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Anyone ever use Chiang Mai Buddy?


Hanaguma
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Hi all;

 

Gonna be in CM for the summer vacation season (most of August) and am thinking of starting to get documents ready for a retirement move in the next few years.  I would like to set up bank accounts for my wife and I, drivers licenses for us both, and a scooter license for me.  

 

Has anyone used the Buddy service for these things?  Is there another agency you would recommend?   We both speak zero Thai so I think some form of assistance would save us a lot of time. 

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be careful with agencies

 

Dozens of foreigners in Phuket allegedly defrauded by visa agency, police investigating

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15 minutes ago, Hanaguma said:

the summer vacation season (most of August)

Most of what you want is easily done by yourself.. I really don't think you need a buddy to sit w/you... and I am someone who loves using an agent to fill out my visa forms... 

 

ps - Summer is March and April which is hot season and when school kids have their summer vacations... 

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Chiang Mai Buddy.  A name from the past.  They used to have an office on Huay Kaew Road.  I thought they had gone out of business. I contacted them in 2016 while I was preparing for my move to Chiang Mai.  They never responded.  I got an OA Visa arrived in early 2017 and pretty much took care of things on my own.  Bank account is not hard if you have a long term visa.  Once you arrive there are plenty of people who can help you in obtaining a drivers license.  

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Thanks all. That is just the thing, I wont have any visa, just a standard 30 day tourist waiver. I dont want to spend my days wandering from bank to bank looking for one that will help.  Just want to get the ball rolling, so to speak, and have some more options for the future.   It is worth paying someone to help me get it all done in a day or so, then I can get on with my vacation. 

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57 minutes ago, Hanaguma said:

Thanks all. That is just the thing, I wont have any visa, just a standard 30 day tourist waiver. I dont want to spend my days wandering from bank to bank looking for one that will help.  Just want to get the ball rolling, so to speak, and have some more options for the future.   It is worth paying someone to help me get it all done in a day or so, then I can get on with my vacation. 

I doubt you can open a bank account on a 30 Visa exempt entry.  If you intent is live a long time in Chiang Mai then you might want to look at long term visa options and many are age dependent or $ dependent.  

 

Are 50 or older? Can you spend 600,000 Baht for a 5 Elite Visa?  If you are over 50 a Non Imm O or even an OA are viable long term options?

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Thanks Squak. I am 57 now (wife is 52) but still will be working full time for the next 3 years - at least that is the plan.  Live in Japan so it isn't a long trip to the LOS and, at least up to this year, wasn't an expensive trip either.  Planning to retire at 60, start getting a pension and live off some investments.  So we can't really up and start getting a visa sorted as of yet.  Long term is definitely to get an O Visa but not for a few years. 

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Thai Visa Assist & Star Visa are 2 established, long time services....

I have used both for various services....

Both will give frank, honest answers....

There is a Honda driving/riding school that provides lessons & assistance for licensing.....

If you are not used to riding motorcycles/scooters - use extreme caution.....All the good mannered driving codes, habits, & courtesies you observe in other countries are pretty much flagrantly ignored here.....The common sense laws/rules are in place, but there's no enforcement...Thus, the rules ignored....Largely following the one with the most lug nuts = "rules/wins".....

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I'll second everything that pg just said. I've used both Assist Thai and Star Visa for various services over the years. Both excellent. And if you are not an experienced MC driver, don't plan on learning here. The carnage on Thai roads (especially for bikes) is unbelievable.

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Thanks for the advice and hints.  I will contact them and get some estimates etc. As for motorbikes, I do have some riding experience. We have been coming to Thailand for 20 plus years- when I was younger we rented bikes for puttering around wherever we stayed. I am pretty good at it, just go slow and assume every other driver is a drunk idiot is the way to stay alive IMHO.  Figured a bike is easier to get around the city on than a car for certain occasions. 

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On 6/29/2022 at 5:04 PM, 1FinickyOne said:

Most of what you want is easily done by yourself.. I really don't think you need a buddy to sit w/you... and I am someone who loves using an agent to fill out my visa forms... 

 

ps - Summer is March and April which is hot season and when school kids have their summer vacations... 

confirmed..what can they do one cant do themselves or find free sources

 

or even the trusty lads here on the forums to guide a newbie!

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1 hour ago, Sticky Rice Balls said:

confirmed..what can they do one cant do themselves or find free sources

 

or even the trusty lads here on the forums to guide a newbie!

If someone knows a bank where I can open an account on a 30 day visa exemption, that would be fab.  Otherwise, I dont mind spending some money for other  people to do the scut work and possibly use their 'connections' to smooth things through.  

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On 6/29/2022 at 4:56 PM, Mavideol said:

be careful with agencies

 

Dozens of foreigners in Phuket allegedly defrauded by visa agency, police investigating

A very rare  story

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20 minutes ago, Hanaguma said:

If someone knows a bank where I can open an account on a 30 day visa exemption, that would be fab.  Otherwise, I dont mind spending some money for other  people to do the scut work and possibly use their 'connections' to smooth things through.  

I use agents all the time. They advertise on TV and newspapers in Pattaya. But being bit of a dead zone I dont know about CM. I don't know how well well you know CM or  Thailand but it's the last place I'd choose to settle. I opened my account  by myself  but I use agents for most things

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7 hours ago, Hanaguma said:

Thanks for the advice and hints.  I will contact them and get some estimates etc. As for motorbikes, I do have some riding experience. We have been coming to Thailand for 20 plus years- when I was younger we rented bikes for puttering around wherever we stayed. I am pretty good at it, just go slow and assume every other driver is a drunk idiot is the way to stay alive IMHO.  Figured a bike is easier to get around the city on than a car for certain occasions. 

As many many have learned the hard way:  It is not a matter of if you will have a motorbike accident, only a matter of when.

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OP, are you a Japanese national, or at least fluent? There is (as you probably already know) a very large J community in CM. From my few visits at the J embassy, I remember a lot of notices on billboards and such, it might be worth a visit to find advice (near Airport Plaza mall).

 

One thing you may want for your future here is also to secure proper medical care. All private hospitals have English-speaking staff, but some are even specialized with Japanese customers e.g. Ram Hospital (not my first choice btw, but a good starting point).

 

Driver's licence: obtain an Internatinal Driving Permit before coming here. It will allow you to rent/drive legally for a while, and also can be rather easily converted to a proper Thai licence eventually (DLT on the road to Hang Dong).

 

Banks I would recommend Bangkok Bank, at Kad Suan Kaew mall, excellent service for foreigners. Unfortunately they are closing... today! Set to move all services to the branch near Thanin market, it remains to be seen. But many banks offer similar service to expat, you will have to shop around. Shopping malls usually have branches of several banks, try e.g. Central Festival or Airport Plaza.

 

Agents I wouldn't know, but Buddy in front of KSK seems to be mostly for scooter rentals? Star Visa used to be quite ok for all kinds of services.

 

 

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18 hours ago, Hanaguma said:

Thanks for the advice and hints.  I will contact them and get some estimates etc. As for motorbikes, I do have some riding experience. We have been coming to Thailand for 20 plus years- when I was younger we rented bikes for puttering around wherever we stayed. I am pretty good at it, just go slow and assume every other driver is a drunk idiot is the way to stay alive IMHO.  Figured a bike is easier to get around the city on than a car for certain occasions. 

A lot of biker riding habits erratically changed when the bikes got faster......In the days of the 90-110CC they were forced to keep left & slow.....Now there's more bob & weave - shoot the gap kamikaze riding going on.....

Have to be 360 aware of all angles now....

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23 hours ago, Hanaguma said:

If someone knows a bank where I can open an account on a 30 day visa exemption, that would be fab.  Otherwise, I dont mind spending some money for other  people to do the scut work and possibly use their 'connections' to smooth things through.  

My approach would be go in and ask at your preferred bank

 

luckily I worked here awhile ago and had to open an account for direct deposit

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  • 2 weeks later...
4 minutes ago, stargazer9999 said:

Has anyone used The Colonel Company across the street from immigration?  

Yeh the receptionist there is really hot. 

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4 hours ago, stargazer9999 said:

Has anyone used The Colonel Company across the street from immigration?  

They have hot girls....I tried them once for visa renewal...

At that one time they didn't seem very organized & very poor communication. ....However, they did get the renewal handled - but I didn't return the next year to see if better or worse.....

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It's not that difficult.  Research and do it yourself.
However, if you want the convenience of an agent, make sure you have a well-know and reputable agent.
 

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1 hour ago, connda said:

make sure you have a well-know and reputable agent.
 

Do you happen to have any recommendations for reputable agents to assist with that comment ?

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13 minutes ago, DezLez said:

Do you happen to have any recommendations for reputable agents to assist with that comment ?

The 2 I listed & have used....

Thai Visa Assist.....Star Visa..

TVA - CM Land Rd....

SV (2) - up the street from the US Consulate & On the street behind the Super Big C off the super highway....

 

 

 

 

 

 

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