Saudi Arabia will have flights to Thailand available starting February 28

After Thailand and Saudi Arabia patched things up last month after decades of cold relations, flights from Saudi Arabia to Thailand will be available starting on February 28. Thai International Airways also plans to have direct flights between Bangkok and Riyadh in May. Thai tourism authorities have set a lofty goal of 20 billion baht from an expected 200,000 Saudi tourists this year. Thai workers are also being screened for jobs in Saudi Arabia. Prices for flights from Saudi Arabia to Thailand start from 1,499 Saudi Arabian Riyal, about 12,850 baht.

Saudi Arabia will have flights to Thailand available starting February 28 | News by Thaiger

The two countries had a major breakthrough last month when they restored diplomatic relations 30 years after the infamous Blue Diamond Affair of 1989. That year, a Thai cleaner stole diamonds worth US$20 million from the Saudi royal palace while the prince and his wife were on holiday. The cleaner hid the jewels in places he knew no one would find them, and then shipped them in a cargo delivery to Thailand. Thai police eventually caught the cleaner, but strange things continued to happen.

Saudi officials said 80% of the diamonds were missing, and the diamonds that had been returned were fake. Then a photo was published of a senior Thai official wearing a necklace that looked eerily similar to one of the missing Saudi necklaces.

In February 1990, Thai gunmen shot and killed three Saudi diplomats in Bangkok who had been trying to find the diamonds. A Saudi businessman who travelled to Thailand to investigate the case of the missing diamonds was kidnapped. His body was never found, and many suspect he was killed. To this day, there is still speculation on what happened to him. Some say the killers were part of Hezbollah, a Shia militant group that is bitter enemies with Sunni Saudi Arabia.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand | Bangkok Post |BBC | Saudi Airlines

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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