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Starfish collectors on Koh Racha Yai off Phuket

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Starfish collectors on Koh Racha Yai off Phuket | The Thaiger
Facebook user, Khanchit Klingklip, has posted photos of tourists handling a variety sea creature, including starfish off Racha Yai Island. The post read… “again, destroying the property. Who caught it? Who is taking responsibility?”
Starfish collectors on Koh Racha Yai off Phuket | News by The Thaiger
Suchart Ratanruangsri, Director of Marine Resources Conservation, says they’ve already had staff investigating the matters raised in the post. They didn’t locate the tour boat but are tracking it down with the help of other tour boats in the area on the day. He says the photos also clearly identify the tour speedboats.
 
Officials say the vessel doesn’t appear to have been one that came out of Chalong, the usual departure point for tour boats heading to Koh Racha Yai. Suchart says tour boats and guides have been reminded about the rules concerning handling sea creatures or coral and tourists need to be reminded before they go swimming. He says most tour boats and companies have been very co-operative and understand the importance of controlling the tourists visiting the marine parks around Phuket.
 
The Director says that, if they can find the tour boat and tourists, and if they have brought any illegal ’souvenirs’ back from their boat trip they will be charged under the laws that protect the Marine Parks.
Starfish collectors on Koh Racha Yai off Phuket | News by The Thaiger Starfish collectors on Koh Racha Yai off Phuket | News by The Thaiger



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Thailand

Thailand’s Koh Chang by numbers, another island on the rise

Bill Barnett

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Thailand’s Koh Chang by numbers, another island on the rise | The Thaiger

by Bill Barnett of c9hotelworks.com

Despite being one of the country’s biggest islands in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Chang has remained somewhat off the mass tourism development footprint. C9 Hotelworks has taken a look into what makes the island tick in their newly released Koh Chang Tourism Market Review.

Koh Chang is off the coast of Trat in far south east Thailand, near the Cambodian border (below).

Last year the island’s hotel market hosted 1.2 million guest arrivals at its 272 tourism establishments that feature a total supply of 7,617 keys.  Market-wide hotel occupancy teeters between the mid to high 60’s, though the off season sees numbers often drop by half. In a nutshell it’s a very wide swing between high and low season.

Domestic visitors continue to drive the market, much like Hua Hin, and over the past decade the segment has accounted for between 59% to 71% share. For overseas visitors, Mainland China has been the fastest growing over the past few years, with other top 5 international markets being Germany, Russia, Sweden and the UK. Similar to Koh Lanta in Southern Thailand the winter ‘snowbird’ effect is a major market force.

Perhaps the biggest barrier to entry for new larger hotels remains the lack of direct airlift and dependence on the privately operated Trat airport. Owned by Bangkok Airways, similar to Koh Samui, the region’s booming LCC (low-cost carriers) do not fly to the destination and most visitors come overland from Bangkok and then by ferry.

From our recent visits to the island, there is a clear uptick in new development for larger hotels and the reality is the brands will start to appear in the pipeline in the very near future. Koh Chang is no unlike Koh Tao and Koh Pha-ngan in that they are largely tropical outposts that are likely to be caught up in a broader wave of development for the simple fact they offer sun, sand, sea and sunshine.

Download the Koh Chang Tourism Market Review click HERE.

Thailand's Koh Chang by numbers, another island on the rise | News by The Thaiger

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Bangkok

‘One Night In Bangkok’. The song, 35 years later

Tim Newton

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‘One Night In Bangkok’. The song, 35 years later | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Doi Kuro, Bangkok 1980

When ‘One Night In Bangkok’ was released in 1984 it was an unlikely hit- the opening song from a (at the time) little-known stage pop-opera called ‘Chess’. The song made Number 1 in South Africa, West Germany, Switzerland and Australia, and Number 3 in Canada and the United States. It has remained a staple of Classic Hit radio ever since. Have a listen below…

The musical was the first outing for the two ‘Bs’ in ABBA – Benny Andersson and Bjoern Ulvaeus. Their pop grooves had made ABBA one of the most famous music groups in the world between 1973 and 1982 with a string of hits including 20 singles in the Billboard Top 100 from eight albums, etc, etc. The lyrics of the song were penned by Tim Rice (Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Joseph and his amazing technicolour dreamcoat, Aladdin, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast).

In the opening song of ‘Chess’, the American chess champion Freddie Trumper gets ready for a chess game with his Russian counterpart. He ridicules Bangkok’s ‘pleasures’ and tourist attractions – the Chao Phraya River (“muddy old river”), Wat Pho (“reclining Buddha”), and the red-light distractions. The choruses are more complimentary.

At the time the sarcasm of the song didn’t go down well with the Thai Mass Communications Organisation (now the NBTC) issuing a ban on the song in 1985, saying its lyrics “cause misunderstanding about Thai society and show disrespect towards Buddhism”, a line still trotted out about inappropriate Instagrammers and their selfies in front of Thai temples.

Thirty-five years later the song still paints a picture of a contrasting ‘oriental’ city alive with lights (including red lights), colour, pungent smells, culture and history.

We’re not sure if the ban was ever lifted but I hear the song played on Thai stations from time to time. At the time, when Bangkok was less on the tourist map than now, the song was a lone reference point for westerners.

How does it stand up thirty-five years after becoming a world-wide hit? Comment on our Facebook Page.

One Night In Bangkok

Bangkok, Oriental setting
And the city don’t know that the city is getting
The creme de la creme of the chess world
In a show with everything but Yul Brynner (referring to the actor’s starring role as the King of Siam in ‘The King and I’)

Time flies, doesn’t seem a minute
Since the Tirolean spa had the chess boys in it
All change don’t you know that when you
Play at this level there’s no ordinary venue
It’s Iceland or the Philippines or Hastings or,
Or this place!

One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free
You’ll find a god in every golden cloister
And if you’re lucky then the god’s a she
I can feel an angel sliding up to me

One town’s very like another
When your head’s down over your pieces, brother
It’s a drag, it’s a bore, it’s really such a pity
To be looking at the board, not looking at the city
Whaddya mean?
Ya seen one crowded, polluted, stinking town
Tea, girls, warm, sweet
Some are set up in the Somerset Maugham suite
Get thai’d, you’re talking to a tourist
Whose every move’s among the purest
I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can’t be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me

Siam’s gonna be the witness
To the ultimate test of cerebral fitness
This grips me more than would a
Muddy old river or reclining Buddha
And thank God I’m only watching the game… controlling it

I don’t see you guys rating
The kind of mate I’m contemplating
I’d let you watch, I would invite you
But the queens we use would not excite you
So you better go back to your bars, your temples
Your massage parlours

One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster
The bars are temples but the pearls ain’t free
You’ll find a god in every golden cloister
A little flesh, a little history
I can feel an angel sliding up to me

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble
Not much between despair and ecstasy
One night in Bangkok and the tough guys tumble
Can’t be too careful with your company
I can feel the devil walking next to me

Songwriters: Tim Rice / Benny Goran Bror Andersson / Bjoern K. Ulvaeus

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Bangkok

Thai Immigration bristles about TM30 revolt as it copes with PR disaster

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Thai Immigration bristles about TM30 revolt as it copes with PR disaster | The Thaiger

The TM30 form, as well as the associated TM28 form, have now become a huge public relations liability for the Thai Immigration Department.

The more questions asked, and the more explanations by well-intentioned Immigration officials, the more confusing the whole matter becomes.

If the policy is intended to make Thailand safer and make foreigners feel more secure, the opposite is happening. And now the story is catching on in foreign media, the situation is becoming a minor PR disaster for Thailand where tourism authorities would much prefer to be showing off the beaches and temples.

Over the weekend foreigners scratched their head after another week of contradictory forums, panel discussions, thousands of comments on social media and confusing responses from Immigration officials. Last Thursday’s forum at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand included senior Thai immigration officials and was meant to ‘clear the air’ on many of the issues.

Whilst mostly flying beneath the radar, quietly legally working, living their lives on a pension or spending months of a year in the Kingdom, foreign expats say they now feel targeted in a well-intentioned, but poorly executed, security initiative.

Officials hammered home the importance of ‘national security’ whilst failing to understand the concerns of long-term, legal and ‘nice’ foreigners who simply wished to live in the Kingdom without too much fuss.

The Immigration staff gave no clear indication if they took the suggestions and general discussion seriously or how they could address some of the more cumbersome and onerous conditions applied by the TM30 and TM28 forms. But they did say there was no timeline to examine any of these issues.

On the books for 40 years, but not rigorously enforced until March this year, the TM30 form requires Thai landlords providing accommodation to foreigners to report their arrival and departure to immigration within 24 hours.

Long-termers, foreign retirees, foreigners married to Thais, and foreigners travelling a lot for work, etc must also report their whereabouts within 24 hours with the TM28 form when they stay overnight at locations other than their registered primary residence. That would include visiting an hour away, in another province or arriving back from overseas.

According to the Immigration officials attending the panel discussion, they kept saying the process is ‘easy’. They were challenged repeatedly by other panel members and some of the audience, a number of times clearly taken aback by the nature of the questioning and the litany of frustration being shared with them. They were saying that it was not only ‘not easy’ but also confusing.

Some of the people in the audience threw up example after example of unworkable situations with the current enforcement and sought clarification that was not forthcoming.

Richard Barrow, a popular blogger and long-termer offered his reflection on Thai immigration enforcing the TM30 and TM28 sections of the 1979 Immigration Act.

“The landlord has to register foreigners within 24 hours. The problem is the landlord might have 10-15 units. It is a lot of work for them to keep registering foreigners every time they come back from a trip. Sometimes, the landlord is not even in the same city or country.”

“Now some apartment blocks are putting up signs saying ‘no foreigners’ because they don’t want the hassle.”

For foreigner staying in Thailand, you should prepare…

  • A copy of foreigner’s passport photo page
  • A copy of the visa page
  • A copy of latest entry page and
  • A copy of the immigration departure card

The landlord should prepare…

  • A copy of the title deed of the property
  • A copy of the rental contract
  • A copy of ID card and hose registration of owner
  • Power of attorney (POA) appoint authorised person Thai/Foreigner to report TM30
  • The completed TM30 form

There are three ways the owner or lessor of the residence can file the TM30…

  1. Filing directly at the Immigration Bureau or related Immigration Office located in the area of residence.
  2. File by registered post mail (at the Post Office).
  3. File by internet. Note: the notifier must first register at https://immigration.go.th/index and obtain a username and password before being able to do this online. If the owner or lessor of the residence is current obligate to pay an outstanding fine, this online process will not be available.

Thai Immigration bristles about TM30 revolt as it copes with PR disaster | News by The Thaiger

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