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FC Phuket trump Songkhla in deep south battle

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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FC Phuket trump Songkhla in deep south battle | The Thaiger

PHUKET: FC PHUKET got their second road win of the season last night, with a well-deserved 1-0 win against Songkhla FC in a hard-fought match at Tinsulanond Stadium in Songkhla Town.

The lively match was played under clear skies, following light showers earlier in the day. Some 23,000 fans turned out making it the largest crowd Phuket has played in front of all year.

Despite the narrow score margin, the 300 ‘Hulk’ fans, who left by bus at 4am for the match, will passionately attest that the score difference should have been tripled.

Highly questionable officiating denied the Southern Sea Kirin two goals in the first half. Going into half time, allegations of corruption could be heard echoing throughout the visitors’ stands.

Luckily for Phuket, Songkhla had to play the match without two keys attackers. Both Panai Kongkaphan and Brazilian import Chayene Santos were unavailable due to bookings in the previous week.

As a result, Phuket, playing in trademark green with red stockings, dominated play throughout much of the game.

The Southern Sea Kirin’s perseverance paid off in the 70th minute after a free kick by Sarach Yooyen was headed into the back of the net by Jongrak Pakdee, silencing the home crowd for the third and final time yesterday evening.

Jongrak got “man of the match” honors for the goal, which can be viewed here. [Scroll past Thai text, click on media player].

Though no official clock was displayed, one fan’s unofficial timekeeping indicated Songkhla was given a full 10 minutes of extra time before the final whistle was blown, giving the home team at least half a dozen fruitless attempts to equalize.

Though armed guards were posted throughout the stadium, it was clear that they were mainly for the safety of officials. The vast majority of both Phuket and Songkhla supporters have become united against what some perceive as questionable officiating.

As for fan relations, the hospitality and sportsmanship shown by the Songkhla fan base was nothing short of superb. Before the match, the “Fighting Bulls” fan club hosted “The Hulks” fan club in an indoor futsal match in which the hosts prevailed 6 to 4.

Following that friendly match, Songkhla fans treated the weary Hulks to khao yum (herbal rice), a local delicacy, in return for the hospitality given to Songkhla fans on June 25, when the Hulks treated them to khanom jeen (rice vermicelli with curry).

Sunday’s win marks Phuket’s third league victory in a row, complementing last week’s win against Bangkok United and their win on August 21 at RBAC.

Immediately following the game, FC Phuket players and the Hulk boarded their victory celebration buses for the six-hour bus ride home.

Now on 35 points with ten matches remaining, Phuket and are still in 8th place, but just three points shy of Songkhla, PTT Rayong, Bangkok United and Rajpracha, each with 38 points.

That will set the stage for a big home match next Sunday, when Phuket will host PTT Rayong at Surakul Stadium.

After which they’ll be on a make-or-break road trip throughout October.

Other TPL Division One results this weekend:

Saraburi 1 – 1 Rajpracha
Samut Prakarn 1 – 0 Chanthaburi
Bangkok FC 3 – 0 Airforce Utd
Chiang Mai 1 – 2 Chainat
PTT Rayong 1 – 0 Suphan Buri
Thai Honda 0 – 2 Buriram
Bangkok Utd 1 – 1 BBCU
RBAC 3 – 2 JW Rangsit (RBAC’s first win at home all season)

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News

30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands

Greeley Pulitzer

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30 dolphins greet visitors to Similan Islands | The Thaiger

Tourists were treated to the sight of a school of dolphins in the Similan Islands off the Phang Nga coast on Sunday.

Tour organisers said that around 30 dolphins swam close to the boat six or seven miles offshore, creating excitement for passengers. It was the first time dolphins had been seen in the vicinity since October 15.

The Similan Islands National Park director said they were bottlenose dolphins and were among several species now returning to the area following a five-year closure of the park for environmental rehabilitation. Food is again plentiful there for them, he said.

Tourists are forbidden to feed wildlife lest the free handouts alter the animals’ natural behaviour, and the park’s waters are also very sensitive to contamination from human disease and marine debris, according to the director.

SOURCE: nationthailand.com

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Patong

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms

The Thaiger

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Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | The Thaiger

by Sophie Deviller

Hotels on Thailand’s most popular holiday island are being forced to slash prices, with rooms left vacant and beaches sparse as Thailand’s tourism chiefs struggle with a plunge in Chinese visitors caused by the US trade war and a stronger baht. Phuket was the most visited destination in the country last year, after Bangkok, and a good gauge of the state of its crucial travel industry.

Tourism accounts for 18% of Thailand’s gross domestic product and Chinese holidaymakers make up more than a quarter of total arrivals. But while 2.2 million people from the country visited in 2018, according to official figures, the numbers for January-September were down almost 20% year on year.

Claude de Crissey, the French Honorary Consul in Phuket and owner of about 40 rooms in the Patong Beach area, says Chinese tourists are usually present even during the current low season.

“That was not the case this year,” he said, adding he had to lower his prices by as much as 50%.

The problem is not only in Phuket, with hotels also struggling to fill rooms in the seaside resort of Pattaya on the mainland and on Koh Samui.

Trade tensions with the US have already made some Chinese reluctant to take holidays owing to uncertainty back home, while the Thai baht has risen about 10% against the yuan this year.

A boating disaster off Phuket’s coast that killed 47 Chinese holidaymakers in July 2018 also scared some off.

“We are worried,” said an industry insider, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the topic in a country where tourism provides tens of thousands of jobs. Adding to the headache is the fact that more than 3,000 new hotel rooms are being constructed on the island, raising the question of who will fill them.

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

“In terms of business, it’s not good,” said Kongsak Khoopongsakorn, vice-president of the association of hotels in Thailand and director of Vijitt Resort.

“Because … we have more hotels, more rooms to sell, we have more restaurants, more coffee shops.”

Still, tourism authority chairman Yuthasak Supasorn said he remained “optimistic.”

“We should reach our goal of 39.8 million foreign visitors.”

However, that is only up from 38.2 million in 2018, much less than the jump seen from the previous year’s total of 35.6 million.

Counting on India

Now hoteliers and tour package operators are targeting visitors from elsewhere, particularly India, which experts see as a huge untapped market.

A rapid expansion of the middle class in India, increased direct flights and visa-free travel have prompted Thailand to revise forecasts upwards.

It now expects two million Indian tourists this year, after an increase of nearly 25% on-year in the first seven months. But for now, the lower arrivals is evident on the streets of Phuket.

“I’ve never seen anything as bad as what it is at the moment,” said Paul Scott from Australia, who said he has been coming to Thailand for 15 years.

He mainly blamed the stronger baht for the drop-off but also the fact that Thailand wasn’t the untouched vacation paradise it once was. “Now it’s not so new … and it’s not cheap,” he said.

SOURCE: AFP

Phuket hotels slashing the price of rooms | News by The Thaiger

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Events

The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners

The Thaiger

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The 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle fun run attracts more than 4,000 runners | The Thaiger

4,000 runners from Thailand and overseas took part in the 15th Mai Khao Marine Turtle Fun Run and Half Marathon 2019 yesterday, starting from the Phuket Gateway.

The event is expected to raise 700,000 baht for the charity, now in its 15th year. The money raised goes towards to The Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation, which is committed to protecting the marine and coastal environment, and ecosystems, for the wellbeing of sea turtles that nest in the Mai Khao beach and the surrounding areas.

The annual race also provides funds for thePhuket Marine Biological Centre’s Injured Turtle Rehabilitation Program and The Third NavalArea Command’s Turtle Hatchery Program.

The race was in its 15th year and runners of all ages and abilities took part in the race. The morning’s racing was divided into five categories – the 21.1km half marathon, 10.5km mini- marathon, 5km fun run and 3k family run and VIP participants for all the races. The route of 21.1 kilometre race took runners northwest along the Haad Sai Kaew beach towards Thao Thepkasattri bridge, past the rural road No. 3006, run along the road – Pi Lai viewpoint area returned back along the T. Baan Tha Nun to the iconic Sarasin bridge before finished the half marathon in the Phuket Gateway.

For Mini Marathon 10.5 km – Over all category, Mr. Chinnawat Changlek clocked 39 minutes and 40 seconds to clinch victory in the male half marathon, winning prize money and a trophy with the signature of Phuket’s Governor. The winner in the female mini marathon was Surakarn Wanna with a time of 47 minutes and 47 seconds.

Winners also received a prize gift voucher as well as a medal. Congratulations to all participants.

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