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  1. There is no norm. Benefits range from absolutely none and crap pay to extravagant overkill packages with luxurious "hardship" packages. Depends on your experience, level of employment, perceived value to company and business etc... You probably need to elaborate on what you do and how you came about this position. is it an expat position, local position? Local positions are just that, normal local compensation for the work you do so very likely no other major benefits.
  2. There are a lot of needs for distressed people in Thailand, and even more in surrounding countries, so consequently there is a huge need for non-profit charitable foundations to do some worthwhile work here. And if you can appreciate some of the tenants of Buddhism, it is also good Karma. It is sad that it is not simply a task of identifying a need and then doing something about it; there are so many legal hurdles that must be jumped before a charitable foundation can open its doors for business. First let me make a qualifier: I am not an attorney or even any kind of high authority on establishing a charitable organization, but I will relate what I have learned from my own experience. I have looked carefully at the idea of establishing an organization to do good works in Thailand and what it takes to do it. I welcome any recommendations, comments, criticisms or disagreements from any one that has had some experience in this area. Please share your information in the comments at the end of this article. If one were to start up a Thailand based Foundation, it must be understood that the framework is designed to have Thai people running the operation. Any foundation will have two groups of people: Directors and Employees (which can be paid or volunteer workers). A huge degree of scrutiny is done on the directors of the foundation, and it is extremely difficult to have a Thai Foundation with foreign directors (and you must have at least one of the directors be a Thai). Theremust be four directors, and background, credit, and character are carefully checked. I have been told that once the foundation is established, it is relatively easy to change directors, and foreign directors can be introduced. In addition, a Thai foundation must have capital. There must be a bank account established with 200,000 Baht (about USD $6667) on deposit, and this amount must be maintained in the account forever. You must have a lot of bureaucratic material ready like a mission statement, directors meetings, location information and tons more. The amount of paperwork is frankly staggering. And to make it through the maze of Thailand’s ministries and regulators, you must be prepared (as in most business dealings in Thailand) to “grease the wheels” of progress through the bureaucracy. So I am going to give the best advice in the world to anyone attempting this that does not have the masochistic wish for great punishment and an unlimited amount of time to get this job done: hire a good Thai attorney to do this project for you. Your lawyer will still run into the same obstacles and setbacks in establishing your foundation that you did, but at least their legal experience enables them to correctly interpret what is needed and cut to the chase to get the right permissions from the right offices. So here is my simple checklist for establishing a Thai Charitable Foundation: Have a goodly amount of money. I would suggest that at least USD $10,000 is needed for the foundation deposit and the startup expenses. Have relationships with trusted Thai people that can be set up as the directors of the foundation (this can be much harder than it sounds). Hire a trusted, good Thai attorney to do all the paperwork. Have an enormous amount of patience. Have all the operational ducks in the water: mission statement, clear understanding of what will be done, a strong need, office and people (paid and volunteer) that will get the job done, and a source for donations, As a Thai foundation, it cannot be set up to simply benefit those establishing the foundation — the benefits have to be directed to the aim of the charitable work. An Expat can become a paid employee of the foundation, as long as they meet the requirements for a work permit (such as having 4 Thai employees for every foreign employee, and having the foreigner earn a minimum of 50,000 Baht per month). In addition, any profit (income minus expenses) the foundation earns is taxable (albeit at a lower rate of 1%). Having a Foreign Charity (like American) do work in Thailand No question about it, it is a daunting task to establish a Thai Charitable Foundation from scratch, and you may want to look at alternatives. The obvious one is to establish the non-profit charitable organization elsewhere — like in the US (where perhaps most of the donations will originate from in any case). And, in fact, if donations are to be solicited in the US, the non-profit (501C IRS) must be established in the US in any case. But here is the kicker: foreign non-profits must get approval from the Thai government before doing business in Thailand. A church or special needs NGO cannot legally simply start doing good work in Thailand without getting permission to operate. Fortunately, it is less of a hassle than starting a Thai foundation from scratch, but there is some scrutiny of those running the charity and what they are doing. Plus a foreign NGO operating in Thailand must report back to the Thai Ministry of the Interior every six months. Again, I will strongly recommend that any NGO that wants to do this should hire a Thai lawyer to take care of this end. A word about Thai attorneys: they are not an enormous expense like a lawyer in the US, and I honestly believe that Thai attorneys are more business-like and trustworthy than their American counterparts (but that is a pretty low standard to exceed). Whenever we think of attorneys in the US, we think of many thousands of dollars, maybe getting well past the average American wage in a month or so (I actually get very nervous in the US even thinking about hiring an attorney). In Thailand, it is a lot less stressful, and we think in hundreds of dollars when hiring a legal office, plus there are plenty of Thai attorneys that have English speaking staff. So you can relax a little on this point. Establishing a Charitable Organization in the US that can work outside of the country Like so much activity in America, the rules for setting up a charity are pretty much set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). But if you also do work outside of the US, you will also have to be involved with rules from other agencies, like Homeland Security. Setting up an American 501-C non-profit organization (complying with this allows solicitation for donations) is not all that difficult, and plenty of people do it without hiring an expensive attorney. There are many of do-it-yourself manuals, websites and community college classes that will walk you through the whole procedure. I won’t go into the details of this as it is covered in great length all over the internet. But there are some special points if the US charity is involved in work outside of the country: First, the IRS will not allow a domestic US charity to be simply a “money conduit” to a foreign organization. The activities in Thailand (or any other foreign country) will be examined under the same scrutiny as charitable work done in the US. You cannot have a charity to put in a new addition to your house in Thailand — the work must be for the benefit of others in a worthwhile cause. And there will be annual non-profit reporting requirements just like a charity organization done totally within the US. So while it may be a bit more difficult for the IRS to oversee where the money is going in the foreign country, they will make a strong effort to oversee exactly what is done. This is an area that is perceived to be easily abused by unscrupulous charities, but understand that the IRS is well aware of that and will give extra attention to charitable funds heading overseas. There must be a detailed accounting of the charity’s expenditures, no matter where it is in the world. Second point, even if the charitable work is done entirely in Thailand or another overseas location, there must be some sort of location in the US — with directors — in order to qualify for the 501-C status. And third, are the compliance requirements of OFAC – the Office of Foreign Asset Control, administered by the Treasury Department. OFAC enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security against targeted countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (excluding the CIA, of course), and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the US. OFAC acts under Presidential national emergency powers and sometimes specific legislation, to impose controls on transactions and freeze assets. So you probably cannot do much charity work in Iran or North Korea. OFAC determines where you can and cannot go and who you can and cannot deal with, regardless of the intentions of the donors. So up to just recently, only a limited amount of support was allowed in Myanmar (Burma) even though there were great needs and good causes. Military objectives come first over charity. The details in this blog posting barely scratch the surface in everything that must be dealt with in establishing a charitable organization in Thailand, but will hopefully serve as a general guide of what needs to be done. Please share any personal experiences you may have had or information you know in the comments below. And if anyone has any specific questions on this subject, we will do our best to answer them.
  3. In Thailand, the power of the amulet is still very much alive. An amulet is a mystical item that is usually worn around a person’s neck that because of some religious ritual possesses powers to protect or give good luck to the person wearing it. We have all seen pictures of old European Kings wearing emerald and ruby amulets that had purported power, and many old tales about how the wearer was protected. It was also a part of ancient Roman, Egyptian, Hebrew, Babylonian, Greek, Aztec, Mayan, Navajo and so many other great cultures that built the world we exist in today. Almost every ancient culture. In the West, we have tossed the idea about the power of amulets aside as just another old superstition or myth of something imaginary. Maybe we need to be open to this concept once again. Maybe there is something behind all this. You see them around the necks of many, maybe most, Thai people, hanging off the rear view mirror of Taxis and Tuk-Tuks, these beautiful tiny artworks showing the likeness of the Buddha, of Monks or some special spiritual being. It is seen in all levels of Thai society, in the top level boardrooms and lowly construction worker. These are Thai Amulets and they provide their wearers with protection against a multitude of possible harms, or often provide good luck in particular situations. These miniature artworks are also a doorway into the history and religious culture of the Thai people. Symbolic amulets have been worn by Thais for centuries, and today even the most educated and modern Thai people will have a collection of them. The Thai Army gives amulets to soldiers that must face dangerous situations. Thai Amulets are very much part of Thailand and are related to Buddhism, but the Buddha never wore amulets and instructed his followers to not pay any attention to them. The religion of Thailand is Buddhism, but it is also historically interwoven in Hinduism, animist traditions and ancient superstitions, practices of which you often see involving Thai monks in Thai Temples. The Thai Amulet Marketplace Modern Thais protect themselves with amulets by collecting, wearing, carrying or keeping them in an important place of their home. They are magical symbols connecting them to the spiritual world. It has alsodeveloped into a huge underground and above ground market, often engaged in by monks, with fortunes made by professional collectors. There are amulet shops in big market areas, and tables outside of temples with many available amulets for sale, while the mostvaluable are usually sold on a one-on-one basis from expensive collections one-on-one, often with a monk involved. There are several websites on the internet that provide just a little glimpse into the Thai Amulet market world. There are some sites just used by collectors to show their collections. Someone needing the power of a special Thai Amulet can actually rent an amulet for a specific period of time. Renting gives the wearer time to determine if the magic from the amulet is actually working for him or not. Often these rented Amulets are ancient pieces held by monks at temples and have almost an incalculable high financial value. One of the factors of the value of an amulet is the materials it is made with. The pieces come in all styles and shapes, made of metal, wood, bone, stone or plaster, and can include sacred ash from incense, a monks cremated ashes, colored dust from a temple’s bricks, human hair or other material. I have even seen an Amulet made of a small square from the bed linen of great lover with a tiny painting showing intercourse with stick figures that was blessed by a great lover to provide the wearer with a better sex life. Some of the materials, such as gold or silver or emerald may be valuable. Some will have a diamond or ruby embedded in the back of the amulet. Many are simple copper or a much cheaper metal. The Amulets are usually produced at a temple and a specific quantity is made available, making the available pieces have an increased value, much like a lithograph print of a painted artwork is often limited and numbered. It may take several weeks of blessings for an amulet to be properly prepared. The Amulet sometimes has a number so that authenticity can be determined, and usually the total production number of the amulet is known by the seller and is limited. Then there is the value in artwork, the carving of the material. Real craftsmanship is built into many Amulets, with intricate hand carving or chiseling. Many Buddha reproductions will have a blank face. Some will have intricate Hindu symbols, and some will be small finely carved reproductions of a man’s penis (to be worn by a man in order to enhance the effectiveness of sexual activity). Some amulets are more valuable because they are quite old — historical and antique — dating back to the “Ayutthaya period” of Thai history (Ayutthaya was the capital city of Siam from 1351 to 1767), and many more since that time. Amulets are still being produced and blessed with mystical powers to this very day The biggest value in an Amulet is the spiritual and strength of power. For believers, an amulet can provide good luck, true love, a better sex life, cash, or relief from a personal problem. For many, these powers are the true value of an Amulet. In order to protect the Amulet and allow the user of them to transport or wear the Amulet, they are usually encased in a metal frame case (usually gold or silver plated) with an acrylic window around the actual Amulet. Sometimes the window will be made with crystal. When you visit a quality Amulet shop, you will see the serious buyers studying a piece they are considering with a magnifying glass, jotting down notes into their little notebooks and questioning the seller. At home, these serious buyers are likely to have volumes of books detailing the history and powers of Amulets, and they will be studied carefully to determine a true market value for any particular piece. As much as a European art dealer today may study a classical painting, the Thai amulet buyer will know what is behind this small piece of art, when it was made, by whom and what powers it possesses. Unlike the buyer of a painting from medieval Europe, the Thai Amulet buyer will also incorporate a mystical value in determining the worth of any piece. In a typical good Amulet shop in Bangkok you are likely to see publicly displayed Amulets for as little 100Baht up to perhaps 5-6000Baht. The more expensive Amulets would be available with a private showing. A very rare amulet can have a market value of a million or more Baht, some worth several million. I do get a chuckle when I read from many amulet merchants that they give a money back guarantee if the amulet does not work. That is a difficult thing to gauge. I guess if you died, it would prove the amulet didn’t protect you and you could go and collect on the guarantee. If you lived, you might attribute it to healthy eating habits, but you cannot really collect on the guarantee as if it is not working. I wonder how all those guarantees work and if anyone has ever collected on them. Even the cheapest amulet can have protective power if it was blessed correctly and is maintained by the wearer, but in the night markets often frequented by foreign tourists there may be very cheap amulets that are reproductions of other valuable ones and are made from molded plastic or other simple materials. These are usually not blessed by monks in a temple at all and in Thai thinking are worthless. If you purchase a Thai amulet in the US, or in a simple amulet shop in Hong Kong, Indonesia or Malaysia and it is low cost (sometimes not at a low cost), it is likely a reproduction and mass produced. Many of these are sold in Thailand for the equivalent of about a dollar US, then sold elsewhere for a markup of 10 times which still makes them very cheap in the West. As an expat living in Thailand gains Thai friends or family, they are likely to be given an amulet from the family patriarch that may have been passed along a few generations. These are truly the most valuable amulets with a personal connection to others. I now have a collection of three Thai amulets acquired this way. I do not wear them every day (actually I seldom wear them because they seem quite bulky as they beat my chest as I move around), but I keep them in a good place in my home and treat them reverently. So far, they have worked for me. The Rules for Wearing an Amulet When you receive an Amulet from a monk, he is considered your Ajarn (teacher) and will give you rules about wearing the amulet. For sure your ajarn will tell you to keep the amulet off the floor and away from the feet, the lower parts of existence. And the amulet should be taken off during sexual intercourse or if you venture into any lowly or improper place (like a brothel). When taking the amulet off, you should put your hands together and say thanks to the Lord Buddha and put your Amulet on a high shelf, above head level, in a clean place. When putting on the amulet, you should pay respect to Buddha and the monk that created the image on the amulet. Hold the amulet between your palms in a praying gesture. Your amulet should be treated as a holy relic. There are some that say if you have several amulets, you must wear an odd number of them (like 3 amulets or 5 amulets) because an even number may conflict with the powers of each other. If the wearer of an amulet is saved from a major disaster — perhaps their life has been saved from a major accident — then they should return the amulet to the temple it originated from. The amulet, though there has been a cost in obtaining it, is never an item that one can totally possess.
  4. Now that is funny. My 7 year old cousin asked me yesterday what a tuk-tuk was and I about fell over laughing. It was the funniest thing for a little kid to be asking me that. Not so much the word but how she said it. She said it more like Tik-Tik. Ahhh, the lovely Tuk-Tuk. For those of you that don’t know what a tuk-tuk is, it’s that 3 wheel joy they call a taxi. They are all over Thailand and if you travel Thailand, you’ve probably been in one, or two. They are fun the first couple times but they start to annoy you after a while. With all the sucking in of Bangkok smog and the aggressive “100 baht anywhere” ride. Tuk-Tuks get their name from the sound the engine makes while idling at stop signs or red lights. To me they sound nothing like that but that is how they got there name. These things will weave in and out of traffic and down right scare the crap out of you. Tuk-tuk these days are good for about one or two rides unless you are in Patong Beach down in Phuket. They are good and reliable ways of getting from point A to point B. All the Tuk-Tuks that I get into down in Patong are not trying to scam me. Not like their Bangkok counterparts that want to take me shopping claiming that they get free gas. Nope, not true. They get money. So, don’t fall for the Tuk-Tuk scam in Bangkok. Always agree on where you are going before you get into a Tuk-Tuk or a taxi. Try taking the Skytrain BTS or the regular taxi.
  5. Now this is funny. Lately, when I talk to my friends and family back home about going to get a massage, they always laugh at me. The mere word “Massage” conjures up behind the back giggles and raised eyebrows but seriously people. Have you ever had a really “Good” Thai massage? You can’t travel Thailand without one! If you travel down Sukhumvit road going towards the river you can turn left (Sai) on Soi 19. This is where Robinsons is on the left. Travel about 65 yards and you’ll come across the best foot massage in town. The name alone will draw your attention. It’s on the right side of the street directly across from Robinsons side entrance. There are usually some pretty Thai girls sitting outside yelling at the farangs “You want massage?”. So, it’s hard NOT to notice it. The first thought that comes to peoples minds is that it’s more of an adult establishment but it’s quite the opposite. It’s a really nice foot massage parlor. Now, can you get the other? I don’t know. I’ve never been there at night and not one of the Thai girls even asked me about anything other than a Thai massage. Now this is a great massage. Not only do they give your feet the kung fu works but they massage your back and your neck and your head and your hands all at the same time. It’s a freaking smorgusborg of reliefs for your body. I prefer these to the lay down massages because I will fall asleep during a regular Thai massage. Literally, I will fall asleep snoring and all. There is also a nice foot massage place in Patong beach, Phuket. Not sure what the name of it is but it’s on the strip right next to the Beach Resortel on the water. You see the Thai girls all with Yellow T-shirts on. Big windows and lots of chairs. Good foot massage. Anyway, you can’t be in Thailand unless you get a real Thai massage. Not one like some of you may be laughing about now but a real one. Me massage feet long time!
  6. Holy crap, are you serious? OK, yes I’m serious. I ate Thai food from the street all this weekend. I know that I’ve posted before about not eating for you can run into serious problems with your tummy but I have to let you know that all weekend long, not one meal was from a pub or restaurant. Yep, street food. Now I’m usually at McDonalds a few times during the month because I just need some reliable quick food but I decided that I was going to venture out and really do some damage to my tummy and I was slightly shocked when it all stayed down and digested properly! HAHA On Friday, I started out with some grilled chicken on a stick. Some call it Satay, I just call it grilled chicken. I see my mototaxi guy eating this all the time and I’ve asked him if it’s safe to eat and not surprising he said it was fine. So, I tried it. I was checking out the grill the whole time wondering if the vendor had ever cleaned it. That was clearly a huge NO! Anyway, it was pretty good. I can usually start to tell if something is going to go bad in my tummy for I start to gear a gurgling sound. This is a sure fire way to know that I’m about to be asking people for Hong Nom, which means toilet. But no gurgling and no need for the nom. On, Saturday morning, I decided to hit a noodle stall. I had some weird looking red curry. Not only was my mouth on fire for like an hour after, the taste was absolutely disgusting. I will never hit that stall again. But, to my surprise, it stayed down. That afternoon I hit a Tom Yum stall. That was OK too. Although what appeared to be chicken was pork. I’m sure the way it was cooked would have most farangs wondering about it. Either way, it stayed down. Saturday night, I went to a club down on Sukhumvit road and while at the club, I had, what appeared to be a very large hot dog. Now most Americans would think this was a hot dog but honestly, I have no idea what it was. Some type of sausage on a big piece of bread. Now, 20 minutes after that went down, the gurgling started. Now to my delight, that went away. Not sure if my tummy has acclimated to the food or if it was just a way for my tummy to let me know to slow down on the Thai food from the street. Sunday was a good day as well. Not too much of a problem. Had some chicken and rice to give my tummy a break from the shocking street food this weekend. Either way, I was prepared. I had tums in my pocket ready to go. So, in the end, things faired pretty well. I don’t recommend eating street food all the time. I do have some friends that have gotten some pretty bad stomach problems but I think every once in a while you need to venture out and act like a local…
  7. I think it is best to start off by addressing the biggest elephant in the room. Thailand has some really really pretty girls. Now, this is not another case of an in-group bias where I’m praising my own people and culture, for a decade there has been a trend of cases where people traveled halfway across the world to look for a romantic partner in Thailand. Whether it’s because they are exotic, funny or understanding, there is a reason why travelers want Thai girlfriends. The problem is this leads to a growth of a huge Thai dating industry where many foreigners got cheated or scammed, leading to horrible marriages and financial devastation. Now these problems could be prevented at the very early stage, only if you know the best ways to finding and dating Thai girls, it may save you a heartbreak or two. Where to find Thai Girls Biggest mistakes most people make in Thailand is that they fall prey to the tourist traps in Bangkok. It’s important to know that these are the places Thai people never venture to. If you want to be dating Thai girls for a long term relationship, or finding life partners. A Gogo bar should be a place to avoid. The Places to look So the question remains. Where do you look for Thai women? When it comes to dating Thai girls, look for other places besides the obvious choices (such as all the party / night life venues). Thai people are most often friendly and easily approachable, which means finding and dating Thai girls are a lot easier than you make it out to be. Ask yourself, if you are a smart, capable, working, intelligent Thai women, where would you be hanging out? The thoughts of striking up conversations in public parks, shopping malls eg. Siam Paragon and bookstore may bring anxiety to some, but it will bring you the best results. The quality of potential romantic partners you meet during the day will quite often exceed those you meet at night. So next time you see a pretty Thai lady, go say “sawasdee krub”. Go Mobile A lot of Thais are tech/mobile savvy. So if talking to Thai girls in broad daylight scare the life out of you, it is socially acceptable to go ahead and download dating apps such as Beetalk and Tinder. Now apps like these will bring you a mixed bag of results including subsequent scams and potential ladyboys (not that there is anything wrong with ladyboys), so I recommend you swipe right at your own discretion. However, the best part is that you will have a wide selection of dating partners, plus you don’t even have to utter a word. Aside from dating apps, Thai people also use Facebook messages and Line very religiously. Instant messages are big in Thai culture and thai people are very responsive to texting. What not to do? The thing about dating Thai girls, (or any girls who’s language you don’t speak) is that us guys often communicate the wrong message. Whether it’s the language barrier or the difference in cultural/social norms. It’s more important to not say the wrong thing, than saying the right thing. Hence, before we discuss any highly elaborated dating tactics, we should first focus on what to avoid doing. Don’t talk about these taboos I understand that many people find the ability to discuss cultural taboos quite intellectually stimulating, but in Asian culture (and especially Thai). Talking about topics such as political party, Royal family, or religions can lead to your potential partner rejecting you completely (or hours of lecture). In either case, do avoid talking about sensitive topics. Don’t be too aggressive Growing up in other culture, assertiveness and confidence are usually consider very important values. However, there is a fine line between being very confident/assertive and being aggressive/intimidating. Thai people are slightly more modest and timid (even guys), so you have to thread that line more carefully. Make no mistakes, it is important to be dominant, but pay great attention to social cues and avoid pushing too far. For example, ability to maintain a powerful eye contact with a girl is a rare trait that shows high confidence. While having too much physical contacts (being too touchy) would be considered ‘aggressive’ by Thai girls. Remember, making mistakes certain mistakes such as these will put the girls in the defensive mode. While dating Thai girls, doing one wrong thing could lead to them being on guard and rejecting you, messing up the interactions completely. What to do? Now that you know what NOT to do while dating Thai girls, let’s look at things to say and do to rack up some attraction points in your favor. Talk about Social circles Thai people are collectivist in nature. They are community oriented, which means that being curious about people’s families and friends will help you a long way while dating Thai girls. Remember, people could be defined by who they spend the most time with. So knowing the core social circle will give you a window to their lives. Going the extra mile to meet up to get to know with her friends would give you a bigger social proof in her eyes too. Picking the right venues Picking the right places and activities for your dates will be very important. Just remember to avoid the cliche that has been done to death like a restaurant and movies. Make sure you both do something fun. This makes dating Thai girls more interesting for you. Even if you don’t understand her, at least you know you will both have good experience. Food Roast cafe Hint hint, you are currently in one of the Foodiest city in the world. There are hundreds of restaurants for you to venture into. You could also make it more fun and go food hopping. I can guarantee you that every Thai girl you will come across would love nothing more than a good food experience. Whether it’s the tried and true mom and pop’s places that you go all the time, or something completely new you want to try out. Luckily, we have laid out all the options you can comfortably choose from right here. Something fun and refreshing Artbox The key is to avoid the cliche and choose activities that are stimulating and fun for both of you. Dating girls in Bangkok shouldn’t be shore, and you shouldn’t make it one. Running out of ideas? How about do what you like. If you like photography or soccer, why not take her to your next pickup soccer game. A glimpse to your life. Most guys are often worried that the girls will be bored by the activities they find interesting. Guess what? It’s good for you to figure that out very early on. It is better that you find out whether or not you are compatible with a girl on the very first day, than finding that out after you are married. While you are dating Thai girls, show more than just your personality. Let them know what type of music you enjoy, books you like to read, or even your favorite football team. That’s the brief and concise guide to dating Thai girls. If you have any other ideas or comments you would like to make further in this topic. Feel free to include that in the comment sections below. Have a great day!
  8. Nothing a US$20 bill can't fix. If it doesn't then you land in jail for bribery too. There is feck all around there. You can go to the rip off shop or restaurants at the Marriott Hotel next door or take a 20 minute taxi (HK$140) or tuk tuk (cheaper but messes up your hair, if any) to Patong. Maybe, as suggested, hiring a jeep is more cost effective.
  9. At some income and tax levels, you do actually save US taxes by not taking the housing and/or the expat income deductions. You have to run the numbers to see where you are at, though it's a pain to do so. It's hard enough to figure out what you owe once (and be sure you did it right), much less under different scenarios. On the US abuse of its position at the center of the world's financial system: China is big enough to ignore FATCA, most other countries can't. Yet. Stupid laws like FATCA will cause China and other countries to get together and create payment systems that avoid the US. That will make it harder for the US to finance its debt overload, and harder to twist people's arms to comply with things like the Iran embargo. In other words, in order to collect a few dollars now, the US is setting itself up for much higher costs and lower influence in the future. My only disagreement is on motives...he ascribes it to hatred, I think it is due to a mix of stupidity and bureaucratic inertia. The end result is the same.
  10. I used to work for one these financial companies and yes many of them are based on commissions. And so are many other people that work in sales (including real estate, bankers etc.) That’s fact of life. As every other industry, you have the unscrupulous people that you might fall across, but you have the decent ones as well. One just has to make an intelligent choice and keep on looking for the right match. I did also thought that the products were expensive, then I realized that it’s the WHOLE banking & financial industry that try to make more and more money out of the people. … and my bank or my mum’s government retirement plan is not an exception. My 3 cents is that: with or without financial adviser people HAVE to read the conditions, the fees, the terms in order to make intelligent decisions not when it comes to their finances, but to everything.
  11. If you’re as bored of reading endless gogo review as I am of writing them, here’s an incidental piece to break up the monotony. And don’t worry, I’m more than half-way there on the gogo bars now. Once the background information is complete, the site have the scope to become far more interesting. I’ll be writing up accounts of forays into the wilds of Bangkok’s finest dens of sin, as well as where to go when you’re all gogo’d out. It’s tricky to push a site without a great depth of content, hence I’m still steadily plugging away writing a little about what feels like every bar in Bangkok - obviously it’s nowhere near that at the moment. But I’ll certainly try to break up the review posts with some light reading - like these little golden rules for the gogo virgin: Bangkok Gogo Bars - The Dos and Don’ts No photography - they really mean it. Yes, some people have got away with snapping illicit pics with their cameraphone, but that doesn’t mean you will. The girls take their privacy seriously - some may have families and boyfriends who don’t have any idea what their tilac does for a living. They don’t want them to find out, either. If you get caught you can expect to at least have your camera/cellphone taken away, and can possibly expect a beating for good measure. Don’t wai - the wai is the palms-together head-nod gesture used by Thais to show respect. Thai culture is based on a heirarchy of social status. Don’t make yourself look like an idiot by bowing in deference to a prostitute. Shake hands, or even better just nod and smile. Buy the mamasan a drink - you’ll notice one or more middle-aged women working in any bar. One or more of these is the mamasan. She’s basically the girls’ manager, and often acts as a surrogate mother to the younger ones. She resolves disputes between the girls, keeps things running smoothly, and is a powerful ally. Buy her a drink, and tell her what you’re looking for - either a certain girl, or a certain “service”. She’ll be happy to help you out, and will remember your kindness next time you visit. Don’t go for the stunner - easy in some bars, where there aren’t any girls who’d qualify. Trickier to manage in Angelwitch, Baccara or Pretty Lady though. You know the situation, you’re sat watching them shuffle on stage, and spot one girl who’s absolutely gorgeous. You also know that she won’t come over unless she really wants a drink, or unless she’s invited (ie. ordered to join you). Yes she’s beautiful, and yes if you pay the barfine and give her a couple of thousand baht you can take her back to your bachelor pad for a good rutting. But these are the girls who get barfined every single night. How enthusiastic do you think she’s going to be, unless you’re Brad Pitt? Do go for the enthusiastic ones - you know, the one who runs over and leaps into your lap as soon as you arrive. She’s not on your lap because she has to be, she’s on your lap because she wants to be. You can figure out for yourself how much extra fun this will bring you later in the evening… Tip, if they earnt it - not only will your change come on a tip-tray, it’ll have been given in tip-friendly denominations. If they owe you ฿50 change, you won’t get a ฿50 note - you’ll get a ฿20 note and three ฿10 coins - easier for you to leave some behind. Tip if they’ve earnt it, but if the service was appalling (as sadly it often is in Thailand), take your change, remember that the markup on the beer is phenomenal, and perhaps they’ll try harder next time. Don’t be a mug - if you buy a lady-drink for every girl who requests one, you’ll soon be the toast of the bar - why not ring the bell as well? You’ll also end up spending all your money before you’ve even taken a girl out of the door, so why not limit your drinks just to the girls you’re actually interested in, er, developing a relationship with? Don’t be a cheapskate - at the same time, if you refuse to get anyone a drink and sit on your own looking miserable, you’re not going to get much luck at all! If you only buy drinks for the girls who sit and talk to you first, you demonstrate that you’re not a cheapskate, but not an ATM either… Smile! - no, seriously. It makes a huge difference, these girls just want to have fun. They’re far more likely to have that with a happy grinning party animal (whether you are one or not doesn’t matter - as long as you look like one!) than with a scared-looking chap with a glum look on his face…
  12. Even as an expat, not a tourist, you’re going to need to be aware of the scams and con artists that lurk around the city, hoping to part you from your money. If you’re not Thai, you’re game. This is the first part of a series about becoming aware of and avoiding the various schemes going on in Bangkok and how to avoid them. Tuk tuk tour of Bangkok for gas coupon – I fell for this during my one day layover in Bangkok on my way to Nepal. If the tuk tuk driver tells you that “Today is a special promotion from the government” and he would take you around for a very cheap price, understand that it is a lie; the government has no such special promotion organized with tuk tuk drivers. The tuk tuk drivers say they will take you to a number of temples for 10 baht or so, but in return you must visit tailor shops and gem shops and request gas coupons for him as payment. The sales people in these shops simply look at you with impatience and with rudeness if you do not intend to purchase anything. Avoid all this in the first place and see the tourist attractions on your own with a good Bangkok guidebook. Closed tourist attraction – Con artists might tell you that a place you want to go such as temples, palaces, etc) is “closed for repair today” or is a “special Thai holiday”. Don’t take their word for it, just thank them for the information and keep going. It’s highly likely that the attraction is open and the conmen want to take you to a gem shop or some sort of factory to purchase overpriced, fake goods. If a taxi driver or a tuk tuk driver insists to take you someplace you don’t want to go, then say no. Keep saying no (mai aow, kha) or simply get out and flag down another taxi. Insist on the driver using the meter. For a tuk tuk, negotiate the fare to your destination before getting in. These methods will keep you from being taken advantage of. If you come to Thailand on holiday you are likely to be introduced to the Gem business. You will hear a story or two of a guy from Los Angeles that flies over to Bangkok every few months, buys a load of gems and resells them for huge profits in the US. Unless you are an absolute gem expert, I am going to tell you that this simply cannot be done. So many visitors to Thailand end up ruining their vacation by being part of an extremely well-orchestrated Thai theatrical production: The Gem Scam. This scam is certainly no secret; there are warnings in every Thai guidebook and all over the internet, yet because these swindlers are so professional at what they do, many, many visitors are caught up in it and become another victim. While the scam is found in every tourist city in Thailand, the vast majority of them happen in Bangkok. No matter how savvy you may think you are as a world traveler, you should be aware of this infamous activity and be prepared for it. When you visit Bangkok and take some local city tours, you will find most tours will make a compulsory stop at a big gem store, often as the last stop on the tour. The stores look impressive with expensive artwork on the walls, charming sharply dressed store salespeople and very good stories on how you are getting an absolute bargain with your purchase here. The truth is that they are all very expensive. Please do everyone a favor, especially yourself, and avoid buying anything from these establishments. Take a moment to please your tour operator to step inside, stay a few minutes and leave. Resist all temptations to buy. Your honest tour guide will reassure you that he is taking you to the best gem supplier in all of Thailand. Your tour guide may even tell you that this gem factory is government owned, or it is an “international export center”. Believe me when I tell you that the Thai government does not own any resale shops for gems or gem factories, or any export centers that will sell product to you. You will probably see this huge factory with workers cutting and grinding rubies and emeralds or other precious stones. These professionals are handling these precious gems from raw uncut stones to polished pieces of jewelry. You will see large government seals on the wall (most of which is in Thai language) proclaiming its official status. The merchants will tell you that they are the largest gem “wholesaler” in the country that is government approved. They will show you endorsements from celebrities. “Nicholas Cage bought gems from here”, as they show you a framed photo of the actor in the shop (remember, nowadays any picture can be created with photoshop). They will encourage you to buy gems for your old age or for the college education for your young kids. They have had years of practice with developing the entire theatrics, in convincing people to buy, and you have had only a small amount of experience to counter these swindlers. The gem shops often pay Western foreigners to linger around the display cabinets posing as a customer and casually mention to you that for years they have bought Thai gems from this wholesaler, sold them back in the US and have made loads of money doing it. If you hear that today is the last day this will be tax free and starting tomorrow there will be a new VAT added, you know this is a well-used scam. And remember there is never a special one-day discount in Thailand. Tuk Tuks - blue & yellowOr you might grab a Bangkok Tuk-tuk (kind of like a lawn mower with a tin roof with a bench for passengers in which the two-cycle engine sounds like tuke-tuke-tuke….hence the name) to go to the Grand Palace or some other tourist venue. You will be told that this attraction is closed today (it is not) because of a Buddhist holiday you have never heard of before, or because the monks are praying, or the King is visiting. Not to worry, he tells you he can take you to another interesting place for just 40Baht. What can you lose? That tuk-tuk driver will take you first to a special temple (often called the “Lucky Buddha” temple) and then to a Gem export outlet (and the driver will be earning a commission for bringing you). The tuk-tuk driver will tell you that he will get 5 gallons of petrol when he brings you to the shop and because he has been so helpful and pleasant, you are happy to oblige. You just have to stay just 20 minutes for the driver to get the petro coupon. These are all lies. Now you are in the hands of attractive, smartly dressed, good speaking Thai ladies in the gem factory outlet that are well trained in handling foreign tourists and extracting as much as possible with amazing investments. They will be able to supply you with official certificates of the value of your gems and jewelry. The truth is there is very little control in Thailand for these certificates. They make them themselves. And a money back guarantee will be offered. It is as good as their word. No use providing you with the names of the swindler shops. First, they could just cause problems for me printing their name, and Second, they often change their names as word gets too widespread about the operation. If after buying you realize you have been swindled, you will not get help from the Thai police or authorities, including the Tourist Police. Even the Thai tourist office is unlikely to offer much assistance. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way in Thailand. You must prepare yourself and simply not allow yourself to purchase in these establishments. So why does the Thai government allow this kind of fraud to happen on the valuable tourists to Thailand? I have been told that these jewelry and gem companies are owned by Thai politicians or important government officials, or by people that pay off Thai politicians and government officials, so nothing changes. Also Thailand is a libertarian in so many ways, allowing the market to self regulate. That often works well for the citizenry (there is virtually no unemployment in the Kingdom), but sometimes it does not work well in particular situations. Rule #1 - If an official looking person, or a helpful well-dressed well-spoken Thai offers you tourist assistance outside of major venue, politely decline and don’t believe anything they say. Rule #2 – If a tuk-tuk driver wants to give you a great tour of Bangkok for very little money (like less than a 100Baht), expect that they are going to take you to somewhere that is going to scam you. Rule #3 – If someone tells you the attraction you are planning to visit is closed, don’t believe them. Visitor attractions rarely close and stay open for almost any holiday. Rule #4 – if against all warnings you decide to make a purchase, do it by credit card. If you realize you have been swindled quickly enough (hopefully by that evening), you can contact the credit card company and cancel payment because of fraud. If the gem dealer does not take credit cards, do not buy from them. Rule #5 – after you buy, seek out a reliable source for a real appraisal of what you bought. Don’t expect to get much help from other gem shops however; they all belong to the same club. Rule#6 - If you are still in Bangkok after buying gems and realizing you have been swindled; do contact the TAT – Travel Authority of Thailand. They might be of help to you (but don’t count on much). Best Rule of All: Don’t buy any precious gems or expensive jewelry in Bangkok. Oh, and all of this post also goes for Custom Tailor Shops in Bangkok. And actually, you should be on your toes and skeptical about any place in Thailand offering special pricing for a limited time that they tell you is the best price there is in the whole country.
  13. Thong Lor is where Bangkok’s hipsters love to hang out. It’s an area frequented by hi-so Thais and also quite a few expats, both with a deft commitment to what’s trendy. Thong Lor bustles with coffee shops, boutiques and the most modern of shopping malls. There is also a lot of upscale accommodation here, with a focus on the boutique and chic. By night, Thong Lor is home to some of the flashier nightclubs and fine dining outlets. You’ll see people dressed to the nines, traipsing from one venue to the next. Of course, looking this good comes with a price. This area is considered a touch more expensive than most, but with some of the best options for dining, clubbing and simply hanging out. This area is easily connected via BTS Skytrain stop, Thong Lor. Where to eat & drink in Thonglor Thong Lor is famous for housing extravagant concept bars. That’s what draws a lot of the word of mouth. All creatively designed by the same owner, Iron Fairies, Clouds and Fat Gut’z are simply beyond words. Each is completely unique and deserves its own explanations in our listings, but here’s just a taste – you’ll see everything from jars of fairy dust to Barbie dolls hanging from the ceilings. These spots are more for a sit-down, lounging experience. If dancing is what you’re game for, there are many nightclubs and after-hours joints in Thong Lor which even play Thai pop and hiphop. Demo, Funky Villa and Muse are the trifecta of Thong Lor groove, all within a few steps from each other. Now, there are always new hangouts popping up in this area and that’s part of its charm. The Catbird Seat is one of them, with a decadent view of the Thong Lor area and a cool interior. The Gossip is another, and this restaurant is from the same team that runs the popular Oskar Bistro on Sukhumvit Soi 11. Thong Lor has no shortage of places to hang out and enjoy a hearty meal. There is a lot of Italian, wine-bar concept spots if that’s what you’re into. Bacco is the most true-to-form choice, but there is also To Die For, Wine Republic, Wine o’clock and Wine me up. Wine me up is in the Seen Space, a concept mall. But don’t think food court grub, this mall is actually filled with a lot of neat and unique restaurants. The other stand-out is Bon Chon Chicken, a Korean chicken chain with some of the best fried chicken this city has to offer. Audrey Café & Bistro is a colonial, Victorian restaurant with a gorgeous interior and exterior. If possible, get here for afternoon tea. Looking for something outside the box? Phuket Town is exactly where you want to be but get there early, the restaurant only has six-tables. It’s in a small character house-turned restaurant and offers a distinct menu of southern Thai cooking. For more of that local flavour, you’re next stop is 100 per cent Soul Food Mahanakorn. This is where you can find some of the best Thai taste in a fine dining space. Now after all these big meals, one might crave something sweet. After You Dessert Bar offers any and every cake, ice cream and sweet you could imagine. Satisfying that sweet tooth here is a must! Hotels in Thonglor Thong Lor is known for posh long-term accommodation, but there are also many hotels here as well. Most tourists seem to gravitate to the Siam and Asoke areas, so in Thong Lor you might have an altogether different experience. The Salil Hotel Sukhumvit is a new four-star hotel on Thong Lor Soi 1. Despite being away from the main tourist drag, there is actually a shuttle to BTS Station Nana so you won’t be missing much. The Mini Hotel is as cute as a button, with only 29 rooms but a cozy and stylish experience. Another boutique option with more capacity is The Ei8ht, Thong Lor. For a longer stay, consider the serviced apartments at Centre Point Sukhumvit Thong-Lo or the Somerset Sukhumvit Thong Lor. The main attraction in Thong Lor is the hi-so way of life, with a wealth of sweet little coffee shops and novelty stores. However, if attractions are what you seek you shall also find. The Museum of Thai Pharmacy is a free activity with lots of information about the birth of herbs and natural products. There are also a few very well-known massage parlours in this area such as Leyana Day Spa and Garden and Hatthai Massage. Face Cooking School could be a good way to spend an afternoon; they offer not only Thai cuisine classes but also Japanese and Indian. Thong Lor boasts a lot of cute specialty shops on its walking streets. Most of them you will have to poke and prod your way around the area, but this could be a very enjoyable adventure. For more easy navigation, try J Avenue. This is a swanky, four-story open air lifestyle mall. These shops cater to the Japanese crowd (as the “J” indicates). Seen Space also has some options, but it’s known more for its restaurants than its shopping.
  14. During the late 70’s, bars starting appearing on the small soi between Sois 21 and 23 in the center of Asoke. Then in 1977 a retired US airman named T.G. “Cowboy” Edwards opened his own bar on the soi and Soi Cowboy was born. Edwards came to work daily sporting a Western style shirt, large belt buckle and cowboy hat earning him the nickname Cowboy. A writer named Bernard Trink solidified the name by using it in his very popular new column throughout the 80’s and 90’s. Today Soi Cowboy is one of the most famous and popular adult entertainment areas in the world. Sitting next to the very high traffic Asoke BTS station, the bright lights of the small Soi can be seen daily by thousands. Soi cowboy is simply a small street packed with almost 30 go-go bars. The bright lights and beautiful Thai girls luring in big eyed men, is in itself an image to behold. During the day one side of the street is usually packed with office worker enjoying their lunch but the night has an entirely different vibe. Most bars on the street have some kind of happy hour to entice you for an early arrival. Inside these bars consist of girls dancing on a series of stages spread throughout the room or sitting with guests enjoying deep conversations while some have choreographed performances. Where to drink on Soi Cowboy The bars along Soi cowboy certainly vary in size and interiors. While some are like a tiny dive bars, others have elaborate stages, lights and music systems. Probably the busiest bar and most well known in recent years is Baccara. With two stages on two floors with a see through floor separating them, Baccara seems to be packed with Japanese, Koreans and Farang every day of the week. You may be overwhelmed when first entering and finding no seats available, but go to the back right corner and check upstairs, from there you can still see the entire club. Shark is just next door to Baccara and is another very popular and large bar. It has a long stage that runs through the middle of the room with tiered seating on both sides. It also has an upstairs but it only seems to be used when it gets really busy. Up the Soi a bit is home to the bar whose interior was featured in the movie Hangover 2. Tilac is another large go-go that has quite a big following and even a soft ball team. In addition to the large stage in the middle of this bar, Tilac has small stages scattered throughout, pumping loud music and plenty of flashing light….. pushing your senses to their maximum. If you are looking for something a little more low key, Cactus is sort of a dive bar go-go. This small bar consists of a long stage covering half the space, a handful of dancers and the kind of expats that can give you the history of Cowboy if you ask. Lucky Star Long Gun is the only bar on Cowboy that we have seen actual ping pong shows take place as well as a theatrical AC/DC show. Kick back with some beers and see the entertainment that one can only see in Thailand. Although there are very few ladyboys on Soi Cowboy, Cockatoo seems to be the only official ladyboy bar on the Soi that we know of. Eating at Soi Cowboy Surprisingly, there are some decent food options right in Soi Cowboy and in the close surrounding area. The Corner Bar, serves tons of Thai office workers lunch and also has a small burger stand in the corner serving burgers throughout the night. Right across from it is The Old Dutch Corner, serving steaks, ribs and other pub food. Both bars are right at the entrance of the Soi and are great places to sit in the evening and watch the beauties trickle in for work. Around the corner on Soi 23 is The Ship Inn, another pub serving food and drinks. Up Soi 23 a few minutes is a nice sports bar called The Clubhouse. Packed with TV’s and nice large booths, it’s a great place to grab a bite or get the night started. If you are up later than expected and need to soak up some of that booze, Little Italy on the corner of Sukhumvit and Soi 23 is open 24 hours and has a large menu of standard Italian dishes. If you love Italian and your budget allows, Guisto is right up the street and one of the best fine dining Italian restaurants in the city. For something a bit more local, there is a very popular outdoor Thai restaurant on Sukhumvit Soi 14 called Suda Pochana Restaurant. Just across the sky bridge from Soi Cowboy, this no frills Thai kitchen draws a surprising number of tourists on a daily basis. Hotels near Soi Cowboy Although we don’t really recommend staying on Soi Cowboy, The Penny Black is a short time hotel right on the soi and some people do decide to stay there over night. For those with a bigger budget the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit and the Weston Grande Sukhumvit are both 5 star hotels right over the sky bridge next to Terminal 21. With all the amenities you can imagine, both of these hotels cater to the business traveler who chooses their location very carefully. Another breathtaking hotel is the Grand Millennium Sukhumvit on Sukhumvit Soi 21. Just a short walk away from Soi Cowboy, the Grand Millenium Sukhumvit can be spotted from far away due to its sail-like shape and modern allure. The Asoke Suites is a smaller, no frills hotel located just across Sukhumvit that keeps you close to the action for a very affordable price. Ramada is opening a brand new hotel right at the corner of Soi 23 and Sukhumvit. So close to Soi Cowboy you will probably be able to see it from many of the rooms. The Darjelling Boutique Hotel is a nice little boutique hotel also right in the area. If you need a break from the lights and noise of Soi Cowboy, there are many little massage shops along Sukhumvit Soi 23. For those that are too shy to venture into Cowboy alone but want to have the experience, Bangkok Hangover Tours offers to take groups to Soi Cowboy and other go-go nightlife spots. Right across the street from Cowboy is one of the newest and most popular shopping malls in Bangkok. Terminal 21 is a large and modern mall with every floor dedicated to a different city in the world and an airport theme throughout. Hundreds of small boutique shops and restaurants have made this mall their new permanent residence.
  15. The Nana Entertainment plaza is a go-go bar complex in the Nana area of Sukhumvit located on Soi 4. Nana Plaza is a three floored squared shape complex with a single entrance opening up to Soi 4. It is rumored to be the largest sex complex in the world according to Wikipedia. It is one of 3 main go-go bar areas in Bangkok along with Soi Cowboy and Patpong. The history of Nana Entertainment Plaza dates back to the last 1970’s when it started out as a restaurant plaza. In 1982, the widening of Sukhumvit road forced the currently active go-go bars around Soi 16 to move their location suddenly. The handful of bars that moved into the plaza paved the way for other bars to follow. Over the next 25 years, bars slowly moved into the plaza taking it over entirely. For those that have never experienced Nana Plaza before, expect the unexpected. The entranced is packed with grabby ladyboys, food carts and tourist. All walks of life from every country imaginable venture to this area to see what can be seen few places on earth. Where to Drink in Nana Plaza It goes without saying that people coming to Nana Plaza are coming to drink and go to the bars. With more than 30 bars to choose from we are introducing some of our favorites and most popular. Upon entering the Plaza on the left side it is difficult to miss Lollipop. A great place to grab a beer and start off the night. Pro-tip: beers on the patio outside are just 90 baht. This is a great place to hang and people-watch before entering the nude area. Rainbow 4 isn’t the biggest amongst the bars, but it may be the most popular. With probably the highest number of attractive girls and the most of them, it definitely draws a big crowd especially the Koreans and Japanese. Choreographed shows can be found in some of the clubs for those that want a bit more entertainment value. The most popular is probably Angelwitch which also has another branch in Pattaya. Angelwitch has somewhat of a leather and whip theme and some of the shows are actually quite entertaining. Next door in Spankys they also have short shows including a shower in the middle the bar. On the third level Las Vegas has certainly put some effort into offering professional dance routines. Mocked after a Vegas casino, Las Vegas attempts to bring the glamour of Vegas to the Plaza. Another interesting bar on the third floor of the plaza is Billboard. A very large space fully equipped with a rotating go-go stage and claims to have Bangkok’s biggest Jacuzzi. In the location that was formerly Hollywood Carousel, this updated bar has helped bring life back to the third floor. For those of you looking for the truly unique, Nana Plaza takes the cake for ladyboy bars. On the ground floor is Obsession, a nice little bar where you will be really questioning if it’s possible for them to be so beautiful. On the third floor is Cascade, a large bar with a huge runway where aggressive ladyboy will work hard to sit with you. Where to Eat at Nana Plaza Clearly Nana Plaza isn’t known for its dining. The only popular and somewhat famous option is the Nana Burger sold right at the entrance of the Plaza. They usually sell these burgers pretty late into the night so you can use this as an excuse for why you want to go…. The Nana Burger is just so good! Also, there are some mean shawma options just outside. Both beef and chicken are delicious. We recommend buying more than 1. Hotels near Nana Plaza If your goal is to maximize every minute you can at Nana Plaza during your visit, we have come up with a list of hotels that are the closest to this venue. If an hour or two suffices for your “stay” there are several short time hotels within the plaza mainly on the third floor. We don’t list them but ask around and you are sure to find them. For a longer stay of a whole night, the Nana Hotel is right across the street and also home to Nana Liquid Disco in case you are not done drinking at 2am. Another large size hotel is Rajah Hotel just up Soi 4 a little ways. Both Nana Hotel and Raja are pretty full service hotels and make for a nice place to stay. For those of you that are funded by a Fortune 500 company, the JW Marriot is only a block away on Sukhumvit Soi 2 and is a top hotel even by Bangkok’s high standards. Cash in those points and impress the ladyboy of your dreams. Another very popular large hotel is the Landmark Hotel right around the corner on Sukhumvit Road. This hotel is absolutely massive with many shops and restaurants throughout. The Dynasty Inn is certainly a popular option for those looking to indulge in the Nana Plaza fantasy world. Staying here will also gain you a free ride down to Pattaya to their other branch. Some of the cheaper options up the street a bit are the Nana Royal Mansion, White Orchid and Nap Inn. All budget hotels within a 5 minute walk of Nana Plaza.
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