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USS Nimitz arrives in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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USS Nimitz arrives in Phuket | The Thaiger

PHUKET TOWN: Thousands of US servicemen stationed aboard the USS Nimitz and its support vessels arrived in Phuket yesterday morning for five days of rest and relaxation.

Anxious to get off the 333-meter vessel after a month on board, sailors and marines quickly formed a long line extending almost the entire length of the hangar deck.

As enlisted men and women waited to catch one of three ferries shuttling the sailors ashore, about 20 members of the Phuket press corps were welcomed aboard for a comprehensive tour of the vessel that included the flight deck, bridge, control tower, operations and radar rooms and forecastle.

USS Nimitz Commander Adm John ‘Fozzie’ Miller and other top officers met the press at the base of the control tower on the flight deck, saying they were ‘delighted’ at getting the chance to visit Phuket and meet the Thai people.

He described Thais as ‘great friends’ of the American people.

All staff going ashore had been thoroughly briefed on a range of safety issues and were committed to being ‘good guests’ during their stay in Phuket, Adm Miller said.

Teams of volunteer US servicemen will take part in community relations or ‘Comrel’ projects at two local schools during the liberty leave, he said.

The Comrels are organized with the assistance of the Rotary Club of Patong Beach.

Today and tomorrow sailors from the USS Nimitz will paint the cafeteria at Baan Ao Nam Bor School in Ao Makham, near the Deep Sea Port.

Meanwhile, sailors from the escort vessels USS Pinckney and the USS Rentz will paint classrooms, hallways and fences at the Baan Sai Nam Yen School in Patong.

As part of the media tour, the press got to meet 20-year-old Ampika ‘Grace’ Raktabut, the only Thai among the 6,000 sailors on the three vessels.

Born in Chanthaburi, Ms Ampika moved to the US with her family in 1997 and currently works on a team that launches and recovers some 60 aircraft from the crowded flight deck. She joined the military on the advice of her now-deceased mother, who said it would be a good way for her to gain experience and see the world.

Ms Ampika, who was interviewed in both English and Thai, told the press she enlisted about a year ago, signing up for eight years.

She works 14-hour shifts daily without holidays for pay of about US$1,200 per month.

Now in her sixth month of an eight-month tour, Ms Ampika described the work as very difficult, but also very rewarding.

“It’s hard because all the equipment we use is at least 30 pounds,” said the diminutive sailor.

Relatives are flying in from Bangkok today and she hopes to spend time with them on some of the island’s beaches. It is her first time in Phuket, she said.

Ms Ampika said she had been teaching her friends some basic Thai in order to help them during their stay here. Most were looking forward to enjoying the nightlife, she said.

On the ferry ashore, the Gazette spoke to UN Navy Officers Lt Elizabeth Holland from Groton, Connecticut and Lt Mark Bryan from Ellaville, Georgia. Both are assigned to the Nimitz’s nuclear reactor room.

Noting that this particular part of the vessel was not included on the tour, the Gazette asked what their work station was like.

They described it as a windowless ‘steam room’ that was ‘very hot at the moment’.

The officers said they would check in at The Mangosteen resort and check out Thai boxing in Patong that night.

Other than that, their only objective was ‘to relax’, they said.

Once ashore, sailors found a number of vendors and taxi drivers eagerly awaiting their arrival.

Large bottles of ice-cold Heineken sold from Styrofoam coolers at 100 baht each were popular among the sailors, who are denied the right to drink on board.

Although there were free air-conditioned tour buses to Patong available, taxi drivers promised to get sailors to the west coast nightlife hub faster for US$80 (about 2,600 baht).

Welcome to Phuket.

— Stephen Michael Fein

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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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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.

The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.

One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.

This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.

This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.

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Bangkok

The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations

The Thaiger

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The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com

In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.

But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.

Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.

In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.

The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.

By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.

Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.

You can read the full list HERE.

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

The world's fastest growing tourist destinations | News by The Thaiger

Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com

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