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Thailand’s Ang Thong National Marine Park, the ‘new’ Maya Bay

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With Thailand’s Maya Bay in Koh Phi Phi Ley remains closed indefinitely to allow the tourist-magnet some much-needed time to recover, it’s time to look for another natural wonder.

One of Thailand’s astonishing natural wonders, not as well known as Maya Bay, is the Ang Thong National Marine Park, located about 40 kilometres 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. There are many tours available to the National Park.

The Ang Thong National Marine Park is made up of 42 islands spread over 102 square kilometres. Travellers will find beautiful beaches, limestone cliffs, caves, rock formations and countless photo opportunities. Enjoy some views from the air…

It will take you about an hour to travel there from either the Surat 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 shallower waters.

Tours usually also squeeze in a visit to Koh Phaluai, the park’s biggest island, where there’s a popular stilted restaurant in the island’s fishing village, serving a delicious seafood lunch.

Another popular island worth visiting is Koh Wua Talap, famed for wildlife spotting and what might just be the most beautiful viewpoint in the entire park.

FUN FACT: Though 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 Thailand.

Thailand's Ang Thong National Marine Park, the 'new' Maya Bay | News by Thaiger

 

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Koh Samui

Samui tourism official calls for inter-provincial travel ban to flatten the curve prior to July re-opening

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PHOTO: Yavor Punchev for Unsplash

The president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui says the island is still pinning its hopes on a July 1 re-opening for vaccinated foreign tourists. Ratchaporn Poolsawadee remains optimistic, despite Thailand now battling a third wave of Covid-19, with Samui reporting 50 infections.

He says vaccines are being rolled out out on Samui, although a number of doses have had to be diverted to Covid hotspots elsewhere in the country. Around 30%, or 25,000 people, have already received 2 doses of the vaccine, with very few side-effects reported. However, the pace may slow as a result of some of Samui’s allocation now being sent to other provinces, in an attempt to curb the spread there. Ratchaporn says that once it receives a further supply of vaccine doses, the island has the capacity to administer 25,000 shots over 5 days, at 4 vaccination centres.

“We firmly believe that the vaccination process will be completed by June which will be in time for the re-opening plan.”

Until then, officials in the southern province of Surat Thani and on Samui itself, are strengthening disease prevention measures and travel restrictions. Ratchaporn is calling on the government to impose an inter-provincial travel ban to halt the spread of the virus. He says doing so would be more effective than closing businesses for 14 days, with the possibility of endless extensions.

The Bangkok Post reports that tourism operators are preparing tour programmes for the Samui Sealed Routes, whereby tourists would travel to sealed beach locations at Tham Rang in Angthong National Marine Park, as well as partaking in wellness activities such as yoga, meditation and spa treatments.

Before embarking on a “sealed tour” however, vaccinated foreign tourists would have to remain in their hotel rooms on the day they arrive. On day 2, they would be required to take a Covid test and, if negative, would be allowed leave the room and use other hotel facilities. From day 4, they would be allowed leave the hotel, with another Covid test on day 7. If the result is negative, tourists can travel around the island as well as elsewhere in the country.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

All foreigners eligible for Covid-19 vaccine under Thailand’s vaccination plan, eventually

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Stock photo by Vincent Vega on Flickr

All expats living in Thailand are eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, according to deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Natapanu Nopakun. He says Thailand plans to roll out a “massive vaccination plan” to vaccinate all people who are living in Thailand, including foreign residents.

“All people residing in Thailand, regardless of nationality, are eligible to receive the vaccine under the plan.”

He made the announcement during the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing today. Natapanu says more information on the vaccination plan for foreigners residing in Thailand will be released at a later date.

Health officials in Phuket and Koh Samui, tourist destinations that have been said to be of “economic significance,” have already been rolling out mass vaccination campaigns in an effort to reach herd immunity and reopen the islands to foreign tourists by July. But the vast majority of foreigners in the country remain confused about exactly how they can go about registering, or when they can expect to be included in Thailand’s vaccine roll out.

An expat who works as an English teacher at a school in Koh Samui says he received both doses of the Chinese-made Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine this month. He says the school helped with the registration process and both doses of Covid-19 vaccine were free.

 

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Expats

International Living magazine ranks Koh Samui among 15 best islands to retire

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Thailand’s popular Gulf island of Koh Samui is basking in glory as it is listed as one of the best islands to retire by International Living magazine. The island is ranked number 10 out of 15 islands listed by the magazine, and is said to be affordable for retirees. Peace, privacy, a simpler way of life and strong communities are also listed as some of its benefits.

The magazine detailed life on Koh Samui, pointing out the island’s world-class beaches…

“LYING ABOUT 425 MILES SOUTH OF THE COUNTRY’S CAPITAL, BANGKOK, KOH SAMUI HAS BECOME ONE OF THE MOST COVETED EXPAT DESTINATIONS IN THAILAND. ALTHOUGH ONLY 13 MILES WIDE AND OVER 15 MILES LONG, THE ISLAND IS THAILAND’S SECOND LARGEST ISLAND AFTER PHUKET.

KOH SAMUI BOASTS WORLD-CLASS BEACHES TUCKED AWAY IN SECLUDED BAYS…EXPANSIVE INLAND JUNGLES TEEMING WITH EXOTIC BIRDS, BUTTERFLIES, AND MONKEYS…MAGNIFICENT CASCADING WATERFALLS AND INLAND NATURAL POOLS…AND AN ALMOST COUNTLESS CHOICE OF GREAT SPOTS TO SIT DOWN, RELAX, AND WATCH THE SPECTACULAR SUNSETS OVER THE GULF OF THAILAND.

SAMUI, ONE OF AN ARCHIPELAGO OF 80 SMALLER ISLANDS, HAS A WARM AND MOSTLY CRYSTAL-CLEAR SEA WITH LOTS OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR KAYAKING, SAILING, AND BOATING. IT IS ALSO FAST BECOMING A GOLFER’S PARADISE.

THE ISLAND MAKES A GREAT DESTINATION FOR ANYONE LOOKING FOR A DREAM RETIREMENT BY THE SEA. YOU CAN LIVE WELL HERE ON A BUDGET OF US$2,000-2,500 A MONTH.”

Apart from the necessary documents needed, you can renew your retirement visa yearly without needing to go on a visa run or outside of the country, making the option convenient for those who may be unfit for sucFor information regarding a retirement visa, you can visit or contact a Thai embassy or consulate. Or a properly qualified visa agent.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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