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  1. For the expat living in Thailand, the words “hot and rainy” pretty much sum up Thailand weather. However, this is a simplification. In the southern parts it is hot year-round and the northern parts in the Chiang Mai vicinity experience cool temperatures in December and January. By knowing what to expect with the weather in this country, you will be prepared for taking advantage of low tourist seasons and for battling occasional torrential rain and street flooding. Here is a quick look at the weather in this country. Southern Thailand Weather You have your choice in the southern part of Thailand with two options: hot with rain or without. However, the times of these two seasons differ depending on if you are on the east or west coast of the southern peninsula. On the west coast of the southern peninsula, you will find it rains heaviest from April until October. In November, things on the peninsula’s west coast begin to dry up with little or no rainfall. This dry season lasts until March along with cooler temperatures (still hot though). Come March, temperatures begin to rise with April being the hottest month. Also in April, the rainfall begins to increase with September and October as the peak months for it. The east coast of the peninsula is different with regard to rainfall. The most rainfall typically happens between the months of September and December. Rainfall will peak around November and taper off during the months of December and January. Then, just like the west coast, the weather will get drier and hotter with April being the peak month as far as temperatures are concerned. Northern Thailand Weather In the northern part of Thailand, northeastern winds cause cooler and drier conditions between the months of November and February. Then, between March and May, temperatures begin to get hot and peak during the month of April. Rainfall also begins to increase with a sharp spike in May and peaking around August. The higher elevations in this region such as the mountains have been known to drop down to freezing temperatures. Central Thailand Weather Bangkok is the main population center in the central region of Thailand. Pattaya and Koh Chang (Elephant Island) are two other popular getaways in this region. In this region, you will find that the rainy months occur between April and November with the most rainfall occurring from May until the first couple of weeks in November. The two months with the heaviest rainfall are September and October. December through March is typically dry but still hot. However, Bangkok has been known to experience some relatively cooler nighttime temperatures during December and January although not cool enough for a jacket. Seasons to Watch Across the board, April is the hottest month in Thailand. It’s no surprise that April is also the month of Songkhran (Thai New Year, April 13). This is when everyone takes to the streets and celebrates by dousing each other with water either from big buckets or high-capacity water guns. It’s a way to deal with the incredible heat and it’s a celebration that you don’t want to miss. If you live in big cities such as Bangkok, Pattaya, or Chiang Mai, it’s difficult to avoid getting wet as locals indiscriminately soak anyone with water. Another season to watch with regard to Thailand weather is the period between September and November when run-off from the northern regions floods Bangkok and Pattaya as it attempts to reach the Gulf of Thailand. Bangkok has an elaborate canal system but sometimes the Chao Phraya River, which runs through the center of the city, swells and overflows to include the canals or “klongs” as they are called in Thai. 2011 saw extreme flooding with the northern part of the city around the old Don Muang Airport submerged for months. Many development projects are in the works to divert this run-off so that the same disaster will not occur in the future. In summary, you will find that the best time for the expat to invite friends to Thailand will be December, January, and February. These are also the peak tourist seasons and prices tend to be higher however your guests will be able to enjoy sunshine and cool breezes and the best of Thailand weather.
  2. You really need to be careful about your monthly income if your income is that close to 65,000 baht. Make sure you don’t get in trouble with changes in exchange rates. Also familiarize yourself with the need to make sure the deposits are coded as international transfers.
  3. I got my Non-Immigrant O-A from the Thai consulate in Los Angeles. Here is what I did. Filled in the the visa application and additional information form When I had filled in the forms before, I downloaded them as PDFs, so when filling them in this time, much of the information was already there. Made the process much easier and legible. I got my medical certificate before I left Thailand from Bangkok Hospital in Phuket Town. 1800 B for the exam. Bonus, I'm healthy! Got the passport photos from a CVS drug store. SMH, because I had extra ones at home and forgot to bring them with me. $35! Went to a local Social Security office and got an "award letter" indicating my monthly SS payments. I could have downloaded them from the SSA website, but I decided that an actual original form would be better. Go to the office early and it shouldn't take much time at all. Went to my pension plan's office and got income verification letter. Easy peasy. Added the total of the SS and pension monthly amounts. Just barely made the 65,000 Baht minimum. Yay! No dealing with minimum balances in a Thai bank, one of the biggest reasons for getting the O-A in your home country (the other being the ability to extend the visa for almost another year without leaving Thailand). Found a local place that does "Live Scan" verification. CA DoJ has a list of places oag.ca.gov/fingerprints/locations The same kind of place that does notary services. They did the fingerprint scan and submitted it to the State of California DoJ. The guy said it would take 1 (Yay!) to 3 (Boo!) weeks, depending on if I had stuff on my record. A week later, the records came in the mail. The only thing on it was when I got fingerprinted for a job I had at a school 20 years ago. Went back to the notary and got the medical certificate notarized. He said that I might need something called an "apostille" for additional verification, but I thought that the one report would be enough. I figured that I still had another week here and that if I needed one, I could come back. Turns out, I didn't need it (probably because Thailand is not a part of the "1961 Hague Convention"). Made 3 copies (1 original and 2 copies for consulate and one copy for me) of the visa form, additional form, first page of my passport (signed and dated, of course, because Thailand), return flight airline ticket from webpage, pension plan letter, Social Security letter, medical certificate and accompanying notarization, California DoJ criminal record and cover letter. Got a money order for $200, made out to "Royal Thai Consulate". I went to the consulate. Gave them my package and my passport. One person checked through all of my paperwork to make sure that everything was there, another person checked everything again, then started stamping all over the visa app. I assuming that that was the point that the application was approved. He said to come back the next day. The next morning, I went back and retrieved my passport with my new visa. All in all, it was a pretty easy task. I allowed 3 weeks in LA to get this done and still have a week to spare. I hope this info will be helpful If you are, or will be in Southern California and want to get your O-A visa here.
  4. I have found a local company in Bangkok who has a enrolled CPA who understands US expat taxes does the filing for me. Send me a PM and I will be happy to pass on the contact information, The cost of the tax filing depends on how many things need to be reported such as more bank accounts, trades, insurance, investments, company ownerships etc...
  5. Dear fellow expats of Bangkok, I am a happily retired expat living in Bangkok who will soon be reaching 65 years of age. Since I now need expat health insurance to renew my retirement visa for stay in Thailand I was hoping to get some recommendations here from the fellow retired expats of Bangkok. So far I have requested quotes from Regency for Expats, Luma health and Pacific Cross health and Cigna, so far only Cigna and Regency for Expats seem interested in insuring me. Has anyone been insured by one of the local health insurance companies and had any success with claims and help with the docs needed for retirement visa renewal ? I dont want to get signed up to have problems later with my visa when nobody will accept me for a policy when I pass 65+
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