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Americans cash in on Phuket volleyball win

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Americans cash in on Phuket volleyball win | The Thaiger
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KARON, PHUKET: With a masterful performance, the American pair of Jen Kessy and April Ross captured their second-straight Phuket Thailand Open title on Karon Beach yesterday, walking off the sand with the winners’ check of US$30,000.

The top-seeded Kessy and Ross finished their four days of competition by downing compatriots Angie Akers and Tyra Turner with clinical precision in the 37-minute final, 21-12 and 21-17.

Playing with the poise of true champions, it was all business for Kessy and Ross.

The match was the seventh FIVB meeting between the two teams and Kessy and Ross have finished on the winning side each time.

Yesterday’s championship match also marked the third-straight all-American finale for the Phuket Thailand Open.

It was the sixth SWATCH FIVB World Tour gold medal for Kessy and Ross since forming their partnership in 2007.

Ms Akers was competing in her first-ever gold medal match. She and Turner split the US$21,000 second-place prize.

Turner was competing in her second Phuket Thailand Open title match. Ms Turner also appeared in last year’s final with Nicole Branagh, losing to Kessy and Ross 18-21, 21-14 and 15-12 in 63 minutes.

In the bronze medal match, 22nd-seeded Maria Bratkova and Evgenia Ukolova secured Russia’s first-ever women’s podium finish, much to the delight of a large contingent of Russian supporters who turned out for the match.

Riding the wave of support, the pair struggled back from one set down to win 15-21, 22-20 and 15-9 win in 53 minutes over 17th-seeded Lauren Fendrick and Ashley Ivy of the United States.

The win denied the Americans what would have been their third podium sweep in the 18-year history of the international beach volleyball circuit.

Bratkova and Ukolova were crowded by autograph seekers after the exciting win.

But the undisputed star of the tournament was Ms Ross, who was awarded the tournament MVP prize.

Her powerful, laser-like serves put Akers and Turner on the back foot as they did the five pairs that fell before them.

After a great deal of passion in the third place final, the final came off more like an exhibition, as there was no national partisanship in the all-American encounter.

Among the VIPs in attendance were Permanent Secretary for Interior and Former Phuket Governor Pongpayome Vasaputi, current Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop and his wife Taiseka, Phuket Provincial Administration Organization President Paiboon Ubatising, Kata Group Director and sport tourism pioneer Eam Thavornwongwongse, event organizer Geoffrey Rowe of Pentangle Promotions and Karon Mayor Tawee Tongcham.

Karon Deputy Mayor Sompong Darbpeth said after the match that he was very happy with the all of the organizational elements of the event, though he was a little disappointed with the crowd turnout.

The stadium was only about 75% full for the free-admission final match. About half of the crowd was made up of foreigners.

Asked whether the stadium construction harmed the large sand dunes that largely spared Karon from the 2004 tsunami disaster, Mr Sompong said the improvements had been carefully carried out with respect to the environment.

No concrete or permanent structures were involved and the dunes face more damage from erosion from heavy monsoon-season surf, he said.

This year’s tournament was the largest on the 16-stop SWATCH FIVB tour, with 66 teams from 28 countries taking part.

— Stephen Fein & WATCH FIVB

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Thailand

UPDATE: Confusion over Covid-19 tests for visa extensions

Caitlin Ashworth

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UPDATE: Confusion over Covid-19 tests for visa extensions | The Thaiger

UPDATE: Khaosod English removed a story on Covid-19 tests for those seeking visa extensions and replaced it with the article “Immigration backtracks on plan to require Covid-19 test for visa extensions.” They say the previous report sparked uproar among expats and immigration police spokesperson has since apologised for the misunderstanding.

Original article…

Confusion reigns today over whether Covid-19 tests will be required for visa extensions. While The Phuket News spoke with an immigration official who said “no… you don’t need a Covid-19 test to extend your visa or apply for a work permit”, Khaosod English wrote an article headlined “Covid-19 test will be mandatory for all visa extension”.

The Thaiger also contacted a respected visa agent who said Covid-19 tests are, indeed, now required for applying for both visa extensions and work permits, even renewals.

The Thai Immigration Bureau has not made any official announcement regarding Covid-19 tests. Talk about Covid-19 tests for foreigners was brought up after a rule was published in the Royal Gazette last month, officially adding Covid-19 to a list of dangerous diseases, prohibiting those infected with any of the listed illnesses from entering the country.

Immigration Police Bureau spokesperson Archayon Kraithong told Khaosod English that proof of a negative Covid-19 test will be required for visa extensions, regardless of how long a foreigner has stayed in Thailand. On the other hand, Phuket immigration deputy chief Nareuwat Putthawiro told The Phuket News that Covid-19 tests will not be required for visa extensions or work permit applications.

“We do not require any medical documents for an application to renew a visa, because there are few foreigners’ movements outside Phuket. Most of them live and work in Phuket, and have done so before the new wave of Covid-19… So they do not have to worry about it. Everything is still the same.”

Medical exams are currently already required for most work permit applicants (including tests for Syphilis and Elephantiasis). A visa agent told The Thaiger that Covid-19 tests have been added to the medical examination requirements for work permit applicants. But, on the other hand, Phuket immigration says they DO NOT require Covid-19 tests for work permit applicants.

“We have not received any notices about Covid-19 requirements for processing applications to renew visas. If we do receive any such orders, we will let the public know.”

It isn’t the first time there has been conflicting statements coming out of different officials, in different immigration offices on different days.

SOURCES: Phuket News| Khaosod English

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Visitors to Phuket from “highest risk” areas must show Covid-19 test results

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Visitors to Phuket from “highest risk” areas must show Covid-19 test results | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

People arriving Phuket from the “highest risk” areas are required to take a swab test by the staff at emergency operation centres (EOC) or show the test result document endorsed by the EOC staff made within 72 hours of their arrival. The revised order is effective from now until January 31, according to the Phuket Governor.

Those people who are on a brief business trip to Phuket need to show certificates from their employers describing the reason and necessity of their trips. If they want to leave their accommodations, they have to make a request to the EOC and clearly explain the reason as well as the time and destination. Visitors are also asked to avoid going to the community areas to avoid crowded gatherings.

It is noted that the revised order by the governor has not been officially promoted by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department. However, all visitors are still asked to register online via the Mor Chana contact tracing application and via www.gophuget.com according to the order re-issued on Friday.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Tourism

The road less travelled – trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint

The Thaiger

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The road less travelled – trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | The Thaiger

There are two well known ways to get from Kathu to Kalim or Kamala – one is across the Patong Hill, and the other is much longer, through Srisoonthorn and along the coastal road from Surin the Kamala (very scenic too).

But there’s also another way. Also very scenic but will take you about 2 hours through dense forest although there is a well-worn walking track. The track will take you from Kathu up to the Kalim Viewpoint. From here you can head back to Kathu along a different path, or down into Kalim, near Patong.

Starting about halfway down Soi Namtok in Kathu, you head up a nondescript road past the Flying Hanuman zipline attraction, although there’s no sign at the entrance to the soi (below). About the first kilometre is paved but then becomes increasingly ‘agricultural’ as you get higher into the hills, heading towards the Kalim Viewpoint. There’s also a small temple on the way up.

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: The start of the trek, a small soi off Soi Namtok – Google Maps

It will take around 2 hours to trek up to the Kalim Viewpoint. The walking is quite strenuous and you’ll need to be wearing the right shoes and take plenty of water – there’s no 7/11s on the way! As you get nearer the top, to the viewpoint, the track becomes less drivable although the track is still quite open and easy to follow. If you’re feeling a bit lazy you can take a motorbike about halfway up the road until you’ll need to proceed on foot from there.

From the Kalim Viewpoint you can see across Kalim to Patong Bay and the land that stretches along the bay south of Patong Beach. From the top you can either make your way down to Kalim or another exit along the Kalim-Kamala Road, just near the Iguana Beach Club.

You can also head back another way to Kathu, a longer return track that skirts around the top of the Kathu Waterfall. A lot of that track gets very narrow and parts of it are up and down the hills, some of it very steep.

The views are amazing and you get to see a vast swathe of Phuket, still very close to popular locations like Patong, Kamala and Kathu, but untouched by any civilisation.

You’ll need to be in reasonable health to take on the trip but, just to go up to the Kalim Viewpoint and back, or down into Kalim, should take around 5 hours in total. On a scale of 1 – 5 for difficulty, we’d rate it a 3. An easy trek for experienced people but will need a bit of planning if you’re not an experienced trekker.

Even on a hazy day, as it was today, the views were amazing. But best to start off early morning when the weather is cooler. Well worth the time for the views and the opportunity to see more of Phuket, away from the bars and beaches.

Thanks to BT for the pics and information.

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The ThaigerThe road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

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