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James McDonald suffered a memory lapse in Patong and lost his passport

Aussie Lands on Phuket, Forgets to Check In

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
PHUKET: Do you recognise this man? More importantly, do you know where to find his luggage and his passport?

Australian James Andrew McDonald, 65, was dropped off at a resort in Patong late at night on Friday but didn't check in.

Through a brain fade, he forgot where he was supposed to be.

He ended up outside another resort in Patong, where staff remembered him from a visit he'd made to Phuket earlier this year.

Mr McDonald couldn't remember where he was supposed to be staying on this visit.

The kind-hearted staff at the Horizon Patong Beach Resort & Spa organised a bed for Mr McDonald for a couple of nights but at the height of the Songkran weekend, with all rooms taken, they had no choice except to try to find a new place for him to stay.

Mr McDonald was dropped off at the Vachira Phuket Hospital in Phuket City. The Horizon staff had managed, though, to rustle up a copy of his passport, from his previous visit.

At Vachira, the hospital's international matron, Methavee Maneesri, took Mr McDonald's case to heart and, although the hospital couldn't admit him because he wasn't sick, she found a bed for him just down the road at the Tourist Police headquarters.

Clever detective work by Khun Methavee has since traced more of Mr McDonald's movements.

He was actually booked to stay at the Deevana Patong Resort and Spa Phuket, but never checked in.

The driver from Buffalo Tours must have picked Mr McDonald up at Phuket International Airport, but had no specific memory of him.

Buffalo Tours contributed 2000 baht to Mr McDonald's cause, because as well as having no luggage and passport, he has no money.

Detective Methavee has since discovered Mr McDonald spent time before catching the flight to Phuket via Singapore in Cairns, a large city in the Australian state of Queensland.

Some people there might know him well.

He also has a son, Craig, in Townsville and a daughter, Jamie, in Blacktown, Sydney.

Now a pensioner, Mr McDonald says he worked as a nurse at Namboor Hospital, and hails originally from Warrnambool, in the southern state of Victoria.

He has a memory of having his wedding ring - his wife died many years ago - removed recently by a woman. But he cannot quite recollect where, or when.

Khun Methavee has discovered that Mr McDonald was due to check into the Hotel Ibis Phuket Patong from tonight until next Tuesday.

So that's a bed fixed. But then, to fly back to Australia, he will need a passport.

And his passport was in his blue backpack, which disappeared along with his larger blue bag . . . and unless the luggage and the passport can be found, he will have to fly to Bangkok to replace his passport at the Australian embassy.

Because embassy staff have been on holidays, officials in Canberra were able over the past few days to help Khun Methavee painstakingly put the pieces of Mr McDonald's movements together.

They've even organised a replacement ATM card through his Australian bank, which should be in Mr McDonald's hands on Friday.

But he really hopes someone can tell him where to find his passport and his bags before he has to go to the trouble of catching a flight to the embassy in Bangkok.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Poor chap, I hope he finds his belongings soon.

How nice to hear how everyone has been helping him in his hour of need.

Posted by Discover Thainess on April 15, 2015 23:02


It's sounds all very suspicious, I feel bad for him.
I hope he can get some help from his Embassy.

Posted by Tbs on April 15, 2015 23:46


Great work by everyone involved to help Mr McDonald, especially staff at Horizon Patong Beach Resort, Khun Methavee of Vachira Hospital and Buffalo Tours. I hope his passport and belongings turn up.

Posted by LarryP on April 16, 2015 01:35


When in Europe, leaving the office I am usually unable to recall whether I left my car on that on the left side from the entrance or on the right side, as entering office on the morning I usually quite preoccupied by thoughts of an agenda of the day than to record where a car is put.

One of my friend ,who by far is not alcoholic, while partying at conference site town, got so drunk, so when he called a mate, who didn't recognize him, and who asked Who's on the line - he was unable to recall his name.

But the case described in the article is different.
If this is not the first time, the gentelman got to troubles of recalling recent events, then he should be traveling ONLY in the company, whether with a companion or friends - then , with people who understand his condition, he probably would have trouble-free and enjoyable holiday.
Whoever cares or should care for him home should not allow the gentleman to travel overseas alone.

Posted by Sue on April 16, 2015 02:58


Thais generally have good hearts, we (Phuketwan farang readers) have all seen it many times for ourselves.

Corruption and poor safety infrastructure in the LOS is another matter altogether, un addressed at the highest levels mind you..

Posted by farang888 on April 16, 2015 07:13


It is good to see all the help this man has received

Posted by Paul on April 16, 2015 07:20


I just read that the police found a bag in wichit. A blue coloured one. It had wet clothes in it, but no mentioning of a passport. Maybe worth asking?

Posted by Carl on April 16, 2015 10:28

Editor Comment:

We had the same thought about the bag that sparked a security concern. ''Mine is blue but not that new,'' Mr McDonald said.


My compliments for all the heart warming actions of people who helped mr McDonalds so far. Great!

Posted by Kurt on April 17, 2015 12:39


Ed, did someone steal his wedding ring? Can you fly without a Passport even internally within Thailand to Bangkok?

Posted by Welcome To Paradise on April 18, 2015 14:04

Editor Comment:

He will probably need a police report and a companion traveller to get from Phuket to Bangkok if the passport can't be found. Yes, a wedding ring was stolen but the precise circumstances and date are difficult to determine.


i've flown domestically numerous times using only a copy of my passport..

Posted by another steve on April 19, 2015 20:41

Wednesday May 18, 2022
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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