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The Raja 4 salvage operations completed after the ferry sank off Koh Samui on August 1

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The Raja 4 salvage operations completed after the ferry sank off Koh Samui on August 1 | The Thaiger
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Salvage operations have been completed for the Raja 4 car and passenger ferry which sank off the coast of Surat Thani, heading back from Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand, on August 1. 12 people drowned as a result of the sinking.

The ferry foundered and sank in a sudden weather front about 2 nautical miles from Koh Samui as it headed for the Don Sak pier on the mainland. There was poor weather, driving rain and waves up to 3 metres at the time, according to people on the ferry. The Raja 4 was carrying 16 people, four 10-wheel garbage trucks and a pick-up. 3 of the garbage trucks had already been salvaged along with their loads of compressed garbage compacted at the island before transport.

Of the 16 people on board at the time, 12 were eventually rescued and 4 drowned, including the captain of the ferry. Helicopters from the Army and Navy were used to assist in the search operations. The life rafts were deployed by crew at the time as the ferry started sinking but not all passengers were able to scramble onto them before it sank.

2 other ferries in the area at the time steamed to the scene and were able to rescue 9 of the passengers and crew. Another 3 were rescued in the days after, 2 were swimming to nearby Koh Taen and were rescued, both wearing life jackets.

One of the 2 men found floating in the waters near the deserted island says that when everyone on the ferry realised that the boat was going to sink they all put on lifejackets. He told police that he became separated from the rest of the passengers because he was caught on the other side of the boat when it started sinking. One of the rescued men told police that they were separated from the rest of the passengers because they were caught on the other side of the boat when it started sinking.

“The water swept me away from the ship very quickly. Later I saw the island and then tried to swim toward it.”

MS Service Company was contracted to salvage the Raja 4. The company used 2 crane barges to left the wreckage from the bottom of the Gulf of Thailand where it was resting on its side. After lifting, the water was pumped out and the vessel towed back to Koh Samui.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Visa

100+ foreigners ripped off in education visa scam on Koh Pha Ngan

The Thaiger

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100+ foreigners ripped off in education visa scam on Koh Pha Ngan | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Manager Online

A language school in Koh Pha Ngan has ripped off more than 100 tourists claiming that they were able to issue them with a 1 year education visa.

A group of the victims have made an official report with the local police over the scam. The tourists were from the US, UK, Germany, France and Russia. Manager Online report that more than 100 people had been allegedly conned by the school in the Sri Thanu area of the island. The report explained that the people had originally heard about the school being able to get them a 1 year education visa from teachers working there.

The group have now made an official report, sending documentation to Koh Phangan district chief Poonsak Sophonpathumrak and the island’s chief of police Pol Col Phisit Wisetwong and Immigration police.

They allege that they had been asked for 40,000 baht each for courses at the school on the understanding that the school would issue visas for them, changing their Non-B into an ED-Visa, as a way of extending their time in Thailand.

They told police that they had put down a 50% down payment tot eh school. Their visas were promised five weeks ago. But when no paperwork turned up they headed to the mainland Surat Thani immigration office where they were told it wasn’t possible to change a Non-B into an education (ED) visa. When they confronted the school they were told there would be no refunds.

This isn’t the only case of institutions and bogus visa agents taking advantage of the current confusion on visa amnesties and extensions. Immigration police are sorting through a range of similar cases.

Police assure the victims that they are investigation the case.

SOURCE: Manager | Thai Visa

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Tourism

Ang Thong National Park – Thailand’s most beautiful islands?

The Thaiger

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Ang Thong National Park – Thailand’s most beautiful islands? | The Thaiger

Today Manit takes you to Thailand’s second-largest island Koh Samui and then on to the stunning Ang Thong National Marine Park off the coast of Surat Thani in the Gulf of Thailand to seek the answer to the question… are the Ang Thong National Marine Park islands Thailand’s most beautiful.

Then we will explore a magnificent turquoise lagoon, enjoy paddling a kayak in Koh Sam Sao, a beach fire show at night and a few adventures along the way. The Thaiger is teaming up with Manit Monsur so you can see more of Thailand and share his talent and adventures.

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Thailand

Is Koh Pha Ngan Thailand’s best island?

Caitlin Ashworth

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Is Koh Pha Ngan Thailand’s best island? | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

OPINION

Koh Pha Ngan was voted third best island in Asia in the 2020 Condé Nast’s Readers Choice Awards. The island is widely known for its monthly Full Moon parties on Haad Rin beach, but Surat Thani governor Wichawut Jinto, who boasted about the island’s recent rating, said there’s more to Koh Pha Ngan than Haad Rin.

Condé Nast publishes a monthly travel magazine, Condé Nast Traveller, as well as GQ, Vanity Fair and Vogue. It’s safe to say the publication’s target audience is more interested in luxury resorts than dirt cheap party hostels and monthly beach raves. For example, for the best islands in the United States, Hilton Head Island in South Carolina was voted number 1. It’s a golf lovers paradise and a popular vacation spot for suburban families.

A trip Koh Pha Ngan can be a completely different experience depending on where you go and what you do. Some stay on Haad Rin on the southeastern side of the island and have a trip like Hunter S. Thompson’s drug-fueled “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” while some go to the western side for a yoga or healing retreat.

The Full Moon parties, which would draw more than 30,000 mostly foreign tourists, was put on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions in Thailand. But before the outbreak, the parties were known to be crazy with neon glow paint, fire jump rope and cheap buckets of alcohol and use of illicit drugs. The sand was so sticky that people were better off wearing shoes, and just about everyone pees (and pukes) in the ocean.

Even on the west side of the island, where it’s more known for yoga and meditation retreats, things can sometimes get a little weird. A tourist said she did a “spiritual healing” ritual on the island known as a kambo cleanse where secretion from a South American frog is applied to burnt skin. She said “I feels like you’re dying” but “it’s great.”

While the west side of the island has trendy resorts and bungalows, as well as a variety of yoga retreats and pricy vegan food, some people also live on a budget – a very tight budget. Some tourists even camped out on a hidden beach during the pandemic, a tourist claims. A local artist said he lives in a cave on the same beach.

Koh Pha Ngan topped Bali, Indonesia, which was number 9 on the list. Phuket was number 8 on the list and Koh Samui was number 10.

Here’s what made the top 10 Asia islands in the Condé Nast Reader’s Choice Awards 2020.

  1. Cebu & Visayas, Philippines 95.83
  2. Sri Lanka 95.45
  3. Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand 95.30
  4. Palawan, Philippines 95.22
  5. Siargao Island, Philippines 95.19
  6. Boracay, Philippines 95.06
  7. Lombok, Indonesia 94.59
  8. Phuket, Thailand 94.12
  9. Bali, Indonesia 93.27
  10. Koh Samui, Thailand 92.73

SOURCES: Condé Nast | Bangkok Post

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