Shareware Beach

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Fishing Boats

Filed under: Photography,Thailand — Jan @ 17:53

Fishing boats at the beach at noon in Phuket, Thailand

Fishing boats at the beach at sunrise in Phuket, Thailand

Calm seas and blue skies in Phuket this Wednesday and Thursday.

Flying to Phuket

Filed under: Thailand — Jan @ 17:47

Last Sunday’s crash landing of a One-Two-Go aircraft in Phuket gave my wife and myself quite a weird feeling. We’ve made several trips to Phuket this year, flying out in the morning and returning in the evening. One-Two-Go is convenient for us as they fly out of Don Meuang, Bangkok’s old airport, and have an early flight at 7 am. We’d usually fly back on the return leg of the flight that crashed.

While One-Two-Go has been billed as a low-cost carrier in the international press, their prices and service are actually somewhere between the full service carrier Thai Airways, and the no-frills carriers Nok Airlines and Air Asia. On each flight you get the exact same bag of One-Two-Go branded peanuts, and free drinks. Nok and Air Asia charge for their drinks.

The exact cause of the crash is still unknown. The data from the flight recorders is still being investigated. There’s no indication of systemic problems with the airline or the type of aircraft though. One-Two-Go is still flying, and we’ll likely take them on our next trip.

This Wednesday we flew to Phuket with Nok Airlines, a trip we had planned prior to the crash. Since we were staying the night this time, we took a later flight than usual. The weather was good and the flight was uneventful. At Phuket airport, there were no obvious signs that anything had happened just a few days before. While we were a bit nervous on the flight to Phuket, we were just as relaxed (or bored) as usual on the flight back.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

New Constitution Passes Referendum

Filed under: Thailand — Jan @ 17:06

It’s been almost a year since the military overthrew Thailand’s elected government. I haven’t blogged about Thai politics since, simply because there isn’t really anything to report. The civilian government appointed by the military has managed to keep the country plodding along nicely. In the mean time, a new constitution was drafted and a referendum was held on August 19th.

Only 57% of registered voters bothered to show up. 58% ticked the box “I like what I see”, while 42% ticked the “I don’t like what I see” box.

Though that means the constitution was approved, the margin is obviously very thin. And, people voting “yes” don’t necessarily agree with the constitution or the way it was drafted. They simply want to country to move ahead with the elections scheduled for mid-December. In Thailands Northeastern region, which is the most populated and also the poorest, 63% of the voters rejected the constitution. It’s no surprise that the military are more than a little worried about their public image.

The army chief, who is close to his retirement, has stated that his successor should make PR a top priority. My idea is that staying out of politics would be a good start. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem very likely in the near term, as the new constitution gives more power to the military and to bureaucrats at the expense of elected representatives. However, constitutions are hardly written in stone in this part of the world. Most political parties encouraged their voters to accept the draft constitution, not because they like it, but because it clears the impasse allowing new elections. Once a new elected government is in place, it can work on amending the constitution in a more democratic process.

Other than the odd political situation, it’s very much business as usual in Thailand. Phuket, one of Thailand’s main tourist destinations, is enjoying an unusually strong low season (May to October). It’s the first time after the December 2004 tsunami that tourists are back in full force. If the trend continues into the high season, you might not want to wait too long if you were planning to book a trip to escape the cold winter back home. There hasn’t been any noteworthy political unrest since the coup last year, and there’s unlikely to be any going forward.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Sunrise over The Forest

Filed under: Photography,Thailand — Jan @ 11:50

One of the benefits of sleeping in a tent with just a sleeping bag to separate you from the hard surface is that it makes it easy to get up before the sun does. At 5 am the sky was black. The first photo was taken at 5:19. The second one 20 minutes later at 5:39.

Before sunrise at the Welu wetlands, Chanthaburi, Thailand

Sunrise at the Welu wetlands, Chanthaburi, Thailand

Next Page »