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Going Over the Wall: Phuket Lays Claim to Being Thailand's Asean City

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
News Analysis

PHUKET: Thailand's Government and one or two generals may be contemplating building a fence along the border with Malaysia to keep out the bombers and perhaps even allow the Rohingya people-traffickers to go legit.

But there will still be ways over the fence. Malaysia Airlines is increasing daily flights between Phuket and Kuala Lumpur to four from June 1.

For Phuket residents, that opens up with greater ease the opportunity to transit through KL to catch flights to other parts of the word in much the same way they use Singapore as a jumping off point.

The more options Phuket flyers have going south, the less reason there is to go north to Bangkok. For many travellers - especially those heading for Australia and New Zealand - flying north to Bangkok is a nuisance.

Not only does it carry them in the wrong direction, but they are also required to pay for travelling in the wrong direction.

The more links there are with KL and Singapore, the greater Phuket's separate ties become with two of Asean's most vital cities.

If a city had to be nominated in Thailand to be Thailand's Asean city, then geography suggests that, given its proximity to Singapore and KL, Phuket should be the city.

Perhaps knowing something we don't, the Malaysia Airlines online site actually headlines its information on Phuket like this: 'Thailand's largest island nation'

Thailand's largest island nation? Just what are those Malaysians trying to stir up? (Just joking.)

Clearly, though, Malaysians appear to have a different vision of Phuket to the Bangkok bureaucrats, who take but seldom give.

It's no wonder more and more people on Phuket are looking south, over the wall.

Here's what Malaysia Airlines tells its customers about Phuket beneath that intriguing headline.

''Take a flight into this perfect escapade for beach lovers that stretches 48 km in length and faces the Andaman Sea in Southern Thailand. Take your pick from among the many water sports and leisure activities available. The beach of Bang Thao is a very long stretch, perfect for strolls. For a quick view of the aquatic life in the waters, visit the Phuket Aquarium in Cape Panwa, which showcases a variety of tropical fish and corals.

''Island hop to a host of islands surrounding Phuket, such as Ko Bon, Jo Hae and Ko Yao. Set out on a boat to nearby Phi Phi Leh, where Leonardo Di Caprio's The Beach was filmed. Also visit Phang Nga, which is famed for being the setting for two James Bond movies. For shopping and a robust nightlife head over to Patong - or take a breather at Karon for a quieter alternative. The best way to travel the town is on a 'songthaew', a little truck that ferries passengers for an affordable price.''

Oh yes, you have to love those imaginative Malaysian copy writers.

Comments

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"little truck that ferries passengers for an affordable price "

Affordable to whom ? Certainly not to the local population including expats.

Gotta love the depth of research that MAS put into that infomercial.

If anything, Langkawi would be more deserving to be called "Island Nation". After all, it's autonomous and tax free with limitations on for example local passenger car traffic allowed on mainland Malaysia (30days per year max).

What is true is the superiority of especially Changi in comparison to just about any airport in the world and most certainly when compared with Suvarnabhumi.

Flights from Singapore are also cheaper, especially on Qantas, Etihad, Qatar and Emirates and online booking is a breeze. Flight to Singapore only takes 30min longer and costs virtually the same as flying to BKK.

I see absolutely no reason whatsoever to fly out of BKK when residing in Phuket. Singapore is my choice.

Transfer there now with SQ/MI and they even give you a SGD 40 shopping voucher and have a 5 hrs layover and get a free city sightseeing tour.

Posted by ThaiMike on May 28, 2013 13:13


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