Bangkok Expat Life https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com Local city guide of Bangkok for expats, travellers, tourists and local residents in Thailand Fri, 06 Sep 2019 11:06:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 Bangkok Tops Paris and London As The World’s Most Visited City For The Fourth Time in a Row https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/2019/09/bangkok-tops-paris-and-london-as-the-words-most-visited-city-for-the-fourth-time-in-a-row/ https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/2019/09/bangkok-tops-paris-and-london-as-the-words-most-visited-city-for-the-fourth-time-in-a-row/#respond Fri, 06 Sep 2019 11:00:32 +0000 https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/?p=14979 Bangkok is again the world’s most-visited city for the fourth consecutive year, beating out Paris and London. The rankings are compiled annually by Mastercard. Welcoming around 22.7 million international visitors, Bangkok ranked as the top destination for global travellers this...

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Bangkok is again the world’s most-visited city for the fourth consecutive year, beating out Paris and London. The rankings are compiled annually by Mastercard. Welcoming around 22.7 million international visitors, Bangkok ranked as the top destination for global travellers this year.

Many of Bangkok’s visitors originate from these top five destinations, listed in order: Mainland China, Japan, South Korea, India and the United Kingdom. Popular attractions include the Grand Palace, Wat Arun and for a day trip outside the city, the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.

According to the listing, Bangkok was host to more than 22 million international overnight travellers. Paris and London were in second and third place with just over 19 million overnight stayers each. Other Asian cities in the Top 10 include Singapore at #5 and KL at #6, and Tokyo at #9. Southeast Asia’s other popular tropical destination, Bali, came in at #19. New York, Istanbul, Tokyo and Antalya, Turkey rounded out the top 10.

The Mastercard Index, which expanded this year to look at global 162 cities, is not simply a ranking of the top travel destinations. Based on visitor volume and spend for the 2018 calendar year, the in-depth analysis also provides a growth forecast for 2019.

London was the only city in the top 10 cities to score a drop in international overnight visitors declining by almost 4%. Tokyo is forecast to have the largest growth in arrivals this year, an increase of 10% to more than 14 million.

The number of international visitors across the 200 cities grew by 76 per cent in the last 10 years.

Phuket and Pattaya also scored in the top 20 most popular locations this year, #14 and #15 respectively.

Despite Bangkok’s longtime reign atop the list, the Thai tourism industry has faced headwinds, with arrivals dropping 1.03 per cent year-on-year in May before recovering to grow 0.89 per cent in June from a year earlier. Tourism accounts for about 12 per cent of Thailand’s economy. A boom in the sector fizzled this year as the baht strengthened and the global economy slowed.

Top 10 cities ranked by 2018 visitor numbers

1. Bangkok, Thailand: 22.78 million international overnight visitors
2. Paris, France: 19.10 million international overnight visitors
3. London, England: 19.09 million international overnight visitors
4. Dubai, United Arab Emirates: 15.93 million international overnight visitors
5. Singapore: 14.67 million international overnight visitors
6. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 13.79 million international overnight visitors
7. New York City, USA: 13.60 million international overnight visitors
8. Istanbul, Turkey: 13.40 million international overnight visitors
9. Tokyo, Japan: 12.93 million international overnight visitors
10. Antalya, Turkey: 12.41 million international overnight visitors

You can read the full report here.

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Bangkok ranked as 47th safest city in the world https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/2019/09/bangkok-ranked-as-47th-safest-city-in-the-world/ https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/2019/09/bangkok-ranked-as-47th-safest-city-in-the-world/#respond Thu, 05 Sep 2019 20:30:20 +0000 https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/?p=14967 Bangkok is ranked 47th safest of 60 countries surveyed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which sees Tokyo as the safest city in the world and Singapore the safest in in Southeast Asia. Bangkok was in 47th spot in the...

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Bangkok is ranked 47th safest of 60 countries surveyed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which sees Tokyo as the safest city in the world and Singapore the safest in in Southeast Asia.

Bangkok was in 47th spot in the Safe Cities Index 2019 released on Thursday by the EIU.

It surveyed 60 cities around the world, weighing scores from 57 indicators including infrastructure security, personal security and the health system.

Bangkok’s score was 57.6, compared with 92 for Tokyo and 91.5 for Singapore. Its score equalled Ho Chi Minh City, but the Thai capital trailed Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Manila for the regional capitals.

The three safest cities were in Asia, which also had Seoul in ninth place.

But the EIU said geography was not a factor in making them safe.

“Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka are safe because they happen to be in Asia, but because of the specific urban environments their residents and officials have built,” it said.

The biennial survey debuted in 2015. Tokyo has placed first in all three surveys to date.

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Smoking at home is banned in Thailand https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/2019/09/smoking-at-home-is-banned-in-thailand/ https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/2019/09/smoking-at-home-is-banned-in-thailand/#respond Thu, 05 Sep 2019 20:13:52 +0000 https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/?p=14964 Thailand has officially banned smoking at home. With effect, you can be prosecuted for “domestic abuse” by lighting up a cigarette inside your home. People can call Family and Protection centres on 1300 to report a smoker. According to the...

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Thailand has officially banned smoking at home. With effect, you can be prosecuted for “domestic abuse” by lighting up a cigarette inside your home.
People can call Family and Protection centres on 1300 to report a smoker.

According to the new law, women and children are often the recipients of second hand smoke and the new legislation and fines is designed to assist in protecting them from the harmful effects of cigarette smoke.

Dr Ronachai Khongsakon from a tobacco research group, says that women were particularly vulnerable with 81% suffering second hand smoke in their homes. He claims that 430,000 people die worldwide annually from second hand smoke, and that two out of three of the victims are women.

The ‘Report a Smoker’ hotline is 1300. Cases may then be referred to juvenile and other courts. The government says the move is the latest measure to stop people smoking in Thailand in public places, and now in their homes in the presence of other people.

Smoking has already been banned at airports, including the internal ‘smoking rooms’, now replaced with rooms outside terminals for smokers. Smoking on many Thai beaches was banned back in February 2018.

There is an estimated 10 million smokers in Thailand resulting in 72,000 deaths annually.

 

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Bagan wins World Heritage status https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/2019/07/bagan-wins-world-heritage-status/ https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/2019/07/bagan-wins-world-heritage-status/#respond Sun, 07 Jul 2019 15:58:01 +0000 https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/?p=14958 Unesco approves listing of ancient Myanmar capital a quarter century after first nomination YANGON: UNESCO has declared Myanmar’s ancient capital of Bagan as a World Heritage Site, nearly a quarter of a century after the complex of Buddhist temples was...

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Unesco approves listing of ancient Myanmar capital a quarter century after first nomination

YANGON: UNESCO has declared Myanmar’s ancient capital of Bagan as a World Heritage Site, nearly a quarter of a century after the complex of Buddhist temples was first nominated for listing.

The decision recognizes the importance of the central Myanmar site – which includes more than 3,500 stupas, temples, monasteries and other structures built between the 11th and 13th centuries – and will likely be a boon to Myanmar’s tourist industry.

Myanmar proposal to list the site was approved at a meeting of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites recommended the listing, noting that Myanmar had adopted a new heritage law and had formed plans to reduce the impact of hotels and tourism developments around the temple.

Myanmar had reversed some “inappropriate conservation interventions”, the body said, noting that Bagan was important for its historical significance and as a place of continuing Buddhist worship.

Bagan was first nominated as a World Heritage Site in 1995, but the military junta that ruled the country at the time was accused of ignoring experts’ advice on restoration efforts and the nomination was rejected.

Earthquakes have also damaged the ancient structures, most recently in 2016 when nearly 200 temples were damaged by a 6.8 magnitude quake. Myanmar has renewed efforts to list the site since a transition from military rule began in 2011.

“Bagan is living heritage, having endured all forms of challenges for more than a thousand years,” said Myanmar diplomat Kyaw Zeya, speaking on behalf of the Myanmar delegation at the Baku meeting.

“Today we are celebrating the joyous moment of the successful inscription of Bagan in the World Heritage List. Afterwards we will continue our efforts on conservation and management of Bagan so that this treasured heritage will remain for another thousand years.”

 

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Train service to Cambodian border to start tomorrow, 1 July https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/2019/06/train-service-to-cambodian-border-to-start-tomorrow-1-july/ https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/2019/06/train-service-to-cambodian-border-to-start-tomorrow-1-july/#respond Sun, 30 Jun 2019 14:43:50 +0000 https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/?p=14953 The new daily train service between Bangkok and Ban Klong Luk border station in Sa Kaeo province will start running on July 1, the State Railway of Thailand announced. There will be four trips a day, two in each direction,...

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The new daily train service between Bangkok and Ban Klong Luk border station in Sa Kaeo province will start running on July 1, the State Railway of Thailand announced.

There will be four trips a day, two in each direction, acting SRT governor Worawut Mala said on Tuesday.

Ordinary passenger train No 275 will depart Bangkok for Aranyaprathet and Klong Luk at 5.55am and arrive at the border station at 11.17am.

Ordinary passenger train No 279 will operate on the same route, leaving Bangkok at 1.05pm, reaching the border station at 5.27pm.

Inbound, ordinary passenger train No 280 will depart Klong Luk station (Rong Kluea market) at 6.58am, arriving in Bangkok at 12.05pm, and ordinary passenger train No 276 will depart the border station at 1.53pm, arriving in Bangkok at 7.40pm.

Mr Worawut said Thailand and Cambodia earlier signed an agreement to jointly operate the train service linking the two countries.

The SRT had provided four diesel-powered trains and opened the Ban Klong Luk border station on April 22.

He predicted the new service would facilitate the travels of Thai and foreign tourists wanting to cross the border.

A railway official said later the adult fare between Bangkok and Ban Klong Luk station would be 49 baht each way.

For advanced ticket bookings or further information, traveller cancontact the SRT customs service via hotline 1690 around the clock or website, www.railway.co.th or @pr.railway Facebook page.

It is not known when Cambodia will begin operating trains from adjoining Poi Pet.

Train services between the two countries were terminated 45 years ago, amid conflict arising from the civil war in Cambodia.

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Durian fair boosts Si Sa Ket’s economy https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/2019/06/durian-fair-boosts-si-sa-kets-economy/ https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/2019/06/durian-fair-boosts-si-sa-kets-economy/#respond Sun, 30 Jun 2019 14:37:39 +0000 https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/?p=14950 A durian fair is significantly spurring economy in Si Sa Ket, a remote and rather poor province in northeast Thailand. “To date, durian sales from the fair have already been Bt13million past,” said Si Sa Ket Governor Weerasak Wijitsaengsri on...

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A durian fair is significantly spurring economy in Si Sa Ket, a remote and rather poor province in northeast Thailand.

“To date, durian sales from the fair have already been Bt13million past,” said Si Sa Ket Governor Weerasak Wijitsaengsri on Friday. The Durian Fair, the Lava Durian Fair will likely boost domestic gross domestic products by more than 10 per cent. He said Si Sae used to rank 71st out of 77 Thai provinces in terms of GDP. “But judging by our current, vibrant economy, we should rank better by the end of the year.”

Weerasak said the Lava Durian Fair – which is held between June 20 and 30 – has attracted many tourists. “Apart from sales at the fair, tourists also generate revenue,” said Weerasak. He believes that the generated flow of cash is more than Bt100 million. Si Sa Ket’s agricultural chief Sawang Kalapat said tourists did not just have fun.

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A pair of 200-years old durian Takien Thong trees in Chumpon added to Thailand’s National Heritage List https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/2019/06/a-pair-of-200-years-old-durian-takien-thong-trees-in-chumpon-added-to-thailands-national-heritage-list/ https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/2019/06/a-pair-of-200-years-old-durian-takien-thong-trees-in-chumpon-added-to-thailands-national-heritage-list/#respond Sun, 30 Jun 2019 14:35:55 +0000 https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/?p=14947 The Thai Ministry of Culture has declared one durian tree and one takien thong tree, both about 200 years old in Patoh district of the southern province of Chumpon, to be part of the country’s national heritage, to remind people...

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The Thai Ministry of Culture has declared one durian tree and one takien thong tree, both about 200 years old in Patoh district of the southern province of Chumpon, to be part of the country’s national heritage, to remind people of the value of trees.

Culture Minister Veera Rotepojanarat went to Patoh district today (Thursday) to preside over the “ordination” ceremony for the two old trees in Tambon Patoh. The ceremony also featured an exhibition, created by officials from the Forestry Department, of forest products, the making of Thai sweets and how to preserve trees.

The local species of durian tree, called Khi Let, is about 45 metres tall and the trunk has a 4-metre circumference. The takien thong tree is about 40 metres tall and has a trunk circumference of about 7.5 metres.

Mrs. Wilai Prommanee, a provincial culture official, explained that, for a tree to be declared part of the national heritage it must be a native species and have a history. The durian tree is believed to be the first of the Khi Le species to be introduced into Chumpon about 200 years ago.

There are also more than 10 rare, large durian trees in Patoh district, which is well known for rafting on Khlong Patoh.

So far this year, 88 trees of different species have been declared part of Thailand’s national heritage.

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Female pickpocket gang in London caught on camera stealing Thai tourist’s purse https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/2019/06/female-pickpocket-gang-in-london-caught-on-camera-stealing-thai-tourists-purse/ https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/2019/06/female-pickpocket-gang-in-london-caught-on-camera-stealing-thai-tourists-purse/#respond Sun, 30 Jun 2019 14:33:47 +0000 https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/?p=14944 A female pick pocket has been caught on camera stealing from two Thai tourists in London. Nina Spencer, 51, and Toi McGurran, 51, were walking towards the Palace Theatre in London’s West End while making a video to share to...

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A female pick pocket has been caught on camera stealing from two Thai tourists in London.

Nina Spencer, 51, and Toi McGurran, 51, were walking towards the Palace Theatre in London’s West End while making a video to share to their friends.

But after they crossed the road Toi realised that her purse containing £400 in cash and credit cards were missing from her handbag.

It wasn’t until the Nina and Toi watched the video back that they realised what had happened.

The footage shows three women walking closely behind Nina and Toi.

One woman appears to shield the other’s hand as she reaches into the bag and grabs the purse.

The purse is then handed to another woman before all three walk off quickly in the same direction.

Nina reported the theft to the police but they haven’t yet been able to return the purse.

Speaking to The Sun, Nina said: ‘We reported this to the police straight away. They asked me for the location where it happened and we sent them the video of it.

“We don’t think it’s possible to have the money back now. But we just want to be helpful and let the police be aware of things going on in the city.”

Nina lives in the UK with her British husband. Toi was recently visiting Nina on holiday from Thailand and the pair decided to visit London.

Nina said the incident ruined their trip and left them disappointed with their experience of London.

”It’s sad that this had to spoil our trip. I hope the police can catch them so that it doesn’t happen to other people”, she said.

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Stateless student wins consolation prize from US’s Genius Olympiad program https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/2019/06/stateless-student-wins-consolation-prize-from-uss-genius-olympiad-program/ https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/2019/06/stateless-student-wins-consolation-prize-from-uss-genius-olympiad-program/#respond Sun, 30 Jun 2019 14:31:41 +0000 https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/?p=14941 A stateless high-school girl, from Thailand’s southern province of Ranong, has won a consolation award from the Genius Olympiad program held recently in the United States. Ms. Yonladee “Ploy” Phiyatat, a Mathayom 5 student at Satri Ranong School, told Thai...

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A stateless high-school girl, from Thailand’s southern province of Ranong, has won a consolation award from the Genius Olympiad program held recently in the United States.

Ms. Yonladee “Ploy” Phiyatat, a Mathayom 5 student at Satri Ranong School, told Thai PBS that she has received a certificate approving her consolation prize in the field of scientific technology from the Genius Olympiad program, in which representatives from 79 countries and 43 states in the US compete.

She admitted that the competition was tough and she was afraid that she might disappoint many of her supporters, but promised to do better the next time.

Mrs. Monrat Ammorndara, a teacher at her school, who is also the girl’s step mother, said that, although the prize was not a big one, it was important for the development of learning and teamwork.

She thanked all concerned who made it possible for Nong Ploy to realize her dream to compete in the Genius Olympiad.

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Taxis who reject passengers will now face bigger fines https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/2019/06/taxis-who-reject-passengers-will-now-face-bigger-fines/ https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/2019/06/taxis-who-reject-passengers-will-now-face-bigger-fines/#respond Sun, 30 Jun 2019 14:29:02 +0000 https://www.bangkokexpatlife.com/?p=14938 BANGKOK — Bangkokians rejoice! Cabbies who refuse passengers will be subject to heavier fines under a new legal amendment, officials said Monday. In an attempt to scour a nuisance nearly every commuter has encountered, Land Transport Department deputy director Tanee...

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BANGKOK — Bangkokians rejoice! Cabbies who refuse passengers will be subject to heavier fines under a new legal amendment, officials said Monday.

In an attempt to scour a nuisance nearly every commuter has encountered, Land Transport Department deputy director Tanee Suebrerk said the current fine of 2,000 baht will be raised to 5,000 baht. His comments came the same day a group of cabbies staged a protest to demand tougher action against alternative online taxi services.

Explaining the proposed amendment, Tanee said his department wants to bring taxi regulations in line with those for other public transport like buses and vans.

“Currently, taxis face light penalties, even though they are also public transport,” he said.

Under the new rule, owners of vehicles rented out to violating taxi drivers will also face a maximum fine of 50,000 baht. The official said the tougher fines are part of broader reforms to the 1979 traffic law being deliberated by Parliament.

Although illegal, being rejected by taxi drivers who prefer to drive a short distance or pick up gullible foreign tourists is a common occurrence in Bangkok. The experience has driven some commuters to resort to ridesharing via applications like GrabCar, though such services remain in legal limbo.

On the same day, representatives of taxi driver guilds staged a rally to oppose a pledge made by a party in the governing coalition to legalize GrabCar and other similar services.

Speaking at a protest in front of Bhumjaithai Party headquarters, a leader of a taxi driver association said the proposal, if implemented, will impose unfair competition on taxi drivers who have to comply with the state’s extensive regulations.

“It’s a good policy, but our [association] believes it may negatively impact taxi drivers,” Withoon Naewpanich said.

A representative from Bhumjaithai Party told the protesters he will pass their suggestions to party leader Anutin Charnvirakul.

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