Calling Overseas from Thailand

Until now, for calling overseas from my cellphone, I have been dialing with one of these two prefixes:
– A plus sign (+)
001
It had occurred to me that there might be cheaper options (with different prefixes), but I hadn’t tried to research them very hard until just now. A friend called today and said that dialing “008” as a prefix is the cheapest option, so I decided to find out for sure. I called Japan (00881) and found that it cost markedly less than the previous methods I had used, but that the line was a bit choppy at times (although totally useable)… It was time to get the low down on all these dialing prefixes:

“There are now two ‘official’ companies offering International Telephone Services here in Thailand.
CAT – offers ‘International’ connections via the prefix 001 & 009 (different prices), and is available for almost all phones (both fixed line & mobile).
ToT – offers ‘International’ connections via the prefix 007 & 008 (different prices), and is available for all phones.
001. The original International Access code for use FROM Thailand. All phones will connect if prefix 001 is used. The quality is excellent, BUT this is the most expensive method. In most cases it will NOT be necessary to use 001 – try these others first.
007. This is the new high quality service for ALL lines + mobiles (cheaper than 001). Recommended for fax use, and ‘1st class’ voice.
009. This is the new prefix number for all TT&T lines, AND mobile phones of these providers (AMPS, GSM, CDME, D-TAC, AIS, ORANGE). This prefix provides a good discount via Voip (reduced quality) (cheaper than 007).
008. This is the new reduced quality service for ALL lines + mobiles, perfectly adequate for voice (cheaper than 007).
Note – 007. Prices vary with destination, but, until further notice a promotion of no more than 9 baht/min will operate 24/7 to the following countries:
Note – 009. Prices vary with destination, and promotions come and go, but many ‘western’ countries are either 5 baht/min or 7 baht/min. see prices at: http://web1.cattelecom.co.th/ (currently the cheapest?? Aug 2006)
Note – 008. Prices vary with destination, but, until further notice a promotion of no more than 6 baht/min will operate 24/7 to the following countries:
Alaska, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guam, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Laos. Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, U.K, USA.”

The above was quoted from this page, which has tons of useful Thai phone-related information and seems to be updated regularly.
To summarize, the 008 prefix seems to be the cheapest option for calling overseas from a mobile phone in Thailand, and the voice quality is adequate. If better line quality is desired, 001 or 007 is the way to go (although I’m still curious where the plus sign prefixed calls are routed through).

You know you're from California if…

So as not to be outdone by all the redneck, hillbilly, and Texan jokes; You know you’re from California if:

  1. Your coworker has 8 body piercings and none are visible.
  2. You make over $300,000 and still can’t afford a house.
  3. You take a bus and are shocked at two people carrying on a conversation in English.
  4. Your child’s 3rd-grade teacher has purple hair, a nose ring, and is named Sun Flower.
  5. You can’t remember . . is pot illegal?
  6. You’ve been to a baby shower that has two mothers and a sperm donor.
  7. You have a very strong opinion about where your coffee beans are grown, and you can taste the difference between Sumatran and Ethiopian.
  8. You can’t remember . . . is pot illegal?
  9. A really great parking space can totally move you to tears.
  10. Gas costs $1.00 per gallon more than anywhere else in the U.S.
  11. Unlike back home, the guy at 8:30 am at Starbucks wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses who looks like George Clooney really IS George Clooney.
  12. Your car insurance costs as much as your house payment.
  13. You can’t remember . . .is pot illegal?
  14. It’s barely sprinkling rain and there’s a report on every news station: “STORM WATCH.”
  15. You pass an elementary school playground and the children are all busy with their cells or pagers
  16. It’s barely sprinkling rain outside, so you leave for work an hour early to avoid all the weather-related accidents.
  17. HEY!!!! Is pot illegal????
  18. Both you AND your dog have therapists.
  19. The Terminator is your governor.
  20. If you drive illegally, they take away your driver’s license. If you’re here illegally, they want to give you one.

(thx dad)

A Vientiane Visa Run by Cameraphone

Rule number one: The Thai Delta Force is not going to save your gambling ass.

Comforting words at the Nong Khai border crossing, Thailand
The ghetto-est wheel lock ever (or maybe it’s a parking boot?):

A mobile ATM van (Thai Military Bank – doesn’t a MILITARY bank just seem safer?)
Welcome, Comrades!

“…some animals are more equal than others.”
Speaking of animals:

Fresh meat sleeping; their brothers are roasting in the background.
A restaurant (and Tandoori chef) in Vientiane we can heartily recommend:

Rashmi’s Indian Fusion, across the street from the Lao Plaza Hotel.
My favorite shot of the whole trip:

“Don’t flap your arms like a bird or God will strike you down!”

Trashdozer Kill Kill!

In some ways, living in a gated community of nice houses here in Thailand really makes me feel comfortable because it’s so similar to living back home. Then something comes along along that just blows my mind and serves to remind just how differently some things are done here. Case in point, the Trashdozer:

Trashdozer!

Kill Kill!
I have no idea why they don’t just use a garbage truck… Then again, if it was my job, I’d rather use a payloader, too.

Counterbalance

Yesterday was a paradox of bad things that would have been a lot worse if not for little blessings:

  1. A big dog came running after me – but there was a big rock on the ground next to me, and I don’t play to lose in a country that doesn’t vaccinate
  2. Our right rear tire blew out on the highway – but we were only going 60kph, and there was a tire store 200 yards up the road
  3. Nam locked us out of our house – but her sister, who lives fifteen minutes away, just happened to have a key
  4. I stepped on a dog turd – but it was the “perfect” consistency (not wet enough to stick and not dried out enough to crumble and generate the dreaded Doggy Doo Dust)
  5. The water supply for the entire neighborhood got shut off – but there was water left in our auxiliary tanks, and taking bucket baths on the lawn was refreshing