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310 days – stuck in the UK to coming home for Christmas in Thailand

The Thaiger

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310 days – stuck in the UK to coming home for Christmas in Thailand | The Thaiger
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A personal story, with twists and turns, red tape and ASQ, from Peter.

“I did not think you could hear silence? This once busy place I had seen a score or more times before was like a ghost town. But as I neared Immigration long lines of chairs sided the moving walkways all distanced apart and soon there was a veritable army of staff dressed as if they were about to perform brain surgery.”

Yes, I made it back to Thailand after being stuck out of the country, and away from my wife, for 9 months. I go though the whole paperwork journey and arrival at a Bangkok ASQ. But first, a bit of background…

I have been coming to Thailand now for some years. My first visit here was virtually unplanned. I was looking for a holiday venue for me and my partner with my 3 children back in 2009. Many European countries had just entered the euro and prices for The Canaries etc. seemed to have gone through the roof. I was bending the ear of a friend of mine (who owed me more than a few favours) and much to my surprise he suggested I use his villa free of charge. I knew he had built a property abroad somewhere but was not entirely sure where. I accepted his offer and then asked him where it was.

Thailand came somewhat as a surprise but the flights were cheap enough even for 5 people. We came for 17 days the first time and stayed at my friend’s villa about 7 kilometres outside Hua Hin in a small village. It was not long before I had fallen in love with Thailand and my eyes looked over the boundary wall from my friend’s villa.

There was an unfinished building on a substantial plot of land. I made enquiries and found out the previous owner had been stricken with cancer and had passed away very quickly. I was able to talk to one of his children and I struck a deal with her. I remember the day September 9, 2009. Or 9 9 9, which should have rang alarm bells.

This was the beginning of my education in Thai culture and learning how things can work a little differently to what you might expect, and certainly chalk and cheese to my experiences in the UK. However this knowledge gained in the early days was to stand me in good stead and gave me the strength I needed to get through this last few months.

Once the final sum was agreed we had to sort out the paper work. If I had known then what I knew now! There was a plethora of documents apparently and as she did not read Thai it was difficult to determine what was what out of a 6 inch high stack of papers.

I was back in the UK and she was in France so the easiest thing to me was to go and get all the documents. She had been very helpful all the way and rather than risk losing Chanotes in the post I decided to hop across the Channel and pick them up. Well it turned out to be not exactly France but Monaco where she lived and that particular weekend in May was hosting the Grand Prix in Monte Carlo making accommodation something of a premium. So I suggested meeting in Paris that weekend.

Off I went and we met up at a restaurant in the Trocadero. It was great to meet up and put a face to the name of the lady I had spoken to so many times on the phone and exchanged numerous emails. She produced the mountain of paperwork in a sturdy bag which I started to look through eagerly. I was aware what a Chanote looked like and being so easy to spot went through the documents like an electric bill counter.

On finding the first Chanote I beckoned the waiter and ordered Champagne. No sooner the cork was out of the bottle I had reached the bottom of the pile but had only found one of the three Chanotes. Too late to put the cork back in! Nevertheless I had one and being still set in marked envelopes had retrieved the original company documents and her father’s Directors Statement. All good stuff. But where were the other two Chanotes?

My return to Thailand after Paris was to reveal the answer. I returned to Hua Hin and checked in to the hotel, the same one the previous owners had used when they came to Hua Hin. I had informally engaged a builder who was keen to start work once I had resolved the paper work. We were talking in the hotel lobby about my recent trip and the builder told me I would have to go to the Police station to make a solemn statement that the two Chanotes were lost and request replacements.

he whole thing was starting to get messy and it was not the walk in the park I had expected. But I was in too deep now to pull out so went ahead with the affidavit at the Police station. The documents would take time to process and mean another trip to Thailand for me. Why did I do this to myself?

I returned again to Thailand and checked in to what had become “my hotel”. The old man behind the counter asked me the next day if I had got the new Chanotes. I was surprised he asked as it had been what I thought a private thing between me and my builder. Asking him why he told me that the previous owner had given them to him for safe keeping. It being illegal apparently for someone to be in possession of Chanotes the old man hearing the news of the owner’s death burnt them for fear of prosecution!

Now I was really beginning to understand Thai culture. Sticking at it paid off though as by the end of July I was confident enough to start the building work. After a few trials and tribulations which had now become the norm the villa was completed quite rapidly and I had regular updates from my builder.

Since then I have visited the villa twice and sometimes three times a year for up to a month at a time to carry out improvements and decorating etc. Visiting Thailand became second nature and was so easy. Switch on the laptop, go to sky scanner and book a ticket, visa on arrival – sorted. I managed to come here for many years and tour Thailand moving around freely and spending money, which is what tourists, ex pats, retirees and holidaymakers do.

Vast amounts of money are brought in to this country paying for goods and services boosting the economy. I was never frightened of enjoying myself and loved to visit the local bars around Hin Lek Fai area outside Hua Hin, Sai Noi beach south of Hua Hin was one of my favourites and Baan Bua Restaurant serves the most amazing food.

One day though, as happens when you least expect it, I was fortunate enough for someone special to walk into my life. I knew she was, is and will always be special to me. Nit came home with me back to England a couple of times to spend time with me there to be able to understand my culture as well, which I think is most important. Not the easiest of things to get a visa for the UK for a Thai National either but worth all the effort and on the third attempt was successful.

It meant that she was with me on what would have been one of the saddest days of my life when my Mother passed away on Valentine’s Day 2017. We visited Mum on a few occasions before her passing and despite Mum’s advanced Alzheimer’s I could tell she could sense the softness and sincerity of Nit’s voice. How I wish she could have met my Mother beforehand when she had all her faculties.

Nit and I have built a home in SaKaeo together, which with guidance about Thai culture, orientation of the building, position of doors in the structure, position of bathrooms and toilets in a building etc; I designed and built. Nit has a daughter from a previous marriage but I have come to love her as one of my own. I designed the bungalow with a third bedroom as we can never be totally sure of the future.

My planning was wise as Nit became pregnant. Visiting the clinic with Nit was wonderful and the feeling of holding a new born child would be something I would relish once again. Never in my wildest dreams had I thought this would happen. Seeing the baby on the first scan was amazing and such an advance in technology from the scans of my children back in The UK.

I decided that my next trip back to the UK would be my last. I would return to the UK and close up my entire affairs move out of the unit I was renting and move to Thailand. I soon had everything I would not be bringing with me on E-Bay or in the recycling centre and came back to Thailand.

I arrived back in August 2019 and I placed my most cherished ornaments on my bedside table and the important documents in the safe. I was here to stay now. It was maybe a year before I had planned to be living in Thailand permanently, but a baby was coming what could be more important? I was excited to be going to the next scan with Nit and maybe find out the sex of our baby, my son was hoping for a brother as he had been outnumbered with 2 sisters.

Life can deal us cruel blows sometimes, but neither of was prepared for the sad news that the baby had died. Tears flowed, hands were held and hugs were exchanged. Having the added support of her father and sisters living close by was so good. Family is important. And Nit’s immediate family were very supportive to us both. Loi Krathong was a good time as we made Krathongs from our banana trees. Candles were lit and incense sticks burnt and new dreams and wishes floated out onto the water.

Two years prior I had worked on a large hotel extension in the UK and been responsible for the electrical design and installation. A message appeared on my social media asking me to contact the hotel owner. I contacted him and he was planning to start the second phase of the project and wanted me to come back for one last job. I talked things over with Nit; the job was hourly rate with accommodation all found while in the UK. It was a no brainer, I would come home after 3 months walk in to the Isuzu dealers and drive out a shiny new D-Max. I was also going to be paid extra for managing the site as the second phase was so similar to the first. The project was due to start mid-February, so sky scanner and booked a ticket. Nit managed to get me a couple of dust masks to wear on the plane as she had heard about some “flu thing” from China.

I landed back in the UK on February 15 and went to crash at my sister’s house for a couple of days. I bought a car, taxed it, insured it, got a UK sim card and was good to go. I was soon back to work, having reclaimed some tools I had passed on to my son; not working on the project but carrying out major repairs on the heating system breakdown at another hotel. This delayed the project starting that I had come to work on. Repairs completed it was time to get on with the main job, so I diverted services and laid in temporary supplies in preparation for the demolition of the remaining single storey section of the middle of the hotel.

By the time this had been done this flu thing had become a major concern and was getting out of control. The rapid rise and sequence of events was astounding but regardless of this footings were excavated, drains were laid and then concrete poured one Friday afternoon.

Over the weekend I took more notice of the news and became increasingly concerned primarily for my own health being on the verge of my 60th birthday. On the Monday morning I had a meeting with the hotel chain MD and it was decided to put the project on hold until this had blown over primarily because of materials shortages. People were already panic buying things, especially toilet rolls! So the sight was closed down and the project put on hold.

I decided it was time for me to get the hell out of Dodge and got on the phone to British Airways. Now my original return ticket had cost just over £500 which was amazing for BA for a direct return flight. To change my return date to go home the following week was going to cost another £600. But the March 27 was affordable to me so I booked that for a nominal sum. (Hindsight 1.01: I also looked at purchasing a totally new return ticket flying with Qatar via Doha for £430 departing 21st) It is amazing how hard you can learn to kick yourself.

Well the 27th came round and my mate took me down to Heathrow circling the M25 that was only missing tumbleweed. The lockdown had started the day before. I went into the deserted Terminal 4 building. I like to arrive in good time for flights and always allow for a puncture and a traffic jam. I checked in at the desk and my documents were checked including the letter from my doctor saying he had screened me for Covid-19 (no test available then) my visa and re-entry permit were checked and I got my boarding pass. When the boards updated I made my way to the departure gate.

I was the only “farang” there. The rest appeared to be Thai Nationals by the look of their passports. The rest of their bodies were invisible as they were wearing decorator’s suits, balaclavas, safety goggles, face shield, shoe covers, surgical gloves and face masks. I felt completely underdressed in my little white cotton mask Nit had got be a few weeks earlier.

They announced the flight was ready to board and asked all non-Thai nationals to come forward first to have documents checked prior to boarding. I was the only one so there was plenty of time for the gate staff to go through my documents. It transpired that new information had come from the Thai Embassy that people with Retirement Visas were now not allowed to return to Thailand – even with a re-entry permit.

I tried calling my notary in Hua Hin to see if he could help, who in turn contacted Hua Hin Immigration who were still under the impression I could return. All of this was happening as the few Thai Nationals boarded the 747 outside the window. The gate staff even phoned their Embassy hotline but to no avail. When I heard them on the phone asking to take my bags of the plane I was devastated. I had to sit because I feared I would fall. Breaking the bad news to Nit was traumatic to say the least.

I was led back from the departure gate through a special door like a convict being escorted to the gallows so I could go to baggage reclaim to collect my luggage. I phoned my mate and told him of my plight and asked him if he would return to Heathrow and get me. He had to come all the way back from Suffolk again to get me. The only fortunate thing was I had not cancelled the tax and insurance on my car. I drove back to the hotel I had been staying in in East Suffolk and was handed my room key in silence. The receptionist had been told I was returning and was lost for words.

The next day I woke up still dressed from the day before having switched off exhausted from the previous day’s events. The news was that Boris Johnson, the British PM, had tested positive and was self-isolating. Current affairs had become an hourly update requirement now rather than the usual daily one and there were over 1000 dead in the UK already. The hotel I am in has all but closed and I am soon the only guest. The UK Government has decided it needs to take the homeless off the streets and the entire hotel will be given over to the homeless. I feared I would have to move out my room and I did. I was moved to the disused manager’s bed-sit and was isolated from the rest of the hotel. How lucky am I to have loyal customers that are also true friends. The MD provided me with accommodation as he said he would whilst I was in the UK. A BIG big thank you to you! You will know it’s you if you ever come to read this my friend. You are one in 10 million.

My quest for news from Thailand became paramount and The Thaiger became my principal source as starting my laptop everyday headlines from leading articles popped into the corner of my screen. I would trawl through most articles looking for the slightest inkling of when I might be able to return.

There was no work for me during the lockdown so I was not making money only spending it. I had spent money on a car etc. and public liability insurance and the whole equation was not good. I started to help out in the kitchen FOC as they were preparing meals for the homeless people now occupying the hotel. The hotel GM noted I did not have a food hygiene certificate so I stopped helping out for a while. However the chef told me I could do the course on-line and obtain a certificate. Within 48 hours I had gained a new qualification and was helping out again preparing food and the inevitable washing up.

Some of the hotel occupants were anti-social or too social in that they did not social distance and spent their days chatting round the picnic benches in the hotel garden sharing cans of beer and passing a joint around the table. TV’s were smashed and windows broken, doors came off hinges after their binges! Two attempted suicides and a stabbing topped the bill followed by a mugging of one guest by another as runner up.

Incidents such as one getting so shit faced on coke he managed to get himself into the hotel office and call the police in a state of paranoia but only after he had chased two girls round the garden semi naked. These events led to the hotel having 24 hour security at the entrance. I got so used to seeing one or two Police cars outside, it became the norm. Going and turning off the fire alarm in the middle of the night and checking the building was a regular thing to help the security officer’s unfamiliar with the hotel systems. Making safe electrical fittings torn from the walls and ceilings also a regular job.

On one occasion a new “client” moved into one of the second floor rooms (that’s level 3 to some of you). He stored his disco equipment (don’t ask) in the shower cubicle until it was needed. After having a “noseful” one Thursday (that’s the day they got paid and the big black Range Rover came round like an Ice Cream Van) he got some equipment from his room and knocked the shower on.

The waste outlet was blocked with speakers so the water overflowed in to the room below and went into the fire alarm smoke detector leading to the building being evacuated as the alarm sounded. I arrived back at the hotel to find the security guard trying to access the fire panel. With the knowledge the first alarm was 30 mins beforehand, I went to the room to find water pouring through the ceiling on to the bed. I turned off the water in the shower after locating the source and keys. The hotel bar had been closed at the start of lockdown so was only checked twice a day. The evening check reported water still running through the ceiling slowly and the bar carpet and some furniture sodden. Several thousand pounds of damages. The tab being picked up by the local council!

My Mother always used to tell me when I was younger that there is always someone worse off than you. I think she asked the Lord to send me a reminder of this by sending a whole hotel full. I became resolved to my fate for the time being and continued my watch news from The Thaiger. After all I had the power to change things in time, whilst some I think may have been lost.

Some items of news occasionally prompted an email to the Thai Embassy here in London. When I got something other than an automatic reply it sometimes said they had heard nothing themselves. News was hard to come-by for people in my situation. I just didn’t seem to fall in to any category and when I thought on one occasion I did, there was no link to follow to make an application. It must have been difficult for the Embassy Staff having to bring in new systems to cope with the situation. The Thai Embassy visa section in London is in the basement and with social distancing could maybe hold ten at a guess. So they had to make it all available on line.

I watched the website updates regularly, looking for changes and then one day at the end of October I got a reply from the Embassy to say I can now go back to Thailand with my re-entry permit. This was no ‘auto-reply’, this was a big green light telling me I could apply for a Certificate of Entry.

I made the initial application with my passport visa details and details of my house in Hua Hin. I got an email back the next day saying my I could go ahead and make the application. What they did not say as that I need to have the insurance certificate already. So I had to organise the insurance before sending that form back on line.

My brokers in Hua Hin asked me about my visa type to ensure I was buying the right insurance. This could easily be a pitfall because if you fail any particular level you have to go back to square one with the application. So with my registration approved I could proceed with the Certificate Of Entry application. Getting the insurance sorted to a week to clarify my declarations on the insurance application.

I sent back the application. You need all documents to be up-loadable in jpeg or as PDF files. You can attach up to 16 documents as I remember. I made a new folder in my laptop to collate all the documents these included…

• My Passport.
Then…
• A picture of my visa and re-entry permit from my passport.
• A copy of my medical insurance certificate.
• A copy of my ASQ booking Bangkok
• My E Ticket
• A copy of my Blue Book for Hua Hin.
• A copy of the company documents.
• A copy of the Chanotes for Hua hin.
• Nits Thai ID card.
• A copy of the Blue Book from SaKaeo.
• A copy of my Thai Bank Book.
• A copy of an ATM slip showing the current balance of my Thai account.
• Two pictures of me a Nit together (ensuring the date taken was in the file stats).
• A picture of Nit at our home in SaKaeo.

All of these went with the final application for the COE and on November 26 an email came back to say I had been granted a COE. I found it easier to make a physical folder of all the documents printed out and a list or index on the front. Transparent pouches are a must!

You are forewarned but then all you have to do is…

Entry to Thailand
1. After the receipt of COE, please prepare the additional documents to declare at the check-in counter as follows
1.1 Passport and valid Thai visa/ re-entry permit (if required)
1.2 Certificate of Entry (COE)
1.3 Fit to Fly Health Certificate. (Thailand’s Health Control requires a hard copy version.)
1.4 Medical certificate with a laboratory result indicating that COVID-19 is not detected, using RT-PCR test, issued within 72 hours before departure (in case of connecting flights, before embarkation from initial port).
1.5 Insurance or letter from employer guaranteeing that the insurance company or employer will cover a minimum of 100,000 USD of medical costs incurred by the applicant in Thailand, including medical costs in the event that applicant contracts COVID-19 (The insurance must cover the total duration of stay in Thailand)
1.6 T.8 Form (Health Declaration Form). You can download T.8 Form at https://bit.ly/34X6sAJ
* Documents (1.3) (1.4) (1.5) must be in English or Thai only. Certified translations into English or Thai are accepted in the case that the original copy is in a foreign language.
2. The abovementioned documents in 1. must be declared to the immigration and disease control officers once the passenger has arrived in Thailand.

You need to print off a hard copy, I made 2 to be sure.

This is where it gets a bit sticky. If you are getting your GP to write you a letter the chances are he won’t sign it until he sees your covid test result. I suggest you speak to your GP long before you get to this stage and make him aware he will need to be accessible and act quickly when you get your test results. You need to be clear the receptionist is not over-protective of the doctor. His letter needs the words, ”Fit to fly” in it not “eligible for flights”. This could cost you your trip!

1.4 Medical Certificate / Covid Test result this must be in hard copy format and must show the letters PC-R Test to indicate the type of test negative of course and taken within 72hours of your departure. The date the sample is taken NOT the test date. Do not send your sample away too early, you will not get on the plane. I saw people turned away at Heathrow.

Most affordable tests are around £130 each person. Don’t bother trying to get a free test with the NHS. The results come on an email – no certificate and the PC-R letters are not there. (I saw a friends negative result.)

There is now a whole new industry of people doing tests over the internet. I used a company called Qured.

Now the high speed next day stuff with the Royal Mail does not start till you send the sample off. So order your kit as soon as your registration is approved would be my suggestion. (Hindsight 1.02) If you click on the option they can provide a fit to fly certificate as well for an extra fee.

Do your test and write the date on the sample tube. There are priority post boxes around the UK specifically for this type of mail.

Don’t try taking it to the lab yourself, they will not accept it. Take a picture of the tracking number and post it. You can check last collection times of individual boxes on the website. This company required you to download an app. to receive the results. It was free and made things easier. Print the Certificate as well as the confirmation letter.

You have got it covered as you were asked for it earlier.

Download it online and fill it in and scan it.

One more tip. I had to email all my documents to the hotel manager for printing as there was no network printer access in the hotel. This is actually a good safeguard should you have your phone and or laptop lost or stolen. Just phone a friend and get the lot back in a hurry.

These documents have no further checks at the Embassy so it’s up to you to make sure you have dotted all the ‘I’s and crossed all the ‘T’s.

Next stop, the airport.

Allow yourself lots, I mean LOTS of time. You would think from your last email from the Embassy all you will be asked for is 1.1 to 1.6. Not the case, the check in staff want to check every last thing they can get involved in because they are on a learning curve too.

The Serial Number on my COE was testament to that. You cannot have a COE in your hand without holding a valid visa so the visa check should be straight forward right? Being things the Embassy has already dealt with….

So be prepared for a junior member of staff to wander off across the terminal with your carefully prepared folder pulling things out of the pouches as she looks for a supervisor. Then as they walk along dropped documents are run over by someone else’s trolley can be a little nerve wracking. I suggest you do what I didn’t… make two identical folders this will reduce the risk of a coronary event. These people have absolutely no idea of the stress they are putting you under.

Being finally issued with a boarding pass despite the error in my doctor’s letter – I was able to convince them was equivalent English. I passed through security and waited for the departure gate to be shown. As I walked there I passed the gate I had been turned away from back in March and fear fell over me that things still may go wrong.

It was an anxious time before I boarded the plane. Once seated I sent out a message to Nit to let her know I was on board. The flights were good. As full as always, but masks and face shields were required while boarding and disembarking. Qatar seemed to have things under control and the cabin crew were fantastic.

Several movies later and a smooth touch down at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok heralded the anti-penultimate leg of my leg of my journey, the walk down to immigration.

I did not think you could hear silence? This once busy place I had seen a score or more times before was like a ghost town. But as I neared Immigration long lines of chairs sided the moving walkways all distanced apart and soon there was a veritable army of staff dressed as if they were about to perform brain surgery. It was obvious they were leaving nothing to chance. One small squad of staff worked the way up the rows of chairs collating documents for each passenger and giving them an “initial check”. With the necessary documents collated I was led up to the disease control staff who gave the documents a second check and asked if I had any covid symptoms and my temperature was taken with a laser tester on the forehead. A cough at this time would have been a bad idea.

Being re-seated past this point I was asked where I would be quarantining and the issued a clip on label that was put on my shirt. It reminded me of the old news footage I had seen of children being evacuated from London during The Blitz! A group of us were escorted towards the Immigration hall. Another check of the passport and TM 6 filled in on the plane, then we were then led up the ramp where another check point checked addresses (post quarantine) were filled in correctly. Then to the frontier where everything was checked again and I heard the stamp finally fall on the TM6 and my passport.

I moved on and collected my bag from the conveyor that was switched off just before it got to me. There were very few people about in the baggage all. Through customs and then look for my driver at gate 9 my paperwork had said from the hotel. But I was confronted with lines of barriers and tapes and ushered through the door. Outside a group of staff all in full theatre gowns usher me to my “private ambulance” a large Merc saloon with a Perspex panel fitted in between front and rear from floor to ceiling and side to side robbing me of room for my size 11s. A thirty minute drive with a pit stop for fuel? I was tempted to nip in to the 7 but thought better of it.

Arriving at the hotel I was ushered to a foot bath for my shoes and my luggage was sprayed and wiped down. My first port of call was the duty nurse who took my temperature and blood pressure and asked me the covid symptom questions. He remarked my blood pressure was a little high. LOL. Then on to the reception desk where my passport was checked again.

Everything else was cleaned but they took the balance due with my UK debit card that has been in and out of every PDQ in Tescos buying lager for 9 months. Good job I cleaned it before I came. Oh what a good boy am I. I was ushered into a lift and the button pressed for me. On reaching the 14th floor, two more staff led me to my room. My breakfast arrived at the room 15 mins later. I knew I was in Thailand then. Food is Number One.

310 days - stuck in the UK to coming home for Christmas in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

Please note that my account of my entry into The Kingdom of Thailand is not criticism but admiration. Nothing was left to chance. Had anyone made a mistake it would have been spotted by others. The staff there are doing a very important job by protecting the rest of Thailand from Covid. Thailand has reacted to this situation far better than most countries. The number of deaths and infections in the Kingdom bear witness to that! 4000 cases and 60 deaths – Borders closed.

The UK on the other hand was still receiving 20,000 arrivals a day at Heathrow during the first lockdown, with voluntary isolation after arrival. The UK has now had 1.7 million cases and 61,120 deaths – Borders open.

Thailand has also had to deal with political unrest during this time too, so a hand full of foreigners stuck outside Thailand would not have been a priority. We have to look at the big picture and consider the needs of the many first.

I turn on my PC now and watch the Thaiger News feeds pop up on my screen as I have done for many months now. After scanning the headlines I watched the Thaiger video interview with Nick Daviesand thought how similar his situation was to my own. There is on big difference looking at The Thaiger web site this morning. I am in Bangkok.

Just writing those words, “I am in Bangkok” has brought a lump to my throat and I can feel my tear ducts becoming turgid. When the plane took off from the UK with me on it, having messaged my partner here in Thailand that I was actually on the plane as we were about to push off from Terminal 5 Heathrow, the sense of elation was comparable to witnessing the birth of a child.

Just getting here to this point has been a strange and awkward journey. The thought of staying in this room for a couple of weeks is nought to what has occurred and the joy of going home to my family. The ensuing months until now are a completely different story.

So here I am on the verge of exercise. Looking forward to what I have to come before the end of the year. Besides the obvious thing (no stories about Granddad taking his backpack off when he came home from the war), we have some plans to make. Our home is due to have its 3rd blessing before the end of the year, Christmas is just around the corner and there is a homecoming to celebrate.

Oh, and I will need to renew my visa. Party time will have to wait though for sure cos someone raided the mini-bar before I checked in.

Thanks Thaiger for your news feeds and if I can help anyone with advice on getting back here I shall be pleased to help. Families need to be together.

Peter

310 days - stuck in the UK to coming home for Christmas in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

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36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Happy Tourist

    Monday, December 7, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    Very nice and emotional story this morning in Germany. Thank you very much for spending time to write and publish it. Best regards and good luck to you and your familiy.

  2. Avatar

    Joe

    Monday, December 7, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    I don’t think anyone will go through this for tourism purposes.

    • Avatar

      J West

      Monday, December 7, 2020 at 3:02 pm

      Absolute mania. No one in thier right mind would do this.

  3. Avatar

    Peter

    Monday, December 7, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    Who in their right mind would become a performing seal to jump through these hoops to get to Thailand.
    I would rather be ‘stuck in the UK’ with a vaccine jab on the horizon.
    Talk about jumping from the frying pan into the fire with Chang Mai and Chang Rai kicking off.
    It’s only a matter of time till it’s Thailand’s turn. Then all the ‘I’m alright jack’ brigade will find out what happens.

    • Avatar

      John Cena

      Monday, December 7, 2020 at 4:40 pm

      “Then all the ‘I’m alright jack’ brigade will find out what happens”

      I hope it kills them all.

      • Avatar

        Richard

        Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at 12:43 pm

        The part I didn’t understand is how you purchased land in Thailand in your name, as non thai are prohibited from owning land here.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at 1:46 pm

          I’m slightly curious about that too, as his article (and some of the comments here) certainly suggest that he did.

          I can’t follow that at all – it’s simply not possible

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at 5:01 pm

          Re-reading the article, as far as I can see he’s talking about two different houses. First the house in Hua Hin, owned in a company name which presumably only involved a transfer of directorships, and second the house in Sa Kaeo province which is presumably in his g/f Nit’s name.

          How the two have any direct bearing on his visa application, and why both blue books were required (since he isn’t on either of them) isn’t clear nor is the type of visa applied for which I’m guessing is a Non Imm ‘O’.

        • Avatar

          Preesy Chepuce

          Friday, December 11, 2020 at 3:40 pm

          It’s the same old “I’m foreign but my home is Thailand” routine… It’s not his home, he is a guest, a visitor, a foreigner, that’s what it says on his Non-Immigrant visa… if he becomes a Thai citizen, then he can call it home, but he was not “stuck” in the UK, he is British, and just want to visit a foreign country. The OP might be able to deceive himself, but he can’t take us along with him, we know the regulations, and you can’t own land in this country unless you become a Thai citizen, and you have to specifically declare that it’s not yours.

  4. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Monday, December 7, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    Another instance of Thai racism. You were not allowed to board, yet Thais were.
    You had a re-entry visa, which was ignored.
    British airways charges you £600 pounds to change your ticket!
    There is a scam many airlines are employing now. It costs a £100 to change your ticket, but then they state, the flight you change to costs more one way, so you have to pay more.
    many times the flights you change to do not cost more.
    I never liked British Airways, and I am not alone. Look at the reviews.
    I am grateful for your long detailed report. This will be of great help to any who want to travel to Thailand at this time.
    after they read your report most of them will not bother.
    Please post again and let the forum know how things work out for you.
    I for one will be most interested.

    • Avatar

      Preesy Chepuce

      Friday, December 11, 2020 at 3:44 pm

      That’s not racism… it’s citizenship-ism… and we should all approve of it… I don’t want foreigners taking priority over me when I return to my country of citizenship, and I don’t understand why foreigners like you are outraged by this very fundamental concept of nationality.

      I prefer BA, much more amenable that other airlines with excess baggage, and booze, and better safety and reliability statistics, my main gripes are too much diversity in cabin crew (i.e.: too many fat old birds and homosexuals, in contrast to Singapore airlines eye candy; and no refunds).

  5. Avatar

    harry1

    Monday, December 7, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    well done that man,but what a ordeal,firstly isnt it time for long stay foreigner be issued with a Thai ID card,instead of repeatedly filling out documents and secondly what will be the procedure after having been vaccine will normalisation return ? as l,m sure thousand would like to eventually visit their loved one in europe and return to their home in thailand

    • Avatar

      J.C.

      Monday, December 7, 2020 at 4:43 pm

      “isnt it time for long stay foreigner be issued with a Thai ID card”

      There’s a procedure to follow if you want that. Surprisingly, just knocking up a local hooker isn’t sufficient.

      • Avatar

        Preesy Chepuce

        Friday, December 11, 2020 at 3:47 pm

        Well said. I don’t see why Thailand shouldn’t have standards for admitting people in, just like other countries do. I agree that they should make it a lot easier for people who pass the threshold, so that they can contribute to Thai society/education/economy long-term.

  6. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, December 7, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    Sorry, but I had to take a break after the first 6,000 words of Peter’s life history.

    The one part that I did note, though, which most commenting above seem to have overlooked was:

    “Please note that my account of my entry into The Kingdom of Thailand is not criticism but admiration. ….. The staff there are doing a very important job by protecting the rest of Thailand from Covid. Thailand has reacted to this situation far better than most countries. The number of deaths and infections in the Kingdom bear witness to that! 4000 cases and 60 deaths – Borders closed.”

    • Avatar

      Peter

      Monday, December 7, 2020 at 5:27 pm

      Bit out of touch are we Poverty John?
      Not been watching TV/social media/press in your Isaan outside squat toilet?
      Covid is coming over the porous Myanmar border and is beginning to spread in Chang Mai and Chang Rai.
      Can’t wait till it arrives in your sh1t shack in Isaan.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Monday, December 7, 2020 at 5:59 pm

        Peter, I have no idea what you think my finances are or why, but just because I choose to live in Isaan doesn’t mean “poverty” or that I live in a “sh1t shack”.

        Amongst a series of uninformed comments you’ve made, that’s probably one of the more stupid, although there’s no shortage of competition.

        • Avatar

          J.C.

          Monday, December 7, 2020 at 8:38 pm

          Haha, that’s rich coming from the King of zero self-awareness.

          • Avatar

            Preesy Chepuce

            Friday, December 11, 2020 at 4:05 pm

            Like watching two hillbillies argue over a sweetcorn.

    • Avatar

      Stephen Westrip

      Monday, December 7, 2020 at 11:08 pm

      The Thai Government may have done a good job at keeping COVID out of the country but at what cost? Every coin has two sides and the flip side of this one is the government completely ignoring the plight of Thais that work(ed) in the tourism industry and all those indirectly affected as a result also. It has laid to waste the tourism industry, small and medium size hotels closing forever as an obvious example.

      When the Government looks at how well it has performed during this pandemic it needs to be held to account for all that it hasn’t done as well as the good that it has.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at 1:44 pm

        What do you suggest it “hasn’t done” that it could have?

  7. Avatar

    Greg Chapman

    Monday, December 7, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    I feel very sorry for this poor chap, it must have been absolute hell – shocking that a house holder and retiree was prevented from going to his own home, as Tony Andrews says it’s typical of Thai racism. It’s a pity our soft government here in the UK does not do the same to Thais wanting to come here. Everything should be equal .. eg foreigners can’t buy property in Thailand so Thais shouldn’t be able to buy property here.
    I have a friend in a similar position who returned to Thailand last week after staying with me since 10th March !! I can’t describe the torture he went through to get back. Returnees should be able to self isolate in their houses they could even be tagged.

    That situations like this are allowed to happen shows the complete lack of compassion and common sense endemic in Thai society.It also beggars belief that after receiving such treatment, someone who has invested so much money in the country bears no ill will.
    The Thais plan of zero Covid transmissions is doomed, we all have to learn to live with a virus that kills only 0.03% .. who really believes that only 60 people have died ?.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, December 7, 2020 at 6:04 pm

      “It’s a pity our soft government here in the UK does not do the same to Thais wanting to come here.”

      Really?

      Unbelievable.

      Just what do you think Thais have to do in order to be allowed to stay in the UK, with or without marrying a Brit?

      • Avatar

        Toby Andrews

        Monday, December 7, 2020 at 10:33 pm

        Well I have just read the requirements.
        Perhaps Issan John could enlighten us to what a Thai has to do at this date to enter the UK.
        And let us compare these requirement with what a Brit has to do to enter Thailand.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at 10:58 am

          If you’ve “just read the requirements”, I can’t imagine why you need to be enlightened or most people here would need to compare them as the disparities are well known, even if you and Greg C are unaware of them, but since you’ve asked the main categories are as follows, in brief:

          Retirees:

          Thais to UK: 800,000 baht in the bank, reducing to 400,000

          Brits to Thailand: not permitted

          Long Term Residency (five years):

          Thais to UK: 80,000,000 baht invested for five years (Tier 1) or 8,000,000 invested in a new company employing at least two Brits @ 1,100,000 per year (Tier 2)

          Brits to Thailand: 500,000 baht invested for five years (Elite card)

          Permanent Residency / ILR:

          Reasonably similar, but the 5 year prior residency requirement can be reduced to 2 years in the UK with an investment of 400,000,000 baht or 3 years with an investment of 200,000,000 baht

          Tourists:

          Thais to UK: 2 months to process, 14 days quarantine on arrival, and proof of “sufficient” finances (not specified, but usually around 200,000 baht in your account for at least a year and travel insurance), plus a “reason to return” ( a house, property, children, etc), not unusually refused (the author’s girlfriend had her first two applications rejected)

          Brits to Thailand: 2 weeks to process, 14 days quarantine on arrival, travel insurance, no financial requirements or “reason to return” required, seldom refused

          Marriage:

          Thais to UK: an income for the sponsor / Brit partner of 750,000 baht per year plus 150,000 for a first accompanying child and a further 100,000 for each additional child

          Brits to Thailand: 400,000 baht in the bank

          Visa on arrival:

          Thais to UK: not permitted

          Brits to Thailand: temporarily suspended due to Covid-19

          Rather obviously, the requirements for the UK are considerably more stringent making Greg C’s comment that “it’s a pity our soft government here in the UK does not do the same to Thais wanting to come here” rather absurd.

          • Avatar

            Preesy Chepuce

            Friday, December 11, 2020 at 4:04 pm

            This bit looks the wrong way round:

            Retirees:

            Thais to UK: 800,000 baht in the bank, reducing to 400,000

            Brits to Thailand: not permitted

            The other missing bit is that if a Thai marries a Brit, the Thai can work in the UK as much as they want, even before they get ILR. That (usually) isn’t an option the other way round, and is a major bugbear for most farang in Thailand (I say usually, because I know there are people who bring money over and set up companies with Thai spouses and get work permits issued to them).
            If the Thai is a student in the UK they can work up to 20 hours a week, and more than that for a period after graduation. Thais students can also qualify for various kinds of bursaries and scholarships that aren’t available the other way round.

            These are from first-hand knowledge, not simply from a website.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, December 7, 2020 at 6:09 pm

      … and what “plan of zero Covid transmissions” are you talking about?

      WHAT “PLAN”?

      The one you’ve just made up, plucked out of thin air since no-one in authority has ever suggested such a plan?

      … and “who really believes that only 60 people have died ?”

      ANYONE LIVING HERE, THAT’S WHO! Even here, where objectivity and common-sense isn’t exactly a given, nobody living here however anti-government or anti-whatever they may be, has ever suggested that’s anything but correct.

      • Avatar

        J.C.

        Monday, December 7, 2020 at 8:39 pm

        John, you know nothing about Thailand and even less about public health. Just stop posting.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at 2:07 pm

      On re-reading this, I genuinely can’t understand why you find it “shocking” that his return was delayed.

      He wasn’t / isn’t a “house holder” and it wasn’t “his own home” – and even if it somehow had been, very, very few countries give residency with house ownership and then only when the investment is particularly high.

      Had he been married to a Thai, with a Thai family, then I can see why that might be more “shocking”, but he wasn’t / isn’t – had he been, he would have been allowed to return home far sooner, but he wasn’t (and, to be fair to the author, nor is he complaining about it – far from it, to his credit).

      As for “Thai racism” it’s simply “compassion and common sense” to allow those whose country it is back first (Thais) along with those foreigners who are married to Thais or with Thai children here, which is exactly what Thailand has done – that simply didn’t apply to the author, and it would be beyond absurd to have given others the same priority just because they had a Thai g/f or b/f here.

  8. Avatar

    Ian

    Monday, December 7, 2020 at 6:40 pm

    What a read ,if this is how you get to Thailand I’ll wait and so can my girl we have vaccinations coming in UK now so hopefully by mid 2021 I can visit again and yes covid is coming Thailand but not from Europe so dont be so smug I don’t wish it on you but yes only 60 deaths just another cover up from the Thai government panic is already happening in chang mai with the locals and there’s only been several official cases so good luck Peter you a brave man to go through so much to get back to thailand and your special lady I just wait and see once I have the vaccine whether the Thailand authorities will let us in or not without that mountain of paperwork or it’s gonna be good morning Vietnam lol

    • Avatar

      Hal

      Monday, December 7, 2020 at 9:33 pm

      Thanks for the very informative details provided…i am sure it will be beneficial to many travellers from europe who plan to visit thailand very soon…take care !

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Monday, December 7, 2020 at 9:41 pm

      Maybe “good morning Vietnam” after a bit of a wait.

      As Vietnam’s deputy PM, Vu Duc Dam, speaking to Channel News Asia, said “Demand is far higher than supply, and we have to pay large deposits to secure our position, which I see as very high risk and a waste of money and time. We will continue to deal with Covid as we are now.”

      That “dealing with Covid” would mean Vietnam will keep its borders mostly closed in the short to medium term.

      “We have to be prepared for the fact that the pandemic will not end until 2021.”

  9. Avatar

    Dr Paul. A. Potter

    Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 10:25 pm

    I have been in this process now since August, stuck in the UK after 14 days self-isolation after completing a work contract in China. I have a home in Samut Prakarn and although a British passport holder, I am registered as ‘non resident’ in the UK, in other words currently homeless. I have now lost count of the number of times I’ve been through the long process for an ‘O’ visa application inclusive of a 700 GBP medical! I co-own a house with my common law Thai partner.
    All I have is in Thailand and I cannot seem to get the majic ‘certificate of entry’, been trying for a whole 1/2 year now. COVID has absolutely nothing to do with me, in spite of living/working in China when it started there. Had a great 74 years – until this year – which has disrupted the lives of so many millions of souls.

  10. Avatar

    Preesy Chepuce

    Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 9:31 pm

    What on earth is a “common law Thai partner”? Thai law is not as extensive as British law, I don’t remember seeing such a concept existing in Thailand. It’s a bit simpler – either you’re married, or you ain’t.
    You can’t “co-own” a house with a Thai, even if you’re married to them, you can own up to 49% shareholding, but only Thai citizens with ID cards can “own” the property.
    The Statutory Residency Test for the UK is very precise but complex, and you can run through it on the gov.uk site to establish where you stand. I’m surpised you paid 700GBP for a medical, that sounds a bit abnormal.
    I’m guessing that you don’t have the qualifying criteria for a retirement visa, and if you don’t have a marriage certificate from your local council office in Thailand, you are probably stuffed.
    If that’s the case, it’s probably best to get your Thai “partner” (whatever that means) to the UK to formalise your status in some way to re-enter Thailand.
    If you don’t have accommodation or income to meet the UK spouse visa requirements, I guess you might be able to sort out a visitor visa at least?
    It sounds like you have either been misadvised at some point, or not furnished yourself with sufficient information to get your documents in order, and you probably need to invest some serious time and thinking into squaring your circle so that it works for the Thai authorities.
    You can’t map UK legislation onto a country with no common legal history.

  11. Avatar

    Vape It

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 7:57 am

    Has anybody visited Reno Vapor Emporium? 🙂

    • Avatar

      Tez Malloy

      Friday, December 18, 2020 at 9:19 pm

      Now now gents. I came back in early april as I had some business . Big mistake on my part. But here I am an d tilak there.. It’s been a long haul and the vaccination is around the corner for an old crony like me. It may cut corners but let’s see. Seem a lot of work and expense to get the paper work. Ban Sari my local beach village ain’t going no where. I did manage to go to Spain to families apartment in Denia in September. The masking up and control was a lot better then in the UK. Got back to Gatwick from Valencia. And the imagration officers who were checking your declaration that you had no symptoms and telling you to wear a mask . Had none on them selfs haha. I’m mentioned it and was promptly told to move on. Today just been to Maidstone and half the folks are not masked up or keeping distance. Spain they were a lot stricter. Mainly because the cops are respected and rule, and nationals care , as in UK it’s just an inconvience and a jolly up. A Borris Bollocks. I will wait and get myself safe so hopefully I will stand a better chance regarding my self and others around me when I do get back. It’s still a great place when you are there. Got expensive now just as cheap here and in Spain. Unless you eating and drinking in Thai shop/ com bars. Or kitchens. Morrisons got 3 pint bottles of Sing or Chang for a fiver. So I can can look out at grey skys, grey rain, and grey masked up locals and down le Chang. And remember where I Am. Fffing here UK with a Thai Beer. (Oh if you own or registered share holder of the company . The company can buy the land) blue book is only for the house. But no dought you all knew that. Take care and keep your shirts on you guys. Regards Tez

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

CCSA mulls the easing of Covid-19 restrictions

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CCSA mulls the easing of Covid-19 restrictions | The Thaiger

Late night diners rejoice. Your option to eat all that great Thai food around the country looks to be back on the table as the government looks to lift some of the current restrictions on dining and business operating hours. Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has announced that they’re likely to lift restrictions on dining, currently set at 9pm, by the end of this week.

The Thai Restaurant Association have been lobbying hard for an extension of the opening times for in-restaurant dining times to at least 11pm.

The CCSA will gather on Friday to assess the current Covid-19 situation and decide if the extension is viable at this time. But the Public Health Minister maintained that alcohol will still be prohibited and other precautions like hand-sanitisers at entry points and social distancing will still need to be strictly applied.

Speaking to Bangkok Post, Anutin said the alcohol ban must remain in place for now.

“If violations of the alcoholic beverage-drinking ban are found at any restaurants, they can’t simply get away with claiming that it was their customers who brought the alcohol to drink at the restaurants because the ban applies to ‘alcohol drinking’ at restaurants in particular, not only alcohol selling or serving.”

Meanwhile, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says the easing of various restrictions around the country will be looked at on a case-by-case basis depending on the outbreak situation in each area. The early clusters in the four eastern coastal provinces of Chanthaburi, Chon Buri, Rayong and Trat, for example, appears to have eased and the local governors are pleading with the government for some relief from the strict restrictions on their provinces. Chon Buri has had a run of days over the past week where there has been no new Covid infections reported to the CCSA.

Yesterday there was a surge of new cases uncovered by a strategic track and trace program in Samut Sakhon, but the government says it will base its decision to ease restrictions around the county on the overall outbreak situation province by province. Provincial governors have also been given powers to add or modify national restrictions, a different situation from the April and May 2020 ‘lockdowns’ which were much more restrictive.

959 new Covid-19 infections were announced yesterday, 844 of them were found through the track and trace operations in Samut Sakhon, the ground zero for Thailand’s latest outbreak which kicked off 5 weeks ago and has now spread to most provinces.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai DJ Celebrity party is likely to be “super spreader” event

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Thai DJ Celebrity party is likely to be “super spreader” event | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath Online

The birthday party of Techin Ploypetch, better known as “DJ Matoom”, is now considered a super-spreader source of Covid-19, with 19 people already found infected after attending the event. According the CCSA spokesperson during the daily briefing today, “Transmissions in Bangkok should be highlighted. They show the possibility of a person becoming a super-spreader”.

The birth of the super spreader birthday party started with a guest to the DJ’s party who had visited a well-known entertainment venue in Chiang Mai between January 1 and 4. He sought a Covid-19 test on January 5 following news that infected people had visited the pub, but tested negative. He should have self quarantined for 14 days, but he still flew to Bangkok and then attended the DJ celebrity’s birthday party on January 9.

DJ Matoom says he met the guest, one of his friend, on January 9, but that friend didn’t know he was infected until January 19 in which he told Matoom.

According to Dr Tanarak Plipat, now acting inspector-general of the Public Health Ministry, an infected person can transmit disease to two others on average, while a “super spreader” will transmit to multiple people.

DJ Matoom and the party’s guest were criticised of violating the disease control measures.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Owners of vehicles emitting black smoke to be fined up to 5,000 baht

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Owners of vehicles emitting black smoke to be fined up to 5,000 baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS News

Owners of cars and trucks emitting an excessive amount of black smoke face a fine up to 5,000 baht. The heavy fine is an attempt to reduce air pollution in Bangkok. Along with the fine, the Department of Land Transport will also order the vehicle be suspended from use until its emission system is fixed.

According to the department, from October last year until January, 689,333 vehicles in Bangkok areas have been inspected for black smoke emissions, while 8,762 of them have been suspended from usage. Those vehicles emitting a high volume of smoke, but are under the safety standard, will receive warnings and owners are urged to check vehicle conditions and keep proper maintenance.

Vehicles with exceeding black smoke are urged to check their vehicles at the department’s certified vehicle inspection centres located around Bangkok’s outskirts, including Phutthamonthon, Romklao, and Khlong Luang areas. Motorists are also encouraged to help reduce air pollution caused by black smoke and PM2.5 particles by having their vehicles regularly serviced or alternately switching to electric or NGV-powered vehicles.

People who witness vehicles emitting black smoke can also report the authorities by calling 1584, or contact Line: @1584DLT, or via DLT GPS mobile application.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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