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  1. Bullishly snapping up a portfolio of million-dollar properties to off-load for large profits in the future can be overstated. William Pinsent is familiar with the big-spending high roller through the success of his own high-end Jomchang project, and sees this end of the market on Phuket as having a finite lifespan. "These properties haven't been bought by people to speculate, and it is not a purely financial investment that anyone makes when they buy a luxury villa here. It's somewhere they're going to have fun in and enjoy. A villa is part of their portfolio of possessions, alongside their cars, yachts and other properties that they own around the world. This means that, even if owners don't find time to use their villa, they're very unlikely to sell, so I don't see a huge number of units coming back on the market." Coupled with the fact that all the prime sites for construction on the west coast have already been bought, the opportunity to join this most exclusive of property clubs is now limited. The construction of Jomchang, which occupies a magnificent and secluded piece of headland south of Kamala, will begin at the end of the year. Only 11 villas are being built on 35 rai (1 rai = 2/5 of an acre = 0.16 of a hectare) of land, ensuring that privacy is one of the key features of the development. This is made possible by the fact that all the buildings fit into the contours of the land and ensures that no one will overlook their neighbours. Each villa is also fully adapted to the existing natural environment of the site. In common with the other successful projects on the island, the developers have found that this environmental awareness is a useful marketing tool to stand alongside high-quality management as a major selling point. With much of the best land now gone, developers are having to think laterally in order to chase different marketplace sectors, which can only be good news for people who don't have US$2-3 million to spend on a property. Developers are either having to look further south, as is the case with the highly successful Katamanda project and the upcoming Baan Kataburi, both in the hills above Kata, or exploit the benefits of a location with high recognition value, as is the case with Laguna Golf Villas that are located on the Banyan Tree Golf Club's lush fairways and include free lifetime golf membership and full access to all the facilities at Laguna Phuket in the purchase price. Also benefiting from a close proximity to Laguna, is Lakewood Hills, the second development from the Lakeshore Villas team, which will feature three, four and five bedroom villas in the 15-32 million baht price range. However, William Pinsent cites numerous customers visiting Phuket Land to look for 5-7 million baht properties and leaving, disappointed at the lack of options on the island. Ironically the problem is that cash is often easier to generate on high-end and mid-range properties than on lower-value ones, which require up-front investment and construction. This gap in the market is occasionally being filled, but a degree of diversification is necessary to marry price, location and quality. A good example of this is found at the Boat Lagoon development currently being undertaken by Andaman Properties. Although her family still own large swathes of land on the Diamond Mile road between Kamala and Patong, managing director Sunata Kolsamon and her partner Rolf Jannson have instead elected to think small and have recently begun construction on a small project at the Boat Lagoon. Offering full Western-standard design and construction, the four spacious townhouses are finished in marble and teak, directly overlook the lagoon and include personal moorings out front. They fall firmly into the 5-7 million baht price bracket and further benefit from offering full access to all the Boat Lagoon's facilities, which include a pool, fitness centre and several restaurants. "We're the first private development within the Lagoon," Rolf Jannson says. "The location may not be close to a beach, but I believe that the quality of the houses and the facilities on offer compensate for that. In this price range it's also possible to build all the houses first, so people can see exactly what they are getting and do not have to buy off-plan." A canny investor may also figure that the project's proximity to the new multi-million dollar marina complex will not do any harm to local property values. Currently displaying probably the most flexible attitude to development on the island (and perhaps pointing to the future for several of the other big players) Asia Island Homes have found success through covering as many angles in the market as possible. The company is responsible for the 40-50 million baht modernist west-coast Samsara development, the 8-10 million baht lakeside Surin Spring, and the beachfront condominium project Baan Chai Nam. The company can now successfully offset the relatively time-consuming process of completing a sale on Samsara against the swifter cash flow being generated by the smaller projects. The lower end of the market is also providing immediate profit for their customers, as managing director Colin McKay explains: "Several of the Surin Spring buyers have bought and resold different properties in the project several times. They've bought a property off-plan and then sold it mid-way through construction for considerable profit. In this market, a completed property is much easier to sell and, as we begin to complete the landscaping, the house values are rising again. Just like anywhere else, a variety of factors affect property values. For example, if you buy in the rainy season and then sell a few months later in the high season, you're more or less guaranteed a decent profit." With Asia Island Homes' first three projects now approaching completion (and four more in advanced stages of development), the company is looking to fuel future growth by floating on the MAI stock exchange for developing companies. It's a bold move, but one that seems in keeping with the new international outlook of the big developers on the island. All the companies benefit from local skills, workforce and financing, but are increasingly bringing in the big guns to help realize their dreams and achieve the highest possible standards. Samsara, for example, is being built by Thai Leighton, a subsidiary of the Australian construction giant. Trisara is using British firm Bovis, and Ayara is utilizing one of the world's leading landscaping firms, Belt Collins Hong Kong Limited, at Ayara Baan Thai Kamala. As long as supply is never again allowed to outstrip demand, as happened in 1997, the Phuket property market is more or less guaranteed future growth. The events of 1997, when developers borrowed heavily against projects that would never be completed, have now been put firmly in the past (though lessons have been learned) by the current cash-driven boom.
  2. The backdrop for the Sheraton Krabi Beach Resort is a perfect as a postcard picture. All around it, spectacular towering cliff formations flank lush forests bursting at the seams with a flora and fauna. Gaze further ahead and these give away to waters teeming and marine life and coral reefs. As the province’s only international deluxe resort on the 500m (1,640 ft) stretch of Klong Muong Beach, the Sheraton Krabi could easily have been a concrete mammoth without consideration for its environment. Thankfully, the 16-hectare (40-acre) property has been delicately and eco-consciously set in one of Asia’s most fascinating ecosystems-the mangrove, reflecting the extreme and ancient beauty that surrounds Krabi. Contemporary Thai architecture featuring pavilions, pounds, motifs, vast spaces and high ceilings is juxtaposed with texture and color. All rooms command views of either Klong Muong Beach or the resort’s impeccable, landscaped gardens. Each is equipped with all the modern amenities a 21st-century guest would expect: space, style, 24-hour room service and internet connection. This is a resort where you can do everything or absolutely nothing at all. Spend all afternoon out on the deck overlooking the infinity-edge pool or ask for a kayak and head up towards Krabi’s stunning coastline. Take an elephant trek, learn to dive, try a yoga class, or just sit back with a cool cocktail at any of the resort’s five bars and restaurants. All offer alfresco eating options, allowing guests to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and stunning views of the Andaman’s pristine waters. Martini’s, in particular, is reputed to serve up the best martini in south Thailand – it’s worth a visit for that alone. Alternatively, hire a bike at sunset and take a ride along the picturesque seashore. The resort’s unrivalled luxury is highlighted by the peaceful Mandara Spa. Blending traditional beauty elixirs with Eastern rejuvenation secrets, the spa offers a long list of life’s little luxuries – massages, scrubs, wraps, steams, facials and exotic soaks. You can choose to have a massage in your room, or better still, poolside, while you absorb the tropical garden setting. Or check into the spa suite and escape for a few hours instead. The suite comes with its own floral bath and seam room.
  3. Having recently undergone a 10-month renovation programme, Swissotel Nai Lert Park Bangkok exudes contemporary elegance. set in a sprawling garden estate in the heart of Bangkok’s central business district, this five-star hotel is plus with graceful interiors that echo beautifully the richness of its luxurious surroundings. Ivory-white doors lead to its new guest rooms and suites that come with bright, airy bathrooms and spacious balconies, overlooking all 3.5 hectares (8.5 acres) of its picturesque gardens. Polished woods in warm reds and dark browns lift the decors sophisticated base of grey, beige and ecru, evoking an air of swish comfort. The centerpiece of each room is a pair of ‘Mamma and Pappa’ armchairs specially designed by acclaimed New York architect Calvin Tsao. These chic ergonomic works of art are representatives of the hotel’s design philosophy that every single decorative item forms an aesthetic, yet functional contrast to the clean, clear lines of the rooms’ furnishings. Indeed, art and comfort are entwined throughout Nai Lert. The hotel’s three wings are comprised of four floors each, all decked out in minimalist lines and focusing on expertly blended colour. Its lobby is dotted with plush mustard and pimento armchairs, softened by shades of biscuit and wood furnishings. It is gere that new guest are welcomed in, receiving their first taste of the famed Swissotel service and oftern admiring the impressive art installations which fame their entrance. Meanwhile, Nai Lert Park’s Garden Wing on the ground floor has been left bare, save for a stunning elevated seating area where amazing bead chairs are suspended from the ceilings and floors, creating a strangely futuristic Zen-like atmosphere. No five-star hotel is complete without outstanding dining concepts to satiate the appetites of its hungriest and most discerning guests. Nai Lert Park caters perfectly with a host of fine restaurants that offer some of the best cuisine in the whole of Bangkok. Iso, located beneath the hotel’s lobby, As it opens up to the opulent garden area, Lso’s large glass frontage allows a flood of natural light to stream through, rendering the shades of emerald and brown from the greenery outside brighter and yet more vibrant. Fusion is the key to ingredients here as Lso, which means ‘equal’ in Greek, serves mouthwatering Western and Pan-Asian dishes. The main attraction for Bangkok city types is the uber cool syn bar, where the chic and stylish come to unwind and enjoy its signature cocktails. Encased cleverly in glass, Syn fuses furniture design from the last three decades with a space-age DJ booth, iconic bubble chairs and clever lighting that melts ethereally from one colour to the next. Suffice to say, hip has never looked this good in Bangkok. Colour and light complement the respective themes, along with good food and drink that delights the tastebuds and wraps the evening in a satisfied glow. Resident Syn DJ’s spin an irresistible blend of chill-out and funk tunes, which conspire with the sparkling fibre-optic carpets to evoke a feeling of floating under a thousand stars. Then again, it could just be the gently blurring effects of one of Bennie’s unique creations like the Bai Tiey Martini, Mangosteen Martini and Tamarind Passon. No wonder the hip parade descend here to sink into Syn’s bubble chairs and sofas all evening long. From 5pm until 9pm during the week, Syn celebrates the end of the workday with 50% off standard drinks and selected cocktails. Meanwhile Thursday night at Syn plat host to Bangkok’s coolest Hospitality evening. ‘Industry Night’ as it is called, boasts the inimitable DJ Pound at the funky decks and 50% off standard drinks and cocktails for happy hours lasting the entire night. Stay active and healthy with the Amrita Fitness Facilities situated within the Nai Lert itself, Ample pathways wind around the extensive gardens so energetic guests can jog in the pleasures of the cool green grounds. Indulge in a spa treatment or two before luxuriating in the sauna or steam room, The options are endless, with squash and tennis courts, aerobics rooms and top-of-the-line fitness equipment. Nearby, Bankok’s exciting shopping and entertainment areas beckon those with a thirst for exploration. Sign up for a sightseeing excursion with the hotel or contact the concierge to put together your own personalised tour of the city. Business travellers will appreciate Nai Lert Park Bankok’s Executive Club services, which feature 24-hour butler service and in-room espresso machines, as well as complimentary breakfast, tea and cocktails at the Executive Club Lounge, With services and amenities like these, its hard to leave.
  4. Before the current ubiquitous concrete houses and tall apartment buildings began appearing in Bangkok several decades ago, Thailand’s capital city was rich with traditional teak homes, complete with ornate Oriental rooftops in beautiful bright colours. Such traditional Thai architecture is hard to find now in the city, much less a historical family home that has retained its original design from generations past. This is precisely what makes the Baan Thai Wellness Retreat so precious. Built more than 60 years ago by M.R. Bongsebrahma, a grandson of Rama IV, this traditional Thai teak house has remained in the family since it was built. In 1965, the family decided to share its heritage with the public by turning Baan Thai into a restaurant, which served fine Thai cuisine while entertaining guest with authentic Thai dance performances. Baan Thai drew celebrities from all over the world including Tiger Woods, Jackie Kennedy and Japanese royalty. Today, Baan Thai has once again been restored through renovations in the original buildings, and the addition of several traditional teak wood houses from Ayutthaya. Instead of offering sumptuous, classic Thai food, however, Baan Thai now offers a taste of old-world Thailand by serving as a luxurious wellness retreat. Though retaining original structures, the homes have been fitted with modern luxuries like exquisitely designed bathrooms and air-conditioning. The decor is a mix of contemporary and traditional, with teakwood furnishings and fine Thai artefacts that once belonged to the family. Now a collection of several houses, Baan Thai boasts private and shared swimming pools, and exclusive tropical gardens. Each house has its own unique character. Baan Dossiriwongse, for example, has a sweeping original roof structure, which affords wonderfully high ceilings. Baan Sombhan features a multi-level interior with ensuite bathrooms fitted with an oversized bathtub and enclosed shower. Baan Wanwaew’s traditional Thai sala is the perfect place to curl up to a good book or enjoy a traditional Thai massage. Indulge in luxurious spa treatments inspired by sister property Phu Chai Sai Resort and Spa. Or enjoy a cooking class. You will wish you could stay forever.
  5. Ko Phi Phi is an archipelago of six tropical islands dropped like pearls in the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea, south of Phuket. Only Ko Phi Phi Don, the largest, is inhabited and it is there that you will find this exclusive resort. Ferries from the mainland put it at Ban Ton Sai, the islands’ only significant settlement, from where it is a short boat ride around the coast to your destination (there are no roads or motorised vehicles on the islands). The resort occupies the entire 800-m (2,625-ft) length of Loh Ba Gao Bay on the east coast of Ko Phi Phi Don. The stunning white sands are effectively the resort’s private beach and one of the country’s very finest. The bungalows and villas lie just back from the shoreline, tucked discreetly away beneath gently swaying coconut palms and ensconced in tropical gardens. Wood and thatch are the predominant building materials in the guest accommodation but these are combined with all the mod cons you would expect, including air conditioning. You can choose between a beach-front bungalow or one of the large open-plan villas on the hillside, which come complete with private infinity pool and outdoor jacuzzi. Sheer limestone cliffs and dense forests are defining features of these tropical islands but they tell only half the story. Beneath the waterline is a whole new world of delights which await your exploration. The islands are surrounding by coral fringing the shallows of the beaches themselves. Afterwards, whats better way to end a day’s diving or snorkelling than with a Thai massage in the resort spa?
  6. The 13th century capital city of Sukothai was renowned for its architectural grace and peaceful populace. Fittingly, its namesake hotel takes its design cues from the ancient city to combine luxury and impeccable service with a rich history and culture. Situated off the bustling Sathorn Road in Bangkok's business district, this five-star hotel spreads over 2.5 hectares (6.2 acres) and features 210 rooms and suites in a enclave of low-rise buildings. Stunning decor and architecture aside, its low-rise buildings are precisely what sets the Sukhothai apart in a city studded with high-rise hotels. A sense of space and light permeates the property, serving as a peaceful counterpoint to the busy city outside. Numerous tranquil water features distinguish the hotel grounds, reflecting the missors the white walls of the main building and pavilions outhouses. Balanced symmetry is the order of The Sukhothai's beautiful design. Long professional halls are lined simply with Sukhothai-style art and sculptures, and flower gardens fill its open-air arcades. If you've ever wondered where the minimalist-Asian tren that has prevaded boutique hotel all over the region took root, you'll only have to look here. In the Sukhothai's rooms, sensual simplicity spills into its decor which prominently features teak and shades of pale jade. Mirrors increase the feeling of space while textural fabrics lend a sumptuous elegance. The height of Sukhothai luxury can be experienced in the spectacular Sukhothai Suite, which features a baby grand piano, a fully-equipped kitchen and a 25sqm bathroom with a silk-covered chaise in the centre of the teakwood floor. It is therefore no surprise to lean that the likes of Ricky Martin and Australia's Prime Minister John Howard have spent more than a night here. The Sukhothai is known as much fore its five-star hospitality as it is fore its excellent dining options. The Celadon is undoubtedly its most highly acclaimed restaurant. Housed in a picturesque sala in the centre of a lake of lotuses, this Thai restaurant is consistently rated one of the best in the city and draws international visitors and savvy locals alike. An extensive wine list, featuring top wines from around the globe, complements its award-winning menu. As befits a hotel of such distinguished stature, The Sukhothai's service is unfailingly warm. With IT butlers to an extensive poilow menu on offer, it's easy to feel at home. Still, if you fancy a little more relaxation, or you are suffering the effects of jet-lag, a visit to the hotel's multi-million dollar spa is a must. Indulge in one of the signature massages with aromatic oils and feel your worries melt away. And when you're ready, the excitement and energy of the buzzing city of Bangkok awaits at your doorstep.
  7. Baan Mandala is a collection of 8 villas situated in Bang Tao, 250 meters away from the crescent sandy beach that is shaded by tall pine trees. Each exclusive and luxurious villa measures 417 sqm. Each one is built with the finest materials, complete with a swim- ming pool and covered terraces, making Baan Mandala one quality project in an area renowned for its opulent private homes. “Mandala” is a motif used to usher in peace and ward off conflicts. It is a symbol representing a spiritual palace where one’s mind ceases to wander, where one finds ultimate respite. It is the developers’ wish to incorporate an additional element of calm into these modern villas by the use of a strong sounding name with positive connotations; hence, the unique representation. Bang Tao is an 8 km long beach appearing almost perfectly symmetrical. At the southern end stands the legendary Amanpuri and the equally impressive Chedi. Within a 250m radius, one finds white sand beaches stretching invitingly along the unspoiled coastline. In the vicinity lies the Laguna area where a group of 5-star hotels is nestled comfortably around an intricate network of water channels. Excellent dining establishments, together with renowned golf courses and world-class spas, add to the convenience and exclusivity of living in this prestigious neighbourhood. This unique development is an embodiment of modern minimalism. Within each villa, every livable space has been designed with emphasis on simplicity conducive for meditation. The large area containing the living room, dining area and open kitchen is airy and bright containing furniture and artwork which is eclectic modernistic in style. Adding to the feeling of loftiness is the visual focus of each villa, which is a row of rectangular glass panes inserted into the wall above the folding doors. As a result, the living areas are infused with light creating a sense of unparalleled spaciousness. In this tropical climate, the swimming pool should undeniably be the centerpiece of every villa. In Baan Mandala, they range from 57.7 sqm to 90 sqm. There is also a Jacuzzi which is accessible directly from the master bedroom, leading to the L-shaped swimming pool that is curved around the house. From anywhere in the house, one’s attention is inevitably drawn to the shimmering rippling blue surface promising immediate relief in the form of a splash. The team responsible for the construction of Swedish and American homes is bringing their accumulated years of expertise into this boutique development. With their experience in sourcing and building, Baan Mandala’s design is one of style and durability.
  8. A good full time or part-time revenue source for expat Americans is teaching English, but we often hear feedback that semi-retired new residents are too old for this job. Is that really true? Or, are senior expats welcomed in teaching? This question has come up recently from a few people that would like to teach English in Thailand but have hit the roadblock of age. Age is something that is impossible to control yourself, and unless one gets hit by a speeding bus, we will all be there sometime (so you young guys should not be so smug). Understand that in Thailand there is not the protectionism found in the US for people of certain groups, including age groups. A job opening can be limited to females (or males) or a certain age or a certain nationality in Thailand. That’s the way it is. Thailand is a great place for retirement, or just escaping the stress of life in America. Many of these newer arrivals from the West into Thailand are in their 50s, 60s and 70s, and many of them want to teach English to supplement their retirement income, integrate into the Thai local community and to have some fun. Kids in Thailand tend to be very polite, non-criminal (like they are in so many cities in America) and very cute. They are also very eager to learn, and especially to learn English. There is a huge demand for native English speaking teachers in Thailand that is not being fully met. Being able to speak English for a Thai adult is a ticket to higher income, and everyone here knows it. Since the demand for native English speaking teachers cannot be met, many from other parts of the world step in to try and fill the demand. Years ago, my step daughter in a government school in Thailand had an English teacher from Kenya, and I would say he could not speak decent English. I couldn’t understand him at all, and he knew virtually nothing about life in America (only what Hollywood has shown him). But this is often the only level available for schools to hire sometimes. The official retirement age for teachers in Thailand (and most other professions as well) is 60 years old, and many schools won’t hire a teacher over the age of 45. So does that close the door to a person of mature age that wants to teach? Not at all if one is flexible and works a little harder for the job than their younger teacher colleagues. Maybe many of the opportunities open to younger English language speakers will not be available, so it will be a bit more of a challenge, but for those with the right upbeat attitude and “can-do” spirit without getting bogged down by negativity from others about things that cannot be changed, it is still “do-able”. Even though much of what is out in the world are roadblocks to life, it is essential to be able to not let this get you down and stop you from finding a way through it. First, however, teachers must meet the qualifications to teach, and this especially true for senior age teachers. That means having a legitimate Bachelor’s degree from a real university or college in any subject and having a teacher’s certificate like a TEFL. Having at least one year’s teaching experience also adds well to these qualifications. It is easier for a good looking American in their 20s to slide through the system with a few things missing in the background, but not for us seniors. It can be done, but it will be harder. Getting a TEFL certificate is relatively easy for a college graduate that is a native English speaker. Four week courses are offered in cities around Thailand, and many will have job placement after completion. I can recommend a good one in Chiang Mai that has a cost of about USD $1400 (42,000 ฿), UniTEFL School. You will be totally prepared at the end of this course to run a classroom and the school is confident that they can find anyone that completes their training a job teaching in Thailand. The school is run by an American. One good bet for a senior aged English teacher is to get out of Bangkok. The best paying jobs are there, and the Bangkok lifestyle is very good for younger teachers, so a senior aged teacher will find fewer jobs available for them. Living “upcountry” is a better lifestyle in any case, and the further out and remote you are, the more you will be appreciated as an teacher. I particularly like the hills of the far north of Thailand around Chiang Rai, where English language speakers are few and far between but in great demand. Your main competition up here as a teacher will be the Christian missionaries that teach people if they will go every Sunday to their church and the English they teach is from or about the Christian Bible (nice, but limiting for those looking for ways to increase their earning power with the language). I do a little teaching volunteer work for a small Technical College (a vocational training center that is an alternative to high school or an academic college). The school is located in the hills southeast of Chiang Rai by about 100km, and a good percentage of the people there are Akha Hill Tribe people. I just volunteer because I am not willing to tie myself down to the requirements of a real “job” (a paying job, that is). But despite my age of 65, the owners of the tech college are practically begging me to teach English regularly for them. I seem to be the only farang (foreigner) that has ever stepped into their school, and I feel very appreciated by the eager students and the Thai teachers. I just do a little amount of teaching there on an infrequent basis because I enjoy it. But I have proven to myself that jobs are definitely out there for seniors that want to go to these more remote areas. Teacher salaries in the remote areas are less than in the big City for sure, but the cost of living and the quality of life (for those that like country life, anyway), makes up for that. Often the schools will provide housing, albeit the accommodations may not be luxurious (which may not be available at all in the area), with perhaps no AC and few amenities. Image is very important in Thailand. If you are a scruffy, sweaty backpacker with untrimmed hair and a few body piercings, you are sending a message — one that is not always well received by Thai people (and school hiring personnel). What is really sad is that schools in the big City often hire that scruffy young backpacker over you in your white shirt and tie and much more life experience. They don’t always make the right choice. A senior aged teacher that wants to get a teaching job in Thailand has to present themselves much better than the typical twenty-something job competitor. That means showing up the job interview in dress slacks, a clean shirt and a conservative tie for guys and for ladies, a skirt at least knee-length and professional looking along with a clean, long-sleeved blouse (preferably white color). And then, once a job is obtained, maintain a higher level of dress and image than the younger teachers. And put on some cologne, be clean and be sharp. Believe it or not, I have run into English teachers in shorts and T-shirts, and a young woman teacher with a tight skirt with Playboy bunnies all over it. One’s age is often overlooked if you can project the right image for the school. Thais adore people that are positive and smile a lot. They like friendly farangs, and don’t like ones that are not. Also being more dependable (like showing up for the appointment on time and to classes on time) is something senior teachers seem to be able to do much better than their younger teaching contemporaries. Believe me, this is noticed. It may be a laid-back country (OK, it is laid-back for sure), but Northern European style punctuality is appreciated. It is also important for a senior teacher to be more flexible — perhaps have two or three part time jobs as opposed to a regular day-to-day gig. Part time teaching jobs are often easier to find, and the younger teachers will always run for the (often false) security of a full time job. That’s one of the advantages of an older teacher: we have more life experiences and are able to adapt easier to the job realities. Because of our age, we have finally realized that the only true security is within ourselves, not what someone else can give us. The younger set will learn this eventually. Work on the weekends? The younger teachers will say absolutely not. The senior teacher probably won’t have a problem with it, and that gives us another advantage. Find a specialty. Not just schools for kids are looking for English teachers, many big companies are looking as well to teach their employees. If you have a heavy background in a particular industry — say, like Banking —- you are able to relate to Bankers and provide them English language lessons geared to their business. That makes you more valuable than an inexperienced younger person. But to find these kinds of jobs may require some gutsy job searching, something an older person is probably more adapt at doing. I have a friend retired in Seim Reap, Cambodia, that is a retired commercial airline pilot that makes a nice living teaching “aviation English” to Thai and Cambodian air crews. Pilots from all countries are required to know English, as that is the language of air control, so my resourceful friend found a lucrative niche that he understands. That is the kind of creativity and flexibility that makes for a very good extra income during retirement. What is really fun for a retiree is to be able to live on your income from teaching and not even touch your retirement income from pensions or social security. Letting it build up and watching it accumulate for some big purchase (or emergency) in the future is very comforting. The best way to keep a job once you have it is to do a good job — better than the other younger teachers. You will be recognized as an asset to the school, and age will no longer be a factor. They won’t want to let you go. It is often not difficult to do better than the younger teachers that are single, holidaying and partying heavily in Thailand. You have to be serious about the teaching responsibility. Don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s not possible to teach at a senior age. Of course it is.
  9. There are a few things you need to keep in mind when you travel Bangkok. Bangkok is a very fast city and there are many tuk-tuks and taxis around. There are also buses and motobikes. So, one of the most important things you need to know is to be careful when crossing the streets. Thai people on motobikes will not stop for you. They will keep going. The object of the game is eye contact. You have to keep eye contact with those oncoming motobike drivers. If you do not then you might just get slammed into. It’s happened to me once or twice so make sure when you cross that you always keep looking in the direction that the traffic is coming towards. Slowly inch your way across the street. Do not hesitate or waver. Keep and stand your ground and they will go around you. Before getting into a tuk-tuk make sure you finalize the price. This will alleviate unwanted issues at the end of the ride. Most tuk-tuk drivers will tell you a price but that is always never the final price. If you are going to MBK which is a huge mall near Sukhumvit Road, and you know the ride is about 10 minutes then you should pay about 100 to 150 baht and no more. A taxi might charge a bit more depending on traffic. If the tuk-tuk drivers says 400 or 300 baht, don’t do it. Not worth it. Turn around and walk away. If he wants the fare then he will tell you ok. Make sure he agrees with the fare. If he does then 9 times out of 10 you won’t have a problem. That’s unless he tries to tell you that he can take you there for an outrageously low price. A price that sounds too good to be true. There is a reason for that. Don’t fall for it. They get you in the ride for 50 baht to go just about anywhere and then they take you to “Their” shopping areas. Some will tell you that they get free gas if they take you to a shopping place. Don’t fall for it. They get paid to bring you to a shopping place and it’s just a scam. Don’t go anywhere you don’t want to go. Be firm and don’t waver. If all else fails and you are in a situation, kindly walk away. You can always take the skytrain or BTS. Cheaper and has air conditioner. Make sure if you are a guy that you keep your wallet in your front pocket. There are pickpockets in Thailand. Now, over the last few years that I have been living here, not one time has that happened. I’m always conscience about it at all times and do keep my wallet in my front pocket. Be aware of your surroundings. Thailand is a safe place but like most countries, it does have its crime. Just be smart. If you have a strong stomach then go ahead with the street food. Recently I did a weekend test and ate nothing but street food. I didn’t have a problem. I had Tom Yum, Pad Thai and numerous types of curries. Not a problem. If it looks scary then don’t eat it. The grilled chicken you see is decent so just look at it. You can tell a lot by looking at your food. Do not smell it. Thai food has some interesting smells and a lot of dishes use fish sauce and oyster sauce. If you have ever smelled these items then you know what I mean. Alone these things are NASTY! But with the other ingredients they are fine. Be smart and travel smart. Don’t get taken for a ride. Got questions, then feel free to ask me. Need places to visit and see, then ask me. I’ve traveled all over Thailand and I know some of the best places to eat as well as the best places to stay on any budget. In closing, one of my favorite places to eat is the Seafood Buffet at the Shangra La hotel that is in Bangkok on the Chayo Praya river. It’s a very nice 5 star hotel but anyone can eat at the buffet. There is a dress code so no shorts and tshirts. The price is about 1500 baht per person and it’s all you can eat. The food is amazing and the service is perfect. You will enjoy this place I can guarantee it.
  10. Set to be one of the finest resorts in the world, the new Six Senses flagship resort, Soneva Kiri is now offering 32 eco-luxury villas for purchase. Six Senses Soneva Kiri is located on stunning Koh Kood Island, in the Gulf of Siam and is easily accessible from Bangkok by Six Sense' private airplane. Set amongst 150-acres of untouched lush tropical rainforest and beaches, the resort offers 32 whole-ownership Private Hotel Residences, occupying a built-up area of up to 1,800sqm, and set on up to 6,250sqm lots to ensure maximum privacy. Purchasers can choose between two to six-bedroom Beach, Hill or Cliff Villas, all offering both seclusion and stunning panoramic views starting at US$2.5 million. As a Private Residence owner, you will also enjoy exclusive benefits, including you own personal butler, and have full access to the resort's unique facilities and amenities including the world-renowned Six Senses Spa and Gallery, planetarium, outdoor movie theatre, tree-top dining, children-only tree house, and zero carbon emission Eco Villa as well as multitude of unique experiences. When not occupying your luxury private Hotel Residence, you may participate in the fully-managed rental program to offset the cost of ownership.
  11. Drive two hours away from Bangkok to the edge of Thailands Khao Yai National Park, and a whole new world emerges. One where wild elephants, tigers and more than 300 exotic species of birds call home where evergreen hills and grassland stretch as far as the eye can see; where the warm season brings a flurry of beautiful butterflies and the cold season breathes an ethereal mist into the lush surroundings. Here at Kirimaya, the urban jungle seems a million miles away from this topical forest, opulent with the touch of natures hand, yet rich with everything that has come to be expected of the most luxurious resorts. Rising more than 400 meters above the sea, the temperatures surrounding Kirimaya are refreshingly lower than in the city, rendering this the perfect spot to enjoy a round of golf or embark on an animal safari. Kirimaya’s exclusive Jack Nicklaus designed 18-hole championship golf course is set within the forest’s natural surrounds and boasts panoramic views of Khao Yai’s magnificent mountains. The course ranges from 4,436m for ladies to an incredible 6,475m for tournaments. A single-track layout means golfers always feel like they are the only players on the course. Watch the local wildlife up close with the experts, traverse the forest’s ancient trails, or gaze at the inky night sky lit with stars like a million Christmas lights. Or if you prefer, head to the exquisite Maya Spa where natural beauty and body therapies await. Savour sumptuous body treatments like the Pure Honey and Herbal Wrap, which envelops guests in healing ingredients blended from a recipe that has spanned generations. Or indulge in a Maya Massage, a fabulously fragrant experience, where essential oils are used in a signature treatment using Thai pressure massage and relaxing kneading. Upon their return from the superb course, golfers can head for the 19th Green, a special spa package tailored to reward the spent golfer. The treatment begins with an Aromatic Steam treatment, followed by an Aromatic Bath and then a Sun Soothing Body Wrap to salve sun-kissed skin. Calmed and relaxed, the treatment continues with a deep-tissue Golfer's Massage, designed to relive soreness and joint pain after a long and rewarding game. Finally, your choice of facial is administered to return a radiant glow to your countenance before you head back to your stylish accommodation for a leisurely snooze. As real and natural as the National Park outside, Kirimaya's rooms and suites are a nod to its ecological concept, Hardwood flooring, bamboo daybeds and, quite arguably the most comfortable mattresses in Thailand, compliment all the exceptional amenities that have won Kirimaya a place in the Conde Nast Traveler 2005 Hot List. Each of its 52 rooms and four suites is tastefully and thoughtfully appointed with local touches and modern accents so the shift from city to luxury jungle life is as seamless as possible. Four fabulous tented villas are the ultimate in forest accommodation, with their own private indoor spa pools and deck areas that offer unobstructed views of the golf course and Khao Yai Mountain. Meals are equally exquisite affairs, enjoyed in the Acala Restaurant, overlooking the lake and the gold course. Taking its form from an open-air northern Thai rice barn, it is the place to enjoy amazing meals by acclaimed Bangkok chef, Somboom Satheerang, Or wander to the resorts golf clubhouse, T-Grill, which also boasts spectacular views. With a fusion of Mexican and safari decor, the restaurant serves as an a la carte grill menu for lunch and dinner. For a long, quiet drink, head to the Mist Bar. Cosy, intimate and drenched in soft light, oversized chairs beckon you to take the weight off your feet, kick back and relax. A specialty of the resort is a collection of lifestyle experiences, cheekily named Kirimaya Sutra. Encouraging discovery of the regions offerings, each unforgettable Kirimaya Sutra encompasses multi-sensory experiences, from vineyards and cuisine, to provincial history and cultural delights. The famous Thai hospitality seems even better in Kirimaya's cool climes, leaving everyone to sport serene, contented smiles.
  12. Graciousness and warmth are the heart of Rayavadee, Krabi’s most luxurious resort and a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. From the moment you step off the resort’s private boat onto the pristine shores of Nam Mao Beach, the resort’s staff will welcome you with the best of Thai hospitality and five-star service combined. This dreamy hideaway is a glorious gem engraved on a small peninsula and flanked by three beaches. Hugging the property os Cape Phra Nang, where the crystal-clear waters of the Andaman Sea encircle soaring limestone cliffs and neighbouring islands. Adjacent to the resort is the verdant Marine National Park, rife with wild monkeys and exotic birdlife. Spread over 11 hectares (26acres) of coconut grove, Rayavadee’s award-winning architecture and tropical landscaping were designed after a Southern Thai village and 98 luxurious two-storey pavilions built as hexagonal-shaped cottages with high-domed roofing. These pavilions are categorised into different groups and offer different features-garden, deluxe, spa and hydro pool. Spa pavilions come with a private garden and a jacuzzi, while Hydro Pool pavilions are built in a walled garden with a fresh water hydro pool, sundeck and barbecue terrace for outdoor dining. Enter any of its rooms and the sweet perfume of jasmine drifts through the air. All its king-sized beds are adorned with earth-toned fabrics and natural materials, while bathtubs are thoughtfully built for two. Guests are never left hungry thanks to a continuous supply of mineral water, coffee, tea, handcraft chocolates and homemade chocolate chip cookies throughout their stay. Still, one cannot live on chocolate alone. The epicurean pleasures at Rayavadee are certainly in a stratosphere of their own. The Raitalay Terrace, located beside the capacious swimming pool and Railway Beach, is well known for its spectacular sunsets. Enjoy a cocktail while you revel in its beauty. Or perhaps enjoy a barbecue by soaring limestone cliffs and sugary sands at The Grotto, on the other side of the island. For more hearty fare, Raya Dining serves an array of Thai and international dishes in an elegant yet casual setting. Otherwise, take a leisurely stroll to the romantic Krua Phranang Restaurant and Bar to savour the intricate flavours of southern Thailand. With famous neighbours such as the gorgeous Koh Phi Phi just a hop away, simply take the resort speedboat and head out. But if you prefer your vacations relaxed, head to Rayavadee’s exquisite spa with will remind you just how far away from the frenzied world you’ve come.
  13. Hmmm, travel Bangkok? What would I do? Where would I go? What would I see? There are so many things to do in Bangkok. So, if you are looking to come to Thailand then make sure you travel Bangkok. Travel Bangkok and you’ll find amazing, colorful and at times senses blowing bizarre things going on. As they say in Thai “Sawat di” which means “Hello”. Welcome to Bangkok where the high rise gracefully cast their shadows up against the Bangkok skyline. Beautiful historic temples dotted throughout the the city alongside beautiful five star hotels. Where you will find beautiful Thai people selling just about anything. Indeed when you travel Bangkok, you are giving your senses a complete thrill. When you travel Bangkok and you will undoubtedly find beautiful floating markets, tuk-tuks, and amazing postcard images from all over Bangkok and Thailand. But to really take in what Bangkok has to offer, you need to travel around Bangkok and see what makes Bangkok Thailand a must for all visitors. By taking in a tour of the city you are asking to have a great time while you travel bangkok. The sites and sounds that you will see will keep you taking for months and months. You may never want to leave when you get here. While you’re in Bangkok, make sure you check out the city’s famous nightlife, take in an exciting kick boxing (Muay Thai). Maybe even take in a cruise on the Chao Phraya River to the setting of a fabulous dinner. You can’t travel Bangkok without getting a world famous Thai massage. Travel Bangkok and you’ll find hundreds of great spas that will treat you like a king. Don’t forget to travel Bangkok and find some of the best shopping markets in the world and try your hand at bargaining the price. This plus a whole lot more is why hundreds of thousands of foreigners travel Bangkok. Do have a great time! Travel Bangkok and see what it all has to offer.
  14. Beginners and professionals will have a good time during a dive in Thailand. Phuket, Krabi, Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngang and Pattaya are the few best diving paradise in Thailand. These dive sites offer very nice, but places a bit more distant region of Trang, the Similan Islands and Surin Islands offer extraordinary diving, with visibility excenllente. It is easy to rent gear and dive boats are at your disposal to go on the diving spots. For experienced divers, it is best to take a boat to the Similan Islands and Surin Islands. The diving in these places are absolutely fantastic, with many types of fish and many types of dives. It contains tombs and caves, you can also go diving drifting. Note that marine parks are better controlled and regulated spar government. Make sure you go in seasons of diving because there are times diving is impossible in some places in Thailand. The Gulf of Thailand is hit by monsoon between November and April , then it is better to go diving in the Andaman Sea during these months. The water temperature is 20 ° C in the north to 29 degrees south. Diving spots in Thailand Sail Rock Located between Koh Tao and Koh Phangan, this spectacular rock formation of the open sea offers dives to 40 meters. The walls of the tombs are covered with sponges, oysters and shellfish, and if you look in the blue you can see the brush benches batfish, barracuda and kingfish National Marine Park of Ang Thong Made famous by the non-equally famous film “The Beach”, this wonderful group of islands boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in Thailand. The sites are renowned for their great varieties of soft corals and their cellars where you can enter. You’ll be amazed by the richness and diversity of the seabed, these sites are also ideal for exploration from the surface with just fins, mask and snorkel. Koh Wao This shallow bay (between 8 and 14 meters) is perfect for divers with little experience and for baptisms. This site represents a fantastic selection of hard and soft corals, with fabulous Acropora table corals and very impressive. You can also admire the range of coral fish in their habitat. Angels, butterflies, groupers, etc … This site is also perfect for fans of palm, mask and snorkel. Hin Yippon Located at the north end of Marine Park, this site deserves a visit. It consists of a rock formation of respectable size that you can go around during the dive. Numerous landslides have become hangouts for huge groupers and porgies not less impressive. You can also admire the basins spongy coral trees that will provide unforgettable photos. The maximum depth is 25 meters with an average depth of 18 meters which makes this place accessible to all, experienced or not. Koh Tao This small island has at least 20 excellent sites. Some dive as Chumphon Pinnacles & South West can be considered: 5 stars. In addition, some sites such as Shark Island, White Rock and Rock Green “runs the gamut of coral, fish and turtles. For beginners and experienced divers Koh Tao is an excellent choice. Koh Nang Yuan Located a stone’s throw from Koh Tao, this small island is made up of three islets linked by a bank of white sand. Here you will find three bays with a reef that slopes gently up to 14 meters making it the ideal place to start diving. You can enjoy a wide variety of corals and fish that have elected domicile parrots, butterflies, Fusillier, clowns, barracuda and Meroux. Shark Island Located south of Koh Tao this twin rock consists of a reef that slopes gently from 4 meters to 20 meters. The main attraction of this site is its great variety of corals and fish. On the eastern side of the rock, the reef is covered with corals that you will inevitably think of brains., Pink anemones and sponges amphora. Among this vegetation you will encounter snapper, angel fish and blue spotted rays. When the season is propitious, whale sharks can be seen as well as turtles and black tip sharks. We can consider this place accessible to all levels. Green Rock Located north of Koh Nang Yuan, this site is famous for the numerous arches and caves in which we can pass. Adrenaline guaranteed. Since the buoy, if you head north into the area from 18 meters you will find the nesting area titan triggerfish. A good season, they can be up to thirty together. They are beautiful creatures, but they can be extremely aggressive during nesting: divers attention.
  15. Sukhumvit Road is best known as the longest road in Bangkok and the world. You can actually travel all the way from Bangkok to the Cambodian border on Sukhumvit Rd. Sukhumvit Road is also considered to be the best known and affluent area in Bangkok due to the post World War II commerical developments and the new Skytrain, which was built in 1999. The new Skytrain (BTS) serves as the easiest method of transport in Sukhumvit, as it connects to popular tourist areas along the entire length of inner city Sukhumvit. If you prefer other means of transport, you can find buses, taxis, tuk-tuks, and even boats. The Saen Saep Express Boat Service is a great option, but can be rugged, running up and down the Saen Saeb canal. However, it can give you nice break from city bustle and serve as cheap floating entertainment. Many see Sukhumvit as the more contemporary side of the city, with five star restaurants, fancy high-rise apartments, and hotels in Bangkok lining the street. On the other hand, you will also find street carts dotted along the corners and the Khlong Toey 24-hour local market, located in the poorest section of Sukhumvit Road. What’s more, thanks to the great mix of culture found in the this area, you will bump into several ethnic neighborhoods. Between Soi 3 – Soi 5, an Arabic atmosphere can be found, with middle-eastern cafes and waterpipes. You will also stumble upon many tranquil Thai kitchens and authentic Indian curry houses scattered up and down Sukhumvit. If you are more of an active traveler, you can easily spend the day in Bangkok learning and watching the national sport of Muay Thai or Thai Boxing. There are numerous Muay Thai schools throughout Bangkok, like Chacrit Muay Thai School, located at Sukhumvit Soi 22. Or, complete your trip to Bangkok by signing up for Thai cooking class at one of the many cooking schools. You can feel the energy of Sukhumvit rising, as travelers and locals alike set out each day to find the best in Bangkok. Start out shopping on the streets of Sukhumvit, as these roadside stalls offer the same selection of souvenirs, jewelry, knock-offs, and pirated movies as the Patpong Night Market, and for a better price. After you get your fill of shopping for the night, stop at one of the many bars and pubs. Travelers and expats congregate to Soi 11 for its wide selection of bars, restaurants, and live music. If you’d rather get your groove on, experience some of the best nightlife in Bangkok at iconic clubs like Levels and Q Bar, as they regularly host international DJs.
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