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85 year old Swiss man drowns off Mai Khao Beach, Phuket

The Thaiger

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85 year old Swiss man drowns off Mai Khao Beach, Phuket | The Thaiger

An elderly Swiss man drowned yesterday at a beach in Thalang district of Phuket on Thursday afternoon.

Paul Brunner, who would have turned 86 next month, was found dead at Mai Khao beach in the northern section of the island around 5.30pm, according to Tha Chatchai police.

Police report that he was wearing black swimming shorts. His body was discovered only about 500 metres from the hotel where he and his wife were staying. There were no bruises on his body, or indications of a struggle.

Paniti Thapthiang, a hotel employee, told police that Mr Brunner’s 70 year old wife alerted the hotel around 3.30pm yesterday afternoon saying that her husband had disappeared. Hotel staff checked the CCTV which showed the man, wearing his swimming shorts, walking down towards the beach.

Hotel staff searched along the beach but were unable to find any trace of the man. Around 5.30pm, someone notified the hotel that a man’s body had been found in the water. Police estimate that he had been dead about three hours before the body was discovered.

Police sent this body to Thalang Hospital for a post-mortem. Police noted that there appeared to be no suspicious circumstances in the man’s death.

Conditions along Mai Khao Beach yesterday were reported to be calm but the stretch of beach has a notorious shore break that can be quite dangerous for inexperienced swimmers in some conditions. Mai Khao Beach is the longest stretch of beach in Phuket.

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Phuket

Russian tourist bitten by a monkey on To Sae Hill, Phuket town

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Russian tourist bitten by a monkey on To Sae Hill, Phuket town | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hotnews

On December 10, a report emerged that a tourist had been bitten by a monkey on the popular To Sae Hill viewpoint in Phuket Town. The video shared on social media shows that the man was bleeding a lot from his arm before another man helped attend to the wound to stop the blood.

A volunteer who takes care of monkeys on the hill said that this is not the first time that the local monkeys had attacked people, especially tourists because the tourists wither don’t know, or follow the warnings and suggestions on the signs installed on many spots on the hill in four languages; Thai, English, Chinese and Russian.

The volunteer also mentioned that people shouldn’t feed the monkeys with their hand directly but place the food on the ground for the monkeys to pick up. Also, people shouldn’t touch the monkeys because they can get scared and frightened, which might lead to an attack.

A member of the To Sae hiking club, Krich Thepbamrung, who witnessed the incident, said that the man got attacked in the afternoon of December 8, in front of a shop that sells drinks, near the viewpoint.

The man rode his motorcycle up the hill alone before taking pictures at the viewpoint and started to feed the monkeys by using his hand directly. He said that in the beginning there was no problem but once the man tried to take a picture of his hand feeding the monkey while the monkey was grabbing the food, the man didn’t release the food and the monkey might have thought that he would take the food back so it started to attack him by biting him before fleeing.

He confirmed that the attacks happen quite often, an average of 3-4 times per day, and mostly happens to tourists, especially women and children. Also, the cause of the attack is often because the feeder tries to take photos while feeding them. Now the hiking club has prepared a first aid kit at the viewpoint to cope with the rise in monkey bites and attacks.

He said that people who go to the hill and to the viewpoint and would like to feed the monkey should be careful and follow the directions strictly to avoid such incidents.

SOURCE: Phuket Hotnews

Russian tourist bitten by a monkey on To Sae Hill, Phuket town | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket’s high season delayed until after Christmas

Greeley Pulitzer

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Phuket’s high season delayed until after Christmas | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Hotel Specialist

“Diversifying Phuket’s market to rely less on Chinese tourists is key to improving tourism in the province.”

It will be a quiet Christmas in Phuket as the island’s high season will come late for hotels this year, with most reservations are for after the Christmas celebration. Tourism in Phuket usually increases in November, but this year’s November occupancy rate was just 50-60%. That’s down 10% from last year, according to Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, president of the southern chapter of the Thai Hotels Association.

“The low numbers are continuing in the first half of this month, with the exception of 4 and 5 star hotels located near beaches and some hotels in the Patong area.”

But Kongsak expects occupancy to be back up to 90% or above the Christmas to New Year period. He says hotels in Phuket are suffering from a chronic oversupply as the expanding tourism business continues to attract new investment, and illegal hotels and the growing popularity of accommodation-sharing apps.

Phuket province has 250,000 rooms in 3,000 hotels, but only 600 hotels and 50,000 rooms are legally registered under the country’s Hotel Act, a tiny proportion. Of the remaining 2,400 hotels, about 1,000 are awaiting licences, while the rest have no licences and no plans to register, according to Kongsak.

He believes Phuket will remain a preferred destination for international tourists in 2020, even with many Chinese heading to other countries like Vietnam or the Philippines. He is calling on the government to facilitate visa applications, especially waiving the 2,000 baht visa-on-arrival fees to help offset some the effects of the strong baht.

The director of the Phuket office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand says new pitches other than sun and sand are needed to better disperse visitors within the province.

They note that the traditional west coast popular towns in Phuket are now having to compete with newer holiday zones around the island – to the north around Mai Khao, Rawai and Nai Harn in the south, Cape Panwa and Cape Yamu and the eastern areas, as well as a growing popularity for the business hub Phuket Town.

The TAT will next year introduce emerging destinations such as Koh Lon, which is only 12 minutes from the mainland and offers abundant natural beauty, Koh Racha where tourists can experience life like a local, and a day trips to Koh Mai Thon.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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UPDATE: Polish and Thai kayak pair still missing off Phuket

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UPDATE: Polish and Thai kayak pair still missing off Phuket | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Newshawk Phuket

As we enter day four of the search for 26 year old Mateusz Juszkiewicz from Poland and his female Thai friend, 23 year old Werakan Sirirakon, there is no update other than the pair are still missing.

Last evening Rawai’s mayor, Arun Solos revealed that the missing pair were wearing life vests when they set off for their short expedition to Koh Man from Ya Nui Beach last Saturday afternoon. He said he was hopeful that the pair would be found alive. But authorities are now holding grave fears for the safety of the missing couple despite the Mayor’s public optimism.

The extensive ocean search enters its fourth day today as rescuers continue to widen their search area.

Air and sea searches continued all yesterday with up to one hundred people involved in the land and sea search for a Polish tourist and his Thai girlfriend. They went missing after they, and their kayak, failed to return safely to Phuket on Saturday evening. Read the original story HERE.

Mateusz and Werakan managed to alert their friends that they were in difficulty with a mobile phone call before contact was lost with the pair as the others arrived back at Yanui Beach around 6.30pm on Saturday evening.

Three days of extensive searching, up to 30 nautical miles off the coast of Phuket, including around the Similans and Koh Racha, have not turned up any fresh sightings or information about the missing pair.
Conditions continue to be warm but there has been persistent moderate to fresh offshore winds over the past three days but abating a bit more today. But without fresh water, authorities suspect the pair would have perished if still marooned at sea.

When police received information about the incident on Saturday evening, a search was launched immediately by the Royal Thai Navy, the tourist police, the Phuket provincial public disaster mitigation office and Rawai municipal office. Efforts have concentrated on the sea currents and winds and where they may have carried the couple and their kayak.

UPDATE: Polish and Thai kayak pair still missing off Phuket | News by The Thaiger

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