Connect with us

Thai Life

Phuket Lifestyle: Traffic jams to peanut butter

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Phuket Lifestyle: Traffic jams to peanut butter | The Thaiger
  • follow us in feedly

PHUKET: Good news that big projects on Phuket are finally getting government attention. These include a light rail track from the airport and a mountain tunnel through to Patong with plans for overpasses and underpasses to move traffic along the Bypass Road.

However, plans for solving traffic congestion at Chalong Circle where thousands of Thais and expats from Rawai and Nai Harn get trapped each day attempting to get to work or get home seem non-existent.

Chalong Circle is the island’s most congested traffic bottleneck, funneling construction trucks, tourists’ minivans, cars, bicycles and motorbikes coming from Kata, Phuket City and all points south of the island. Chalong traffic police handle the daily dilemma by placing brightly colored traffic cones in the midst of the chaos to channel the peak travel time’s increase in vehicle numbers through this choke point.

The future for commuters looks more disheartening with recent growth and development in the area. Just north of the Chalong police station, an area has been cleared that used to be A-One grocery store and Baan Kanom bakery with a large tyre factory next door. They have been bulldozed and plans for 300 local vendor shopping stalls with parking for tour buses are in the process of being built.

Chalong has traditionally been home to long term expats, many of whom retired to the south of the island almost 20 years ago long before upscale developments were considered up north. The area around and south of Chalong was where the more affordable housing and restaurants could be found. Much of that is changing.

The Yoothim family has been great friends of Chalong’s expat community. They own much of the land and many businesses near Chalong Circle on the road to Kata. They opened their KL Mart in 1988 to service the growing number of foreigners who were settling in the area. Their business thrived and by 1996 they had expanded their store to over 1,000 square meters with 21 guest rooms on an upper level. They imported cheese and butter and wine, commodities that were hard to find on Phuket back then. Most recently, with the opening of the many Super Cheap mini-stores in the area, they’ve had to close their doors and hope they can find a tenant for their massive edifice.

Further up the road is Rungnapa Supermarket, the fun center for local Thais and late night expats who gather when most have already found slumber. A lively center that sold everything from bug spray to any kind of alcohol, late night drinkers, just off from a late shift at a five star resort, could be found swapping stories with their colleagues while the farang contingent were in competition to see who could drink the most beer before dawn. Now Rungnapa is broken and in ruin, another victim of the nearby Tesco-Lotus and Tops invasion.

But not all is grim in Chalong. Villa Market at Home Pro Village is the upscale destination for foreigners from all over the island willing to pay high prices to pretend they are back in Western civilization.

Another success story is Julapan Stationary, where expats eagerly await to buy their weekly Phuket Gazette. Chanok and Jularat Karndee opened their stationary store in 1995 when there were still rice fields in Chalong. The land belonged to the family. Chanok had been working on Koh Samui, but wanted to return to Phuket and he convinced his family to open Chalong’s first stationary store. It has grown to be so successful that he has expanded and built a 28-room hotel as part of Jula Place. This boutique hotel probably has Chalong’s most exciting architecture having looked at many proposals before deciding to build his hotel with a wonderful futuristic look.

Chalong is home to one of the most glamorous dining destinations on Phuket. The new Vset restaurant, presided over by Chef Ronnie Macuja, sets the bar for beautiful food and setting at Chalong Bay. And not too far away is the new location for Woody Leonhard’s popular cafe and computer training center at the recently opened Fisherman’s Way Business Center where peanut butter lovers can buy Woody’s latest product, a natural delicious tasting peanut butter that he is producing from organic peanuts grown in the north of Thailand.

“I can’t seem to stop myself from creating new projects,” he smiles.

There is no good news about a plan to solve the traffic problems at Chalong Circle, but there is light even without confirmation of a new tunnel.

— Bruce Stanley

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

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

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Things that have changed in Thailand in the Covid Era | Top 10 | VIDEO

The Thaiger



Things that have changed in Thailand in the Covid Era | Top 10 | VIDEO | The Thaiger

Top 10 things that have changed in Thailand during the Covid-era Things have changed. In some cases they’ve changed a lot and may never be the same again. Many people are suffering as a result of the impacts of lockdowns and the border closures. Some people are being forced to re-invent their lives as a result. Here are some of the main things we believe have changed since January this year. Face Masks The now every-present face mask is now with us for a long time. In Asia, it was never uncommon to see people wearing face masks, for traffic, […]

Continue Reading


Riding and renting a motorbike in Thailand | Top 10 tips | VIDEO

The Thaiger



Riding and renting a motorbike in Thailand | Top 10 tips | VIDEO | The Thaiger

Motorbikes and scooters are the most popular mode of transport in Thailand, and most of south east Asia. In many cases, they’re the ‘engine’ for the local economies. Most of them just go and go and go, they’re astonishingly reliable. Getting around on a motorbike is easy enough and will get you to your destination faster, whilst the cars and trucks are plodding along in the traffic. But riding a motorbike in Thailand can also be very dangerous. If you stick to the common sense basics – ride within the speed limits, wear a bike helmet, obey the traffic rules […]

Continue Reading


Khao San Road to reopen for Halloween

Caitlin Ashworth



Khao San Road to reopen for Halloween | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook: The Club Khaosan

The party is coming back to Khao San Road this Halloween. The once booming backpacker district went through a renovation during the lockdown period and now the Bangkok governor says they’re ready to reopen the street. Khao San Road has long been a district frequented by foreign backpackers. It’s known for it’s grungy and lively bar scene as well as its eccentric mix of street food, like scorpion on a stick. During the lockdown, 48.4 million baht was put into the streets for major renovations like leveling out the road and footpaths, adding some gutters and designating space for emergency […]

Continue Reading
Follow The Thaiger by email: