Happy Sunday, Bangkok!
It’s been a weird week in the news for the Land of Smiles, what with the stories that Jack Ma, billionaire founder of Alibaba, is intending to order 800,000 durians from Thailand, that 4,500 pythons were removed from Bangkok homes in 2017, and that 300 single Thai women were unknowingly married off to Indian men by corrupt officials.
Let’s see what else has been entertaining and enraging Bangkok this week…
- 1 News
- 2 Blogs
- 3 Forum Threads
- 4 YouTube
- 5 Twitter
- 6 Instagram
Good news for anyone wanting to travel in style, the Land Transport Department this week announced that Mercedes-Benz C Class sedans will start serving Bangkok as part of their ‘Taxi VIP project’.
Fares will start at 150 baht for the first 2 kilometres, with every kilometre thereafter charged at 16 baht.
The first 15 taxis will be released on 30 May, with a further 85 scheduled to appear before the end of August. 5,000 are expected on the roads of Bangkok by the end of 2018 apparently.
Their initial routes will include business areas of the city, including between banks, hotels and the airports.
In the latest example of cyber criminals choosing to base themselves in Thailand, 25-year old Jonathan Verron was arrested in Mae Nam, Koh Samui, for his part in a UK-targeted ransomware attack in 2016.
His arrest at 5am last Friday came about after an international arrest warrant was issued in Paris for Verron and two others after they reportedly hacked UK-based Prepaid Financial Services and demanded the bitcoin equivalent of €500,000 to ensure that they wouldn’t publicise the data they had stolen.
Verron has apparently been living in Thailand for the past two years, married to a Thai women with whom he has a child with. He is currently being held pending extradition back to France.
More taxi news!
Indonesia-based ride-hailing company Go-Jek this week announced that they would be expanding into Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines, hoping to fill the void in the region that Uber left after being bought out by Grab.
They will initially offer just ride-hailing but are hoping to eventually offer services like on-demand shopping.
That Grab will now have a competitor in the region is good news for consumers and will hopefully result in better service all round.
A curious post here on the Sweet3Mango blog, entitled ‘Why I Hate Tourists’ which goes on to describe the so-called ‘perfect tourist’ in Thailand, who is called Biff. Biff is well prepared for his trip to Bangkok, kind, courteous and sensible. Sure, he’s a great tourist.
But the implication of this post is that most tourists do not behave like Biff and instead, go on to embarrass themselves, their home countries and Thailand, through a series of misdeeds and faux-pas. Of course, there are a number of people who invariably make headlines both here and at home but most of us can forgive these because we abide by Halon’s razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
And, considering the many millions of tourists that Thailand welcomes each year, the percentage of ‘insufferable dickheads’ (the author’s words) arriving must be on the low side. We don’t hear about the good tourists, about Biff, because they don’t make good news.
Plus, Biff sounds like a robot. Where are his emotions, his passion, his flaws? The author demands that Biff even acknowledge the scammers that want to take him to an array of suit stores, gem displays and pingpong shows on false pretences. Apparently, to ignore or scowl at these people is ‘so, so, so rude’.
Maybe. But, you know what’s ruder? Taking advantage of a stranger who doesn’t speak the language or know the customs, offering to take them on a temple tour but actually taking them somewhere else in a bid to make them spend money, believing that they have cash to throw away because of the colour of their skin. Good on Biff if he wants to politely acknowledge the scammers, but they are not owed this goodwill by tourists.
Having said all that, one additional thing we would recommend Biff do before he arrives in Thailand is to take out an appropriate travel insurance policy. Biff doesn’t seem like the type of guy to set up a GoFundMe page 😉
An interesting report in the Guardian here on a recent phenomenon spreading across Bangkok: Buddhist dog funerals.
Giving your dog full funeral rites at the end of their life may seem excessive for people without dogs, but it’s easy to see their appeal if, as a Buddhist, you believe that they may be reincarnated as a human in their next life.
Theerawat Saehan, a pet funeral organiser, charges 3,000 baht for animals under 20 kg and 4,000 baht for larger animals. The most elaborate ceremony he has ever seen was for a Golden Retriever, which included a motorcade funeral procession, 60 monks and 80 guests, clocking in a whopping 400,000 baht.
As dog owners, but not Buddhists, we think it’s best to show your love and respect to your dog during their lifetime. Having said that, whatever works for you — we respect however you want to celebrate the life and death of your beloved pet.
An amusing Reddit thread here on how to avoid the temptation of infidelity while living in Bangkok, after the original poster admitted that he was worried about staying faithful to his western wife when they move to the city later this year. Apparently as a man in his ‘early 30s, decent looking, in shape and relatively wealthy’, he’s wondering how to beat off the women of Bangkok when they inevitably start moving in on him.
Outside of the sex industry, are ‘normal’ Thai women really throwing themselves at foreign, married men like this? If the poster is attractive and wealthy enough that they are, it’s likely that he would have faced similar temptations back home in the west too — so how did he stay faithful at home? You’d think setting boundaries for himself wouldn’t be too foreign a concept.
An end-of-the-road post here on Thaivisa this week, the sentiments of which likely cross the mind of every expat before he decides it’s time to move on from Thailand: do you really like living here?
The poster pinpoints a number of Bangkok bug bears: the heavy traffic at all hours of the day, always being the ‘farang’, the language barrier, the cultural barrier, the communal way of life vs the individual one, the obsession with face and displays of wealth.
It’s hard to deny that there are plenty of features of Thai life that are hard for westerners to overcome, particularly when you look closely at the culture rather than the day to day, but we think you’ll know in your gut whether this is the life for you or not. We don’t envy the original poster at this crossroads of his life in Thailand with a child on the way.
Don’t put your Duty Free in one bag if flying into Thailand. Customs are having a crackdown. This seems to be happy a lot recently… pic.twitter.com/j9jmICe2Sr
— Ian (@iamKohChang) May 23, 2018
Just bought a beer here.
Serious Bangkok aesthetics. pic.twitter.com/4iiH3FHFb2
— Derek Hopper (@derekmhopper) May 23, 2018
— Birdie (@BirdieBangkok) May 22, 2018
— Emma Jane Clowes (@ep2983) May 23, 2018
— Nirmal Ghosh (@karmanomad) May 23, 2018
— Signore Sammy (@signoresammybkk) May 23, 2018
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And that’s been The Week On Sukhumvit — see you next time!