– A daily digest of news about Thailand from around the world, compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community.
Phuket Town is now in Bangkok with the opening of a new restaurant called… well, ‘Phuket Town’. It’s at the corner of Thonglor Soi 6, off Sukhumvit Soi 55, and with a mustard-yellow exterior the place even looks as delicious as the authentic southern Thai dishes it serves.
According to Nation food critic Khetsirin Pholdhampalit, the restaurant’s owner, Ketsakorn Kiattikul, says the spicy fare on offer is made from her family’s recipes.
There’s khanom jeen nam ya poo – the fermented rice noodles in a crabmeat curry sauce – and khua kling moo, a dry-fried minced pork in a hot paste.
Or how about some pungent sataw phad kapi goong – stir-fried parkia beans with shrimps?
The former shophouse has 30 seats and a Sino-Portuguese decor to match its name, with stained glass windows and vintage wooden furniture. A hand-painted mural depicts a row of colourful shophouses that line Phuket’s Thalang Road.
Thonglor has a nice choice of cuisine but it’s still dominated by street food, Ketsakorn reckons, so the southern dishes her mum makes ought to take things up a notch.
“My mother’s a good cook – her recipes will satisfy anyone,” she says.
The family actually lives in Phang Nga, next door to Phuket.
“The food in Phuket and Phang Nga is alike. Southern food is known for its sharp, strong flavours, using shrimp paste and herbs like turmeric. Here we’ve toned down the spiciness a bit to please the average palate,” she says.
With IRC and OMR fleets growing in Asia, the 2010 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta introduces the IRC Combined Fleet Race and OMR Combined Fleet Race on Saturday, December 11 – the final day of the Regatta.
With separate start lines off Kata Bay on Phuket Island’s West Coast, the two-class-only race allows cruisers to take on the ‘grand prix’ racers on a level-playing field.
“This is the first combined fleet race of its kind in Asia,” says Simon James, Race Director.
The number of IRC rated boats globally is approximately 7,500 in 40 different countries, 7% of which are in Asia, and of those, 15% are in Thailand. Growing in global popularity, the IRC rating system is operated by Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), UK.
The 2010 RORC IRC National Championship in the UK had 54 entries while last year the Phuket King’s Cup Regatta saw 87 IRC rated boats take part.
Thailand’s troubles earlier this year hit medical tourism badly, particularly in and around Bangkok. Phuket suffered very little and is keen to promote itself as a safe and affordable destination, even at the cost to local rival Bangkok.
Medical and healthcare providers on the island of Phuket can expect to get a large slice of the 402.9 billion baht that the Ministry of Health (MOH) expects Thailand’s medical tourism industry to garner over the next five years, says Dr Wiwat Seetamanotch, deputy director of the Phuket Public Health Office.
“Over the past five years, Phuket has enjoyed great success in health services provided to tourists and earned a huge amount of money. In addition, health services here are cheaper than in neighboring countries.”
Phuket is to be the home of the country’s first purpose-built “Health Promotion Hospital”, co-funded by the Chinese government. To be completed next year, it will initially offer health checkups and traditional Thai massage to both Thais and foreigners.
Phuket continues to strive to diversify its product to attract a wider range of travelers. Many visitors to the Island know only the ‘brash side’ of Phuket, i.e., Patong.
However, miles away from Patong there is another Phuket of discerning luxury. This is the aspect of the island that the Tourism Authority of Thailand now wants to promote, doing so with a clear target: to turn Phuket into Thailand’s trendiest destination for wedding groups.
Phuket is already the second largest resort (after Pattaya) in the Kingdom in terms of international tourists (2.43 million in 2008) and for the total number of rooms in commercial accommodation (37,800 units in 2008).
And Phuket Airport offers over 6 million seats in air capacity, including 2.5 million on international flights.
— Gazette Editors
Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.
Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.
Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.