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Phuket Lifestyle: Rolling the dice on Phuket’s roads

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket Lifestyle: Rolling the dice on Phuket’s roads | The Thaiger

SPECIAL REPORT

PHUKET: One lifestyle decision that anyone residing in Phuket (or even just on an extended holiday) will eventually come to consider, is whether or not to achieve transport independence – if not for the sake of convenience then certainly out of necessity.

It’s no secret that getting around via public transport in other prime destinations of the Kingdom – Bangkok, Khon Kaen, Haad Yai, Pattaya, or even Chiang Mai, for instance – is more convenient.

Indeed, the public transport options in Phuket are much more limited, if not confusing or
unreasonably priced.

Early in your Phuket experience, you might be willing to just hire motorbike taxis and personal chauffeurs, but this just won’t suffice for those with limited means, or who value their personal safety (for more information, just Google “Phuket taxi news”).

A ‘No-brainer’ or just no brain?
The next obvious option is to rent or buy a motorbike. Due to commute time and economic advantages, the motorbike at first seems like a ‘no-brainer’ – hence all the tourists renting and riding them. However, most people with half a brain will eventually come to the realization that driving a motorbike in Phuket (or anywhere in Thailand for that matter) is actually more like the ‘no-brain’ option. Whether you agree with that or not, the fact is that motorbike accidents remain one of the, if not the top non-natural causes of death in the Kingdom – for both Thais and foreigners.

The Number 1 choice by default

So, that brings us to the final option: automobile. Yes, cars, trucks and vans are relatively more expensive to acquire, maintain and operate. Yet they remain the most viable option for someone who wants transportation independence, while greatly reducing the risk of ending up on the wrong side of a four-foot wide tyre.

That said, simply acquiring an automobile, filling the tank and checking the oil is not enough to pull one out of harm’s way – far from it. I wish I could tell you that you also have to be cautious of traffic police, but that’s simply not an immediate concern for drivers in Phuket. So, why get a license at all? For me, it came down to insurance, and the financial risks I would be putting myself, and more importantly, my family in, if involved in a serious accident.

Make no mistake, not having a valid Thai drivers license is enough reason for any insurance company to deny a claim.

It is also a enough reason for a Thai police officer to jail you, if they so please. Having said that, there really is no excuse – get your Thai drivers’ license if you haven’t already.

If you already have a valid drivers license from your home country this can be converted into an international driver’s license in Phuket. For more information on getting that transferred check with our partner Thaivisa.com.

However, this is technically not enough in the eyes of Thai law (though it may be enough for some police officers – depending on how they feel that day).

A spokesperson of the local Transportation Office told the Gazette: “It doesn’t matter how long you’re in Thailand. To drive legally, you either need an international drivers license, which falls under the Geneva convention on international driving, or you need a valid Thai drivers license.”

The spokesperson confirmed that even tourists can apply for a one-year license as soon as they arrive in Thailand (as soon as they can make it to the Land Transport Office during operating hours).

And, for those with a valid license from their home country, who don’t posses an international drivers’ permit, it’s easy enough to get issued a Thai license, without having to go through all the tests.

Obtaining a Thai driver’s license
While the enforcement of traffic laws in Phuket may seem lax, the written and driving tests are not, and the officials at Phuket’s Land Transport Office can and will fail you if you don’t pass the strict criteria.

If I may give a final bit of friendly advice: name the parts of the test. At first, I failed the parallel parking test. Their demonstration used an ultra small Honda Jazz, making it look easier than it was.

Line your car up parallel with the car in front of the space you want to park in. (At the PLTO parallel parking testing station, there is no front car, so you’ll have to imagine that there is one.

Next, turn your steering wheel all the way in the direction of the parking space (left) and put the gear in reverse. Slowly back into the space, monitoring the rearview mirror on the driver’s side of the car. In an actual parallel park situation, you would be looking for the full width of the rear car to appear in the mirror.

At the PLTO station, there is no rear car, only three cemented poles. So, as soon as you see all three of those poles in the right, rearview, then you should adjust the steering wheel so that the wheels are straight, and you are slowly backing into the space at a 45 degree angle.

Now, you should look to the front car (three cemented poles), and turn your steering wheel all the way in the direction away from the parking space (right) as soon as you can, so that the front end of your car won’t hit the rear side of the front car (cemented pole).

If you wait too long, then you will have backed too far to be able to straighten yourself out. You only get to change gears five times to pass. A perfect park can be done in two to three gear changes.

— Steven Layne

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Bangkok

Tax on salt content being considered

Greeley Pulitzer

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Tax on salt content being considered | The Thaiger

The Excise Department is considering imposing a tax on the salt content of food to encourage food producers to reduce the sodium content of snacks, instant noodles and seasoning cubes.

The director of the Office of Tax Planning said that the department is discussing a limit on the amount of sodium food can contain, in line with the standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO), which is 2,000 milligrams of salt per day.

In reality, Thai people consume an average of 1,000 milligrams per meal, making their daily intake well above WHO guidelines, according to the director.

He said any tax imposed would be at a level which would encourage food producers to reduce the sodium in their processed food without being punitive, adding that the proposal isn’t intended to generate more tax revenue, but to help protect the health of consumers. Excessive sodium in the diet can lead to high blood pressure and kidney disease.

Fish sauce, soy sauce and salt would not be taxed.

SOURCE: thaipbsworld.com

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News

Water shortage warnings in 22 provinces

Greeley Pulitzer

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Water shortage warnings in 22 provinces | The Thaiger

People living in 22 Thai provinces are being warned to prepare for shortages of drinking water during the upcoming dry season, due to start on November 1st.

The warning was issued by the National Water Resources Office, citing low levels in reservoirs, which are the main sources for tap water production waterworks in 22 provinces.

Areas at risk identified by the office are in northern, north-eastern, eastern and southern provinces.

Measures have been adopted by agencies charged with dealing with water shortages. including dredging water channels to allow greater volumes of water to flow into reservoirs, drilling underground wells, enlarging storage ponds and the purchase of water to supply to those in urgent need.

The Royal Irrigation Department has announced that people should use water sparingly.

There are currently about 6 billion cubic metres of usable water in reservoirs in the affected provinces, with 5 billion cubic metres reserved for consumption and ecological preservation, leaving only 1 billion cubic metres for use in agriculture.

This means farmers in the Chao Phraya river basin may not be able to grow a second crop of rice this year.

SOURCE: thaipbsworld.com

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Bangkok

Green Day heading back to BKK in 2020

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Green Day heading back to BKK in 2020 | The Thaiger

Green Day, five-time Grammy Award winners, are embarking on a global tour in 2020, including a stop-over in Bangkok during March. The rock ‘n’ roll Hall of Fame inductees will perform a series of concerts throughout Europe, UK, North America and Asia.

“Green Day Live in Bangkok” takes place on March 11, 2020 at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani. But it’s not their first time. Green Day sold out concerts in their last Thai live gigs in 1996 and 2010.

Formed in 1986 in Berkeley, California, Green Day is one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time, with more than 70 million records sold worldwide and 10 billion cumulative online streams of their music and performances. Their 1994 breakout album “Dookie” is widely credited with popularising and reviving mainstream interest in punk rock, catapulting a career-long run of No 1 hit singles.

In 2004, Green Day released the rock opera “American Idiot”, selling more than 7 million copies in the US alone and taking home the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album. In 2010, a stage adaptation of “American Idiot” debuted on Broadway to critical and commercial acclaim. Entertainment Weekly called Green Day, “The most influential band of their generation,” while Rolling Stone said, “Green Day have inspired more young bands to start than any act this side of KISS, and that doesn’t seem to be changing.”

Green Day Live in Bangkok 2020 is on March 11, 2020 at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani.

Ticket prices start at 2,000 baht and tickets go on sale on November 2 at all ThaiTicketMajor outlets via www.livenation.co.th or www.thaiticketmajor.com or call: 02 262 3838 for more information.

SOURCE: The Nation

Green Day heading back to BKK in 2020 | News by The Thaiger

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