Phuket or Krabi? Which One Better for VISITORS? EXPATS?

Krabi vs. Phuket - Which is better?
Krabi at a freshwater spring stream near Thalen Bay. Krabi is more spread out, and I think there are more natural things to see and do here versus Phuket.

Choosing Phuket or Krabi is not that difficult for me as an expat, but it’s a question that many ask themselves because the two are close to each other and you’ve probably heard good things about both.

If you’re a visitor or expat and you want to know which one is better – Phuket or Krabi (just click).

 

7 Types of Ants in Your Pants in Thailand

(Page Updated: 29 October 2017)

I woke up last night again with ants forming a trail across my shoulder to get to some Lay’s potato chip remnants that must have been on my shirt and the bed. Seems whenever I watch a movie in bed and have the mandatory 20 baht bag of Lay’s, I wake up with ant bites all over. This has happened four times now and it doesn’t matter how careful I am about eating the chips – the crumbs are still falling somehow.

I am fascinated by the ants. I think it’s because I see humans as the ants of the world. I like watching us to see how we’re dealing with adversity. I watch the ants to see – do they deal with it in the same way or differently? Do they have anything to teach us? So far, the answer is definitely no. But, that doesn’t mean they’re not fascinating to me…

Thais’ ignore the ants. If I wasn’t around, my girlfriend wouldn’t even see them. They don’t bother her. I know this because when we first were dating and she stayed in her own room every time I went to her room there would be parades of ants leading to and from whatever food she had left on her plate on the floor. I watched to see – would she flip out over it like me? Nope. Not a concern at all. If ants aren’t biting her – she could care less what they’re doing. They could take over the apartment and she’d walk around them.

This morning as I got bit by an “Annoying Red Biter” – a smaller one, I realized… there are a lot of different types of ants in Thailand. I know about 7 kinds. I’m sure there are more. Here’s a little about each of the seven I’m aware of so you’ll know… some do damage, some not at all. Some are actually smart!

Sugar Ants or Sweet Ants

These I see at restaurants in the northeast a lot. They are almost microscopic they’re so small. They are a light tan color and no bigger than two heads of a pin. Actually smaller. Hmm, they are small like two periods of a sentence written here. They are very slow and maybe don’t appear to be moving at all they’re so slow. Or, they’re camped out grubbing on some sugar, chocolate, or jelly (jam) of some sort. If you start to kill them they do nothing different that what they were doing before. You can wipe out the entire colony in ten minutes as they keep sending ants right into the bloodbath from the home-base. They haven’t learned that dead ants around them might mean they too might meet the same fate. These are really dumb ants. They are virtually harmless – they don’t bite. At least that’s what the restaurant owner at Choke Dees near Tung C. Muang Park in Ubon told me.

Psycho Black Hyper-Speed Ants

These are psychotic little black ants that are maybe twice the size of the sugar ants described above. They are erratic little cusses that seem to be doing nothing in particular. They run about ‘willy-nilly‘ as my mom and grandmother used to say about us kids when we were little. Willy nilly is running around without any kind of purpose in a random fashion that bugs people. These ants are the same. They run around in short bursts of speed in random directions with no apparent goal. The only time they stop for any length of time is when they’ve come upon a fly or cockroach to eat. They then pool together and drag their food across door thresholds, up and down steps, up walls, etc. It’s so weird to see three ants pulling on one roach antennae like kids doing a tug of war contest. It appears that every ant is pulling a different direction. Sometimes the roach spins in circles until they get coordinated.

These appear to be ridiculously dim ants. If you attempt to squash them they turn into turbo psycho black hyper-speed ants and run in the most bizarre random patterns that your mind cannot duplicate. You cannot guess where they are headed next because their evolution has made them smarter than human beings in this limited area. However, it doesn’t take one long to realize that if you fake like you’re gonna squash one he stops for an instant to decide which way to run from your descending finger. At that point, you can squash him. If you happen to squash one of them all the sudden six will appear from thin air and they’ll all be running these crazy patterns that mess with your mind and make you anxious and frantic like you need to kill them all immediately. If you do succeed in killing those six, twenty more will come. And so on. These ants also don’t understand the elementary fact that dead ants around them means they might also end up dead. Eventually, you’ll kill a hundred or so before ants stop coming to see what’s up.

Geckos love to stand outside the hole in the floor leading to a nest of these dumb ants because they can eat smorgasbord style until they’re full. They just keep coming out and getting eaten, never smartening up.

These ants do not bite but just by virtue of being so fast they can quickly cover your leg and make you nuts because they are running scatterbrained all over you and giving you the creepy crawlies.

Red Devils

This is the ant I find in bed with me in the middle of the night. The only reason I know it’s in bed with me is that it’s biting from the time it feels warm skin beneath it. They bite immediately – like a centipede – for no apparent reason except they think because we’re warm, we are food. These ants are similar to the fire ants of Florida and the rest of the USA – the ones that migrated from South America so many years back. They are reddish brown, thick, and shiny. They have pincers if you look closely at their mouths. They inject a burning poison when they bite that is similar to a centipede’s sting – though on a much smaller scale. These are larger than the Psycho Black Hyper-Speed ants mostly in thickness, but they’re also longer by maybe half a body length.

These ants love food that people like. I think it’s the fat, though they eat just about anything. Chicken, Lay’s chips, banana cupcakes from Tesco… all appear to be favorites. I don’t think they like fruit and veggies. Oh, I’ve seen about a hundred thousand of them cover a nest of chicken eggs – forcing the hen away as they devoured scraps of chicken placenta left from the recent hatchlings. These are the ants that will always be in your garbage if you leave the bag outside for ten minutes.

Their bites hurt initially and then the pain disappears for a few hours. Then, usually at night for some weird reason, the spot they bit will start to itch intensely, driving some people to insanity if they have more than ten bites or so. Usually, small red bumps will form. Later, in a day or so the red bumps will get a white dot on the top – this is, I think, your white blood cells that went in to fight the poison. Eventually, your body wins and the red bumps go away. Some, like me – scratch them off. I have seen some Thai kids with horrible scars all over their legs where I think these ants got them repeatedly and the kids must be allergic to them or something. You’ve likely seen Thai people with horrible bug bite scars on their legs too if you’ve been here any length of time.

These ants are slow moving and fairly smart. If they see friends dying around them they’ll stop sending in others to be slaughtered.

Large Black Biters

These are like the regular black ants you might see in your country. Large, about twice as big as the Red Devil and not moving erratically. They appear to be on a mission of some sort. They don’t attack people at first opportunity like Red Devils but if you start killing them they’ll latch onto your skin and bite. They don’t hurt as much as the Red Devils, but after ten bites or so you’ll get aggravated and exterminate them all. These are fairly smart ants that run and hide when their friends start dying. I don’t see these ants very often.

Large Red 180’s

I call them 180’s because this is what their ant IQ appears to be. I look at the Red Devils as having a 100 IQ – normal in the ant kingdom. They understand death around them means death to themselves and they scat. The Psycho Black Hyper-Speed ants come in at around 80 IQ. The Sugar Ants don’t have an IQ – they are dumb like mud. The Large Black Biters are at 100 also as they demonstrate some basic intelligence regarding fearing death.

Why are these large red ants called 180’s? To me, these are the smartest and coolest ants in Thailand. In fact, these ants rival mice in their intelligence. They can usually be seen outside walking along a fence or tree. They prefer outdoors – as I do. That’s smart to start with. Outdoors is where ants belong – on the ground and climbing trees. I’ve not seen these ants indoors here in Thailand – ever. They understand humans live indoors and don’t want ants living with them. Again, smart.

These ants if you look at them closely have heads and eyes. Yes I know, all ants do. But you can differentiate their heads and eyes. Not only that, but they will LOOK AT YOU and check you out if you get a finger or nose close enough. They’ll stop their marching and look up at you. If they can grab on to your nose they will so don’t get too close. You’ll be able to make eye-contact with these ants, which is a natural sign of intelligence. Isn’t it? I think so. It’s a sign of something. These ants have a personality. At least in my mind, they do.

I like to give these ants tests. I do little experiments with them because I want to see what they do when faced with hardship. If they are marching in a procession across a fence in the back I will throw up a barrier to where they need to go and see how long it takes them to come up with another plan. They are fast. They check things out before walking over or through them. They are cautious about walking through tubes and other things laid in their paths. In the end, they come up with a variety of ways to get around the barrier. They’ll go over it, around it and through it. They are very smart for the ant kingdom.

Large Red 180’s video experiment >

 

If I kill one and watch the rest. They go over to it, verify it’s dead and start telling everyone there was a friend killed over there. The entire march stops and the ants congregate until someone decides the new path to take. They alter the path so nobody else gets whacked. These are SMART ants. They don’t stop unless there is a bloodbath and you kill fifty ants or more. Then they’ll find a new path altogether – far away from the old one.

These ants will bite in self-defense. They are territorial. Meaning… if you play with their nest they will quickly cover your arm with two or three hundred of them and bite you all at once. They don’t hurt much, not even as much as the Annoying Red Biters which are much smaller.

Their nest is the coolest thing about these ants. I have no understanding how they do it as it seems impossible. They like certain leafy trees for their nests. Somehow, and I’ve seen them do it but it still doesn’t make sense, they bend the leaves together into a sort of sphere… but not really round. Let’s say into a pocket sort of. They then seal the ends of the leaves with spit or something that is like glue. When they’re finished there is a pocket of leaves – hollow on the inside. This is where the eggs are stored. The nests are covered on the outside with ants that look at you as you approach. They try to grab onto you so don’t get too close. Inside the nest are developing ant egg larvae. These larvae are edible. In fact, here is a short video of me eating some at a restaurant in Isaan a long time ago. A woman came selling the ant eggs in a bag. I bought 10 baht worth. I mixed them with some soup as I wasn’t sure what I was in for. They weren’t bad. A little acidic flavor is all I can really say about the taste. It wasn’t offensive, but not worth 10 baht a handful either.

Eating Large Red 180’s Eggs in my Soup video >

Thai people collect the nests of these ants since they can sell the eggs for 10 baht a handful. At least to farangs that don’t have a clue how much to pay for them they can. If you’re wondering how these ants get an IQ rating of 180 if they are dumb enough to let humans harvest their eggs for consumption it’s because the scales are different. An ant IQ of 180 means a human IQ of about 50. See? lol. Anyway – these are the coolest ants and if you get a chance stick your face down within a couple inches and watch them watching you watching them.

Annoying Red Biters

These are red ants that are smaller than the Red Devils and that bite, though they don’t hurt near as much as the Red Devils. It’s amazing that an ant of this size can hurt at all but if you try an experiment where you put one on the back of your hand and watch him bite and try not to kill him as he sinks into your skin you’ll have quite an appreciation for the amount of pain this tiny little thing can cause you. Multiply that by ten or a hundred like when you get them on your towel you’re drying off with after a shower – like I have before and you’ll understand why they’re annoying. Get one or two on your privates – like I have – and again, you’ll have a real appreciation, understanding, and some learning will have taken place. You’ll likely never again pick up a towel after a shower without checking for these pests. Guys, try to explain to your spouse or partner that the swollen red bump on your privates was caused by an ant. No fun.

These ants are dumb but not profoundly dumb. I’m assigning them an IQ of 90. They do alter their course if some are killed. They choose a new course, but it’s so close to the old path that the entire population could almost be wiped out. I say almost because these are slow ants that have secret hiding places for their nest. I’ve never seen where a nest is for these ants. They appear to live everywhere and call nowhere home. You can never get rid of all of these ants as they are on the walls, floor, doors, in the beds, on the tables, in the restroom… they are everywhere. They are prolific and hardy because there appears to be no actual nest that you can wipe out. These are ANNOYING because they are always around.

Little Black Bastards

The small black thick ones that bite are the worst you’ll likely encounter in Thailand as they like to come in the house. These ants hurt more than the Red Devils, hence they are called Little Black Bastards. These are about the same size as the Red Devils, but maybe a bit smaller even. They are deep black and shiny. They have a large head and pincers to bite with. They move slowly which is good as they usually can’t cover you before you notice being bit. I’ve not had many encounters with these here in Thailand but I do remember being bitten and wondering – was it that ANT that just bit down on me or a crab? It was seriously much more painful than any other ant I’ve ever been bitten by. These ants are not to be messed with. Kill them and kill them fast. Kill them completely. Kill them until the last one. Kill them until you are satisfied there are none in your house. Just kill them, whatever you do, kill them.

Big Red Hellfires

These are found in the jungle mostly, I’ve not seen any inside homes. These are massive red biting ants that burn more than the Red Devils and hurt more than the Black Bastards. These are ants from Hell. Thai people call them fire ants. I’ve only seen these a couple times out in the wild, but my Thai friend has been bitten by them. They HURT!

Those are the 7 types of ants I know about here in Thailand. Are there more? Probably hundreds more. Thailand is really a great place if you love wildlife. Stop looking at the nightlife and look at the wildlife!

Buying Grey Market Nikon DSLR Equipment in Thailand, Southeast Asia

Here’s my latest video on buying Tech Gear in Thailand or Malaysia – includes online resources:

If you are buying your Nikon cameras and lenses in Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, or anywhere else in the region – you may be buying grey market Nikon items. This goes for other camera manufacturers as well, but since I have Nikon – I’ll write about Nikons.

The warranty you get with grey market items is not valid in the USA, UK, etc. It is only within the same country you bought the Nikon equipment, and, maybe there is only one central location you can send your equipment to get fixed. Maybe there is none.

Grey market items are not always to the same quality as “real” Nikon equipment. Grey market means a dealer bought cameras outside the approved sales channels and likely got a great discount on the equipment. They don’t have to provide technical support, or any support if they don’t want to. With my equipment I got a within Thailand warranty. I bought my latest Nikon from Big Camera at the Big C store.

If you are considering buying Nikons, have a look at the chart below – copied from the Nikon site.

Generally you can tell if the items you bought were grey market by the price you paid for them new. If your price falls under what www.Adorama.com sells them for – you either got grey or refurbished items.

When I’m ready to get my next Nikon camera I’ll likely buy it straight through Adorama and pay the customs fee to bring it to Thailand. Or, maybe there is a chance I will be in the USA and can just pick it up directly.

NIKON

GREY

  • Our products comply with common Japanese standards or regional non-Japanese standards, depending on the region in which the camera was sold.
  • Items may not meet mandatory safety and certification codes, or may not have been handled properly, therefore they may malfunction easily.
  • Full technical service is provided at your local service centre.
  • During the warranty period, any servicing or repairs will be free of charge, provided the camera was bought in the same country as where it was purchased from.

 

Damage caused by owner’s negligence, accident, misuse, do-it-yourself repairs, sand or water is not covered by this warranty.  Please check with the Nikon Authorised Service Facility in your country for any prevailing charges to the service which you require.

  • May not be able to receive full technical support as the warranty is valid only in the country where the camera was purchased from.
  • Certain dealers selling grey items may not be able to provide technical support as well.
  • You will also have to pay to have your camera serviced if it was bought from another country.
  • The manual in the package will be in the preferred language of your region.
  • The manual may not be in the preferred language of your region.
  • The manual is usually a photocopy of the original manual.
  • Users are able to register their product online to download software and firmware upgrades.
  • Owners of grey items may not be able to download online software and firmware upgrades available from the Nikon site, due to incompatible serial numbers.
  • The software CD included in the package will be an INT (International) version.
  • Software upgrade is easier if the initial software installation was an INT (International) version.
  • The software CD included in the package may not be an INT (Inernational) version and as a result, there may be problems involved when wanting to upgrade the software.

Our 6 Million Thai Baht Home in Thailand

Thai traditional wooden house.
I’d be willing to bet, a traditional Thai wooden house is built better than our $200K home we live in now.

We rent. Let me make that perfectly clear. There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell we’d ever buy a home here. I honestly think, after a little internet study, I could BUILD a home better than any I’ve ever seen here.

Here’s the house we currently rent – a real problem, considering it’s expensive, and they have it on the market for 6 million baht. See what kind of housing you can get for 6 million Thai Baht in Thailand:

Ok, I haven’t seen it all, but we must have lived in about 20 homes in Thailand over the last 12 years.

I’d estimate the quality of home building in the country to be around 20% of what it is in America.

I was a real estate agent with Century 21 in Tampa for a short while. During that time I also got certified as a Home Inspector. I’ve seen lots of houses. I’ve inspected many houses in the US. So, I know a little bit about what goes into a decent home construction.

If I could say ONE good thing about Thai home construction (and that’s literally ALL I could say), it’s that they sure know how to put tile floors in.

That’s it. I haven’t seen anything else impressive in 12 yrs. Sure, we haven’t lived in million dollar homes. I’m not comparing that level of construction. But, if I were, I suspect that the same issues would apply with our $200,000 USD home here in Thailand.

Where should I start?

Water leakage. There isn’t a roof in the COUNTRY that repels water 100%. I just haven’t seen it. Sure there’s wind here. Sure there’s heavy rains. Still, come on. Roofs here are like my 30 THB plastic raincoat that leaks water from four places. We have had leaks in every house we rented. If you have a home here, your roof leaks too. I just couldn’t imagine it being any other way. It’s the norm here, and Thais don’t even get too upset about it. In fact, we told our landlord about a year ago that her roof leaked. She came, had a look, judged it to be no big deal, and we haven’t had the maintenance guys here yet. We literally had water dripping out of our recessed light over the kitchen sink. Water dripped straight OUT OF IT, and it wasn’t a big enough problem to fix right away. Just gives you some idea.

Electricity… Every single light switch in this house, and our last twenty, had issues eventually. This house was brand new when we moved in. The switches worked for a while. Now, after just 18 months, they are deteriorating quickly. What happens, at least in some of them, because I saw an electrician clean some out at one of our old places, is that termites get in and chew through the concrete, dropping tiny bits into the electronic switches, and this fouls them up. It’s like someone dropping sand into your engine… eventually it seizes up, right? Same with light switches. Within a couple of years, most won’t work and they all need cleaning or replacing. Why they haven’t made termite proof switch receptacles, I can’t guess.

Light Bulbs Dying. Constantly. We have 32 recessed light bulbs in our ceiling downstairs and 12 outside. A quick check shows just 28 out of 44 lights working. There is no way in the world these lights have seen 10,000 hours of use, so I suspect something wrong with the electrical grid or the wiring here, or something. Is it possible that power fluctuations would pop lights? I think so. So far, my computer has been OK. Probably something to do with that bulbous rectangular doo-dad on the cord that plugs into the wall. Need to ask my electrician buddy Wayne that one. Noted.

Slippery Tiles. Not really a construction issue, but jesus god, when wet, the tiles on any part of your floor will send your feet sliding out from under you and a cracked-tailbone is waiting for you. I used to slip regularly, but now I just walk in my house like I’m on ice-skates, never knowing when exactly I’m going to hit a wet or even damp part of tile that sends me on my ass. To my credit, it has probably been a couple months since I had a good slip. Do be careful.

Structural Integrity? I have no idea. Everything is concrete, so it isn’t likely that could all be dorked up – could it? I haven’t had a house fall in on us yet. I have seen big cracks in concrete on the second floor of our last place, which didn’t seem to grow at all during our two year stay, so I think that’s typical of concrete construction.

Finishing. There isn’t any. It’s just as if kids had a go at it. Really. From far away, it looks OK. If you get close, you’ll be horrified. I’ve seen paint, varnish, putty, silicone gel, concrete, grouting, and everything else (is there anything else?) left sloppily on floors and walls, furniture, windows, etc. It’s an absolute horrorshow.

Anybody have any success stories?

Did I just choose twenty places to live which all sucked, by accident?

Anyone want to redeem Thai home builders?

Thailand Wildlife: Tokay Gecko in Ceiling

The other night I was pouring some water and almost jumped as something crawled out of the ceiling above my head.

Awesome… I was looking at a big 11-inch Tokay Gecko (Gecko gekko) that was partly still inside the hole the rain had made… I asked wifey to video as I attempted to catch it.

I’m Afraid of it Because:

  1. A couple different Thais have told me they bite and don’t let go.
  2. Also, I was told they jump on your face if you’re too close.
  3. The only other lizard that looks like this to me is a Gila Monster and they’re actually venomous – and have decent teeth.
  4. I’ve never seen one close-up because they’re always too high to reach.
  5. I’m used to dealing with snakes with big teeth and his head looks just like a viper.

Anyway, here’s the video and some pictures to follow it.

Big Tokay Gecko in Thailand.

Tokay gecko with mouth open, defending self.

Buddhist Yant Tattoos in Thailand

Yant (Yantra) tattoos in Thailand
I’ve never had the urge to get a tattoo. I’m 51 now and the possibility to get a cool tattoo came up recently when I stumbled on this website that I borrowed this photo from. Buddhist YANT tattoos are tattoos that are done by venerable monks with some artistic aptitude. Some people travel from all over the world to get these tattoos. They are quite unique and pretty cool looking compared to the usual generic stuff that most people have.

Tattoos to me are supposed to be unique. If your design looks like everyone else’s I think it’s the opposite of unique, it makes you a clone that is doing what everyone else is doing.

Take a look at this guy’s back – he’s completely done his whole back. I’d have stopped at one, but he wanted to cover his entire back – and he really did. I have to admit, that while I don’t usually like tattoos at all, this guy’s back looks like a piece of art! I’m starting to think Thai Sak YANT tattoos are cool. Somehow. Maybe.

Unlike other tattoos – these tattoos actually have a purpose other than shocking your students (if you teach). The Buddhist YANT tattoos are unique for each type of spirit they are warding away – or for the type of good luck that you will have. Some are for protection from certain evil spirits. They are said to stop the penetration of weapons through the skin… They are said to make the skin slippery in battle…

Some old Sak Yak masters make the black ink from the sap of a rare tree found in the northeast of Thailand – Isaan, near Cambodia and Laos. Some may even mix SNAKE VENOM into the ink!

Here is a link to the site where I first learned about Sak Yant Tattoos
Here is a gallery of Yant designs

Here is a page of youtube videos to look through if you’re interested in seeing it done: Yant videos

There are 108 sacred Yant designs at this site and an explanation of each. The idea comes from “Animism” which was here in Thailand, Burma, and Cambodia before Buddhism started. Animism has something to do with animals as gods… that’ s as far as I’ve read.

I think a tattoo should be for ME… not for others to see or care about or ask me about. If I get a tattoo it will be for one reason – to keep me mindful of something. What would I want to be mindful of? That’s the question and that would need to be answered before I get a tattoo! I’m not sure what I need to be mindful of though… my son – yes. Giving rather than getting? – yes. seeing reactions before I let them happen – yes.

Maybe one tattoo to remind me of all this? Tough call – and it’s been for a quite a while – hence, no tattoo yet.

Anybody already HAVE one of these Sakyant tattoos? Send in a photo if you have so I can post it here.

American Stabbed Over Disagreement with Cab Fare – Bangkok, Thailand

Before doing anything, watch that video above. That will tell you how to avoid trouble and stay alive longer in Thailand.

Troy Lee Pilkington, a 51 year old California native living in Bangkok and working for Caterpillar corporation in their customer service department was slaughtered today on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok, Thailand over what looks to be a 15 THB taxi fare. In US Dollars, that is about 50 cents. Half of one dollar. In Thailand I frequently buy my daughter a popsicle for 15 THB.

Here’s what I read happened. This is from the online news reports at ThaiVisa.com and links out to other information sources. If you were there or heard conflicting information, let me know what you heard.

Troy was in a Thai cab driver’s cab. The fare seemed to jump from 35 THB to 50 THB, too quickly for Mr. Pilkington to believe the meter was above board. Another scenario is that the fare was 81 THB and the cabbie tried to add another 50 THB on to that, and Mr. Pilkington refused. He told the cabbie to drop him off right there. He and the cabby had a verbal fight about it, and at one point Mr. Pilkington may have thrown water from a waterbottle at the cab driver, or thrown the water bottle itself.

Mr. Pilkington exited the cab at a red light without paying the fare and walked away.

The cab driver chased him with a samurai sword and attacked him from behind. They fought for a very short time and Mr. Pilkington died from his injuries (stabbed).

Thai police say they have the cab driver in custody.

The reason I wanted to write about this today, having not written shit-else here for a long time, is that I just want to remind visitors and expats living in Thailand that Thais explode at a moment’s notice about some things. One of those things is…

MONEY.

Do not for any reason attempt to take justice into your own hands and stiff a Thai person over any amount of money, even fifteen fucking baht. It’s outrageous that two adult men could have such fury over 50 cents USD. I can’t comprehend it. I have been at the other end of what I sensed was a scam before – involving paying for a Thais drink at a bar that I never ordered for him. It was 150 THB. Five dollars USD. I swallowed my pride (sense of being fucked over), paid it and walked away, remembering to never drink or spit near that bar again.

Mr. Pilkington was American. I am too. In the states we have this idea that we are going to set shit straight no matter the cost. What’s right is right, and all else can get lost until we make it right. Was Troy about to get scammed out of fifteen baht? Probably. The meter moves slowly on a cab, it would be easy to see it jump too fast. Especially since Troy was an expat living in Bangkok, he had a good idea how fast the meters go in taxis.

But, it was fifteen baht.

I have seen a number of expats get upset when they were about to be scammed, or when they thought they were. Expats get enraged over a 20 THB fare on a songthaew in my city, versus 15 THB for Thais. Is it fair that we pay more? Doesn’t seem to be. Is 5 THB worth getting yourself worked up over? HELL NO it isn’t.

Though I am horrified at what happened to Mr. Pilkington, I understand that in Thailand, that shit doesn’t fly. Doesn’t fly for 15 THB, and it sure as hell doesn’t fly for a couple of thousand baht. What you are to do in a situation where you’re about to get screwed over, is pay what the Thai(s) say is owed, and then bring the tourist police back to the place and try to get some justice over it later if you care that much.

I’m trying to guess how many baht I’d have to be scammed for before I decided to scream at a Thai and throw water in his face, or hit him in the head. I can’t even conceive of that happening. Not for 100,000 THB, and not for a million. Pay it and live another day.

Sure it sucks. There are many things in Thailand that are not fair. Americans, and the rest of us, have to get over it. You gave up fairness when you arrived at the airport. Just assume that NOTHING is fair here, and go on living day to day as best you can. The key is to go on living.

Many Thais don’t seem to give a fuck about life. Not their own, not yours. If you don’t give one either, then keep trying to set things straight – and see where it gets you. This is one area that you will be a sure loser. Pursuing perceived wrongs is almost never worth it here in Thailand. Learn your lesson, share it with all the expats you know so they aren’t duped too -and move on.

Rest in peace Troy Pilkington. You weren’t the first. You won’t be the last to die in a fight over something ludicrous like 15 THB.

We’re not in America anymore. We’re not in the UK or Australia. Thais play by an entirely different (and fucked, in my opinion) set of rules, but there’s nothing we’re going to do about that.

Don’t scream in a Thais face about any amount of money. Not about jealousy. Not about anything. Either get over it, or set the record straight in public or behind the scenes.

Better luck to the rest of us…

Krabi, Thailand – UK Man and Woman Tourists Viciously Attacked with Knife

Two UK tourists, walking along the beach in Ao Nang, Krabi, Thailand were accosted by a group of youths. The man received multiple stab wounds from a long knife, the worst being a heavy bleeding head wound.

Krabi, Thailand Tourists attacked with knife in Ao Nang (click for story)

If you’re like me, you probably discount some of the Thai on foreigner violence that occurs in the country in areas like Pattaya, Patong Beach, and Bangkok. I am guilty of it. It happens the world over, I just figure if you’re out after midnight in one of those places, the probability for something to happen – violence included, is higher. Much higher than strolling around during the day or early evening hours.

Over eight years in Thailand I’ve started to think more about it. Since having a child, I started to think a hell of a lot more about it.

Krabi has been a real sleeper. I mean, literally. Shops close in downtown Krabi town by 6pm, 7pm, definitely by 9pm nearly everything is closed up except some bars on Chao Fa, and the Thai girly bars.

There have been a number of incidents in Krabi recently – a girl from Denmark raped allegedly by a Thai tour guide. A woman tourist had her thumb cut off by Thais on Chao Fa Road who wanted her purse. These two tourists from the UK are surrounded by multiple Thai guys who assault them, stabbing the guy with a knife over and over before he was able to fight them off. This is all recent news – not over a year. Things like girls being followed in the park by the river during broad daylight hours – by a Thai with his sexual organ out of his pants – happen much more often than the public knows. Shootings, knifings, drugged drinks… how much of it really goes on and isn’t being shouted about in the media? Thailand’s media doesn’t have a reason to shout it.

Your safety in Thailand is NOT guaranteed. Thai style is to push incidents out of the news as soon as possible, so it doesn’t affect incoming tourist numbers. Someone was saying the other day that Thailand will receive 20 million visitors in 2013. I wonder what the true rate of violent attacks on foreigners is in the country. Most incidents are either not reported or not followed up – that’s my guess.

What do you think? Is the entire country of Thailand unsafe? A foreigner had his arm nearly severed by a guy with a machete on a motorbike that followed him and his Thai girlfriend a short while back…

In Surin – of all places.

Is the gulf between what tourists are seen to have, and the abject poverty of a good portion of the Thai population – to blame?

If so, it sure won’t be getting better anytime soon.

I think some Thais in search of easy money are looking at tourists as easy-pickings more than ever. The UK tourists attacked above in Ao Nang will likely file a police report and leave the country. What will happen to the 5 or so guys that brutally attacked them?

Good question.

Unfortunately if they have any ‘connections’ at all – they’ll be free to fuck off some more in the near future. Maybe they’ll be cutting YOUR head the next time they’re fucking off. Maybe your neck?

I think – and I fully believe this, after hours… say 10 PM – being out in Thailand as a foreigner is not safe. You shouldn’t feel safe because it can leave you vulnerable. You shouldn’t do anything that might attract attention to yourself to increase your likelihood of becoming a target, a victim.

I notice that as time goes on, Thailand feels less safe to me. I know partly it is a function of having a new family and having been here long enough to stop overlooking the negatives. I do think that violence against foreigners is becoming more common, and is actually tolerated too well for my liking.

I wish there was some large expat group that could survey members and see what the masses thought. I wish I could find out – have tens of thousands of expats moved away from Thailand for greener grass somewhere else? Cambodia?

Website all about KRABI THAILAND

Best Place to Buy Nikon Camera – Thailand or Malaysia?

Nikon D850 Body for sale in Malaysia and Thailand online, or at stores within days.
Nikon’s new D850 DSLR with over 40MP coming any day now to Thailand and Malaysia. Some people on Ebay and Amazon are selling the body for double what the retail price should be (around 100,000 THB or 10,000 MR). Major selling point for this camera is that its focus sensors match the Nikon D5.

[Last updated: 29 October 2017]

Looking to Buy Nikon Gear in Thailand or Malaysia?

If you’re in Krabi – here’s some second-hand and new Nikon gear at very reasonable prices. Krabi Nikon Gear >

The Nikon D500 and Nikon D850 are very new cameras that many people are looking to buy in 2017 – 2018. Why? These are the top cutting edge cameras from Nikon – one of the top camera manufacturers in the world.

It takes me a LONG time to finally buy tech items especially. I research relentlessly the top products for whatever I’m considering buying. Reason being, I hate to buy the wrong thing. It’s safe to say that besides buying a 1980 MG Convertible on Oahu in 1985, I’ve made no purchases fueled by emotion since.

I had a Nikon D70s digital camera for a while here in Thailand. Can’t remember where I bought it – I think “Big Camera” in the mall in Phuket. I sold it when I needed cash at just a fraction of what I bought it for, and then I bought Sony digital cameras for years. I’ve bought six or seven Sony cameras like the DSC-s90, DSC-h10, DSC-h20, and so on. Some of them I have bought multiples of. The fate they all succumbed to was humidity destroying the system board or the LCD screens. The more expensive cameras – over 10,000 THB – I sent to the Sony service centers in Phuket to see how much it would be for repairs. It was always 7,000 THB or more, which meant it was better in the long run to toss out the broken camera and buy a new one. Those Sony cameras seem to last two to three years in the humidity of Thailand. That is disappointing, and yet I wasn’t all that dissatisfied because I kept buying them. They are amazing cameras… in particular, the DSC-H10 was my favorite. Anyway…

I started looking for Nikon cameras in Phuket and Krabi again. I also looked briefly at Canon. I did have the Canon 550D for a while, during the birth of our daughter, but I didn’t like the images. The light balance was always off. In truth, it could have been the screen was off. I sold it weeks after our daughter was born.

Recently, I looked at the Canon 5d Mark IV, Canon 7D, Canon 1000D, 1100D, 600D. Canon has gone far ahead of Nikon in the digital video functionality of their DSLR’s and I thought for a while I’d be buying a Canon 7D for that reason. I have since quit that idea and will have a separate video camera instead. A DSLR takes great photos but is a big pain for shooting a lot of video. I’d rather have something good for video and a camera that is great at photos. That meant, back to Nikon DSLR’s.

I looked at the D500, D850, D300s, D3, D700, D7000, D5100, and the D3100. Any of them take great photos. Problem is – I wanted something weather proof… meaning – sealed against the elements somewhat. The d7000, D3, and D300s, and D700, were all weather sealed. Of these, the D7000 was the latest model. It got GREAT reviews everywhere, and some like Ken Rockwell, call it the best camera Nikon makes.

Nikon D500 cropped-sensor DSLR Body from Nikon. Available in Malaysia and Thailand.
Nikon D500 Cropped-Sensor DSLR from Nikon is one of the hottest sellers EVER at NIKON. Why? Because they waited about a decade to replace the favorite DSLR – the D700.
Nikon D500 DSLR Camera - back showing screen, controls.
Nikon D500 Body back side, is highly functional, and what many pro-photographers have been craving for years. They’ve even illuminated some of the function buttons on the left side column. NICE.

 

If you’ve bought cameras in Thailand before you know that the prices start at something outrageous – about $100 more than you’ll find the same thing for in America, but, you can’t get the ones in America for less than about $200 more because you’ll be paying customs fees and shipping with insurance. Looked at that way – it makes sense just to pay the price and buy your cameras in Thailand.

However, there is a cheap alternative for new Nikon gear – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I flew over for a visa run from Thailand and found prices for Nikon cameras to be really decent. For example…

Buy a Nikon D7000 at Ampang Park Mall in Kuala Lumpur for just 3,050 Ringgit (body only). I have yet to find a body only selling in Thailand – but I am not close to Bangkok where I’m sure they offer this. Not sure what the price is, but I did try to get one through Big Camera in Phuket and they told me 36,000 THB (~$1,200 USD).

Buy a Nikon D7000 with the kit lens – 18-105mm for just 3,800 RM in KL, Malaysia. In Thailand at Big Camera or “Digital Camera World Wide Image” for 49,000 THB. (Update – prices are MUCH less now, and the cameras are still amazing, despite other higher-end gear on the market.)

Buy a Nikon D3100 body for just 1,600 RM in Kuala Lumpur, or a kit for just 2050 RM. In Thailand, you’ll pay 26,000 THB in Phuket’s Big Camera, and just 20,000 THB in Sisaket at the Big Camera at Big C.

I mentioned in another post that a Nikon store in KLCC in Kuala Lumpur had the newest – unreleased – Nikon AW100 already – and had 4 of them for sale. I grabbed one of the camouflage style AW100’s and love it. These cameras are not supposed to be released for another week past the date they had them in stock at the store.

Kuala Lumpur is a great place to buy electronics. The guy at the Nikon store told me that some tourists travel from Singapore and buy cameras in Kuala Lumpur, as they save on taxes. Everything tech is duty-free in Kuala Lumpur. They don’t charge tax at all. Amazing, right?

If you’re going to buy a few items – it makes sense to travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to get them. Thailand is very expensive for electronics like DSLR cameras. Big Camera is outrageous – and they don’t seem to drop the prices much. The same price for 1.5 years on the Nikon D7000 – as I remember.

I made contact with 2 shops that I trust in Kuala Lumpur… meaning, I trust them enough to send them cash through bank to bank transfer – and they send me the cameras. If you are in the market for big money items – either travel to KL or find a place you trust enough to send them to TH for you.

Hope this helps someone in the same boat. I have a bunch of Nikon Gear I’m selling now. I’ll screenshot the page below, and then if you click the picture, you’ll see the actual page and info. Cheers!

Nikon cameras, microphones, and lenses on sale from Krabi, Thailand at a second-hand store. Some new tech equipment also.
Check out this Nikon tech in excellent shape. Big discount on second-hand gear.