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Phuket

Dream delay: Phuket kayakers’ dream paddle on hold

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Dream delay: Phuket kayakers’ dream paddle on hold | The Thaiger

PHUKET TOWN: Two Phuket-based men who were set to paddle a kayak 14,000 miles from Phuket to California have been forced to postpone their trip due to ‘financial constraints’.

American Ryan Doran, 26, and Piya ‘Mr X’ Sukunthai, 28, were due to leave Phuket on March 10 aboard their 20-foot wooden kayak Say-Lee.

The pair insist that their dream trip will still happen, but say it must be postponed until they raise enough money for all the equipment needed.

For our original report and readers’ comments about the planned expedition, click here.

The pairs’ planned trip was due to take 20 months. It would have seen them pass through the territorial waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and Russia before braving a 217-mile leg across the Bering Sea, one of the world’s most treacherous expanses of ocean.

From there, they planned to continue on to Alaska and Canada, then the lower 48 United States, arriving in Ryan’s home city of San Francisco in December next year.

But the pair have had to postpone their trans-Pacific paddle until an unspecified date later this year. They are now trying to sell their Phuket-made kayak Say-Lee to raise funds to build a new 18-foot ‘catamaran’ kayak that would be used in the mega-paddle.

“We are currently building an 18-foot catamaran. We have joined two 18-foot Chesapeake kayaks into a Hobie Cat rigging system. We now intend to be sailing and paddling. We are also using kites to help power the boat,” he revealed.

There were numerous criticisms in the online Gazette Forum charging the pair with being overambitious, impractical or downright crazy. To one of these Ryan replied:

“You’re right, this is not a ‘safe… adventure’, but it is a well-planned adventure. We have planned this trip for two years and have assessed all risks. If the s**t hits the fan, we will pay for our own rescue.”

The trip would be insured through International SOS, an international medical and rescue service, he added.

“The extreme at-sea conditions will inevitably affect us: sores, heat exhaustion, sunstroke, dehydration, starvation, hypothermia, not to mention the psychological hardships involved,” he wrote.

“I know our plan says 20 months, but if it takes 10 years, then so be it. It took Oskar Speck seven years to paddle from Germany to Australia. We are prepared for that kind of commitment,” he said, speaking of an epic paddle undertaken in the 1930s.

Responding to a sarcastic comment that climactic conditions in the Bering Sea and at Phuket’s Nai Harn Beach are quite different, and that the Pathum Thani-born Mr X might find them too difficult, Ryan replied.:

“No, Mr X has never been in cold weather before… Assuming we actually make it to the Bering Sea, we will have paddled thousands of miles through the South China Sea and off the coast of Japan and Russia.

“If we make it as far as the Bering Sea, I think he will be pretty well conditioned for the weather. But thanks for pointing out that the Bering Sea is not Nai Harn Beach. We didn’t know that.”

Ryan and Mr X are still seeking sponsors for their trip.

Thus far, John Harris from Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) Boats and Bennet Bar from the NRS Kayaking Team are the only official sponsors.

Anyone interested in sponsoring the trip can contact Ryan at: rdoran66@hotmail.com

— Fraser Morton

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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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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.

The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.

One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.

This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.

This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.

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Bangkok

The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations

The Thaiger

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The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com

In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.

But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.

Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.

In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.

The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.

By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.

Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.

You can read the full list HERE.

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

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Phuket

Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works

The Thaiger

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Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works | The Thaiger

The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority says Rawai’s mains water supply will be shut off tomorrow (Tuesday, October 15) as new water pipes are fitted in front of The Title Beach Front condo resort complex on the town’s beachfront.

The mains water supply will be shut off from 9am until 4:30pm along the beachfront strip.

The PWA says the areas affected will be along Wiset Road along the Rawai beachfront road, as well as Soi Yanui and Soi Ruafaed.

Residents and businesses are being urged to collect water for use during the day today, before tomorrow morning’s shut-off.

As usual, the PWA say…“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Contact the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority on 076 319173 or 082 7901634 for more details.

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