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Foreign flagged yacht docks and completes quarantine in Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Foreign flagged yacht docks and completes quarantine in Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Asia Pacific Superyacht
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The following is a statement from Asia Pacific Superyachts. The new Special Tourist Visa scheme allows tourists and crew members on foreign yachts to dock in Thailand and depart after an onboard quarantine.

The first Asia Pacific Superyachts (APS) Phuket foreign-flagged superyacht client has now completed quarantining aboard in Phuket”, reports APS co-founder, Jojo Tanyuta Singmanee (Jojo), adding: “All aboard are now preparing to enjoy their time in Thailand”.

Following the completed quarantine and subsequent negative tests, the crew is now allowed to moor the yacht at the marina of their choice and may also travel within Phuket in the same manner as those that arrive on the island via air travel.

“The APS team was delighted to be part of the critical process for the first superyacht to clear into the country and complete quarantine aboard”, said Gordon Fernandes, APS Phuket co-founder. He noted the Navy from The Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command, based on Cape Panwa, monitored the yacht during quarantine to ensure she remained in the allocated area, tracking the boat by Automatic Identification System (AIS).

More good news from Thailand is the announcement of a 45 day tourist visa exemption proposal relaxing restrictions for foreigners entering Thailand. The welcomed proposal is now quickly moving forward to be presented to the Cabinet next week and will extend the on-arrival visa exemption for tourists from 30 to 45 days.

The 15 days added on to the visa exemption is intended to make up for the 2 week quarantine required for those entering the country. At the moment, foreign tourists can only enter Thailand under the pre-issued 60 day tourist visa or the new Special Tourist Visa, which is allows a 90 day stay that can be extended twice, adding up to around 9 months.

And lastly, the Royal Thai Government will now allow long-stay visitors from around the world to apply for the ‘Special Tourist Visa’ (STV), previously available only to travellers from countries considered low- to medium-risk for the COVID-19 pandemic. This latest announcement covers long-stay visitors to Thailand of all types – from tourists to business travellers, investors and others, as well as travellers and crews of foreign yachts.

Asia Pacific Superyachts Phuket continues to work closely with the government to support yachts seeking to enter the country. APS may be contacted at gordon@asia-pacific-superyachts.com for details on the process needed to visit Thailand during the Coronavirus era.

www.asia-pacific-superyachts.com/phuket/

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Peter N

    Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    Another ill thought out idea destined for failure. The 14 day onboard quarantine will be an obstacle for many to deter travel to Thailand. Super yachts cost an absolute fortune to run in fuel to just get there. Once the owner and crew have filled in all the paperwork and cleared quarantine, they are restricted to the island and its waters. They are not free to travel to other Thai islands or visit the mainland ports, does anyone think the owners will accept being restricted to an essentially closed down destination? I don’t. Super yacht owners are invariably multi millionaires with many options, and as such not likely to put up with c**p

    • Avatar

      Simon

      Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at 10:12 pm

      Maybe good for small yachts, I don’t think it’s only for mega yachts and super rich people, there are many who live on their boats and this will be good for them to have another destination to go ….

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    “Once the owner and crew have filled in all the paperwork and cleared quarantine, they are restricted to the island and its waters. They are not free to travel to other Thai islands or visit the mainland ports”

    Are you sure of that?

    While it’s not clear from the article, that’s never been suggested before and it would be self-defeating as everyone they meet in Phuket can go wherever they want in Thailand, and APSP never suggest that on their website.

    I think you’ve read far too much into a couple of lines in the article that are very obviously contradictory, not what APSP say, and that that’s very much not what the rules are, which are that quarantine on board is accepted as the direct equivalent of an ASQ, so that the owners can fly in and go directly to their yachts for their 14 days quarantine.

    As for it being “destined for failure”, it was suggested and negotiated by APSP who probably know rather more about “superyacht owners” than you, and they’re evidently happy with the outcome, so if it turns out to be a “failure” that’s their problem, nobody else’s.

    The numbers are minimal and so is the return in overall / GDP terms but, equally, so is the cost to Thailand (nil) and the risk (minimal).

    None of these changes are going to have many takers or be big money spinners and I doubt anyone in authority expects them to be.

    How could they be?

    There aren’t that many superyachts, and even in the unlikely event that many go to Phuket what are they going to spend their money on?

    Hotels, dining out and guided tours? Patong bars and some souvenirs? Swinging the light with some expats?

    It’s just a very gradual start, nothing more – pointless in terms of a major affect on the tourist industry and the economy, but equally pointless not to do it.

    Why should the authorities not have agreed to it?

    • Avatar

      Peter N

      Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 10:21 am

      Mr Nachapong further explained that crew aboard the yachts will have to quarantine themselves on-board for the required 14 days. Navy from The Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command, based on Cape Panwa, will monitor the yachts to ensure they remain in the allocated area and will track them by Automatic Identification System (AIS).

      After the quarantine period aboard the yacht has elapsed, and assuming the subsequent tests are negative, the crew will be allowed to moor the yacht at the marina of their choice and travel within Phuket in the same manner as those that arrive on the island via air travel. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Phuket received approximately 1,300-1,500 yachts per year.

  3. Avatar

    Patrick Kelly

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 12:25 am

    Pointless is the key word….could not have said it better! The authorities agree to pointless measures is 2020 in a nutshell.

  4. Avatar

    albert zweistein

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 2:54 am

    According to the space vissible on the picture this is just an average yacht and in no way a superyacht. Why is Thailand always exaggerating ?

    • Avatar

      Mark Spencer

      Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 7:15 am

      Indeed. Just google “Dilbar yacht” for example. That is a super yacht. The picture here shows a small ship 🙂

  5. Avatar

    Nipral

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 6:24 am

    …and free to visit deserted Phuket !!! What a treat !!! Nothing better to do with a superyacht ??????
    (Your pic shows a mediocre day-boat, certainly not a yacht and far less a super one !)

  6. Avatar

    Timmytime

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 7:50 am

    Where is the yacht then???. I’ve seen super yacht tenders bigger then this average size speedboat for sure. Maybe a yacht is something different in Thailand.

  7. Avatar

    Keith

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 9:35 am

    I would like to know how the visa on arrival will work, no preflight testing no fit to fly certificate

  8. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 10:48 am

    Asia Pacific Super Yachts are an agency.
    On their website they show they have handled some big boats.
    They supply everything and sort out the dock requirements where the yachts want to berth.
    The Thais will not like missing out on the income from the quarantine hotels, but they will be able to receive a few more hundred visitors, so why not?
    If the Thais were smart they would allow some of the quarantine to be allowed at sea.
    For instance it is six days by sea from the Maldives. Modern technology could track the yacht at sea, and allow that time. But the Thais are not that smart . . .

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 3:15 pm

      Exactly, Toby A, “why not”?

      Income lost to the ASQs is balanced by income gained from yacht servicing, repairs and maintenance and visitors who wouldn’t otherwise have come at all.

      It doesn’t replace mass tourism, but that was never the intention so “why not” indeed?

      As for being “not that smart”, though, your suggestion to “allow some of the quarantine to be allowed at sea” is a nice idea but it simply isn’t realistic.

      While “Modern technology could track the yacht at sea” what it can’t easily do (note “easily”) is monitor the yacht to see who gets on or off, any interaction with other boats on the way, etc, to maintain quarantine.

      Tracking a yacht, and ensuring that the yacht is quarantined throughout, are two very different things.

      If anything, there’s a better argument on those grounds for starting the 14 day quarantine period for those flying in from when their plane takes off, rather than from when they arrive at the ASQ (to “allow some of the quarantine to be allowed” in the air), not that it would make much difference. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  9. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    Reading what APSP have said, very clearly, both here and on their website, is evidently way beyond some commenting here.

    To summarise:

    1. APSP asked the authorities if those on boats arriving in Phuket could quarantine on board instead of in an ASQ.
    The authorities agreed.

    2. They also agreed that owners and anyone flying in to join their boats could do so to do their quarantine on board instead of in an ASQ facility, going there direct from the airport.

    3. Once the 14 days quarantine is complete on the boat, those quarantined (and their boat) can go anywhere they want to in Thailan, including in Thai waters, in exactly the same way as anyone flying in.

    God almighty, it’s not complicated …..

    • Avatar

      Preesy Chepuce

      Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 2:46 pm

      They’d have to be driven all the way from Bangkok though to their marina to maintain the bubble… hours and hours, and best pack a catheter or a portaloo… I know this from direct experience.
      Marina’s closer to Bangkok are a bit more viable until Phuket’s airport resumes normal business.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Friday, December 18, 2020 at 3:41 pm

        Why?

        What’s to stop the yacht owners flying in to Phuket to join their yachts for quarantine?

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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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Phuket

Police say Phuket school won’t be charged for employing foreign teachers without a work permit

Caitlin Ashworth

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Police say Phuket school won’t be charged for employing foreign teachers without a work permit | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

An international school in Phuket is not facing charges for employing foreign teachers without a work permit, police told the Phuket News. Back in November, 2 British nationals were arrested at the Palm House International School in Rawai in a raid by Phuket Immigration officers, acting on a tip that teachers were working at the school without a work permit.

The case was handed over to the Chalong Police. The department was also requested to investigate the school for suspected illegal hiring practices. When pressed by Phuket News reporters, the Chalong Police Chief Sarawut Chuprasit said the school officials are not facing any charges for employing the teachers illegally, without a work permit, and referred reporters to the provincial prosecutor.

“I have no reason to press any charge against the school at all. It is not right to accuse the school.”

Many schools in Thailand, especially international schools, obtain work permits for foreign teachers and even pay the fees. It’s also fairly common for foreign teachers to work without the proper documents, especially during the pandemic where travel restrictions make border runs nearly impossible.

Phuket News say police will not release the names of the 2 British teachers and will not give any additional information. They add that the provincial prosecutor’s office will also not release information without a police case number or suspects’ names. In a previous report, Phuket Immigration Deputy Chief also declined to identify the British nationals by name or age.

“Their visa status does not allow them to work or perform any form of business. They were arrested as they are suspected of working without a work permit.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Phuket

Phuket health chief urges “red zone” travellers to abide by quarantine measures

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket health chief urges “red zone” travellers to abide by quarantine measures | The Thaiger
PHOTO: National News Bureau of Thailand

With Phuket’s new disease control measures requiring those travelling from high risk areas to quarantine, the province’s public health chief is now saying those at alternative state quarantine hotels won’t be locked up in their rooms throughout their 14 day stay in isolation. He says guests can wander through certain areas of the hotel to have meals and do other activities.

Those travelling from “red zone” provinces are required to self-quarantine at a hotel or at their home for 14 days. People from areas classified as the “highest risk,” including Samut Sakhon, Chonburi, Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat, must quarantine and undergo a Covid-19 swab test.

The public health chief Thanit Sermkaew says there will be harsh penalties for anyone who violates the new measures and urges travellers to stay at their quarantine location, home or hotel, for 14 days. People who violate the order can be punished under the Disease Control Act, either under Section 51, which carries a fine up to 20,000 baht, or under Section 52, which carries up to a year in jail and a fine up to 100,000 baht.

“It would be great if visitors from the ‘red zone’ areas stay in their hotels, so we are asking for their cooperation. They do not need to stay only in their room. They are able to do activities within the hotel, such as having meals, swimming, yoga and other activities… Please do not go outside the hotel. That would be a good preventative measure in Phuket province.”

Phuket Vice Governor Pichet Panaphong says hotels should “request” that their guests stay inside the hotel.

“Phuket officials have asked for the cooperation from operators to record the travel moments of guests before they arrived at the hotel and to request that their guests stay within the hotel area only, not to go outside of the hotel area.”

People who completed quarantine in Bangkok and tested negative for Covid-19 do not need to quarantine in Phuket as long as they travel directly to the island immediately after being released.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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