This is Thailand

 |  July 30, 2013

For those of you with questions regarding Thailand, Thai culture, history, tourism, laws, rules, food, nightlife, subculture, dating, or generally anything as long as it is relevant, we have a panel of experts ready to respond to your enquiries. Email:

I bought a used motorbike. How do I register it in my name? 

First things first: if you have a work permit, make a photocopy of it. If not, you need to obtain notarised proof of residence from either your home embassy (heads up, it costs $50 USD at the American Embassy, but all you have to do is solemnly swear you live here and pay up) or you must bring proof of your address, 500 baht, and two photos of yourself to the Immigration Office and go through that whole circus. You’ll also need a copy of your passport, a copy of the previous owner’s passport, the original green book, and about 600 baht cash. Then head over to the Provincial Land Transport Office on Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road (the rubber tree road). *Note that this office is for motorbikes only; for driver’s licenses or car and truck registrations you must go to the main Land Transport Office on Hang Dong Road.* Anyway, at the office everyone is pretty friendly and willing to shuttle you quite smoothly through the process, so don’t fear. Park out front in the inspection area and the team there will check and record the serial numbers, engine, and mechanics of your bike. Go to the information desk to collect the necessary forms, fill them out and pay the fee (about 300 baht) at the next counter. You’ll also need to purchase motorbike insurance if you don’t already have it; this can be done at the same place as the registration and is delightfully cheap (about 300 baht for the year). Once all this is sorted, you and your motorbike are free to go and your registration tag and green book will be available for pick-up the next day.

I ran out of pages in my passport! What do I do?

Emily (intern):
The best advice I can give you is to contact your local embassy or consulate, since each case is different depending on which country you are from. French and American passport holders can get extra pages sewn in, whereas Thais and Canadians must apply for new passports. In other words, there seems to be no real rhyme or reason, but you can usually find the necessary information online by Googling, along with instructions on how to proceed. For example, US citizens can get extra pages sewn in at the US Consulate in Chiang Mai for $84 USD. It only takes an hour, so you can pick your passport up on the same day, just be sure to make an appointment in advance (  UK passport holders, on the other hand, must apply for a new passport. If you’re a frequent traveller, however, you can pay an extra £13 or so for a 48-pager so you don’t need to replace it as often. 

Where can I shop for cheap clothes in Chiang Mai?

Kao (intern):
Shopping in touristy areas means you will pay tourist prices, but shopping near universities means you’ll pay student prices – in other words, much cheaper! Check out Malin Plaza, located on Huay Kaew Road across from the Chiang Mai University entrance. This market is full of inexpensive Thai food as well as cheap sunglasses, makeup, jewellery and clothing – just note that it’s mostly women’s fashions in relatively small sizes. Regardless of whether you find what you’re looking for, Malin Plaza is open every night from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. and is a fun and bustling place to spend an evening.

I believe that foreigners can pay in advance for a plot in the foreigner’s cemetery. Can you give me some more information about this?

Indeed this is possible, but according to the Chiang Mai Foreign Cemetery Committee, only foreigners with a long time connection to Northern Thailand are allowed to purchase plots in advance. The committee rather enigmatically states that in order to determine what constitutes a “long time connection” they will study the evidence and “make an informed opinion.” For those who do make the cut, the current reservation fees are 15,000 baht for a burial plot and 7,500 baht for a cremation plot. To learn more you can visit the cemetery, located on Chiang Mai-Lamphun Road just east of the river, near the Chiengmai Gymkhana Club. There, for 200 baht, you can purchase a copy of “De Mortuis: The Story of the Chiang Mai Foreign Cemetery” which should tell you everything you need to know about the fascinating necropolis. More questions? Ready to make your case? Email committee members Richard Abbott ( or Ron Rae (