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9 years of providing Phuket’s lifeguards comes to an end

The Thaiger

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9 years of providing Phuket’s lifeguards comes to an end | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Constant training and up-skilling was at the core of the Phuket Lifeguard Service

The nine year relationship between the Phuket Lifeguard Service and the Phuket provincial and Thesaban
administrators is over.

The contract for providing professional lifesavers at Patong beach, the final beach under their watchful eye, finished yesterday.

9 years of providing Phuket's lifeguards comes to an end | News by The Thaiger

Speaking to the MD of the Phuket Lifeguard Service Company, Vitanya Chuayuan, today The Thaiger noted a tone of resignation in her voice after the long battle the company had to provide skilled and professional lifeguards along Phuket’s beaches.

Phuket’s outgoing governor, who finished his tenure on the island on September 30, Norraphat Plodthong passed the baton of issuing contracts to lifeguards services from the island’s central Provincial government down to the local Thesabans. Each local municipality would handle their own contracting for patrolling their local beaches.

The new tenders have resulted in two years of turmoil along the west coast beaches with a hotch-potch of volunteers, paid life-savers, trained, untrained and ‘locals’ putting on the traditional red and yellow outfits to patrol Phuket’s beaches.

The results, as logged in story after story about drownings on The Thaiger and other local news sites, are evidence of the failure of the new system to provide an adequate or professional level of international-standard lifeguarding in Phuket.

All this whilst the numbers of tourist arrivals, especially during the traditional wet-season, keeps increasing, year on year.

Vitanya says that it was a sad day indeed as the company, which had worked so hard to improve the standards of lifesaving on the island for so long, had to now watch from the sidelines as the quality of lifeguards, and the entire system of island-wide beach patrols, descends into bureaucratic turmoil.

“I have not spoken to Phuket’s new Governor at length about the matter, but the old governor believed that giving the money to the Thesabans, and letting them control the provision of services, would be a better solution.”

“The budgets just kept dropping each year and, although we tried to improve our efficiencies whilst improving the quality of our lifeguards, we just couldn’t match the lower tenders for the contracts anymore.”

“We also believe that a single company, providing lifeguarding across all beaches in Phuket, was a much better system amortising costs of equipment, training and sharing of local knowledge across the island.”

Phuket Lifeguard Service was instrumental in asking the provincial officials to assist with coming up with information pamphlets and signage to present to tourists, especially Chinese tourists, to alert them of the dangers of swimming along Phuket’s west coast beaches, particularly during the south-west monsoon season.

“There were many brochures printed. We handed many out to tourists on the beach (they were multi-lingual) but we really needed them to be distributed at the airport and hotels as a priority. We’re not sure if that happened or how many were distributed.”

After 9 years of years of reducing the number of drownings on Phuket’s beaches, despite the number of tourists rising every year, Vitanya says it has been sad to see the number of preventable drownings increase since the Provincial government started the new system.

“We believe it should all be controlled by the one professional company or organisation to provide lifeguard services. This way we could make savings across the board with training, equipment and co-ordination with all emergency services.

Daren Jenner, the Marine Safety Officer for the International Surf Lifesaving Association (ISLA), says that ISLA has been constantly monitoring the situation with the Patong lifeguard team.

“During ISLA’s beach audits earlier this year, the Patong team was the only one on the island to meet ISLA’s international standards. ISLA was urging the Thai government at all levels to support a unified, professional lifeguard force for all of Phuket and the surrounding islands.”

“Phuket is a world-famous beach and water-sport destination but surrounded by potentially dangerous waters, yet the lifeguard service has repeatedly failed to receive adequate support.”

Speaking specifically about the problem with the Chinese tourists and the many drownings in recent years Vitanya said, “We provided flags with warnings in Chinese, English, Russian and Thai. The Thesaban are still using our old flags which haven’t been updated for a few years – they are very tatty now and hard to read. The flags should be changed every six months.”

“Many Chinese people are not well educated in water safety. It’s not really their fault and more needed to be down to provide information before they arrived at the beach. Once on the beach it was just a huge communication problem that sometimes ended up in disaster.”

For now Vitanya says her company will keep providing professional lifeguards to the hotels and water parks.

“At our biggest we had around 100 active lifeguards, all men. Asian women don’t really like swimming and are not really interested in lifeguard work. Now we have only five instructors and a few freelance staff.

“We are sending two of our lifeguards to the Life Saving World Championships in Adelaide from November 19-26 at Glenelg Beach. Our team has developed such skills and talent here on the island. It’s sad to see it all go to waste.”

9 years of providing Phuket's lifeguards comes to an end | News by The Thaiger

Phuket Lifeguard Service were training the new generation of Phuket lifeguards

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Phuket

Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works

The Thaiger

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Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works | The Thaiger

The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority says Rawai’s mains water supply will be shut off tomorrow (Tuesday, October 15) as new water pipes are fitted in front of The Title Beach Front condo resort complex on the town’s beachfront.

The mains water supply will be shut off from 9am until 4:30pm along the beachfront strip.

The PWA says the areas affected will be along Wiset Road along the Rawai beachfront road, as well as Soi Yanui and Soi Ruafaed.

Residents and businesses are being urged to collect water for use during the day today, before tomorrow morning’s shut-off.

As usual, the PWA say…“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

Contact the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority on 076 319173 or 082 7901634 for more details.

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Phuket

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket

Donna Toon

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Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | The Thaiger

One of the best things about living in Asia, and in particular Thailand, is the abundance of fabulous places to have spa treatments. From the true local experience on the beach, to the ultra chic five star luxury treatments here is, in no particular order, our Top Ten Phuket Spa Experiences.

1. Let’s Relax (Boat Lagoon)

Let’s Relax’s latest addition to their Thailand spa portfolio is located in the residential area of Boat Lagoon in Koh Kaew and by accounts a winner in our books! It is a beautiful space with the natural light also bringing a sense of calm as you walk down the long entrance. With multiple treatment rooms as well as a well appointed foot massage space that can accommodate a large gaggle of girls it is has become popular very quickly with the local ladies.

Being brand new it also is a treat to sit in lush white comfy chairs while having your foot massage and a chat to your girlfriend or boyfriend. Priced on the lower end of the market, but higher than the local spas on the side of the street and well worth the extra baht, Let’s Relax is fabulous new addition to the flooded spa market.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

2. Oasis Spa (Kamala)

Oasis Spa Group has a few little gems around the island including one in Laguna and also another great one on the beach road in Kamala, however this hidden sanctuary located on the back roads in Kamala is our pick of the bunch. From the main street you would never know there is a tranquil ten treatment room spa and delightful pool setting behind the single wooden door. With an impressive and consistent list of treatments, positioned above the street-side prices but below the five star offerings, Oasis Spa is wonderful place to pamper away your day.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

3. Kata Rocks Infinite Luxury Spa

Winning the World’s Luxury Spa Awards for 2015, 2016 and 2017 we couldn’t put together a top ten spa list without including the very modern and chic Infinite Luxury Spa at Kata Rocks.

The spa blends the beyond organic philosophy of ILA spa products with its own “Me Time” philosophy, the latest spa massage technology in its eight luxury treatment rooms and suites, each designed around specific treatments. This includes two rooms for couples complete with luxurious his and her bathtubs, a chromotherapy room for coloured light therapy, a waterbed room equipped with Italian-made Iso-Benessere, a water massage bed for aiding spinal integration, a sleeping pod room with Metronap rest pod, traditional Thai spa massage treatment room, consultation and treatment room, pedicure and manicure treatment room and a contemporary tropical relaxation patio for after treatment chill down.

Positioned in the very high end of the spa market, Infinite Luxury Spa is an impressive and fabulous space to spend your day, worth every baht!

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

4. 4th Floor Central Festival Phuket

‘It’s not a very accurate location’ I hear you say, but I love this spa, and whenever I am at Central I always try and allow at least 60 minutes extra to escape the crowds and enjoy a foot massage while reading my book. Located on the top floor of Central on the left hand side as you head towards Central Department Store (sort of above McDonalds), it’s hard to miss it but the staff are always outside greeting you and encouraging you to come in and take a load off. Priced perfectly at 300 baht for a 60 minute foot massage (plus tip of course), the experience is consistent and friendly. Full body treatments are also available behind the traditional curtain.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

5. Amatara Wellness Resort

Located at the very South of Phuket at Cape Panwa, Amatara Wellness Resort as the names suggests has an incredible spa perched high on the cliffs overlooking the Andaman Sea. One of the largest spas in Asia with over 2000 square metres of dedicated spa bliss, paralleled by the extensive menu and holistic and wellness packages, it really is an experience not to be missed.

Amatara has also just opened a new spa wellness experience, the exquisitely designed Thai Hammam brings together traditional Turkish and Moroccan bathing practices with the wisdom and gentleness of Thai spa therapies. Soak your worries away.

Make a whole day of it, indulge in their fabulous Sunday Brunch and then move through to the spa! Perfection!

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

6. Banyan Tree Spa

A market leader for many years not only in Phuket but around the world, Banyan Tree is has provided us with professional and impressive spas for decades. Banyan Tree Phuket Spa with it’s impressive 24 treatment rooms hidden in lush surroundings within the gardens of the resort has well trained and dedicated therapist giving you the ultimate in spa experiences. The attention to detail which is synonymous with the spa philosophy of the group together with the consistency and surroundings makes it one of the best spa experiences certainly in Thailand. I can highly recommend the three hour Royal Banyan package, which included a cucumber and coriander scrub, Banyan Tree herbal pouch massage, jade chilled facial and flower bath. My girlfriends and I indulged just last week, and it was such a treat.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

7. Beach Shack next to Dream Beach Club on Layan Beach

We are creatures of habit in our house, we have been in Phuket for ten years now and when we like something we tend to go back regularly. Sunday’s are for chilling and we tend to either head to brunch or down to the local beach at Layan, away from the larger more commercial eateries and clubs we like eating and massaging with the locals.

Purely bang for your buck, the full body oil massages on the beach for 300 – 400 baht are an absolute must. I would love to say head to “Phung’s Massage Shack” next to Dream Beach Club but to be honest it doesn’t have a name but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t get a mention and make our list. Head to the top end of Layan and facing the beach next to Dream go left, it’s worth the trip!

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

8. JW Marriott Mai Khao Spa

Mandara Spa at JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa is an oasis within an oasis, the resort itself sits on 27 acres of lush gardens and beach side bliss just North of the airport in Mai Khao. Within it’s tropical gardens is the king pin for many years on the island Mandara Spa, its an icon in the local spa industry.

Tranquil, exotic and extremely relaxing, the Mandara Spa at JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa features a full service beauty salon, separate steam rooms for male and female guests, five double luxurious spa suites and eleven double deluxe rooms. The spa suites are well fitted out, with some enjoying outdoor bathrooms, but the most impressive aspect of the spa itself is the staff. They are incredibly well trained, and efficient in their craft, professional yet approachable and deliver every time.

The JW Marriott Wellness Retreat (bi yearly) is a highlight every year in my calendar, hosted and facilitated by Linda and her team, as well as the best wellness experts on the island, including Hayden Rhodes, Kim White and Andrew Stanndard. The four day program has informative workshops, wellness consultations, spa treatments, healthy meals, hands on activities, yoga, cooking classes and so much more.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

9. Atmanjai Wellness Retreat

Located on the South of the island just past Chalong circle Atmanjai Wellness Retreat at Friendship Beach offers a friendly and relaxed haven where guests can participate in detox, yoga or wellness programs that help restore your vitality, happiness and health. The cute bungalows located around the pool and on the beach side are a perfect excuse to indulge just a little further and stay on location while doing your retreats.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

10. Coqoon Spa at The Slate

Unlike anything else in Phuket, Coqoon Spa at The Slate is tranquil and idyllic space nestled in the lush green trees of the resort. It has a “cocoon” tree house made from bamboo and other natural products located high off the ground in true robinson crusoe style. Being in the trees is a unique experience matched perfectly with the highly trained and efficient practitioners. Subtle touches throughout the spa together with the extensive well thought out menu make Coqoon a special occasion treat.

Top 10 spas and massages in Phuket | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Phuket Town – In CNN Travel’s “Asia’s most picturesque towns”

The Thaiger

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Phuket Town – In CNN Travel’s “Asia’s most picturesque towns” | The Thaiger

“Though most famous for its beaches, the Thai island of Phuket offers ample opportunities for cultural immersion as well.”

Phuket’s Old Town was listed as one of Asia’s 13 most picturesque towns by CNN Travel.

The article mentioned, that whilst the island is renowned for its world-class beaches and leisure, offshore and adventure tourism activities, Phuket Town delivers on romance, history and cultural beauty in the island’s main commercial centre.

Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasorn says the article correctly highlighted Phuket’s cultural diversity and history; things that are often eclipsed by its beaches and Patong nightlife.

“Phuket Town retain its charm and unique identity that comes from the influence of the Baba-Peranakan culture, which started when Chinese families migrated to Phuket. We are seeing more fully independent tourists with discretionary spending power who want the unique experiences that Phuket Town is rich in.”

The pocket-sized town welcomes a large number of foreign tourists each year, a significant number of who come from China and are interested in exploring the area and its Chinese influences.

“The historic old quarter of Phuket Town, located in the centre of the island, is lined with Sino-Colonial style shop houses, built during the island’s tin-mining boom of the 18th and 19thcenturies.

“There are plenty of hip shops, cafés, restaurants and bars, including the batik shops along Thalang Road run by ethnic Malays and Indians. The area is also filled with Chinese temples, crumbling mansions, cultural museums and a nunnery.”

CNN also recommended that one of the best ways to soak up Phuket Town’s rich culture and bohemian atmosphere was to find a local company that specialises in walking tours of the Old Town.

In addition, CNN noted that Phuket Town is where travellers can indulge in some of the island’s best restaurants, ideal for those visitors who have had their fill of the same old tourist fare served in beach areas. Top picks according to CNN include Southern Thai specialist Raya, Tantitium and One Chun.

SOURCE: TAT News

Phuket Town - In CNN Travel's

Phuket Town - In CNN Travel's

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