This special treaty gives Americans preferential treatment in Thailand

March 3, 2015
Bangkok, Thailand

Those who have traveled will understand me when I say that you can instantly feel what local people’s attitudes towards you are just from the way they look at you.

It’s hard to describe specifically what the differences are… you just feel it.

As a traveler this can have a huge impact on how you feel about a place, while as an expat it can make all[...] Click here to continue reading

Come explore the red-hot entrepreneurship scene in Bangkok

March 2, 2015
Bangkok, Thailand

Whenever I land in Bangkok, I instantly feel the buzz. This is a city that’s alive, unlike any other in the world.

Commerce is everywhere and sometimes it feels that the whole city is one big marketplace.

Bangkok is known across the world for its exhilarating social life, but that same incredible energy is put towards business and entrepreneurship as well.

While the official startup scene might[...] Click here to continue reading

Ready to hit the eject button? Here are five places to start looking

November 7, 2014
Santiago, Chile

As we talked about yesterday, moving abroad isn’t as difficult as you think.

Sure, it’s not always cookies and cupcakes, but the benefits and opportunities of living abroad are often unparalleled.

Only by moving abroad can you truly curtail how much you contribute to your corrupt, bankrupt home government.

And you just might find that in many cases you can live better, cheaper, and enjoy a[...] Click here to continue reading

The real risk in Thailand

May 17, 2010
Undisclosed location

You've probably seen some clips on the news about the political current unrest in Thailand, and some headlines like "CHAOS IN THAILAND!"

These headlines are inaccurate. Thailand, the country, is not in chaos. The political unrest is taking place in a small section of Bangkok, and this is where the chaos is... actually, it's more like a war zone.

In the rest of the country, though, it's[...] Click here to continue reading

Planting an offshore medical flag

May 10, 2010
Undisclosed location

I'm going under the knife tomorrow... it's a little unexpected, but apparently I need a rather urgent surgical procedure performed, and the doctors here have fit me in at their first available time.

To be honest with you, I'm pretty disappointed-- no, not because of the operation. These things happen from time to time, and I'm pretty fearless. I'm mostly disappointed because I'm not in much condition at[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: the next trade, Panama’s future, robbed of his gold, confidence

May 6, 2010
Undisclosed Location

If you'll kindly indulge me, I will jump right into this week's questions.

First, Jeff writes, "Simon- you really called the gold/euro short (XAUEUR), I'm up 25% since you mentioned it. Where do you see it going now?"

The European-induced panic is causing a rush to 'quality' once again. The dollar has surged, Treasuries rallied, and just about everything else fallen, including oil, silver, and that third-world[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Colombian investments, Perth Mint disclosure, Biking in Panama, Thai crime, Medellin for women

April 16, 2010
Medellin, Colombia

Yesterday I celebrated tax day by charging up my AMEX card on one of the IRS's official payment websites. There's nothing like earning travel points for keeping the flames of bureaucracy burning.

And speaking of travel, I should be headed to Ecuador this weekend where I plan on spending several days hopefully hopping around the country; more to follow next week.

On to this week's questions...

[...] Click here to continue reading

If you’re squeamish, stop watching after 7 minutes

April 12, 2010
Medellin, Colombia

As tectonic plates slowly drift over millions of years, an occasional fissure opens up in the earth's surface.  We call them volcanoes, and they provide a means for the earth to release some of the intense pressure that builds up over time.

Volcanic eruptions are typically harmless... the earth blows off some steam and everything settles quickly. In rare instances, though, when significant pressure builds up near highly[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: H.I.R.E. Hoopla, Panama without the Canal, cheap retirement, more

April 2, 2010
Panama City, Panama

It's been a great week so far in Panama. Each time I come back to this country I become even more sure in my conviction that Panama has a bright future.

For the next few days, though, I am going to set aside market forecasts and expatriation strategies... you see, my friends from the Atlas 400 club are starting to arrive, and I'm looking forward to a[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Panama sustainability, offshore incorporation, Thai banking, housing

March 26, 2010
Vancouver, BC

I'm headed to Panama shortly where I look forward to meeting up with my friends and colleagues in the Atlas 400 group. We're going to an exclusive deep-sea fishing resort for a few days, and afterwards I plan on taking up some unfinished business in Panama.

One of the things on my agenda is to revisit the sustainable community concept that I began discussing a few months ago.[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: RFID chips, moving retirement funds, offshore businesses, Panamanian citizenship

March 19, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

My time here in Thailand is finally coming to an end, at least for now. On Monday morning, after I stop by the US embassy to pick up my renewed passport, I'll be headed to Hong Kong.

I should briefly mention something about passports. Starting in 2007, the US government began manufacturing all new passports with RFID chips-- small devices which record and transmit data.

Malaysia was[...] Click here to continue reading

What a river of blood says about safety

March 18, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

Something interest happened this week in Thailand that I think says a lot about the country and its people.

For the last several months... well, years, actually... a large group of organized protesters has stepped up its calls for the current government of Thailand to step down. The group is known as the "Red Shirts" for the uniform they wear, and their top priority is to have open[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Seychelles,, Italian passport, Thai hospitals

March 12, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

Greetings once again from the land of smiles.

First of all, I really appreciate all the responses after yesterday's letter in which I announced that I will be speaking at the upcoming Casey Research Crisis and Opportunity Summit. I'm really looking forward to meeting with so many of you in Las Vegas.

For some reason, a few subscribers had difficulty with the link that gives more information[...] Click here to continue reading

Up close and personal with Thai healthcare

March 8, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

I managed to pick up some nasty bug that has knocked me into next Tuesday... But while I feel completely miserable at the moment, this little bacterial bout has given me the opportunity to experience, first-hand, the joys of the Thai medical system.

First, doctors make house calls. When you're as sick as I am, the last thing you want to do is get dressed, sit in the[...] Click here to continue reading

In Thailand, they sell T-shirts at the revolution

February 22, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

I was in the back of a black sedan on Friday morning speeding along Highway 7 from Pattaya to Bangkok when my driver's phone rang. He picked up, jabbered for a few seconds, and then said to me:

"Sir, my friend call me from Bangkok; he say big protests in city, we need to go around."

"No chance--" I replied. "Let's go see how serious they are[...] Click here to continue reading

Why not Thailand and Uruguay?

Seriously... isn't it time the investment community stopped listening to the rating agencies?

Moody's, Fitch, and S&P-- these are the usual suspects who completely missed the boat on the US sub-prime debacle.  Back in 2005, they gave pristine credit ratings to risky mortgage portfolios stuffed full of borrowers who are notorious for not paying.

The recent debt crisis in Dubai underscores their irrelevance once again.

As I discussed earlier this week, Dubai's[...] Click here to continue reading

What Thai real estate can tell you about gold

I was having breakfast this morning at my favorite Bangkok cafe-- they do a delicious American breakfast with eggs, bacon, toast, orange juice, and fresh fruit for under $3... and it's delicious.  For another $3 I could get a backrub while I eat.

As I was reading the local paper, something caught my eye in the business section-- a full page ad for a real estate development about 2 hours outside of Bangkok. The[...] Click here to continue reading

It’s not your problem, it’s my problem

Tony looked the part-- measuring tape draped over his shoulder, wire frame spectacles, and ashy hands that had been sullied by the chalk marks he had been making on my garments. 

"SAHM SIP!" he said in Thai, announcing my 30-inch waist to an anxious-looking recorder.  The fitting was almost over, and Tony's crew was about to spend the rest of the evening cranking out an exquisite wardrobe of new clothes for me-- pants, shirts,[...] Click here to continue reading

Medical care in Thailand

I was reading a menu, but I wasn't in a restaurant.

Liposuction: $625
Tummy Tuck: $1,250
Breast Enlargement: $1,125
Sex change operation: $1,625

I did a double take. Yep, that wasn't a misprint.

Thailand is renowned for a lot of things-- beautiful beaches, crazy nightlife, political instability, etc. One of the things it should be better known for is medical tourism.

People often ask me because I travel so much, "Simon,[...] Click here to continue reading

Real Estate in Thailand

First of all, thanks to all the well-wishers (especially Dusty) after my accident... your concern is much appreciated, and I'm feeling a lot better.

Today I want to talk about real estate in Thailand, and particularly here in Pattaya.  I've spent the last few days scouting property, and talking to agents, developers, and buyers.  Overall, some aspects of the market are reasonably attractive in the long-term, but I need to give you a bit[...] Click here to continue reading

Answering your questions after the wreck…

I'm actually reporting tonight from bed-side in my hotel room; I managed to crash my $3/day motorcycle rental this afternoon, and between the cracked rib and other pleasantries, I've decided to call it an early evening.

Fortunately for me, Thailand has some of the best healthcare in the world, at least if you're an expat and go to the several renowned and accredited private hospitals... but more on that in future letters.  Tonight I[...] Click here to continue reading

Fight night in Pattaya

The air smelled of sweat and blood, and I could barely hear my friends talking to me over the screaming crowd.  With each blow, bookmakers were shifting odds and taking bets with such a frenzy that the arena may as well have been the New York Stock Exchange on Black Monday.

This was the scene tonight at a local Muay Thai match here in Pattaya... and aside from being a much needed break for[...] Click here to continue reading

Why the only direction for Thailand is up

November 4, 2009

I arrived into Thailand at 3am this morning from Shenzhen, and instantly I felt a bit happier. China is undoubtedly a booming colossus full of opportunity, but culturally it can be a bit grating after a while.  After a month on the mainland,  I needed a break, and Thailand was the perfect choice.

Aside from being one of my favorite countries in the world, I wanted to spend some[...] Click here to continue reading

Profting from turmoil in Thailand

He has ruled through 12 US Presidents, a string of military dictatorships, several coups, and a historic transition to democracy. At 81 years of age, King Bhumibol of Thailand has really seen it all.

Despite his essentially ceremonial position, King Bhumibol is revered, almost worshiped, by his people-- not like other constitutional monarchies where the royal family is merely a rubber stamp soap opera.

He has used his extreme influence on several[...] Click here to continue reading