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jimster

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About jimster

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  1. Every time I'm in Vientiane I count anywhere from 10-30 Thai plates in just one day. On the outskirts of Vientiane and especially near the bridge, you could probably count hundreds coming across and going back to Thailand if you were to stay there the whole day. Vientiane isn't all that interesting, most Thais who drive their cars to Laos don't linger there very long, they tend to drive to Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang or other places. Lots of local plates (Nong Khai and Udon Thani) in Vientiane though.
  2. Excellent post. I fully agree. The American's behavior was totally bizarre and his response to what is a minor, everyday incident completely out of proportion with the situation, not to mention I don't understand why he dragged a completely innocent individual into this, unless he thought the hotel employee was actually an airport employee? Now let me provide some perspective about my own experiences of a flight cancellation at Suvarnabhumi. This happened about 10 years ago - flight to Ho Chi Minh was delayed and eventually cancelled due to aircraft defects that couldn't be fixed in a reasonable amount of time. Luckily for me I had been upgraded to business class and was enjoying my time waiting for the flight relaxing in the lounge. The majority of the passengers on this 747 (which had originated in Frankfurt) were Vietnamese package tourists who were returning home from visiting Thailand on cheap package tours. They were quite upset about the flight cancellation, hurling insults and shouting at the Thai employees. Most of the few western and Thai passengers were quiet. However, the Vietnamese passengers acted somewhat similar to the way Chinese airline passengers react when there's a flight cancellation. Lots of shouting and commotion but no actual violence (though I acknowledge there have been an increasing number of well documented violent acts in China in response to flight cancellations). The Vietnamese passengers were elated and actually very cheery by the time the airline put us up in the Novotel airport hotel, along with the midnight dinner buffet and breakfast buffet the next morning. All in all we were delayed by 24 hours. In more recent years, I've been able to arrive in Ho Chi Minh from Bangkok in less time than that traveling by road including spending a night in Phnom Penh along the way!
  3. Flight from Suvarnabhumi 4am on Apri 19 ...

    Many foreigners tend to greatly over-exaggerate when it comes to Thai traffic issues and suggestions in getting to the airport in Bangkok. They even go so far as to suggest getting to the airport a ridiculous number of hours before your flight departs just in case of a once in a blue moon accident that blocks the entire 4 lanes of a motorway like the Bangkok-Pattaya motorway. Unlike in China where an entire road is blocked in the event of a big accident forcing traffic to wait for hours until they complete their investigations or whatever they do at the scene of an accident, the first priority of Thai police is to keep traffic flowing so within minutes, at least one lane or detour is made to allow traffic to flow. Glad you have put some sense into this discussion - for a 4am flight coming from Pattaya I would aim to arrive at the airport around 2-2.30am, unless I had lounge access due to being a business class passenger or having Gold member frequent flyer status, in which case I'd aim to arrive around 3 hours before the flight departure. If you're starting from Pattaya and using the motorway to get to the airport, 2 hours is plenty of time, usually it doesn't take more than 1.5 hours. Delays at that time of night are very rare. However, most people would probably choose to stay somewhere closer to the airport unless they live in Pattaya and have reliable transport to get to the airport at that time of night. Each to their own about how they make plans to catch flights but if you know Thailand well it should be a piece of cake estimating how much time is needed. Personally I like the lowest stress option so a 4am flight is out of the question as that's about the most ridiculous time for a flight I could think of (who comes up with such schedules?) I guess it also depends on where you're flying to. For a 4am flight it's probably somewhere no one has heard of like Ashgabad (Turkmenistan). Scheduled flights to regional countries like China, Korea and Japan have red eye flights departing between 11pm and 1am and arriving in the early morning.
  4. Ban Laem has always been a no. Ban Pakkard has been the uncertain one until now, but you have confirmed it is a no. Another poster who comments on driving to Cambodia a lot, Phuketrichard, has also stated that Ban Pakkard is a no go for entry. However, a couple of years ago I saw Thai vehicles crossing there. I haven't been to Ban Pakkard recently but I do see the occasional Cambodian car in Chanthaburi city whenever I pass through there. I'm not sure if they're coming from Hat Lek (in theory they aren't supposed to cross provincial boundaries, though in practice the Thai police turns a blind eye) or if they're coming across from Ban Pakkard. A Cambodian business owner from Siem Reap told me he often used to drive his Cambodian campervan into Thailand at Ban Pakkard, but the last time was a year or two ago. Things may vary depending on the official on duty but it's safest for most drivers to simply cross where they know they're allowed to: O'Smach and Koh Kong. Exiting at Poipet is also no problem, which I have done twice after entering at O'Smach. Apart from Ban Laem, I don't think exiting at Chong Sa-ngam is allowed either, since that border is closed for all vehicle crossings in both directions.
  5. Malaysia apparently requires Thai cars to have an RFID chip in their cars. This is available through the JPJ bureau I believe. I have not read anyone mentioning this here, but according to various Thai and English language media, this requirement has been in place since June 2017, though perhaps it isn't being enforced?
  6. There are tons of Thai cars driving in Laos, more than cars from any other neighboring country (though Chinese are a close second). Check the number plates carefully - they look similar to Lao ones. Main differences are that private vehicles in Thailand have white plates, in Laos they are yellow. Business/commercial plates in Thailand are yellow, in Laos white. Provinces are at the bottom of Thai plates, at the top for Lao plates. My guess is they did this to avoid confusion between Thai and Lao plates as they often cross each other's border.
  7. OK that could be. In any case, I saw dozens of Thai cars in Prom (the Cambodian border town opposite Ban Pakkard) as well as in Pailin, which means they were allowed to enter there. Perhaps foreigners driving Thai cars aren't allowed to, but Thais are. In a sense it's a bit odd though, because there is no distinction between Thais and foreigners driving cars into Cambodia at O'Smach and Koh Kong. As for the new border crossing at Ban Khao Din it's written บ้านเขาดิน in Thai. The GPS coordinates are 13°25'56.3"N 102°21'30.6"E
  8. Flight from Suvarnabhumi 4am on Apri 19 ...

    Suvarnabhumi airport hasn't been open that long yet. It was opened in Sep 2006 so around 11.5 years.
  9. I thought it was the other way around. Globalization and migration is leading more countries to the realization that dual citizenship is fast becoming not just the norm, but increasingly a necessity. In some countries like Australia and Switzerland, a full 25% of all citizens possess more than one nationality. Again, Switzerland and Australia have in the past few decades allowed dual citizenship whereas previously they did not. Prior to 4 Apr 2002, an Australian citizen by birth who became a citizen of another country lost their Australian citizenship, but since that date both Australian born and naturalized Australians can hold multiple passports. Belgium also liberalized their nationality policy and allows dual citizenship whereas a few years ago they did not (except, like Australia naturalized citizens could in some cases retain their previous nationality but natural born citizens could not). Perhaps the UK ruling has more to do with social security and taxes than any efforts on the part of the UK government to make it more difficult to hold dual citizenship.
  10. Advice on flying with newborn farang baby

    Taking a 17 month old on a plane is not a great difficulty. By then it will have developed certain habits and is capable of remaining quiet and sleeping for a lengthy period of time. It's taking newborns (less than 6 months old, sometimes up to 12 months) that can be a problem, for both the parents and fellow passengers alike, not to mention the risk of the baby catching a disease as has been mentioned on this thread already.
  11. There are two routes from Vientiane to Luang Prabang. The old road, which is scenic and winding via Kasi and Phou Khoun and the "new road" via Kasi to Muang Nan where it joins route 4. Normally I would suggest heading along the latter, but last year during the rainy season a major landslide destroyed part of that road making it a hair raising and very dangerous ordeal now; even worse during or after rain. Vehicles heading that way may find themselves waiting hours for the road to open for only an hour or so, as road crews work to clear the landslide and fix the damaged road. The older road takes about an hour longer but is much safer until such time the damaged sections of the Kasi to Muang Nan road have been fixed. I expect this won't happen until the end of this year or even later as the rainy season is coming up soon, likely leading to additional landslides. Alternative routes are via Paklay and route 4 or via Paksan up to Phonsavan. Both are much longer than going the normal way via Vang Vieng, Kasi and Phou Khoun.
  12. I was told that Singapore requires Thai cars to purchase Singaporean insurance before arriving at the port of entry. This according to one of the insurance agents at the Sadao border. This despite the fact that Malaysian insurance is supposed to cover vehicles entering Singapore and Brunei as well.
  13. Doesn't Malaysia require an RFID chip for Thai cars since last year? Strange that nobody seems to be talking about this. Unless this plan has been delayed or isn't enforced by the Malaysians at this time. However, they are enforcing it on Singaporean vehicles coming in through Singapore.
  14. Cambodia entry is OK at Koh Kong and O'Smach. Ban Pakkard is a maybe (seen many Thai vehicles cross there, but they are likely told not to drive further than Pailin). Exiting is OK pretty much everywhere, though I wouldn't attempt exiting at Ban Laem as the Cambodians might block you (that border doesn't allow cars to cross in either direction). Another border to try is the brand new international border crossing at Ban Khao Din/Phnom Dai (Sampov Lun). This border supposedly opened on March 30, but according to the Phnom Penh post will only open on May 18. I suggest heading there after May 18 to see if they will let cars through. So far, only Thai trucks have been allowed across there.
  15. Ditto. Attacking someone, especially a random stranger is a completely irrational and bizarre response to something as benign as a flight cancellation. I feel bad for both individuals in this case, especially the victim but even the perpetrator, maybe he has some kind of mental issues or unresolved anger management issues. He may need psychological counseling. In my case, I was angry that i missed my flight, which was my own fault (at Don Muang) and then after not being allowed to board angrily stormed out of the office of that particular airline. This was many years ago. Of course it didn't help that the next flight was only 2 days later as that particular airline only had 3 flights a week to the destination I was flying to. I have learned never to react in such a ridiculous and stupid way again - I guess I was young and naive back then. These days if I miss a flight (which is rare) I think no big deal, there's always another one. If I am running late and feel it's unlikely I'll make the flight I turn around and don't even go to the airport. There are far more important things in life than worrying about something as small as a missed or cancelled flight.
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