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Jump in national park visitor numbers as ‘winter’ arrives in northern Thailand

May Taylor

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Jump in national park visitor numbers as ‘winter’ arrives in northern Thailand | The Thaiger
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As northern Thailand moves into the ‘cold season’ (well, cold for Thailand) and temperatures drop, national park officials are reporting an increase in visitor numbers. Whilst the temperature is cooling down on the local northern mountain tops, the ground level temperatures are still around 30 (forecast below). But later in December the temperatures sometime reach as low as zero for places like Doi Inthanon.

The Bangkok Post is reporting that Kritsayam Khongsatri, Head of Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai says the park welcomed 21,994 visitors over the recent long weekend, over 7,000 a day.

Kritsayam says most of the visitors are Thais who enjoy camping in the colder weather, with average temperatures at the summit of Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s highest mountain, being just 5-11 degrees Celsius.

Khao Yai National Park, north east of Bangkok, has also seen a significant increase in visitor numbers, with wild elephants coming out from the jungle to feel the warmth of the sun as temperatures dropped to below 20 Celsius yesterday.

“Visitors to the park are being asked to refrain from using car horns, or bright lights such as flashing cameras and full beam headlights to avoid disturbing the resident elephants.”

Winter in northern Thailand typically sees a dip in temperatures and a decline in rainfall coupled with strengthening winds from the north.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Jump in national park visitor numbers as 'winter' arrives in northern Thailand | News by The ThaigerJump in national park visitor numbers as 'winter' arrives in northern Thailand | News by The Thaiger

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Air Pollution

Smoke from plantation fires continues to choke central and northern Thailand

The Thaiger

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Smoke from plantation fires continues to choke central and northern Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Fires being lit to clear the areas for the next crop - Richard Barrow

Smoke from fires, mostly deliberately lit, continue to choke sections of central and northern Thailand today. Light winds are not blowing away the smog and haze produced by the smoke, particularly in the north where Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai have readings today from ‘unhealthy’ too ‘very unhealthy’ – in a range from 170 up to 240 (particles of PM2.5 microns per cubic metre of air).

Chiang Mai’s air quality is the 2nd worst in the world today, as measured by airquality.com, beaten only by the perennially bad air quality choking Dhaka in Bangladesh.

Smoke from plantation fires continues to choke central and northern Thailand | News by The Thaiger

The satellite heat maps clearly indicates hundreds of deliberately lit fires in neighbouring Myanmar, and areas of central Thailand and Cambodia which are the source of the smoke haze impacting the northern cities and towns.

Whilst Bangkok’s air quality has improved in and directly around the capital – from ‘unhealthy’ on Wednesday to ‘unhealthy for some individuals’ today – there is still plenty of smoke descending on the provinces directly north of the capital today.

Most of Bangkok’s public schools, under the administration of the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority, were closed on Wednesday until today. Students will be returning on Monday after their two day enforced ‘holiday’.

The government maintains that it is cracking down on the deliberately lit plantation and farm fires where farmers burn-off the remnants of the crops (as in the case of sugar, corn and some fruits), or prepare the areas (in the case of rice). But, in reality, there appears to be little or no reductions in the number of fires being lit in farming areas around Thailand.

The agricultural machinery to make these soil preparations and clearances is expensive and not readily available for the farmers. Driven by concerns over price, the farmers opt for the cheapest means possible – incinerating areas and producing enormous fires and smoke that can last for days.

Meanwhile, even if the Thai authorities are able to reduce the number of fires lit within its own borders, the satellite fire maps clearly indicates the hundreds of similar fires lit in neighbouring Myanmar and Cambodia, where Thai authorities have no control.

PHOTO: Richard Barrow

Smoke from plantation fires continues to choke central and northern Thailand | News by The ThaigerSmoke from plantation fires continues to choke central and northern Thailand | News by The Thaiger

GRAPHIC: The satellite maps clearly show where the fires are popping up.

Smoke from plantation fires continues to choke central and northern Thailand | News by The Thaiger

Areas in central and northern Thailand are suffering from bad air quality today. Check the readings, updated hourly from hundreds of monitoring stations around the country HERE.

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Crime

Rogue policeman turned burglar recaptured in Chiang Mai

Greeley Pulitzer

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Rogue policeman turned burglar recaptured in Chiang Mai | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Former policeman turned burglar "Parawet" at the time of his latest arrest - Chiang Rai Times

A former policeman who escaped a Chiang Mai hospital after being arrested for burglary has been re-arrested. The ex-cop, identified only as “Pawaret,” was assaulted by homeowners after he attempted to burglarise a home last weekend, which led to rescue workers taking him to hospital. He subsequently escaped the in the early hours of the morning.

His escape caused panic among residents in Sanpatong area of Chiang Mai, where he was at large. The suspect was found hiding in a guesthouse in the city. He has now been apprehended, according to local media.

Police say the accused burglar is now back in custody and awaiting trial. His wife is also being sought by police for assisting in his escape.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Tourism

Once bustling, Chiang Mai tourist areas are now deserted

Greeley Pulitzer

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Once bustling, Chiang Mai tourist areas are now deserted | The Thaiger

Thai news agency MCOT has become the latest media outlet to bemoan the devastating effect of the coronavirus (Covid-19) on Thai tourism, after their reporters went to the once thriving area of Nimmanhaemin.

Online blurbs about the area still describe it as having “buzzing dining and nightlife, hip cafes, fashion boutiques and a weekend craft market.”

But a month after the start of the ban on international group travel by the Chinese government, the area is deserted. (See video HERE)

Once bustling, Chiang Mai tourist areas are now deserted | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: – MCOT

MCOT says that there used to be 5000-6000 Chinese arriving daily at the northern city’s airport.

Now it is just a trickle: less than 100 on some days.

SOURCE: thaivisa | MCOT

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