Happy Holidays from the Land of Smiles, a land where Christmas is acknowledged for no other reason than it's commercial properties. People might wish you Merry Christmas once in a while, which is nice, but Thailand is a Buddhist country and Christmas is not recognized as a holiday. I guess I should be happy that it is acknowledged at all. The truth is, I have been living abroad or traveling during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays for the past 27 years or so and neither day means much to me anymore.
My sons were into Christmas in a big way until they learned Santa Claus is actually Mom and Dad. Of course, they continued to love the gift-giving aspect of Christmas. Who doesn't love getting gifts? But learning Santa Claus isn't real is one of life's early tragedies. If only Santa were real and reindeer, led by Rudolph and his shiny nose, actually did fly through the air, delivering gifts like an Amazon drone. The extreme joy Alex and Nick once felt, and I felt, has dwindled now. Instead of waking up and tearing open presents, we now simply tell one another Merry Christmas.
Anytime Thai immigration comes out with an announcement, expats seem to get in a tizzy. In the latest example of this, expats all over Thailand are freaking out about the newly announced 10-year visa for retirees. Will it replace the one year visa? Is it an alternative? Whatever will I do? Save me Duddly Do-Right, save me!
The first step in dealing with any issue is to remain calm. Look at the information presented, decide if the information is sufficient to make a decision, and proceed accordingly. However, when it comes to Thai immigration, announcements often are made prior to all of the necessary facts being presented to make an informed decision.
To qualify for a ten year visa, or the 5/5, applicants must be over 50. They must also either deposit three million baht in a Thai bank account or have a monthly income of at least 100,000 baht per month. Health insurance covering hospital stays with annual coverage of at least $10,000 USD is also required. The fee for this visa is 10,000 baht.
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