New post on my trip to the famed opium-producing triple border of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. I visit all three in one wild day. Click here to read about it.
indefinitely to allow the tourist-magnet some much-needed time to
recover, it’s time to look for another natural wonder.
is the Ang Thong National Marine Park, located about 40 kilometers north
west of the coast of Koh Samui. Some would argue it’s even more
spectacular and worthy of at least a full day visit.
Marine Park is made up of 42 islands spread over 102 square kilometers. Travelers will find beautiful beaches, limestone cliffs, caves, rock
formations and countless photo opportunities. Enjoy some views from the
Thani mainland or from Koh Samui by speedboat. There are slower
ferry-style boat trips as well but you’ll lose a lot of time travelling
there (usually for day trips) and the speedboats can get into much
Phaluai, the park’s biggest island, where there’s a popular stilted
restaurant in the island’s fishing village, serving a delicious seafood
famed for wildlife spotting and what might just be the most beautiful
viewpoint in the entire park.
the 2000 movie “The Beach,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was filmed in
Koh Phi Phi’s Maya Bay in the Andaman Sea, the book by Alex Garland upon
which the film was based was actually set in Ang Thong in the Gulf of
THE closure of the glittering Thai bay made famous by the movie The Beach has been extended for another two years to allow a full recovery of its corals and wildlife, an official said on Thursday, drawing a sharp rebuke from the tourism industry.
Maya Bay, ringed by cliffs on Ko Phi Phi Ley island and surrounded by azure waters, was made famous when it featured in the 2000 film starring Leonardo Dicaprio.
It was shut last June by Thai authorities due to worries the white-sand paradise was suffering from the pressure of thousands of day-trippers arriving by boat.
Authorities had initially said the beach – a massive draw for Thailand’s more than 38 million tourists – was going to be closed for four months, but the re-opening was repeatedly postponed.
Thon Thamrongnawasawat, adviser to the Department of National Parks, on Thursday said the ban on visitors will be extended until mid-2021.
“The resolution of the Department of Parks yesterday [May 8] is to extend the closure of Maya Bay for another two years to allow its ecology to fully recover,” he said.
After it is reopened, measures such as limiting the number of daily visitors and banning boats from parking within the bay’s waters will be enacted, Thon said.
Before Maya Bay’s closure, up to 5,000 tourists visited daily, causing trees and smaller vegetation to be uprooted, creeping soil erosion, and severe damage to the corals in the bay.
A majority of the visitors were ferried there from tourist hotspot Krabi province by local longtail boatmen or tour operators who touted the movie-famous bay as a key attraction for day trips.
“Maya Bay is the heart of our tourism,” said Wattana Rerngsamut, chairman of Krabi Provincial Tourism Association which represents some 200 tourism and hotel operators.
Calling the two-year extension “unfair”, Wattana said the Department of National Parks should conduct public hearings so they can find “common ground . . . so that local people can earn a living”.
Chinese visitors, making up a quarter of Thailand’s tourists, have “plunged 50 per cent [in Krabi]”, he added.
Thailand experienced a three-month slowdown in tourism last year, most noticeably since July when a ferry sank and killed 47 Chinese visitors off nearby Phuket.
Since the tragedy, the government has rolled out inducements aimed at regaining trust and making travel easier – including exempting Chinese visitors from paying a visa-on-arrival fee.
Less than a year after its closure, blacktip reef sharks have been sighted swimming in Maya Bay, with conservationists saying their return signals signs of a recovery to the ecology.
Source – ThePhnomPenhPost
As of Sun, Feb 3, Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai and Mae Fah Luang airports, all operated by Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT), have been declared no-smoking zones with fines of up to B5,000 (around US$160) for any violators.
2018 Public Health Ministry announcement requiring all offices of
government agencies and state enterprises, which includes airports, to
assign no-smoking areas.
traffic at Bangkok’s two airports, Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi, both
affected by the change, exceeded 100 million in 2018.
Asia-Pacific during the Lunar New Year period, the world’s largest
annual human migration, which is currently underway.
travel destination in online booking platform Agoda’s list of top
spring festival destinations 2019, knocking last year’s winner Tokyo to
second spot, followed by Taipei.
nearly three billion trips by car, train and plane in the 40-day period
between January 21 and March 1, an increase of 0.6 percent from 2018.
Indonesia and Malaysia will celebrate the lunar new year and usher in
the year of the pig, the 12th and last position on the Chinese zodiac.
2. Tokyo, Japan
3. Taipei, Taiwan
4. Hong Kong
5. Kaohsiung, Taiwan
6. Osaka, Japan
7. Taichung, Taiwan
8; Sapporo, Japan
9. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Visa applications to Thailand from Laos via Vientiane are set to get a shakeup with the introduction of an online appointment system, Thailand’s Embassy has confirmed.
Long queues into the Thai consulate in Vientiane are set to become a thing of the past, with all appointments to be made online and walk-ins refused.
Information on the system is set to be released on embassy channels January 28, and come into effect on February 1.
Apart from saving time, money and streamlining operations in a general sense, the move is set to make the biggest difference in summer, when rising temperatures have occasionally been known to fray tempers and sanity among the queuing applicants of multiple nationalities, many of whom are frequent travelers to or foreign residents of Thailand on “visa runs”, as well as those persons based in Laos seeking visas permitting more than two trips per year overland to the near neighbor via Friendship Bridge.
For those folk wistfully nostalgic about their time spent waiting for a visa appointment in the consulate queue, be sure to make it down in this splendid weather for old times sake.
Source – laotiantimes
Khaosan Road vendors will resort to “civil
disobedience” from Monday if Bangkok authorities do not allow them to
sell their wares during daylight hours, a leader of the Khaosan Road
Street Vendors Association said.
The vendors are also planning to march to the capital’s City Hall at
around 11.30am on Monday to seek permission to sell their wares during
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) banned street vendors from
trading during daytime since August 1. Though the BMA is coming up with
a new regulation to allow trading from 4pm to midnight, vendors at
present can only conduct their business from 6pm.
This time limit has meant a huge drop in income for daytime traders,
largely because they have to hand their stalls over at 8pm to vendors
who sell at night, Yada explained.
“It’s like we set our stalls up for nothing. Now, we [daytime vendors] make only Bt500 or Bt1,000 daily,” she added.
According to the 1992 Public Cleanliness and Orderliness Act, vending on
the street is illegal. However, since Khaosan Road is known the world
over for its vibrant street market, the City Hall decided to draft a
municipal order allowing vendors to take over the Khaosan Road footpaths
from 4pm to midnight.
Khaosan vendors, however, said this order would cripple vendors who make
a living by selling trinkets to backpackers and Chinese tourists during
A five year old Thai girl, who can speak three foreign languages, helps her mother to sell food along the beach in Krabi.
A young beach vendor who sells food along Klong Heng Beach in Krabi, is carrying two baskets with fruits and snacks. She can speak Thai but also Chinese, English and Bahasa Malay languages. She is seen daily communicating fluently with tourists and providing the correct change when tourists buy food from her.
The girl’s name is Warassaya ‘Fern’ Patin. She’s the daughter of 45 year old Sunee Patimin.
Khun Sunee say, “I have a fruit juice shop nearby here. My daughter carries the baskets along the beach. She greets tourists before she informs them what she has in her baskets. Many tourists like her and buy her food.”
“She studies in a kindergarten at Kitiwaitayanusorn School in Krabi. At her school they are also teaching three foreign languages – English, Chinese and Bahasa Malay. She is a talkative girl. She always followed me to sell food since she was very young. She loves listening when I talk with customers and is a very quick learner.”
“She asks to help me sell food even if I think she is still very young. She should be playing with her friends like other children do but she enjoys doing this. She has never told me that she is tired. She helps me sell food after school and during weekend. She also makes sure she always does her homework.”
Fern says, “I tell tourists that my food is delicious. If they don’t like it I promise to refund their money, but most of them buy food from me. I earn about 500-700 baht per day. I enjoy walking and speaking to tourists.”
If you see Fern or her mum selling their food along Klong Heng Beach in Krabi make sure you try their food.
Source – TheNation
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