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A Singaporean's guide to living in Thailand


Alfrescian (Inf)
Chiang Mai air pollution worst in the world

Forest fires have sent air quality in nine provinces to a level considered harmful to people's health, as cities in the North like Chiang Mai registered air quality that was among the world's worst.

The air quality index (AQI) in Chiang Mai as of 4am Tuesday stood at 230, compared with 170 in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka and 164 in Kabul, Afghanistan, according to Air Visual, an app that monitors air quality.
At midnight Tuesday, in slightly cooler night-time temperatures, Chiang Mai still was listed as the world's worst, with air quality in the high-danger zone for all residents but below 200 on the AQI scale.
The AQI measures a broad spectrum of air pollutants including PM2.5, PM10 and carbon dioxide.

Information from the Pollution Control Department (PCD) confirmed the haze in the North had reached worrying levels.
PM2.5 refers to atmospheric particulate matter (PM) with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres, which is about 3% the diameter of a human hair. It can lodge in the lungs and enter blood vessels, leading to respiratory and cardiovascular disease.
According to PCD-supplied information taken from 17 air-quality-monitoring stations in nine provinces as of 9am Tuesday, the level of PM2.5 ranged from 70-124 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m³), exceeding the safety standard of 50 µg/m³ or lower.
Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district had the worst recorded level (163 µg/m³), followed by Phrae, Lampang, Nan and Chiang Mai.

The pollution has become such a pressing concern that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is scheduled to visit Chiang Rai this Saturday, eight days before the national election.

"Prime Minister Prayut will take a field trip to Chiang Rai with the purpose of following up on measures to deal with the haze in the North," Pralong Damrongthai, director-general of the PCD, told the media Tuesday.
Dr Rangsrit Kanjanavanit, a Chiang Mai resident who serves as a lecturer and cardiologist at the Faculty of Medicine at Chiang Mai University, said the smoggy skies show how the government's campaign to eradicate forest fires and open burning has yet to prove a success.
Dr Rangsrit, who also holds the post of vice president of the Seub Nakhasathien Foundation, said the government should come up with more sustainable and comprehensive measures, instead of just arresting farmers who start fires, or firing water to try and control dust levels.
"It should find a way to dissuade farmers from burning [waste] by giving them incentives,"he said.
Some of the haze has been attributed to neighbouring countries like Laos and Myanmar.

As such, critics say Thailand should work more with other governments to tackle the widespread practice of open burning.
Haze has been a seasonal problem in the North for over a decade. It usually appears from January to April but peaks in March as the extremely dry conditions increase the magnitude of forest fires.
This is compounded by farmers burning waste to clear land for the next harvest season.


Alfrescian (InfP) + Mod
Generous Asset
Breakfast today, Thai bah-chang.



Wrap removed - salted egg yolk, peanuts, mushroom, Chinese sausage, ginkgo nut, a piece of lean pork

Vert typical Thai style

Verdict - if you are from Singapore please do not even bother with this Thai bah-chang when you come to Thailand cos its nothing special.


Alfrescian (Inf)
Where to find a B2m house in Bangkok
Bargains are getting scarce, but some still exist in eastern and northern suburbs.

If you are looking for a property bargain in Bangkok, there are 44,720 housing units (mostly townhouses and semi-detached) selling for less than 2 million baht each. But that represents only 5% of all units in the market, compared with as much as 40% a decade ago. This reflects the high cost of developing housing in the capital, especially for land.

All the housing projects with units in this price range are in suburban areas of Bangkok, especially in eastern and northern districts such as Nong Chok, Khlong Sam Wa, Prawet, Lat Krabang, Saphan Sung and Sai Mai districts.

Only a few units priced below 2 million baht per unit remain in Thon Buri and neighbouring districts on the west side of the Chao Phraya River, as the arrival of mass-transit lines has pushed up prices considerably.

In the northern part of Bangkok, construction of the Pink Line is still in the very early stages in the area along Ram Intra road. Therefore, land prices have not increased too much so far.

The main listed developers in low-priced housing (below 2 million baht) are Pruksa Real Estate Plc and Golden Land Property Development Plc, but many small and medium-sized developers are also active.

Larger developers launched projects in the suburbs and adjacent provinces when land prices were low, making it easier and cheaper to build than in inner Bangkok area. Townhouses account for almost all the units in this price range, with semi-detached houses making up about 10%.

Some locations on the Thon Buri side and along Sukhumvit Road still have units priced below 2 million baht, but the continuing progress of mass-transit extensions virtually ensures that no such bargain housing will be available in the future.

Developers who want to offer low-cost housing are moving into adjacent provinces: Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom and Samut Sakhon. They are confident of finding buyers looking for affordable accommodation, especially now that mass transit is available in parts of Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan.

The 2-million-baht condominium unit is also becoming an endangered species in Bangkok, representing just 18% of all units on the market. The most common condo price range these days is between 2 million and 5 million baht.

Although average take-up rates in the sub-2-million price range are high, at 83% for condominiums and 59% for houses, developers are reducing their share in this market. Another risk factor is that many buyers in this price range have quite low incomes to begin with and struggle to obtain loan approval from banks.

Surachet Kongcheep is the managing director of Phoenix Property Development and Consultancy Co Ltd.


Alfrescian (Inf)
No surprise for poll leaders here, in Isaan heartlands

Pheu Thai leads in Isan poll
The Pheu Thai Party has maintained a firm grip on voters in the northeastern region, with Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan taking the lead of all prime ministerial candidates in a poll.

The latest E-Saan Poll by the E-Saan Centre for Business and Economic Research showed Pheu Thai was still the most popular party in the election, endorsed by 43.6% of the respondents.

The Future Forward Party (FFP) kept its second place at 23.2%, followed by the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) at 11.7%.

The top three positions remained unchanged from its previous poll last month.

The Democrat Party moved up one spot to fourth with the popular rate of 6.6%, replacing the Bhumjaithai Party, which dropped to fifth at 6.2%.

Pheu Thai was the main party who saw its approval rate slightly dropped, while the popularity of FFP, PPRP and the Democrats increased.

PPRP advanced by 4.2 percentage points, followed by the Democrats (2.7 points) and FFP (1.7 points).

Khunying Sudarat of Pheu Thai led all candidates for the prime minister with 31%, followed by FFP leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit (25%), Chadchart Suttipunt, another Pheu Thai candidate, (14%), Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who represents PPRP, (12%) and Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva (7%).

The poll of Khon Kaen University was conducted from March 8-10 on 1,093 respondents in 20 northeastern provinces.

The Northeast has 116 seats up for grabs in the general election, the most of all regions.


Alfrescian (InfP) + Mod
Generous Asset
First time I have stuffed artichoke, had it last night. Peppe just returned from Napolion Wednesday so it was time to pay him a visit last night as he brought new things back from home

But first we start with salsiccia secca napoli a sausage that one can hardly find in Bangkok.

Cutting salsiccia secca, great taste and texture, creamy too

Beefsteak tomato

Stuffed artichoke

Simply delicious, sucking out the leaves dry


Octopus in tomato smell of the sea

Peppe and Marco preparing our pasta

Scialatelli with goat cheese and Italian sausage

Another rare cheese in Bangkok brought back by Peppe, goat cheese that went into the pasta

Finally the ribeye, god I love this meat


Alfrescian (Inf)
Too Smoggy to Fly


Bangkok Airways cancels flights to Mae Hong Son due to smog
Bangkok Airways has extended its cancellation of flights to and from the northern border province of Mae Hong Son until at least March 24 due to poor visibility caused by haze and smog.

The airline earlier cancelled flights to Mae Hong Son between March 14-16.
Sunthorn Kanthamala, an official at the Mae Hong Son meteorological station, said the temperature at the airport on Sunday morning was 19 degree Celcius and visibility was only 1,600 metres, considered hazardous for flying.

Visible infrared imaging radiometer suite (VIIRS) satellite images at 1.36am showed 100 hotspots in Mae Hong Son, 83 in Chiang Mai, 54 in Phayao, 49 in Tak, 38 in Nan, 37 in Chiang Rai, 31 in Lampang, 24 in Phrae and 20 in Lamphun provinces.

The Air Quality Index hit a 'very unhealthy' 295 at Srisangwan Hospital in Mae Hong Son at noon on Sunday. (Screenshot from aqicn.org)

Of the 100 Mae Hong Son hotspots, 19 were in Mae Sariang, 12 in Mae La Noy, 22 in Khun Yuam, 13 in Muang, 14 in Pang Mapha and 20 in Pai districts.
The PM 2.5 reading was 83 microgrammes per cubic metre of air in tambon Chong Kham of Mae Hong Son district on Sunday morning.

Firefighting units have been deployed to combat wildfires in mountainous and forested areas of Mae Hong Son to reduce hotspots.


Alfrescian (Inf)
A lot of heirloom strains have that pumpkin-style ribbing.

This one, Brandywine, is a popular varietal my friend grows Stateside:

Sunday lunch - I used a few beef steak tomatoes to make a salad of avocado, cucumber, red grapefruit, beef steak tomatoes.
smoked salmon on light rye bread
home made green and yellow split pea soup


Alfrescian (InfP) + Mod
Generous Asset
I had a sudden crave for meesiam but I live in Bangkok I asked my Thai friends they have no idea what meesiam is. How?

Think I have to DIY.

Stared with preparing the ingredients

Make the soup

Make the beehoon


And this is my lunch