What I love about Thailand is they have all these rules but then they have all these loopholes and ways around things that you just don’t get back home. If the bars are supposed to be shut at 1am then they are shut. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a different venue to get a drink either. The rules are meant to be bent and that’s how it works.
It’s usually always the people at the bottom who don’t have an opportunity to bend the rules that get pissy. Loi Kroh road in Chiang Mai is a perfect example. Every bar is supposed to shut up at midnight! WTF right? bit early especially since just on the other side of town the bars are still going to at least 1am. Spicy has to pretend it’s not even open while on the other side of town Infinity is raging and they don’t need an fake coffee shop out the front.
The point i’m getting at here is again that there are rules and bendable rules. Whoever has more money in Thailand has more privilege. This is why border runners are whining and elite members are laughing. Is it corruption or simple economics? I personally don’t care to judge.
So if you didn’t know there is this program Thai immigration have called Thailand Elite. If you become a member you’ll get Visa privileges can come in and out of the country, no check-ins or immigration lined, golf buggies in the airport and limousine service. Sounds awesome till you see the 2 million baht price tag plus and another 20k a year for 20 years.
I do know 1 guy who showed me his card he claims he only paid 500k for 5 years for it but he doesn’t get the free golf which he says he doesn’t play anyway.
Is it a rip-off? Depends, Harvie mentioned yesterday that he wants to be in Thailand 9 months every year and I’m sure there’s lots of people like Harvie who do something similar. If your plan was to do this for the next 20 years or if you can get that cheaper 5 year version than it would be perfect except for the upfront cost.
Now I don’t know about Harvie but I don’t have 2million to pay for a card and even 500k i’m still debating it but for now i’m happy going through the poor mans visa process, i’ll save a few bucks, but I can see business people using this option especially if the company pays for it and individuals who earn more than $200 an hour.
I’m sure there is a price for anything including citizenship and again I’m fine with that. I’m not rich and don’t work for a multinational so I can’t afford to spend on an elite card right now but I would like to know that if I were I could have options like this that weren’t available to everyone else.
If your interested in applying for the 5 year visa here is some more info:
MEMBERSHIP PRIVILEGES AND BENEFITS
– A renewable 5 years multiple entry visa with one-year-stamp at each arrival
– Stay as long as you like with 1-year-extendable – length of stay
– Extension fee of Baht 1,900.00 paid to Immigration Bureau (The fee is directly charged by Thai Immigration Bureau.)
– VIP greetings by Elite Personal Assistant (EPA) and escort on international arrival and departure
– Expedited immigration and passport control processing via Fast Track
– Complimentary round-trip limousine with 24 times per calendar year transfering from/to the airport only on international flights within 50 km. (Bangkok, Chiang Mai downtown, Phuket and Samui)
– Elite Personal Liaison (EPL) to assist when dealing with any public agencies or private organizations such as Immigration service, Driver’s license and opening bank account
– Our EPL Service on a complimentary basis only for the first time. The 2nd time onwards, the rates are available upon request. This charge is subject to change without notice
And then some other things like discounts at restaurants but I doubt I will ever go out of my way to go to a particular restaurant just to hope they accept my card in exchange for a 5% discount.