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Discuss Travel / So You Want To Go To Poi Pet, Cambodia to Gamble
« on: August 14, 2018, 05:12:04 PM »
 Background:  Cambodia is an oppression constitutional monarchy, but the Prime Minister is essentially a dictator.  When the elections are about to happen, the political opponents seem to be ‘removed’ or disappear, so no competition.
The casinos along the border of Thailand cater to Thais and their type of gambling since very few Cambodians do gamble or are too poor to gamble.  A majority of those casinos (or most likely all of them) are owned or shared between the mafia and Thai politicians.  Note:  At all the casinos, only Thai bahts are allowed.  There are some tables that let you bet with bahts directly but most require you to go and buy chips.
Poi Pet, a dirty city.  The closest nice shopping area is in Thailand and it is just enough so you can even sit and relax at KFC.  BUT once in Cambodia, cannot go back and forth (unless you are Thai.)  We did not see any nice place to eat in the local casino area other than in the casinos, which was fair casino food and no buffets.
Note:  Once in the country, since we were driving, we were not allowed to leave the casino area without much more paperwork (more later.)
Taking a Car Across the Border:  We decided to drive our personal car so first, my wife got her International Driver’s License-a requirement-and then had to go to the Land Transport Office designated to issue car passports which you need to take a car over the border.  (As far as I know, car rental companies will not allow you to take a car across the border.)   Since I had to go through the border crossing via Thai Immigration, my wife had to go it alone.  From her opinion, a pain in the ass.  There are NO statements that say you have to have three copies plus the original of all pertinent documents, so she had to go find a copy service (about a kilometer away) to get several done.  Then there was the additional paperwork that had to be done on site.  All in all, it took her an hour to do it.  Now once you go under the Cambodian arch (the border), you have to change from the left-hand lane to the right-hand lane.  When we finally got back together, she said never again!  Said she should have parked in a secure parking lot (150 baht/night) on the Thai side about 200 meters from the border and walk.
Me Getting Across the Border:  Read all kinds of documents on the internet from other travelers, which lacked some of the critical details.  Even with that, I was snookered.  So to start, a few weeks ago, I went online to the Cambodian Immigration website and completed an eVisa.  This would allow me to bypass the Visa On Arrival building and go directly to the ‘Arrivals Hall’, which really is a open air structure with a canopy roof and 4 booths.  Cost 36$.
So, when my wife drove the car as far as she could, she parked in a busy intersection to go do her paperwork, I had to get out and walk to/through Thai Immigration.  The sign said ‘Foreign Travelers’, and you could see the building from where she parked.  Up the steps, and through Immigration.  Easy as pie, looked at your passport and put in the hand stamp.  Once through and down the steps on the opposite side of the building but on the left side of the road, I essentially was met by this young guy who became my magnet, couldn’t get loose from him.  I read that you had to cross the street to complete your entry into Cambodia-nothing marked but to a fence for about 100-150 yards kept you from crossing.  Then of course I started looking for the Immigration Office (but it is not called ‘Immigration’) and saw nothing, and I could not shake him.  Then his veiled threat of Cambodian Police will stop me unless I get the Visa stamp, which of course I need.  Cost me $18.  It should have been free at the right office.  And this took an hour.  (Later, I found the
‘Arrivals’ Office which every foreigner “HAS TO GO TO” to get the entry stamp (unless like me, I did get the stamp in another small building for $18-one marked with an “X” below.)  The real ‘Arrivals Office’ is just past the Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino.  So, you actually traverse a part of Cambodia before you go through Immigration.
Grand Diamond Check-in:  This was our hotel.  Lobby?  Only functional.  While I checked in, my wife took the car and parked it in a dust laden ‘parking’ area.  Doubt if many drive and park there.  Just a dust bowl, but secure!  They put us on the 10th floor, had to walk through the gaming room to get to an elevator (other a freight elevator only one was working.)  We had reserved a Premier Deluxe Room with certain amenities.  No amenities.  When Tukta called down about nothing in the room, she also told the desk, it smelled of strong cigarette smoke.  They agreed and moved us to the 15th floor, nonsmoking.  The hotel décor, including the rooms, was at least 20 years old, maybe 25 or 30 or older!  I can see why the rating was less than 6 out of 10.  If there any really good ones, one has to be booked directly, to see IF they are available.
Gaming Area:  If you are Thai, you will love it.  They have many, many tables operating for Thai style gambling games.  There were 2 roulette wheels, only one operating, several pokers tables, 1 Caribbean (not working), 1 3-card, and 1 5-card with a few people there, 2 blackjack tables neither working (not even a dealer with spread cards in front of her), and 1 baccarat table slightly busy, but at least 50 tables playing Thai games of chance.  Yes, they had a huge number of slot machines, with very few people.  Went online to check and saw that the gaming area was busy from about 9AM to 2PM.  We noticed that very few Thais were in the gaming area during the other times.
Other Casinos:  We found out by accident, every casino has mini-shuttles to pick up gamblers and transport them to/from their respective casinos.  We went to the Holiday Palace, the Poipet Casino and the DNA Star Vegas.  The only place we saw Blackjack being play was the Holiday Palace and only 2 gamblers.  I would have played but there would have been nothing for my wife to do.  She likes the money wheel game.  Note:  From what I could gather, the Poipet and Star Vegas casinos do not have Blackjack tables.
All of them have ‘high roller’ areas but we did not check them out.  None of them looked that busy anyway.
Conclusions:   Poi Pet is not a good place to go, especially for Western style gambling.  It is a dirty, ugly city, as is the adjoining Thai border town, Aranyarathet.  One really doesn’t want to go far off down the main road, at least only to the Arrivals building.  After that, one needs to use the mini-shuttle services to get to your reserved hotel.  DO NOT USE MOTORCYCLE TAXIS, RIP OFF.  I did not see any normal Songthaews or tuk tuks.
If you have a crying need for gambling, we just found out the place to go to Savan Resorts in Savannakhet, Laos.  Will be checking it out over the next several months.

News and Announcements / Re: Roiyim Steak Buffet
« on: July 30, 2018, 02:17:23 PM »
We've eaten there q

Discuss Travel / Planning Trip to Cambodia
« on: July 11, 2018, 11:02:27 AM »

We are planning a short trip to Cambodia to check things out for when my cousin comes in December.  He wants to go to the casino so that he has something to talk about with his gambling buddies when back in the States.

We are planning on Driving.  So the first thing we did was to get our SUV a Thai Passport, yes a Passport.  You need one to cross any international border around Thailand if you plan on driving your vehicle.

So, today I applied for a Cambodian Visa for myself.  Did it online using their eVISA website.  I filled in the appropriate information, attached a current passport sized photo, a copy of the front pages of my passport and sent them $36USD by my Visa Card.  Received a message back saying everything was acceptable and it would be about 3 days before my Visa would be approved and sent back to me by email.  I submitted it at 10:10AM and thought nothing of it since it would be about 3 days before I heard back from them.

AT 10:36am, SAME DAY, IT WAS APPROVED!  They seem to be way ahead of our buddies here in Thailand in using an online system to process requirements.

I was told by one of the wardens, the US Embassy is looking for additional wardens.  If any American is interested, they should contact the US Embassy Consular Section and discuss.  Then fill out an application, etc, and become one.  That is, if one is interested in becoming one.

Visas, et al / Personal Vehicle Visa
« on: June 01, 2018, 03:46:19 PM »

As you know, one requires a "vehicle visa" to ones car, truck, SUV, etc., to drive across an international border from Thailand and return.  We are planning to do so.  So my wife went to the Land Transport location North of Khon Kaen, as required, with the proper paperwork and 55 baht and got the "visa".

They give you two (2) stickers to be placed on your vehicle, a Large "T" in an ellipsoid.  (I have seen them on a few cars/trucks/SUVs around Khon Kaen.  But my wife did not ask them where to place the stickers.  I have to assume one on the front and one on the rear.  One looks like a decal that should be place on a window like the rear window and one on the exterior of the vehicle like a front bumper.  But I want to make sure since there are no directions with the package.

Has anyone else ever taken a vehicle out of the country?  If so, a little assistance would be surely appreciated.  If not, I will have to have her drive up to that Land Transport Office again, just a little out of the way, to find out the correct placement.

Open discussion / ENGLISH Requirements for Thai Students
« on: May 28, 2018, 05:04:47 PM »

It is really sad to see how unprepared many Thai high school students are in English as a second language.

With that said, friends of ours (mother and father), have a daughter who is in her last year of high school.  She wants to go to a Thai University that will  give her the opportunity to become a physician.

In the prior years, entrance exams were scheduled throughout the country but because so many potential medical students were not prepared for the rigors of the medical curriculum, it seems the Thai Ministry of Education now requires ALL POTENTIAL MEDICAL STUDENTS to travel to Bangkok for the English entrance exam.

I have been privy to many of the example tests, old and new, in the attempt for the local schools to assist these rural students to prepare for the test.  Not only is the subject matter beyond their comprehension, so are many of the reading examples where one fills in the blanks in the sentence with the words that best fit the subject.  One of the subjects:  "sexual abuse".  Most of the students have NO IDEA WHAT THIS EVEN MEANS.  They are not exposed to this subject in their everyday life let alone in the classroom.  So right off the bat, they are at a disadvantage to those students from Bangkok Schools or any of the more prominent International Schools.

I had suggested they access and begin to read on the various subjects that are present day news (whether it is crime, world events, royal marriages, etc.) so they would have some idea of the kinds of things that may end up on the test as the subject matter when they are doing English comprehension.

Unless I am mistaken, I can almost guarantee that the students in these high school classes are not required to do any extracurricular reading of today's news which provides insights in what the world is all about, only what happens in Thailand (which is always done in the Thai language.)  I feel sorry for them that they are not given the opportunity to broaden their horizons on current world events (whatever that means.)  It seems whether they are required to do it or not, all you English tutors and hired teachers should emphasize to the students to read the online English news sources to get a better idea of today's world events.  I think this would greatly enhance their ability to understand what the English language is all about, not trying to translated fro Thai to English or vice versa as a means of preparing them for their educational goals.


Where to find . . . / NETFLIX - Thailand Today
« on: April 17, 2018, 08:33:58 AM »
My wife's son has just signed up for the one month free service.  The price after the first month is 400 baht a month.


He lives in a separate address on the east side of Khon Kaen and we live on the west side.  But he is sharing the logins.  We get two of them, one for his mother, my wife, and one for me.  So instead of spending 400 baht a month for NETFLIX we will be spending 200 baht a month, much better price.

Anyone can do it so if two, three, or four of you (if you can trust the other guy or guys) where one of you signs up, you can have a very cost effective NETFLIX subscription.

Deep Thoughts (Hehehe . . .) / Easter Day on April Fool's Day
« on: March 31, 2018, 07:08:37 AM »
I could not remember Easter falling on April Fool's Day ever.  So I check.  The last time was 1956 and the time before, 1945.  So in my lifetime, there have only been 3 days (so far.)  The last time, I was 12 years and so it made no difference and the time before I was 1!!!

The next occurrence will be 2029 and I'll be 85 years old!

Any other comments?

Services for the home / 3BB Fiber Promotion
« on: February 27, 2018, 08:25:41 PM »
3BB is offering their 100/30Mbps fiber for 700 baht/mo.  Installation is free, and this time you can buy the router for 800 baht.  (With VDSL, 3BB loaned the router to you for a refundable deposit of 1500 baht.  They will either refund (takes 3 months) or they will apply it to your bill.)

They told my wife when she inquired about this promotion that in the not too distant future, 3BB will NOT continue to have their ADSL/VDSL as a main stream product.  Sounds just like what Microsoft did with XP.  Here is a website to check it out.

Discuss Travel / Travel Insurance
« on: February 23, 2018, 09:05:22 PM »
At  an earlier time in my life, I would never even consider it.  I think at that point in time, travel insurance was more of a ripoff than it is today, very limited coverage and fairly expensive.

Anyway, has anyone had any experience using it?  On our trip to New Zealand, I bought the package for the two of us directly from the airlines, JUST IN CASE.  (My US medical insurance would not cover anything and if I remember, New Zealand almost required you to have it so you would not become a burden on their government health care system.)

Now we are going to the US, where I am covered but my wife is not.  Her Thai Medical Plan that we purchased from AIA does cover internationally, but only for medical items.  If I buy under the ticketing by United, it reasonable but more expensive than if we bought from an insurance company here in Thailand such as AXA.

Again, has anyone had any experience in these endeavors?

Stuff For Sale / 2006 Yamaha BF-115D For Sale
« on: February 09, 2018, 05:02:25 PM »
Runs good.  Maintained oil change, etc, every 1000 Km.  Rubber is still good.  Any repairs done in a timely manner by a mechanic.  Firm - 5,000 baht.

Food, Dining, Restaurants / IRON PIG GONE!
« on: January 20, 2018, 08:57:58 PM »
The restaurant that was near Nong Khot Lake is gone, and there is a Mini-Big C going in, in its place.  Not sure when the Mini-Big C is to open but it should be pretty soon.  That side of town really did need one.  The only other ones around there seem to be are  7/11's and Family Marts.

Discuss Shopping / TOPS @ Tukcom Closed?
« on: January 20, 2018, 08:48:14 PM »
It seems when we went by Tukcom, the indications that the TOPS Store that used to be there is gone. Guess the TOPS Store @ Central took all their real business.

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