Thailand Weekly Vol. 04

Thailand news and stories delivered free to your inbox every Sunday 🇹🇭

Hello there from a steamy Bangkok. Man is it ever hot these days. In this week’s edition of Thailand Weekly, we cover three stories that have one common denominator. Progress. There’s exciting stuff happening in Thailand these days and it’ll be interesting to see what the next few months bring. By the way, be sure to check out the new Thailand Weekly Twitter Account where we’ll share all sorts of daily snippets from the Kingdom. You can find it by searching @ThailandWeekly on Twitter. Enjoy!

– Adam

Phuket Digital Nomad Visa?

Like it or not, one thing that the pandemic has certainly accelerated is the acceptance of remote work. Phuket officials are looking to take advantage of this and pilot a new visa program called the ‘Phuket X Community for Digital NOMAD’s Visa’. The program would grant eligible applicants a work permit and the ability to open a bank account, amongst other things. If the proposal is actually pushed through, foreigners that take this route to stay in Thailand on a longer-term basis would need to live on Phuket for six months to one year.

The proposal was submitted by the President of Phuket’s Provincial Administrative Organization, Rawat Areerob. He says that these types of higher-earning foreigners often work remote for some of the world’s largest companies that operate in key target industries; or operate their own businesses online. They could play a big part in sustainably reviving the Island’s overall economy.

Mr. Areerob also added that by offering a specific visa and work permit to digital nomads, Phuket’s dependance on seasonal tourism becomes less significant. On top of this, he adds that the visa-scheme could lead to new business opportunities such as co-working spaces, think tanks, cafés, and restaurants.

Our Take

Thailand is sitting on a gold mine when it comes to any talk of a Digital Nomad visa. There’s thousands, likely tens of thousands of remote workers staying here on a long-term basis that keep things quiet and operate on a tourist visa. Nobody wins in this current setup. Laws are being broken, people are frustrated, tax revenue isn’t collected. It’s not the right play, but it’s happening nonetheless.

There seems to be a gap in the world of Thai visa options for remote workers looking to stay here longer term. If the government could close this gap and offer an efficient pathway that enables these people to legally live and work here without having to set up a full-fledged company, it could be a massive win for Thailand. Not only are there an unlimited number of ways to make a living online, but there’s also more companies than ever that allow for fully remote work. It’d be awesome for Phuket to attract this crowd and collect consistent, sustainable dollars in a situation that feels like a win-win.

Don’t Be So Harsh

Local police in the Isaan city of Khon Kaen have been asked to exercise some leniency after news got out that a 72 year old grandmother spent the night in a jail cell after her and her family member were arrested for growing one cannabis plant each. The department took some heat for this and the commissioner of the Provincial Police told his department to refrain from enforcing the law too harshly on those that grow and use the plant for medical reasons. Pol Maj Ge Phaisan Luesombun stated that even if people don’t have permission to grow or posses the plant, they should still be given a warning and explained why it is not legal to do this.

This all comes as Thailand moves in the direction of being the first Country in Asia to loosen marijuana laws and make a move towards decriminalization. In 2020, the Kingdom became the first Asian nation to allow for the production and use of medical cannabis, and just this past February the health minister signed a decree officially dropping the plant from a list of controlled drugs.

Our Take

I certainly feel bad for the elderly woman that had to spend a night in a cell and deal with a stressful situation, bit I think there’s more to this than meets the eye. The police commissioner asking his officers to be more lenient here signifies that perhaps there is change coming. There’s all sorts of rumblings about the state of marijuana and its legality. I’ll be very interested to see how Thailand pushes ahead with this and what opportunities arise. If the Government ever took a similar route to what Canada did back in 2017 and go down the path of full legalization, there will be many ways for local and international entrepreneurs to get involved. The other fascinating thought is that Thailand will be the only Country in Asia where marijuana would be legal, meaning they wouldn’t have to compete with China. It could be beyond fruitful for the Kingdom.

Thailand Travel Tip

Hopefully we soon live in a world where there are no restrictions for coming to Thailand, but for now, the Thailand Pass and Day 1 Hotel program are both still in place. If you’re looking to simplify this process and make everything as seamless as it can be, then check out this website that a local team here in Thailand put together. For less than a hundred bucks, the entire Thailand Pass process is simplified, everything is taken care of, and you can get to the Kingdom stress free.

The same local group also put together this other site that compiles all of the ASQ/AQ approved hotels. You’ll find that if you go through a standard booking platform, it can get confusing as to what hotels you can stay at while you wait for your Day 1 test, and which one’s you can’t. After you check out this site and find an approved hotel that you like, they make it easy to book and get all of the required documents so you can go ahead and apply for your Thailand Pass. They even have a new feature for selected hotels where you can get all the paperwork you need right when you make the booking. They’ve facilitated over 250,000 hotel bookings and have become the go-to site to help you navigate Thailand travel during these strange times.

Electric Vehicle Hub

Thailand is aiming to become a regional hub in the Electric Vehicle (EV) industry. The Government announced that it is willing and able to support the sale and production of EV’s in order to push towards the goal of being a key regional player.

3 Billion Thai Baht has already been set aside to support a price subsidy incentivizing buyers to consider purchasing EV’s in the Kingdom. These price subsidies could be to the tune of 70,000 to 150,000 Baht per buyer if they opt to take part in the EV promotion program.

Meanwhile, the MEA also announced plans to build and install 100 more EV charging stations in Bangkok, Samut Prakan, and Nonthaburi by the end of 2022.

Our Take

There’s still a ways to go as it pertains to this topic, but to see Thailand committing to a future of cleaner transportation is a super cool thought. It’d be really interesting to see how Bangkok would change if there were electric cars and bikes zipping around everywhere. My guess is it’d be much quieter and the air would be much cleaner!

Only In Thailand 🇹🇭

Imagine waking up and finding a 250 pound lizard hanging out at your front door? Well that’s exactly what happened to a family in the Southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat this past week. The water monitor was so big that the owner of the home actually thought it was a crocodile. The lizard was safely re-located by a rescue team. Only in Thailand!

Press Worthy 🔥

    Your Cart
    Your cart is empty