PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times
The Thai justice minister is insisting that draft legislation for civil partnerships of same-sex couples won’t be rushed and that the department is waiting for public feedback on the proposal.
Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin says the process will take time as it requires “careful deliberation to prevent any misunderstanding”.
Somsak made the comments yesterday whilst chairing a forum on the Bill. The Bill was agreed in principle on December 25, 2018 and relevant departments are now working on a final draft. The Bill will need to be passed by the new Lower House but there is no timeline on the legislation reaching the House at this stage.
The Justice Ministry is holding public forums to evaluate public opinion on some of the legislation’s contentious issues.
• The Bill stipulates conditions for terminating registration of civil partnerships.
• The Bill fails to include the right for same-sex couples to adopt children or the right to receive state welfare benefits, even though same-sex couples have the right to adopt children under the existing Child Adoption Act.
• Those who register for civil partnership must be a minimum of 17 years old and obtain their parental consent.
• Feedback on the Bill must be sent back to the Council of State by next month for a final draft to be prepared for Cabinet.
Speaking in the third person, Somsak said “The Justice Ministry will neither rush nor put the brakes on the Bill.”
The Civil Partnership Bill doesn’t allow same-sex couples to marry but it would grant partners the legal right to jointly own and manage assets, and to give or receive inheritances.
Activists, on both side of the argument, are critical of the Bill. On one side same-sex GLBT proponents say it doesn’t provide same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples. On the other, critics say the Bill would reduce the ‘value’ and ‘values’ of marriage in Thailand.
But supporter say the Bill is a first step towards equality in Thailand.
SOURCE: Bangkok PostKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
14% of condos around Bangkok are empty – good time to buy
Looking for a condo around Bangkok? Now might the right time to take the plunge with the head of the Appraisal and Estate Agents Foundation saying some areas have between 8-14% vacancy rates, some areas of Bangkok up to 17.5%.
Dr Sophon Pornchokchai made the remarks at a news conference yesterday.
“Adding developer price wars, plus inducements to purchase, this represents a buyers’ market.”
He says the figures relate to condos, single houses, townhouses and other dwellings where less than 15 units of electricity were being used, deeming them to be classified as ‘unoccupied’.
Around Bangkok there are 525,889 such vacant properties.
The top three areas for vacancies were Nonthaburi (north west of the central area) with 335,421 available properties with 45,848 unoccupied or 14%. This percentage was also true of Bang Na (south east of Bangkok) with 231,192 properties, 31,289 unoccupied. Bang Yai – to the far north west of the capital – has 221,492 with 28,016 unoccupied or 13%.
Locations with the lowest unoccupied dwellings are Bang Plee (south east) with 8% unoccupied, Min Buri (north) 9% and Lat Krabang (south east) 9%.
Dr Sophon says that when it comes to condos in Bangkok and the surrounding areas, between 13.5% and 17.5% are unoccupied.
“This glut has prompted a selling war with discounts and deals.”
FazWaz‘s CEO Brennan Campbell says that we’re in part of the buying cycle right now that is definitely in the buyer’s favour.
“Long-term, the Bangkok market continues to show its strength, but there is definitely an enormous range of property to choose from, in almost every location, right now. The current dip in demand is just part of the cycle.”
SOURCE: Daily NewsKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Build it and they will come – the Phu Quoc cable car experience
“It’s the best value tourist attraction you’ll find almost anywhere in the world!”
The cable-car ride from Vietnam’s Phu Quoc island to Hon Thom, aka. Pineapple Island, is a breathtaking experience. It’s an astonishing tourist attraction on an island that has ambitions to be one of south east Asia’s most popular tourist attractions.
The actual cable car ride, the longest in the world, soars over the sea, coral reefs, fishing villages and Phi Quoc’s southern islands, with amazing views all along the way. You get 360 degree vistas of the An Thoi Archipelago.
As a quick mood killer, if you’re afraid of heights, this experience may not be for you. Flying above the views below is breathtaking but you are flying a long way above the ground. Despite the windy day I travelled, the ride was very stable and you didn’t get a sense that you were wobbling around in the air.
The cable car travels from a purpose-built faux-Italian ‘ruins’ hub to Hon Thom Nature Park. From the moment you arrive, and the staff greet you as you get out of your taxi/bus/motorbike, there’s plenty of wow factor. For a small, relatively unknown Gulf of Thailand island, this is a grand experience and an enormous investment as Phu Quoc’s newest and most substantial tourist attraction.
Once you arrive at Pineapple Island, after hopping over three other islands on the way, you are greeted by a man-made beach, water park and substantial infrastructure – much of it still being constructed. Everything on the island has been constructed to serve the arrivals from the cable car, there’s no other way of getting to this remote island.
Open-air shuttles take you around the various attraction on the island, or you can just wander. There are restaurants and shops and cafés, but they’re all owned by the Sun Resorts company that has made the substantial investment. The entire project won’t be finished until 2021 but there’s already plenty to see – the cable car ride itself is spectacular enough.
The cable-car ride from Phu Quoc island to Pineapple Island takes about 25 minutes each way. The cable cars are quite substantial and can hold 20 or so people and there’s views everywhere you look.
As of 2019, the price for the Phu Quoc cable car is 150,000 Vietnamese dong, about 200 baht (cheaper than a cinema ticket these days), or US$6.40 (September 2019). Prices for children are currently set at 100,000 dong. The prices have been lowered since the attraction opened and perhaps will rise again once the construction is all complete around Pineapple Island. But even at double the price, it’s still excellent value.
It’s the best value tourist attraction you’ll find almost anywhere in the world!
You can find more information at the attraction’s website… Sun World Hon Thom Nature Park.
Getting to the An Thoi cable car terminal for now, you’ll need to take a taxi or hire a motorbike from the tourist areas in the middle of the island. A taxi ride from the tourist hub to An Thoi was about 350,000 dong. There’s apparently a shuttle bus to the south of the island but we didn’t see it during our visit.
About Phu Quoc, it clearly has ambitions to be the next ‘go to’ destination in south east Asia with an incredible amount of investment being poured into the island – I counted about 80 new hotels being constructed along the main beach which covers about 15 kilometres of coastline. About the same size as Phuket, but 30 years behind the Thai island, development-wise, it is a curious combination of old Vietnamese fishing villages, tropical rainforests, beaches and potential.
The island is situated off the southern Cambodian coast but is controlled by Vietnam. Phu Quoc’s sovereignty has been contested in the past, as recently as fall-out from the Vietnam War and the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia. Currently, most nationalities get a free 30 day visa-on-arrival.
The new airport is world-class and you will have no problem getting around the island with Grab, local taxis and easy motorbike rentals (they didn’t even want to see my passport). Vietnam drivers drive on the right, so be ready for that if you’ve arrived from Thailand.
PS. From the windows of the mock-romanesque main building where you alight the cable-car for your journey, you can see this Portofina, Italy look-alike being constructed, complete with Mediterannean harbour.Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Jeans for sale, yours for 200,000 baht
Social media in Thailand was thrown into a tizzy yesterday when Facebook user Sarn N Tong posted a pair of Levi’s jeans for sale – for the grand sum of 200,000 baht.
The Thai-language daily Matichon reports that the same man has already sold another pair of jeans for 150,000 baht.
As part of its report, the newspaper interviewed Polkit Sa- nguansak, a jeans collector in Chanthaburi, east Thailand, who says he’s been building his collection for over 30 years now and has amassed 100 pairs of jeans.
He says jeans with a high price point are usually imported from countries such as Malaysia and the US.
It’s unclear if the 200,000 baht jeans were new or second-hand.
SOURCE: Thai ResidentsKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
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