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The Thai government is enforcing a ban on plastics in its national parks. Forget about greenhouse gases and radioactive waste – plastic is a true killer. Since plastic was developed in the 50’s, the world has produced 8.3 billion tonnes. The problem is, is that plastic takes hundreds of years to biodegrade. Virtually every piece of plastic produced still exists in some form in our environment. Plastic is clogging our earth and our oceans. Thailand is gradually waking up to this fact but there is still huge amounts of work to be done to change habits and legislation on plastic usage.

Thailand is the 5th biggest contributor to plastic pollution

Thailand is one of the main contributors to plastic pollution on a world scale. The following are some harrowing statistics about the plastic problems in Thailand:

– Thailand generates 1.03 million tonnes of plastic waste annually
– 3% of this annual waste is dumped into oceans
– The average Thai citizen uses 8 plastic bags per day
– In Bangkok, 600,000 plastic bags are used per day
– A 10km patch of plastic trash was seen floating in the Gulf of Thailand in 2017
– Plastic waste increases in Thailand by approx. 12% per year

Plastic is used for literally everything

The main problem is the fact that practically anything you buy in Thailand comes in a plastic bag. There is a saying that if there was a plastic bag big enough, all Thailand’s cars would be wrapped in one! Plastic bags for groceries. Plastic bags for single items in a supermarket. Plastic straws and cup holders from 7-Eleven stores. You cannot escape plastic in Thailand!

Something must be done to turn the plastic tides

These stats and facts are shocking and are just the tip of the iceberg. Thailand really does have a plastic addiction. A fundamental change is required. Plastic is affecting the countries national parks. Beautiful beaches are littered with plastic waste from locals and tourists. Wildlife are swallowing plastic as the Thai rivers and oceans become clogged – how does the government hope to address this issue?

Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Create Bold Plan

To help tackle Thailand’s plastic problem, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is creating a bold plan. This plan is still under construction but will be unveiled to the public within the next few months. In short, the plan will prevent people from bringing plastic and foam into areas under their control (i.e. national parks).

Park inspections and guidelines are outlined

As a forerunner to the plan, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has been tasked with inspecting the 154 national parks and 7 zoos. This inspection will look at current plastic usage, and outline how that figure can be reduced. Once the plan is in place, the following will be enforced:

No plastic & foam bags, cups, containers will be allowed in the parks & zoos


How this will be policed and enforced remains to be seen, and this is a main point of contention for many. Who will actively stop people bringing plastic into the parks? At the moment, it appears as if the Thai government are simply banking on our goodwill and own desire to help the environment. Will everyone follow these rules? How will tourists and locals be made aware of the plastic ban before entering the parks? These are all questions we are hoped that will be answered in the future.

Questions are also being raised regarding the shops and vendors within the parks. These vendors themselves supply a large amount of plastic. Plastic bags for souvenirs, plastic drinks bottles and plastic cutlery, for example. Banning individuals bringing plastic in will undoubtedly help, but surely that should extend to vendors within the parks and zoos.

A change in habits is required 

Whilst this forthcoming ban is certainly a step in the right direction, more action is required. Thailand’s residents and visitors must have a serious habits change to effectively reduce plastic. More must be done to reduce plastic usage throughout the country. The nation’s reliance on plastic bags and straws, for example, must change. Furthermore, citizens must be urged to re-use bags or bring their own containers when shopping. It is clear that the government intends to address these problems, and the national park ban is just one of many measures. Ultimately, individuals and businesses need to be more responsible when it comes to plastic consumption – regardless of the laws in place. Just because you are allowed to use 3 plastic bags and 2 straws for minimal shopping doesn’t mean it is necessary.

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Land prices in Bangkok have varied wildly in the last 30 years. However, Since 1988, land prices have been on an upward trajectory and have risen a total of 1000%. Why has this happened? We take a look at how Bangkok has evolved, and how this has impacted land prices:

1988 to the Financial Crash – Dramatic increases

During the late 1980’s up until 1996, Asia went through a period known as the Tiger Boom years. During this period, various countries such as Thailand saw huge growth. Bangkok was increasingly developed with the increased income and land prices realised huge increases as a result. Prices rose from around 100,000 BHT per square metre to 200,000 BHT per square metre within a few years.

1997 to Early 2000’s – Stagnation 

In 1997, Thailand was hit by a financial crisis. The country was plunged into disarray. Naturally, during this period land prices were stagnant at best.

2000’s to 2015 – Unprecedented growth

Once the country began to recover, land prices literally never looked back. Several factors caused the development of Bangkok to explode. Investment was poured into the city from within the country itself and elsewhere. This naturally caused land prices to soar. From peaks of 500,000 BHT per square metre in the early 2000’s, prices rose to approximately 1.7 million BHT per square metre in 2015.

2016 to 2018 – Continued growth

Today, land prices continue to rise. The growth is maintained but at a slightly slower pace. From 2015 to 2016, we saw possibly the largest jump in prices but more can be expected in the future. Examples of record prices include 2,000,000 BHT per square metre for land in Siam Square, and 1,950,000 BHT per square metre for land in Time Square, Sukhumvit. These prices are simply unprecedented and represent prime land positioning within the centre of Bangkok.    

Why Bangkok’s Land Prices Continue To Increase

So why do land prices continue to rise? Surely there must be an upper limit? Can price continue to rise at the rate they have been? Is there actually any land left in Bangkok to purchase? To analyse this, there are five main pointers to consider:

Development of the Mass Transit System

The Bangkok Mass Transit System has transformed the city. Before this system was implemented, transport within the city was Spartan and chaotic. The city was fragmented and it was not easy to travel between the different districts. The Mass Transit System totally changed this. Areas of the city were opened up, and new regions saw development. In essence, the MRT line, for example, paved the way for investment within Bangkok – this inevitably increased land prices. Businesses and developers competed for land within prime areas, and prices obviously hiked as a result.

Urban planning and building regulations

Aside from the Mass Transit System, planning and building regulations have also had a huge impact. In the early development of Bangkok, regulations were slack. This meant that land prices were relatively cheap as practically anyone could build anywhere. As the city became centralised however into its current shape, regulations tightened. This meant that what you could actually build on a piece of land had tighter restrictions – as a result, land prices increased. 

Improved infrastructure and amenities

If you look at Bangkok today, you can see just how far the city has come. Various districts are bursting with awesome amenities. You can enjoy public parks and huge modern shopping malls for example. The infrastructure and amenities within Bangkok have helped make it a highly desirable location. The capital of Thailand has finally grown into a metropolis and is easily the most important city within the country. As a result, people who want a slice of the action must pay a premium for land.

Increased investment from foreign business

As Bangkok developed, so did interests from other countries. Thailand (and subsequently Bangkok), benefits from a central location within South East Asia. It is connected to a myriad of developing countries such as Myanmar and Vietnam. Neighbouring Asian countries such as Singapore, Japan and China have noted how Thailand and Bangkok have progressed. Due to this fact, investment from foreign companies has increased. This is just another factor that drives up the popularity of the capital and also land prices.

Limited availability of prime land within the city centre

This is possibly one of the most important reasons. Within the last decade, Bangkok has begun to grow inwards. The layout of the city has stabilised and prime areas have been established. Everyone knows the prime areas such as Sukhumvit Road, Thonglor and Ekkamai. These locations are popular due to their location, amenities, and business opportunities. Locations such as these understandably command high land prices as the potential return on investments can be huge.

The Future of Bangkok Land Prices 

Will this trend continue? Will prices rise to greater levels for prime areas within Bangkok? This is largely dependant on current economic conditions and ROI that developers can earn. What happens if land prices continue to rise, but the developer’s ROI diminishes? Land will then look less attractive, which could actually drive prices down.

Furthermore, as land becomes sparse, developers are turning to alternative options. Redevelopment and demolition, for example, are booming. Many old complexes and areas are being demolished, and their land sold for redevelopment. Several properties on Wireless Road, for example, have already been flattened to pave the way for new creations. This trend could also cause prices to hold as developers gain increased buying opportunities.

The next 5-10 years certainly look to be interesting. If past trends are anything to go by, who knows how far land prices could rise. Is it not out of the realms of possibility to expect prices to reach the 3 million THB mark and above per square metre.

Read more: Bangkok condominium price trends 

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The notion of traditional office work has been blown out of the window in recent years. There has been a huge rise in the amount of people working remotely for firms, in addition to those working on a freelance basis while visiting a country or on a ‘working holiday’. Co-working spaces are growing in popularity across many major cities in the world to cater for this increasing trend. This type of property is typically available for anyone to use and will usually be found kitted out with desks, office equipment and other facilities such as a kitchen and lounge area. Rental for the space is flexible and can be on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis. The aim of a co-working space is to provide everything the nomadic or remote worker should need. Typically, power ports, coffee, cakes, access to meeting rooms and an environment conducive to productivity. Find Thai Property have shortlisted 10 of the most popular co-working spaces in Bangkok…

The Hive Prakanong

Location – 69 Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok
Membership Fees – 300 THB per day (for a hot desk – private offices available)
Opening Hours – Monday to Friday 8am – 8pm
Amenities – Lockers, Skype Room, Free Drinks, Lounge, Photocopier, Scanner, Printer

This co-working space is located in a trendy upcoming area and has a friendly and lively atmosphere. The office is located on the 5th floor and has plenty of space and natural light flooding in through the many windows. Only a couple of minutes from the Prakanong BTS station, The Hive benefits from a fantastic location, too.

Mashmellow

Location – 126/2-23 Soi Sukhumvit63 (Ekkamai) Sukhumvit Road Khlong Tan Nuea Wattana, Bangkok
Membership Fees – 320 THB per day / 1690 THB per week
Opening Hours – Monday to Saturday 8am to 9:30pm
Amenities – Lockers, Skype Room, Free drinks, parking, lounge, outdoor terrace, printer, scanner

Another fantastic co-working space located in the heart of the Ekkamai district, Mashmellow attracts a younger generation of clientele and benefits from an energetic support team who are on hand to assist. The office space is simple but effective and is also only 10 minutes from the Ekkamai BTS station.

Draft Board

Location – 26/-47 12A Floor Orakarn Building, Chitlom soi 46, Lumphini, Bangkok
Membership Fees – 300 THB per day / 5900 THB per month
Opening Hours – Monday to Sunday 9am – 9pm
Amenities – Lounge, Photocopier, Printer, Scanner, Cafe

Draft Board welcomes an eclectic mix of clientele from freelancers to digital nomads and has a cool vibe. The interior is modern and some of the office space provides fantastic views of Bangkok. The atmosphere is welcoming and friendly and the chillout zone is well equipped too. Aside from the office desks, there is even a dedicated photography studio for the budding digital entrepreneur to take advantage of.

The Urban Office

Location – Level 20, Metropolis, 725 Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok
Membership Fees – 1050 THB per week (dedicated desks available)
Opening Hours – Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5:30pm
Amenities – Lockers, Podcast Room, Skype Room, Free drink, Scanner, Printer, Photocopier

A true gem in the midst of Sukhumvit Road, The Urban office provides superior office space with a beautiful interior design complete with luscious greenery. The communal area is simple but effective and offers a fantastic space to collaborate and relax. Furthermore, The Urban Office is only a short distance from Phrom Phong BTS station.

Regus Zen World Tower

Location – ZEN World Tower 4, 12 Floor, 4/5 Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok
Membership Fees – 5090 THB per month
Opening Hours – Monday to Friday 8:30am to 6pm
Amenities – Lockers, Free drinks, lounge, photocopier, printer, scanner, standing desks

Regus has a series of co-working spaces throughout Bangkok and the Zen World Tower is one of the most prominent. This office space includes a variety of all-inclusive features such as admin support, kitchen facilities and of course access to the printer and scanner. Furthermore, the office space has ultra-fast Wi-Fi and features a beautiful modern interior design. Situated between Siam and Chit Lot BTS stations.

LINK Collaboration Space

Location – Khwaeng Rong Muang, Khet Pathum Wan, Bangkok
Membership Fees – 5090 THB per month
Opening Hours – Monday to Friday 9:30am to 7pm
Amenities – Podcasting Room, Skype Room, Kitchen, Cafe, Lounge, Printer, Scanner, Pool Table

LINK features a robust and varied crowd such as digital marketers, designers, bloggers and more – the atmosphere is hugely creative and if you love sharing ideas then this is the place to come. Housed within a large open space, the co-working area is packed full of greenery and even has a table tennis table and chess set!

The Hive Thonglor

Location – 46/9 Soi Sukhumvit 49, 40/9 Klang Alley, Khlong Tan Nuea, Bangkok
Membership Fees – 5090 THB per month
Opening Hours – Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm
Amenities – Lockers, Skype Room, Free drinks, lounge, terrace, Photocopier Printer, Scanner

Possibly one of the most trendy and lavish co-working spaces in Bangkok, The Hive Thonglor is an absolute dream. This office space benefits from a gorgeous outdoor roof terrace, comfortable sofas and even access to a spa at a 50% reduced rate! The office area itself is well equipped and has everything a digital professional should need.

Maven Mesh Co-Working Cafe

Location – 29/41, Ladprao 23 Alley, Ladprao Rd., Chankasem, Chatuchuk, Bangkok,
Membership Fees – 300 THB per day / 2900 THB per month
Opening Hours – Monday to Sunday 9am to 8pm
Amenities – Free drinks, Cafe, Lounge, Photocopier, Printer, Scanner

Maven Mesh is the result of combining a co-working space together with a café – the end product is simply fantastic. The café is a great place to relax and meet other like-minded entrepreneurs and digital nomads. The office space features a series of small hot desks together will some well-equipped private office areas. The interior is modern, welcoming and comfortable.

The Work Loft


Location – 5th Floor, 281/19-23, Silom Soi 1, Bangrak, Bangkok
Membership Fees – 400 THB per day / 5500 THB per month
Opening Hours – Monday to Sunday 8am to 8pm
Amenities – Lockers, Skype Room, Free drinks, Cafe, Lounge, Terrace, Photocopier, Printer, Scanner

Located close to the Si Lom metro station, The Work Loft is ideally situated for commuters and offers a fantastic working space with a clean and modern décor. The office facilities are modern with plenty of charger ports and fast Wi-fi connections. Furthermore, the lounge area is comfortable with a series of soft sofas and lounge chairs. In short, The Work Loft is a superb co-working space at reasonable prices.

Mint Work Lounge

Location – 205/21 Soi Thonglor, Sukhumvit 55 Road, North Klongtan, Wattana, Bangkok
Membership Fees – 399 THB per day / 4900 THB per month
Opening Hours – Monday to Friday 9am to6
Amenities – Lockers, Skype Room, Free drinks, Lounge, Computers, Dual Monitors, Photocopier, Printer

The Mint Work Lounge is cool – there is no other way to put it. The décor is artistic with a series of painted murals on the walls, and the working space is modern and well-equipped. You can use one of several hot-desks complete with charger points and comfortable chairs. Furthermore, the co-working space is ideally located within a trendy area of Bangkok – great for those wanting to enjoy both work and nightlife.

There you have it – 10 fantastic co-working spaces in the heart of Bangkok. If you are a freelancer, digital nomad, a travelling business person or simply need a space to work quietly then any of these co-working spaces will serve you well.

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Thailand is set to be transformed into a haven for new start-up businesses and tech entrepreneurs in the next 5-10 years. The Thai government has seen the potential this country has to attract new businesses and a new age of tech start-ups and are taking the initiative. This article looks at why Thailand could truly thrive as a global tech start-up destination, and what this could mean for the future of the country.          

Start-Up Business in Thailand

Thailand already has a booming economy that is going from strength to strength. A push to become a world tech start-up destination should only benefit the country and is a logical step. Thailand is particularly suitable for this push when compared to other Asian countries. We explain why…

Central location within Asia

Thailand undoubtedly has one of the best locations in Asia. This country is considered to be in the strategic and geographic heart of Southeast Asia. It has borders with Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia, and also has great links to Vietnam, China and Japan. In short, Thailand can serve as an economic tech start-up hub that other emerging markets and countries can flock to and use their purchasing power to invest in.

Openness and worthiness as a host
 
Aside from its fantastic location, Thailand as a country is well known for its openness and excellent hosting skills. People love to travel to, and work in Thailand – that’s a fact. Thailand is a hugely popular destination, its people are friendly and welcoming, and it has an economy and system that is increasingly favourable to expats and overseas investors.

Economic development – Thailand Industry 4.0

The economy of Thailand has gone through several developmental stages and the latest transition to happen is a progression to Industry 4.0. The Thai government is attempting to change the country into a service-based economy with an emphasis on the development of technology and innovation. The first step towards this goal is the National Competitive Enhancement Act for Targeted Industries – this act improves business taxation, and also provides investment funding for R&D companies and tech start-ups.

Smart Visa project

Next, we have the governments introduction of the Smart Visa. This Visa is aimed specifically at start-up businesses and entrepreneurs and provides them with fantastic incentives to set up in Thailand. So what does this project mean? For start-up businesses, it means a 5-year exemption from corporate income tax. For co-working spaces, it means an 8-year exemption from corporate income tax. Finally, venture capital firms are granted a 10-year corporate income tax exemption. This is obviously a fantastic monetary incentive for start-ups to work in Thailand.

Creation of new “innovation districts”

Another fantastic measure that the Thai government is creating is to build a series of innovation districts. These will be districts that are packed full of new start-up businesses all pertaining to specific industries. The idea behind these districts is to promote business and to encourage cooperation between different businesses – in these districts, ideas, new technology and processes should thrive and everyone should benefit. Districts included in this new incentive include Pathumwan, Klong San and Punnawithi. Companies such as True Digital Park are already investing and working within these districts. 

Thailand Economic Performance in Future

A transition to becoming a global tech start up destination can only mean positive things for the Thai economy. The government hopes that this will bring a wave of investment, technology, new ideas and business into the country from near and afar. This, in turn, should help drive the Thai economy forward and usher in a new age of prosperity and growth.

It could also mean that the economy relies less on tourism and that Thailand can reclaim some of its treasured natural areas as its citizens will not have to rely solely on tourism as a means of making a living. The push to become a global tech start up destination should open up a whole new range of employment opportunities and truly transform the country. The next 5-10 years certainly look to be interesting as the government makes this push and we see Thailand embrace its fantastic position to become a tech start up hotspot. 

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Let’s get one thing straight – the only way you can legally drive in Thailand is to obtain a Thai driving license. Furthermore, this is the only way that car insurance will actually apply – if you purchase car insurance without a license and are found out, the insurance will be void and worthless. If you do want to legally drive in Thailand then you have come to the right place – this guide provides a 4 step process for obtaining a Thai driving license so buckle up and read on…

For many expats and overseas investors, simply using public transport is not enough when working or living in Thailand. Many want the freedom of the roads and wish to drive legally for themselves. Obtaining a driving license in Thailand can indeed provide you with freedom and allow you to travel further afield and explore the country in full.

Step 1 – Check you have the required documents

Before you even head to the test centre, you should first be fully aware of what documents are required. If you do not have the relevant documents then you will not be able to apply for a driving license period. To ensure that your documents are up to date, we advise checking the Department of Land Transport website first here. The following are current documents required to apply for a Thai driving license:

– Valid Passport (including a copy of the first page of your passport)
– Arrival Card
– Certified letter of address from the Immigration Bureau
– Valid healthcare certificate
 
You can also present a valid international driving license but this is not necessary. We recommend taking copies of all the above documentation, and signing those copies as this can hasten the process, and in most cases, you may need to sign them anyway.

Step 2 – Send your Thai driving license application form

Before taking the actual test, you must first complete the application form and present it at the testing station when applying for the temporary license. You can obtain an application form from the Department of Land Transport and they have specialized stations for foreigners who need assistance. As the form is completed in Thai, you can request assistance in filling it out.

Alternatively, we advise seeking the advice of an interpreter who can translate the form for you and fill it out. Depending on the test station, you can sometimes simply sign and print your name and this will be sufficient, but don’t bank on that. You can find an example of what the driving license looks like here.

Step 3 – Taking your Thai driving license test

Once you have filled out your application and have all relevant documents ready you can then visit the test centre. You can find a full list of all the official test centres here. As the DLT is run by the government, a dress code is required – t-shirts/shirts must have sleeves, and shorts or skirts must come below the knees. Generally, the DLT centres are open Mon-Fri. First, submit your documents – these will then be approved and stamped – you must then take a variety of different tests in order to pass and receive your license. Both car and motorbike tests are essentially the same.

*Please note, if you hold a license in your own country, or an international license, you DO NOT need to take both the practical and theory tests. You need to take just the 3.a, 3.b, 3.c and 3.d test requirements below*

The following are the 6 different parts involved in obtaining your Thailand driving license:

3.a – Color Blindness Test

This is fairly straight forward – a simple test to see if you are colour blind – if you are, then we advise reporting this straight away. Some test centres actually skip this test completely but if you do have to take it, all you have to do is look at a variety of different coloured dots on a print-out and name them. If you cannot speak Thai, don’t worry – most test centres will understand English answers.

3.b – Peripheral Vision Test

Peripheral vision is an important part of driving – you must have a decent peripheral vision to see potential threats out of the corner of your eyes. This test involves placing your head on a special station – you are shown various objects such as traffic lights on both the left and right hand sides or your eyes; you must correctly identify the colours. During this test you are given several chances if you answer incorrectly – this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try hard though!   

3.c – Reflexes Test

During this test, you must use a simulated brake pedal and accelerator pedal to correctly gauge a level of acceleration and braking without going over the red LED zone. As with the peripheral test you may be given several chances to complete this test.

3.d – Depth Perception Test

To test your depth perception, you must align a small moving pin with another pin that is situated approx. 10m away – this shows the testers that you can correctly gauge distance.

3.e – Theory Test

As in other countries, a theory test is required. Beforehand, you should take the 5-hour theoretical class which provides you important info about driving on Thai roads. Also, consider studying Thai driving laws and regulations. The actual theory test consists of 50 questions – you must enter 45 to pass (90%). This test is quite easy, and it can be re-taken the next day if you fail.

3.f – Practical Test

Finally, you must take the practical test too which is considerably easy compared to other countries. You basically have to drive around a small test centre track and park without hitting cones – that’s literally it. The only issue is that your car may not be in a brilliant condition so this could make the practical test more difficult.

Step 4 – Getting your actual Thai driving License

So you have successfully aced your test – now you can actually get your official license. You must first obtain a two-year temporary license, and once that period is up, you can apply for the full Thai 5-year license.

4.a – Two-year temporary driving license

A two year license costs approximately 300 THB (around £9-10) and you can also pay 50-200 THB to have a doctor validate your physical fitness. If you passed all of your tests, your documents and license will be returned automatically to your place of residence providing you have paid the fee.

4.b – Five-year full driving license

Once your two-year temporary license has expired you can obtain a full five-year license. The full license costs approximately 605 THB (around £15.00).  

We hope you have found this guide useful – it should be noted that there are companies who actually provide help to expats in obtaining a Thai driving license; from filling out paperwork to taking care of payments and helping with tests. When considering applying for your Thai diving license, always ensure that you check the DLT website for up to date information as processes can change. 

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Thailand has long been an attractive destination for expats – the country is blessed with a superb climate all-year-round, jaw-dropping landscapes, a wealth of culture, and a host of reasonably priced property developments. Expats from neighbouring Asian countries such as China, Hong Kong and Japan flock to Thailand to enjoy the lifestyle and comparatively cheap cost of living. Many Europeans from the UK, Germany, Russia and elsewhere also adore this South East Asian paradise.

This trend of foreign interest in Thailand is increasing. This is particularly noticeable within the property market.

Thailand Increasing In Popularity 

There are many contributing factors to the popularity trend – it is not a simple case of Thailand being an attractive location. The following are some of the main reasons contributing towards an increased international interest in Thailand:

Developers marketing in foreign countries

This is one of the most prominent reasons – the fact that Thai property developers are actively marketing abroad. Traditionally, Thai developers would purely market their properties within the country, but this is no longer the case. We are seeing an increase in overseas road shows, direct marketing strategies within foreign countries, and a general push by developers and Thailand real estate agencies to appeal to this international audience.

The Sansiri Public Company, for example, has been aggressively marketing their residential developments in both Hong Kong and China through road shows and promotional events. Moreover, the PACE corporation who created the iconic MahaNakhon skyscraper has held roadshows in Singapore to promote their structures. Furthermore, the Country Group Development have travelled to Dubai and the UAE in the past to promote their Bangkok residences – it is clear that international marketing is making a big difference.  

Favourable economic situation in Thailand

Aside from a push by developers to market in other countries, the economic situation in Thailand itself is also a huge draw. The country continues to experience moderate economic growth year after year and the government appears to be settling and making great changes to the Thai infrastructure. For example, the MRT transit system is being developed within Bangkok, and national railways will eventually open up better transport links to other countries such as Myanmar and Vietnam.

There is a range of business and investment opportunity in Thailand now, with huge choice of overseas offices and branches looking for foreign employees.

Demand for property from Thai citizens

This may not be as important but it is certainly a factor too. During the Thai property boom, there was an oversaturation of developments – property developers aimed to take advantage of the surge in demand and effectively created an excessive supply, particularly of condos. To fill those vacant condos and sell those residential complexes, developers looked for other avenues and foreign investors happen to be an extremely lucrative one with a high demand. However, now Thai citizens are also benefitting from the strength of the economy. The younger generation of Thailand in particular has also adapted to the condo living lifestyle, further increasing overall demand and supporting new condo developments.

The increase in foreign interest in Thai property is no mere coincidence. If the Thai economy continues to grow impressively and Thai developers continue to push towards an international market we should only see an increase in this trend.

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The BTS Sukhumvit Line or Green Line is one of the main mass transit systems through the centre of Bangkok. This elevated train route was first opened in 1999 and since then has undergone a number of renovations and expansions. Starting at Mo Chit in Chatuchak District and ending at the Bearing station in the district of Bang Na, the Green Line currently has 23 stations and passes through some important areas such as Sukhumvit Road and Siam Station at the BTS interchange.

Throughout its history, the BTS line has made orders of additional trains to help congestion and it is reported that 22 new trains are set to land in the country to further bolster the transporting capabilities of the line. This article looks at what this could mean for the line, and how it could affect the surrounding local areas.

Siemens Ship in 22 New Trains From Turkey


German manufacturers Siemens are actually responsible for creating the trains that operate on the BTS skyline. To coincide with the completion of the latest Green Line expansion, Siemens has recently announced that they are shipping 22 new trains from their manufacturing factory in Turkey to Bangkok in August.

The carriages will feature improved technology and a reduced carbon footprint

The German manufacturers have stated that the trains will have the latest technology and will have a superior and improved design to older iterations of the Sky Train carriages. Aside from the improved technology, the carriages will also feature four doors on both sides of the frame – this should allow a steady flow of passengers to enter and leave the trains when arriving at stations. Finally, the cars will have a reduced carbon footprint and will be more environmentally friendly.

Sukhumvit Green Line Improvements

This is obviously welcomed news for the residents of Bangkok who use the Green Line as a means of commuting or daily transport around the city. Aside from the trains supplied by Siemens, it is also reported that Changchun Railway will also supply a further 24 new vehicles too in the immediate future which should further contribute to the expansion of the Sukhumvit Line. So what does this actually mean for the line and surrounding areas?

Ease the congestion of rush hour commuting traffic

The obvious main effect these trains will have is to ease congestion and rush hour traffic on the extremely busy Green Line. Although the Sukhumvit Line has a great number of stations and carriages, it still has to deal with a staggering amount of passengers per day numbering into the hundreds of thousands (The BTS Skytrain has an average of 650,000 passengers per day in total).

Furthermore, aside from the number of passengers, the Green Line has had numerous expansions over the last few years but the number of carriages on the lines has not increased to cope. These new carriages should help steady the flow of passengers, and reduce bottlenecks at the more popular stations. Some people say this is not enough however as the Green Line is currently undergoing further expansions, therefore, passenger numbers will increase again. In the next 15 years, the Green Line is set to double in length through various expansions, therefore, these 22 new trains could be seen as a mere stop-gap.   

Improve real estate prospects and promote the development

Aside from the ease in congestion for commuters, the 22 new trains should promote the areas surrounding the green line and invite investment and construction. Areas such as Sukhumvit Road and Ekamai will remain popular hubs within the centre of Bangkok, but areas at the extremities of the line should prosper. We have already seen investment in the district of Bang Na for example with the construction of the impressive Bitec Bang Na, and the Bangkok Mall is also scheduled to open here too.

As the line continues to expand, we can expect other areas to prosper and open up as transport links improve for commuters into the centre of Bangkok. The expansion from Bearing to Samut Prakarn, for example, could provide benefits for this southern part of Bangkok. Alternatively, the in-progress expansion from Mo Chit to Don Mueang is already opening up possibilities for this area, especially surrounding the international airport.

It is clear that these new trains from Siemens will certainly make a difference, and improve transport along the Sukhumvit Line – this is only a short-term measure however and most must be done as the BTS Sky Train continues to expand in the future.   

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Bangkok is a bustling metropolis that has a plethora of iconic structures and skyscrapers. Examples of prominent structures include the 304m Baiyoke Tower II, the 247m State Tower, and the imposing new mixed-use ICONSIAM complex. One such structure that has fallen out of the limelight somewhat is the impressive MahaNakhon tower which currently stands as the tallest structure in Thailand. In recent months, it has been announced that travel retail giant King Power has purchased parts of this building in an interesting move that is set to improve the fortunes of this mega structure. 

History Lesson – the MahaNakhon Skyscraper

The MahaNakhon is the current tallest building in Thailand (set to be surpassed by ICONSIAM on its completion) and was completed in 2016. This inspirational structure features a stunning glass façade that has a cutaway cuboid style mid-section and top that make it look like a modernist work of art. Within the structure, you can find a mix of residential apartments (some of the most expensive in Bangkok), together with hotels and retail outlets too. The tower and surrounding MahaNakhon square were originally developed by PACE Development Corporation PLC.

Business Deal – King Power moves in

Despite being open for more than 2 years, the tallest structure in Thailand still has unsold plots and assets – this is in part due to its initial “build it and the buyers will come” mentality. The structure was built with the idea that its sheer size and scale would attract buyers and this notion hasn’t come to fruition. To help ease the strained funds of PACE Development, the company has sold over 14 billion Baht worth of assets relating to the MahaNakhon tower to King Power. PACE will use these funds to pay off loans and to make new investments in other areas of business in an attempt to make a return to profits.

Exact particulars of the deal remain unknown, but it is known that King Power will acquire the tower’s observation deck, the Bangkok Edition Hotel (154 rooms), the MahaNakhon Cube retail complex, and a host of sculptures and paintings contained within the structure. The main feature of the tower that remains out of the reach of King Power is the freehold condo development which contains 209 units, 75% of which are already sold.

What does this mean for similar structures within Bangkok?

This relatively surprise purchase by King Power helps demonstrate that there is still a demand for this type of complex and older structures within the centre of Bangkok. Although the trend within the city has recently moved towards new mixed-use complexes such as ICONSIAM, buyers are still seeking to turn a profit and make an investment without the associated construction and development work involved.

Furthermore, this also points towards a shift in the reasoning behind new developments. Some structures such as the MahaNakhon were simply created and their resale and use were given as an afterthought. Developers are now seeking clarity and commitment for a return on investment during the planning stage of new complexes. Pre-sale and joint ventures from retail companies, for example, are a great way to guarantee that what you are building has a valid use and will bring in the profits.
Hopefully, the MahaNakhon can shine in the future and King Power can turn it into something truly fantastic.

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Over the past 5 years, the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand has been transforming the transport system within Bangkok. One of the most daring and visionary projects is the creation of the MRT mass transit system in the city centre which includes several new underground lines.
 
This new transit system should improve transport within Bangkok greatly, and it should also help ease congestion that is rife in busy areas of the city. The MRT Orange Line is one of the planned lines within the Bangkok Metropolitan Area – this line will be one of the most important new transport developments in the city and on its completion will stretch for some 37km underground.

A Brief History of The Bangkok Orange Line
 

From 2009 onwards the Thai government has created various plans for the MRT mass transit system. Originally, there were plans for two main lines – the brown line and the orange line. In 2009, however, plans were scrapped and the two lines were merged together to form the single orange line. In 2012, alternations were made again to the plan and some proposed stations were scrapped and sections of the line rerouted.

The whole orange line was initially planned for opening in 2013 however due to protests by locals and the continual change of plans and routes, the final opening is set to take place in 2022. Official construction of the orange line begun in June 2017 and the budget is estimated to be at over 82 billion Baht for phase one alone.

Technical Data – How The Bangkok Orange Line Will Look

The orange line is divided into two main sections – Bang Khun Non to Thailand Cultural Centre and Thailand Cultural Centre to Min Buri. The following is some technical data and information about the orange line:

– Total number of stations: 30
– Track Gauge: 1,435mm
– Operating Speed: 50mph
– Total Length: 37.5km

Throughout its course, the orange line uses both overground and underground track and passes through a range of important locations such as Hua Mak Stadium, Bang Kapi District, Min Buri District and Ratchathewi district. Furthermore, the orange line will also intersect with other MRT tracks such as the blue line and yellow line. At its operating peak, it is hoped that the orange line will service over 110,000 passengers per day.

Impact of The Bangkok Orange Line

It is expected that the Bangkok orange line will provide improved transport links from eastern Bangkok into the city centre. Up until now, Min Buri and surrounding districts have been quite isolated and do not benefit from the transport links available in central Bangkok. Areas such as Min Buri, Khan Na Yao and Saphan Sung should benefit from improved accessibility.

Furthermore, this transit development is already paving the way for many new residential and commercial opportunities. We have seen this happen in other areas of Bangkok where MRT lines have been developed – interest grows and so does the potential for new construction. There are some incredible real estate investment opportunities springing up in the areas of the new lines, and the investors with the ability to speculate on the future are expected to yield the highest returns. The orange line represents a drastic improvement to the MRT system of Bangkok – this new line should open up a range of new possibilities and further improve the transportation within the city.

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Thailand is a diverse country with some truly magnificent landscapes. The Thai government has maintained many of these landscapes as part of their National Park network. Notable examples of Thai national parks include Kui Buri National Park near the Burmese border, Mu Ko Ang Thong National Park on the Gulf of Thailand, Khao Sok National Park in Surat province and Ao Phang Na National Park in Southern Thailand.

As tourist numbers continue to increase annually in Thailand, the management of these parks and protected areas becomes increasingly complex. The government must address various issues such as pollution, littering, and the effect tourism is having on these delicate ecosystems. In recent months, it has transpired that part of the Phi Phi Islands national park has been closed to tourism – why did this happen and what does this mean for the future of Thailand’s national parks? 

Why Thailand’s National parks are Seasonally Closed?

Thailand is a country that has a varied climate and distinct weather seasons. Due to its position on the equator and its landscape, Thailand actually has three main seasons – hot, cool and wet. The hot season typically runs from March to June, whilst the cool season typically runs from November to February.  Finally, the wet season is typically met with monsoons, high rainfall and rough seas – this season can vary annually.
 
Due to this varied weather and seasons, the Thai government actually closes many national parks at certain times during the year. This year, for example, 66 of the 147 national parks will be closed at some point. For example, Doi Luang National Park in Chiang Mai will be closed from the 1st of July through to the 30th of September. These closures are meant to protect the public and tourists during the wet seasons as conditions can become truly unstable and dangerous.

Phi Phi islands Maya Bay Closure 

 
Although closures of Thailand’s national parks are common as you can see above, the Thai government recently closed the iconic and popular Maya Bay to tourism. This action went against the grain as it was nothing to do with the weather or dangerous conditions.
 
Maya Bay was closed due to the negative impact tourism had caused. Pollution and litter were becoming a problem and this island in the Phi Phi archipelago was in dire need of a respite. The surrounding coral reef was badly damaged and marine life had all but vanished from the seas. Effectively, the government closed Maya Bay to allow its ecosystem and natural landscape to recover from the effects of persistent tourism, regardless of the impact this would have on sales, and income from the island.
 
Although only closed for a four-month period, the locals of Koh Phi Phi have done what they can to clean up Maya bay and try and bring back its original natural beauty. Only time will tell if this partial closure will do the trick but there are many people who argue that nothing short of a permanent closure will repair the damage we have done.

What Can we Expect in the Future for Thailand’s National Parks?

This incident at Maya Bay is one of several where the Thai government has had to re-assess its strategy and consider the harmful impact mass tourism is having on its natural habitats. It is clear that something needs to change – if areas such as Maya Bay continue to be subject to mass tourism, much of the beauty of Thailand will simply disappear. This presents an extremely difficult situation – tourism is a huge part of the Thai economy, but can we continue to let tourism destroy iconic locations such as Maya Bay and the Phi Phi Islands?

We hope you have found this information enlightening. As you can see, the Thai government is changing their approach to the national park management. It is clear that in the near future, continued thought must be given to cases like Maya Bay and the Phi Phi Islands if Thailand wishes to protect its areas of natural beauty.

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