One of the areas that was hit hard by the recent flooding in Southern Thailand was Chumphon Province. The people in Phato district said it was the worst flooding in living memory. Although the flood has now receded and the water in the river has returned to a normal color, the scars still remain. I met the owner of Malin Rafting Service in Phato. Her house & rafts were washed away in a flash flood. She spent the night in the tree. Despite losing everything, she was determined to continue. With help from the government, she was able to buy new rafts. This weekend her company took part in the annual Phato Raft Festival. I tweeted the following photos during my trip to Chumphon.
During February, there’s a chance to join a free boat trip to visit nine temples and shrines in Nonthaburi province. This is mainly of interest to Thai Buddhists, but foreigners can join as well. When I went last weekend, there were about 1,500 people taking part. To register, go to the pier in Nonthaburi between 6:30am and 9:30am on either 12th or 19th February 2017. If you miss it this year, try again next year. The photos here were tweeted live during the trip.
During Januay, TAT Bangkok published a series of eight walking maps for the city. At the moment these are only in Thai language but they promise an English version soon. In the meantime, I’ve started working on my own English version using Google Maps. I’ve used their map as my inspiration but will add my own places if I can. The photos on this page were tweeted live while I explored this area. I’ll be back again as I only scratched the surface. In the meantime, bookmark thailandphotomap.com as I will be posting my photos and notes there.
A new book detailing the history of the tourism industry in Thailand and the pioneers behind its early development has just been published. Written by Thailand-based journalist and lecturer Mr Steve Van Beek, and edited by Mr Roy Howard, “Thailand Tourism: The Early Days” charts the rise of the industry since the 1950s and examines the people, places, institutions, hotels and agencies which have transformed Bangkok from the Venice of the East to a dynamic gateway to all the attractions the country now has to offer. The book examines in detail the challenges faced by these early pioneers and, through profiles, anecdotes and quotes, underscores the need to preserve their stories.
A free ebook, available in English and Thai, can be viewed at www.thailandtourismtheearlydaysbook.com. From February 2017 onwards, the book will also be available at Asia Books and all Dusit hotels in Thailand, priced at THB 1,500. In remembrance of His Majesty the late King, all proceeds from sales of the book will be donated to the Royal Project Foundation, which helps to improve the living conditions of Thailand’s rural communities.
Last week, Samui and much of Southern Thailand faced some devastating floods due to the northeast monsoon. On Samui they had continuous rain for nearly a week which made it difficult for the water to drain away. Some people say it was the worst floods they’ve had in 30 years. Once the floods had finally gone down, I flew to Samui to give morale support to the local people. This should have been their high season. I spoke to some tourists who come here in January every year and they said that it has never rained so much before. The worst seems over but some isolated thunderstorms have been forecasted for the next three days. This time they are more prepared with water pumps on standby. Hopefully this time it won’t be continuous rain and not so widespread. The following photos were tweeted live during my two-day visit to the island.
The annual air show on Children’s Day will be taking place this year on Saturday 14th January. The venue is Don Mueang airport in Bangkok. I don’t have too many details yet, but usually you can park at the airport and then take a free shuttle bus to the runway. Entry is free. I will update with more details here as and when I receive it. In the meantime, this is the schedule for the show:
08.15-09.05 F 16, AU-23 (Peacemaker), Gripen
10.00-10.20 L 39
11.20-13.30 PC 9, CT 4, AU-23 (Peacemaker), Gripen, F 5
14.30-14.50 UH-1H (Huey)
If you have ever taken a passenger van in Thailand, then it probably comes as no surprise that they have been declared the most dangerous form of public transportation during 2016. Speaking from my own experience, the drivers are often maniacs. They drive too fast, tailgate and overtake on blind bends and on the brow of hills. They always seem to be in a rush. In addition, many of the vans are overcrowded which means that even if the seatbelts are working, there isn’t enough for everyone. The recent crash in Chonburi has highlighted the dangers yet again. I am not sure if anything will be done, but there is talk that they will phase out passenger vans in favour of buses for any long distance journeys.
Here is the Top 3 of the most dangerous forms of public transport for January to November 2016:
- Passenger vans: 103 dead and 1,102 injured in 215
- Tour buses: 56 dead and 1,252 injured in 141 accidents
- Taxis: 7 dead and 84 injured in 77 accidents
The infographic above shows the number of accidents and fatalities for passenger vans over the last six years:
2011: 62 deaths and 136 injuries in 42 accidents
2012: 50 deaths and 300 injuries in 50 accidents
2013: 35 deaths and 218 injuries in 55 accidents
2014: 36 deaths and 231 injuries in 133 accidents
2015: 104 deaths and 847 injuries in 98 injuries
2016: 103 deaths and 1,102 injuries in 215 accidents