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Krabi

Tour boats can return to the islands

The Thaiger

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Tour boats can return to the islands | The Thaiger

The Phuket Marine Office has lifted its ban on boats leaving port.

The lift means than fishing boats, commercial vessels and tour boats will now again be able to head off from Phuket, Krabi and other ports to the offshore islands, and stranded tourists and passengers, stuck on the islands when the ban was imposed on Thursday afternoon, can continue with their journeys.

The Thai Government took precautionary measures on Thursday and asked some Marine National Parks to close as well as insisting that marine authorities ban vessels from leaving port. Tourists were stranded on a number of islands but Marine Office vessels helped evacuate some tourists from nearby islands on Friday morning.

A boat from the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources Phuket Office was sent on Friday morning to pick up tourists from Koh Racha and bring them back to Phuket.

UPDATE 9.15am: The Thaiger has been advised that all dive shops were told via email yesterday that Similan and Surin islands are still closed today.

UPDATE: 11am: Sunday morning the Surin and Similan Islands were reopened to tours and the public.



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Krabi. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Krabi

Investigation into mine explosion on a Phang Nga Bay bird’s-nest concession island

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Investigation into mine explosion on a Phang Nga Bay bird’s-nest concession island | The Thaiger
by Sittichai Sikhawat 

Police have launched an investigation into an explosion at a bird’s-nest concession area in Phang Nga bay, where one man was killed and another injured on Monday night. The island is Koh Lao Dua, six kilometres north of Koh Yao Noi.

Story HERE (one man has died since The Thaiger story).

25 year old Boodrod Thongdee died following the blast, while 35 year old Somchai Thongdee was injured.

Somkid Thongdee, who was with the two victims at the time, survived the explosion without injury. He maintains that they had entered the area to collect wild orchids. One of the men stepped on a mine planted along the beach.

A local community leader, however, is raising doubts about their claim, saying that locals had long known that the concession area was out of bounds.

(Do tour operators and inquisitive tourists know about the locations? Are there clear and obvious warning signs along the beaches?)

“Some measures have been used to deter thieves,” the community leader said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The day after the blast police found more mines planted in the concession area.

One of them was apparently similar to a device that police had seized from bird’s-nest watchers last year.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Two injured after stepping on suspected mines at a Krabi island

The Thaiger

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Two injured after stepping on suspected mines at a Krabi island | The Thaiger

Two Thai men have sustained serious injuries after stepping on a mine at an island near Ao Nang, Krabi.

The Ao Nang Police were notified about the two men being injured from the incident in Ao Nang at 6pm last night.

35 year old Somchaai Longj sustained injuries on his legs, shoulder and a broken leg from the explosion and was taken to Krabi Hospital. The other injured person was 25 year old Boonrod Thongdee who was taken to a hospital in Phang Nga.

38 year old Somkid Tongdee says that he was heading from Koh Mak in Phang Nga Bay with two others friends to an island near Ao Nang in Krabi to collect wild orchids near a cave.

“Boonrod stepped on something in the ground before we heard the sound of an explosion.”

At this stage police speculate that the bomb might belong to a company who received a concession to produce and farm bird nets. They speculate they might have placed the mines to prevent and deter thieves.

The Thaiger has sought comment from provincial police about the possible presence of live mines on a Krabi island.

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Bangkok

TAT expects 2.3 million tourists for this year’s Songkran

The Thaiger

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TAT expects 2.3 million tourists for this year’s Songkran | The Thaiger

The Tourism Authority of Thailand is expecting more than 2.3 million local and foreign tourists will join the various Songkran celebrations this year. They say that should generate 20 billion baht+ in revenue for tourism and tourism-related services.

TAT’s Governor Yuthasak Supasorn says 300,000 international arrivals are expected to celebrate the five day festival starting April 12, along with two million locals who will travel to celebrate Songkran this year. Songkran falling on a weekend this year will also bolster local tourism numbers.

The number of Songkran-specific visitors is up this year, partly because of the growing popularity of the festival internationally and the government extending the holiday to five days this year, now starting on April 12 (although ‘Songkran, the Thai New Year, is actually on April 13).

Songkran festival extended HERE.

He admits that the bad publicity about the poor air quality in the northern regions is a problem, especially around Chiang Mai which has become a big international visitor favorite over recent yers.

Chiang Mai is one of nine provinces in the North struggling with smoke haze, mostly because of open-air burning of farm waste and rubbish, and localised bush fires. The heavy smog has caused temporary suspension of flights between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son although flights into Chiang Mai have been unaffected so far.

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