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Finance Ministry to press for Phuket ICEC

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Finance Ministry to press for Phuket ICEC | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Finance Minister Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala has pledged to accelerate long-delayed property projects run by the Treasury Department, including the Phuket International Convention and Exhibition Center (Phuket ICEC).

The Phuket ICEC, slated to be built on 1.5 rai of Treasury Department land in Mai Khao, has 2.6 billion baht in funding approval from the department. However the project is on hold following a rejection of its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) by the Environment Ministry’s Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, or ONEP.

Among the reasons cited by ONEP for the rejection was a claim that the site encroached on a traditional sea turtle nesting site. Local residents flatly rejected this, however, and there have been virtually no reports of sea turtles nesting at any Phuket beaches since the beginning of the nesting season that typically runs from Novembers to March.

Local fears that the megaproject would be scuttled by the Pheu Thai-led government eased after Cabinet granted the department a two-year extension on the time it would take to clear the EIA process and sign an agreement with a project contractor.

Other multi-billion-baht projects under Treasury purview include a real-estate venture at Mo Chit BTS Skytrain terminal, a five-star hotel beside the Chao Phraya Rivera and government office buildings on Phaholyothin Road, all in Bangkok.

“Some of these projects have been delayed for 18 years,” Mr Thirachai told a news conference yesterday. “I don’t want them getting stuck any longer.”

The department must report to him on the progress of these projects every few weeks, he said.

Mr Thirachai also wants the department to put in place effective measures to prevent people unlawfully occupying lands under the management of its State Property Management and Services Office, or Ratchapassadu.

The department continues to take back land plots currently occupied by state agencies, particularly the Army, which does not fully utilize them, he said.

Regarding appraisal values, those of land flooded or located in floodways will remain unchanged next year. These lands extend from Chiang Mai to Greater Bangkok, according to the department.

The Treasury Department will next year announce new land appraisals, averaging 20 per cent higher nationwide, on which to base tax collection. Land values in Bangkok will go up 17 per cent on average, while land along Rajdamri Road in the capital will skyrocket by 50-60 per cent.

Naris Chaiyasoot, director-general of the Treasury Department, said the department would propose a master plan on how to manage government lands and other assets to the finance minister in February.

He conceded his department had not yet completed a database necessary for better management of these assets, such as updates on the environment surrounding lands and laws related to land use.

Naris also promised to improve the management of Dhanarak Asset Development Co, the Treasury Department’s property arm.

National reporting by Phuket Gazette partner publication The Nation.

— Stephen Fein



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Food Scene

Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals

The Thaiger

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Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | The Thaiger

The Thaiger was invited to a special ‘taster’ at one of our favourite restaurants on the island of Phuket, Thong Dee. As usual, the food spoke for itself – no fuss, classy, so so tasty, eclectic. The Thaiger was a guest of the hosts Patrik and Ponchan for the evening.

Thong Dee – The Kathu Brasserie, located in Kathu in a quiet soi less than 15 min drive from Patong or Phuket Town has become a popular go-to foodie destination, away from the hustle and bustle of Phuket. The atmosphere at Thong Dee is certainly friendly and relaxed but also chic and stylish. The restaurant offers open-air dining where locals and visitors comfortably sit and watch the tiny world of Kathu go by.

The restaurant is currently ranked #1 on TripAdvisor (April 2019), undoubtedly a favourite for foodies looking for quality in a breezy brasserie which doesn’t burn their wallets. But the journey to finding this perfect balance was certainly not a smooth one.

Established on the 25th December 2010, married couple Patrik Lundgren, from Sweden, and Phonchan Chiarram, originally from the Buriram province, opened “Thong Dee Restaurant & Bar”, literally meaning “Good Gold” in Thai, a colloquial expression that better translates as “Good Quality”.

Thong Dee began as only a dream for the two. Phonchan already owned her own bar at only 21 and Patrik always considered himself a devout foodie. He was the one to make the bold decision to become restaurateurs. With the help of Patrik’s mother, the couple, with their love for F&B and strong entrepreneurial spirit, made that dream into reality.

“I consider myself a genuine foodie and always had a huge passion for food. I rather have a big bill from a fabulous restaurant then a trendy nightclub” – Patrik

Phonchan never had any formal training as a Chef but with Patrik’s belief in her skills and Patrik’s mother’s training, Phonchan started in her own restaurant as the cook. Here she not only had the opportunity to develop her delicious family recipes but began experimenting with Western and European cuisine.

The menu opened with 80 % percent Thai food until Patrik realised it was an already over-saturated market. “We had to be different from that “green curry” you can eat anywhere in Phuket”. Over the next 6 years the restaurant went through huge changes, both in layout and in menu.

Through the first stages, they enlisted the talents of André, a young chef who worked in France & Scandinavia at Michelin fine dining establishments, most notably, at Restaurant Kiin Kiin in Copenhagen. It was from him that Phonchan learned the fundamentals of fine dining, such as mise en place and creating stocks and sauces.

He also taught me about the art of plating and classic dishes from French cuisine as well as fusion creations” – Phonchan

In 2016 they partnered up with an experienced Irish chef, from whom they learned about the strict operations of running a restaurant and creating a positive flow in the kitchen.

“He also taught me a lot form the European and English kitchen, such as the Sunday roasts, chicken liver parfait and desserts” – Phonchan.

The couple found their groove through their own culinary explorations, research and development combined with the knowledge of experienced chefs.

“…almost all of the dishes on our menu are different from how I learned from the start, both in Thai cuisine and European. I discovered in the world of cooking, all dishes can be made from the chef’s own interpretation.” – Phonchan

Patrik describes the cuisine at Thong Dee in detail as – European with French, English & Swedish influences in addition to authentic Thai dishes with premium main ingredients.

You will find Patrik at the front of house being the charismatic host, paying close attention to detail and customers’ every need. Thong Dee’s client’s range from local expat families and friends looking for a taste of home, and tourists looking for finer Thai food and good wines to match. Thong Dee has also become a favourite spot for local F&B industry management staff.

People flock from around the Island and even globally to experience Phonchan’s signature Thai duck dishes, even stews and Swedish meatballs. The also offer ever-changing weekly specials. Their Sunday Roast is also a drawcard, that attracts playful groups and families looking for a wide variety of succulent roast meats.

In the future, Thong Dee are considering to expand into Phuket Town, where the offering will be much more focused on classic European Brasserie cuisine, with starters, salads and steaks and a high value wine list and of course, the same friendly service in a stylish and relaxed atmosphere.

Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | News by The Thaiger Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | News by The Thaiger Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | News by The Thaiger Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | News by The Thaiger Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | News by The Thaiger Thong Dee, the Kathu Brasserie loved by foodies and Phuket locals | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Australian snorkeller collects trash at Kalim beach everyday

The Thaiger

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Australian snorkeller collects trash at Kalim beach everyday | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Patong Surf Life Saving

An Australian man has been seen collecting trash in the waters just off Kalim beach in Patong every day over the past month.

The Patong Surf Life Saving team report that they have seen the foreign man, an Australian national, collecting trash near the shoreline at Kalim Beach every day.

Every morning he heads off from his nearby accommodation nearby to go snorkelling along the shoreline collecting trash.

He has been doing this as his daily routine for the last month.

Two days ago an eight year old Phuket boy was rewarded after setting an excellent example for the rest of the Patong community by cleaning rubbish out of the Pak Bang Canal running through Patong.

Three cheers to Patong’s trash heroes!!

Read more about the eight year old’s great work HERE.

Australian snorkeller collects trash at Kalim beach everyday | News by The Thaiger Australian snorkeller collects trash at Kalim beach everyday | News by The Thaiger Australian snorkeller collects trash at Kalim beach everyday | News by The Thaiger Australian snorkeller collects trash at Kalim beach everyday | News by The Thaiger

 

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Krabi

Maya Bay’s extended closure “vital to conserve the ecology”

The Thaiger

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Maya Bay’s extended closure “vital to conserve the ecology” | The Thaiger

Worapot Lomlim, chief of the Hat Nopparatthara-Phi-Phi Islands national park has confirmed that he might keep Maya Bay closed for up to five years to allow the current recovery to continue.

The Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has agreed to extend the closure of Ao Maya, or Maya Bay, located on one of the Phi Phi islands between Krabi and Phuket, for another six month period after an initial 10 month closure to allow nature to regenerate the ecosystem.

The Chief reports that the local ecological systems of Maya Bay, degraded by years of accelerating tourist traffic, has steadily improved during the current closure. Up to 5,000 tourists a day were visiting Maya Bay at its peak before authorities weighed up the pressures of the conservationists and tour operators and decided it was best to close the popular tourist attraction for an extended period

He cited the frequent sightings of blacktip reef sharks near the beach and the gradual growth of some 23,000 corals farmed at a coral centre in Trang province, which were planted in the Bay with the help of volunteer divers.

After the next six-month extended closure, Khon Worapot indicated that the department will consider extending the closure for an even longer period, up to 4-5 years, to allow full rehabilitation of the environment and the ecological system.

Maya Bay was closed to all tourist access on June 1, 2018.

Maya Bay's extended closure

Up to 5,000 tourists a day were visiting the Bay at its peak

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