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This is Thailand

1. I’ve been renting for too long in Thailand, please can you tell me how to go about property buying?

Mo (Intern): I found Rodney Waller’s book ‘A complete guide to buy a property in Thailand’, a useful overview of the subject of buying property in Thailand. Basically foreigners can buy and own condominiums, according to the Condominium Act 2008 such as villas, pool villas, apartments penthouses, duplexes and town houses (Foreigners can take leases on land or property, but ‘cannot own land’). The book also gives advice on various related issues, such as the pros and cons of purchasing off-plan property. Off-plan property is basically buying the rights to a property that is yet to be built, as opposed to buying a finished property on the secondary market. Best to contact a good lawyer to get all the facts.

2. With the rainy season, is there any chance of more flooding? If so, are there any precautionary measures being taken by the Thai government, etc.?

Sophie (Intern): It’s safe to say that there is a likely chance of flooding this year. Contrary to last year’s ineffective response, however, Thailand’s Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department is attempting to reduce water-levels in dams and use floodwater to fight drought; redirecting floodwaters into large groundwater aquifers could lessen the immensity of destructive floods while increasing the ability of Thailand and other countries to maintain or even boost crop production. Among the longer-term flood prevention measures are aquifers along with a proposed 200-km floodway around the west of Bangkok, and the building of more dams. In Chiang Mai, Mayor Tassanai Buranupakorn and other government officials have made plans to widen the riverbanks of the Ping River, as well as build concrete walls and place sandbags to protect the land from infiltrating water. The government also plans to widen the Mae Kha Canal, which cuts through the entire city. This will help speed up the draining process and shorten the duration of standing water. On Nimmanhaemin Road, the government has placed water pumps to work as a draining system to prepare and prevent floods in the future. As usual the local authorities promise many things, but we wouldn’t advise you to dispose of those oh so useful wellies just yet.

3. Do you know of any good places to get threading done?

Grace: Yes, I know of a really good woman who does it at a very reasonable price (prices start from only 25 baht for eyebrows!). She learnt how to do threading working in Bahrain. She is very neat, clean and efficient. The only thing is it’s a bit out of the city, but is also in a nice village area so you may like to have a drive around once out there. It’s best to call first to confirm the location.  She also does hair, nails, waxing and other beauty treatments. The lady is called Uan, Won Beauty Salon 63 moo 12, Tawangtan, Sarapee 081 716 5489.

4. After all this talk of Burma on the news recently I would like to plan a trip there, have you any advice?

Grace: Having visited Burma a few times myself, I would highly recommend travel in Burma, especially if you live so close. Burma is harder going for travellers as it is nowhere near as developed as Thailand, however it can be a rewarding trip for the more adventurous. I would advise going during winter as it is a very hot and humid country. Perhaps test the water by a short city break to Rangoon, and decide whether you would like to see the rest of the country. Inle Lake was a must for me. Apparently visas are a lot easier to get nowadays. Air Asia, Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways and others offer reasonably priced fights to Burma. Air Bagan runs direct flights from Chiang Mai to Yangon.