Archive | ABPC Advice

How to work in Pattaya

Posted on 04 January 2015 by ABPC

There are an increasing number of visitors coming to Pattaya each year, especially those of working age it is little surprise that many wish to stay here and work.  Working in Pattaya may be everyone’s dream but sadly it may not be quite as straight forward as many people may think.  There are a number of restrictions surrounding work permits in Thailand that may stop you doing the trade that perhaps you do at home or what you would like to do here.  Basically, to cut a long story short, you can’t do a job that could be done by a Thai National.

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Working here without the correct visa or work permit is certainly ill advised with serious consequences for anyone breaking these rules.  The Immigration and Labour Departments are clamping down on this with increasing regularity.  Many people in Pattaya tend to work in real estate sector as there are fewer restrictions here with potentially good rewards for those that are good at their job.  Other people who have more of a forte for graphic design may also see opportunities become available although they will require proof of qualifications.

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As with many things in life, word of mouth and actually getting out there and meeting people seems one of the easiest ways to find work in Pattaya.  Go around many of the local expat haunts and you are sure to find people who are already working in Pattaya or the surrounding area.  Although these people may not be in a position to offer you a job directly, they may know people who would and their advice is sure to prove invaluable in the long term.  A good tip is to be confident but not too pushy.  Many of these expats will have been here along time and seen no end of people come and go.  Prove that you are sensible and capable of listening and doing the job.  No one wants to recommend anyone who may prove to be a liability further down the track!

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If you feel that getting out there and meeting people is not your scene, you could always try the tried and trusted method of looking through the classified advertisements.   These could be in the local press or on the internet.  Many people chose to advertise for staff on forums such as Thai Visa or Craigslist.  The old adage that ‘if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is’ would be a good piece of advice to follow in these circumstances, as some people who advertise are maybe not as honest as they could be.  Care should certainly be taken.

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Chiang Rai Province in Northern Thailand

Posted on 27 December 2014 by admin

A lesser known destination and home of a healthy expat community is Chiang Rai in the far north of Thailand.  Chiang Rai, Thailand’s mostly northerly province is around 800 kms from Bangkok and 580 meters above sea level.  The area, mostly covered with mountains and is 11,678 sqm. The most important river is Mae Kok which is about 130 kilometres long.

Chiang Rai is divided into 13 Amphoes and 3 King Amphoes : Muang, Chiang Kong, Chiang Saen, Mae Chan, Mae. Sai, Mae Suai, Pa Daet, Phan, Thoeng, Wiang Pa Pao, Wiang Chai, Phaya Mengrai, Wiang Kaen and King Amphoe Mae Fa Luang, Khun Tan and Mae Lao.

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Chiang Rai was founded in 1262 A.D. by King Mengrai, whose statue can be easily seen on the way to Mae Chan.  It is the former capital of the Lanna Kingdom and later was conquered by Burma. It was not until 1786 that Chiang Rai became a Thai territory. It was proclaimed a province during the reign of King Rama VI in 1910 A.D. Nowadays Chiang Rai is famous for its fruit and tobacco as well as the Golden Triangle where Thailand, Laos and Burma meet.

Things to do in Chiang Rai

Rafting in Mae Kok River

The Mae Kok River is 130 kms long and runs through the heart of Chiang Rai.  It is said one of the most beautiful and unspoilt rivers of the world. It flows gently along jungle banks and towering mountain cliffs. Along its route live several hill tribes and jungle tribes of Chiang Rai. The people are friendly and the life aboard the raft is relaxing. There are regular well, organised rafting trips to and from Chiang Rai with many interesting destinations. Two popular tours are from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai and vice versa.

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The Golden Triangle is where the borders of the three countries (Laos, Thailand and Myanmar) meet. It is about 9 kilometres north of Chiang Saen.  From this place, Laotian and Myanmar borders can be seen across the Mae Khong and Ruak Rivers, respectively. Accommodations are available for tourists who want to stay over night. Boats can be rented for trips along the Mae Khong River.

Phrathat Doi Tung is a holy relic that draws devout Buddhists from as far as Laos and Myanmar for annual worship. It is on top of Chiang Rai’s highest mountain at Doi Tung, 2,000 metres above sea level. The shrine is reached by a torturous mountain road, winding its way up and down mountain sides for 17kms. off Highway No. 110. It is 48 kms. from Chiang Rai city. The unmatched panoramic view reaches to Myanmar and Laos on the horizon.

Phra Tamnak Doi Tung is a beautiful royal residence built for the Princess Mother on the way to Phrathat Doi Tung. The main attraction is Suan Mae Fa Luang, a very beautiful garden, decorated with different kinds of plants and flowers. The garden is open to visitors daily from 06:00-18:00 hrs.

Chiang Rai

Chiang Saen Lake To get to the lake, travel five kilometres from Chiang Saen along Highway No.1016, turning left at Km. 27, go a further two kilometres.

 

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The Thai Baht and Property Prices

Posted on 14 December 2014 by ABPC

The value of every currency often determines how attractive any investment is in another country.  Over the last 6 or 7 years we have seen an increase in the strength of the Thai Baht against most other major currencies and this has without doubt seen a slowing down of new money coming into Thailand although the significance of the overall World economy should not be dismissed.

In the early part of 2014 we saw the baht fall significantly in value against most other currencies for the first time in several years.  The current values seem to be far more in line with those predicted by financial analysts who believe that current levels are ‘fair’.  If this is the case as it appears to be, this should give confidence to investors looking to buy property, safe in the knowledge that they are unlikely to experiences losses connected to exchange rate risk.

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The stabilising of the Thai Baht could potential lead to inflation within the property market here in Thailand.  Previously prices had remained relatively constant with sellers tending to make gains on exchange rate differences rather than through returns received from the sale of the property.  Obviously, this only applies to those who are bringing funds from overseas, which of course you need to do if you are buying a property in Foreign Ownership.

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What can we expect in the short, medium and long term?  In the short term I think that everyone is expecting the baht to be pretty stable against major currencies such as the US Dollar, Euro and Sterling although with many investors now coming from Russia what happens with the Rouble against the Baht probably depends more on the political and economic situation in Russia far more than any events in Thailand with the rouble recently suffering it’s largest drop in over 15 years.

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In the medium term again it is likely that we will see stability although some analyst believe that the baht should be devalued in order to encourage overseas investment however with the culture of Thailand preferring to ‘save face’ this would seem unlikely.  In the long term, assuming that Thailand adapts well to the ASEAN community and continues it’s strides to becoming a first world rather than a developing country, you would have to say that over time you would expect the baht to strengthen although in reality this is some way off and should not really influence your decisions about buying property in Thailand.

All in all with the stable baht, Thailand really is a great place to invest.

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Thai Language Schools

Posted on 02 December 2014 by ABPC

Without doubt, there are more and more people coming to Thailand to live and this is increasing demand for Thai language schools.  In the past, the high demand has often been due to people wanting an Educational Visa to enable them to stay in the country for a longer period.  Although with some people this is still the case, a large proportion of those now attending the classes genuinely want to learn the language.  There are a large number of language schools in Pattaya and below are a few details on where can find 4 of the better known ones.

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The AUA language school is located within Central Festival shopping mall on Pattaya Beach Road.  The school is affiliated with Burapha University and is perhaps best known as a school for teaching Thai nationals English.  The school has branches throughout Thailand and is very well respected.  The lessons are 2 hours a day, Monday to Saturday for 5 weeks.  The school is well respected and offers good quality teaching in a friendly environment.

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Walen Thai School is one of the largest companies in Thailand offering Thai language courses.  The school in Pattaya is located on Soi Yume again close to the Big C Extra.  Walen have schools around Thailand as well as being able to offer distance learning programme.  The teaching again is said to be of a high standard although the methods of teaching are said to be different to other schools, concentrating on a question and answer format that is believed to help the learning process.  Educational Visas can be obtained under the same criteria as above.

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Pro Language School is located on Pattaya Klang (Central Pattaya Road) opposite Big C Extra.  Pro Language School has a number of branches around the country and is again well respected.  Courses are pretty standard although the level of teaching is said to be excellent with all classes held in small groups.  Not surprisingly, Educational Visas can be obtained from this school although naturally regular attendance is required.

Pattaya School of Languages and Computers or PLC have 3 branches in Pattaya, one in the north, one in the centre and one in the south.  The school specialises in one to one training or small groups centring on a 20 hour course.  Again the school is well respected with good quality teaching.  The lessons tend to be more flexible and cater more for those in full time employment.

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Places to Explore Outside of Pattaya

Posted on 22 November 2014 by ABPC

Pattaya is a fantastic place to stay, regardless of if you are here for the short term or the long term but there are many other places that are now easy to get to that it seems a shame not explore further.

  1. Koh Samet

Koh Samet is one of the most tranquil islands relatively close to Pattaya and is a little over an hour drive away.  Ferries leave from the small port of Ban Phe in Rayong province with the ferry crossing being around 30 minutes.  Most of the beaches are on the eastern side of the island and this is indeed where many of the hotels can be found.  The island is part of the National Park and visitors are charged a nominal fee which is reduced if you show your Thai driving license.

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  1. Koh Chang

Koh Chang is a large island around 4 hours drive away from Pattaya located in Trat province.  The island has stretches of long sandy beaches and a wide variety of wildlife.  It is popular location for snorkelling and diving but also has some excellent terrain for walking making it popular with backpackers.  The island has some quality hotels and a small nightlife scene making it an ideal getaway.

  1. River Kwai

The River Kwai in Kanchanaburi province is synonymous with the bridge across it associated with prisoners of war in World War II.  There are many things to see in Kanchanaburi and along the river; largely associated with the railway although the area is a beautiful setting in itself.  A ride on the railway is an absolute must for all visitors to fully appreciate its beauty.  Many trips are run from Pattaya lasting for 3 days and 2 nights.

  1. Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand is another beautiful setting overlooked by a large mountain on which is the temple of Doi Suthep.  A short flight from Bangkok will see you in the centre of Chiang Mai in a little over an hour.  The old city is surrounded by a moat with parts of the old city wall still remaining.  Although now a modern city it has managed to maintain a lot of the old Lanna traditions.

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 5. Bangkok

Bangkok is now a less than 2 hours away from Pattaya.  Bangkok has everything that you would expect from a cosmopolitan capital city.  The city also has a number of famous landmarks including the Reclining Buddha located close to the Chao Phraya River.  There are of course numerous other spectacular temples, Royal Palaces and China Town for you to explore at your leisure.

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The Property Market in Pattaya

Posted on 30 October 2014 by ABPC

Even after the recent coup and political problems the Thai economy has continued to grow rapidly.  Over the last number of years the property market is Thailand has seen a boom and it is no different here in Pattaya.  Anyone coming to the city will see the vast number of developments that are under construction and along with those that are already completed and those that are planned.

Property Market 1

The demand for these new properties – condominiums in particular, is exceptionally high with many buildings selling a high percentage of rooms within a matter of weeks of going on sale.  Many of these condos are purchased by investors at pre-launch prices therefore maximising their potential returns immediately, either through the rental market or as resales.

The Naklua and Jomtien areas are where we are presently seeing the most growth with quite literally thousands of rooms being built or planned over the next 5 years in both locations.  The influx of visitors from Russia, Korea, China and India is also helping to ensure that the demand remains high with many of these visitors looking to purchase second homes or investment properties.

Property Market 2

Land prices are something else that has rocketed over the last few years with prime pieces of land now being extremely scarce.  Any vacant plots of land in the Pratamnak area are quickly snapped up, often at vastly inflated prices.  The same could also be said for Naklua and Jomtien not to mention the city itself.  This has resulted in other areas such as Bang Saray increasing in popularity.  Again in this area prices seemed to be rising almost weekly with private investors and developers looking to take advantage of the area’s popularity.

It is fair to say that there has also been a shift in the popularity of certain properties.  Many developers are now building studios that are between 20-30sqm in a more hotel room style.  These condos are aimed more at the short term visitor looking to have there own kitchen and such facilities rather than feeling the constraints of staying in an actual hotel.  The developers have gone to great lengths with their furniture packages to ensure that every centimetre is utilised without feeling too cramped or claustrophobic.

Property Market 3

As more and more families are seeing Pattaya as a holiday destination we are seeing demand for larger condos also increasing.  One of the main reasons for this is many visitors coming here with their extended families now.  2, 3 and even 4 bedroom condos are often required and the market has shifted somewhat to accommodate this.

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What is required to buy a condo in foreign name in Thailand?

Posted on 21 October 2014 by ABPC

Many people have come to visit Pattaya on a numerous occasions – sometimes just for a couple of weeks, sometimes for 3 or 6 months.  Often they will have stayed in one of the many hotels that are located in the city or they have rented a condo through us.  Either way, many people fall in love with Pattaya and decide that this is the place that they want to live or stay longer.  Once this has been decided they will probably be thinking about buying a place of their own.

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Once you have decided to buy a property in Pattaya you will need to find a reputable agent like ABPC to help you look around a number of different properties before choosing the one that is ideal for you.  Once you have chosen your dream condo, what happens next? Usually the first step, assuming that your offer has been accepted, will be to pay a deposit.  This is usually 10% or if you are buying from developer maybe a fixed amount such as THB50,000 – a receipt will obviously be issued on payment.  At this stage a copy of your passport and visa will be required and you will need to sign the copies.

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The next stage will be for contracts to be drawn up, the chanot checked and an approximate transfer value sought from the Land Office.  This may be done by the ABPC but if you are buying direct from a developer it will more than likely be done by them.  You will then need to transfer the funds from OVERSEAS.  This is essential when you are buying in foreign name as the monies must be transferred into the Kingdom.  When you transfer the monies you will need to clearly state on the transfer slip or via internet banking “For purpose of purchasing property”.  You will then be able to get a document from the bank called a Tor Tor 3 (sam) that will prove that the funds have indeed come from an overseas transfer.  This document will be required at the Land Office.

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Once you are at the Land Office you will need your passport, Tor Tor 3, and bankers cheque made payable to owner or developer and CASH for the fees at the Land Office.  The Land Office will not accept cheques and unless you are using Power of Attorney you will need to go in person to sign the required documentation.   Once everything is complete you will have the keys to your new home!

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Why should I buy a condo in Pattaya?

Posted on 09 October 2014 by ABPC

If you are looking to buy a second home, an investment property or maybe even your primary residence you are going to want to make sure that you find the right location.  If, like many you have decided that Thailand is the place for you then you will again need to decide on the best city to buy your property.  Do you want to live in Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi or perhaps Pattaya? Here are a few reasons why you may want to choose Pattaya above the other options:

  1. Well established infrastructure

The infrastructure may not be one of the things that you initially think about but coming from the west we are used to our creature comforts.  Could you imagine life without the internet, good transport links, western standard hospitals and schools or without any western food? In reality, if you were going to spend any length of time anywhere, you would need all of these things and Pattaya has them all!

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  1. Busy but not too busy!

There is little doubt that Pattaya has lots going on. The city is almost a 24 hour place to live but it is certainly possible to find the quieter more relaxed places to live such as Naklua, Pratamnak or maybe East Pattaya.  Are all of these options available to you in a place such as Bangkok?

  1. The place is booming!

Pattaya has been a thriving place to live for a number of years now and is continuing to grow and expand.  This is a good thing as would you really want to go and live somewhere that was on the decline?

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  1. Stable property market

The Pattaya property market is relatively stable with prices gradually increasing.  If you compare this to other parts of the world such as Spain this should give you a certain level of confidence that the value of your property will not plummet in value.

  1. Plenty to do!

There is little doubt that Pattaya has plenty to offer everyone.  After all if you are going to go somewhere you don’t want to be bored! Pattaya caters for every taste.  It has golf, water sports, excellent beaches close by and of course all the nightlife that you could ever wish for.  No matter how long you stay, you can be certain you won’t get bored!

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  1. It’s close to everywhere!

Pattaya is a city with great links in and out.  Bangkok is 2 hours away with the main international airport being only 1.5 hours away connecting you to other parts of Thailand and the rest of the world.  The islands are close by and we have countryside on our doorstep!

Why would you want to live anywhere else?!

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How long does it take to buy a condo in Pattaya?

Posted on 05 October 2014 by ABPC

If you are looking to purchase a property there will undoubtedly be a number of questions that you want to ask. One of the most common questions is ‘how long will it take?’ There are a number of reasons that people ask this question.  It could be down to simply impatience but more often than not it is because people are only in the country for a limited period of time and they want to ensure that everything is completed before they leave or make alternative plans either to return or set up Power of Attorney.

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In reality the purchase of a property can be done extremely quickly as there won’t be the delays that we are often used to in our home countries.  Foreigners can’t get mortgages through the banks unless they meet certain criteria, i.e. working in Thailand, Work Permit, tax & salary slips etc. the only things that are required are standard documents supplied by seller & buyer that is required by the Land Office.

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If you are buying direct from developer things can take slightly longer as more detailed contracts tend to be drawn up and these need to be signed by the company owner who is often not available at the drop of hat.  In reality, if everything is in place there is no reason why this can’t be completed within 10 days assuming that the project or property has been completed.

If you are buying direct from an owner using an agent you could literally complete the process in couple of days.  The agent will draw up the contract, get copies of your passport and you will need to transfer the monies from overseas to your Thai bank account or that of the agent with the transfer note clearly stating “For the purchase of property”.  This will enable you to get a Tor Tor 3 (Sam) from the bank that you will need to present at the Land Office to prove that you have transferred the funds from overseas – a legal requirement when purchasing any property in foreign name.

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It is worth going to the Land Office early as it can be very busy and it is not uncommon for red tape to become an issue so make sure you have enough time that day to get anything else that the Land Office may request.  The delays are rarely serious but often very frustrating and stressful, especially if it is your first experience. The alternative is to ask the agent or a reputable lawyer to act on your behalf.

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Getting a Work Permit in Thailand

Posted on 24 September 2014 by ABPC

As with most countries in the world you will need a work permit to work legally in Thailand.  This is something that years ago had been a little bit vague but it is now being strictly enforced by the Immigration and Labour Departments.  Strict penalties are now in place with offenders usually being deported from the country after a short spell in one of the many notorious local prisons.

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To obtain a work permit you first need to have a Non Immigrant B Visa.  These cannot initially be obtained in Thailand so you would need to visit a Thai Consulate before you travel.  A number of documents are required including an invitation letter from your employer, proof that you will be applying for a work permit, completed tax returns for the company and audited accounts.  If you don’t already have a work permit you will be granted a single entry, 90 day Non Immigrant B visa and then you will need to extend this to a one year visa once you have your work permit.

To obtain a work permit you must be employed to do a job that can’t be carried out by a Thai national.  There are a number of restrictions that are in place and some restricted jobs.  The company must also employee 4 Thais for each work permit and have paid up registered share capital of THB2 million per work permit up to a maximum of 10 expatriates.

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Once you and the company you are going to work for have met this criteria you then need to begin the actual application.  A copy of every page of your passport is required and this needs to be signed.  You will also need to complete a medical to prove that you are fit to work and also do not have any of the restricted diseases.  After you have all of this you will need to have 3 passport sized photos, one that will go in your work permit and 2 to be kept at the Labour Office.  The process is relatively quick assuming that you have met all the necessary criteria.  The work permit will need to be renewed on an annual basis as will your Non Immigrant B visa.  Again at the time of renewal all the criteria will need to be met and renewal is not necessarily automatic.

All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without prior warning. Always speak to an expert prior to applying.

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