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Tangled trouble in Paradise

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Tangled trouble in Paradise | The Thaiger
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PHUKET TOWN: Thirty owners of businesses in the market area of Patong’s Paradise Complex descended on the Consumer Protection Office at the Provincial Hall on Monday morning to protest construction by the Royal Paradise Hotel, which they say has blocked access to their shops with thigh-high walls made of concrete blocks. The protest is the latest turn in a tale that has as many twists as a pretzel. The protest leader, Dr Sakda Ruamrungsee of the Andaman Medical Center, told the Gazette that the area in front of the shops used to be a pedestrian area. “Now, the complex’s owner is building on it, which is blocking shop entrances,” he said. “On September 14, we handed the Governor a petition asking him to investigate the construction going on in the complex. Four weeks later, the Governor suspended the construction after finding out that Patong Municipality had not issued a building permit for the project. Construction was banned pending Patong Municipality approving the project,” he explained. “We asked for further action since Patong Municipality has not enforced the Governor’s order; and building [in the complex] continued over the weekend,” said Dr Sakda. Suwat Boonchanawiwat, Chief of the Construction Section of Patong Municipality, denied that the municipality had failed to take action. “We received a complaint on September 14,” he said, “and informed the Paradise Complex they must stop building. When we went to check, there was no construction going on.” However, Dr Jirachai Amornpyroj, GM of Royal Paradise Hotel in Patong, which owns the land on which the Paradise Complex is built, told the Gazette yesterday that his company had not been ordered to stop building. “We have already applied to Patong Municipality for a building permit, which is currently being considered, and we have not been ordered to stop building. “We continued construction while waiting for the permit, which we believe will be approved soon, because we didn’t want to waste time.” Now, however, he said, “We have stopped any further construction until we receive the building permit.” He explained, “About two years ago, the area used to be full of bar beers, but they’re not there anymore. The hotel recently received complaints from guests that the area looked dangerous at night. So we decided to convert it into a food court and night plaza.” He agreed that the business owners might have suffered from the construction, but pointed out, “The purchase contract for each of their buildings says that the buyer owns 12 square wah (48 square meters) of land [and that] the owners of businesses in the complex have rights only to the interiors of their buildings.” But, he explained, “Some have built awnings that extend into the area [outside their shops], or put cooking equipment or tables and chairs there. They don’t have any rights under the awnings extending out from their shops.” An officer at the Provincial Consumer Protection Office, who asked not to be named, said on Tuesday, “About a week after we received the business owners’ first complaint, we invited the owner of the Paradise Complex to come and discuss the problem, and to present his building permit. “He arrived for the meeting, but said that he would show us the building permit later. We’re still waiting to see it.” He said that the office would look into the matter further, but added, “If the owner has the legal right to build on the land in question, then we will not take any action against him.” Patong Municipality’s Suwat said, “We asked the business owners to produce documents to prove that the Paradise Complex does not have the right to construct anything on that land. “The Paradise Complex has already submitted its design for approval, but we can’t approve it until the problem with the business owners has been sorted out. “According to the documents supplied by the Paradise Complex, there’s nothing wrong, but we have asked them to make some changes to the design, which they haven’t sent back to us yet. “If the design is corrected and if the business owners fail to prove that there is anything else wrong, then we may issue the permit – provided there are no other problems.”

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Thailand

Covid-19 tests are not required for visa extensions – Phuket Immigration

Caitlin Ashworth

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Covid-19 tests are not required for visa extensions – Phuket Immigration | The Thaiger

No… you don’t need a Covid-19 test to extend your visa or apply for a work permit, according to Phuket Immigration. While multiple Covid-19 tests are required for people arriving in Thailand and undergoing quarantine, foreigners who have been in the country do not need to be tested.

The local immigration deputy chief Nareuwat Putthawiro spoke with Phuket News, debunking some rumours that were shared on social media saying Covid-19 tests could soon be required when extending visas or applying for work permits.

“We do not require any medical documents for an application to renew a visa, because there are few foreigners’ movements outside Phuket. Most of them live and work in Phuket, and have done so before the new wave of Covid-19… So they do not have to worry about it. Everything is still the same.”

Medical exams are required for most work permit applicants. The exams include a brief screening and a blood test for syphilis. At the moment, a Covid-19 test is not required for work permit applicants, although it certainly could be in the future.

“We have not received any notices about Covid-19 requirements for processing applications to renew visas. If we do receive any such orders, we will let the public know.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Visitors to Phuket from “highest risk” areas must show Covid-19 test results

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Visitors to Phuket from “highest risk” areas must show Covid-19 test results | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

People arriving Phuket from the “highest risk” areas are required to take a swab test by the staff at emergency operation centres (EOC) or show the test result document endorsed by the EOC staff made within 72 hours of their arrival. The revised order is effective from now until January 31, according to the Phuket Governor.

Those people who are on a brief business trip to Phuket need to show certificates from their employers describing the reason and necessity of their trips. If they want to leave their accommodations, they have to make a request to the EOC and clearly explain the reason as well as the time and destination. Visitors are also asked to avoid going to the community areas to avoid crowded gatherings.

It is noted that the revised order by the governor has not been officially promoted by the Phuket office of the Public Relations Department. However, all visitors are still asked to register online via the Mor Chana contact tracing application and via www.gophuget.com according to the order re-issued on Friday.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Tourism

The road less travelled – trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint

The Thaiger

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The road less travelled – trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | The Thaiger

There are two well known ways to get from Kathu to Kalim or Kamala – one is across the Patong Hill, and the other is much longer, through Srisoonthorn and along the coastal road from Surin the Kamala (very scenic too).

But there’s also another way. Also very scenic but will take you about 2 hours through dense forest although there is a well-worn walking track. The track will take you from Kathu up to the Kalim Viewpoint. From here you can head back to Kathu along a different path, or down into Kalim, near Patong.

Starting about halfway down Soi Namtok in Kathu, you head up a nondescript road past the Flying Hanuman zipline attraction, although there’s no sign at the entrance to the soi (below). About the first kilometre is paved but then becomes increasingly ‘agricultural’ as you get higher into the hills, heading towards the Kalim Viewpoint. There’s also a small temple on the way up.

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: The start of the trek, a small soi off Soi Namtok – Google Maps

It will take around 2 hours to trek up to the Kalim Viewpoint. The walking is quite strenuous and you’ll need to be wearing the right shoes and take plenty of water – there’s no 7/11s on the way! As you get nearer the top, to the viewpoint, the track becomes less drivable although the track is still quite open and easy to follow. If you’re feeling a bit lazy you can take a motorbike about halfway up the road until you’ll need to proceed on foot from there.

From the Kalim Viewpoint you can see across Kalim to Patong Bay and the land that stretches along the bay south of Patong Beach. From the top you can either make your way down to Kalim or another exit along the Kalim-Kamala Road, just near the Iguana Beach Club.

You can also head back another way to Kathu, a longer return track that skirts around the top of the Kathu Waterfall. A lot of that track gets very narrow and parts of it are up and down the hills, some of it very steep.

The views are amazing and you get to see a vast swathe of Phuket, still very close to popular locations like Patong, Kamala and Kathu, but untouched by any civilisation.

You’ll need to be in reasonable health to take on the trip but, just to go up to the Kalim Viewpoint and back, or down into Kalim, should take around 5 hours in total. On a scale of 1 – 5 for difficulty, we’d rate it a 3. An easy trek for experienced people but will need a bit of planning if you’re not an experienced trekker.

Even on a hazy day, as it was today, the views were amazing. But best to start off early morning when the weather is cooler. Well worth the time for the views and the opportunity to see more of Phuket, away from the bars and beaches.

Thanks to BT for the pics and information.

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The ThaigerThe road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

The road less travelled - trekking to the Kalim Viewpoint | News by The Thaiger

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