Phuket Gazette

PATONG, PHUKET: Despite the mandatory insurance scheme for rental jet-skis that went into effect last month, problems between jet-ski operators and tourists persist  and scores of unregistered jet-skis continue to operate in Patong Bay.

Marine Transport Department officer Songchai Na Nakorn told the Gazette forty-one jet skis in Patong are currently out of service because their insurance applications are still being processed.

“There are currently 219 licensed jet-skis with insurance, 126 in Patong and the rest in Kamala, Kata-Karon and Bangtao. Patong has 41 that are still unregistered. The owners haven’t brought their jet-skis into the system yet because ownership documents were lost or damaged in the tsunami [five years ago].

"After the Phuket Governor issues an official letter, ownership documents can be re-issued and the owner(s) can apply for the insurance. In the meantime they are not allowed to operate on a rental basis,” he said.

Despite the insurance scheme, tourist complaints about being scammed by jet-ski operators continue unabated.

Phuket Jet Ski Club vice president Singthong Charoensap said there were over 75 jet-skis operating in Patong Bay that were completely outside the registration and insurance system.

“Right now there are over 200 jet-skis being rented out in Patong, but just 126 legal ones. The 200 include the ones that are [supposed to be] out-of-service pending receipt of the Governor’s letter,” he said.

If the renegade jet-ski operators don’t cease after the letter is issued, the owners of the legal jet-skis will pay a visit to the Governor, he said.

Operators who register are currently at a competitive disadvantage compared to their renegade counterparts, he said.

“We have to pay the insurance costs of about 8,000 baht each and bear additional expenses, such as registration renewal fees. Meanwhile, the illegal ones don’t pay anything but continue to operate. It’s not fair,” he said.

There are still some complaints from tourists being overcharged by operators, including those who do have insurance, he said.

“Recently one foreign guy damaged a rental jet-ski and the operator asked him for 1,000 baht to repair it plus 15,000 baht in additional compensation, saying the jet-ski would need to be out of service for five days while the repairs were carried out. In fact the jet-ski was rented out again the very next day, so the tourist filed a complaint with the Tourist Police, who came to help work out a solution,” he said.

Like tuk-tuk drivers, jet-ski rental operators have been at the center of an endless stream of harsh tourist complaints over the years.

Hundreds of such complaints have been posted in the Gazette Online's Readers' Forum over the past three weeks alone. While most of these are currently focused on the tuk-tuk problem, many draw parallels with the damage done by jet-skis to Phuket's tourist industry. The complaints in question can be seen at the bottom of our stories of Dec 12, Dec 20, and Dec 29 (here and here).

In a Gazette reader’s poll taken before the jet-ski insurance scheme was put in place by Phuket Governor Wichai Phraisa-ngop, 53.8% of those casting votes wanted the skis banned outright with immediate effect, while another 19.4% called for a gradual phase-out. It was hoped that the mandatory insurance scheme, the first of its kind in the world, would minimize the number of tourist complaints about jet-skis.
– Atchaa Khamlo

1

It's common knowledge that most of the people engaged in renting out jet-skis and big bikes at Patong Beach are marginal at best, with most of them members of gangs. The police seem reluctant to enforce the laws already in place.

Posted by Kidney Wiper December 31, 2009 04:33:06PM

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2

It's not that hard to figure out why the police do nothing. The question is: How long will it be allowed to continue? And the same goes for the tuk-tuk drivers.

Posted by sky December 31, 2009 06:02:19PM

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3

Money talks, and as long as the right people get a piece of the pie, nothing will ever change.

Posted by Richard December 31, 2009 06:14:00PM

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4

I thought it was too good to be true. Nothing ever changes here in Patong. The gangs don't really want tourists. They're simply looking for victims.

Posted by j d December 31, 2009 06:17:19PM

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5

 A surprise to anybody? Everybody who was thinking that these operators, who are a crowd of wolves ripping off everybody they can, would be turned into sheep, was probably very naïve. Wolves remain wolves, whether it be the jet-ski or the tuk-tuk folks.

If it is a group's philosophy to rip off other people, no law or insurance scheme will change it. It could continue forever because law enforcement is either unwilling or unable to stop it.

So the only way to deal with the jet-skis and the tuk-tuks is to totally boycott them. This could only happen if large numbers of Phuket residents would inform the tourists, but since the residents have to be afraid of losing their lives.... nothing will change.

Posted by george December 31, 2009 06:21:48PM

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6

The TAT and the Thai government will not solve this. Both the jet-ski operators and the tuk-tuk drivers have connections to powers beyond those of the authorities. But the solution is very simple. Every tour operator and government in the world needs to recognize the problem in Thailand and give correct travel advice to its citizens.

Posted by Joshua Leaves December 31, 2009 06:31:33PM

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7

No governor of Phuket has ever been able to solve the problems with the jet-skis and the tuk-tuks. This is simply because it's too dangerous.

Anonymous 'dark influence' people, especially in Patong and Kata-Karon, are connected with the tuk-tuks, jet-skis, beach chairs, motorbike and car rentals....

In my opinion, the solution to all these problems has to come from Bangkok (Police or Army). The current Governor of Phuket tries hard, maybe harder than any before him, but solving these problems is very tough.

Posted by Richi December 31, 2009 06:33:13PM

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8

Have just seen the new rules for hiring a jet-ski in a local Phuket publication. They are as follows:

"Lessee is liable for the following charges, regardless if it was his/her fault or not:

1) 1,000 baht toward the cost of repairs

2) Loss of Use charges at the rate of 3,000 baht per day for a maximum of 5 days. (Maximum payable to the Lessor: 15,000 baht)

3) If the jet-ski has overturned or been sunk, then there is a 3,000 baht charge for flushing the engine (payable to the Lessor).

This seems CRAZY and now allows the lessors to continue with their scams.

As mentioned, there have been more scams going on since the insurance was introduced. Instead of the 3-4,000 baht original charge, the tourists are now hit for 16,000-19,000 baht, and it's all written down in the contract.

Posted by Emubob December 31, 2009 07:00:55PM

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9

From the comments it's obvious once more that it's poor law enforcement that's at the root of all of Phuket's problems. Are these matters brought to the Govenor's attention, and is it true what some suggest that he may be afraid to act?

Maybe he can add a clause to the jet-ski license that mandates that any claim on a customer must be filed with the Tourist Police first. And of course the police must simply prohibit any unregistered jet-ski from operating.

Posted by Dave Lombardi December 31, 2009 07:13:33PM

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10

No governor of Phuket has ever been able to solve the problems with the jet-skis and the tuk-tuks. This is simply because it's too dangerous.

Anonymous 'dark influence' people, especially in Patong and Kata-Karon, are connected with the tuk-tuks, jet-skis, beach chairs, motorbike and car rentals....

In my opinion, the solution to all these problems has to come from Bangkok (Police or Army). The current Governor of Phuket tries hard, maybe harder than any before him, but solving these problems is very tough.

Posted by Richi

As for the jet-ski scams, that will never stop. As for the tuk-tuk drivers, there are way too many of them, so this problem will also never be fixed.

There is no way that they would ban tuk-tuks from Phuket. Yes, meters would be a good way but that would not stop some tuk-tuk drivers from not using them. Do you think the police are going to check every tuk-tuk to see if it has a meter?

Posted by Moo December 31, 2009 07:17:22PM

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11

One thing to do deal with the jet-skis and the tuk-tuks is to totally boycott them. It's up to them after that. But who cares? NOT me and not my friends. We don't need them.

Posted by Farang December 31, 2009 07:30:46PM

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12

Here we go again. We were told all this had been sorted. As soon as the high season is upon us the norm raise's it's ugly head again. It's all a waste of time and money unless the powers that be get to grips with the scammers and the money grabbers.

Posted by clickblade December 31, 2009 07:56:14PM

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13

I suppose if Phuket won't do anything about the jet-skis or the tuk-tuks, then the countries the tourists come from should warn their own people. Then if a tourist chooses to ignore the warning, he has nobody to blame but himself. It's unfortunate. If there were no jet-skis or tuk-tuks, Phuket would be much more enjoyable to visit.

Posted by Randy Hodge December 31, 2009 08:00:56PM

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14

I totally agree with Randy. As long as people want to hire jet-skis the problem will continue, same as the tuk-tuks. Now it is even worse for tourists as far as the jet-skis are concerned. Tourists are afraid they will not be able to return home as they use their passports as a guarantee for service.



I think if a problem arrives it is far better to deal via an insurance company, same you do when you have a car accident. Then the jet-ski guys will have to try to rip the insurance company, not the tourist. So make it compulsory that everyone who hires a jet-ski must pay for insurance to cover accidents, injury to people and damage to property.



Many tourists won't want to pay for the insurance, so then they will just swim or enjoy what we have in Phuket that is still free or available at a reasonable price.

Posted by Aussiejoy December 31, 2009 10:37:43PM

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15

Jet-skis are fun and people will always hire them. And tuk-tuks are the only way the tourist sees to get about in Phuket. Law enforcement in Thailand does not always work. We all know that. But no matter what you do until law enforcement becomes wholly effective – everywhere – nothing will fix any of these problems and it will just get worse.

Locals such as myself don't hire jet-skis and don't use tuk-tuks. People on holiday feed these trades and will continue to do so.

The only solution is law enforcement, so I won't hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

Posted by A Williams January 1, 2010 08:28:18AM

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19

There should be a public boycott of all use of all jet-skis. They would be forced out of business if no one used them. They are banned in Hawaii completely. No one misses them. They ruin the beaches, and who wants to listen to them at the beach and worry that some awkward tourist or local show-off will RUN THEM DOWN.

Tuk-tuks are the same. It would be harder to boycott them because they do provide a lot of transportation to tourists. I do not know any expats who use them. But some type of boycott should be publicized. Tuks-tuks are becoming an international showcase of greed and law enforcement ineptitude.

Posted by Mark Robison January 1, 2010 10:05:42AM

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20

I was at Laem Singh beach yesterday and the jet-ski operators were racing out at airport 'limousine' speeds, and accelerating back among swimmers when returning to the beach. There seems to be little regard for the safety of other beach users.

Posted by Peter January 1, 2010 11:16:46AM

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21

Thailand..."Land of SMILES". Phuket... "Pearl of the Andaman". We as expats understand this beautiful country needs to be that way. Surely the jet-ski problem can be solved by pushing environmental damage issues via a central government 'National Park Protection' scheme, such has been so successfully done in Hawai!

Tuk-tuk "gangs" are "controled" in Bangkok by offering the tourist an alternative and fun mode of transport – the tuk-tuk. You pay more to ride in one there, but it's harmless if the photo to add to your album is worth the extra cost.

Why can't Phuket have the taxi meter scheme?

Posted by Markz & Spenders January 1, 2010 11:20:35AM

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22

I spoke to a young Australian two days ago who had just paid 70,000 baht to repair the jet-ski that he put a hole in. The rip continues.

Posted by cammo January 1, 2010 11:34:03AM

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24

Why are the HOTELS not getting together? A simple additional page in the information booklet in every guest room would probably help. "Avoid tuk-tuks and jet-skis."

Posted by herbert January 1, 2010 01:53:48PM

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25

I think most of the drivers rent the tuk-tuks, probably from some influential people who are happy to field as many as possible. Nothing is going to change.

Posted by Harvey January 1, 2010 02:02:14PM

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28

Good Bye to 2009. The jet-skis have been brought in line and the tuk-tuks are having a hard time. So Phuket is doing just fine!

Welcome to 2010. I now find it's all been in vain. The 'gangs' are performing again. When is it all going to end?

Posted by Laffinmahedoff January 1, 2010 04:07:09PM

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29

The only thing to do with jet-skis and tuk-tuks is to boycott them. I've been boycotting jet-skis for 20 years, and tuk-tuks for 5 years (before that I used tuk-tuks 6 time a week for 6 months).

Posted by enrico January 2, 2010 02:31:44PM

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30

Does anyone have the e-mail address of the TAT office in Phuket? If everyone had it, then they could send the TAT their suggestions, complaints, etc, so that they will learn that there IS a problem over there on the beaches. Hope Phuket Gazette can help with this and publish the adress under their links.

Posted by Karsten January 1, 2010 06:07:28PM

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31

Have just seen the new rules for hiring a jet-ski in a local Phuket publication. They are as follows:

"Lessee is liable for the following charges, regardless if it was his/her fault or not:

1) 1,000 baht toward the cost of repairs

2) Loss of Use charges at the rate of 3,000 baht per day for a maximum of 5 days. (Maximum payable to the Lessor: 15,000 baht)

3) If the jet-ski has overturned or been sunk, then there is a 3,000 baht charge for flushing the engine (payable to the Lessor).

This seems CRAZY and now allows the lessors to continue with their scams.

As mentioned, there have been more scams going on since the insurance was introduced. Instead of the 3-4,000 baht original charge, the tourists are now hit for 16,000-19,000 baht, and it's all written down in the contract.

Posted by Emubob

As far as I am aware there is no such thing as an engine flush for jet-skis. They are designed to be overturned. Its a complete scam. Just another way to extort 3,000 baht.

Posted by Antz Pantz January 1, 2010 07:10:56PM

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32

Does anyone have the e-mail address of the TAT office in Phuket? If everyone had it, then they could send the TAT their suggestions, complaints, etc, so that they will learn that there IS a problem over there on the beaches. Hope Phuket Gazette can help with this and publish the adress under their links.

Posted by Karsten

Easy. They have an email form at http://www.tourismthailand.org/contact-us/  Good luck.

Posted by Editor, Gazette Online January 1, 2010 07:23:59PM

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33

A few years ago an American tourist went to the TAT Office with a few photos taken by him from the dirty beaches of Karon and Kata. He was shown the door with no satisfaction. Maybe nobody at the TAT would even read our emails.

Posted by herbert January 1, 2010 08:34:59PM

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34

Enjoy the sun, sand, sea, drink and food and forget about the jet-skis and tuk-tuk! That's how I learned to enjoy my winters here in Phuket. If nobody uses these things they'll be gone. That's the only thing that can help!

Posted by Fred January 1, 2010 09:14:02PM

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35

I spoke to a young Australian two days ago who had just paid 70,000 baht to repair the jet-ski that he put a hole in. The rip continues.

Posted by cammo

This needs to be reported to the Tourist Police. A call should've been made to the Tourist Police prior to any amount of money being paid. Call 1155, or better still go on line and get the number of the Tourist Police person/Volunteer who speaks your language and call them directly. If this doesn't get results, then report to the Police Station. There is always a Thai Tourist Police Officer on duty there. Obviously the on line solution should be done prior to getting up to your neck in it.

Posted by Dive Doc January 1, 2010 09:46:41PM

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36

The current Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) South Region Four Office in Phuket has only been in the job for about a month. Some dark forces in ' The Land of Smiles' will soon tell her what the position is. Let's see what happens.

Posted by No thank you January 2, 2010 10:19:55AM

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37

A few years ago an American tourist went to the TAT Office with a few photos taken by him from the dirty beaches of Karon and Kata. He was shown the door with no satisfaction. Maybe nobody at the TAT would even read our emails.

Posted by herbert

You just might be surprised about that. But if you don't record your views and/or opinions there, and if everyone just waits for Someone Else to do it, then it might be unreasonable to expect change. 

Posted by Editor, Gazette Online January 2, 2010 11:46:19AM

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38

While nobody seriously expects the local authorities do anything about jet-skis or tuk-tuks, foreign embassies must strongly advise tourists not to rent either one. As it has been said here many times, if nobody rents them, they will either go out of business or change for the better.

Posted by Robbie Einhorn January 2, 2010 12:33:31PM

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39

Why are the HOTELS not getting together? A simple additional page in the information booklet in every guest room would probably help. "Avoid tuk-tuks and jet-skis."

Posted by herbert

Good idea, but what do you think will happen to the hotels who dared to do something like that? We always tell our guests to avoid certain watersports and styles of transportation, but it would be suicide to write it down anywhere in public

Posted by Patong Hotel Owner January 2, 2010 08:46:24PM

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41

The jet-ski and tuk-tTuk problems can only be controlled through lack of use. Tourists need to abstain. However, with no other transport options available how can they? Driving standards are low in Thailand and tourists (many of them) do not feel safe driving. Very difficult to get around the taxi problem.

Now the jet-skis are another matter. "Do not hire a jet-ski in Thailand". That should be on all travel advice documents from all countries, period.

Posted by phil January 3, 2010 03:55:16PM

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42

Have just seen the new rules for hiring a jet-ski in a local Phuket publication. They are as follows:

"Lessee is liable for the following charges, regardless if it was his/her fault or not:

1) 1,000 baht toward the cost of repairs

2) Loss of Use charges at the rate of 3,000 baht per day for a maximum of 5 days. (Maximum payable to the Lessor: 15,000 baht)

3) If the jet-ski has overturned or been sunk, then there is a 3,000 baht charge for flushing the engine (payable to the Lessor).

This seems CRAZY and now allows the lessors to continue with their scams.

As mentioned, there have been more scams going on since the insurance was introduced. Instead of the 3-4,000 baht original charge, the tourists are now hit for 16,000-19,000 baht, and it's all written down in the contract.

Posted by Emubob

As far as I am aware there is no such thing as an engine flush for jet-skis. They are designed to be overturned. Its a complete scam. Just another way to extort 3,000 baht.

Posted by Antz Pantz

If a jet-ski stalls and overturns, the engine is unable to eject the water. The carburetor will take in contaminated water (salt) and will need to be flushed out.

My question is this: If these vehicles are insured to protect Lessees from paying for damages, then why are they still paying? If they must pay anything at all, it should certainly be no more than the deductible as indicated by the insurance company in the contract – and the insurance company has to pay the remainder. This deductible amount must be shown to, and agreed to by, the Lessee prior to renting and it would be the same amount across the board. This way, all the  Lessees would understand that they could be held liable for a "set" amount if the machine is damaged during their rental.

Posted by Dive Doc January 3, 2010 07:24:39PM

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43

A few years ago an American tourist went to the TAT Office with a few photos taken by him from the dirty beaches of Karon and Kata. He was shown the door with no satisfaction. Maybe nobody at the TAT would even read our emails.

Posted by herbert

You just might be surprised about that. But if you don't record your views and/or opinions there, and if everyone just waits for Someone Else to do it, then it might be unreasonable to expect change. 

Posted by Editor, Gazette Online

I think you're doing an awesome job and in a very fair and timely manner. Thank you for this opportunity to voice our concerns. I am confident that if we remain focused and continue with our thoughts, things will change for the better. I wish that concerned government officials would consider posting their responses and/or solutions for all to read here. We need to know that they are interested in acting on these issues.

Happy New Year 2010 / 2553.

Posted by Dive Doc January 3, 2010 07:34:40PM

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44

I agree that a total boycott of jet-skis and tuk-tuks is the only way to get rid of these undesirables. I have lived on Phuket for 15 years now, and I have never touched a jet-ski. And it is at least 10 years since I've used a tuk-tuk. I learnt long ago not to trust any of them. Even for tourists there are other, better options than the tuk-tuks if they took the time to look around or ask.

Posted by Greg January 5, 2010 03:45:54PM

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45

I am planning to travel to Phuket in a couple of weeks. I get that I am NOT to hire a jet-ski, and should avoid tuk-tuks like the plague. A couple of people have mentioned 'other options' for tourists to get around, but, with respect, no one has actually said what these 'options' are?

Hiring a car is pointless as we're there for only 4 days and don't need a car, and not ideal because we don't feel safe driving there. What can we tourists do to get around in Phuket? If you can tell me what, I will do it!

Posted by There in 2 weeks... January 11, 2010 11:55:44AM

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46

I am planning to travel to Phuket in a couple of weeks. I get that I am NOT to hire a jet-ski, and should avoid tuk-tuks like the plague. A couple of people have mentioned 'other options' for tourists to get around, but, with respect, no one has actually said what these 'options' are?

Hiring a car is pointless as we're there for only 4 days and don't need a car, and not ideal because we don't feel safe driving there. What can we tourists do to get around in Phuket? If you can tell me what, I will do it!

Posted by There in 2 weeks...

I know of a couple of reliable taxis. If you would like their contact details I would be happy to get their telephone numbers for you.

Posted by kevin January 17, 2010 10:25:11AM

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46

I am planning to travel to Phuket in a couple of weeks. I get that I am NOT to hire a jet-ski, and should avoid tuk-tuks like the plague. A couple of people have mentioned 'other options' for tourists to get around, but, with respect, no one has actually said what these 'options' are?

Hiring a car is pointless as we're there for only 4 days and don't need a car, and not ideal because we don't feel safe driving there. What can we tourists do to get around in Phuket? If you can tell me what, I will do it!

Posted by There in 2 weeks...

I know of a couple of reliable taxis. If you would like their contact details I would be happy to get their telephone numbers for you.

Posted by kevin January 17, 2010 10:25:11AM

Reply

0    0

45

I am planning to travel to Phuket in a couple of weeks. I get that I am NOT to hire a jet-ski, and should avoid tuk-tuks like the plague. A couple of people have mentioned 'other options' for tourists to get around, but, with respect, no one has actually said what these 'options' are?

Hiring a car is pointless as we're there for only 4 days and don't need a car, and not ideal because we don't feel safe driving there. What can we tourists do to get around in Phuket? If you can tell me what, I will do it!

Posted by There in 2 weeks... January 11, 2010 11:55:44AM

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0    0

44

I agree that a total boycott of jet-skis and tuk-tuks is the only way to get rid of these undesirables. I have lived on Phuket for 15 years now, and I have never touched a jet-ski. And it is at least 10 years since I've used a tuk-tuk. I learnt long ago not to trust any of them. Even for tourists there are other, better options than the tuk-tuks if they took the time to look around or ask.

Posted by Greg January 5, 2010 03:45:54PM

Reply

0    0

43

A few years ago an American tourist went to the TAT Office with a few photos taken by him from the dirty beaches of Karon and Kata. He was shown the door with no satisfaction. Maybe nobody at the TAT would even read our emails.

Posted by herbert

You just might be surprised about that. But if you don't record your views and/or opinions there, and if everyone just waits for Someone Else to do it, then it might be unreasonable to expect change. 

Posted by Editor, Gazette Online

I think you're doing an awesome job and in a very fair and timely manner. Thank you for this opportunity to voice our concerns. I am confident that if we remain focused and continue with our thoughts, things will change for the better. I wish that concerned government officials would consider posting their responses and/or solutions for all to read here. We need to know that they are interested in acting on these issues.

Happy New Year 2010 / 2553.

Posted by Dive Doc January 3, 2010 07:34:40PM

Reply

0    0

42

Have just seen the new rules for hiring a jet-ski in a local Phuket publication. They are as follows:

"Lessee is liable for the following charges, regardless if it was his/her fault or not:

1) 1,000 baht toward the cost of repairs

2) Loss of Use charges at the rate of 3,000 baht per day for a maximum of 5 days. (Maximum payable to the Lessor: 15,000 baht)

3) If the jet-ski has overturned or been sunk, then there is a 3,000 baht charge for flushing the engine (payable to the Lessor).

This seems CRAZY and now allows the lessors to continue with their scams.

As mentioned, there have been more scams going on since the insurance was introduced. Instead of the 3-4,000 baht original charge, the tourists are now hit for 16,000-19,000 baht, and it's all written down in the contract.

Posted by Emubob

As far as I am aware there is no such thing as an engine flush for jet-skis. They are designed to be overturned. Its a complete scam. Just another way to extort 3,000 baht.

Posted by Antz Pantz

If a jet-ski stalls and overturns, the engine is unable to eject the water. The carburetor will take in contaminated water (salt) and will need to be flushed out.

My question is this: If these vehicles are insured to protect Lessees from paying for damages, then why are they still paying? If they must pay anything at all, it should certainly be no more than the deductible as indicated by the insurance company in the contract – and the insurance company has to pay the remainder. This deductible amount must be shown to, and agreed to by, the Lessee prior to renting and it would be the same amount across the board. This way, all the  Lessees would understand that they could be held liable for a "set" amount if the machine is damaged during their rental.

Posted by Dive Doc January 3, 2010 07:24:39PM

Reply

0    0

41

The jet-ski and tuk-tTuk problems can only be controlled through lack of use. Tourists need to abstain. However, with no other transport options available how can they? Driving standards are low in Thailand and tourists (many of them) do not feel safe driving. Very difficult to get around the taxi problem.

Now the jet-skis are another matter. "Do not hire a jet-ski in Thailand". That should be on all travel advice documents from all countries, period.

Posted by phil January 3, 2010 03:55:16PM

Reply

0    0

39

Why are the HOTELS not getting together? A simple additional page in the information booklet in every guest room would probably help. "Avoid tuk-tuks and jet-skis."

Posted by herbert

Good idea, but what do you think will happen to the hotels who dared to do something like that? We always tell our guests to avoid certain watersports and styles of transportation, but it would be suicide to write it down anywhere in public

Posted by Patong Hotel Owner January 2, 2010 08:46:24PM

Reply

0    0

38

While nobody seriously expects the local authorities do anything about jet-skis or tuk-tuks, foreign embassies must strongly advise tourists not to rent either one. As it has been said here many times, if nobody rents them, they will either go out of business or change for the better.

Posted by Robbie Einhorn January 2, 2010 12:33:31PM

Reply

0    0

37

A few years ago an American tourist went to the TAT Office with a few photos taken by him from the dirty beaches of Karon and Kata. He was shown the door with no satisfaction. Maybe nobody at the TAT would even read our emails.

Posted by herbert

You just might be surprised about that. But if you don't record your views and/or opinions there, and if everyone just waits for Someone Else to do it, then it might be unreasonable to expect change. 

Posted by Editor, Gazette Online January 2, 2010 11:46:19AM

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The current Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) South Region Four Office in Phuket has only been in the job for about a month. Some dark forces in ' The Land of Smiles' will soon tell her what the position is. Let's see what happens.

Posted by No thank you January 2, 2010 10:19:55AM

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I spoke to a young Australian two days ago who had just paid 70,000 baht to repair the jet-ski that he put a hole in. The rip continues.

Posted by cammo

This needs to be reported to the Tourist Police. A call should've been made to the Tourist Police prior to any amount of money being paid. Call 1155, or better still go on line and get the number of the Tourist Police person/Volunteer who speaks your language and call them directly. If this doesn't get results, then report to the Police Station. There is always a Thai Tourist Police Officer on duty there. Obviously the on line solution should be done prior to getting up to your neck in it.

Posted by Dive Doc January 1, 2010 09:46:41PM

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Enjoy the sun, sand, sea, drink and food and forget about the jet-skis and tuk-tuk! That's how I learned to enjoy my winters here in Phuket. If nobody uses these things they'll be gone. That's the only thing that can help!

Posted by Fred January 1, 2010 09:14:02PM

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A few years ago an American tourist went to the TAT Office with a few photos taken by him from the dirty beaches of Karon and Kata. He was shown the door with no satisfaction. Maybe nobody at the TAT would even read our emails.

Posted by herbert January 1, 2010 08:34:59PM

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Does anyone have the e-mail address of the TAT office in Phuket? If everyone had it, then they could send the TAT their suggestions, complaints, etc, so that they will learn that there IS a problem over there on the beaches. Hope Phuket Gazette can help with this and publish the adress under their links.

Posted by Karsten

Easy. They have an email form at http://www.tourismthailand.org/contact-us/  Good luck.

Posted by Editor, Gazette Online January 1, 2010 07:23:59PM

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Have just seen the new rules for hiring a jet-ski in a local Phuket publication. They are as follows:

"Lessee is liable for the following charges, regardless if it was his/her fault or not:

1) 1,000 baht toward the cost of repairs

2) Loss of Use charges at the rate of 3,000 baht per day for a maximum of 5 days. (Maximum payable to the Lessor: 15,000 baht)

3) If the jet-ski has overturned or been sunk, then there is a 3,000 baht charge for flushing the engine (payable to the Lessor).

This seems CRAZY and now allows the lessors to continue with their scams.

As mentioned, there have been more scams going on since the insurance was introduced. Instead of the 3-4,000 baht original charge, the tourists are now hit for 16,000-19,000 baht, and it's all written down in the contract.

Posted by Emubob

As far as I am aware there is no such thing as an engine flush for jet-skis. They are designed to be overturned. Its a complete scam. Just another way to extort 3,000 baht.

Posted by Antz Pantz January 1, 2010 07:10:56PM

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Does anyone have the e-mail address of the TAT office in Phuket? If everyone had it, then they could send the TAT their suggestions, complaints, etc, so that they will learn that there IS a problem over there on the beaches. Hope Phuket Gazette can help with this and publish the adress under their links.

Posted by Karsten January 1, 2010 06:07:28PM

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The only thing to do with jet-skis and tuk-tuks is to boycott them. I've been boycotting jet-skis for 20 years, and tuk-tuks for 5 years (before that I used tuk-tuks 6 time a week for 6 months).

Posted by enrico January 2, 2010 02:31:44PM

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Good Bye to 2009. The jet-skis have been brought in line and the tuk-tuks are having a hard time. So Phuket is doing just fine!

Welcome to 2010. I now find it's all been in vain. The 'gangs' are performing again. When is it all going to end?

Posted by Laffinmahedoff January 1, 2010 04:07:09PM

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I think most of the drivers rent the tuk-tuks, probably from some influential people who are happy to field as many as possible. Nothing is going to change.

Posted by Harvey January 1, 2010 02:02:14PM

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Why are the HOTELS not getting together? A simple additional page in the information booklet in every guest room would probably help. "Avoid tuk-tuks and jet-skis."

Posted by herbert January 1, 2010 01:53:48PM

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I spoke to a young Australian two days ago who had just paid 70,000 baht to repair the jet-ski that he put a hole in. The rip continues.

Posted by cammo January 1, 2010 11:34:03AM

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Thailand..."Land of SMILES". Phuket... "Pearl of the Andaman". We as expats understand this beautiful country needs to be that way. Surely the jet-ski problem can be solved by pushing environmental damage issues via a central government 'National Park Protection' scheme, such has been so successfully done in Hawai!

Tuk-tuk "gangs" are "controled" in Bangkok by offering the tourist an alternative and fun mode of transport – the tuk-tuk. You pay more to ride in one there, but it's harmless if the photo to add to your album is worth the extra cost.

Why can't Phuket have the taxi meter scheme?

Posted by Markz & Spenders January 1, 2010 11:20:35AM

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I was at Laem Singh beach yesterday and the jet-ski operators were racing out at airport 'limousine' speeds, and accelerating back among swimmers when returning to the beach. There seems to be little regard for the safety of other beach users.

Posted by Peter January 1, 2010 11:16:46AM

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There should be a public boycott of all use of all jet-skis. They would be forced out of business if no one used them. They are banned in Hawaii completely. No one misses them. They ruin the beaches, and who wants to listen to them at the beach and worry that some awkward tourist or local show-off will RUN THEM DOWN.

Tuk-tuks are the same. It would be harder to boycott them because they do provide a lot of transportation to tourists. I do not know any expats who use them. But some type of boycott should be publicized. Tuks-tuks are becoming an international showcase of greed and law enforcement ineptitude.

Posted by Mark Robison January 1, 2010 10:05:42AM

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Jet-skis are fun and people will always hire them. And tuk-tuks are the only way the tourist sees to get about in Phuket. Law enforcement in Thailand does not always work. We all know that. But no matter what you do until law enforcement becomes wholly effective – everywhere – nothing will fix any of these problems and it will just get worse.

Locals such as myself don't hire jet-skis and don't use tuk-tuks. People on holiday feed these trades and will continue to do so.

The only solution is law enforcement, so I won't hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

Posted by A Williams January 1, 2010 08:28:18AM

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I totally agree with Randy. As long as people want to hire jet-skis the problem will continue, same as the tuk-tuks. Now it is even worse for tourists as far as the jet-skis are concerned. Tourists are afraid they will not be able to return home as they use their passports as a guarantee for service.



I think if a problem arrives it is far better to deal via an insurance company, same you do when you have a car accident. Then the jet-ski guys will have to try to rip the insurance company, not the tourist. So make it compulsory that everyone who hires a jet-ski must pay for insurance to cover accidents, injury to people and damage to property.



Many tourists won't want to pay for the insurance, so then they will just swim or enjoy what we have in Phuket that is still free or available at a reasonable price.

Posted by Aussiejoy December 31, 2009 10:37:43PM

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I suppose if Phuket won't do anything about the jet-skis or the tuk-tuks, then the countries the tourists come from should warn their own people. Then if a tourist chooses to ignore the warning, he has nobody to blame but himself. It's unfortunate. If there were no jet-skis or tuk-tuks, Phuket would be much more enjoyable to visit.

Posted by Randy Hodge December 31, 2009 08:00:56PM

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Here we go again. We were told all this had been sorted. As soon as the high season is upon us the norm raise's it's ugly head again. It's all a waste of time and money unless the powers that be get to grips with the scammers and the money grabbers.

Posted by clickblade December 31, 2009 07:56:14PM

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One thing to do deal with the jet-skis and the tuk-tuks is to totally boycott them. It's up to them after that. But who cares? NOT me and not my friends. We don't need them.

Posted by Farang December 31, 2009 07:30:46PM

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No governor of Phuket has ever been able to solve the problems with the jet-skis and the tuk-tuks. This is simply because it's too dangerous.

Anonymous 'dark influence' people, especially in Patong and Kata-Karon, are connected with the tuk-tuks, jet-skis, beach chairs, motorbike and car rentals....

In my opinion, the solution to all these problems has to come from Bangkok (Police or Army). The current Governor of Phuket tries hard, maybe harder than any before him, but solving these problems is very tough.

Posted by Richi

As for the jet-ski scams, that will never stop. As for the tuk-tuk drivers, there are way too many of them, so this problem will also never be fixed.

There is no way that they would ban tuk-tuks from Phuket. Yes, meters would be a good way but that would not stop some tuk-tuk drivers from not using them. Do you think the police are going to check every tuk-tuk to see if it has a meter?

Posted by Moo December 31, 2009 07:17:22PM

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From the comments it's obvious once more that it's poor law enforcement that's at the root of all of Phuket's problems. Are these matters brought to the Govenor's attention, and is it true what some suggest that he may be afraid to act?

Maybe he can add a clause to the jet-ski license that mandates that any claim on a customer must be filed with the Tourist Police first. And of course the police must simply prohibit any unregistered jet-ski from operating.

Posted by Dave Lombardi December 31, 2009 07:13:33PM

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Have just seen the new rules for hiring a jet-ski in a local Phuket publication. They are as follows:

"Lessee is liable for the following charges, regardless if it was his/her fault or not:

1) 1,000 baht toward the cost of repairs

2) Loss of Use charges at the rate of 3,000 baht per day for a maximum of 5 days. (Maximum payable to the Lessor: 15,000 baht)

3) If the jet-ski has overturned or been sunk, then there is a 3,000 baht charge for flushing the engine (payable to the Lessor).

This seems CRAZY and now allows the lessors to continue with their scams.

As mentioned, there have been more scams going on since the insurance was introduced. Instead of the 3-4,000 baht original charge, the tourists are now hit for 16,000-19,000 baht, and it's all written down in the contract.

Posted by Emubob December 31, 2009 07:00:55PM

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No governor of Phuket has ever been able to solve the problems with the jet-skis and the tuk-tuks. This is simply because it's too dangerous.

Anonymous 'dark influence' people, especially in Patong and Kata-Karon, are connected with the tuk-tuks, jet-skis, beach chairs, motorbike and car rentals....

In my opinion, the solution to all these problems has to come from Bangkok (Police or Army). The current Governor of Phuket tries hard, maybe harder than any before him, but solving these problems is very tough.

Posted by Richi December 31, 2009 06:33:13PM

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The TAT and the Thai government will not solve this. Both the jet-ski operators and the tuk-tuk drivers have connections to powers beyond those of the authorities. But the solution is very simple. Every tour operator and government in the world needs to recognize the problem in Thailand and give correct travel advice to its citizens.

Posted by Joshua Leaves December 31, 2009 06:31:33PM

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 A surprise to anybody? Everybody who was thinking that these operators, who are a crowd of wolves ripping off everybody they can, would be turned into sheep, was probably very naïve. Wolves remain wolves, whether it be the jet-ski or the tuk-tuk folks.

If it is a group's philosophy to rip off other people, no law or insurance scheme will change it. It could continue forever because law enforcement is either unwilling or unable to stop it.

So the only way to deal with the jet-skis and the tuk-tuks is to totally boycott them. This could only happen if large numbers of Phuket residents would inform the tourists, but since the residents have to be afraid of losing their lives.... nothing will change.

Posted by george December 31, 2009 06:21:48PM

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I thought it was too good to be true. Nothing ever changes here in Patong. The gangs don't really want tourists. They're simply looking for victims.

Posted by j d December 31, 2009 06:17:19PM

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Money talks, and as long as the right people get a piece of the pie, nothing will ever change.

Posted by Richard December 31, 2009 06:14:00PM

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It's not that hard to figure out why the police do nothing. The question is: How long will it be allowed to continue? And the same goes for the tuk-tuk drivers.

Posted by sky December 31, 2009 06:02:19PM

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It's common knowledge that most of the people engaged in renting out jet-skis and big bikes at Patong Beach are marginal at best, with most of them members of gangs. The police seem reluctant to enforce the laws already in place.

Posted by Kidney Wiper December 31, 2009 04:33:06PM

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