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New bridge plan good news for Phuket yachties

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Phuket yachties will be pleased to know that a 300-million baht deal to build a new Sarasin Bridge includes raising the old bridge to give up to 10-meters’ clearance beneath all three bridges.

The old Sarasin Bridge will become a car-free tourist attraction once construction of the third bridge is complete.

Italian-Thai Development Co, which built Sarasin Bridge and the newer Thep Krasattree Bridge that runs alongside, signed the contract to build ‘Sarasin Bridge II’ in June.

Construction work began last month and is expected to take 720 days and be ready for traffic in August 2011.

The Sarasin and Thep Krasattree bridges span the Pak Pra channel and are the only means of road access to Phuket from the mainland. The bridges are used by both vehicles and fishermen.

The new span will measure 650 meters long, 12 meters wide and afford 10-meter clearance to vessels in the channel below.

The 52-year-old Sarasin Bridge will become a pedestrian walkway, 100 meters of which will be roofed over to provide shade.

The bridge will also be raised by five meters to give it a clearance of ten meters, allowing large yachts and commercial craft to pass beneath all three bridges.

The Thep Krasatree Bridge has a clearance of nine meters.

Piers on which the new span is constructed will be set one hundred meters apart; the old bridge’s piers are just 50 meters apart. Arun Sanae, director of Phuket’s Provincial Highways Office, which is responsible for the new span, described it as ‘a modern design.’

In addition to the bridge construction, 500 meters of roadwork on either side of the spans will be performed to redirect traffic away from the old and to connect the new bridge to the existing highway.

The present Sarasin Bridge – named after one of Thailand’s ’50s-era military strongmen – has long been an object of terror and romance, not only in Phuket but throughout Thailand. Tales are still told of the kidnap and sacrifice of unfortunate maidens during its construction, and since completion it has turned into a kind of Lovers’ Leap. A film was made recounting events leading to the end of one ill-starred love affair – but several couples and many individuals have decided to end it all by jumping from the bridge.

— Atchaa Khamlo

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Phuket

Phuket governor courts envoys of 16 nations to promote tourism

Jack Burton

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Phuket governor courts envoys of 16 nations to promote tourism | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

“I would like Phuket to organise activities leading the consulates from various countries to travel to Phuket in order to see the beautiful tourist attractions and to promote tourism for Phuket.”

Phuket’s governor called yesterday for foreign envoys to visit and inspect Phuket for themselves as a mark of confidence that the island is ready to receive tourists. The call came at a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall attended by consuls and dignitaries from Australia, Luxembourg, Russia, Korea, Netherlands, Switzerland, France, England, Austria, Mexico, Estonia, Finland, Chile, Norway, Germany and Denmark. The meeting was held to discuss and receive opinions and feedback on Phuket’s development and direction in the aftermath of the Covid-19 outbreak, according to a report from PR Phuket.

Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana pointed out that Phuket has recorded 227 confirmed cases of people infected with COVID-19. Its tourist industry, the island province’s economic backbone, has been devastated, as the province has the highest number of cases per capita in the kingdom. The PR Phuket report didn’t mention that 3 people in Phuket died as a result of the virus.

“No people are currently receiving medical treatment in hospital and there has not been a confirmed case for 10 consecutive days.”

The governor stressed that the central government has allocated a trillion baht to the nation’s recovery of the country amid the fallout the pandemic: 45 billion baht for public health plans, 555 billion for relief measures, and 400 billion for social and economic recovery framework. He also pointed out that Phuket officials have facilitated more than 2,827 foreign tourists in Phuket returning to their homes in 24 countries.

The consuls and dignitaries at the meeting thanked Phuket officials for their assistance in helping foreign tourists return home, according to the PR Phuket report. It added that “In terms of feedback about visitors returning to Phuket post-COVID-19, the general consensus was that tourists still have confidence and will want to travel to Phuket again when the situation is normal.”

The governor gave special attention to medical tourism, and to a proposal that would allow medical tourists extended stays in Thailand once international arrival restrictions are lifted.

“As for the proposal, which would like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide assistance regarding a permit to stay in Thailand for more than 30 days in the event that foreign tourists come to use medical services in Thailand, those involved in the medical industry can work with the Phuket Passport Office to submit the proposal to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for further consideration.”

SOURCES: The Phuket News | Phuket Andaman News

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Tourism

Prachuap Khiri Khan’s scenic Ao Manao beach reopens today

Jack Burton

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Prachuap Khiri Khan’s scenic Ao Manao beach reopens today | The Thaiger
PHOTO: tielandtoThailand

Chon Buri and Hua Hin aren’t the only places reopening their beaches. Today, Ao Manao, the scenic beach in the western province of Prachuap Khiri Khan will also be open to the public. The crescent shaped bay belongs to the Air Force Wing 5 miltary base. Like all Thai beaches, it’s been closed for two months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since Monday, the beachfront Fa Chom Kluen hotel has been available for booking for overnight stays. The beach will also open for swimming.

The reopening of Ao Manao is in contrast to the beaches in neighbouring Phetchaburi province, where an official announcement from the provincial governor allows all beaches including the popular Cha-am beach to reopen, but no swimming or watersports. The governor instead allowed food vendors and other service providers, including those who provide horse riding and beach chairs, to resume business.

In Chon Buri, on the east coast of the Gulf, all beaches in the Pattaya area have been open since June 1. But group activities like beach volleyball, jetskiing and banana boat rides are still not allowed. Those who offer beach chairs for rent must follow social distancing rules by placing the seats at least 1 metre apart, otherwise the service will be suspended. A violation could result in up to a year in prison and/or a fine up to 100,000 baht.

In Phuket, residents can still just look, but not go on, their famed beaches. Hotels have been given permission to open again on the island but few are bothering with the costs and expense as there are few people available to fill rooms. Phuket’s airport remains closed although June 15 is being widely tipped, but not confirmed, as the date for re-opening to domestic flights.

Scheduled international flights are still banned until at least the end of June.

In a related development, interprovincial bus operator Nakhonchai Air resumed its services Monday. Travel restrictions under the Emergency Decree had previously banned all trips of more than 300 kilometres.

The company is implementing social distancing rules by allowing passengers to sit only in window seats. Passengers must wear masks all the time and must check in and out before and after boarding the bus by using the Thai Chana app.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Prachuap Khiri Khan's scenic Ao Manao beach reopens today | News by The Thaiger

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

As Thailand’s beaches reopen, crowds flock back

Jack Burton

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As Thailand’s beaches reopen, crowds flock back | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Pattaya Unlimited

Yesterday, the Queen’s birthday and a public holiday, saw many of Thailand’s popular beaches heaving with visitors as they reopened for the first time since their closure by the Emergency Decree in March. People across the country took advantage of the easing of inter-provincial travel restrictions that took effect Monday. Chon Buri’s Bang Saen beach in Chon Buri was almost spilling over into the streets.

By the afternoon traffic jams extended more than 2 kilometres on roads leading to the beach, prompting Saen Suk municipality’s mayor to temporarily close them to clear the tailbacks and control visitor numbers. On his Facebook page, he explained the beach was too packed, making it virtually impossible to observe social distancing guidelines. He also posted aerial pictures of the beach showing vehicles blocking the entire stretch of road next to the beach. 3 of the road’s 4 lanes were clogged by parked cars.

Stressing that rules must be enforced, the mayor said that from today vendors and food hawkers can resume their trade along the beach, but the sale of alcohol will still be banned.

• 7 areas on the beach will be free of beach chairs, and where chairs are allowed, there must be plenty of space between them

• visitors are required to wear face masks at all times

• those renting chairs out are required to the body temperature of their customers and provide them with hand sanitiser gel

• non-chair areas are designated so people can enjoy the open spaces on the beach

Bang Saen beach, which attracts a lot of weekenders because it’s the nearest beach to Bangkok, will be closed on Mondays for cleaning. The municipal office says beach chairs may only be used on the beach on weekends.

Under the “new normal” regulations, visitors to all beaches must wear masks at all times while on the beach and leave by 11pm. It’s reported that at the busiest time yesterday, at least 5,000 visitors were at Bang Saen beach, and most had driven there. The mayor says authorities will block traffic on roads leading to it when necessary to control the numbers. The number of beachgoers sparked fears of a possible resurgence of Covid-19 infections.

A member Bang Saen beach’s Bang Saen White Sharks lifeguard team said the crowds left officials and resources overstretched trying to enforce the “new normal”.

• beaches in Hua Hin also churned back to life as seaside vendors and restaurants once again welcomed customers, many of them locals.

• in the eastern province of Trat, ferries were back in business moving tourists between the mainland and islands including the popular Koh Chang.

• Koh Samet in Rayong, just east of Chon Buri, remains closed as it’s located in a national park, although local tourism associations have appealed to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation to reopen it.

• Phuket’s beaches also remain closed

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

As Thailand's beaches reopen, crowds flock back | News by The Thaiger

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