Larn Island receiving multi-million baht “facelift”
City plans to reclaim lost paradise for tourists
Presently, Koh Larn is going through an environmental
crisis, but there is a plan on the drawing board to upgrade the island and
whip it into shape. A sizable budget has been allocated for infrastructure
expansion and city officials are throwing a spotlight on the island’s
city administration is upgrading roads, landscaping, building offices and
toilets and generally throwing a spotlight on Larn Island, hoping to stop
the island’s degradation and turn it into the paradise it is capable of
Construction of the infrastructure is progressing.
Paving tiles are being placed along the 1.5 kilometers which join Nuan
Beach, Samae Beach and Tien Beach. Contractors are also building public
toilets. The placement of all-purpose lawn sections is underway and a
multi-purpose building is in the works which will serve as a branch city
office, tourist police office and a Pattaya police station.
A decision on a new trash incinerator will hopefully be
reached in the next few months.
Island’s popularity has begun to outgrow its infrastructure, and the
city is now trying to rectify the matter. One of the projects, shown here,
is improving the roads connecting Nuan, Samae and Tien beaches.
Twenty million baht has been allocated for the
construction of a tourist residential resort around Samae Beach. But
currently there is a pressing problem with squatters and trespassers on
the 325 rai at Samae Beach which must be solved.
Akkapon Pruksawan, planning director for TAT said that
much attention is being given to Koh Larn, as many local and international
tourists have registered concern about the degradation of the island.
Kingdom touring teacher and student cycle through Pattaya
Plans to ride through all 76 provinces - then the world
Sukrit Bantong, the 59-year-old principal of
Barntarnsuwan School in Pitsanuloke, is attempting to become the first
person to cycle around all of Thailand’s 76 provinces. And once that’s
done, he plans to circumnavigate the globe on his bicycle.
Bantong, the 59-year-old principal of Barntarnsuwan School in Pitsanuloke,
pedaled through Pattaya last week as part of his attempt to become the
first person to cycle around all of Thailand’s 76 provinces. Once
that’s done, he hopes to become the first Thai person to circumnavigate
the globe on his bicycle.
Cycling around the world is certainly a test of
endurance, but Sukrit Bantong is determined to be the first Thai person
ever to achieve this amazing feat.
Sukrit and his trusty sidekick Singharat Tongjung, a
19-year-old student from the Pitsanulok School of Technology, passed
through Pattaya last week as the two completed their Pattaya-Rayong stage.
The two received a hearty welcome from Pattaya’s
deputy mayor Nirun Watanasathatorn and his staff.
Bantong said the purpose of the trip is to promote
tourism and to join in the celebration of Bangkok’s 220 years of
After resting for 3 days, he rode on to Bangkok to
complete the next stage of what will eventually be a 143-day (not
including rest breaks), 10,000-kilometer journey. Bantong said that he
uses his weekends and annual holidays to ride his bike across the country
in order to be listed as the first person to ride through all 76
provinces. He said he began his journey on the 15th of October 2000, and
expects to complete his record-breaking ride on the 30th of December this
Bantong will tour around Bangkok on his bike for three
days then return home to rest for 2 or 3 months to allow his body to
recuperate. When he feels revitalized he’ll make a more extensive tour
of various provinces before riding to several neighboring countries to
gain experience and prepare for his round the world ride scheduled to
begin on the 2nd of January 2005.
and Singharat, shown here with members of the Pattaya Bicycle Club,
received a grand reception at city hall.
The first stop on that journey will be Myanmar. Then
Bantong will ride through Southeast Asia. From there he plans to continue
to ride his trusty bike around the globe, visiting some 59 countries,
through Europe, America and Asia.
Bantong will return via Cambodia to arrive home in
Pitsanuloke on the 30th of December 2010. His complete journey will take 5
years and cover 80,000 kilometers.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand will sponsor his
daily expenses and accommodation during his trip around the globe.
Cobra Gold 2002 expected to generate over B100 million into Thai economy
The upcoming joint military exercise between the United
States, Singapore, and Thailand is expected to generate over B100 million
into the Thai economy.
The tripartite military exercise this year, known as
the 21st Cobra Gold 2002, is being held in Thailand between May 14 and 28.
About 14,000 American troops from the U.S. Army, Marines, Special
Operation Command, Military Sealift Command, U.S. Pacific Air Force, Air
Combat Command, and Air Mobility Command, will join 7,700 Thai and 70
Singapore troops in taking part in the annual military exercise.
The 14-day joint military exercise, with more than
double the number of participating U.S. forces from last year’s 4,973,
will include peacekeeping missions, as well as operations to suppress
international terrorism and drugs trafficking.
The anti-terrorism training will be focused on handling
of chemical and biological weapons, namely anthrax, and the use of safety
gear to contain and dispose of devastating weapons, and on the evacuation
The exercise will take place in the provinces of
Chonburi, Rayong, Chantaburi, Prachinburi, Sa Kaew, and Lopburi, with the
U-Tapao Air Base in Chonburi to serve as the command post.
Over 70 U.S. aircraft, including F16 and F-18 jet
fighters, and C-130 transporters, as well as about 3,000 transport and
armored vehicles will be used for the tripartite military training.
Apart from the nearly 14,000 visiting U.S. and
Singapore troops, the exercise will also be observed by delegates from 18
countries, including Australia, France, Japan, South Korea, Russia, China,
Fuji, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Cambodia,
Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Tonga. (TNA)
Thai-Chinese consortium invests 300 million baht for tourist submarine
Plan also calls for building an artificial reef
Boonsong Orsook, the president of the High-Tech
Submarine Co. announced plans to start a submarine service for tourists in
Pattaya Bay by the end of the year.
Speaking at the Montien Hotel Pattaya, Orsook said that
his company has joined with a group of Chinese businessmen to invest 300
million baht to create a new company to conduct underwater tours off the
coast of Pattaya. They chose Pattaya because of its reputation as a
tourist destination and the fact the city attracts tourists from all over
The submarine has been built from scratch using the
latest overseas technology. It is 23.5 meters long with clear glass sides
and can dive to a level of 30 meters. It has a top speed of 3 knots and
has enough seating for 50 passengers.
Apart from promoting tourism in Pattaya, it’s
expected to raise more than 2 billion baht in revenue per year and create
over 500 new jobs.
The group hopes to use the submarine as an important
selling point to promote the natural beauty of the sea. Their plans
include building an artificial reef along the route of the submarine. The
plans for the reef are currently being studied by the department of
The submarine will undergo sea trials, safety and
structural tests in October before entering service. The company hopes to
begin the service by November 1 this year.
Rayong welcomes the fruit season
Fruit Fair runs until May 12
Chanchai Duang Chit, director of TAT Region 4 announced
the Provincial Fruits and Products Festival 2002 will run until May 12 at
the ‘Ta pong Agricultural Center Market’ in Rayong. The festival falls
under the themes of the national tourist campaign, “Thailand Grand
Festival”, which has as its them in May, “Thai Fruit Festival -
Rayong is Thailand’s premier fruit province, and the
exotic durian is the jewel in its crown. The National Fruit Festival held
there every year in the month of May is a showcase for the region’s
magnificent variety of fruit.
This is the time of year when fruits flood into the
markets and tourists have the chance to sample the best the nation has to
Activities of the festival include the Miss Fruit
competition, cock beauty contest, plants and flowers contest, the cart
decoration competition, agricultural bi-product competition, durian,
rambutan and pineapple eating contests, exhibitions and stage
entertainment, plus there will be an abundance of lumyai, lynches, and
mung kud as well as durian and rambutans.
In related news, Rayong administrators and
agricultural, commercial and internal trade departments recently held a
meeting to discuss the upgrading and promotion of its fruits, particularly
the durian. Praphan Chonvirawong, Rayong’s governor said that this year
Rayong will stress the quality of its agricultural product, especially the
durian. There will be penalties dealt to those who sell bad quality
To prove how serious they are about their durian, a
“durian inspector” will be assigned from the provincial agricultural,
commercial, and internal trade department to keep track of, and control
over the standard of durian.
At the beginning of the season, farmers may see
depressed prices for their products, therefore the governor said a
committee will be set up to deal with three related issues.
First, better distribution of products to other regions
should boost sales. Second, selling bi-products of the fruit, such as
chewy durian and durian fries, to large packaging companies, middlemen or
brokers will help stabilize prices. Last, allowing exporters membership in
the ‘Strategic Alliance Cooperation’ will assure high standards and
Physical education standards in local schools need improving
Department of Physical Education wants to get everyone involved
Following government legislation handed down by the
Ministry of Education in 1999, a quality assurance program was planned to
enable local schools to raise their level of efficiency, as well as
improve quality and standards for students at all levels.
director general of Physical Education, Taweesak Sookswat presided over a
May 1 meeting of the region’s educators to discuss implementation of the
Ministry of Education’s new quality assurance program.
Aimed at raising the standard of education, new
policies are being implemented in the areas of quality control. Quality
audits and a quality assessment will also be closely monitored by the
office of national standards.
Deputy director general of Physical Education, Taweesak
Sookswat presided over a meeting May 1 of the region’s educators to
discuss implementation of the new program, and to further develop the
system for physical education in schools under the control of his
Once the program is implemented, the department hopes
to evoke more cooperation and participation from students, parents,
teachers and the community since better education benefits all of society.
Floating disco owner gets wrist slapped by city
Given 7 days to make improvements
The Hollywood At Sea Disco needs more life jackets and
needs to improve its fire extinguishing system. Thus was the conclusion of
deputy mayor Wuthisak Ruemkitchakarn and officials from the Hygiene and
Environmental Department who went out to inspect the floating
entertainment vessel last week.
mayor Wuthisak Ruemkitchakarn and officials from the Hygiene and
Environmental Department found a few flaws aboard the Hollywood At Sea
entertainment boat, and gave the owner 7 days to make the upgrades.
The owner of the floating disco, Vichai Rodpia, who
also happens to be a member of the city council, was given 7 days to
conclude the upgrades. Vichai said that he has already ordered more than
two thousand safety vests for the customers and staff.
It appears the floating disco is also operating without
a license, but Banglamung district chief Chaen Cheunsiva said Vichai has
applied for one. The application is for a license to open a restaurant
aboard a boat moored near South Pattaya Pier. The application is now under
consideration by Chonburi Province.
The deputy mayor and his crew of officials went out to
inspect the boat to ensure it was operating in a safe manner and that it
wasn’t posing any danger to tourists or the environment.
The inspection crew concluded that the entertainment
barge is handling its waste and wastewater properly.
The Hollywood At Sea, which was formerly a floating
restaurant called King Star, recently underwent twenty million baht worth
of renovations in its transformation into an entertainment venue at sea.
Mayor to punish beach concessionaires who flaunt the rules
Multiple infractions to result in loss of concessions
Pattaya’s Mayor Pairat Suttithamrongsawat recently
hosted a meeting with beach concessionaires (umbrella and chair providers)
in order to remind them of the sixteen regulations set down on August 8,
2000 by the city to prevent negative effects on both the environment and
The city has decided that the ‘carrot and the
stick’ method of enforcement will work best. Those who break the law and
ignore the rules will be penalized with fines, and further violations will
result in having their businesses closed down. Rewards of up to 30,000
baht will also be used to appeal to the public to help the city enforce
Another issue discussed revolved around the area near
the Dong Tan curve on Jomtien Beach which is becoming increasingly popular
with beach-goers. The mayor said this section needs more stringent
attention regarding beach umbrella and chair arrangements because the
number of complaints to city hall are increasing.
Tourist police arrest two Korean illegal tour guides
Government gets serious about crackdown on these banes to society
Koreans Kim Kwang Lok and Kim Ja Kwan were arrested on
Walking Street in South Pattaya last week and charged with illegally
acting as tour guides.
Kim Kwang Lok and Kim Ja Kwan were arrested on Walking Street in South
Pattaya last week and charged with illegally acting as tour guides.
Police confiscated 5 invoices as evidence.
The two Kims told investigators that they had been
working as tour guides for a company in Bangkok. Neither had a license. At
the time of arrest they were taking a group of tourists sightseeing.
Somsak Thepsutin, the minister to the prime
minister’s office in charge of national tourism, said the government is
getting serious about the crackdown on illegal tour guides. “There is
increasing number of illegal guides and it is severely damaging the image
of Thailand,” he said. “It is urgent to wash away the dirt before it
starts to get more permanent.”
Arrest records show that most of the illegal guides are
Korean and Chinese that work for tour companies in Bangkok. Somsak said
illegal tour guides create a massive loss in tourism and give local guides
a bad image. He said these guides often provide incorrect and misleading
information on many issues, especially the issues of religion and culture,
causing confusion among tourists.
“It is considered one of the most serious problems
that the government cannot put aside any longer,” he said.
Multilateral approach to combat drug problem
The government has vowed to step up its war on what it
called the country’s ‘drug crisis’, saying that a multilateral
approach was needed, as doctors expressed mounting concern over the
increasing strength of amphetamines hitting the Thai market.
Opening a workshop on rehabilitation for drug
offenders, Justice Minister Chaturon Chaisaeng said that Thailand’s drug
problem had grown into a crisis that was increasingly posing a threat to
all aspects of national security.
The government thus aimed to stage a war on drugs that
involved the participation of all organizations and members of society,
with the public playing an active role in combating drug trafficking and
Chaturon pointed to the government’s support for the
passage of the Drug Offenders Rehabilitation Bill through Parliament as
evidence of the government’s sincerity in providing a fresh approach to
the nation’s drug problem.
The Bill radically breaks away from traditional ideas
of drug abusers being criminals, instead reclassifying them as
‘patients’. It also allows ordinary members of the public a greater
role in assisting the rehabilitation process, and provides for
post-rehabilitation monitoring of behavior. As part of the Bill, regional
citizens’ meetings will be required to search for the best forms of
rehabilitation suitable for each locality.
Providing a sobering reminder of the dangers of drug
abuse, Dr Yongyut Wongphiromsan, director of the Office of Health Policy
and Planning, told the workshop that the amphetamines on the market a few
years back were far milder than those hitting the market today. Today’s
amphetamines were more highly addictive, more concentrated, and were often
inhaled rather than eaten in tablet form, leading to a longer and more
severe ‘high’ for the user.
Dr Yongyut said that addiction to the new breed of
amphetamines was extremely difficult to do away with, and warned that 30
percent of drug addicts across the world continued their habit after going
through the rehabilitation process.
The workshop, held at the Miracle Grand Hotel in
Bangkok, was organized by the Department of Behavioral Control with
support from the British Embassy and the Office of the Fund for Research
Promotion. The thirty participants, who will be expected to take what they
learnt in the seminar back to their various regions, came from a wide
variety of groups, ranging from religious organizations to volunteer
groups and NGOs. (TNA)
Beachside vendor arrested for copyright violations
Police confiscate 72 fake watches
Thirty-year-old Buntarn Sukpluem’s time as a
copyright violator ran out last week, when he was arrested with 72 fake
clock struck midnight for 30-year-old Buntarn Sukpluem last week when a
timely police raid caught him with 72 fake watches.
Miss Marlar Tangprasert, a representative of the
Selected Swiss Services Co., Ltd., responsible for maintaining the
integrity of registered company brands, raised the alarm for police to
take timely action against minute people selling fake watches in Pattaya.
The second he heard the request, region 2 police
lieutenant general Ekarat Bauin led a squad of police to the beach area
frequented by tourists for a high noon inspection of the stalls that crowd
Within an hour of watching a man selling watches priced
between 1,000 and 3,000 baht, a fraction of the genuine price, police
moved in and arrested him, hand-cuffing him and confiscating all his
Although Sukpluem claimed that the watches belonged to
the second seller over, he along with the evidence were escorted to the
police station where he was duly clocked with breach of copyright and
intellectual property laws. He will no doubt now be watching the seconds
tick away from the inside of a jail cell.
Desperate man arrested for snatching gold necklace
Bystanders put chase, catch him in the jungle
Pracha Keawprainam, 22, was arrested for snatching a
gold necklace from the neck of a som tam seller near Therthai Market on
Soi Phothisan in South Pattaya.
Keawprainam snatched a gold necklace from this som tam seller, then ran
off into the woods but was tracked down and caught by witnesses.
The som tam seller told police that Pracha was standing
opposite her while waiting for a dish of som tam he had ordered. She said
he suddenly grabbed the one-baht gold chain from her neck and ran into the
jungle behind the market.
A few local bystanders at the market put chase and
eventually caught up with him in the jungle, then dragged him out to the
street. When police arrived, he was still being restrained by the
Police confiscated the stolen necklace as evidence and
escorted Pracha to the police station for questioning.
Pracha told police he is from Supanburi, Province. He
said he came to Pattaya hoping to find a job, but as yet was unable to.
He denied the charge and claimed that he went into the
nearby forest to take care of his business. But with two witnesses and the
evidence in his possession, police were inclined not to believe him.