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Putting it all on the line – Live Wire

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Putting it all on the line – Live Wire | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: With renovations running full-tilt on my new digs in Kathu, near Phuket Town, it’s time for me to stop hypothesizing and analyzing, pays my money, and takes my chances. That’s what this week’s Live Wire is all about – taking chances on a new internet land line.

Two weeks ago, I broke down the internet services in Phuket into three very broad (and admittedly poorly defined) categories.

The ultra-premium services include the well-known TOT Fiber 2U and True’s DOCSIS cable internet (which they call “Ultra”). Lesser-known packages include CAT’s fiber-based ON Net and 3BB’s new fiber FTTH, which are only available in a few condo complexes in Phuket. All of those packages have the potential to provide better-than-average service. Unfortunately, at least judging by the numbers we’re seeing at phuketinternetspeed.com, TOT Fiber 2U has taken a big dive in speed since late last year. True DOCSIS is holding up reasonably well, but their speeds aren’t anything to write home about, and as I explained last week, the DOCSIS 20 Mbps service all over Thailand has been up and down all month.

The ultra-premium lines are only available in specific locations in Phuket. I was a bit disappointed to find that, although I’m moving into one of the older housing developments on the island – splitting the distance from both the Kathu Waterfall road and Loch Palm Golf Course – TOT doesn’t run fiber to the area, and True doesn’t have a DOCSIS line. Since 3BB only runs fiber to (sniff) about six different condo complexes, and they’re all in Phuket Town, that left me with just one choice, in the may-be-very-fast-some-day category, CAT ON Net.

I talked with the people at CAT on the middle floor of Central Festival, and they’re positive about the location – although, I’m not sure if that means they already have a line nearby, or if somebody figured it’s all of 50 meters from the house to the cable-rich road to Kathu Waterfall. I’ve been assured that CAT will run a fiber optic line to my house. It will take a while, but at least it’s available. I’ll keep you posted on the results.

The next level down, which I call premium ADSL services, for lack of a better term, include the TOT, True, CAT and 3BB ADSL packages that run a bit faster than the bargain-basement packages.

Or, at least in theory, they run faster. In practice, I’m not entirely sure that’s true. Since all of these services are based on ADSL, and ADSL runs over every phone line on the island (to a greater or lesser extent), I could pick and choose, which service I wanted.

So I pored over the reports and finally settled on TOT’s nominal 15 Mbps ADSL line, which currently lists at 1,290 baht/month. I’m skeptical that the line won’t run any faster than TOT’s 10 Mbps ADSL line at 590 baht/month, but based on phuketinternetspeed.com test results, I’m willing to roll the dice.

It’s important to keep in mind that many outside forces influence your internet speed. The rated speed of the line (“10 Mbps, 15 Mbps”) is complete fiction, using any test other than the service provider’s. But higher rated speeds do often mean that your line is jumbled in with fewer other lines, and in theory fewer people will be using the higher rated line at any given time.

Many years ago, TOT offered two different ADSL services: the Gold package was considerably more expensive than the Silver package. In the very early days of the phuketinternetspeed.com site, we discovered that many Silver subscribers were actually seeing faster speeds than Gold subscribers. Why? My guess is that most TOT customers figured it was worth a few hundred extra baht to get the “better” line, and then when everybody piled into the Gold service, they brought it down. Kind of like a 2-rupee bus in India.

So I’m paying my money and taking my chances. I’ll go for a fancy Fiber line (CAT’s ON Net 20 Mbps line runs 1,500 bt/mo), and an upscale ADSL line (TOT 15 Mbps at 1,290 bt/mo). That puts me at about US$90 a month for internet, which is pretty typical for high speed access in the US. Of course, in the States, the lines run ten times faster, but I digress.

If my CAT line doesn’t come in, I’ll dump the ultra-premium class, and go for a cheap line – probably a 3BB nominal 10 Mbps line, for 590 bt/mo. Then I’ll start chipping away at TOT and True, to see if they can get me a fiber or DOCSIS line. Persistence counts, and it doesn’t hurt if you can find neighbors who will sign on a waiting list. Note how I’ve chosen two different lines from two different providers.

When I have the lines installed, I’ll only ask for a single-plug “modem” router from the internet service provider, with no WiFi. As I described in an earlier Live Wire, I set up my own fast router and plug a WiFi station into my router, so I can “hot swap” from one internet provider to another in a matter of seconds. Besides, the routers that the internet service providers use are generally, uh, not the best quality.

Internet speed is important to me, and it’ll be increasingly important to you, too. I’ve found that I can save thousands of baht a month by choosing a less-expensive satellite TV package, and hooking up my TV so that it runs off the internet. That, combined with some judicious downloading of TV series that aren’t available in Thailand, and connecting to services that are only available overseas, both improves my limited time in front of the tube, and lowers my monthly expenses. You may not have Hulu or Netflix yet, but I’m betting you will soon – or Vudu or the BBC iPlayer, or an internet TV service in your home country. And if you’re still paying for long distance phone calls, you should wake up and smell the Skype.

A reliable, fast internet connection can make all the difference.

This news just in: one of the people on phuketinternetspeed.com is getting outstanding service – the fastest speeds I’ve ever seen in Phuket – with a 5,500 baht/month TOT Fiber 2U package. It’s listed in TOT’s brochures as a 40 Mbps “Infinite Basic” line – I just love the names they come up with for internet packages – but he says it’s rated at 65 Mbps. Regardless of rating, he’s seeing a reliable speed of 12 to 25 Mbps for international downloads, using multiple testing sites. It’s by far the fastest line I’ve seen. Of course, TOT won’t run a fiber line to my house, and my wife would probably shoot me for spending 5,500 baht a month on internet, but it’s comforting to know that some packages really do stand up.

Starting this month, a German-language group will hold informal computer clinics at the Sandwich Shoppe in Patong on Sunday mornings, at 11am. Sehr gut!

Our regular weekly computer clinic roundtables continue every Sunday morning, 10am at the Sandwich Shoppe, Chalong. If you have a Windows problem that needs to be solved, or a question about internet service in Phuket, drop by and ask one of the assembled gurus. It’s always free. Sponsored by thePhuket Gazette and Khun Woody’s Sandwich Shoppes.

Live Wire is Woody Leonhard’s weekly snapshot of all things Internet in Phuket.

Follow him on Twitter, @PhuketLiveWire, and “like” the pages at — Woody Leonhard

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Thai Life

Happy Loy Krathong Phuket. Where to launch your krathong tonight

Tim Newton

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Happy Loy Krathong Phuket. Where to launch your krathong tonight | The Thaiger

Happy Loy Krathong Phuket. But this year authorities are saying ‘only floating Krathongs thanks’. No polystyrene, no steel pins – keep it natural and plant-based please. This year Loy Krathong in Thailand co-incides with the annual Halloween celebrations on October 31.

Authorities are also urging people to choose, or make, their krathongs using natural materials only. The latest craze for “edible” krathongs is also causing problems. Read about that HERE.

Loy Krathong is a festival celebrated annually throughout Thailand The name could be translated as “to float a basket”, and comes from the tradition of making krathong or buoyant, decorated baskets, which are then floated on a river. Loi Krathong takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar so the exact date of the festival changes every year.

In Phuket, the Provincial Office says fireworks, fire crackers and sky lanterns are prohibited “for people’s safety” (but be assured there will still be a few sky lanterns seen flying off the islands beaches this evening).

 

Happy Loy Krathong Phuket. Where to launch your krathong tonight | News by The Thaiger

Loy Krathong is celebrated at many of the island’s popular waterways and at many of the beaches. Many hotels also host their own celebrations for their tourist customers. Here are a few of the locations you will be able to launch your own Krathong or buy one on site and watch families and couples launching Krathongs.

Popular locations in Phuket include…

• Saphan Hin Park Lake, Phuket Town

• Suan Luang Park (off Naka Market Road)

• Bang Wad Dam, Kathu

• The recreation lake near Ket Ho Temple in Kathu (The Thaiger ‘local’)

• Tin Mine Museum Lake on the Kathu back road, near BIS International School

• Nai Harn Lake and Nai Harn Beach

• Bang Maruam near the Alan Cooke Cricket Ground in Thalang

• Laguna (the main lake just inside the entrance)

• Just about anywhere along Patong Beach

Happy Loy Krathong Phuket. Where to launch your krathong tonight | News by The Thaiger

On the night of the full moon, Thais launch their krathong on a river, canal or a pond, making a wish as they do so. The festival may originate from an ancient ritual paying respect to the water spirits.

We would urge people to consider the environment if you’re making your own Krathong or try and select Krathongs that are made from natural products. Many of the ‘commercial’ Krathongs use polystyrene and pins that end up scattered along our waterways and provide a hazard on the island’s beaches when the Krathongs eventually wash ashore and disintegrate.

Same goes for the new fad of bread and “edible” krathongs. Officials say these can be dangerous for the fish and cause long term problems for water catchments.

Happy Loy Krathong Phuket. Where to launch your krathong tonight | News by The Thaiger

If you’d like to make a krathong, here’s a very quick guide…

If you want the easy way out, you will find hundreds of stalls on the way or near any waterway around the island that is participating in the event. Try and pick ones that appear to be made from natural materials.

Happy Loy Krathong Phuket!

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Phuket

Phuket tops travel destination list of cheapest hotel prices – Dertour 2020 Price Index

Caitlin Ashworth

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Phuket tops travel destination list of cheapest hotel prices – Dertour 2020 Price Index | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Phuket Hotels Association

Phuket tops a list of the cheapest travel destinations with a 1 night stay at a hotel costing on average less than $30 USD, according to a study by the German travel company Dertour. Phuket is going through what some say is a “crisis”, certainly a current tourist vacuum. The island province largely relies on income from foreign tourists, but with travel bans over the last 7 months, hotels and other businesses in the tourism industry have been at a loss.

For domestic tourists, Phuket currently offers a serene, peaceful tropical stay where you’ll have a lot of the island to yourself. There are plenty of daily flights to the island, but all from domestic locations at this stage – the international terminal remains closed.

Along with being listed as hotels with the lowest price, Phuket also made the top 5 cities with the largest price drop from 2019 to 2020, according to Dertour’s 2020 Accommodation Price Index. The company studied hotel prices for 75 popular tourist destinations around the world. Bangkok was just above Phuket at the fourth city with the largest hotel price drop. Bangkok hotel prices dropped by 34.6% while Phuket’s hotel prices dropped by 33.8%.

Prices will continue to be low, CEO DER Touristik Central Europe Ingo Burmester says…

“Travel itself will be cheap in 2021… Although it has been a challenging period, we have seen a great deal of interest in domestic travel. We also predict a major catch-up effect for Mediterranean destinations, European trips and long-haul routes in 2021 as soon as travel restrictions are lifted.”

Phuket ranks as the destination with the cheapest accommodation prices at an average price of $29 USD, according to the list. Average prices for 3-star hotels are $26 USD and an average of $54 USD for 5-star hotels.

Bangkok followed, ranking fifth on the list of cities with the lowest hotel price at an average of $43 USD per night. 3-star hotels in Bangkok average at $30 per night and 5-star hotels average at $93 USD.

Top 5 destinations with the lowest price in accommodation

  1. Phuket: Average of $29 USD per night
  2. Delhi: Average of $34 USD per night
  3. Kuala Lumpur: Average of $36 USD per night
  4. Bali: Average of $36 USD per night
  5. Bangkok: Average of $43 USD per night

Top 5 destinations with the largest price drop in accommodation

  1. Amsterdam: Dropped by 51.6%
  2. San Francisco: Dropped by 39.2%
  3. Vancouver: Dropped by 37.1%
  4. Bangkok: Dropped by 34.6%
  5. Phuket: Dropped by 33.8%

To read Dertour’s full report, click HERE.

Catch up with the latest daily “Thailand News Today” here on The Thaiger.

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Phuket

Man arrested after allegedly slicing a man’s face with sickle

Caitlin Ashworth

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Man arrested after allegedly slicing a man’s face with sickle | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

A man was arrested on charges of grievous bodily harm after he allegedly sliced his friend’s face with a sickle, causing a gash about 25 centimetres long.

3 men, identified as Saeng, Ta and Rop, had been drinking at a shanty in Phuket’s Rassada district where Rop lived. An argument broke out over money. A bank transfer was apparently made, but no one received any money, according to Rop as he related the story to police.

The men didn’t come to an agreement and ended up going to bed. Ta stayed awake and slapped Saeng twice while he was falling asleep, Rop says. Saeng then got up, grabbed the sickle and swung the hooked blade across Ta’s cheek, Rop says.

Reports don’t go into detail about Ta’s condition, but photos of the scene by the Phuket News show a significant amount of blood on the concrete floor.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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