Thailand Weekly Vol. 32
Thailand news and stories delivered free every Sunday 🇹🇭
Good afternoon from a relatively cool Bangkok everyone! I woke up early this morning to head to my local coffee shop and it was 22 degrees outside. Funny because some of the staff that work at my building were bundled up in long sleeves and legitimately a bit chilly. As a Canadian, it was kind of a nice change in pace! Like we covered last week, the winter season is fast approaching and there’s no better time of the year to be here, so hopefully there’s a few of you that have your trips booked in the coming months!
9 Billion Baht Allocated For Kanchanaburi Road Upgrades
Thailand’s Ministry of Transport has committed just under 10 billion baht (USD $261 million) to upgrade road infrastructure in Kanchanaburi Province to account for rising tourism numbers and future growth. Classified as a western economic corridor, the multi-year mega project will take shape across six different initiatives:
Construction of a bridge that will cross a key intersection at Highways 323, 367, and 3199
Upgrades to Highway 323 between Thong Pha Phum and Sangkhla Buri
Construction of a bridge that will cross a key intersection at highways 323 and 3548
Upgrades to Highway 3086
Upgrades to Highway 3199
Upgrades to Highway 3084
So far, 9 of the 25 construction contracts as part of this mega-project have been fulfilled and the first round of upgrades are expected to open next year with everything being fully complete by 2024.
I’ve yet to visit Kanchanaburi, but have heard nothing but great things. It sounds like an awesome part of Thailand that also doubles as the perfect weekend escape from Bangkok, so I definitely understand why they’re sinking some real money into infrastructure improvements there. One of the things I appreciate most about living here is the fact that for the most part, the roads are smooth and easy to travel on. It’s such a great place for road trips and improvements like these will only make things better.
TAT Aims To Break World Record
Thailand is calling on scuba enthusiasts to take part in a Guinness World Record of the most divers picking up garbage from the sea. Aiming to have 1000 divers, the event is being held on the weekend of November 18th at Patong Beach in Phuket. Beyond making an attempt to break the world record, which currently stands at 633 divers from a 2019 cleanup event hosted in Florida, the idea is to promote Thailand’s goal of sustainable tourism on the heels of the pandemic.
To participate, divers must have PADI, NAUI, or SSI certificates and more than five dives under their belt. Participants will have 4x options to choose from:
The Whale Shark option – 1x dive in the world record attempt, 2x leisure dives, 2x nights’ accommodation, breakfast, and airport + activity transfers, all diving gear
The Dolphin option – 1x dive in the world record attempt, 2x leisure dives, tank and weight belt
The Octopus option – 1x dive in the world record attempt, 2x leisure dives, 2x night’s accommodation, breakfast, and airport and activities transfers, all diving gear
The Starfish option – 1x dive in the world record attempt, tank and weight belt
World-Records Thailand style baby! Gotta love it, especially when it’s all centered around such a positive mission. No matter how it goes, I’d say that it’s a success because it’ll result in a cleaner Patong Beach, but I’m really hoping they can surpass that key number of 633 divers. I really wish that I could participate, but I keep on delaying the Scuba Certification that I’ve been telling myself I’ll do for over 2-years now. Shame on me!
Thailand Travel Tip
The photo that you see above is me and my buddy Khun It sipping a cocktail at a Christmas party in Samui late last year. I don’t remember exactly what we were talking about, but what I do know is that he’s one of my favourite people in the world. Best of the best right there, and on that note, Thais in general are some of the coolest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of hanging with. They’re awesome in every way. Friendly. Relaxed. Creative. If you plan on travelling here, being able to speak a little bit of their language will improve your experience 10X. English isn’t that prominent outside of the main tourist areas, so if you’re looking to do some exploring throughout the Country, it’s worth doing a little bit of prepwork by learning some basic Thai. For the foodies out there, picking up a few key words and phrases will also grant you access to all sorts of Thai recipes you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. Ling, the App I used when I first moved here is designed to make it fun. They’ve gamified the whole experience really well and make it a pleasure to go through the modules. This isn’t some sort of a magical app that’ll have you speaking fluently in a matter of weeks, but it will help you learn some of the basics so that you’re able to get out of your comfort zone and show some language love to the people that define this amazing country.
5.1 Billion Baht Approved For International Medical Centre In Phuket
The government has just approved a 5.116 billion baht (USD $133 million) budget for the construction of the ‘Andaman International Health Centre’ in Phuket as part of its goal to make the Island a global hub for medical tourism. The medical campus will consist of Songklanagarind Hospital Phuket, a 300-bed facility, an international medical centre, and a college that will produce specialist doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and other healthcare personnel.
The government hopes that it will generate an additional 62 billion baht (USD $1.6 billion) in revenue annually from 400,000 foreign and Thai patients. Construction is expected to begin next year and be complete by 2028.
The reason I included this story is because it’s a follow-up on a topic we’ve already covered in a previous edition of Thailand Weekly. Back in April, it was reported that the government was looking to take the right steps to try and build Phuket into a world-class destination for medical tourism. Cool to see that they found budget to make this happen and that there’s now a name for this medical campus. Next step is to break ground, so let’s see how that goes.
Only In Thailand 🇹🇭
You know what they say, at the end of it all there’ll only be two things that remain… ‘roaches and ‘shrooms. Well, a photo of fungi growing out of a bus seat in Bangkok has made its rounds on social media this week prompting calls for the capital’s bus network to be revitalized. Sarcasm from locals came swiftly with one person saying “I’m proud of living in Thailand. Plenty of fish in the water, plenty of rice in the field, and plenty of mushrooms in the bus seat” while another local said “is it a part-time job for the bus staff? Selling mushrooms?”. The bus has since been replaced and officials have told BMTA staff to keep the vehicle better maintained and to ensure that they’e in a serviceable condition. I guess mushrooms growing out of seats isn’t exactly that 🤷.