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Transport

Three Thai airports being renovated to double passenger volumes

Tanutam Thawan

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PHOTO: Surat Thani Airport will be doubled in capacity

Krabi, Buriram and Surat Thani provincial airports are getting a makeover to double their capacities in 2020, with a combined budget of 11.3 billion baht.

Krabi airport will be renovated and expanded to handle double its capacity. The new terminal will be able to handle 8 million passengers a year.

A second passenger terminal will be built at Buriram airport in Thailand’s Northeast costing 700 million baht.

The new terminal is needed in the regional to serve the increase of tourists, promote the growing sports tourism and support the international-airport’s upgrade plans. The new terminal will double the airport’s capacity to 1.7 million passengers a year.

Surat Thani airport will also be upgraded to accommodate 3.6 million passengers a year, up from 2 million now.

Commercial rental space is also going to be increased at the three airports. Officials are also considering raising landing and aircraft parking charges to partly offset the construction budgets.

 

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Krabi

Krabi officials hunting motocross drivers who rode bikes in historic cave – VIDEO

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Richard Doring / T Globe

Officials in the southern province of Krabi are on the hunt for a group of motocross riders who rode their bikes through an historic cave considered a significant ancient site. It’s believed the bikers were participating in some sort of race, and officials are now attempting to track down the race organisers as well as the bikers. According to a Bangkok Post report, it’s believed there may be some local politicians among the organisers.

In September 2016, the Fine Arts Department, which sits under the umbrella of the Culture Ministry, declared Toh Luang cave, in the Ao Luk district of Krabi, a significant ancient site. The cave has been used as a film location for a number of foreign movies.

The bike race came to the attention of local authorities when residents reported seeing a group of motocross riders enter the cave on bikes and race an obstacle course around the cave’s stalagmites, before speeding away after about 20 minutes.

VIDEO: Thai PBS News

Yesterday, the Royal Forestry Department and local officials conducted a survey of the inside of the cave, in which they observed damage to some stalagmites and stalactites, as well as tyre marks on some of the ancient paintings that decorate the cave wall. After checking all 3 levels of the cave, officials say there is evidence the race took place on both the first and second level. Adisorn Nuchadamrong from the Royal Forestry Department say those responsible face charges of damaging or destroying forestry resources.

It’s understood the race was filmed and originally shared on social media before the post was deleted.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Tourism

Banyan Tree Krabi – Bringing Thailand’s luxury brand to Krabi

Tim Newton

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Krabi is a fabulous place to stay and home to some of Thailand’s most beautiful views and landscapes. Some of Thailand’s best known brands have already built resorts in the area but there was one of Thailand’s key hospitality brands missing… the iconic luxury brand of Banyan Tree.

But here it is, after just over two years of painstaking and meticulous work, a new Banyan Tree resort emerges from the mud of the Tub Kaek coastline. This sanctuary of Banyan Tree luxury, featuring the brand’s ‘new look’, peers out across the magical Phang Nga Bay, its islands and sunsets.

Banyan Tree Krabi - Bringing Thailand's luxury brand to Krabi | News by ThaigerThe Thaiger was invited on a special weekend get-away along with other travel writers and influencers from Bangkok. We were flown courtesy of Thai VietJet from Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok to Krabi International Airport. The airport is undergoing a mega upgrade right now and Thai VietJet are currently scheduling 2 direct flights per day to and from Krabi (as of March 2021).

The Banyan Tree brand started in Phuket in 1984 as the feature property in the new Laguna development. Every resort key was a pool villa, leaning on traditional Thai architectural cues, natural timber finishes and rich tones.

The newer Banyan Tree resort’s ‘look’ has now evolved into a lighter pallet of whites and natural timber tones, set off with a turquoise accent in the silk cushions. The rooms remain airy, beautifully appointed and, yes, each with a private infinity salt water pool. And, here in Krabi, every villa also has a view. Still with plenty of ‘Thainess’ but a 21st century rendition that won’t date.

There are eight suite and villa types – altogether 72 keys. The starting point is the Deluxe Pool Suite at 99 square metres with a sumptuous king-size bed. You have a private terrace, plunge pool and a bathroom the size of some of Bangkok apartments.

At the other end of the scale is a 7 bedroom Presidential Villa with access right onto the beach. It’s actually three separate villas but can be combined into a single land of luxury, canals, pools and terraces – a total of 1,335 square metres.

Banyan Tree Krabi - Bringing Thailand's luxury brand to Krabi | News by ThaigerI’d like to gush for a moment about the beds. Considering that you’re going to spend a third of your stay in a bed, it better be comfortable, right? The beds at Banyan Tree Krabi were astonishingly comfortable – the linen, the pillows, the duvet covers – pure luxury. They looked so good I felt almost embarrassed to crumple all that white linen by getting in between the sheets. But I did. Two of the best nights sleeps I’ve had in a long time. (Note to self – where can I buy these mattresses and sheets?!)

Banyan Tree Krabi - Bringing Thailand's luxury brand to Krabi | News by ThaigerThe resort fronts Phang Nga Bay, facing west so you’re in the perfect location to enjoy the sun sinking into the mystical islands that dot the famous bay. Behind the resort is dense rainforest rising up as part of Krabi’s hilly landscape. The resort is sandwiched between the two but has packed all the Banyan Tree cues in between as the land sweeps down to the rocky Tub Kaen beach.

A feature of Banyan Tree resorts is their marriage with nature and the use of water, everywhere. From each room’s bath and private pool, to the waterways and streams that traverse the property, you can’t walk far without being reminded about the importance of water to the brand. There’s also an adult ‘water park’ for adults, ‘The Rainforest’. Banyan Tree describe it as “a holistic and innovative wellness experience designed to heal and soothe”. I’d describe it as an onslaught of H2O to your senses and your entire body – hot, cold, freezing, steam, sprays, gushes, bubbles, mists and waterfalls – all in the one facility.

Banyan Tree Krabi - Bringing Thailand's luxury brand to Krabi | News by ThaigerAnd there’s also a supervised Kids Club, both indoor and outdoor, with its own mini waterpark, whilst you sneak off for your well-deserved spa treatment.

A lot can be said for the resort’s appointments, functional but hidden away. But it’s the staff that truly define your Banyan Tree experience. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more balanced and well-trained staff anywhere in Thailand. This is what really sets the Banyan Tree brand apart. The staff are always around, but not in your face. Polite, but not ingratiating, attentive but never annoying.

As a truly international resort your selection of foods at the various restaurants on site are excellent. The menus draw on cues from southern Thai cuisine, including the fusion of local ingredients and suppliers. The main restaurant, The Naga Kitchen, is also where they serve the breakfast buffet each morning – extravagant and expansive. It’s a classic ‘Banyan Tree’ interior incorporating fine Thai silks, natural surfaces and the option to sit outside overlooking the resort’s main pool area.

Banyan Tree Krabi - Bringing Thailand's luxury brand to Krabi | News by ThaigerBut you can also take the short cable car ride up to the Saffron Restaurant where there’s also a magnificent view across the entire resort. For that alternative dining experience try the Bird Nest, where you are suspended amongst the coastal tree tops. And THAT view!

Banyan Tree Krabi - Bringing Thailand's luxury brand to Krabi | News by ThaigerNo matter how you spend your days at the resort, paddling just off the beach or on an island excursion nearby, you will certainly want to return to enjoy the sunset experience. This is where you’ll get the best seat in Thailand for the daily sunset. The Tub Kaek Beach, whilst not the biggest or sandiest beach in Thailand, certainly provides a perfect photographic foreground with its rocks and flora framing the feature nightly performance.

Looking out across Phang Nga Bay, cocktail in hand, sinking into your beanbag perched on the grass verge overlooking the beach, you’ll ponder, at least for a moment, why you can’t just live THAT moment for the rest of your life. Let the short video take you there…

Banyan Tree Krabi proves that you can re-invent, and evolve, a great hospitality brand. Whilst the Samui Banyan Tree is waiting for the tourists to return at this time, Banyan Tree Krabi has been well supported by domestic travellers in its opening months, making the launch of the resort an outstanding success story during Thai tourism’s most challenging year.

Big thanks to the outstanding team at Banyan Tree Krabi, led by the genial host and General Manager Remko Kroesen. Also to Thai VietJet for flying our group from Bangkok to Krabi, and back, and Colin from Balcony Media Group.

(There are currently 5 airlines flying into Krabi at the moment, most with multiple flights each day. That situation will change over time but you have plenty of choices from both Bangkok airports. And with the extended Krabi airport coming on line sometime in 2022, the whole airport experience will certainly continue to improve. Otherwise Krabi is an easy 3 hour drive from Phuket and there are bus services from Bangkok and other provinces almost every day, even at the moment. You can book your stay at Banyan Tree Krabi directly or search your favourite online aggregators for special deals.)

 

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Transport

Krabi airport to double passenger capacity with new terminal

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Krabi airport is planning to double its passenger handling capacity with a third terminal expected to open by October. The move is planned alongside the reopening of Thailand to international tourists. A new runway is also being built, costing almost 942 million baht. The Department of Aviation says the runway is expected to be completed on time and will increase the amount of aircrafts that can be held per hour from 8 to 24.

The terminal is expected to hold around 3,000 people per hour, doubling its current holding power of 1,500 people. Along with a new terminal, officials say a new car park is being built, featuring space for 2,700 vehicles.

The DOA says it is confident that the local aviation industry will continue to recover in the months leading up to Thailand’s expected reopening, citing the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme as a major contributing factor in its recovery. Currently, there are now 120 round – trip flights being operated daily – a number that is double the amount of when the airline industry hit its lowest point during the Covid pandemic.

The DOA says domestic flights are currently operating at airports in Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, Surat Thani, Khon Kaen, Krabi, Trang, Phitsanulok, Sakon Nakhon, Lampang, Nan Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Loei, Buri Ram and Mae Sot.

Meanwhile, tourism officials are working on what they’re calling the “sandbox,” a new pilot programme to reopen Phuket and other destinations by the Andaman Sea to foreign visitors. The sandbox is like the “travel bubble” idea and would allow quarantine-free travel to certain areas.

The sandbox model depends on how many people are vaccinated against Covid-19, with part of the reopening plan to include vaccinating at least 300,000 residents to achieve herd immunity. Koh Samui is also joining the scheme, expecting to reopen without the need to undergo quarantine for those vaccinated tourists.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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