Thailand Weekly Vol. 23

Thailand news and stories delivered free every Sunday 🇹🇭

Well, I don’t mean to be a downer, but this definitely isn’t the happiest edition of Thailand Weekly. Some sad news out of Chonburi this past week where there was a big nightclub fire causing 15 fatalities and even more injuries. Thailand roads were also ranked as the 2nd most dangerous in the world in a report that came out earlier this week. In more positive news, there was some interesting data that came out about Bangkok’s popular Lad Phrao neighbourhood, and a local Thai man in Nakhon Ratchasima definitely made a statement about the state of the potholes in his community’s roads.

Lad Phrao Most Desired Neighbourhood In Bangkok

For anyone interested in Bangkok real estate, this story will be of particular interest to you. Kaidee Property, a real estate platform here in Thailand came out and said that Bangkok’s Lad Phrao neighbourhood was the most searched area of the entire city on their platform. Extremely popular amongst Thai people, this is a district about 25-minutes north of the famous Terminal 21 shopping mall in Asok. Lad Phrao serves up convenient public transportation options, a number of large-scale shopping centres, an abundance of local markets, and property price tags that are much lower than what you can find just about anywhere along the popular expat area that is the Sukhumvit corridor. Specific searches that dominated what people were looking for included detached homes for sale that cost no more than 4.5 million baht, and condos for sale in the 1.3 to 1.4 million baht range. From a rental perspective, searches for detached homes priced at 25,000 baht per month and condos priced at 10,000 baht per month were also extremely popular.

The Top 5 most-searched areas in Bangkok are listed below:

  1. Lad Phrao

  2. Chatuchak

  3. Bang Khae

  4. Suan Luang

  5. Lat Krabang

The Top 5 most searched property types are also listed below:

  1. Detached House – 110 million page views

  2. Condos – 91.2 million page views

  3. Land – 56.1 million page views

  4. Townhomes – 49.2 million page views

  5. Commercial Properties – 10.3 million page views

Our Take

This was a really interesting story to read up on and write about. Most of my Bangkok-based friends live somewhere along Sukhumvit. Whether it’s On Nut, Phra Khanong, Ekkamai, or Asok, this is by far the area I find myself spending most of my time in. Having said that, I’m about halfway through my lease here in Asok and am considering moving a bit further out to a neighbourhood exactly like Lad Phrao. I find that in Bangkok, unless you have a budget of over 80K or 90K baht per month (~USD $2500), your condo choices are generally larger and older, or smaller and newer. This obviously isn’t unique to BKK and is more of a basic real estate principle in general, but it seems to be especially noticeable here, especially when you’re looking to spend less than 35K baht (~USD $1000) per month. Unless you’re living large and have a big budget by BKK standards, you REALLY sacrifice size if you go with a brand new unit in an upscale building with rooftop infinity pools, high-end gyms, fancy co-working spaces, etc. I currently live in one of these types of buildings, but am considering moving a little bit out of Sukhumvit to an area where you can get more bang for your buck. I could get a super cool 3-bedroom townhouse with WAY more space for the same price, or perhaps even cheaper than what I’m paying to live in this semi-fancy 1-bedroom condo in the sky. Somewhere like Lad Phrao is the exact type of neighbourhood I’m considering. I love it up there.

Tragic Fire In Chonburi Province - 15 Killed, 38 Injured

There was a horrific fire this past week in the seaside town of Sattahip in Thailand’s Chonburi Province. The tragic incident took place at the Mountain B Nightclub, and as things currently stand, the fire has taken the lives of 15 people with another 38 injured. Eyewitnesses said that they heard two explosions near the DJ booth and saw sparks that ignited the soundproofing foam, with the fire then spreading extremely fast across the highly flammable material. The building was almost completely destroyed and Pol Maj Gen Atthasit Kitjahan said that the establishment didn’t have the proper license to be used as an entertainment venue. It had the permits to operate as an eatery, but was illegally altered. It was also reported that the establishment had no circuit breaker and had just two fire extinguishers in the direct area. The owner of the venue reported to police on Saturday and confessed to all charges against him. This incident has prompted the Deputy Governor of Chonburi to order intense inspections at more than 500 pubs, bars, and clubs in the Pattaya area, and also resulted in Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt ordering nightlife venue safety checks in all 50 of Bangkok’s districts. So far, 83 Bangkok-based nightlife venues have been ordered to suspend operations because of this.

Our Take

This is a really sad story on all fronts and shines some unfortunate light on the safety precautions (or lack thereof) that is often the case over here. It’s clear as to who is at fault, but beyond focusing only on that, I can’t help but feel terrible for the friends and families of those that died and those that were seriously injured. I’ve read that there were eight people with extreme, full body burns. I can only imagine that these are injuries that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Not to mention the psychological trauma that comes with being in the wrong place at the wrong time in a case like this. Just extremely sad overall. I will say, tragic fires happen every day in countries all over the world, so it’s not like this is uniquely a Thailand issue, but my hope is that it prompts officials to enforce what I would call standard ‘day-to-day’ precautions a little bit more. I also hope that it encourages regular, everyday people (including business owners) to abide these ‘day to day’ precautions as well. It’s a two-sided coin. I find that I’m always getting hit with stories of fatal car-crashes, motorbike accidents, pedestrian accidents, etc., many of which are probably preventable if something as basic as wearing seatbelts was actively enforced and followed. The overall sentiment on things as simple as that could definitely improve, and that’s just one example. It’s great that many Governors around the country have ordered checks into bars, pubs, and clubs, but hopefully it’s not just a one-time thing. I’m sure there’s already systems in place that involve semi-regular check-ins to make sure that businesses are operating safely, but the fact that 83 BKK-based venues were suddenly ordered to cease operations on the heels of this is a bit disconcerting.

Thailand Travel Tip

There’s a lot of different travel insurance companies out there and often times it’s a pain to find the right one. We get all sorts of emails about this topic from those of you that watch our videos over on Retired Working for You or Best Of Thailand, so I decided to include the company I use in this week’s edition of Thailand Weekly. SafetyWing is a travel insurance company that provides awesome coverage for anyone that lives abroad, but their rates and coverage make it ideal for those vacationing in abroad as well. I think I pay in and around $50/Month for my coverage, and I was impressed with their service when I actually had to make a claim last summer. Everything was taken care of, and I got solid service overall. Signing up takes a couple minutes and is super straightforward, so if you have a trip to Thailand booked (or anywhere for that matter) at any point in the near future, I’d definitely recommend considering them for insurance coverage.

Thailand Roads 2nd Most Dangerous In The World

US-based Zutobi, a drivers education platform has revealed that Thailand is the second most dangerous country drive in, just behind South Africa. The factors measured as part of their annual score include estimated road death rates, maximum motorway speed limits, seat-belt wearing rates, alcohol-related deaths, and blood alcohol concentration limits. Approximately 20,000 people per year are involved in fatal accidents on Thailand’s roads. It’s also worth noting that surprisingly, the Ministry of Transport reported that motorbikes weren’t the number one cause of accidents throughout 2020 and 2021, but instead pickup trucks.

Below is a breakdown of some key road accident stats over the past two years:

Types of Vehicles in Accidents:

  • Pickup Trucks (37%)

  • Private and Public Vehicles (27%)

  • Motorcycles (20%)

  • Trucks With at Least 10 Wheels (8%)

  • Six-Wheel Trucks (6%)

  • Vans (2%)

Types of Roads Where Most Accidents Happened:

  • Straight Roads Without Slope (70%)

  • Curves Without Slope (13%)

  • Curves With Slope (8%)

  • Bridges To Commercial Venues (3%)

  • Intersections (1%)

Causes of Accidents:

  • Violation of Speed Limit (78%)

  • Being Cut In Front by Pedestrians, Vehicles, or Animals (8%)

  • Falling Asleep Behind Wheel (4%)

  • Drunk Driving (3%)

Our Take

You know, Thailand’s roads make for some of the best road trips (by car or by motorbike) that you can imagine, but they’re no joke. If you’re comfortable with it, I’d highly recommend renting a vehicle and getting a bit off the beaten path as there’s so many amazing places to explore no matter where in Thailand you find yourself, but be cautious. Don’t drive aggressively. Take a defensive approach. This definitely isn’t somewhere where you should be trying to get to your destination as fast as possible. Stop and enjoy a tea or coffee somewhere. Pull into a local spot for lunch. Don’t drive after dark. That’s something I’d advise highly against. I’ve only ever done that once because I felt I had to, but looking back, I didn’t need to and it was probably one of the dumbest decisions I’ve ever made, and I won’t be doing it again. If you just apply some common sense, set some basic ground rules, and take a few key precautions, you can unlock some of the very best that Thailand has to offer and minimize road risk substantially. This is something that my buddy Dana lives by, follows to a tee, and passed along to me. He’s been living here for almost 10 years and has some amazing experiences on the road because of it.

Only In Thailand 🇹🇭

This past week, a local man from Nakhon Ratchasima province had enough. He decided to grab his fishing rod and satirically cast it into a massive pot hole that he’s been asking authorities to fix for over 10 years. The giant pothole is located right outside a school and is an obstacle that students face daily, said the ‘fisherman’. Hopefully this viral stunt expedites the road-repairs once and for all. 10 years of waiting is a LONG time!

Press Worthy 🔥