What Happens to Your Kids when You Die?

Don’t take any chances… figure this out now while you can.

I wondered just for a second today, what happens if my wife and I die in Thailand? Where does my daughter go? I’ve been stressed AF since asking myself that two hours ago.

My daughter is brilliant in personality, intelligence, her mindset. She’s capable of doing something big. Given the right circumstances. I can provide those circumstances, and definitely will. But, what if I’m gone? What if my wife is gone? It’s the most horrifying thought ever.

I don’t see anyone in the group of in-laws in Thailand who could take care of my daughter and give her the best opportunities in life. I don’t see any of our friends here, except possibly one couple. I don’t know them well enough, but my wife might. That will be our topic of discussion this evening.

Back in the USA, I can think only of one family that would be perfect for my daughter. My brother’s family. He’s 100% the right one.

How in the hell is he going to get custody of my daughter in Thailand if my wife and I are dead?

We’ll be talking to lawyer(s) this week to get this straightened out.

It’s on my mind because, well, one just never knows.

We all visited my wife’s uncle and aunt in Sisaket a few years ago. Great visit. They were real gems. A week after we got back, they were both dead in a car crash as a drunk guy parked his car in the middle of the main 3-lane road near their house. The car in front of them saw it in time to swerve. They didn’t. The 3 yr old they had custody of went to a sister of the aunt. She’s a drunk. They have very little money and they live in a small village.

There is NO WAY that is happening to my daughter.

Gotta figure this out PRONTO because some stuff just cannot wait.

Anybody know the answer to this? Anyone already ask themselves this question? Are you OK with anyone in the extended family raising your child(ren) if you die?

This is really stressing me out right now!

Thailand Flower Delivery – Flowers Thailand (GoGoFlorist)

Overjoyed with her once in a lifetime (almost) flowers on Valentine’s Day!

That sneaky date rolls around every year and I’m not prepared for it. Why there’s a holiday in the middle of February where people send flowers to their loved ones, when there aren’t even flowers blooming in large parts of the world in February – I can’t guess.

Mark at GogoFlorist.com had my back on this one, and I didn’t even know it.

Weeks or months before, he had sent me a blind query email to see if I might be interested in sending some flowers to someone. It seemed like a good idea, and yet the email was quickly buried under a mess of other more urgent things, as is usually the case.

In the email I got recently, just before Valentine’s Day, Mark reminded me that he’d sent an email earlier that I must have missed or just didn’t have time to respond to. He was right on. But, he said, with Valentines Day just around the corner, maybe I’d reconsider and take advantage of their free flowers for someone I loved.

WOW. Talk about good timing, right? I immediately said yes, and I went to work searching his website for the right flower gift for my wife. Though we’ve been married only a couple years, we’ve been together and basically married for 14 yrs. Valentines Day flowers… this would shock her good!

I’m just one of those guys who doesn’t buy flowers for Valentines Day. Especially when I realized that most people in Thailand barely celebrate the holiday at all. My wife never complained, and early on I did give her flowers a couple of times, but I just got lazy I guess.

Mark from Flowers Thailand to the rescue. Despite a packed schedule, he was able to work my order in and on the morning of Valentines Day as I was driving 300 km to Satun province for a border run for my visa, my wife sent me a HUGE thank you on messenger. I’m sure she was completely blown away. I had ordered the Rose Bouquet from GogoFlorist and she sent me photos of her holding them. Yep, that’s her at the top of the page!

Prompt, courteous, and the flowers were exactly as they were pictured on GogoFlorist.com. I couldn’t have asked for better service or nicer flowers. They have nationwide delivery, and a wide selection of flower packages on their website.

If YOU haven’t sent flowers in Thailand for a long while, maybe you should have a look and see if there’s something that fits your budget. Thai girls don’t receive flowers generally, and you’ll probably blow her mind if you do make this special gesture. Don’t wait until Valentines Day either!!

Vern L.

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?

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 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. At the moment, these Sak Yant Flags are going to have to do for us! We found a bunch of these at the temple and bought some for my wife’s store.

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…


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

Cost of Living – Chiang Mai, Thailand

Can YOU Survive on $500 Per Month Pension in Thailand?

VIDEO I just made at the end of 2017:

A guy I know did a video of him and his wife going through groceries they bought in Thailand to give us an idea of the cost of living. I think it would be helpful for expats considering moving over to Thailand to see what kind of things are available in the markets – and how much they cost. This is in Chiang Mai, where the prices might be higher than a smaller city like Trang, Ubon, or similar city.

Matt moved over from the US with his wife and baby boy. They’re making a run at staying long-term, I wish them luck.


Illegal to have XXX Porn of ANY SORT in Thailand?

Thailand Porn is Illegal

– and there can be harsh penalties for it.

I know a guy who was doing erotic photography in Thailand for years. He knew some people. We were constantly being kept up to date on photographers getting deported from Thailand back to their home country because of shooting porn in Thailand.

I heard a story recently – not sure how it went down exactly, I’ll ask my g/f to get the Thai paper which might explain it in better detail. But, for some reason an English man was arrested for just HAVING some porn on his computer and CD’s. Though I certainly don’t keep anything on my computer, it’s a fact of life that a massive percentage of expats and Thais go to porn websites in Thailand and get off, and do it again tomorrow. Those pics are in your browser cache unless you took steps to ensure they are not.

Anyway, there was a search warrant from the Pattaya Provincial Court… so police raided the guy’s room on Soi Boekeow. They found 300+ pornographic CD’s and some photo albums.

Police suspected this 75-year-old man was selling the images to his friends. Suspected? So, he might not have sold anything at all – and the images were for his own personal (solitary) enjoyment?

What the hell? Sounds shady to me. I’m really hoping that the Thai police had something more than suspecting the guy just had general porn depicting consenting adults. If it was child porn, I’m all for busting his dumb ass and letting him rot forever in a Thai prison. BUT, since there was no mention of anything the guy did wrong other than having porn and that they “suspected” him of selling it… what the hell is that?

This is the kind of thing that gets me scared – I can’t even have some photos on my computer – or in my possession that the Thai police, courts, or other government censors consider to be “porn”?

Chances are we’ve ALL got porn in the cache that our internet browsers store until we clear it. And then, it’s not really gone as you’d have to wipe and re-write over top of the images you deleted until there was no trace of them.

You know what else is scary? The police are already on record of having said they “suspected” the guy of selling the images… so, if they find no evidence of him having sold pornography in Thailand you think they’ll “FIND” some evidence of it anyway to charge him with? Loss of face being what it is… I’d guess that since they went so far as to arrest a UK national over this… and you know what?

You know what else is scary?

If they found 300 CDs of pornographic material – all of it adult and none of it outrageously strange enough that the UK or Americans would call it illegal pornography…. and they’ve arrested the guy… and they know the rest of the world is vehemently against (at least in the statutes) any sort of child pornography. Well, something could happen I guess. A folder planted. Probably not out of the bounds of possibility in Thailand.

I’d not want to be this guy at this point in time – the Thais having just arrested that idiot from Canada on child pederasty and other charges.

I’m all for sending the child pornographers and abusers a strong message – like – we’ll hang you, balls up from a treetop if we find you…

But first, they’d need to find and prosecute a few thousand of their own on the same charges before I’d really believe they gave two shites about the problem.

Update: Jesus man, finally my slow internet connection loaded that page fully and I just saw the photos of the police hauling away this guy’s stash of porn – it wasn’t just a couple photo albums, the guy’s porn collection filled the back of a pickup truck! hahahha! That’s great stuff… just hope for his sake that none of it involves youngsters.

From the Pattaya City News Site:

We joined the Tourist Police as they conducted a raid of room number 95 at the Diana Estate in Soi Boekeow on Tuesday Afternoon on the strength of a search warrant issued by the Pattaya Provincial Court. The room occupant is Mr. Alan Charles Mawson aged 75 from England who was suspected of possessing indecent images. A search of the room took place and officers found photo albums and pornographic CDs. More than 100,000 indecent images and more than 300 pornographic CDs were confiscated and Mr. Marson was placed under arrest and taken to the Tourist Police Station. We understand that Police suspect that Mr. Mawson was selling images to friends; however this is still under investigation. It is also known that he has been collecting these images over many years and other residents were aware of his actions. The British Embassy in Bangkok are monitoring the case and will offer consular services to the suspect if required.

How can you stay safe in Thailand?

You can start by getting Thailand Survival Guide 101.

Thai Black Book.

For a current state of the country – see the ultimate Thailand Guide – Thai Black Book – your guide to staying safe in Thailand.

Thailand FAQ: Thailand’s Most Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t know if I mentioned the Thailand FAQ I did at my main site (Thaipulse.com) but a while back I decided to start pulling together a lot of different resources into one big page of links to help people that were trying to answer some questions about Thailand.

The result so far is here “Thailand FAQ“.

Here’s a special  Thailand Snakes FAQ I just made. Don’t miss my ThailandSnakes.com website that has a lot of information about snakes to avoid in Thailand – there are dozens.

If you have something to add, shoot me an email and tell me about whatever it is and I’ll add it if it fits.



Thailand Snakes Stickers from GoGoPrint

I was offered a free $30 coupon from a company in Bangkok, Thailand called GoGoPrint. I quickly ordered some ThailandSnakes.com stickers and the ordering process was really quite smooth. They have an automatic ordering process that was easy to follow.

They offer all sorts of printing. I just got 100 round stickers of black design on white background. They look good – and came to our house in quickly – much faster than expected.

If you need stickers of any kind – check them out: GoGoPrint.co.th