Around 5 years later I decided to return to Thailand and start to live permanently in Pattaya. However first I must obtain the desired visa which fits in with this. If your over the age of 50 you have more of a choice for a visa. And with certain types of visas, You can hold a valid driving licence own a car or motorbike. When you first arrive, your passport is stamped for 30 days in the country which enables you time to decide which visa fits you and then you go to the thai immigration offices to obtain your visa.
I first stayed in many of the hotels in Pattaya and some condominiums. After a while you can get cabin fever living just in a room so I decided to look for a house with land and make a garden to relax in.
The exchange rate to the UK pound was very good at that time. I was able to purchase a small 2 bedroomed semi detached dwelling house. My idea was to use the house as a base until I really knew where I would live for the duration of my life. As transport was quite cheap to buy I purchased a Honda 500cc motorcycle, as one of my dreams was to tour Thailand on a motorcycle.
Owning a house in Thailand is not as easy as one may think. However a condominium has different rules and In my case i was living on a land plot. You have two choices on how to do this. The rules for ownership have changed since 1997 and newer more stringent rules now apply.
Ownership in a Thai national name.
Owning a house through a Limited company is one choice most people have went through. However a limited company is really for a business and therefore its not clear if this is legally a correct choice. At the time most lawyer firms were advertising home ownership through a limited company and as it being through a lawyer one would think it is legal. Also it can take months to have the final documents through of the formation of the company.
The idea behind the limited company was to register your company name, employ two people and yourself as directors of the company. The other two normally people who worked in the lawyers office. Once the company was formed make the other two directors unemployed thus you had full control of the company. In which a yearly audit was performed for taxes and vat payments if any.
Thai ownership, Would mean putting the land plot in a thai national name. Now if a building structure is erected on the land plot at that time the structure became the property of the land owner. This has changed from 1997 a blue book is issued from the land office that indicates the land bounderies of the plot size in the thai owners name. In somecases a yellow book can be obtained if a building structure is erected on a land plot and the building owners name goes into the yellow book.
In the case where a building structure is erected on a land plot of a different name to the house owner. A lease agreement contract should be made for a period of time. However some additional protection is required in the lease contract incase the land owner sells the land on within the period of the contract.
As I was paying cash for the building I decided to go through a limited company as the limited company can own the land plot. I did have a thai partner who was advising all dicussions with the seller. As my thai language at the time was minimal and having someone to translate was a blessing. However now im quite fluent in the thai languages.
On purchasing a new dwelling house the decoration inside the buildings you will find the finishing is of a basic standard. In most cases floor tiling or wall painting are done but to a very basic standard. I set about with the colour choices of walls, ceilings and floor tiling and got on with getting the job done.
I was just about finished everything when I heard a knock at the door. I opened the door to find an elderly English gentleman standing there. He was looking around to buy a small dwelling house same as this. My first words were, you can have this one. I really dont know why I said it but I did. His reaction was ok, how much you want for it. I added on what I had spent doing up the house give him a figure and he words were ok. I,ll have it. The next day he arrived with a cheque for the money and that was it. Sold.
I phoned the lawyer and the limited company was still in the finalisation stages therefore could be withdrawn at any time. My concerns at the time of selling were when setting up a limited company. Your informed one week to a maxinum of 30 days if they is alot of business at the time of application. I had been waiting 6 month without anything moving on. I understand the difficulties between languges and the meanings of words. Some people can speak english by repeating the words but don't really know what the word means. Or how do I know if my application was sumitted by the law firm. I was concerned and I think the relief of selling the home cleared my anxiety as when your uncertain as to what is being discussed only leads to confusion.
After a week the cheque cleared and I was to move out end of the month. I did think about moving back into a hotel. However having a garden and space around to walk was more relaxing that a hotel room.
The lady who was helping with negotiations informed the company who originally built the house were offering another house in the same area and maybe I wanted to take a look at this one. I looked at the house the following day it was alot bigger with more land. The asking price was double what I paid for the first house. However I did make some more money on the selling of the old house. After calculating the figures it was going to cost 30% more. As with the first house the decoration was basic styles. I informed the builder if they were to improve they colour schemes to my choice I will buy the house. In which they did.
I am still left with the initial problem how am I going to buy the house. Limited Company or Thai national. Both ways were proving to be a difficult choice. After talks with the builder I realised the building company had a few years of construction left on the land plots. When all the houses on the land plots were completed and sold, finalisation would then be made to the land office. With this in mind, I asked the builders if it was possible if I paid 90% of the cost, then paid monthly installments on the last 10% until the house was fully paid or until the finalisation period of informing the land office came around.
As if I continued in this fashion I do not need a limited company or a thai national to buy the house. I have the receipts as proof of purchase and in a few years when you have to file the sold plots of land to the land office, I can then decide how I will buy the property, either limited company or a thai national name and they agreed.
As time went on and houses were being built around, people were moving in and the area started to develope into a small town. English restaurants or anything resembling english food were very scarce. I did have cooking facilties in the house however at 30 degree C most days is an ardous task to cook. Far better off just ordering thai food and having the food delivered.
This is when I came up with the idea of opening a small restaurant selling english food and drinks. I am sure I can teach the thai people how to cook english food if I bought the right equipment, steak hot plates ovens and grills. I shopped around for the equipment I was needing and they were things about I could adopt providing the correct temperatures for cooking english food.
As with Thai food everything is either fried or boiled you only need a gas burner and a frying pan. The thai's sell one particular food, if your needing a different dish then you have to go to someone who is selling that type of food.
When searching around I also spotted a place where I could set up shop for a cafe type restaurant. All shop house type of buildings are normally built with 6 units with two end units. The builders are clever as the end units are the favourable one to rent and they normally make them as two units for people to rent. I had spotted one as a single units with additional space attached which I could make into a beer garden. I had discussed the terms with the owner about renting the unit and everything appeared fare and square.
My thai parther was also a cook (everyone is a cook in this country) so we decided on two types of food. English and Thai. As the lady was from Issan the restaurant would cook the issan food which is different from Thai food in most cases however thai food can also be on the menu. As for the english food, Steaks chips and peas, Gravys boiled potatoes all the stoggie food which you miss when travelling overseas especially in asia. And of course pies. Oh how I miss a good Steak pie. Cheese and tomatoe flans. Suet puddings, fish pies. Wonderful at last I can have that feeling of fullfillness. As with asian food it is very nice to eat, full of colours and spicy. However after 20 minutes your hungry again. You end up eating like asian people 5 times a day. Whereas a good english breakfast and stoggie evening meal will give you enough energy to last you for the full day. After about a month I soon realised I was not alone as alot of other people were wanting this type of food also.
Thaifood is nice, however its not filling for us europeans. We need stogg, stogg to mop up all the liquids from the previous nights entertainment. Im living here now and no matter what I eat thai, Im always hungry after eating. Ive watched other europeans eat thaifood and all say the same. In fact some europeans eat thaifood to lose weight and you do. Ive experimented, by eating thaifood for a month and weighed myself, lost 5 lbs easily. One thing sure, its very good for detoxing your body as most of thaifood is green leafy vegetables and spices with garlic.
First thing on the menu, English Breakfast, consisting of; Grilled bacon rashers, fried sliced potatoes, Black pudding, Beef suasages. Fried eggs and tomatoes, beans and Fried bread. Cup of rosey lee (tea). Lipton Tea bags. Wonderful. Just what you need to start off a day before playing a game of golf.
Dinners, Fish and Chips and beans or peas. Mashed potatoes, Gravy, Sliced Beef and Leak pudding (Suet with leaks steamed) perfect before a nights entertainment. Puts a lining on your stomach.
As time progressed, some customers were bringing they own types of food. A friend from Canada Ukon, would bring 10 kg of Canadian smoked red salmon. Another friend American would bring Lamb for the barb b que. We had a weekly event where you could cook your own dish for everyone else to eat. A German cooked, hock with sourkraut and boiled potatoes. Another Texan cooked Gumbo and if no one else was bothered to cook. I would do an Indian curry with nan bread or poppodums. This became very popular and every week 15 to 20 people would turn up and thai food was available for the ladys.
The events turned into gatherings and a club was formed. We had sports days, shopping days. Tours and even weekend holidays (Golfing of course). However as everyone was enjoying themselves, my motorbike was standing unused. I was itching to get onto my bike and tour Thailand.