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Entertainment: ‘Lost in Thailand’ draws more Chinese; Crazy about cabaret

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Entertainment: ‘Lost in Thailand’ draws more Chinese; Crazy about cabaret | The Thaiger
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– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

‘Lost in Thailand’ draws more Chinese
Phuket Gazette / The Nation

PHUKET: Chinese New Year in Thailand this year is likely to see a taste of real culture from China. Thanks to the movie “Lost in Thailand”, a huge box-office success in China, a greater number of Chinese tourists are being attracted the Kingdom.

“Why not?” asked Jamnong Junnapiya, executive director at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) East Asia, adding: “It’s similar to Korean pop culture, which has influenced Thai society. And this trend has caused Thais to visit South Korea to explore the country culturally. Similarly, Chinese people are coming here.”
Ms Jamnong projects some 300,000 Chinese tourists visiting Thailand this month, up from 200,000 in February last year.

According to Kasikorn Research Centre, Thailand will be a major destination for Chinese tourists during the Lunar New Year period, thanks to the hit film. The research expected the number of Chinese tourists to grow by 37.9 per cent to at least 800,000 in the first quarter compared with the same period last year. It expected they would spend Bt29.6 billion in total, a 44.4-per-cent increase year on year.

Beijing has announced that the Chinese New Year holiday period will be from February 9 to15, a total of seven days.

Jamnong expects the number of Chinese tourists visiting Thailand this year most likely to reach 3 million, up from 2.7 million in 2012. KResearch projected at least 3.35 million, an increase of 20.5 per cent year on year. Total tourism revenue from Chinese visitors is projected to increase by 27.5 per cent to about Bt123 billion.

Chiang Mai was one of the filming location for “Lost in Thailand”. Sarawut Saetiao, president of the Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association, said the film had boosted the number of Chinese tourists visiting the area. The occupancy rate has been averaging 80 to 90 per cent and existing facilities in the city have been enough to serve them. At present, there are more than 40,000 rooms in Chiang Mai. He acknowledged that accommodation downtown had been almost fully booked, but said there were more rooms in other areas if demand kept increasing.

“Lost in Thailand” reportedly earned Bt6 billion at the box office in China.

Crazy about cabaret
Phuket Gazette / The Nation

PHUKET: The Playhouse joins the push to make Bangkok the world’s capital of transgender entertainment extravaganzas.

Bangkok danced another step closer to becoming the world’s cabaret hub when the Playhouse Theater Cabaret opened at the Asia Hotel in October. After a deliberately careful start, it’s joined the already long list of clubs that offer “gay cabaret” in the capital as well as Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Samui and Phuket.

The demand mostly comes from tourists. Straight Westerners and increasingly more visitors from East Asia can’t resist a “safe” opportunity to gawk at the most beautiful men (or former men) on the planet – Thai ladyboys “in the wild”, as it were. And no one gets offended.

But best not call the cabaret performers ladyboys.

“I really hate it that some people still use terms like katoey and ladyboys,” says Australian hotelier-entrepreneur David Paul Shrubsole, who founded and runs the Playhouse Theater Cabaret.

“So what? They can dance, entertain and make a living for themselves. Thailand has moved past that point, and we’re living in a very accepting part of the world. The rest of the world – even America with its same-sex marriage -– looks up to Thailand because we’ve been very generous, all over the Kingdom. There’s no place like this in the world.

“Thailand, and Bangkok in particular, are very unique places. These are performers with great potential, and the world can see that,” Mr Shrubsole.

The Playhouse consistently astonishes the occupants of its 300 seats with 30 pairs of gorgeous legs, a string of mesmerizing Broadway-style performances and the promise to be Bangkok’s first “boutique cabaret”.

It began as a small act at a Pattaya hotel and ventured to Phuket and Chiang Mai before finding its home in Bangkok. The Playhouse venue in the Asia Hotel was formerly home to Bangkok’s longest-running cabaret show, Calypso, which moved to new digs on the Chao Phraya River at Asiatique.

“We’ve been delighted with what’s happened because we really do want to take things slowly,” says Shrubsole. “We offer great competition for the established cabarets, and competition is very healthy in the entertainment business. And we’re very committed to raising the level of tourism in Thailand. What we have now we see as a starting point for us in Bangkok, and we’ll definitely develop into something much more in the near future, a step forward in the performing-arts sector.”

Moving beyond the typical cabaret production, the Playhouse makes it clear that it takes the name “playhouse” seriously, adding acrobats and other circus entertainment to the line-up for a more rounded experience. It’s hoping to soon have some of the artists actually singing as well, rather than just lip-syncing.

“We rehearse a few hours every day and an English tutor comes to teach us how to pronounce the words correctly so we don’t just mumble through the song,” Niracha “Nicha” Pattanachian told The Nation as she prepared to hit the stage. She’s one of the troupe’s veterans and has pretty much heard it all.

“A lot of people might look down on us and call us whatever, but I’m just happy I can do what I’ve always loved to do and put smiles on people’s faces. And I can support myself and my family too. Besides dancing, the management teaches us to be business-savvy and constantly educates us about show-business know-how. What more can I ask?”

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Thailand News Today | STV updates, fuel tanker explodes, 19 dead in Viet typhoon | October 29

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Thailand News Today | STV updates, fuel tanker explodes, 19 dead in Viet typhoon | October 29 | The Thaiger

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“Pattaya Model” to focus on Special Tourist Visa visitors from China and Russia

Firstly the Phuket Model, now the Pattaya Model as the eastern seaboard city wants to cash in on the new Special Tourist Visa scheme to help boost the local economy.

City officials say they’ll focus on drawing in Chinese and Russian tourists on the new long stay visa. The city mayor says that last year, there were 3 million Chinese tourists visiting Pattaya, followed by Russian tourists with 1.1 million.

Potential travellers would be from cities in Russia and China that are considered to be at a low risk for Covid-19. The mayor mentioned St. Petersburg in Russia and Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen in China.

Along with accommodating tourists under the Special Tourist Visa, the mayor says they are planning for other travellers that are approved by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. The nearest international airport to Pattaya, U-Tapao, remains closed to international traffic.

Cruise ships and yachts to dock in Thailand, visitors to enter on Special Tourist Visa

A special tourist visa updates and it seems the Thai government is opening up categories that would be able to apply for the new STV.

Now cruise ships and yachts will be allowed to dock in Thailand and visitors will be allowed disembark under the STV. The new measure will be made official in the next 30 days.

Captains, crew and passengers travelling from countries considered at low risk will be able to dock in Thailand and enter the country, of course after doing their 14 day quarantine and all the other STV paperwork.

Fuel tanker explodes after collision in Buri Ram

A fuel tanker has exploded after a collision with a trailer truck, causing both vehicles to be engulfed in flames in a series of explosions in Buri Ram, north east Thailand.

Fuel from the 40,000-litre tank spilled out onto the road, spreading about 1 kilometre to nearby homes and into the sewers. 20 cars, motorcycles and tuk tuks parked along the road were damaged or destroyed in the conflagration. Many people were injured, currently we don’t don’t have the latest toll.

The fuel tanker truck and the trailer truck collided on Highway 24. The drivers were able to flee before the first explosion.

50 fire engines responded to the fire and the road was closed off for a radius of 5 kilometres. It took firefighters more than 4 hours to extinguish the fire.

Court bans Thailand’s first transgender MP over alleged media interests

An MP from the Move Forward Party, one of the opposition parties, has been banned and could face jail time after the Constitutional Court found the MP guilty of violating a law prohibiting media shareholdings for MPs.

57 other MPs were acquitted over the same offence.

Tanwarin is Thailand’s first ever openly transgender MP in the House of Representatives and an advocate for LGBTQ rights. The MP is also a former actor and filmmaker. The Court looked into lists of shareholders and found “irregularities,” saying information had been fabricated to make it appear that she wasn’t associated with the media companies.

The Election Commission may also decide to press charges on Tanwarin. If the commission finds her guilty of breaking the law on elections, the MP could face a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, a 20,000 baht fine and a ban from taking part in elections for 20 years.

Thanathorn and 4 others charged over Pathumwan flash rally

Meanwhile, the Pathumwan Municipal Court has accepted for trial the prosecutors’ indictment of Thanathorn, the former Future Forward leader, and four others relating to a flash protest rally on the Pathumwan skywalk last year.

All five were present at the court today. The indictment concerns their rally on the elevated BTS walkway at Pathumwan intersection on December 14 last year.

Prosecutors charged them with organising the rally without giving prior notice, organising a rally that affected train services, organising a rally that blocked people from using a public place, using loudspeakers without permission, rallying within a 150 metre radius of a palace, and resisting officials’ orders to stop the rally.

19 dead, 40 injured, many missing in Vietnam typhoon

Vietnam deployed soldiers and heavy machinery to search for survivors after landslides triggered by torrential rains from Typhoon Molave, one of the strongest typhoons to hit the region in decades.

Landslides, which hit remote areas in the central province of Quang Nam on Wednesday, killed at least 13. Rescue efforts are being hampered by bad weather at the tail end of the storm.

The Vietnamese government said Typhoon Molave had left millions of people without electricity and damaged at least 56,000 houses.

26 fishermen also remain missing after their boats sank when trying to return to shore on Tuesday. Molave is moving westward through Laos now and will dump rain in northeastern Thailand into the weekend.

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Cruise ships and yachts to dock in Thailand, visitors to enter on Special Tourist Visa

Caitlin Ashworth

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Cruise ships and yachts to dock in Thailand, visitors to enter on Special Tourist Visa | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Josiah Weiss

Cruise ships and yachts will be allowed to dock in Thailand and visitors will be allowed disembark under the Special Tourist Visa. The new measure hasn’t been made official yet, but it will go into effect 30 days after it’s published in the Royal Gazette.

The Cabinet approved the new guidelines yesterday which allows captains, crew and passengers travelling from countries considered at low risk for spreading Covid-19 to dock in Thailand and enter the country, according to deputy government spokesperson Traisuree Taisaranakul.

Visitors must go through a 14 day quarantine. Those on yachts will quarantine onboard before stepping onto Thai soil, according to the Bangkok Post. They must also have Covid-19 health insurance of $100,000 USD as well as local health and accident insurance. Proof of advance payment for anchoring the liner will also have to be provided.

The Special Tourist Visa allows a 90 day stay that can be renewed twice, adding up to around 9 months. So far, only 2 flights of foreigners on the Special Tourist Visa have arrived after a 7 month ban on international tourists.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Nation Thailand

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Fuel tanker explodes after collision in Buri Ram

Caitlin Ashworth

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Fuel tanker explodes after collision in Buri Ram | The Thaiger
PHOTO: MGR Online

A fuel tanker has exploded after a collision with a trailer truck, causing both vehicles to be engulfed in flames in a series of explosions. Fuel from the 40,000-litre tank spilled out onto the road, spreading about 1 kilometre to nearby homes and into the sewers. People trying to douse the spreading flames found they were just pushing the flaming fuel further down the road, 20 cars, motorcycles and tuk tuks parked along the road were damaged or destroyed in the fire. Many people were injured, but there is no exact count.

The fuel tanker truck and the trailer truck collided on Highway 24 in the Isaan province Buri Ram. The drivers were able to flee before the first explosion. There were a series of explosions as the fuel spread and nearby residents fled their homes. People tried to put the flames out with tap water, but fire continued to spread.

50 fire engines responded to the fire and the road was closed off for a radius of 5 kilometres. It took firefighters more than 4 hours to extinguish the fire. The oil company was called to safely unload 30,000 litres of fuel that was left in the tanker.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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