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General Discussions / Re: The comforts of Thailand
« Last post by surbition on Yesterday at 01:55:49 PM »
that is nice to see you are thankful and appreciate the things your wife does for you to make you feel comfortable. so many guys have the attitude i pay the bills you do as i say. what would happen if one day your meals never arrived and she said, its my day off. my wife tried to cook spaghetti bolognese once it was awful, but i sat and smiled eating it as she watched every mouthful go down, but she tried and thats good.

but not checking under the bed for bogeymen, bang out of order
General Discussions / Re: The comforts of Thailand
« Last post by thaiga on Yesterday at 12:16:20 PM »
the comforts of home that we take for granted.

comforts come in different shapes and sizes and to be loved and cared for is one, remember that good feeling way back years ago when you was a kid, mum tucking you in at night, a peck on the cheek and she even looked under the bed for the bogey men for you. that's being loved.

many years ago i remember the words spoken from my wife, during a moaning session i was on. "you think i work for you"  i never ever forgot them words and she was right

a good thai wife will try and make you happy in cooking what you like, not easy for her with western food, but she does it, to give you some home comforts, what you might be missing. i get a clean shirt everyday, the home is clean and if i'm lucky my back scrubbed in the shower.

most times its taken for granted what a wife does, so a thank you is not given by most. classed as the wifes job, not just in Thailand but with most the world over. you pay the bills buy the food and part with some money. so if you think about it, not hard for a thai lady to think on them lines, does she work for you.

i always manage a thank you, by thinking of them words. a good wife is worth more than a thank you for the home comforts she gives.

even if she don't check under the bed for bogey men like mum did.  ;D
Weather-sculpted ravine draws visitors to community forest

An area of unusually shaped rocky outcrops inside a community forest is getting a lot of attention from visitors, and local organisations want it declared a new eco-tourism site.

The weirdly weathered ravine, light-heartedly dubbed the "Grand Canyon of Nakhon Ratchasima", is in Hup Yai community forest between tambon Tha Jalung in Chok Chai district and tambon Nong Yang in Chalerm Phrakiat district.

Rachaen Prakobkit, assistant chief of tambon Tha Jalung administration organisation, and conservationists took reporters to visit the area.

Many of the stones are weather-carved into fantastical shapes and fossils are scattered through the area, which covers 3 rai inside the forest.

Sua Rakpa, chairman of Hup Yai forest conservation group, said the community forest extends over more than 1,400 rai, and the so-called Grand Canyon is in the area between Ban Ngiew village of tambon Tha Jalung and Ban Khok Wangwon village in tambon Nong Yang.

The formations, which somewhat resemble ancient stone ruins, are found at several spots along the ravine. Local residents refer to them as Narayana (the Hindu god Vishnu) stone ruins, Mr Sua said.

Forest runoff had eroded soil and sedimentary layers in the forest, creating a waterway about 3 metres deep, he said. Visitors could walk along this route. This is also the area where many fossils have been found.

According to local legend, the area might have been home to the King of Nagas, as there was water flowing near the stones all year round. Some call this place laplae (hidden from sight), and stories say people used to live in this forest area, Mr Sua said.

The two local communities plan to push for the area to be declared an eco-tourism site.

Weathered outcroppings in Hup Yai forest in Nakhon Ratchaima. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)

Local legend says the King of Nagas used to live inside Hup Yai forest, where the stunning formations are found
Tourism & Travel / Re: Some tourist fees waived - Ministry backtracks
« Last post by thaiga on Yesterday at 11:46:04 AM »
Ministry backtracks on visa fee waiver plan

The government's plans to exempt tourists from visa-on-arrival fees to attract foreign travellers is unlikely to happen this year, according to Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kowsurat.

He said at a meeting with the private sector on Thursday that Chinese tourists have already finished their travel planning for the high season this year and will resume their overseas trips during Chinese New Year, which falls in early February.

On Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak instructed the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to discuss plans with the Immigration Office to exempt tourists from 21 nations from visa-on-arrival fees in the remaining two months of this year.

The idea is to exempt Chinese visitors from the 2,000-baht visa fee in a bid to stem falling numbers after the July boat accident off Phuket that killed 47 Chinese tourists.

Attracting visitors with an exemption during this period might not help reclaim visitors from the mainland, Mr Weerasak said.

"We still have time to think about the visa issue, but maybe not for this year," he said.

Although Chinese arrivals were down nearly 15% in September, Mr Weerasak voiced satisfaction that tourism from the mainland remains in good health and that Thailand continues to be the top destination for Chinese visitors.

Instead of an exemption, the minister has called for the Immigration Office to improve its services by providing better equipment and machines at all entries to facilitate visitors.

An official at the Department of Consular Affairs said that 670,000 Chinese submit visa applications per month at mainland consular offices. Many of them seek visas on arrival, and these people have difficulty in getting the visa from the Immigration Office in Thailand.

The Immigration Office plans to offer an e-visa application and e-payment in the future to lower congestion and increase visa capacity.

The office is also being urged to prepare more machines to cope with the influx of tourists at major and minor entry points.

According to Mr Weerasak, the ministry wants to focus on quality tourists rather than the volume. Most importantly, it wants to assure safety and security for tourists.

Speaking at the same meeting on Thursday, Phuket governor Phakaphong Tavipatana raised the safety and security issue, which has been viewed as a critical problem since the boat disaster in Phuket.

That drowning accident was the main calamity shaking the confidence of Chinese tourists, but not the only one.

Data from the Tourism and Sports Ministry shows that more than 70 Chinese drowned in Thailand in 2017, representing 40% of all Chinese who died from drowning globally.

Mr Phakaphong said the Chinese government has sent officials to Phuket to oversee Chinese tourism and the reclamation of the wrecked Phoenix boat.

Besides marine safety, road accidents are a pressing problem. Many non-members of the Tourist Bus Association are operating substandard buses.

Meanwhile, TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the agency will propose privileges and special offers for Chinese tourists by collaborating with airline and travel companies.

A free visa on arrival is one options that can be endorsed, and the TAT will follow the government's decision, he said.

The TAT also plans to organise roadshows in major cities in China to draw tourists back to Thailand in the remaining months of 2018 and in the first quarter next year.
Transport & Traffic / THAI 'sorry' passengers forced to vacate seats for crew
« Last post by thaiga on Yesterday at 11:41:19 AM »
THAI 'sorry' passengers forced to vacate seats for crew

The Thai Airways International president has apologised to two passengers forced to give up their first-class seats for two off-duty pilots deadheading from Zurich to Bangkok.

The aircraft's departure was reportedly delayed for about two hours, with the on-duty pilots refusing to take off until first-class seats were made available for their off-duty colleagues. 

The national airline posted the apology from president Sumeth Damrongchaitham on its Facebook page late on Thursday night.

He said the matter was severe and affected the airline's image. He had ordered an investigation and would ensure such an incident did not occur again.

"I express sorrow and apologise to all passengers affected by the unprofessional action that caused the delay. And I apologise to the passengers who were directly affected by the seat change. I take responsibility for the incident," Mr Sumeth said.

The incident reportedly involved THAI flight TG971 from Zurich to Bangkok on Oct 11.  It was scheduled to depart at 1.30pm but the duty pilots refused to take off unless some first-class passengers agreed to give up their seats to two THAI pilots deadheading to Bangkok.

All first-class passengers initially refused to to so. After about two hours of delay, a couple finally vacated their seats so the flight could depart.

They later filed a complaint, saying the two off-duty pilots should have been given vacant seats in business class, rather than taking all passengers hostage to achieve what they wanted.

The flight was over an hour late arriving at Suvarnabhumi airport.

Transport & Traffic / Re: Planned airport terminal could cause chaos: experts
« Last post by thaiga on Yesterday at 11:37:26 AM »
Planned airport terminal could cause chaos: experts

Badly located Suvarnabhumi extension ‘may push gateway further down’ global rankings.

CRITICS OF the controversial Suvarnabhumi Airport expansion project have warned that the country’s biggest international gateway could dip further in global rankings if its proposed second terminal building is improperly located.

At a seminar titled “Suvarnabhumi’s Chance to be one of the World’s Three Best Airports”, several experts accused the state-owned Airports of Thailand (AOT) of failing to properly implement the Bt42-billion expansion project. The seminar was organised by the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand.

AOT president Nitinai Sirismartthakarn pulled out at the last minute after previously agreeing to speak at the seminar.

 Meanwhile, Architect Council of Thailand secretary-general ML Prakitti Kasemsant said it would be better for AOT to expand the current passenger terminal by building annexes to both the east and west, rather than constructing a separate terminal in the airport’s eastern area.

According to the master plan, he said, the second passenger terminal is supposed to be built in the airport’s southern area facing Bang Na-Trat Highway, and not in the eastern area near the already overcrowded Bangkok-Chon Buri motorway.

In addition, the cost of building two annexes, one on each end of the current terminal, will be far cheaper than building a second terminal in the congested area and worsening the traffic.

In the 2018 Skytrax ranking of world airports in terms of passenger satisfaction, Suvarnabhumi was placed 36th, far behind regional competitors including Singapore’s Changi Airport (No 1), South Korea’s Incheon Airport (No 2), Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (No 3) and Hong Kong Airport (No 4). Doha’s Hamad Airport place rounded out the top 5.

Deunden Nikomborirak, director of the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), told the seminar that Suvarnabhumi’s performance in the global rankings had not improved over the past six years.

The quality of its service has remained low, with Suvarnabhumi averaging only three out of five stars.

 Long waiting times for Immigration, issues with the transit day room, too few mobile-phone charging points, bad staff attitude, language fluency and dissatisfaction with information kiosks are among the weaknesses cited by international passengers.

Critics pointed out that the AOT, which is majority owned by the government, is listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand and earned as much as Bt31 billion in the last fiscal year, should have enough funds to improve its quality and boost passenger satisfaction.

Another critical weakness is the lack of effective oversight of AOT by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, they said.

Given that the airport’s eastern area is already congested, the Bt42-billion second terminal will most likely not be able to achieve the target of boosting the airport’s passenger-handling capacity by 30 million,

Totrakoon Yamanak of the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative said.

According to Totrakoon, chaos in Suvarnabhumi will hit the tourism industry and adversely affect the country’s economy. The airport currently serves about 60 million visitors per year despite its official capacity of 45 million. Tourism revenue accounts for more than 10 per cent of Thailand’s GDP, with international arrivals approaching 40 million per year.

Samart Ratchapolsitte, a former deputy Bangkok governor and engineer who worked on Suvarnabhumi’s master plan, compared the proposed second passenger terminal to dropping a 300,000-square-metre shopping mall on a small road. There will be nothing but chaos inside the airport, he warned.

Samart also told the seminar that AOT should expand its current terminal by adding two annexes to boost passenger-handling capacity by 30 million per year. Later, a separate second terminal should be built, but in the airport’s southern area as per the master plan.

Otherwise, Suvarnabhumi is likely to see its ranking drop further from its current 36th slot.

Official Stuff & Laws / Re: immigration crackdown
« Last post by thaiga on Yesterday at 11:25:21 AM »
‘Big Joke’ vows to get rid of 7,000 overstaying foreigners by end of month

Acting Immigration Police chief Pol Maj Gen Surachate Hakpal, who recently got the job because of his relentless crackdowns on foreigners living unlawfully in the Kingdom, vowed on Friday to get rid of 7,000 overstaying foreigners by the end of this month.

Surachate, better known as “Big Joke”, made the promise in a 2.30am press conference at the Montien Hotel ar park on Surawong Road in Bangkok’s Bang Rak district.

He addressed reporters to announce the results of his 37th “Operation X-Ray Outlaw Foreigners” in which he had dispatched police to 265 locations around the country the day before. The targeted places included tourist destinations, language schools and private schools.

He 700 foreigners had been arrested during the latest crackdown. Of these, police found that 247 had sneaked into the country without a visa, 104 were overstayers and 349 had failed to report their residential addresses or violated the alien business law.

Immigration police and tourist police have so far checked 5,071 spots around the country and arrested 3,501 foreigners with either lapsed visas or no visas, Surachate said.

He said he has been told that a further 7,000 foreigners were still in Thailand on expired visas and all would be deported by the end of October.

He also threatened legal action against any Thai employers who hired overstaying foreigners or those without visas at all.

Surachate has targeting foreigners who had no right to be in Thailand since he was he deputy tourist police chief, when he labelled his first crackdown “Operation Black Eagle”.

He has habitually chosen odd hours to announce the results of his weekly crackdowns.
General Discussions / Re: The comforts of Thailand
« Last post by Taman Tun on Yesterday at 10:45:44 AM »
Yes, lots of comforts in Thailand:-

In Thailand there are lots of ways of getting around cheaply and conveniently: songtel, motocy taxi, tuk-tuk, pedal rickshaw in downtown Korat, long distance buses (The fare Korat - Bangkok is less than the fare for traveling one stop on London Underground).  Even in our small Soi we are on a songtel route so can get into Korat for 8 baht.

ATMs and banks are everywhere. If you go to your local branch it is easy to talk to the Manager, if required. As I understand it, back in the UK bank staff are being replaced by computer terminals and branches are being closed.

In our small Soi we have fiber direct into the home. Back in the UK, it seems BT are draining the last drop of profit out of their elderly copper network, whilst dragging their heels on fiber deployment.  A big plus of the Internet in Thailand is that the DM is blocked.

There are hardly any chain restaurants, but lots of individually owned places producing meals at good prices. It is possible to eat out most of the time.

So, nothing to be depressed about at all.
Tourism & Travel / Some tourist fees waived
« Last post by Newsy on Yesterday at 01:09:48 AM »

Some tourist fees waived

The government plans to exempt visitors from visa-on-arrival fees during November and December as it strives to salvage falling tourist numbers, especially from China.

The initiative floated by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak aims to reassure Chinese tourists, whose numbers have declined since the Phuket boat tragedy in July.

Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, said Mr Somkid has authorised the Immigration Office to exempt 21 nations from visa-on-arrival fees in the final two months of the year.

The exemption is expected to help foreign arrivals edge towards 40 million, up from the target of 38 million. Chinese arrivals could reach 12 million, compared with the earlier target of 10.5 million.

The government is also mulling a waiver of the 2,000-baht visa fee for Chinese visitors to increase their numbers.

Private tourism operators are worried that Thailand may lose up to 1 million Chinese arrivals over the next six months if the country is unable to restore confidence in safety issues.

The decline of the Chinese market will have an immediate impact on the country's tourism, which contributes 20% to GDP.

From the over 35 million foreign visitors last year, roughly one-third of arrivals were Chinese. But their visits have notably decreased after the Phuket boat accident.

The decline is set to hit tourism and related business, particularly travel agencies, hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops, experts in the industry said.

Vichit Prakobkosol, president of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (Atta), said travel operators and airlines from the mainland are still not putting Thailand in their packages from October until March 2019.

The rules for Visa On Arrival are printed on the Immigration Bureau's website.

The six-month period is a seasonal high season for Thailand. Local tourism operators have enjoyed the peak season for many years as foreigners come for leisure and vacation.

Operators and the Chinese government are concerned about safety and security measures after a tour boat capsized off Phuket in July, killing 47 Chinese tourists.

"I believe we risk losing 1 million arrivals from China for the high season, which could equal a loss of 50 billion baht," Mr Vichit said.

Hotel bookings plunge

"Chinese guests at hotels in major destinations such as Bangkok, Pattaya and Chiang Mai have already plunged by 20-30% since the boat tragedy, in addition to the continued weak yuan currency," said Supawan Tanomkieatipume, president of the Thai Hotels Association (THA).

Hotels in big cities, mostly three- and four-star level, have shifted to focus on the China market over the past several years. Chinese customers represent 10-50% of total customers.

A source at a four-star hotel in the Sukhumvit area said customers from China have dropped by more than 50%, especially during the Golden Week earlier this month.

"THA members reported not many advance reservations from China for this month and the rest of the year," Mrs Supawan said. "This is proof that we are at high risk."

If the situation is not improved, tourism in the first three months next year will continue to face difficulty, she said.

Since the boat disaster, both Atta and the THA have revised down projections for the China market, expecting total Chinese arrivals to miss the 10 million targeted for this year.

Mrs Supawan said hotels and tourism businesses in Chiang Mai could see a lighter impact, as many tourists from southern China travel on their own, not as part of a group tour.

The THA said dwindling Chinese tourism will hit local businesses in many secondary provinces and communities.

In order to reclaim Chinese guests, Atta and the THA have urged the government to improve safety and security measures.

"The one issue that Chinese want to hear from our government is to ensure better safety," Mr Vichit said. "If we are unable to assure them on this, they will not come."

Chinese tourists have reportedly turned away from Thailand and shifted to Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.

Pongpanu Svetarundra, permanent secretary of tourism and sports, said the number of foreign tourists to Thailand stood at 2.65 million in September alone, up 2.3% from the same period last year.

Of the number, 648,000 were Chinese, down 14.9% year-on-year, with tourism income falling 11.5% to 36.87 billion baht.

Most visitors in the month came from East Asia, Europe, South Asia, the Americas, the Middle East, Oceania and Africa, in that order.

During the first nine months of 2018, Thailand received 28.5 million international tourists, representing 8.7% year-on-year growth.

Tourists have generated income of 1.4 trillion baht, up 10.9% year-on-year.
Transport & Traffic / Airports to test facial recognition technology
« Last post by Newsy on Yesterday at 01:06:11 AM »

Airports to test facial recognition technology

Deputy Transport Minister Pairin Chuchotethavorn has instructed the Airports Department to test facial recognition technology at the department's airports.

Pairin said the technology, which is being used in other countries, would speed up the check-in and boarding process at airports as passengers would not have to produce their ID card.

The technology should be tested at the department's airports first, Pairin added.
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