361 people died during Songkran last year; Health Ministry want to cut this by 5%

April 7, 2011
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The Thai Ministry of Public Health has asked all hospitals nationwide to stay alert around the clock to deal with emergency cases during Songkran Festival, which is likely to begin as early as 11 April 2011 and last until 17 April. Public Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisit stated that he has assigned all 875 hospitals across the country to reserve blood and ensure that operation rooms and emergency wards are ready to handle frequent accidents during the Festival. The minister...

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Songkran revelers urged to avoid using high-pressure water guns

April 7, 2011
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Revelers have been advised to refrain from using high-pressure water guns in splashing water to others during the upcoming Songkran Festival while entrepreneurs are cautioned not to import dangerous water guns for sale. Prime Minister’s Office Minister Ongart Klampaiboon admitted that dangerous water guns made with plastic pipes and using the high pressure to shoot water were widely used in the past Songkran Festivals. According to him, the equipment can cause bruises on targets’ body and hurt their eyes...

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Mae Hong Son covered by smog

April 7, 2011
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The Nation newspaper is reporting that people in the northern province of Mae Hong Son are facing respiratory problems caused by the high density of smoke particles in the air from wildfires. Two flights from Mae Hong Son to Chiang Mai were cancelled over the past two days due to a black smoke cloud that caused poor visibility. According to the Pollution Control Department’s weather monitoring station, the amount of tiny dust particles in the air in Mae Hong...

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Is it safe to travel to Thailand right now?

April 7, 2011
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Is it safe to travel to Thailand right now?

Sunset in Phuket by @JamieMonk I think much of the world heard about the devastating floods that hit Southern Thailand last month. Although there are still some provinces suffering from floods and the aftermath of mudslides, many of the tourist destinations have already fully recovered. Many of the people in the South rely on tourism for their living. It was bad enough to be hit by the floods, but then for the tourists to stay away could mean a...

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Reaction on Twitter to “Taxis blockade Phuket cruise passengers”

April 6, 2011
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Reaction on Twitter to “Taxis blockade Phuket cruise passengers”

A story in the Phuket Gazette caught my attention today (see here) about taxi and tuk tuk drivers blockading the deep sea port on the island. They were complaining that tour mini buses were coming to pick up all of the passengers and that they couldn’t get any business for themselves. As you might know, this was the second time they have done this. The newspaper report says that some passengers complained because they only had a short time...

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Lin Ping can stay in Thailand for 2 more years

April 6, 2011
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Lin Ping can stay in Thailand for 2 more years

Lin Ping The Thai Panda at Chiang Mai Zoo The Chinese government has extended the period of stay in Thailand for celebrity panda Lin Ping for another two years. Lin Ping was born to Lin Hui and Xuang Xuang on May 27, 2009 at Chiang Mai Zoo in the north of Thailand through artificial insemination. Her name which means ‘Forest of Ice’ in Chinese was chosen after a nationwide name selection contest that attracted about 22 million votes. “Ping”...

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Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi

April 6, 2011
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Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi

Another place on my “Relatively Unknown Thailand” list is the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi Province. Although this temple (real name Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno)  is barely mentioned in most guidebooks, it is fast becoming one of the major attractions of Kanchanaburi. The abbot, Phra Acharn Phusit, pictured above, has been caring for abandoned tigers ever since 1999. The mother of the first cub he took in had been killed by poachers.  By that time, Phra Acharn Phusit was already known...

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Thailand expects 15% rise in Indian arrivals

April 6, 2011
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As more and more Indians take to international travel, especially to Far East destinations, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is expecting a higher double-digit growth in arrivals for 2011. In 2010, Thailand received 791,185 visitors from India while the estimated figure for 2011 is upwards of 885,000 visitors — an increase of 15% from the previous year. According to TAT officials, Indian market is very exceptional because Indians connect easily with Thailand and both nations understand each others’...

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Useful Tips for Enjoying Songkran 2011

April 5, 2011
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Useful Tips for Enjoying Songkran 2011

Next week sees the celebration for the start of the traditional Thai new year. From the 13th-15th April, Thai people will be dressing up in new clothes and visiting the local temple to make merit and to their grandparents in order to receive blessings. Afterwards, the youngsters will be out on the street taking part in the world’s biggest water fight. * If you go out during Songkran, then you are fair game. Don’t complain if you are squirted...

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Download “The Mekong” Guidebook for Free

April 5, 2011
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Download “The Mekong” Guidebook for Free

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently brought out a new guidebook called “The Mekong: Journeys along the River of Life”. Last week I gave away half a dozen copies of  this book on my Facebook page. The TAT are now offering this guidebook as a free download on their website. The book should prove an inspiration for travellers who want to take a memorable journey along the course of the mighty Mekong. The guidebook covers six major routes:...

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“Samui is safe for travel right now”

April 4, 2011
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Tourism in 11 southern Thai provinces has been severely hit by recent heavy floods. Samui was hardest-hit by storms and flooding but a lot of the damaged infrastructure is expected to be repaired and be ready for tourists before the Songkran festival. Transport routes on Koh Samui, its airport and ports have resumed operating. Reservations for the upcoming Songkran Festival are now about 50% of all available rooms, down from 70% before the floods covered the island. “We just...

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Wat Tham Sua, Tiger Cave Temple

April 4, 2011
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Wat Tham Sua, Tiger Cave Temple

Wat Tham Sua and Wat Tham Khao Noi with rice fields in the foreground When we first set up ThaiTravelBlogs.com, it was our intention on not only giving you an insight into Thai life and culture, but also showing you a bit of “Unseen Thailand”. After all, it has been the long-running mandate of Paknam Web to “Promote Thailand to the World”. If you already know Thailand, then we want you to love it more. If you have never...

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Hotel rooms in Hat Yai fully booked during Songkran festival

April 3, 2011
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Hotel rooms in Hat Yai fully booked during Songkran festival

Hotel rooms in the southern district of Hat Yai are now fully booked during Songkran festival. Despite worries over current severe flooding in the South, Mr Somchart Pimthanapoonporn, president of the Hat-Yai-Songkhla Hotel Association, said hotel rooms in Hat Yai have been fully booked between April 11-14 as tourists from Malaysia and Singapore want to join Thais in the annual water splashing festival. Although rainfall in Hat Yai has eased, Prai Pattano, mayor of Hat Yai, said officials have...

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Airport, bus ready to service Songkran travelers

April 2, 2011
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Suvarnabhumi Airport and the Transport Co, Ltd have prepared services to cope with the expected increase in the number of travelers during the upcoming Songkran festival which will start  next weekend. AoT expected that passengers using the international airport during Songkran festival between April 9-18 would be 1.5 million or an average of 150,000 persons daily, of which 80 per cent of the expected passengers would be foreigners, mostly Chinese and Taiwanese, while the rest would be revelers traveling...

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Thai Travel News: April 1st

April 1, 2011
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Thai Travel News: April 1st

THAI FESTIVALS: This weekend we have the Thai Red Cross Fair in Bangkok which runs until 7th April. On Monday 4th April there is the Poi Sang Long Ceremony which is a colourful ordination ceremony for novice monks in Mae Hong Son. The Phuket Bike Week in Phuket starts on Friday 8th April. Don’t forget Songkran is coming up and we have the comprehensive list of where and when to celebrate Songkran. FLOODING IN THAILAND: Eight provinces in mid-southern...

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41 Things Not to Be Missed in Thailand

March 30, 2011
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41 Things Not to Be Missed in Thailand

Temples on Khao Wang, Phetchaburi We have another public holiday coming up and I was browsing through my guidebooks this evening trying to find somewhere new to visit. I cannot go too far as it is only a short holiday. Anyway, I will tell you about my destination when I return after the weekend. What I want to blog about today is a “41 Things Not to be Missed” list I discovered in the Rough Guide to Thailand guidebook....

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The Floating Nun

March 28, 2011
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The Floating Nun

It is very difficult now for me to conjure up mental images of what I thought Thailand would like like before I first arrived here. It was back in 1992 when I first started thinking about Thailand. I was in Australia at the time and coming to the end of my one year work visa. (I say “work visa” but I don’t really want to give you the misconception that I was actually working. I had bought myself a station wagon...

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Mini Siam in Pattaya

March 23, 2011
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Mini Siam in Pattaya

Probably one of the main tourist attractions in the seaside resort of Pattaya is Mini Siam. This place contains miniature replicas of many sacred places and important historical sites around Thailand. There is also a section for many of the “wonders” of the world. I went there at the weekend in order to take some pictures to share with you. If you haven’t been there yet, then I advise you to take a look during your next visit to...

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Khao Khiao Open Zoo

March 21, 2011
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Khao Khiao Open Zoo

Over the weekend, a group of us went down to Pattaya for the Music Festival. This is turning in to be an annual event now where you can see some of your favourite Thai bands for free! I am now happy that I have now seen Labanoon, Taxi, Playround and Lucks Music in concert. A great experience not to be missed if you are in Pattaya this time next year. Anyway, whilst I was down there I took the...

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