages have even got cheaper of late with 150 baht becoming common.

FIRST TRAFFIC LIGHTS

To settle an argument, where was the first set of traffic lights installed in Pattaya? Well, it was on Sukhumvit Road at the junction with North Road as long ago as 1982. The rest of the resort in those far-off days was entirely traffic lights-free as well as never knowing what a traffic jam was like.

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