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Leonardo DiCaprio praises Thailand for efforts to increase the population of wild tigers

The Thaiger

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Leonardo DiCaprio praises Thailand for efforts to increase the population of wild tigers | The Thaiger
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American actor, film producer, and environmentalist, Leonardo DiCaprio, has praised Thailand for its efforts to increase the population of wild tigers in the Huai Kha Kheng wildlife sanctuary in Thailand’s western forests.

On Global Tiger Day (July 29), DiCaprio shared his enthusiasm for south east asian tigers.

“In Thailand’s Huai Kha Khaeng wildlife sanctuary, tigers are roaring back thanks to a major long-term effort by the government of Thailand, supported by the Wildlife Conservation Society.”

“As a result, tiger numbers in the sanctuary have risen dramatically, from 41 in 2010-11 to 66 today – a more than 60% increase. In addition, tigers moving beyond the boundaries of the sanctuary are providing a foundation for recovering the population across the entire western forest complex of Thailand, with benefits even spilling across the border into the Taninthayi region of Myanmar.”

The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, along with the World Wildlife Foundation, has launched a campaign to conserve tigers throughout the country, under the auspices of the Save Tigers Now project, which is working to double the global tiger population by 2020.

Meanwhile, six tigers will be sent to Cambodia from India and released into Cambodia’s Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary, the last known place a tiger was seen in the sanctuary in 2007.

Cambodia’s Provincial Department of Environment director Keo Sopheak told The Phnom Penh Post that India had agreed to export six tigers and release them into the sanctuary to help restore the species.

According to Wildlife Alliance, the last record of a tiger in Cambodia was in November 2007 in Srepok

“According to the plan, we will release six tigers to be brought in from India. The Indian government has agreed to the scheme.”

Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary was chosen because experts considered the area to be abundant with food suitable for tigers, such as gaur, banteng and deer, he said.

Global Tiger Day has been celebrated every July 29 since 2010, the last Chinese Year of the Tiger, when it was launched by leaders of the 13 tiger range countries – countries where tigers still roam free – and NGOs working to protect the species from extinction.

The Tiger is a media sponsor for Save Wild Tigers.

SOURCES: The Phnom Penh Post | The Nation

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Top 10

Top 10 must-see towns in Asia

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Top 10 must-see towns in Asia | The Thaiger

Tropical nights, curious mountain silhouettes, sprawling rice paddies and exotic cuisine. You’ll also find some snow-topped mountains as well. The Thaiger has selected the Top Ten of these camera-worthy towns. Southern Asia is a concoction of the ancient, very modern, traditional and enigmatic. Amongst the islands, megacities and spectacular scenery, there are also some very pretty towns that deserve your days pottering around and investigating. Some of them you would have never heard of. Here’s our Thaiger Top Ten must-see towns in Asia, in no particular oder…

Old Phuket Town, Thailand

Most tourists head for the beaches, but the southern Thai island of Phuket offers a lot, lot more these days up and down the west coast and across to the island’s east coast as well, not just Patong. The historic old quarter of Old Phuket Town, located in the central east coast of the island, is lined with Sino-Portugeuse colonial shophouses, built during the island’s tin-mining boom of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Twenty years ago you couldn’t give them away. Now the old shop-houses are hot property and getting spruced up and re-used for a new generation of tourists and culture vultures. There are plenty of hip shops, cafés, restaurants, bars, art galleries and book shops. The area is also filled with Chinese temples, crumbling mansions and cultural museums.

Check out the weekly Sunday night ‘Lard Yai’ market along Thalang road for some local market vibes in amongst some local ephemera, astonishing Thai street food, some local performers and a few bargains. Kicks off around 4pm. If it rains during the island’s wet season (May to November), you’ll get wet but it’s always around 30 degrees C and you can duck undercover anywhere around the Old Town’s sidewalks.

Top 10 must-see towns in Asia | News by The Thaiger

Galle, Sri Lanka

On the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka is the walled town of Galle, an important trade port for centuries.

The UNESCO-listed fortress has been through three bouts of colonial rule – the Portuguese from 1505-1658, the Dutch from 1658-1796 and the British from 1796-1948. These days, many of the old merchant houses are renovated into museums, boutique hotels, shops, restaurants and bars.

The dining scene has grown in breadth and popularity, with fresh seafood, excellent Sri Lankan curries and egg hoppers (dome-like pancakes). There’s also plenty to see as you walk off all that food. The Dutch Reformed Church, Sudharmalaya Temple, Galle Clock Tower, Galle Lighthouse, Meeran Mosque and the old Spice Warehouse. Then head down the southern coastline to enjoy the surf, diving, whale-watching or just laying around Unawatuna Beach.

Top 10 must-see towns in Asia | News by The Thaiger

City of Vigan, Philippines

Experience a rich history of Spanish colonial-era architecture in the city of Vigan. It lies on the west coast of Luzon island in northwestern Philippines. Vigan was established by the Spanish in 1572. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage City.

Conquistador Juan de Salcedo developed a modern grid plan for the city, and Spanish architects designed beautiful churches, grand mansions and schools with unique windows and dark timber interiors.

Most of the colonial buildings are situated around the Plaza Salcedo, including the St Paul’s Cathedral. This beautiful Baroque structure was first built in 1641 and then restored after several earthquakes and fires.

Top 10 must-see towns in Asia | News by The Thaiger

Hoi An, Vietnam

Located on the central coast of Vietnam, about 40 minutes drive south of Da Nang, Hoi An’s Old Town has an international reputation as a haven for photographers, architecture lovers and lovers of food. Added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1999, the town was a former French colonial trading port that has been a commercially vital town for Vietnam since the 16th century. It’s now more important to Vietnam as a commercially vital tourist magnet.

The rambling narrow streets of Hoi An feature rows and rows of charming mustard coloured old trading houses. Many are now trendy restaurants, bars, design boutiques, coffee shops and tailors. Seemingly with a production designer preparing the town as a set for a ‘colonial asian’ movie, lush foliage spills from the rooftops and silk lanterns light up the town at night. It’s right out of a picture book.

Top 10 must-see towns in Asia | News by The Thaiger

George Town, Malaysia

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, the sprawling historic quarter of George Town on Penang island showcases its many cultural influences over the centuries. You’ll also find some similarity with Phuket’s Old Town, just 600 kilometres north, but with a broader cuisine and more colonial influence.

George Town’s colourful heritage traces back 500 years when the former British colony was a prominent hub of trade on the Malacca Strait, enabling cultural exchange between Malay, Chinese, Indian and European residents. The town still resinates with influences from all of these cultures. There is an eclectic mix of pastel-hued shophouses, Chinese mansions, churches and temples, colonial buildings, food and fortresses.

George Town deserves its reputation as the “food capital of Malaysia” and remains one of the best food cities in Asia – from street food to hawker centres, chintzy local restaurants to fully renovated mansions serving up high end fusion cuisine. Like the architecture, the local cuisine captures George Town’s multicultural history.

If you’re heading to George Town, take your appetite.

Top 10 must-see towns in Asia | News by The Thaiger

Luang Prabang, Laos

The former capital of Laos on the banks of the Mekong River, is the picturesque Luang Prabang, home to temples and dramatic natural scenery.

It’s either one of Southeast Asia’s most spiritual places or an emerging party town for the backpacker set, or both. Either way Luang Prabang makes a dramatic first impression.

The town is hugged by mountains as it rests at the bottom of a valley in central Laos. The location was the first kingdom in Laos from the 14th to 16th centuries, Luang Prabang was long a strategic location along the famed Silk Route. Since then the French have also had their time as colonial overlords which has resulted in a fusion of European and Laotian architecture creating a distinct townscape.

Although Vientiane, on the Thai border, is now the capital, Luang Prabang, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, continues to be the country’s cultural and artistic capital.

In addition to the graceful architecture, Luang Prabang is also home to beautiful natural attractions including the Kuang Si Waterfalls and Phousi Mountain. There are also more than 30 Buddhist temples, the Royal Palace Museum, night markets, river boat rides and biking tours.

Top 10 must-see towns in Asia | News by The Thaiger

Kampot, Cambodia

Think Cambodia and you automatically think ‘Angkor Wat’, but Cambodian travellers are falling in love with the southern charms of Kampot.

The serene coastal town, on the southern coast along the Gulf of Thailand, is getting a reputation as one of the prettiest small towns in the region. Think colourful French colonial shophouses, tidy pedestrian-friendly streets, river activities and a feast for the cameras. You can spend your days kayaking, mountain trekking, biking, river cruises, paddle-boarding, or you could take a day trip through the countryside’s lush paddy fields, cave temples and waterfalls.

Kampot has a growing foodie reputation as a culinary playground with everything from traditional Khmer cuisine to vegan delights. The town still has a bit of a ‘rough’ reputation but is well worth a visit and certainly deserves its place amongst the top ten prettiest towns in Asia.

Top 10 must-see towns in Asia | News by The Thaiger

Kota Gede, Indonesia

Among the oldest parts of Yogyakarta in central Java, Kota Gede is known for its silver industry, cute laneways and photogenic architecture.

The location’s history goes back to the 15th century, when Yogjakarta was the seat of the Mataram Sultanate, the last kingdom before the Dutch colonised Java island. Wealthy merchants built palatial homes in the Kalang style, a mix of Dutch structural elements, traditional Javanese layouts and local craftsmanship.

Travellers in the 21st century can now walk along Jalan Kemasan and browse through boutiques, art galleries and silver workshops showcasing the famous jewellery and elaborate tableware. For a little history, travellers can also venture out to Yogyakarta’s most famous UNESCO-listed landmarks – the Prambanan Temple and the eighth-century Borobudur Temple.

Top 10 must-see towns in Asia | News by The Thaiger

Mawlynnong, India

In amongst one of the world’s most chaotic and messy countries, lies Mawlynnong, located in the East Khasi Hills of northeastern India, which has been named the “Cleanest Village in Asia”. Go figure!

The village lives up to its reputation thanks to the Khasi community who call the town ‘home’ and take great pride in keeping the village pristine. The town is famous for its meticulously pruned gardens.

There’s a popular 85 foot high tree house called Sky View constructed of bamboo that overlooks the jungle canopies all the way across the plains of Bangladesh to the south. There’s also the Mawlynnong Waterfall, while a living tree root bridge creating a scene from Game of Thrones or an Indiana Jones movie.

Top 10 must-see towns in Asia | News by The Thaiger

Ghandruk, Nepal

Ghandruk is a mountain village at the foothills of the Himalayas in central Nepal. The village is more than 2,000 metres above sea level, the highest in our Top Ten list.

The village is about a five-hour hike from Pokhara, a pretty lakeside city in central Nepal that acts as the starting point for the popular Annapurna Circuit (and also worthy of a visit for a few days). You’ll find traditional tea houses, a mountain-top temple, horseback riding and the local customs of the Gurung people who live here.

Members of this Nepalese community have served in the British Army’s Gurkha regiments during many conflicts and you should make time to visit the Old Gurung Museum which provides lots of fascinating historical insights.

And the village has quite a spectacular backdrop with Mounts Annapurna, Machhapuchhre and Himalchuli looming large as you look over your shoulder.

Top 10 must-see towns in Asia | News by The Thaiger

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Crime

23 Cambodians found in Thai forest after allegedly crossing the border

Caitlin Ashworth

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23 Cambodians found in Thai forest after allegedly crossing the border | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Khaosod

Nearly 2 dozen Cambodians were found in a forest near the Thai-Cambodian border. Thailand recently increased border patrol in fear that those sneaking in could be unknowingly be carrying the coronavirus. Numerous migrants have been arrested in the recent weeks for illegally entering Thailand through natural passageways, like rivers and forests, especially along the country’s western border with Myanmar.

Thai Residents calls it a “battle” against Cambodian and Burmese migrants who are trying to enter Thailand illegally, saying “their actions pose a serious threat against people living in Thailand.”

Yesterday, 23 Cambodian nationals allegedly entered Thailand’s eastern Sa Kaeo province and hid in a forest at the border until 2 trucks picked them up, police say. They were then dropped off at a eucalyptus forest in the Chachoengsao province as they waited for another truck.

Foreign Affairs Division police tracked down the group after receiving a tip about migrants crossing the border. Police say they found 13 men, 9 women and a child hiding in the forest. The migrants told police they entered the country for work and were waiting on a ride to bring them to their employers.

The migrants were arrested and taken to the Khao Hin Son Police Station and the local health department will test them for Covid-19. They plan to deport the workers once they are cleared.

Over the recent weeks, police have also arrested a number of Burmese migrants for allegedly crossing the border. Officials tightened border control after Myanmar reported a surge of Covid-19 cases. While the outbreak is mostly in Myanmar’s Rakhine state along the western border, and the largest city Yangon, a Thai health official predicts the virus will reach the Thai-Myanmar border in the next 2 weeks.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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Crime

Joint operation nabs 29 illegal Cambodian migrants in a Kaeo

Jack Burton

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Joint operation nabs 29 illegal Cambodian migrants in a Kaeo | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: 77kaoded

Officials in the eastern border province of Sa Kaeo, with help from other law enforcement agencies, arrested 29 illegal migrant workers from Cambodia last night in the Ta Prayha subdistrict. Led by the deputy commander of the Burapha Forces, an elite squadron also known as the Tigers of the East, a large team located the group, who were on foot attempting to navigate a forest with a handler, around midnight. Sa Kaeo has long been a hotspot for illegal migration into Thailand.

The handler, a Thai national who was not named, reportedly said he was being paid 4,500 baht by a company in Suphanburi, northwest of Bangkok, to bring the workers to them. The company, whose name was not given, has denied the claim, according to law enforcement. Each migrant worker had to pay the handler 2000 baht as well.

Thailand has heavily cracked down on border security due to fears that illegal migrants could bring the Covid-19 virus from other countries. Thailand has not had a confirmed locally spread case of the virus in 82 days.

The 29 migrants will be returned to their country after a check for Covid-19 and processing. The handler faces legal charges and prosecution.

Joint operation nabs 29 illegal Cambodian migrants in a Kaeo | News by The ThaigerJoint operation nabs 29 illegal Cambodian migrants in a Kaeo | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: The Pattaya News | 77kaoded

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