This issue of
Citylife

This is Thailand

1. I’m so sick of Thai soaps. Is it possible to watch British TV in Thailand?

Grace:
I have to agree, from time to time, I also miss a bit of home comfort telly. If you must watch your old favourites whilst living in the tropics, there are ways of getting around it. The only problem is it usually relies on having a good internet connection, which can mean the difference between hours of uninterrupted foreign viewing or programmes frustratingly cutting out when the net goes off. There are various companies offering this service if you do a Google search. Basically the services allow you to watch programmes saved on video channels such as BBCi Player and Channel Four on Demand, you can also stream live television, but this is trickier. I know these services are available for British and US television, TV from other countries may be available if you look online. The prices are pretty cheap, I once signed up to company (dualviewer.com) which only cost 5 pounds on direct debit per month. But due to unreliable internet I cancelled in the second month. One benefit is they did not ask me to sign up for a year so I could cancel at any time. Happy watching!

2. I went to watch Muay Thai on Loi Kroh last week they charged me 400 baht while my Thai friend was allowed in for free. What’s the deal with this?

Denise, Intern:
The fact that Thai people are allowed in for free is one of those discrepancies that every farang in Thailand has to learn to live with. It happens in places and establishments all over Thailand. Showing you have a Thai work permit most often lets you get in for the Thai price, speaking Thai or have a Thai driving license can also help.

3. I have some friends visiting from overseas, I have never stayed in a guesthouse here, have you got any recommendations? Needs to be cheap, central and clean!

Grace:
The two guesthouses I have stayed in and would recommend are number one; Siri Guesthouse, which is very clean, the rooms come with and without AC, it’s central and near some nice restaurants. The staff is friendly, everyone seems to love Jim the manager, there is also wifi and an office where you can book treks and other day trips and courses. The guesthouse has a little seating area with a tasty cafe and a water fountain which makes it a nice place to chill out. The rooms cost between 350 and 450 baht, which is the cheapest price for a decent place in Chiang Mai, any cheaper and quality decreases dramatically. (31/3 Soi 5 Moon Muang Road, [email protected], 053 326 550, 085 0406 055). Also Finlay’s Cottage, which is a cute wooden house, this place has a homely atmosphere, AC, good breakfasts and it’s really easy to get to the moat or Loi Kroh from. (4/1 soi 4/A Tha Pae Road, 053 207 141)

4. I am new to Thailand. I have heard it’s not necessary to tip when you eat out at a restaurant. Is this true? I feel like I’m being rude if I don’t tip.

Dana, Intern:
When eating at roadside stands there is no need to leave a tip, but most people (including Thais) will leave the loose change from the bill as a small tip. At more moderate to expensive restaurants, however, it’s customary to leave a 10% tip. For taxis, tuk tuk or songtaew, tipping is unnecessary. As for massages and spa services, they merit about a 10% tip, or more if you’ve had an exceptionally good rub down! The tipping rules in Thailand are not cut and dried, so do what feels right. If you are happy with your service wherever it may be – leave a tip. It is always appreciated and a little bit goes a long way.