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Mysterious seaweed invades Patong Beach

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Mysterious seaweed invades Patong Beach | The Thaiger
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PATONG: Tourists strolling along Patong Beach now have an extra something to remember about their stay in Phuket – a slimy, brown seaweed with a stench to match its looks.

This is not the first time seaweed has invaded the Patong shore. Two years ago bright green seaweed covered the sand (See story here). This year, however, the seaweed is brown.

Marine biologist Nipawan Bussarawit, from the Phuket Marine Biological Center (PMBC), said that she was first told about the seaweed nearly three weeks ago. “We took water samples for testing, and the water quality was okay,” she said, adding that PMBC staff also collected samples of the seaweed.

“However, we’re not sure whether the seaweed there now is the same as the one that was being washed ashore three weeks ago. The seaweed that appeared about February 5 was Cladophora. It’s a green seaweed but it turns brown when dries,” K. Nipawan said.

“Patong Municipality cleaned up [the Cladophora], but it seems it has come back,” she added.

Jet-ski operator Weerapan Choosangjan said, “It doesn’t look the same as the green seaweed that we saw a couple of years ago, this one looks like moss or algae. The color is brown, and it’s darker than normal seaweed. And it stinks.”

K. Weerapan said that tourists had complained that Patong Beach now looks like Pattaya when it had “dirty” water. “They are saying that if it continues to be dirty like this they will not come back next year, and now many tourists don’t want to go swimming because of this dirty stuff, and the water is starting to smell bad.

“You can’t see it clearly from the beach, but you can see the dark shadows under the water. When you touch it, it feels slimy,” he added.

English tourist Jenny Sherwin, relaxing on the beach this morning, said that this was the first time she had seen something like this. “I have been to Phuket six or seven times, but I have never seen anything like this before. It’s not very nice.”

Masseuse Somchart Taosarn, 38, who has been working on Patong Beach for the past five years,

told the Gazette, “I first saw it at the north end of the beach at the beginning of February and it has been here for about two weeks.

“Tourists say it stinks but they still sit on the beach. But they don’t swim near the shore. Instead, they swim further out in deeper water,” she said.

K. Somchart said that every morning for about an hour, Patong Municipality workers scour the beach picking up the seaweed.

“But there’s so much, and the cleaners stop work when the tourists start arriving at the beach, so more seaweed washes ashore after they’ve left,” she explained.

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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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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand targeting specific Chinese provinces for “tourism bubble”

Jack Burton



Thailand targeting specific Chinese provinces for “tourism bubble” | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Travelwire News

Thailand’s minister of tourism and sports says his ministry will target specific provinces in China in a bid to attract tourists back to the resort island of Phuket as travel restrictions are gradually eased. Pipat Ratchakijprakarn says the ministry will not splash out money launching a tourist campaign all across China but rather target some of the many provinces that have brought Covid-19 under control.

He didn’t specify which provinces, but said Phuket is being eyed to lead the planned “tourism bubbles” comprising Thailand and its selected partners. The primary target is selected Chinese cities and provinces.

“China is the first market with potential, because flying time to Thailand is less than six hours.”

Other markets being discussed include South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and some south east Asian countries.

Before the pandemic, 1 in every 4 foreign visitors to Thailand was Chinese. There were almost 40 million foreign arrivals last year.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Officials raid 2 Phuket casinos, arresting 87 illegal gamblers

Jack Burton



Officials raid 2 Phuket casinos, arresting 87 illegal gamblers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Phuket Andaman News

Officials have raided 2 Phuket casinos resulting in 87 people being arrested for allegedly gambling after the island’s provincial police received complaints of gambling dens operating around the clock – a violation of the current Emergency Decree which bans crowds.

The first raid took place at about 3:30 pm and was at a casino in tambon Talat Nua of Muang district. The premises provided parking spaces for motorcycles and up to 30 cars, and was fenced on all sides with metal sheets. Officials arrested 45 gamblers-30 men and 15 women. They also seized 62,420 baht that was placed as wagers and a gold necklace that was 15 grams in weight.

Around the same time, a second team raided another casino tambon Sisunthon of Thalang district in Phuket’s north. It was also fenced with metal sheets and featured an ample amount of parking space. 42 people- 22 men and 20 women- were rounded up with police seizing 64,260 baht in placed wagers.

All have been charged with illegal betting and violating the Emergency Decree which was recently extended through July.

Officials raid 2 Phuket casinos, arresting 87 illegal gamblers | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket’s (in)famous “Soi Bangla” district reopens today

Jack Burton



Phuket’s (in)famous “Soi Bangla” district reopens today | The Thaiger

Today is the official reopening of Phuket’s famous (or infamous) “Soi Bangla” nightlife district, but only about 20% of venues say they’re reopening during this early stage. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration announced yesterday that all night entertainment venues may reopen but must strictly adhere to health guidelines set out to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, the spokesman for the CCSA, says night entertainment venues, including pubs, bars, karaoke venues and beer gardens will be allowed to open, but only until midnight. Social distancing measures will be strictly enforced, and customers must use the Thai Chana app to check in and out.

The Patong Entertainment Business Association president says only about 20% of the 324 registered members are expected to reopen initially, but he expects more to reopen soon. Among the 22 rules announced last week- to be presented to the CCSA for approval- were that all staff must wear face masks and face shields, but performers may wear face shields only. No bottles are to be served, and all drinks are to be served in glasses. No pool table games (including snooker and billiards) and no dart games are to be allowed.

The number of guests in each venue is to be restricted to cater for social distancing, with at least 2 metres between tables, or partitions must be installed to ensure patrons are seated at least one metre away from each other.

Undercutting the main reason people visit popular venues, the draft rules also call for groups to be limited to 5 people, and for guests to be prohibited from dancing and singing, gathering, shouting, or “wandering around the premises”.

“I have no idea what the rules will be, but we will open anyway. If the full list of 22 rules for pubs, bars and entertainment venues is to be applied, we won’t be able to enforce all the rules, because enforcing all these rules is impossible. But we can follow some of the rules, such as social distancing, wearing masks and checking temperatures.”

Even Patong’s mayor told The Phuket News that she is yet to receive a copy of all the rules to be enforced.

“The next thing to do is follow up with the CCSA about the rules. This is very important for the entertainment industry in Patong. I will help and consider being flexible with the rules for entertainment businesses in Patong, because the rules announced by CCSA are the general rules for many places. But some of these rules are not appropriate for businesses here. We have to apply the right rules and optimise them for businesses in Patong.”

The PEBA president dismissed a few entertainment zones being singled out in other countries as “hotbeds for starting a second wave” of Covid-19 infections.

“I do not care what some people claim is the risk of being in a bar. If the government is genuinely concerned about the risk of Covid-19 spreading, then it is not just about bars, pubs and entertainment venues. The risk of Covid-19 spreading applies anywhere where people are around, not only at bars and pubs.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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