Phuket Post - A Different Kind of Newspaper
Foreign currencies could soon be back where they were as Thailand falls into line with its neighbours
(2009-03-09 16:40:18)
OVER the past 12 months, most foreign currencies have collapsed against the Thai baht, which means money from home is not worth as much as it was. A year ago, one Australian dollar would have bought you almost 35 baht. Today you would be lucky to get 22 or 23 baht.
THE Tourism Authority of Thailand has unleashed a new weapon in its bid to win back the tourists. Singapore has the Singapore Sling, America has the Manhattan and the Long Island Tea, and Cuba has it’s Cuba Libre. And now Thailand has its own tipple, the Siam Sunray.
(2009-02-23 11:49:55)
THE world-wide financial crisis has apparently not stopped people from taking holidays. Six million Britons have booked holidays during the past month as defiant families prepare to shrug off the economic gloom and head for places in the sun. Around 200,000 people a day are snapping up cheap summer holiday offers as British travel companies slash their prices.
(2009-02-23 11:32:15)
Many businesses have written off the high season, with empty hotel rooms, lonely dive vessels, and the number of international and domestic passengers flying into Phuket plummeting. But although things look grim, there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are still plenty of people on the beaches and in the shopping malls, and Bangla Road is pumping nearly every night.
Volun-tourists make a difference
(2009-02-09 15:26:13)
THE ECO-WAR IS still raging along the Southern Andaman coast. While Phuket clings to the idea of maintaining its unspoilt natural splendour, and its ‘paradise’ badge, environmentalists despair at the ever-increasing tourist machine spoiling the landscape. Kim Obermeyer and his team of 11 eco-warriors have set up a base camp and an eco-lodge on Koh Ra Island in Phang Nga province, just north of Phuket.
Fluffy animals invade guest rooms
(2009-02-09 15:20:29)
GUESTS booking into the new Marriot Courtyard Patong are likely to find dogs, swans, even elephants in their room. Monkey’s, turtles, rabbits, puppies and pigs have also been found in the suites. But these pets won’t bite. They look decidedly cute and cuddly, but be warned, if you try to play with one, it is likely to collapse and turn into a bath towel.
(2008-12-15 10:33:49)
GOING on holiday should be a well-deserved break, but if you want to take the kids, how much of a break are you going to get? You arrive at your destination, jetlagged and tired and all you can think about is how far is it to the sparkling blue sea or the nearest ice cold piña colada. But there’s not much chance of that with a couple of kids pulling at your sleeve, demanding round-the-clock entertainment.
Facebook is revolutionising how we communicate, even here in Phuket
(2008-11-14 15:20:05)
HERE we are on the eve of the high-season, a time when dreams are fulfilled or shattered, enhanced or decreased. Anything can happen... and it usually does. Some of Phuket’s more visionary nightclubs and bars are trying to keep one step ahead of the ever changing tourist demographic by adopting a fresh approach. Long gone are the days when the majority of Phuket’s holidaymakers were single men frequenting Bangla Road girlie bars in search of hedonistic adventures. They are still around, but they’ve been pushed aside by an increase in families and backpackers over the last three years.
Tigers and Panthers can still be found wild in the jungles of Khao Sok - if you are very lucky
(2008-11-14 15:01:38)
ON a clear December day about 12 years ago, I ventured into a southern Thailand forest of the sort I thought no longer existed. Deep in the heart of Khao Sok National Park lay Ao Din Daeng, a roundish valley surrounded by towering limestone peaks and covered by dense jungle. Under the peaks there was a cave system used by the Communists as a base camp during the 1970s and ’80s insurgency.
Tom Jones, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis have all sung with Ricky
(2008-11-14 14:26:11)
RICKY Zen, the effervescent owner of the Flamingo Splash Lounge in Kata, was once a star in Las Vegas where he sang with some of the biggest names in showbusiness, including Tom Jones, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. Ricky, who is part Seminole Indian gave up the ‘good life’ to make Phuket his permanent home, and he has no reservations about what he wants to do. Showbusiness has always been in his blood, and, even from an early age, he was destined to be a star.
The season is open and Phuket's newest diveboat was there
(2008-11-14 14:20:38)
THE brand new live-aboard vessel, Dive Asia One, set sail from Chalong Pier last week, bound for the Similan Islands National Park, and unofficially opened the company’s dive season. Conditions were anything but ideal, and the 20 passengers battled through torrential rain to board the boat. With a crew of seven, as well as six diving staff on board, Dive Asia One eased out from Chalong Pier just after 7pm and headed north. It was a significant day on two counts for the Dive Asia company.
Comic Encounter
Lonely Planet author finds some funny nightlife and captivating beaches on first Phuket adventure
(2008-10-29 16:32:17)
Phuket has made it into Lonely Planet’s short list of destinations covered by their new Encounter series. Designed to be lightweight and compact, the new book is advertised as, “Twice the city in half the time”. True to his word, author Adam Skolnick has condensed a wealth of information onto the guide’s glossy pages. His summaries of Phuket’s attractions and expansive neighbourhoods have captured the island’s essence. Adam’s words are backed up by some fantastic photography. As the saying goes, a picture speaks a 1,000 words, which is certainly true in this case.
Cultural Conversations
While most discussions about effects of tourism focus on environment, one young academic says culture is the key to sustainability
(2008-08-13 11:09:16)
Tourism has brought many benefits to Phuket, not the least of which is an annual income from tourist spending that makes the province one of Thailand’s economic powerhouses. But the benefits come with many visible and not-so-visible costs. Government officials and tourism professionals continually strive to strike a balance between supporting tourism and preserving the region’s natural wonders. Often lost in the debate over sustainable tourism, says Titiyawadee Punmanee, a 27-year-old doctoral student at the University of Leicester in the UK, is a commitment to preserving a region’s unique culture and traditions. What’s needed in Thailand is a new conception of sustainable tourism, one that addresses all of the factors involved in a region’s tourist industry — one that addresses human resources as well as natural resources.
(2008-07-04 09:45:39)
The official global sponsor of the 2008 Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) European Football Championship is a South Korean car brand, Kia Motors, an affiliate of Hyundai. South Korea's largest car maker provided official vehicles to be used during the tournament in Switzerland and Austria last month. The fleet of 530 Hyundai and Kia cars and vans, and a fleet of buses, are part of a campaign called "Drive to Glory". But they're not for the players, who mostly prefer glorious drives. The Swedish super star Zlatan Ibrahimovic owns a Porsche Cayenne Turbo and a Ferrari F430 Spyder. He recently sold a Ferrari Enzo. Ibrahimovic also drives the new Volvo C30 T5 as a company car-cum-family car provided by his employer, Football Club Internazionale Milano (FC Milan).
Agreeable Accord
The latest update to Honda's venerable Accord adds sleek European styling
(2008-07-04 09:43:47)
Is it a BMW? Maybe the Audi A4? Or the VW Passat? Le Peugeot? No, It's the new Honda Accord. Acc-ord: The name reminds me of the French d'accord, which means "I agree" or "OK". And I agree. The new eighth generation Honda Accord looks sleek, dynamic and sporty and has a lower and wider track for a solid, planted feel. Look at the new low-slung, chromed, angular grill, the new cool, clear projector headlights and the muscular, pronounced wheel arches housing 17-inch alloy wheels.
After venturing to Kuala Lumpur, our reporter brings back a notebook loaded with vivid impressions of Malaysia
(2008-06-24 10:22:43)
I still remember the words that my grandma used to tell me: "Going out to visit places make us know how wonderful this world is, and it will give you a wider view of life." Predictably, her words made me love to travel, to learn the customs and cultures of the places that I visit and to keep them in my mind to broaden my horizons. All of that came together recently during a tour of Kuala Lumpur. Lucky enough to join a press tour sponsored by Tourism Malaysia, I travelled with a group of Phuket-based media to explore Thailand's neighbour to the south. The occasion was the country's annual Citrawarna festival, a showcase of Malaysia's multi-ethnic people and cultures. Translated as "Colours of Malaysia," the month-long event begins at the end of May every year.
(2008-06-20 09:27:00)
Travelling Online
Though established in other parts of the world, Internet travel booking is just taking off in Asia, and Phuket companies are leading the boom
(2008-06-20 09:23:38)
The power of the online travel industry is obvious if you've worked a desk job anywhere in Australia, Europe or North America. Messages from mammoth travel websites drop into your inbox with predictable regularity. Just as predictably, they're loaded with dramatic pictures of romantic tropical paradises. They promise escape and offer discounts for booking right now, and in the depths of a dreary winter or during the long summer doldrums at the office, you can't help but click through and dream about a vacation in an exotic locale. Maybe you take a break from the report you're working on and give in to the daydream. You click through the package deals, scroll through lists of available flights and compare lists of amenities at hotels. For younger travellers, this is how booking travel always works. For a growing share of those who remember the era of face-to-face travel booking -- when you walked into a travel agency and talked to an agent about where you wanted to go -- it's now the preferred way to book a vacation. On Phuket, online travel planning is big business. Hotels and resorts report that well more than half of their guests use the internet at some point to research or book a holiday. And for a few growing companies, online travel is the entire business. Phuket-grown websites like AsiaWebDirect.com and DirectRooms.com have mushroomed into global concerns that not only bring tourists to Phuket but also share in the revenue that tourism leaves behind.
After the Party
(2008-06-09 09:26:42)
This year's green season on Phuket is anything but a let-down. Coming off of the biggest high season on record, the tourism industry on Phuket is working to build up the current green season and planning for an even bigger high season beginning at the end of this year. For a post-high season recap, we talked to several key players among the thousands of tourism professionals on Phuket to get an insider's look at what made the 2007-08 high season such a success. We also wanted to know about prospects for the current green season and the challenges Phuket faces as it prepares to host what looks like another record-breaking high season.
Options for environmentally sensitive jungle treks or coral reef dives abound on Phuket, but how many of them are truly careful about their impact on local flora and fauna?
(2008-05-22 09:48:51)
The idyllic palm and the broad-leafed banana trees that carpet the hills of Phuket stretch out to serene blue waters along the Andaman Sea and Phang Nga Bay. Even despite a tourism and resort development boom during recent decades, many scenes of unspoiled jungle drama and oceanside beauty remain around Phuket. But the clash between natural wonders and the urbanizing pressure of tourism development presents great challenges. As in the jungle, sneaky predators can earn a living off of unknowing tourists, however well-intentioned. Ultimately the price is often paid by the unique flora and fauna of Phuket -- the very natural attractions that have drawn tourists in such vast numbers.