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This is Thailand

For those of you with any questions regarding Thailand, Thai culture, history, tourism,

laws, rules, food, nightlife, sub-cultures, dating; generally anything as long as it is relevant,

we have a panel of three experts who will respond to your enquiries.

Email: [email protected]

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1. Every time I pay at a supermarket, they ask me whether I have a member card, can you tell me which store member cards are actually worth having and what are the benefits of them? 

Bet and Arm: The Big C card allows you to gain discounts on selected items, and collect points every time you use it, gaining you more discounts. The Tesco Club card scheme sends cash coupons to your home which you can use in-store for promotions and discounts. Joining up with Boots Advantage card means you will get 5% off every purchase and every 20 baht you spend earns you 1 point. When you accumulate 500 points you will get a 100 baht discount from any product. With a Makro card you can get a free magazine every 2 weeks and can pre-order goods via the phone.  The Tops store card will send you discount coupons depending on the type of things you buy. With a Rimping card, you can collect points to gain discounts and other rewards. Central credit card offers up to 50,000 baht credit. Just ask around, most of these large stores offer something…

2. I’ve seen fake perfumes sold in markets, are they safe?

Grace: These perfumes can often smell very similar to the actual brands they are imitating and cost a fraction of the price, though some smell like air-fresheners, and the scent doesn’t last that long. In my experience they are reasonably harmless. Though as they are not registered products you never know if a batch is dodgy or not. It may be advised to spray them on your clothes rather than skin in case they contain anything untoward.

3. What is the legal age to ride a motorcycle in Thailand? I always see young children riding their bikes around and I wonder whether it is actually legal or not.

Georgia (Intern): As long as the bike is legally insured, the legal minimum age to drive a motorcycle (up to 110cc) is 15, and 18 for a bike over 110cc. The driver should also hold a legitimate driving licence for the bike and wear a helmet. But we have all seen mere children – well under 15 – driving bikes without helmets, and sometimes with about four friends sardined on a seat.

4. I have been ill recently with symptoms like a fever, sickness and diarrhoea so I went to see a doctor at the hospital who sold me some antibiotics. I thought that antibiotics were not meant for viral infections, should I take them or not?

Georgia (Intern): Antibiotics should be used for bacterial infections, and could weaken the immune system if they are taken for the wrong reasons; but I am not medically trained so it is down to you to decide whether the doctor had the best intentions for you or not.

4. How much is a work permit and which one should I apply for if I want to work  here?

Georgia (Intern): www.lawyerchiangmai.com/ states; “To apply for a work permit in Thailand you should apply for a Non-Immigrant B (business) visa at a Thai embassy or consulate before you come to Thailand. When you arrive in the country you can then apply for a work permit. You must have the Non-Immigrant B visa to apply for a work permit. The Non-Immigrant B visa may be either for a period of three months or a multi-entry visa which allows you to leave and return to Thailand within a twelve-month period.” The initial application is around 7,900 baht, and you must supply a range of valid documents and renew your extension of stay before buying a work permit. Visit www.siam- legal.com/Business-in-Thailand/thailand -work-permit.php for more information.