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Chinese man joins Swedes in epic journey for Phuket post-tsunami orphanage

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Chinese man joins Swedes in epic journey for Phuket post-tsunami orphanage | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: A Chinese man has joined the group of Swedes pedaling toward Phuket from Europe to raise money for a post-tsunami orphanage on the island (story here).

Kunn Lee, who was originally supposed to be cycling southern China and Tibet, changed his plans after meeting Calle Wollgard and the team – he is now bound for the Barhem Muang Mai orphanage.

“We are very happy about this, mostly because Lee is really funny, and a nice guy. However, it’s also a great advantage to have someone who is able to speak and translate for us in a country like China,” Calle told the Phuket Gazette.

“I guess you can say that we were very lucky to find Lee. We really hope that he can go all the way to Phuket and the orphanage.”

Mr Kunn joined Calle, Fredrik Jessen, Tomi Blumen and Christofer Johansson more than a week ago and is looking to share the next 6,000 kilometers of road with them.

With more than 10,200km behind them, the team is about 20 per cent through China. However, it took a big push to escape Uzbekistan.

“Our biggest difficulty since the last update [story here] was to get out of Uzbekistan. It was not because it was that hard to cycle – it was very flat – but because of all the diseases. We just wanted to get out as soon as possible, before we became ill again,” said Calle.

“It was a bit hard mentally because we still had to do about 1,000km before we reached Kyrgyzstan.”

However, once the team reached Osh, in Kyrgyzstan, their spirits soared.

“I think morale hasn’t been higher for a long time during this trip; maybe it is the highest morale we’ve had,” said Calle.

“We had a great time in Osh. We met a lot of travellers from all over the world – some amazingly fun people! We also put the heat of the previous countries behind us. The temperature has started to drop to a comfortable level.”

Fredrick, who had been suffering from serious stomach issues since Uzbekistan, has finally recovered.

“It’s not that easy to count ribs anymore, which I think is a good sign,” Calle said. “He also looks really strong on the road again.”

With only China and Laos left between them and Thailand, the team is clearly excited.

“We still have about 80 per cent of China to do before we are home. But when we are finally done with China, it will feel kind of good and unreal to say that Thailand is our next big destination,” said Calle.

The biggest hiccup the team has faced since entering China was one of Calle’s greatest fears – equipment failure.

“Really, my biggest concern is that the equipment will fail – especially the bikes,” Calle told the Gazette in March.

The back rim of Calle’s bike broke in Kyrgyzstan, and it was impossible to replace when they attempted to swap it out in Kashgar, China.

“It is impossible to find a 28-inch wheel in this part of China. So, in the end, I just had to buy a brand new bike,” he said.

“I really like it so far, so it’s not the end of the world.”

The team is still on track to cross the bridge to Phuket in time to spend Christmas together with the kids of Barhem Muang Mai for the 10th anniversary of the tsunami, and raise millions of baht for the orphanage.

Those wishing to contribute should send Calle their name and how much they want to donate for each Swedish mile (10km) covered. All proceeds will go to Barnhem Muang Mai, which was founded in the wake of the 2004 Tsunami disaster by a Thai-Swedish couple.

Though Barnhem means “home for children” in Swedish, it serves as a home to many in need, often accepting single mothers with children, and grandmothers with grandchildren who are unable to provide for themselves.

Calle and his team can be contacted at

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

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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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Transport Company interprovincial bus services to the South remain suspended

Jack Burton



Transport Company interprovincial bus services to the South remain suspended | The Thaiger

Transport Company, Thailand’s interprovincial bus company, announced this week that it is continuing its suspension of all services to the southern provinces as the country will be under the state of emergency until June 30.

It did not say when services will resume. The company was expected to resume services from Bangkok to Koh Samui, Phuket and Trang from June 1.

The Cabinet decided on Tuesday to extend state of emergency in line with measures to control the spread of Covid-19.

Transport Company announced in April, when the national curfew came into force, that services on routes longer than 300 kilometres would remain halted nationwide until further notice.

Services on routes under 300km operated by minibuses are still allowed, from 5am-4pm, and parcel services can operate from 5am-8:30pm.

The decision is in line with the decision of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration to maintain the night curfew, from 11pm-3am, and discourage travel between provinces to restrict the spread of the virus.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand


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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Chiang Rai quarantines 26 returnees from Phuket

Jack Burton



Chiang Rai quarantines 26 returnees from Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook

26 returnees from Phuket back to Chiang Rai arrived home on 2 passenger coaches today and were immediately placed in 14 day quarantine. The 26 arrived at the Wiang Indra Riverside Resort in Chiang Rai province (by the way, it looks VERY nice!).

The Deputy provincial governor of Chiang Rai welcomed them and asked them to adhere to the precautionary measures set by the health department. Thorough screening was reportedly conducted by Chiang Rai health officials and they were also reminded to eat only well cooked food, use a personal serving spoon when eating, wash their hands regularly, practice social distancing and most importantly wear face masks at all times.

Meanwhile a group of 400 Thais returnees from foreign countries were placed in state quarantine facilities in Chonburi province yesterday. 7 hotels in Pattaya City have been designated state quarantine facilities. The hotels have been approved by the health department for Thais returning from abroad. Around 2,000 returnees are now being quarantined there. Yesterday’s 400 returnees, that had been stranded in Italy, Malaysia, Japan and Taiwan, arrived at Suvarnabhumi Airport before travelling to the quarantine facilities in Chon Buri.

Health officials today reported 11 returnees from overseas tested positive for Covid-19. The 11, 5 of them masseurs, raised Thailand’s total cases to 3,065 since the outbreak began.

“We can say that there are no new locally infected Covid-19 cases as far as official reports are concerned. Even more, all the new cases reported daily were infected in other countries.”

Of the 3,065 accumulated cases, 2,945 (96%) have recovered, with 14 more patients released over the previous 24 hours. Just 63 patients remained in hospital. The death toll remains at 57.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Mayor’s statement sparks hope Chonburi beaches may reopen soon

Maya Taylor



Mayor’s statement sparks hope Chonburi beaches may reopen soon | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bang Saen beach, Chonburi - Wikimedia

A Facebook post from the mayor of Saen Suk, home to the renowned Bangsaen beach, says beaches “may” reopen from June 1. (Before you ask, there is currently no official information on when Bangsaen, Pattaya or Phuket’s beaches may actually reopen.)

Beaches in the eastern province of Chonburi were closed nearly two months ago as authorities enacted strict lockdown measures to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Chonburi has now had no new reported cases of the virus for more than 30 days and residents are getting antsy over the ongoing beach closures.

Authorities continue to state that the closures are to prevent unlawful gatherings and the risk of people travelling from nearby provinces, such as Bangkok, thereby causing a second wave of infections. Bangkok has the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the country. Despite this, local expats and Thais are demanding that Chonburi’s beaches be reopened, particularly in light of this happening in other resort areas such as Hua Hin.

The Pattaya News reports that Bangsaen beach reopening does not necessarily mean Pattaya’s beaches could also reopen as that decision lies with Pattaya’s civic officials. Despite Pattaya not having any new reported cases of the virus for over 40 days now, Pattaya City Hall authorities remain concerned about mass gatherings, the consumption of alcohol and the risk that social distancing measures would not be adhered to were they to reopen the city’s beaches.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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