Thailand To Allow Again Land Border Entry for Expats In Laos And Other Neighboring Countries

The Interior Ministry regulation will be amended to allow foreigners who receive a visa waiver for 30 days and travel into Thailand via land immigration checkpoints or land border checkpoints to enter the country with an unlimited number of visa waivers per calendar year.

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Vientiane Airport: International Expansion As China Tourism Booms

Vientiane Airport has doubled the size of its international terminal, supporting a Laotian initiative to boost tourism. Laos expects Vientiane’s international passenger traffic to double over the next five years, driven by a rapid increase in visitor numbers.

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Top Ten Hard Truths Of Living As An Expat In Thailand

There will be bumps along the way between your visits to the beach, bar and immigration office (sometimes the bumps will be at the beach, bar and immigration office). Expat life is what you make it here in the Land of Smiles. Moaning about it never helps but accepting the bumps is part of the adventure. Here are our Top Ten Hard Truths for expats in Thailand.

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King of Thailand’s Funeral Ceremony: Advice for Tourists Oct 2017

Thailand is building up to what will be a historic period with final preparations under way for the funeral of the late King. The Royal Cremation Ceremony will be held in Bangkok from October 25-29. It will be a sad time for Thai people, but the country will remain as welcoming as ever for tourists and you will still be able to enjoy your trip. Although there is no need to change travel plans, please be respectful and if you are visiting Bangkok or other areas of Thailand in October, there are some important points to be aware of.

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Thai Motor Insurance With Free 24h Emergency Roadside Service … now available at J&C Services

When traveling in Thailand and your car breaks down, you run out of gas or you’re locked out, AXA Roadside Assistance helps make it simple and easy to get back on the road and on your way. This unique service is part of our new auto-insurance policy for Thailand, only available at J&C Services.

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Thai Vans Operating On Thai-Lao Border Fully Comply With Traffic Laws

Ahead of the Songkran Festival, all vans operating across the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge in Nong Khai have been improved to meet safety requirements.
In compliance with traffic regulations being imposed during the Songkran holiday period, van operators providing services across the First Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge have made necessary adjustments to their…..

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Precious Lessons From World Heritage Town Of Luang Prabang

Almost 40 Thai villagers and “creative tourism” advocates recently participated in several community tourism activities in Luang Prabang, Laos, looking to apply good ideas to their villages in six designated special zones.
They have learned precious lessons from these destinations — Whisky Village, Sa Paper Village, Living Land Community Farm, Ock Pop Tok Living Crafts Centre, two museums, two mountains, a temple and ….

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Bangkok Hospital Starts Offering Dengue Vaccine

Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital in Bangkok has introduced the vaccine against four strains of the dengue virus, making it the first facility in Thailand to offer immunisation against the mosquito-borne disease.
Dr. On-umar Banpamai, an infectious diseases specialist at Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital, said at a briefing the vaccine against the dengue virus had been studied and developed for decades. It has also been tested in ….

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Expats In Laos Limited To Two Entries Per Year Without Visa: Thailand

From December 31st immigration checkpoints at land border crossings into Thailand will only allow visitors to enter the Kingdom on a visa exemption stamp twice in a calendar year, bringing an end to the much used loophole of staying in the country by doing back to back border hops.
Citizens of certain countries, including ….

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Thai Government To Air Concerns On Lao VAT

The government is set to raise the issue of Laos’s value-added tax (VAT) in a joint discussion with Lao counterparts, fearing the new tax measure may cripple growing border trade.
Thailand will ask for leniency and a spending ceiling from Laos during the meeting, which is expected to be held soon.
Laos has begun collecting VAT on products imported from abroad, starting at the …..

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Richest 1 Percent Of Thais Own 58 Percent Of Country’s Wealth

The global economic recovery since the 2008 crash has failed to reach all levels of society and inequality continues to grow, according to a major report.
Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Report 2016 identified Russia as the world’s most unequal country, with a staggering 74.5 per cent of the nation’s wealth controlled by the richest 1 per cent of people.
In India and Thailand, the top 1 per cent own nearly 60 per cent of the wealth, while the …..

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Bookings Available For New Overnight Train Nong Khai To Bangkok

Thailand’s new and possibly fanciest regular train service can now be booked for overnight trips from Nong Khai to Bangkok.
Equipped with new carriages featuring improved decor and facilities, the Special Express Train routes links the capital with Nong Khai, starting Dec. 2. Tickets are now on sale, prices range from 700 baht to ….

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‘Lao Are Lazy’: The Problem With ‘Thai Superiority’

It happens on a daily basis all across Thailand. The casual insults come from a sense of superiority ingrained since school days: “Thais are better than their neighbours, the Lao.”
The insults usually don’t reach Lao ears and so are rarely challenged.
Last week, however, a Thai photographer was forced to apologise for a defamatory remark he made while covering the …..

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First Two Zika-Infected Babies Born With Microcephaly: Thailand

Thailand has reported its first two cases of Zika-infected babies with microcephaly, or babies born with abnormally small heads, as health authorities urge pregnant women to avoid mosquito bites and unprotected sex to prevent infection.
Meanwhile, the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention added another 11 countries to its list where pregnant women …

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Plan To Track All Foreigners By Sim Cards: Thailand

A plan to require all foreigners in Thailand to use a special SIM card that can track their location will be reviewed by authorities Tuesday afternoon.
Announced last week by the national telecom regulator, the plan would require anyone – not just tourists but everyone who doesn’t hold a Thai passport – to use the new SIM card which would enable the authorities to track …..

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Slowing China Economy Ripples Into Laos

A slowing in China’s economy is having rippling effects on Laos, which has been described by the World Bank as having “once of the fastest growing” economies in the East Asia and Pacific region.
A decade long mining boom, combined with a rapid development of hydropower, has seen Laos’ growth rate reach over 7 percent a year, allowing national output to more than double, generating some ….

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Thai-Lao Relations Caught In Limbo Despite Common Interests And Goals

The relationship between Thailand and Laos was supposed to develop further than it has since the two countries passed a turbulent period when the last people of Hmong ethnicity left the Kingdom in 2010. Despite international criticism over the forced repatriation, the two countries have managed to build a form of “trust” since then. Vientiane cannot blame Thailand any more for….

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Lao Tourism Goes Green to Boost Growth

Laos has signed a new cross-border tourism cooperation agreement with neighboring Thailand as part of its broader efforts to boost regional hospitality links, especially eco-tourism.
The agreement came during an official visit to Thailand this week by Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.
The deal builds on moves to expand regional ties and networks among countries in the …..

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Thai AirAsia Stages Inaugural “Vientiane-Bangkok” Flight

AirAsia, “World’s Best Low Cost Airline” 7 years running as ranked by Skytrax, began daily direct flights from Vientiane to Bangkok (Don Mueang Airport) of Thailand today (1 July) with an official press launch and a special promotional fare starting at only 35 USD per trip.
Available for booking today to 3 July 2016 for travel from ….

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Luang Prabang Lures Foreign Investors With Tax Incentives

Promoted as one of Laos’ tourism destinations, Luang Prabang is angling for investors from Asean, including Thailand, by offering waiver of corporate income tax for up to six years as bait.
Luang Prabang has prioritised the tourism industry to drive its growth and lift Laotians from poverty under the 2020 strategic development plan, Governor Khamkhan Chamthavisouk said. “In general, Asean investors will be allowed to hold a 100-per-cent stake in …..

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Zika Virus Alert In Udon Thani’s Sangkhom District

Udon Thani’s Sangkhom district has been declared off-limits especially to pregnant women after a resident of the district was quarantined in Taiwan after he was tested to be infected with Zika virus.
Health volunteers in all villages in Tambon Sang Nang Khao of Nong Khai’s Pone Pisai district were instructed to mount a campaign to …

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Thailand Tightens Up Rules On Foreign Tourist Vehicles

Foreign tourists will be banned from driving motorcycles and motor homes into Thailand as part of measures to control an influx of foreign vehicles onto Thai roads, particularly in the North.
The order will also prohibit people who have not made prior agreements on car usage abroad from driving cars into Thailand from China, Myanmar, ……..

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Laos Gets Tough With Foreigners Entering Nation

The Laotian government has issued an urgent order for officials to get stricter on foreigners entering the country.
Everyone entering Laos from tomorrow must have complete documents, said a source at the 1st Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge border checkpoint om March 5th.
The move followed several recent incidents of armed robbers assaulting and killing people and the ….

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Foreigners Being Arrested For Not Carrying Passports: Thai Police

On Friday, one hundred police officers and tourist police officers raided and roped off an entertainment complex in Chiang Mai, refusing to let tourists go, testing urine for drugs and arresting tourists without a passport on them.
In a separate incident, again more than 100 officers raided Pattaya’s famed Walking Street and took ……

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Thai AirAsia To Fly Luang Prabang

Thai AirAsia will inaugurate a daily flight from Bangkok (Don Mueang Airport) to Luang Prabang in Lao PDR effective 24 March.
In the past, authorities rejected applications by low-cost airlines to fly to Luang Prabang. The country also opted out of the ASEAN Open Skies agreement, apparently to protect its national airline, at the expense of its fledging ….

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Thai Princess Visits Laos To Enhance Ties, Mutual Understanding

Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand arrived in Vientiane yesterday for a two-day official visit to Laos, aimed at enhancing bilateral ties between the two neighbours and mutual understanding between the Lao and Thai peoples.
The ministry said the princess’s visit will be an important boost in enhancing mutual understanding between the people of Laos and Thailand, and furthering …..

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Thailand Confirms New 6-month Visas For Tourists

Thailand’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) has confirmed that it will be launching a new six-month multiple-entry tourist visa (METV) in November.
In a notice posted to the Thai MFA’s Facebook page Monday, it said: “Thailand will soon grant multiple-entry visas to visitors to facilitate the forthcoming ASEAN Community and to boost Thailand’s tourism industry.”
The introduction of the new visa represents ……..

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‘New’ Crackdown On Visa Runners: Thai Immigration

Reports of a ‘crackdown’ on border runners along the Thai/Cambodian border first started surfacing over the weekend when several Thaivisa members posted about not being allowed to re-enter Thailand on visa-exempt entries.
On Monday evening, Thaivisa spoke to an Immigration officer based at Chaeng Wattana who confirmed that renewals of 15/30 day visa exempt entries are not allowed.
The source, who did not ……

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Nong Khai Immigration Tightens Screening Measures

Immigration officials in Nong Khai province have exerted greater vigilance at the border checkpoint, as police continue to search for those behind the Ratchaprasong bombing.
Nong Khai Immigration Chief Police Colonel Panlop Suriyakul Na Ayutthaya has instructed police officers to be more rigorous in screening and monitoring foreign nationals that enter and leave Thailand. He singled out the …..

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Thailand Issues New B1,000 Banknote

The Bank of Thailand will issue a new 1,000 baht banknote later this week, one that celebrates the many contributions made to the country by King Chulalongkorn, who reigned from 1868-1910.
The first 100 million of the new banknotes will be put into circulation on Friday, central bank governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul said on Monday.
The new note will eventually replace the …..

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Deadline For Thai SIM Card Registration !

Anyone that has a prepaid SIM in their Thai mobile MUST register their SIM card until next Friday, 31st of July. Failure to do so means your mobile number will unable to use data or make calls when the deadline passes.
Here’s a gentle reminder if one were needed that you have until next Friday the 31st of July to register your prepaid mobile phone number with your operator.
If you don’t, you’ll be unable to make calls or use ….

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Thais ‘Dress Improperly’ In Laos

Misbehaviour and “inappropropriate dress standards” by Thai officials during a visit to Laos have prompted a stern order from Education Minister Narong Pipatanasai.
Adm Narong has ordered all ministry staff and students to dress and behave properly when making official visits to the country.
The Thai embassy in Vientiane was informed that several Thai delegates dressed and behaved improperly when …..

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Friendship Bridge Fuels Drug Trafficking

While the opening of the first Myanmar-Laos Friendship Bridge last month may bring long-awaited economic benefits, it has also raised concerns over the risk of increased drug trafficking along the route.
The bridge linking Tachilek in Myanmar’s Shan State to Luang Namtha district in Laos is also known as part of Route R3B, which connects Thailand, Myanmar and China. The route links to the R3A Highway, which runs through Thailand, Laos and Xishuangbanna in southern China.
The Friendship Bridge abets trafficking networks, particularly in the northern areas of ……

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ICAO Red-Flags Thailand’s Aviation Safety Standard

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on Thursday “red flagged” Thailand for failing to solve significant safety concerns (SSC) on aviation standards within the 90-day deadline after receiving a warning.
The action follows an audit by representatives of the UN agency of the Department of Civil Aviation’s air transport safety certification for Thai-registered airlines in February.
The ICAO found conflict of interest in that the ….

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First MERS Case In Thailand

The Public Health Ministry yesterday announced the first MERS case in Thailand after laboratory tests confirmed that a foreign visitor had contracted the deadly virus,.
The patient was understood to have contracted Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in a foreign country, before arriving in Thailand, where he was diagnosed.
The patient, a 75-year-old man from an Arab country, has reportedly had contact with up to 59 people since arriving on Monday. He was also undergoing treatment for ….

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Single Visa Now Available For Cambodia and Thailand

Cambodia and Thailand have joined hands to increase foreign and inter-ASEAN tourism under the “Two Kingdoms, One Destination” tourism pact.
Tith Chantha, secretary of state at Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism, said Cambodia and Thailand have already created a single-visa option for tourists looking to explore both countries in one trip.
“Now, we’re joining with Thailand to promote Two Kingdoms, One Destination. It will make it much easier for tourists who don’t want to visit only one country during ……

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Thailand On Red Alert For MERS Threat

THAILAND is swinging into full alert against the killer Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) threat, which has already had serious impacts on South Korea, compelling the country to cut its interest rate in a bid to soften the blow to its economy already burdened by slack demand.
Thailand has seen no MERS cases yet, but Surachet said the move was necessary to facilitate efforts to control the deadly disease if it was ……

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Migrant Workers Instructed To Wear ID Wristbands: Thailand

Thailand — In an effort to crackdown on undocumented immigrants, police in Pathum Thani have instructed migrant workers in a major market to wear wristbands indicating they have been properly registered.
Pol.Maj.Gen. Montri Yimyaem, commander of Pathum Thani Police, said that workers from neighboring countries who have registered with police will be required to wear the dark red wristbands in public …..

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The Land of Smiles Appears To Be Sinking Further Into Dictatorship

Don’t let lifting of martial law fool you: Thailand junta’s slide towards dictatorship warrants stronger stances from the US, EU and Japan whose business and tourism it craves
This week’s lifting of martial law by Thailand’s military ruler, Prayuth Chan-ocha, looks like a brazen attempt to dupe key overseas allies, notably the US, the EU and Japan, into believing the country is on a return path to democracy. The Bangkok junta, which seized power from …..

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More Countries Join Japan, Korea In Restricting Thai Carriers

The “dominoes” that Transport Minister Prajin Juntong worried would begin falling over a global safety warning about Thailand’s aviation industry have indeed begun to tumble, with China and South Korea now banning new Thai-registered flights and Singapore imposing strict inspections.
The moves by China and South Korea follow a ban by Japan on new flights and aircraft changes by …..

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Bangkok To Be Partly Submerged In The Next 30 Years

Parts of Bangkok are at risk of getting submerged permanent in the next 30 years because due to land subsidence coupled with rising sea level, said Associate Professor Vichitbusaba Marom, a town planning expert at Thammasat University, on Friday.
She pointed out that sea level has been rising at an average of 5 mm annually while land in Bangkok has been subsiding at an average of …..

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New 100-Baht Banknotes On Circulation Thursday

The Bank of Thailand today unveiled the new 100-baht banknotes to commemorate and honour King Taksin the Great.
The new commemorative banknote will have the same size and colour as the old 100-baht banknotes currently in use, but with advanced anti-forgery printing design which allows the ordinary people and the blind to identify the value and differentiate easily.
The new banknote features the portrait of …..

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Huge Haul Of Pirated Products From China

Over 300,000 pieces of counterfeit products worth at least 500 million baht were seized on the Thai-Lao bridge in the border province on Tuesday.
Acting on a tipoff, customs officials at the third Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge stopped an 18-wheeler with a Lao licence plate and a container filled with illegal goods. The bridge links Nakhon Phanom with Kam Muan in Laos.
Authorities found around 80,000 watches of well-known brands, as well as …..

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Thailand Tightens Border Inspections Of Lao Teens

Thai immigration officials will be closely questioning Lao teenagers entering the country at the Vientiane-Nong Khai Friendship Bridge in a bid to combat human trafficking, Thai-based media have reported.
The Thai authorities said the move was aimed at preventing young people from being lured into the Kingdom by human traffickers for the flesh trade, but Lao authorities said they had not been informed of the fact.
More than 100 Lao girls believed to have been lured into …..

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Thai-Lao Deal To Spur Trade

Thailand and Laos yesterday agreed to underscore their partnership by boosting and developing border trade, which is expected to reach US$8.16 billion over the next three years.

According to Commerce Minister Chatchai Sarikulya, Thailand and Laos agreed to set up a joint border trade committee as a key mechanism to drive and supervise the economic links of key border towns, mainly through Nong Khai-Vientiane, Chiang Khong-Bokeo, Nakhon Phanom-Khammouan and ……

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Bangkok Sukhumvit Shakedown: Questioning Thai Police Integrity

It was about 9pm on a weeknight in March last year, and Mat, an American business consultant, was trying to hail a taxi on Sukhumvit Soi 36 when he was stopped by six policemen on motorcycles.
Mat was completely sober, drug-free and dressed like a typical foreigner, in a T-shirt, cargo shorts and flip flops.
“You smoke ganja mai?” one of the officers asked, referring to marijuana, while pressing his index finger and thumb to mimic smoking a joint. Without asking permission, the officers removed …..

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72 Laos Teens Rescued From Forced Prostitution in Thailand

Seventy-two Lao girls, who were forced into providing sexual services in four karaoke bars in Suphan Buri province of Thailand have been rescued, Thai local media reported last week.
Thai police officers on Wednesday night raided the four establishments which operated as karaoke bars and found them to be fronts for illegal activities, Thailand’s influential newspaper Thai Rath reported.
The girls rescued were between 13 and 20 years old. The four bars were

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Thai Airways Caught Using Subsidiary: Warned By Lao Authorities

Laos has warned Thai Airways International (THAI) to stop breaching its air service agreement by deploying its budget airline subsidiary for flights to the neighbouring country that are designated for the parent.
The order came after Lao authorities found THAI Smile had been flying the route in place of the parent airline, an act considered a violation of the rights originally extended to THAI.
In the eyes of the authorities, THAI Smile, despite being wholly ….

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Bangkok Shakedown: Tourists Report Increased Harassment By Police

Over recent weeks there has been a sharp increase in reports of police harassment, intimidation and flat-out extortion in the Sukhumvit area, usually between Thong Lor and Asoke. While stories of the Bangkok police engaging in less than exemplary behavior are not new, and no official statistics for ‘on-the-spot fines’ exist, there does seem to be a policy of targeting foreign males in prime tourist areas at the …..

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Americans In Thailand Warned After Release Of CIA Report

Release of U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report on the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation Program:
U.S. citizens in Thailand should be aware that release of declassified versions of the executive summary, findings, and conclusions of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report of the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program could prompt anti-U.S. protests and violence against U.S. interests, including private U.S. citizens.
U.S. citizens should pay attention to their surroundings and take ….

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Thailand Offers Visa-On-Arrival Services at 10 More Border Checkpoints

Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paojinda said today that additional visa-on-arrival services were approved and published in the Royal Gazette on November 10 and will take effect tomorrow, December 10.
The move is aimed at promoting tourism, economic activities, transport, trade and the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community, he said.
The 10 new visa on arrival locations are the immigration checkpoints at …..

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German Man Brutally Attacked By ‘Koh Tao Copycats’: Udon Thani

A 25-year-old German man was admitted to the ICU after he was allegedly attacked by drunk teenagers in Udon Thani who wanted to imitate the brutal murder of two British tourists on Koh Tao island in September.
Police say the German man was sitting with two Thai friends near a park in Udon Thani’s Muang District in the early morning of 15 November when three Thai teenagers suddenly attacked him with a garden hoe.
The man is now being treated for severe ….

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Laos Rail Development On Fast Track With Thailand, China Line

An agreement between Thailand and China on the construction of a new rail line linking the two countries has put the spotlight on Laos, the country this proposed railway would pass through.
Thailand and China has agreed to cooperate on building a new rail line, which would eventually connect Southern China with Bangkok. This initiative has put the spotlight on Laos, the country this proposed railway would pass …..

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British Stars Speak Out Against Dog-Meat Trade’s Cruelty

Thailand’s Soi Dog Foundation has some of the biggest stars in Britain speaking out against the dog-meat trade in a video that starts with a warning about its “distressing” content.
Dame Judi Dench, Ricky Gervais and two of the stars of the international-hit series “Downton Abbey” – Laura Carmichael and Phyllis Logan – give voice to the “I Never Knew” campaign in the moving (and, yes, distressing) three-minute video that drives home what you probably didn’t want to know. But of course you should know …

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Thailand Wants Wristbands, Curfews & Electronic Tracking Devices For Tourists

Thailand’s tourism minister said on Tuesday that identification wristbands would be distributed to tourists following the murder of two British backpackers earlier this month that has raised fresh concerns over tourist safety.
Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said she had approached hotels over the idea of handing out wristbands to help identify ….

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Lao Children Are Better Educated Than Thai Kids

Thailand’s poor standing in a recent global survey on the quality of education has caused alarm among educators here and prompted the authorities to respond.
Thailand is ranked 87th in the world in the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015 – behind most other member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, including less economically developed neighbours such as Laos, which is ranked 60th. This is both embarrassing and ….

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Thailand Allows 30-day Extension Of Stay For Visitors From 48 Countries

In another positive move to boost the Thai travel and tourism industry, the Immigration Bureau has allowed citizens of 48 countries and Hong Kong SAR to get a 30-day extension of their stay in Thailand after the expiry of their normal period of stay.
The move is effective as of 29 August, 2014. It will apply to visitors holding travel documents of Australia, Austria, …….

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Entire Car Of Train Passengers Drugged & Robbed: Thailand

With many Expats traveling from Laos to Bangkok by train, this latest news raises new concerns about the safety on Thai trains:
Passengers on a southbound train were reportedly robbed in their sleep just metres away from the lady-only car installed in the wake of a deadly rape on the same rail route last month.
According to Pol.Col. Witset Ketpan, deputy commander of Thai Railway Police, nine passengers said they lost their phones and cash in the theft. 30 passengers were in the car at the time, adding that the perpetrator managed to remove …..

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Holiday in Thailand Could End For Expats

For decades, hundreds of thousands of home-weary expats have lived in Bangkok or in the palm-lined beach resorts dotted along the Gulf of Thailand.
Drawn to the country by its tropical weather, laidback hospitality and cut-rate comforts, most have made Thailand their home after completing the correct immigration paperwork.
However, others have easily dodged lax visa enforcement, itself another reason Thailand has remained so attractive.
But following the coup in late May, the new military government issued warnings that it will soon start to clampdown on immigration offenders, raising fears among many that …..

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Stern Punishments For Visa Violators Announced: Thailand

Forceful punishment for foreigners who overstay their visas in Thailand including multi-year entry bans were officially announced yesterday.
Under the new rules which had been rumored earlier this month and posted online Tuesday by the Immigration Bureau, foreign nationals who overstay their visas will be expelled from the kingdom and blacklisted for at least one year.
Those remaining in Thailand more than ….

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Kiwis Caught With Fake Notes Drawn At Vientiane International Airport

Two young women from New Zealand narrowly escaped spending three months in a Thai prison after they were found in possession of counterfeit American dollars.
Casey Hanson, 21, and her friend Megan Taylor, 24, said the group withdrew US$1000 (NZ$1135) at Vientiane International Airport in Laos on June 30 and US$300 of that was changed into kip, the local currency. The group spent seven days in the country before travelling to Bangkok where Hanson and Taylor exchanged US$100 into Thai baht before heading to a mall to exchange a further US$500. At the mall, red flags were raised about the authenticity of ….

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No More Visa Runs: Thailand

FOREIGNERS WHO do regular visa runs in order to extend their stay in Thailand have less than a month before a crackdown by the authorities to enforce immigration laws more strictly.
From August 13, people will not be able to re-enter the country, regardless of their choice of transport.
The Immigration Bureau has already instructed officials to deny entry to foreigners doing visa runs as a measure to stop the …..

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Bangkok Warns Of Risk Of Legionnaire’s Disease

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) yesterday urged hotels and shopping malls to clean their air-conditioning systems as a precaution after a recent random check found that several hotels had legionella bacteria, which could pose a risk of respiratory diseases.
BMA explained that a random check on hotels, malls and cinema theatres had found some premises with dust, bacteria and fungi, but ….

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Rocket Festival Stirs Flight Safety Fears

Lao Airlines sought permission from Aerothai to change its flight paths in Thailand during the Buddhist Lent festival due to safety concerns
Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (Aerothai) wants stricter measures put in place to limit the height of traditional bang fai, or Isan rockets, to make it safer for aircraft.
The agency is increasingly concerned with threats to aircraft safety posed by illegally modified rockets, which can reach as high as ….

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Major Cineplex Group To Open Venue In Vientiane

Major Cineplex Group Plc, Thailand’s largest cinema operator, is looking to expand further in Indochina as the region’s entertainment industry develops.
“Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos are fresh entertainment markets, and we should take this opportunity to establish our presence in these countries before our rivals,” said Major Cineplex chairman Vicha Poolvaraluck.
Its first cinema with five screens would open by the end of this year at the ……

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Confirmed: Visa run crackdown effective from August 12, 2014: Thai Foreign Ministry

The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangkok has informed the foreign Embassies and Consulates in Thailand and the Royal Thai Embassies and Consulates worldwide about the visa run crackdown, the former in a letter dated June 23, 2014.
For the first time in writing, the ministry confirms the Thai Immigration Bureau’s current crackdown on border runners.
The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the crackdown is aimed to prevent visa runners who abuse the visa exemption scheme from working illegally in ….

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Thailand Says No Policy To ‘Sweep And Clean’ Illegal Migrants

More than 140,000 Cambodians had fled jobs in Thailand to return home as of Monday, fearing a crackdown on illegal migrants under junta rule, an official said.
Thailand is believed to have about two million documented foreign migrant workers from countries including Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos who work in low-paying jobs that Thais are unwilling to so.
Video of shooting of pickup carrying cambodians may have raised fears. The military junta yesterday reiterated it has no policy to crack down on migrant workers here despite the …..

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AIMC Clinic Enters Agreement With Thai International Hospital

Alliance International Medical Centre in Vientiane has joined hands with Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand to provide healthcare services for people from Laos.
Under the agreement, patients in Laos including Lao people and foreign expatriates who wish to go for treatment at Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok can register through Alliance International Medical Centre.
The Alliance International Medical Centre will facilitate arrangements for patients to receive treatment at Bumrungrad International Hospital including ….

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India, Vietnam, Thailand Named As Destinations Most Likely To Make You Sick

ONE in two Australian travellers get sick on overseas holidays – and India, Vietnam and Thailand are clocking up the highest number of holiday casualties.
Of those struck down by illness, most lost at least two days of their holiday. And many of those wasted sick days could have been avoided, with travellers admitting to being slack when it comes to basic preventive measures.
Tummy troubles like diarrhoea and gastro were the …..

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Thai Coup Restrictions Affect All Lao Border Crossings

Update 28th May: Our readers report that the situation at the Vientiane / Nongkai crossing is back to normal
Lao residents and Expats living in Laos with vehicles who intend to travel to Thailand will not be able to cross with ease as restrictions have been placed on all border checkpoints after the Thai military staged a coup to seize power and maintain peace and order on May 22.
Lao people who carry border passes are currently restricted from using them to enter Thailand.
Thai military officials have advised residents to use a passport and only go into Thailand if …..

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Thai Immigration Boss Confirms The Out-In Visa Run Is Dead

The national commander of Thai Immigration, Lt Gen Phanu Kerdlaphon, has confirmed that “Out-In” visa runs are – apart from a few exceptions – a thing of the past.
Speaking with The Phuket News this morning, Gen Phanu said, “We have been very lenient about this. I’ve had many comments about [our excessive leniency].”
Several factors have come together to kill off the tourist visa run. The first is fallout from the disappearance of …. .

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Samitivej Opens International Children’s Hospital In Bangkok

The Samitivej private hospital group has opened an international children’s hospital in Bangkok to serve up to 1,000 outpatients and 100 inpatients per day.
Samitivej International Children’s Hospital is staffed by specialist paediatricians who cover all aspects of a child’s health. The hospital offers a full spectrum of primary and tertiary care services including paediatric air and ground medical transport to treat medical ….

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Thailand becomes ‘Sick Man of Southeast Asia’

Thailand is now being branded as ‘the sick man of Southeast Asia’ given its low economic growth, unstable politics and lack of investors’ confidence, according to the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.
480 out of 4,000 small- and medium-sized Thai enterprises have planned to invest in neighbouring Indonesia, Myanmar and Laos with a total investment of Bt77 billion. The political turmoil will compel other manufacturers to relocate from Thailand, about 1,440 Thai operators will possibly move their production bases to neighbouring countries.
If the political impasse continues until next year, Thailand’s investors overseas will ….

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Sex Trafficking Victims Go Unnoticed in Laos

Like many girls in Laos, where almost one-third of the population lives below the poverty line, Vahn* was desperate to earn money for her family. This made her a prime target for sex traffickers.
As an uneducated 15-year old, Vahn said she was convinced by her stepsister to work at a farm in central Thailand. But she ended up at a Thai brothel, where she was forced to have sex with a client who paid to take her virginity.
Vahn’s story is not unique. Laos, a landlocked, communist state with one of the worst poverty rates in Southeast Asia, is a prime source for Thailand’s flourishing sex trafficking rings. Around 90 percent of Lao trafficking victims are transported to ….

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Udon Thani Wants On The Map

The Udon Thani Tourism Business Association has set an ambitious goal of placing the northeastern province on the global tourism map. Newly appointed president Tanakorn Weerachatyanukul said the plan includes improving infrastructure and better transport with more flights to Udon Thani.
He said in the near future, the number of flights between Bangkok to Udon Thani will increase to 27 per day, ranking as the third highest destination from Bangkok after Phuket and Chiang Mai.
More flights from Singapore, …….

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Services To Be Improved At Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge

The first Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge which links Vientiane and Nong Khai in Thailand will increase services to support the Asean Economic Community (AEC) next year. The 1st Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge is one of Vientiane’s checkpoints which will be busy after Laos joins the AEC.
Officials are of the belief that there will be a large increase in transportation at the bridge after Asean nations officially launch the AEC.
“We are now improving many sections at the bridge to support the community including infrastructure and services at the …….

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Immigration Crackdown On Illegal Foreigners: North-East Thailand

Immigration Police in North East Thailand have announced the start of a major crackdown on foreigners entering the country posing as tourists, who it believes are in fact working illegally in the Kingdom, said Pol Major General Chartchai Lamsaeng at a seminar for immigration officers held on Monday in Khon Kaen.
This latest crackdown is to also target foreign nationals on border runs and those who have re-entered Thailand a considerable number of times using tourist visas over a ……

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Thai Political Instability Worries Lao Exporters

Lao PDR’s export market may be under threat by continued political turmoil in Thailand, an economist has warned, according to a report in state-run daily Vientiane Times on Thursday.
“Thailand is not only our major trading partner but our transit road to export our products to the international market. We cannot avoid an impact if the political turmoil in the neighboring country gets worse,” a senior economist told the paper.
As turmoil in Thailand continues, Lao exporters are becoming increasingly concerned about the future of exports to ….

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Thailand, Bangkok: 45 Countries Issue Travel Warnings

Travellers to Bangkok being urged to avoid rally sites, stock up on cash, food and water. Many countries have advised their nationals to stay away from demonstration sites on Monday and ensure that they have enough cash on them, a fully-charged communication device as well as enough food and water to last a while. They have also been advised not to wear red or yellow.
“Participating or showing support in any form to any of the parties is strongly discouraged,” the Philippines Embassy in Bangkok said on its website. Meanwhile, the United States Embassy has warned its citizens to be careful, because although mass rallies have been generally peaceful over the past few months, there have still …..

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THAI Smile Flies To Luang Prabang

THAI Smile, a business unit of Thai Airways International, will start a new four weekly service to Luang Prabang in Laos, 15 December.
It pitches the airline in direct competition with Bangkok Airways that was the first international airline to serve the World Heritage town. It flies three daily services to Luang Prabang.
Luang Prabang was designated by UNESCO as the “The Best Preserved City in Southeast Asia” and registered as a World Heritage City, due to its anciednt temples and well preserved colonial building and former royal palaces.
THAI Smile will operate flights from …..

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Bridge Border Crossing Set To Speed Up

Officials overseeing the first Laos-Thailand Friendship Bridge border checkpoint have told the Asean Secretariat they will streamline procedures to speed up crossings between Vientiane and Thailand’s Nong Khai province.
In 2012 almost 1.9 million people entered Laos at the bridge and more than 2.1 million people left Laos for Thailand the same way. With 36,958 vehicles coming in and 246,468 going out of Laos, the bridge has become noticeably more crowded in recent times.
Under a newly-drawn plan on how to address the crowding problem presented at yesterday’s visit, the checkpoint will introduce a single-window system and parking spaces and roads will be expanded and improved…..

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16 Countries Now Warn Their Citizens On Travels To Thailand

The Tourism Authority of Thailand said today that 16 countries have now warned their people to avoid areas where protests are being held on their travels to Thailand.
However it said that these countries have not yet told their citizens not to travel to Thailand but just advise them to stay away from the areas where protests are held as there was possibility that large scale protest could break out.
Meanwhile New Zealand also retained warning to its citizens issued end of September saying the protest in Thailand could spread and turn violent, it advised its citizens to ….

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Infrastructure in Laos: One night to Bangkok

POOR countries with low population density tend not to have world-class railway systems. Landlocked Laos, which is squeezed between four countries with extensive rail networks (of varying quality), plans to buck the trend.
Last week China and Laos reaffirmed their commitment to make the proposed 260-mile (418-kilometre) passenger and freight railway between Kunming and Vientiane a reality. The project’s price tag is to be nearly as big as Laos’s formal economy: $6.2 billion plus interest. It will take an estimated 50,000 Chinese workers five years to build it. An astonishing two-thirds of the route will run through tunnels and over …..

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Thailand’s Sexy School Uniforms

They’re a common sight everywhere you go in Thailand: young women in white blouses and black skirts or young men in white dress shirts and black dress pants, sometimes with belt buckles (in the case of the girls only held by a few binder clips) or pins sporting their university logos.
Thailand is one of the very few countries left in the world — next to neighboring Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam — that requires students to wear uniforms even at university level. While the wearing of uniforms is mandatory at every academic institution in the country, how strict the rules are enforced varies from place to place and is mostly up to the teaching personnel.
And every now and then there is some controversy about the outfits students are ….

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Laughing-Gas Balloons Not So Funny

The widespread use of illegal balloons containing laughing gas among tourists at entertainment venues has prompted police in Bangkok, Thailand to crack down on vendors selling these balloons on Khao San Road.
Sale of balloons filled with nitrous oxide gas, also known as laughing gas, is illegal. However, vendors on khao san Road – Bangkok’s famous tourist street – are still selling this balloon to tourists. Some of them have set up stands along the street, luring tourists to pay Bt100 to Bt150 for each piece.
Tourists have been warned to not buy these balloons as the colourless and non-inflammable nitrous-oxide gas can cause severe symptoms for inhalers and some might even become unconscious if …..

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Lao Airlines Operates Daily Savannakhet-Bangkok-Pakse Flights

National carrier Lao Airlines officially began daily Savannakhet-Bangkok-Pakse flights on August 1, after previously flying the route only three times per week.
The additional flights are to serve tourists and businesspeople in Laos and Thailand, who fly between Savannakhet, Laos, Bangkok, Thailand and Pakse, Laos ……

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Thailand Aims To Double Trade With Laos

Thailand will discuss with Laos a plan to double bilateral trade to US$8 billion (Bt240 billion) by 2015 from $4 billion in 2011.
The meeting between the Thai Commerce Ministry and the Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce on August 8-9 will discuss the expansion of bilateral trade and investment, aiming to double bilateral trade value by 2015.
Thailand would urge more Thai businesses to invest in Laos. Thailand is currently the third-largest investor in Laos after China and Vietnam. Most of the Thai business investment in Laos is in the mining, energy, agriculture, forestry, and ……

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Fighting Drug Gangs In The Notorious Golden Triangle

A Thai police gunboat prowls the waters of the Mekong River searching for the drug gangs that haunt this territory deep in the Golden Triangle, an age-old smuggling route — with a new scourge.
At one time this frontier region, where the remote edges of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet, was awash with heroin, flooding over the border from the then world’s biggest opium producer Myanmar.
Times have changed and now the drug of choice is methamphetamine often in the form of “yaba” — Thai for “crazy medicine” — bound for the streets and clubs of Asia. “It is very difficult …..

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Thailand’s Obsession With So-Called ‘Nazis Chic’ Just Won’t Go Away

Schoolchildren dressing up as Nazis and a billboard advert showing Hitler were just the start. Thailand’s obsession with so-called ‘Nazis chic’ just won’t go away – and now a fried chicken takeaway called Hitler – complete with a logo showing the Nazi leader in a bow tie – has opened its doors.
The bizarre restaurant opened last month in Thailand and images of it are doing the rounds on Twitter as shocked customers take photos of the offensive eatery……

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Thailand To Require Foreign Tourists To Buy Health Insurance

Lawmakers in Thailand say they want all foreign tourists to be required to purchase travel and health insurance before arriving in their country.
The health ministry has suggested the cost of health insurance coverage might be included in visa fees. Those visiting Thailand without visas would be required to buy insurance at immigration checkpoints or the fees could be added to the cost of airline tickets.
The health ministry set up the meeting after Thailand’s government asked it to address concerns about the financial burden on the country’s state hospitals, which are required to provide foreigners with free medical service….

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Fresh Ideas Needed In Ties With Laos

Relations between Thailand and Laos in the 21st century have already moved toward a new era, which requires not only trust and cooperation, but also a new vision to make the links mutually beneficial to people of both countries.
However, there has been no new policy initiative in relation to Laos since 2006, as many governments over the years since then have been busy with domestic conflicts.This government under Yingluck is no exception. Although the current government is relatively free from domestic political tension, it offers no policy initiative for ties with Laos. The joint statement signed by foreign ministers of the two countries reflected no new vision for future relations.
One part of the statement is even locked into ….

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Illegal Dog Meat Trafficking; Laos, Vietnam and Thailand

Tha Rae, a small town whose name means “butcher village”, is located in the northeast Thai province of Sakhon Nakhon and it’s a hub for the region’s multi-million dollar illegal dog trafficking industry. About 150km of Laos separates the province from central Vietnam, from where the animals make their way up to Hanoi to fetch as much as $10 per kilogram of dog meat – two to three times as much as pork.
Dog meat is illegal in Thailand. It is not illegal in Vietnam, but the importation of dogs for consumption from abroad is. Defying the law, at least 10,000 – and by some estimates as many as 30,000 – dogs are smuggled from Thailand through Laos to Vietnam each month to feed a popular industry …….

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Many Quitting Southern Provinces To Work In Thailand

The number of people from the southern provinces crossing the border to find work in neighbouring countries continues to rise despite the growing investment and economic development in Laos.
Most people in the south of the country cannot find work and, even when they do, the jobs are very poorly paid. Many of them live along the Lao-Thai border and crossing it is an attractive option, as they can earn significantly more there working on construction sites or in factories.

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Nok Air Calendar “Inappropriate” ?

Nok Air’s calendar shows the photo of 12 girls in yellow bikinis, posting in front of its aircraft. The girls appear on the front cover of its calendar, which will be distributed to 300 fans.
The Thai Culture Permanent Secretary attacked Nok Air for its controversial calendar. “They lack the sense of social and cultural responsiblity and ignore social and cultural repercussions – particularly female dignity.”

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7-Eleven To Expand Into Laos

CP All Plc, the operator of 7-Eleven convenience stores, will expand into Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam as it seeks to benefit from an integrated Asean market from Dec 2015. CP All has submitted a proposal to 7-Eleven’s parent company in the US to open stores in four of Thailand’s neighbouring countries.
An average of 1,234 customers visit each 7-Eleven store in Thailand daily, compared with 1,052 in Japan and 920 in the US….

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Thailand Ranked 8th Most Dangerous Country; Laos Not Listed

According to the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) covering 158 countries, Thailand is the worst in Southeast Asia and the fifth worst in all Asia. The top four countries in the list are all from Asia – Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India – where terrorist incidents were “heavily concentrated”.
Thailand ranks top among the Southeast Asian countries, followed by the Philippines (No 10), Indonesia (29), Myanmar (33), ………

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Central Plaza Udon – Expect The Ultra

Currently Robinsons, reborn as Central Plaza, is undergoing major building work to make this shopping mall the biggest in the Isaan region. Once finalized, the shopping mall area will be 30,000 square meters, making it bigger than the Central Plaza complex in Khon Kaen. I was told that the renovations are due to be finished in March 2012, although given the the current progress it seems it may take a bit longer.

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Art Supplies in Vientiane and Bangkok

Where can you get quality art supplies in Vientiane? Almost nowhere, apparently, according to one art gallery owner who I spoke with. There are two notable and convenient places to shop for art and craft supplies in Bangkok, however. The first is at the top floor of the Siam Paragon Shopping Mall Department Store. You can find a large range of most items, however it tends to focus more on stationery than arts and crafts.

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Nong Khai’s Aquarium – A Closeup Look At The Mekong River Fish

If you’re looking for an interesting and educational experience not far from Vientiane, the little known Nong Khai Aquarium might be right up your alley.
Just over the border on the road leading to Udon Thani is the biggest aquarium in Northeastearn Thailand at Khon Kaen University’s Campus in Nong Khai.
The idea is to conserve freshwater fish in the Mekong River as well as to stimulate tourism in the province.

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Makro Cash and Carry

It is always cheaper to purchase goods in Thailand if you have the chance to get across the border. If you are part of a large family and stock a lot of food in your home, or you just don’t like shopping frequently, one of the best places to do grocery shopping is Makro. This is a ‘cash-n-carry’ chain that originates in Holland and sells everything from foodstuffs, groceries, cleaning products to electrical goods and office supplies.

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Big Savings at Big C

Many expats enjoy a day in Udon Thani combined with a shopping trip. The town offers a plethora of supermarket shopping venues with everything from corner stores to hypermarts but one venue often overlooked and undervalued is Big C. This Thai owned chain that now also operates in Vietnam has an outlet in Udon Thani quite unfortunately hidden behind an overpass. Neverthless, for the discerning shopper, Big C can turn out to be quite a good destination.

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