PCEC members vicariously visit Hanoi
Gary Hacker, in addition to being the US Embassy Warden
for Pattaya area, enjoys traveling. Thus, with his usual interesting and
entertaining commentary at the Sunday meeting of the Pattaya City Expats
Club at the Amari’s Henry J. Bean Restaurant on Sunday, February 1st, he
took members on a great trip to Hanoi and Halong Bay in Vietnam. Gary noted
that on this trip he was accompanied by his daughter.
talks of visiting Hanoi and the delightful places and restaurants, and the
people he met.
Gary said that Hanoi is built around Hoan Kiem Lake and has several other
lakes within the city. The French Quarter has mostly homes, whereas the Old
Quarter has a vibrant life day and night. Gary said that Hanoi is easy to
get around and is quite inexpensive with good food. Generally, the cost for
one person in a restaurant ranged from US$2 to $3 for a great meal. One can
walk, take a taxi, or rent a motorbike for about US$5 per day. For about
US$2, one can rent a rickshaw for a half day, which Gary said was a great
way to travel around.
He felt that one could spend a few days there as there is much to see
including the infamous “Hanoi Hilton,” which was used to house American
prisoners of war, as well as the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh. He said there are
two airlines that go from Bangkok to Hanoi, one is Air Asia and the other is
British Consul in Pattaya, Barry Kenyon, keeps PCEC members up to date with
latest news from Immigration.
He showed a picture of his hotel, the Lucky Star, which was a very narrow
and a very tall building. Gary said that there are many such structures in
Hanoi because the Vietnamese government taxes on the basis of the width of
the building, so the enterprising Vietnamese build them skywards. He said a
regular room in the hotel was US$35 per night with a suite being US$50. He
showed pictures and described many of the street scenes consisting of local
hangouts, jazz clubs, massage parlors, restaurants, Chinese pagodas, and
many friendly people.
After their stay in Hanoi, it was off to Halong Bay for a two day cruise in
a Chinese Junk. Gary explained that all the boats are modern, but they are
styled after the old Chinese Junks. They offer great accommodation with the
staterooms having large windows - nice to wake up to a great view.
The drive from Hanoi was interesting with views of the countryside and
nearby mountains. The boat cruised around the bay, which has numerous
islands, many with caverns that can be explored.
At one stop, those wishing to do so could enjoy their meal in a large
cavern. The cruise was all inclusive of transportation from Hanoi and meals.
However, he noted that alcoholic beverages were extra.
The boat would stop at nearby islands and one could take a kayak to go
exploring. In the evening, there were movies, card games, and dancing. There
were also floating vendors that would approach the boat or the shore
offering items for sale.
Gary said that their 2 days seemed like a week. In conclusion, Gary said
that for living, he prefers Pattaya, but Hanoi and Halong Bay are a great
getaway for a few days, perhaps during Songkran.
Following Gary’s great picture tour, Emcee Judith called upon Barry Kenyon,
Honorary British Consul, to update everyone on the latest news from Pattaya
Immigration. Barry said that there have been some recent changes, one being
the permitted stay if you enter Thailand without a visa. There is no change
if you enter Thailand at an airport. It is still a 30 day stay for most
westerners. However, if entering at a land border, the permitted stay will
only be 15 days. This change also did away with the restriction on how many
times a person can enter Thailand without using a visa. The previous
restriction of being permitted to stay no more than 90 days within a 180 day
period is no more.
The other change relates to those using 800,000 baht in a Thai bank to
qualify for a retirement visa extension. There is no change for those using
monthly income to meet the financial requirement. The recent change relates
to the time the funds must be on deposit. The requirement now is that the
funds be on deposit at least 60 days before applying the first time and 90
days for all subsequent renewals. Barry pointed out that you can eliminate
the time restriction all together if you have some income from a pension,
rentals, etc. and use a combination of income and funds on deposit to
qualify. If using this method, you will need a letter from your embassy
confirming the amount of income, but there is no time requirement for how
long you need to have the remaining funds on deposit in a Thai bank.
Barry concluded by answering several questions from the audience. One of
which dealt with whether Immigration has a new requirement to show
documentary evidence of pension or other income to back up the embassy
letter when using income or a combination of income and bank deposit to
qualify for the retirement visa. Barry said that there was no specific
requirement. However, it is up to the Immigration officer, who may or may
not ask for such documentation. If asked for, they usually want to see a
bank statement showing the receipt of the money or a letter from the pension
Emcee Judith then updated everyone on upcoming events and called on David
Meador in Hawaii Bob’s absence, to conduct the always informative and
sometimes humorous Open Forum where information is shared on living in
Pattaya and Thailand.
Three million baht and climbing
The Charity Club of Pattaya finished hosting their first charity event
for 2009. In January, they hosted their Charity Gala Dinner at The All Season’s
Hotel Pattaya. With the money counted and the accounts being done they saw that
the total raised tipped them over the 3 million baht mark!
March, 2008, members of the Charity Club of Pattaya donated 20 wheelchairs to
the Able the Disabled Foundation, one of the many projects the club has been
helping to support. (PM photo/file)
They are very proud to announce that since the formation of the club in 2004 and
with the help of the Charity Club’s valued friends and supporters the total
raised has now gone over the three million baht mark - 3,353,500 baht to be
2008 was challenging enough, so, 2009 is going to be an even bigger challenge
for Malcolm and Christina, the husband and wife team who run the Charity Club.
Even so, they are prepared to have a go.
Not only do they organise various charity events throughout the year, but they
also organise clothing appeals and arranged parties for Children with HIV/AIDS.
The charities that have also benefited on more than one occasion are; the School
for the Deaf, the Street Kids of Pattaya, Wat Pong School, Free Masons Pattaya
West Winds Lodge Tsunami Appeal and various charities chosen by the Free Masons,
the Camillian Centre in Rayong, scholarships for underprivileged children, the
People and Children of Isaan wheelchair and walking aids appeal, the Mercy
Centre Pattaya who have held Christmas Gift appeals for underprivileged
The Charity Club has also donated to Rotary organisations, built a kindergarten
classroom for the Wat Wang Wa Temple School, donated goods to a local orphanage,
donated to the British Legion Poppy Day appeal, and provided bicycles for
children to attend school who live in remote areas, helping with repairs for
remote schools, helping with repairs to village houses that are in need of help
Their long-term projects are currently in Isaan; these include covering hospital
fees, travel, and accommodation for treatments for a 2-year-old girl who has
fallen into a fire and needs long term burn treatments in Bangkok.
The club also provides special food for children who have problems eating solid
foods. Provides rice and food parcels for the needy in Issan, and is helping
re-build a house that has fall down for a poor family in Isaan.
The Charity Club has already started arranging a programme of events for 2009.
If you would like to receive the Charity Club’s newsletter, which will keep you
up to date with the club’s activities and events contact Christina via e-mail:
Chevron provides help
for disabled students
Representatives of Chevron
to Redemptorist School to be used for computers.
Chevron Offshore (Thailand) Limited donated 642,700 baht to buy computers
for the Redemptorist School for the Disabled on February 4.
Bob Zitsch, Steven Kovacevich, Rattikan Chaiwanich and team went to
Redemptorist School in Pattaya to present the money and were received by
Deputy Mayor Wutisak Rermkitkarn.
Zitsch said Chevron Offshore and Chevron Thailand Exploration and Production
ran a Christmas charity raffle to raise funds for many foundations and this
sum was available to Redemptorist School to support the disabled.
Father Worawut Saraphan, vice-president of the Father Ray Foundation and
school-license proprietor, thanked the company for this kind support of
computer equipment for the school.
It is the fourth time that the school has received support from the company
with donations going to build the Wattanatorn building and accommodation for
the disabled housed there.
Lose fat and reduce global warming, say doctors
The Royal College of Physicians in Thailand (RCPT) is urging people
to “lose weight and reduce global warming” at the same time in its latest
to R) Dr. Amorn Leelaratsame, president of the Technicians for RCPT, Dr.
Somwang Danchaiwichit, president of RCPT, and Dr. Nipon Bangwarin, secretary
of the Technicians for RCPT.
Staff from the RCPT, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Tourism and Sports and
the Naval Medical Department met on January 29 in the Marina Conference Room
at the Ambassador Hotel in Jomtien to plan the campaign.
Three college professors, RCPT president, Dr. Somwang Danchaiwichit, Dr.
Amorn Leelaratsame, president of the Technicians for RCPT and Dr. Nipon
Bangwarin, secretary of the Technicians, helped plan a public participation
day and festivity scheduled for April 25. The event will take place on the
beach at the Ambassador Hotel, and is expected to attract some 2,500 people.
The festivity will encourage people to exercise in the sea. It will also
encourage them to seek out more information to have a better understanding
of the health value of exercise.
Youngsters, the elderly who have osteoarthritis and others will be
encouraged to walk, run and swim for the sake of their health.
According to the World Health Organization, being overweight, and its
extreme cousin obesity are major risk factors for a number of chronic
diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Once considered a problem only in countries with high levels of income,
being overweight is now dramatically on the rise in countries with low and
medium levels of income, particularly in urban settings.
Singha concert will roar
(Seated, center, L to R)
Deputy Mayor Verawat Khakhay, Captain Banpot Kerdpoo and Chollawit Sukhudom
announce the upcoming concert.
Pattaya is bracing itself for the enormous “lion’s heart” Singha concert,
part of Assanee Wasan’s World Tour, on February 21 at the Eastern Region
National Sports Stadium.
The Boonrawd Brewery Company is collaborating with Pattaya City and the
Royal Thai Navy to stage the exciting concert.
Part of the proceeds from the show will be donated to the city and the Navy
for the protection of aquatic natural resources.
Deputy Mayor Verawat Khakhay, Captain Banpot Kerdpoo, deputy chief of Naval
Operations and Chollawit Sukhudom, marketing manager for the Singha
Corporation, gave a press conference for the big event on January 20 at
Pattaya City Hall.
Verawat said that the new stadium, built on more than 200 acres of land,
could seat 40,000 fans.
Police from Huay Yai, Pattaya City, and Banglamung stations will be on duty
with an additional 600 sailors and Sawang Boriboon Thamasathan Rescue teams
stationed at 10 locations.
“The concert will also promote tourism to Pattaya and generate an expected
cash flow of over 100 million baht,” said the deputy mayor.
Chollawit Sukhudom said that the concert would be fully organized in all
aspects, from the stage, lighting and sound, to meet international
Music festival set for March
Pattaya International Music Festival 2009 is all set to go from
March 20 to 22.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has confirmed that the music
festival will have a budget of 30 million baht for two big outdoor stages.
Mayor Verawat Khakhay.
Deputy Mayor Verawat Khakhay held a meeting with Sugree Sithivanich,
director of the Advertising and Strategies Division of TAT, and Nitti
Kongkrut, director of TAT Region 3 on January 29 at Pattaya City Hall.
This is the fifth time for this event. Last year it was not held as a mark
of condolence for the passing of the late HRH Princess Galyani, sister of
His Majesty the King.
Sugree said that the location this year will be on Pattaya Beach which will
be better than two years ago when it was held at an indoor sports stadium in
Soi Chaiyapruek 2. The latter was inconvenient for transportation and did
not directly benefit businesses in the city.
“Therefore we will bring the main stage to the Bali Hai Pier in South
Pattaya. Another stage will be set up at Pattaya Beach between Soi 4 and Soi
6. … A 20 million baht budget from TAT will be used to keep standards at an
international level,” Sugree said.
Verawat said that, after consulting with Mayor Itthipol Khunplome, the event
will be best held in Pattaya to boost the overall economic situation.
There may be another stage located in front of Central Pattaya Center, which
could get a budget of 10 million baht from the Provincial Administration
Organization of Chonburi. However, further discussions are still needed for
Bangkok Hospital Pattaya thanks media
Bangkok Hospital Pattaya (BHP) said “khop khun khrup” to the mass
media by throwing a fun-filled thank-you party on February 5 at the Sud
Thang Rak Restaurant.
Krittavith Lertutsahakul, CEO of the Bangkok Eastern Hospital Group welcomes
guests to the party.
Dr Krittavith Lertutsahakul, CEO of the Bangkok Eastern Hospital Group,
hospital director Dr Pichit Kangwolkij, and Neera Sirisampan, director of
BHP International Marketing and Communications, warmly welcomed members of
the mass media.
There was a warm family atmosphere at the party, helped by the spread of an
unlimited amount of delicious food and drinks and accompanied by music on
Doctors Krittavith and Pichit gave welcoming speeches and offered special
health-care discount rates for all of the media, much to the appreciation of
the journalists who also received souvenirs to take home.
The generous hospital has given a series of four dinners, one after another,
for its customers and patients.
Hospital director, Dr Pichit
the media members for their support during the year.
BHP board members and the mass
media pose for
a group photo at the “Thank You Party 2009.”