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1 more body found, 3 remain missing. Koh Samui ferry disaster.

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1 more body found, 3 remain missing. Koh Samui ferry disaster. | Thaiger
PHOTO: Supapong Chaolan

3 people remain missing following Saturday night’s ferry disaster off Koh Samui where the car ferry, Raja 4, capsized and sank. Another body of one of the crew was recovered at 1pm this afternoon. Strong currents and poor weather has been hampering the rescue and recovery operations with operations leaders worried that any more people would have been swept a long way from the scene by now.

A jet ski and drone were used today to recover the second body from the incident. They joined Army and Navy personnel, volunteers and Koh Samui police in the large-scale search operation, co-ordinated by the Surat Thani governor.

The body of the man recovered today has been identified as Siravut Thongboonyang, who was a mechanic of Raja 4. The body of the ferry’s captain Tewin Surat was recovered on Sunday afternoon.

The 3 people that remain missing are a garbage truck driver Chaichan Laosap, boat crewman Tiwakorn Vachararit, and a Raja Ferry Company staff member Naparada Chanhan. They are all feared drowned at this stage.

The ferry foundered around 10pm on Saturday might with 16 people on board. The ferry was returning from Koh Samui with 3 garbage trucks full of Samui rubbish. It was around 2 nautical miles from Don Sak pier on Surat Thani mainland. 2 other ferries in the area were alerted to the incident and were able to pluck some of the passengers to safety and transport them to hospital. The life rafts were deployed at the time but some of the passengers were stuck on the other side of the vessel when it began sinking.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | Reuters

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

25,000 people injected with Covid-19 vaccine this week in Koh Samui

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25,000 people injected with Covid-19 vaccine this week in Koh Samui | Thaiger
Photo via Facebook/เทศบาลนครเกาะสมุย

This week, 25,000 people in Koh Samui have been injected with the Covid-19 vaccine. The island plans to vaccinate 70% of its population by July to reach ‘herd immunity’ and reopen the tourist destination to vaccinated travellers, following the Phuket ‘sandbox’ model.

The vaccines were offered to the general public, including expats, at Rajabhat University, Bangkok Hospital Samui, Central Festival and Koh Samui Hospital. Yesterday was the last day for this round of injections, according to a post on the Koh Samui district Facebook page.

Reports from late last month say 50,000 doses were allocated to Koh Samui and a recent report from Pattaya News says another 50,000 doses would be distributed this week, vaccinating another 25,000 people on the island.

One expat, an English teacher on the island, says he waited 12 hours to get a vaccine at Rajabhat. He says luckily his school registered him and set him up with a queue ticket. But things were hectic, the queue numbers were called out in a random order and little to no information was given in English, he says.

The Tourism Association of Koh Samui plans to open up the island to foreign visitors in July, if everything goes to plan. Ideas for promotions are still up in the air, but the latest plan called “Samui Silk” would welcome vaccinated tourists who undergo a 7 day quarantine, the president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui said, according to Pattaya News.

“Both tourists and locals can be reassured that the reopening is safe under the Samui Silk route. The plan will allow foreign tourists to arrive in Koh Samui and to perform state quarantine for 7 days.

If the tourists are proved negative, then they are allowed to leave the local alternative state quarantine and to travel at designated locations in Samui while locals can be reassured that all tourists are disease-free.”

สมุยครบแล้ว 25,000 คน
ฉีดวัคซีนโควิด 19 รอบที่ 2

7 เมษายน 2564 เวลา 17.00 น. ณ โรงพยาบาลเกาะสมุย อำเภอเกาะสมุย…

Posted by เทศบาลนครเกาะสมุย on Wednesday, April 7, 2021

SOURCES: Koh Samui City Government | Pattaya News

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Tourism

Has the full moon set on Koh Pha Ngan’s Full Moon Party?

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Has the full moon set on Koh Pha Ngan’s Full Moon Party? | Thaiger

A full moon used to mean a full beach of party-goers along the Haad Rin strip on Thailand’s Koh Pha Ngan. But it hasn’t been like that for a year now as the Gulf of Thailand island waits out the restrictions and border closures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The crowds of backpackers and revellers aren’t flocking to the monthly event and the shops, bars and cheap accommodation along the tourist strip are shuttered and locked – some of the shop owners and staff will never return.

What started as a back-packer and hippy off-the-beaten-track adventure in the 1980s, in recent years attracted a broader clientele. It’s still a difficult place to get to – either flying in to Koh Samui on the monopolised flights of Bangkok Airways and catching a ferry, or catching a ferry from the mainland of Surat Thani. Koh Pha Ngan now has a lot more to offer than just it’s monthly party of bass-thumping beats and buckets full of…. well we don’t really know what’s in them (neither did the people who drank them).

The sound system was loud, but not very good, security is almost non-existent, good DJs are patchy and there’s a general “it will be OK” attitude that pervades the organisation of the Full Moon Party. There have been different proposals put to the organisers over the years to bring the event up to international standard beach parties, but they’ve fallen by the wayside as the organisers argue “it it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Koh Pha Ngan’s monthly beach rave had its own special attraction despite any perceived or real quality lapses.

The south-east corner of the island actually has 2 Haad Rin beaches, one facing east for sunrises and the more famous, and longer, beach that hosts the monthly beach party.

Has the full moon set on Koh Pha Ngan's Full Moon Party? | News by ThaigerThere’s still a hippy vibe on the island with its numerous yoga and spa retreats but the businesses that remain are barely hanging on without the feature act that would book out most of the accommodation for the BIG night. The Full Moon Party attracted more than 50% of the one million visitors that headed to Koh Pha Ngan every year.

The party has also attracted plenty of bad publicity, as any huge beach party would – illicit drugs, alcohol abuse, sex crimes, the garbage left after each event. And even some cases of violence. But the vast majority of visitors to Thailand’s Full Moon Party just had a damn good time!

A year-long break has allowed some reflection after nearly 4 decades of growth and popularity of the party. Locals and local businesspeople are wondering if there could be a Koh Pha Ngan without the Full Moon Party. Has the island outgrown the one-trick-pony that WAS the monthly beach rave? Could a more sustainable economy be built around wellness, spas and diving?

The island is part of a trio off the coast of Surat Thani. Koh Samui is the largest and most popular. But Koh Tao and Kho Pha Ngan have had their own share of publicity. Koh Tao with its diving and, latterly, some bad world publicity surrounding a high profile murder case and other mysterious misadventures to tourists. Koh Pha Ngan had its big party, and in the last decade or so, some excellent retreats concentrating on wellness, yoga and relaxation.

But the three islands all suffer the same core problem – an airline monopoly that makes trips to the archipelago expensive. Sure, there are ferry services but they are not 100% reliable and can take day out of your itinerary with delays, blah blah. The 3 islands have thrived despite the tyranny of distance and inconvenience. But they could have become much more mainstream if there was an open skies policy for flights to the island or the ferry infrastructure was improved. Perhaps one of the allures of the 3 islands is that they ARE hard to get to?

Has the full moon set on Koh Pha Ngan's Full Moon Party? | News by Thaiger

MAP: Google Maps

But despite the retrospection from townsfolk and businesspeople on Koh Pha Ngan, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few – the island simply cannot survive without the monthly tourist invasion, despite the challenges. Cutting off 20-30,000 monthly visitors, who usually stay for a few more days either side of the party, would be a fatal blow to the island’s economy in the long term.

But the 12 month’s rest for Haad Rin and the organisers will certainly bring some changes to the event. In the short term there will be mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines, a challenge for any alcohol-fuelled social gathering. And the problems of getting there will remain. But Koh Pha Nganians are sure that the event will not only survive but thrive once the tourists start coming again.

The locals are also sure there will be a greater appreciation for the island’s natural beauty and the other tourist assets that need the same amount of investment and attention as the monthly beach party. Cutting off the island’s main economic lifeline proved that Koh Pha Ngan needed to diversify its economy.

For now they’re not sure when the tourists will start flowing back and the party resume, maybe later this year or 2022, but the beach will still be there.

And the full moon will again set in the Gulf of Thailand as the partygoers glance westwards.

Has the full moon set on Koh Pha Ngan's Full Moon Party? | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Koh Samui Travel

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Koh Samui

Foreigners charged with DUI teach English to Koh Samui probation staff

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Foreigners charged with DUI teach English to Koh Samui probation staff | Thaiger
Photo via Facebook/ กระทรวงยุติธรรม Ministry Of Justice, Thailand

Foreigners on Koh Samui who have been caught driving while intoxicated are now teaching English to probation officers as part of their community service.

Those with a drink driving charge are ordered by the court to complete 24 hours of community service. The foreigners have been teaching probation staff basic greetings and conversational English as well as grammar and legal terms.

A 70 year old German expat with a DUI charge says he was excited to teach English for his community service hours. The staff at the probation office also say the foreigners have been enthusiastic about teaching.

Teaching English to staff at the island’s Department of Probation is a useful community service plan and also fun, probation chief Witthawan Sunthornkhajit says.

“สนง.คุมประพฤติ เกาะสมุย” ดึงเมาแล้วขับต่างชาติ ช่วยงานสังคม-สอนภาษา เสริมทักษะเจ้าหน้าที่

Posted by กรมคุมประพฤติ Department of Probation on Friday, April 2, 2021

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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