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A turtle return brings freedom for 209 on Songkran Day

Songkran Water Festival, April 12-13

Saturday, April 11, 2009
HAVE a great and safe Songkran! Phuketwan supports the comment of the reader who said: 'Please slow down this Songkran and remember drinking and driving is like attempted murder! Nevertheless Kusoldharm will always come to the rescue and I want to encourage you to donate to them.'

Songkran, wet and wilder with turtles

PATONG and Phuket's other prime holiday spots are splashing out this Songkran, with events spread over two days.

A highlight will be at Mai Khao on Songkran Day, April 13, when 209 turtles will be freed on the beach from 11am.

The turtles are being released because one rare breeding leatherback turtle left eggs on Mai Khao beach last year, according to Srawoot Sesaphukam, chief of the Mai Khao Orbortor.

Turtles once hatched in larger numbers at the long beach, but have not been seen there since the 2004 tsunami.

Many years ago, giant leatherback turtles would lay eggs there.

The single turtle is a hopeful sign that, even with overfishing and the arrival of property developments and resorts along the beach, the turtles might yet return in numbers.

Thai boxing events will be held on the beach from 8pm in the evening. Both the turtle release and the boxing are being run by the Orbortor Mai Khao.

Songkran in Patong usually begins the evening before, April 12, when normal activities in the bars cease and world's biggest waterfight begins.

With extra flights added from Bangkok and Phuket Bike Week activities leading up to the holiday weekend, which also comes at the same time as the Easter break, island resorts report vastly improved occupancy rates.

Fireworks and a marching band signal the start of fun at 6pm on Sunday in Soi Bangla, along with the official opening.

The Miss Songkran contest begins at 7.30pm with the final at 9pm.

More traditional ceremonies are scheduled the following day at Suwankeereewong Temple.

Police usually set up regular checkpoints around the island over Songkran to discourage drink-driving.

Dousing zones are pre-arranged so passing motorcyclists are not surprised by buckets full of ice cold water.

Details of events are available from the Tourism Authority of Thailand on 076 212213, 076 211036 or 076 217138.

Songkran and Bike Week
In Pictures, Phuket Bike Week: April 10-12
With a roar, Bike Week this year becomes the largest in Asia and a great revenue booster for the island's economy. Parties, performances, and gleaming chrome aplenty can be expected.
In Pictures, Phuket Bike Week: April 10-12

Songkran and Road Safety

'No Booze Ban' Puts Pressure on Police
Latest Tourists will still be able to drink alcohol during the three-day Songkran festival from April 12-15, and so will locals. A proposed ban has been rejected.
'No Booze Ban' Puts Pressure on Police

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Are the authorities releasing 209 leatherback turtles or only 30 green sea turtles?
Editor: We have been told they are releasing 209 turtles but these are unlikely to be leatherbacks, probably green sea turtles. At Thai Muang last week, several hundred were released. Planned release numbers can change, depending on the size of the crowd.

Posted by Graham on April 12, 2009 15:37


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