This is Thailand

 |  May 31, 2010

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.

1. I want to buy a computer for my 14-year-old son, and he has asked for a notebook. Do you think that the best place to buy it would be IT CITY, Pantip Plaza, or do you have a favourite place? Which brand name do you think would be the best one, as he wants it both to assist in his studies and to play games?

Our technician tells me that at the moment he likes the Dell laptops, because they have a good on-site service and less problems with heat. Most shops will have a Dell dealer so you’ll have to look around to see who is offering the best package. If you want to read about certain laptops just Google them and read the reviews.

2. Was this summer the hottest on record? If not, how hot were the hottest summers in Chiang Mai?

Maybe not the hottest on record but according to the Thai news it has been the hottest in many years. I remember when I first came to Thailand in 1969 the temperature would be 36°C maybe 37°C in Chiang Mai during April and I didn’t have air-conditioning then. For the past month there hasn’t been one day below 38°C (according to my back patio thermometer) and I am not sure I can live without air-conditioning now. During Songkran it is reported that the Chiang Mai temperature went up to 42°C. I can’t wait for the rains.

James (Reply from our former weather columnist John Hobday aka ESP):
From my home records the hottest summer was in 1992 when the temperature at my house was 41°C degrees. Since then, including this year, it has not exceeded 38°C and normally peaks at 37°C. My house is normally about 2-3 degrees cooler than in the concrete jungle.

Although it has not yet exceeded 37°C degrees this year (Ed: at time of writing April 23rd) the hot weather has lasted longer than usual and so far there have not been any storms to cool things down.

The hottest day of the year is normally in the first week of May, just before the rains arrive.

It is also of coincidental interest that the record temperature of 1992 was at the same time as the ‘Black May’ riots and military slaughter in Bangkok when the Suchinda government was bloodily brought down.

3. I see the sauna is very popular in Thailand. But it’s so damn hot anyway, do we need a sauna? And does a sauna actually do anything good for you?

It is said that saunas can help people with asthma, chronic bronchitis and skin problems; it’s also said to help with chronic pain issues and even with cognitive issues such as depression, can’t sleep, can’t stay awake, hyperactivity, anxiety, etc. Saunas can detox you as well, as many toxins are eliminated in the sweat. Be warned though, hangovers or comedowns are not good times for saunas. Personally speaking, I do feel good after a sauna. You can find them at spas, gyms, hotels.

4. What is the legal marrying age in Thailand? Any other marriage laws?

You must both be at least 17 years old. If any party is under 20 then they must have the parents’ consent. You can’t be blood relatives. You can’t marry your adopted child. And if you are in any way mentally incapacitated then it can be quite tricky getting married.

5. Could you please inform me of any reputable building companies that speak fluent English?

I am afraid that we are unable to personally recommend any builder due to lack of satisfaction, though we are currently using a builder we are so far happy with, but as the job is still incomplete we would rather not make any recommendations, do email us at for their contact details if you want to try them out.

Whether you speak Thai or your builder speaks fluent English one thing I would like to recommend. You should be at the building site every minute of every day. There is some kind of law that says the minute you are away from the building site is when your builders will do something that you will not be happy with. Case in point, my wife was late going to the site one day and by the time she had gotten there the builders had put in the staircase for the front porch – except it was on the wrong side of the porch. If you don’t mind tearing things down and rebuilding them then go ahead and take a day off.