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Opinion: Breaking down Phuket food prices

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Opinion: Breaking down Phuket food prices | The Thaiger

Prakong Rukwong, 56, from Songkhla, is the chief of the Office of Commercial Affairs in Phuket. He graduated from Ramkhamhaeng University with a Bachelor’s degree in international economics, and also earned a Bachelor’s in law from Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University. From there, he continued on to earn a Master’s degree in economics at Chiang Mai University.

Here, he talks about why Phuket’s living costs are so much higher than other provinces.

PHUKET: I will admit that living costs in Phuket are higher than in other provinces, especially prices of food in restaurants.

However, I believe most restaurants do their best to keep their prices as reasonable as possible. Cheaper prices will bring in more customers, and a lot of customers are good for business.

Those that purchase fresh ingredients every day will want to sell all of their food so that they don’t have to keep it overnight. It is wasteful – financially and otherwise – to have raw ingredients go bad.

Even though these business people try to keep prices of meals in their restaurants down, Phuket prices are still higher than most other provinces in Thailand.

There are quite a few reasons for this, and they all affect each other.

First, rent in Phuket is high because land prices are high. A lot of people come here to work, and if they do, they must be willing to pay higher rent to stay. Goods and services will therefore be more expensive, as Phuket residents need to be able to make enough money to cover rent.

Also, Phuket is a well-known tourist destination. Foreign tourists who come to Phuket can afford higher prices, so vendors and business people will naturally want to charge more.

Lastly, whenever the minimum wage increases, as it does, prices will increase as a result.

During the past five years, the prices of meals have increased 5 to 15 baht, which is about 14 to 40 per cent. Fifteen baht may not sound like much to some people but if you think about it, 15 extra baht per meal can quickly add up.

Unlike restaurant prices, the prices of groceries are controlled by the Department of Internal Trade and are standardized throughout the country. They tend to stay stable. Right now, however, grocery stores in Phuket are not doing well.

They are having to compete with convenience stores, which are open for longer hours and offer products for lower prices.

Water prices are the same. They do not change much, as there are many competitors in the bottled water industry. These prices are on par with other provinces in the country.

If someone chooses to live in Phuket, he or she must be able to cope with a higher cost of living.

This does not mean that all restaurants on the island are expensive or that all accommodation has a higher rental cost. There will still be places where one can find cheap food or rent.

We want to make this clear to everyone here, which is why we have brought dozens of restaurants on to be ‘Cheap Shops’, selling plates of food for 40 baht or less.

This way, people can know where they can find affordable food on Phuket.

We want to provide this option for those who have a hard time affording anything more expensive.

Our office cannot do much about restaurant prices. They are allowed to price as they wish as long as they list the amount clearly on the menu or elsewhere where people can see it. It is then up to the customers whether or not they want to eat there.

If someone ever feels as though he is being overcharged for a meal, he can inform us by visiting our office on Montri Road in Phuket Town; by calling 076-212017; or by visiting https://pcoc.moc.go.th/wappPCOC/83/. (The website is in Thai language.)

There are so many restaurant options on Phuket that cater to all different budgets – enjoy it.

— Chutharat Plerin

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Opinion

Buddhists call for boycott of Hilton & Waldorf Astoria Hotels with the opening of Siddhartha Lounge

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Buddhists call for boycott of Hilton & Waldorf Astoria Hotels with the opening of Siddhartha Lounge | The Thaiger

OPINION: The Buddhist Times

Since its creation in 1996, Buddha-Bar Paris has been using the name and image of Buddha in it’s Bars and Hotels throughout the world. Typically the franchises use large statues of Buddha in their Bars and around dance floors and in restaurants similar to a Buddhist temple.

What makes the use of Buddha’s image in these bars most insulting to Buddhists around the world is that Buddhism does not support the consumption of alcohol. So to use the Buddha’s image as decoration to promote the consumption and sale of alcohol and as a prop on dance floors and in restaurants is especially disrespectful and hurtful to Buddhists.

Now comes a further insult with the Buddha-Bar franchise opening the Siddhartha Lounge at Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah. (Siddhartha Gautama being the full name of Buddha).

According to the Knowing Buddha Organisation in Thailand what the Buddha-Bar franchise is doing is not only disrespectful but it is immoral. The foundation points out that “Respect is Common Sense”.

Buddhists feel hurt by the misuse of the name and image of their father, as people of other faiths would be if the image of Christ or Mohammad were used to promote bars and nightclubs.

The Buddha–Bar, restaurant, and hotel franchise created by French-Romanian restaurateur Raymond Vișan and DJ and interior designer Claude Challe, with its original location having opened in Paris, France in 1996.

Raymond Vișan, according to Wikipedia, had the idea of establishing the chain of restaurants and bars which came from his fascination with the Orient. However at the age of 60 Visan suddenly died of terminal cancer. The franchise was continued by co-founder Claude Challe and Vișan’s wife Tarja, who took over the reins of the Buddha Bar franchise upon Vișan death.

Critics of the Vișan’s and Claude Challe say that these self described artists and creators have created nothing but bad Karma and Sin for themselves. They suggest that Buddha-Bar franchise is a form of “grotesque Plagiarism ” which has merely hi-jacked a 2500 year old religion, using the name and image of Buddha, who imparts peace, compassion and loving kindness, for the purpose of selling alcohol and making money. As any case of plagiarism it is expected that Buddha-Bar and Waldorf Astoria will soon find them selves in the courts say Buddhims advocats.

Buddhist around the world are calling the Boycotting of Waldorf Astoria Hotels Hilton Hotels, Buddha-Bars and the music of Claude Challe, demanding that they stop using the image of Buddha and instead creat their own brand.

The views expressed in this editorial do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of The Thaiger or its staff

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Opinion

Pattaya getting set for the Indian era – OPINION

The Thaiger

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Pattaya getting set for the Indian era – OPINION | The Thaiger

by Dan Cheeseman

I was a bit taken back by posters across the social networks where I shared the post that simply would not accept the Indians were bringing any value to Pattaya. Claiming Thailand would regret squeezing out the Western market and turning to the Chinese and Indians. It came across as sour grapes to me and also a delusion of grandeur from many of the Brits and Aussies that for some reason hold themselves on such a high global status.

I am a Brit and in the past probably have fallen victim to such delusions but am now refocused and aligned to the shift in the global market. I can see just how real this Chinese and Indian market has become and see no reason for it to not to continue growing.

According to Tourism Authority of Thailand, Indian arrivals into Thailand is expected to reach 5 million by 2023.

It is well documented what is happening in Thailand with the Chinese tourist and investor but still, the Indian market gets skirted over by many who refuse to accept anything other than the stereotypical images.

But they are wrong to do so and I think the winners in Pattaya will be those that embrace the Indian market as there is an increasing percentage who have good money in the pocket and are ready to spend it.

Just this week I was with a hotel developer and they exactly spoke of the shift in investors that parallel what we are seeing through tourism. They said before the Western market was good but now that has cooled, then the Russians came but that too has eased off; both due to changes in exchange rates from their end. Then the Chinese started to buy but as their exchange rates became less strong against the baht and getting money out of their country that slowed, but now has recovered somewhat.

He then said what others have also been saying, that the Indians were now becoming a very important market for selling too.

Whilst many restaurants are looking to target the F.I.T (Free Independent Traveller) Chinese tourist, I personally think the Indian tourist is a better fit for Western-type business in town.

Read the rest of the editorial HERE

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Opinion

OPINION: It’s time to go – Brexit

The Thaiger

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OPINION: It’s time to go – Brexit | The Thaiger

by Gill Parker

(The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the owners, staff or management of The Thaiger)

Adios, Au revior, Auf wiedersehen, Ha dee and Addio Europe. Breaking up is hard to do but we’re outta here.

Enough is enough. The British people voted to leave the European Union and that’s that. You can argue that the referendum was non-binding, or that there was misleading information peddled, by both sides, during the referendum campaign. But the British people made up their mind, a legal vote was held, and it’s time for the British parliament to honour the people’s wishes. Now.

Bring on October 31 and cut the apron strings, with or without a ‘deal’.

It’s urgent that the people of Britain are given the chance to move forward from this messy farrago that has embroiled British politics and conversation for the past four years. The polarised conversation, the ruination or families and friendships, and the incompetence of government to find a way to actually break away from the EU, has to stop.

Brexiteers or Remainers would all probably prefer that there was some sort of deal in place before October 31 but that looks doubtful, so just pull the plug and be done with it. The alternative? Another year of destructive argument, a repeat of ALL the same arguments and, likely, no better situation.

Leave the EU to sit and giggle, their arms folded watching the British people squirm, and let’s focus on future trade deals, re-linking with a world trading environment that has radically reshaped since the 2016 Brexit vote. Let’s have our politicians bicker about reviving an independent British economy, fixing up the NHS, galvanise a new approach to immigration and get people back to work.

If Britain continues to fiddle along, without a break, the economy will continue to suffer. Whilst there is no resolution, there is confusion. Businesses need clarity – currently there is little. Better we hit the ground hard on October 31 and then start to rebuild the British economy with assurance.

There is also acute concern that the hallmarks of the British democracy are being brought into question. The Head of State is being dragged into conversations and Constitutional conventions are being threatened. Testing these conventions could threaten the very fabric of everything we are trying to preserve.

Meanwhile the British Labour Party lacks leadership able to take on the cavalier PM who has made it clear, he wants out, “deal or no deal”, on October 31. The British prime minister has made his position abundantly clear, whilst the opposition is divided, seemingly rudderless, without any clear plan of its own how to move through the current impasse. They will surely suffer at the hands of voters when an election is called, and that will be soon.

There is plenty of work to do but with a clean break on October 31 we will at least be able to start that work – start planning for the future rather than looking back over our shoulder.

Deal or no deal, it’s time to go.

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