MAIL BAG [email protected]
No parking on Suthep, how about Huay Kaew?
May I applaud the traffic police for their efforts in clearing congestion on
Suthep Road by enforcing no parking along the side of the road near the
hospital? Well done on that idea and you should know that your efforts have
made that road far less difficult to use. The ease and flow of traffic on
Suthep is a wonder, going from one of the worst roads to use at any time of
the day to something that is actually usable is quite a serious
Now I call on you to ban the parking of songthaews along Huay Kaew Road in
front of Kad Suan Kaew Mall. The mall should be encouraged to open up the
very large parking space in front of the mall for the songthaews (and may
not charge the songthaews a parking fee) and leave the road in front free
for traffic. This major bottleneck not only slows traffic down considerably
but is quite dangerous as they stop without looking, pull out into traffic
regardless of who is coming, and force traffic into one lane. Add in the
additional rather dangerous factor of cars and motorbikes have to go around
them and then turn in front of them to enter the mall parking lot and it can
be quite bad. I have seen, on more than one occasion, people being nearly
struck by the songthaews as they attempt to turn into the mall as the
songthaews pull out into the road.
Also enforcing the no parking opposite Kad Suan Kaew would be good too. This
is another bottleneck that causes serious traffic problems.
Huay Kaew is an incredibly busy road and at rush hour is often close to
gridlock as people head out of the city towards the Superhighway. It is in
everyone’s interest that these areas are left free for traffic to move.
Huay Kaew resident
Obtaining a British
passport in Bangkok
A step by step guide
Brits seeking to apply for a new/replacement passport in Thailand must now go to
the amazingly named Trendy Tower block, Sukhumvit soi 13, Bangkok and not the
Applications by DHL to Hong Kong are sadly a process of the past.
This is fairly well known, but my visit to Trendy on September 19th highlighted
a few points which may be helpful to applicants.
1. The formal advice - once one has made an appointment online - is to arrive
not more than 5 minutes in advance of the time allocated. You are warned that if
you miss your appointment you may have to wait 8 weeks for another. I was the
counter-signatory for my friend and so we were very thankful that we arrived 25
minutes in advance. Parking in the area is virtually impossible. On the ground
floor of Trendy Tower one must first check in to a special reception desk to get
a pass to go to the 28th floor. This ultra-modern and smart facility offers
facilities for Australians and Canadians as well as British, is very efficient
but very busy. Approximately 100 people were being dealt with when we were
there. By the time one has got the pass to the 28th floor and waited for one of
the 3 lifts, time had passed by. Once up on high, one needs to allow 5 minutes
to get through the security check, more if you need last minute photo copies or
blank forms to fill in.
2. All through the process, you are met by charming Thais with excellent
English. Right on - or a little before - your appointment time, you are ushered
into a tiny cubicle to present your evidence. Although the instructions say that
only the applicant is admitted, I was also admitted as counter-signatory. The
British system prefers - in order - holders of British, Irish, EU or
‘commonwealth’ passports as counter-signatories to expedite the fastest issue.
It’s also preferable that this person be a member of one of several specific
professions, or retired from one. I took my old professional ‘quallies’ just in
case and they were accepted. They also needed a colour copy of the photo page of
3. We had missed 2 points. Payment for ones’ next UK passport can only be made
by credit card. No cash in any currency accepted! I did not find this in advance
on the UK Government website. Also, evidence of one’s Thai address MUST be in
English as all this paperwork goes to Liverpool. My friend took his usufruct and
we were thus sent back down to the ground floor for a 500 baht translation. This
was done in 20 minutes and we were able to get straight back into the process on
the 28th floor.
You keep your existing passport (as per Thai law) but cannot travel on it
internationally once your application has been made.
Applicants unfit to make the journey to Bangkok can send a representative along
with a doctor’s letter and power of attorney. Everyone will be advised by e-mail
when new passports are ready for collection at Trendy, and again this can be
done by a representative.
Did I say ‘fastest issue’? Several weeks should be allowed, and my friend began
the process early to ensure he has a virtually empty, long-term, passport ready
for his next Thai 1 year extension in early February. If I have missed anything,
doubtless the UK Consul Chiang Mai will advise you.
Excellent care at San Sai Hospital
Sansai is an oddly shaped amphur, hanging over a wide west-east arc north of
Chiang Mai city, rather like an over-ripe banana.
The west end actually covers Mae Jo, which I suppose is why the government
hospital (north of Mae Jo and a little east of Mae Rim) is called Sansai
When I was rushed there during my heart attack on Tuesday morning, Oct 7th, I
didn’t know the name of the place, only that it had a good reputation locally. I
was about to find out why.
My horrible chest pain began as I was driving north up the Mae Rim road, and I
parked at a petrol station just south of Mae Rim centre. By the time my wife had
called for help to another car (she can’t drive), the pain had spread to my left
arm and left side jaw, so I knew what it was!
By the time a good friend leapt out of another car to drive us to a hospital, I
was sweating all over and my own ugly white face, whiter than our car, stared
back at me in the driver’s mirror. But I was still able to think clearly.
The huge Nakhon Ping Hospital, south of us on the Mae Rim road and north of the
Sala Klang Provincial Hall, seemed logical, but we had just come through the
huge road works at the Outer Ring Road (121) junction and the awful traffic jam.
So I navigated my new chauffeur out of Mae Rim to the east, over the bridge and
into (what I now know as) Sansai Hospital.
I doubt that any hospital, private or government, east or west, could have
reacted faster or more accurately. All the right equipment was there, mercifully
the painkillers too, and two doctors and two nurses with perfectly clear
The first night in a full and busy mixed ward (babies crying) cost 300b, with 4
subsequent nights at 1,000b each in a small but adequate ‘private’ room.
Monitoring by EKG and auto blood pressure machine among others was consistent,
and the results relayed to a cardiologist at Nakhon Ping hospital. I am now in a
queue to see him by the month end.
At all times Dr ‘Toon’ and his staff kept me informed of progress in English,
and the cleaning services in the ward and my small room were exceptional. This
young doctor was on duty at 8.30am when I was admitted, was finishing duty at
midnight that day, and re-appeared at 8.30am the following morning!!
My report here is being translated into Thai to send to the Director of Sansai
Hospital - with heart-felt thanks of course.
Over many years here I have lost at least 3 foreign friends who either lived too
far away from the right facilities to be treated in time, or lost time being
taken to inadequate local facilities first. Speed is the essence in such cases.
A powerful argument for not living TOO far out in the sticks!