Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: As 2009 draws to a close, it would be easy – very easy – to highlight issues which remain thorns in the sides of Phuket’s expatriates. Negatives almost always trump the positives in the world of news. However, it is encouraging to see that Phuket has made progress toward the island's continued development not only as an international tourist destination, but also as a desirable and cosmopolitan place in which to live.

The island’s infrastructure is getting some of the attention it requires and there is a growing trend toward going green. The Gazette's 'Person' of the Year Award for community service went with great enthusiasm to three individuals who focused on the environment by driving the current campaign to curtail the profligate use of plastic bags.

Perhaps one of the most significant steps towards improving the tourist experience on the island was the implementation of measures to help ring down the curtain on more than a decade of jet-ski scams, an issue that has received frequent worldwide coverage thanks to TV and video websites.

It has been most encouraging to see action taken on a provincial level, spearheaded by Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop, to mitigate the issue, which in the past left untold numbers of tourists feeling cheated and vowing never to return to Phuket.

Full-time lifeguards, life-saving equipment and signs in English warning of seasonal rip currents also appeared on Phuket’s most popular tourist beaches for the first time, although we have to acknowledge with sadness that over the past few weeks beach safety has lost some of its prominence as a government priority. Nevertheless, there is a limit to what the authorities can do to ensure tourists’ safety when swimmers decide to ignore the red flags and advice of the lifeguards.

In October, this writer watched a European man walk past a red flag on the beach and wade straight into a rip current while his concerned girlfriend looked on from the shore. Within seconds, the man was dragged more than 100 meters out to sea. He barely made it back to the beach.

The launch of the Gazette’s online forum, enabling readers to add their comments to news stories, has revealed a great deal about what really matters to the average expatriate resident and frequent visitors to Phuket.

News stories such as the Nanai Road flooding attracted many more readers and comments than updates about the tsunami warning system and the new detection buoy.

Readers frequently demand that the Gazette ‘do something’ by wading into battle on their behalf with government agencies, retailers, tuk-tuk drivers, and many others. While such intermediation in disputes or other grievances is clearly outside the purview of a community newspaper, we do attempt to highlight in our pages those issues which appear to weigh heavily on the minds of large numbers of our readers. (See the 'Letters' page in any of our weekly editions.)

As the world marks the fifth anniversary of the 2004 tsunami, the horrific event is of course receiving wide coverage in reviews and perspectives put forth by media all over the globe. Here in Phuket, anniversary ceremonies and minutes of silence were observed all over the island yesterday.

And today we think it's safe to say that the 'ethos' of the vast majority of Phuketians is anchored in the future or the present, no longer so heavily in that nightmare of the past.

Please do have a happy New Year!
– Nick Davies

1

Nick Davies is obviously a dreamer who needs some glasses to see the future more clearly. The environment of Phuket is already destroyed and there is no sign of hope that it will be better in the future.

Wild construction is going on now up in the hills and any nature will be gone within the next three years, even though there is no need for new buildings.

Waste water and sewage management simply do not exist.

There are violations of the law and rude behavior every day. In the last 5 years Phuket has turned into a place with no real welcome for guests, even though the guests pay their bills.

Dirtyness [sic] is on the beaches and on all public facilities, which are provided at very high rates. This is why the high paying guests stay away.

Posted by Peter Czasch December 27, 2009 07:03:21PM

Reply

0    0

2

After living 10 years on Phuket I left the island out of job reasons. I'm still planning to return and live there. It's an excellent place for expats with a high quality of life.

The only downside for expats are the complicated visa regulations which are time and cost intensive. You might even get the impression that foreign investment is highly welcome but the foreigners themselves are not.

Posted by Rudolf Mair December 28, 2009 09:07:54AM

Reply

0    0

3

Nick Davies is obviously a dreamer who needs some glasses to see the future more clearly. The environment of Phuket is already destroyed and there is no sign of hope that it will be better in the future.

Wild construction is going on now up in the hills and any nature will be gone within the next three years, even though there is no need for new buildings.

Waste water and sewage management simply do not exist.

There are violations of the law and rude behavior every day. In the last 5 years Phuket has turned into a place with no real welcome for guests, even though the guests pay their bills.

Dirtyness [sic] is on the beaches and on all public facilities, which are provided at very high rates. This is why the high paying guests stay away.

Posted by Peter Czasch

Goodness, it's nice to see such a positive and upbeat view of Phuket, Peter. Why, oh why, would you wish to live here? Happy New Year :))

Posted by Big Heinz December 28, 2009 12:07:14PM

Reply

0    0

4

Could some one perhaps tell me why there are no street lights working on one of the most dangerous roads in Phuket? I refer to the road between Chalong and Kata on the most dangerous stretch of the road with twisting bends. There, it is pitch black even though there are street lights erected at the side of the road.

I have to pick up my wife from Kata every evening and it is a nightmare – speeding trucks, motorbikes without lights, buses. It's only a matter of time before there is another serious accident. I just hope i am far away when it happens.

Posted by peter booker December 28, 2009 02:46:15PM

Reply

0    0

5

The bad sewage smell hanging over Patong and the tuk-tuk gangs preventing regular transportation will both be permanent obstacles that keep the tourists away and lower the quality of life a lot.

Posted by Buck Wild December 28, 2009 03:45:46PM

Reply

0    0

6

Phuket needs a kind of 5 year plan, in which the Thais approach issues on the basis of priorities agreed among themselves and, hopefully, with some inputs from the expats living here who have the best interests of the island at heart!

O fcourse making a plan is one thing, excecuting it another. The authorities should stick to execcuting such a plan, which needs wide support before starting implementation.

Phuket will become much more attractive when:

– trust in policies by its politicians and (police) officers is rebuilt

– overpricing by public transport gangs is shut down

– the needless building frenzy is brought under control

Posted by Rob December 28, 2009 03:56:35PM

Reply

0    0

8

Thank you Nick for an upbeat, positive perspective on the island. It takes this to help everyone be more positive and contribute to making this tropical paradise a happy and cooperative community. Happy New Year.

Posted by Kim Kilgore December 29, 2009 09:19:08AM

Reply

0    0

9

I think the 'plastic bag' award will come back and haunt you. Giving a 1 baht deduction for NOT taking a plastic bag makes much more sense.

Posted by Frankie V December 29, 2009 09:22:37AM

Reply

0    0

10

A very big congratulation to the Phuket Gazette for this opportunity to comment. It allows everyone to voice some opinion, whether positive or negative. If even a little good comes from all the lively comment, that will be a substantial improvement with respect to the zero that occurred in the past.

If the Thai authorities read these comments, they will realize that amidst all the criticism, there are 'farangs' who really do care for this island. Constructive (not cynical) debate is needed (and I can be as cynical as anyone else at times on issues that rankle).

Forward into 2010 with 'Hope in Our Hearts'. Best wishes to the Phuket Gazette staff and all its readers.

Posted by Laffinmahedoff December 29, 2009 11:31:09AM

Reply

0    0

11

I have been visiting Phuket and living here off and on since 1995. Even my very 1st visit in '95 was marred by tuk-tuk hassles and rip-offs by hospitality operators. Things I never had experienced elsewhere in civilized tourist destinations.

The lure of the scenery, beaches, and low costs brought me back one more time in November '09, but this might be the last time for me. I see blight, crime, gang violence, even possible civil war in the future of Phuket and Thailand. There will be more government incompetence and opaque activity, and even more visa hassles. Why come here when neighboring Malaysia welcomes me with open arms and 90 day visas just for showing up? P

Penang/Lankawi, Cambodia and Vietnam are just as close to Frankfurt as Thailand. Same sun, same sea....

Posted by Dr Wezzi December 30, 2009 06:30:45PM

Reply

0    0

12

I find it interesting that in looking forward to 2010 there was no mention of one of the biggest cancers eating into Phuket, the tuk-tuks. Their rudeness, arrogance and sometimes violence is one of the main reasons repeat tourists have stopped coming here. It seems that no one in power is willing to tackle this major problem. What a disgrace.

Posted by Steven December 31, 2009 08:58:32AM

Reply

0    0

12

I find it interesting that in looking forward to 2010 there was no mention of one of the biggest cancers eating into Phuket, the tuk-tuks. Their rudeness, arrogance and sometimes violence is one of the main reasons repeat tourists have stopped coming here. It seems that no one in power is willing to tackle this major problem. What a disgrace.

Posted by Steven December 31, 2009 08:58:32AM

Reply

0    0

11

I have been visiting Phuket and living here off and on since 1995. Even my very 1st visit in '95 was marred by tuk-tuk hassles and rip-offs by hospitality operators. Things I never had experienced elsewhere in civilized tourist destinations.

The lure of the scenery, beaches, and low costs brought me back one more time in November '09, but this might be the last time for me. I see blight, crime, gang violence, even possible civil war in the future of Phuket and Thailand. There will be more government incompetence and opaque activity, and even more visa hassles. Why come here when neighboring Malaysia welcomes me with open arms and 90 day visas just for showing up? P

Penang/Lankawi, Cambodia and Vietnam are just as close to Frankfurt as Thailand. Same sun, same sea....

Posted by Dr Wezzi December 30, 2009 06:30:45PM

Reply

0    0

10

A very big congratulation to the Phuket Gazette for this opportunity to comment. It allows everyone to voice some opinion, whether positive or negative. If even a little good comes from all the lively comment, that will be a substantial improvement with respect to the zero that occurred in the past.

If the Thai authorities read these comments, they will realize that amidst all the criticism, there are 'farangs' who really do care for this island. Constructive (not cynical) debate is needed (and I can be as cynical as anyone else at times on issues that rankle).

Forward into 2010 with 'Hope in Our Hearts'. Best wishes to the Phuket Gazette staff and all its readers.

Posted by Laffinmahedoff December 29, 2009 11:31:09AM

Reply

0    0

9

I think the 'plastic bag' award will come back and haunt you. Giving a 1 baht deduction for NOT taking a plastic bag makes much more sense.

Posted by Frankie V December 29, 2009 09:22:37AM

Reply

0    0

8

Thank you Nick for an upbeat, positive perspective on the island. It takes this to help everyone be more positive and contribute to making this tropical paradise a happy and cooperative community. Happy New Year.

Posted by Kim Kilgore December 29, 2009 09:19:08AM

Reply

0    0

6

Phuket needs a kind of 5 year plan, in which the Thais approach issues on the basis of priorities agreed among themselves and, hopefully, with some inputs from the expats living here who have the best interests of the island at heart!

O fcourse making a plan is one thing, excecuting it another. The authorities should stick to execcuting such a plan, which needs wide support before starting implementation.

Phuket will become much more attractive when:

– trust in policies by its politicians and (police) officers is rebuilt

– overpricing by public transport gangs is shut down

– the needless building frenzy is brought under control

Posted by Rob December 28, 2009 03:56:35PM

Reply

0    0

5

The bad sewage smell hanging over Patong and the tuk-tuk gangs preventing regular transportation will both be permanent obstacles that keep the tourists away and lower the quality of life a lot.

Posted by Buck Wild December 28, 2009 03:45:46PM

Reply

0    0

4

Could some one perhaps tell me why there are no street lights working on one of the most dangerous roads in Phuket? I refer to the road between Chalong and Kata on the most dangerous stretch of the road with twisting bends. There, it is pitch black even though there are street lights erected at the side of the road.

I have to pick up my wife from Kata every evening and it is a nightmare – speeding trucks, motorbikes without lights, buses. It's only a matter of time before there is another serious accident. I just hope i am far away when it happens.

Posted by peter booker December 28, 2009 02:46:15PM

Reply

0    0

3

Nick Davies is obviously a dreamer who needs some glasses to see the future more clearly. The environment of Phuket is already destroyed and there is no sign of hope that it will be better in the future.

Wild construction is going on now up in the hills and any nature will be gone within the next three years, even though there is no need for new buildings.

Waste water and sewage management simply do not exist.

There are violations of the law and rude behavior every day. In the last 5 years Phuket has turned into a place with no real welcome for guests, even though the guests pay their bills.

Dirtyness [sic] is on the beaches and on all public facilities, which are provided at very high rates. This is why the high paying guests stay away.

Posted by Peter Czasch

Goodness, it's nice to see such a positive and upbeat view of Phuket, Peter. Why, oh why, would you wish to live here? Happy New Year :))

Posted by Big Heinz December 28, 2009 12:07:14PM

Reply

0    0

2

After living 10 years on Phuket I left the island out of job reasons. I'm still planning to return and live there. It's an excellent place for expats with a high quality of life.

The only downside for expats are the complicated visa regulations which are time and cost intensive. You might even get the impression that foreign investment is highly welcome but the foreigners themselves are not.

Posted by Rudolf Mair December 28, 2009 09:07:54AM

Reply

0    0

1

Nick Davies is obviously a dreamer who needs some glasses to see the future more clearly. The environment of Phuket is already destroyed and there is no sign of hope that it will be better in the future.

Wild construction is going on now up in the hills and any nature will be gone within the next three years, even though there is no need for new buildings.

Waste water and sewage management simply do not exist.

There are violations of the law and rude behavior every day. In the last 5 years Phuket has turned into a place with no real welcome for guests, even though the guests pay their bills.

Dirtyness [sic] is on the beaches and on all public facilities, which are provided at very high rates. This is why the high paying guests stay away.

Posted by Peter Czasch December 27, 2009 07:03:21PM

Reply

0    0

Right push panel.

Close
© 2017 The Phuket Gazette Co Ltd | Desktop Version