Songkran – Thai New Year
Songkran - Thai New Year Songkran is the Thai New Year, it is celebrated from 13 April to 15 April, and it is the most popular festival in Thailand. Everyone celebrates by having a big water fight in the street. April is the hottest time of the year and what better way to cool off from the heat and humidity by having a large water fight with your friends and family. It is a really great time to be in Thailand with everyone having fun. The real meaning behind the splashes is to symbolically wash off all misfortunes in the past year, and welcome the New Year with a fresh new start. Traditionally, the Thais would politely pour a bowl of water on members of the family, their close friends and neighbours and they usually go visit the temples. As Songkran has taken a more festive note, a bowl has become a bucket, a garden hose and of course large water guns and the spirit of holiday merriment is shared amongst all, Thai, expat and tourist alike. In Phuket the main Songkran day is 13 April. In Bangkok they celebrate from 13 – 15 April. Be prepared to get soaked while celebrating, but it is really good clean fun. Ensure you dress appropriately, you will get wet and we also you carry any valuables in a waterproof bag. Happy Songkran to everyone, we hope that you all have a great year ahead, enjoy the water fight 🙂
The Sharks of Phuket and Phi Phi Thailand
The Sharks of Phuket and Phi Phi Thailand Sharks Of Phuket Here in Phuket and Phi Phi we mostly see leopard sharks, nurse sharks, black and white-tip reef sharks and the occasional whale shark. The Sharks Of Koh Phi Phi, Thailand The idyllic island of Koh Phi Phi on the west coast of Thailand is famous for once, briefly, being home to Leonard DiCaprio and friends during the filming of the hit movie ‘The Beach‘. Koh Phi Phi surrounding waters are also home to some amazing sea creatures. The diving here is exceptional, with great biodiversity, good macro critters, plenty of turtles and stunning corals, but for me, the big draw is the sharks… The Leopard Shark Common Names: Leopard shark, Zebra shark. Latin Name: Stegostoma fasciatum.Family: Stegostomatidae Identification: Body scalloped with two distinct ridges running from behind head along each flank into caudal fin (tail). The immense caudal fin is almost as long as the body. First and second dorsal fins low and long with a free rear margin. Pectorals well-developed. Body colouration cream, yellow, or greenish-yellow, with dense black spots. Juveniles have vertical lines of black on cream. Hence the two common names of leopard or zebra shark. Size: Maximum length 3.5m. 25cm at birth. Colouration changes at around 90cm. Habitat: Inshore and offshore adjacent to reefs. Abundance and distribution: Red Sea south to South Africa, west to Indonesia and Samoa and from Japan to Australia. Behaviour: Usually seen resting on the sand or rubble adjacent to reefs during the day. Hunts in same area nocturnally. Feeds on molluscs, crustaceans, and occasionally on bony fishes. The leopard shark is quite approachable, and it’s possible to get nice and close for a photograph. Reproduction: Oviparous. Up to four purple to brown egg cases are laid at a time. During mating the male bites on to the pectoral fin of the female. Juveniles are rarely seen and probably inhabit waters deeper than recreational scuba allows. The Blacktipped Reef Shark Common Names: Black-tipped reef shark, Indo-Pacific black-tip shark, black-tip shark. Latin Name: Carcharhinus melanopterus Family: Carcharhinidae Identification: Well defined black tips on all fins. Dorsal fin tip black/white demarcation line extremely distinct and unique. Dorsal colouration grey/tan. Ventrum (underside) is white. Snout is short and bluntly rounded. Size: Maximum length 2m. Size at birth 45-75cm. Habitat: Very shallow coral reef flats and slopes. Occasionally on deeper reefs and in brackish water. Distribution: Indo-west Pacific Red Sea to southern East Africa including Madagascar. Present along much of the shallow coastline of the Indian Ocean and throughout South East Asia from Southern Japan to northern Australia. Abundant in many South Pacific Island chains including much of French Polynesia. Also present in the Mediterranean (via the Suez Canal). Behaviour: Swims constantly either alone or in small groups. Does not school. Black-tipped reef sharks are a very shy shark, and it can be difficult to get close enough for a photograph. Reproduction: Viviparous (live young). Litter number 2-4. Most likely if you do come and dive at Koh Phi Phi the sharks you would encounter would be either the leopard shark or the black-tipped reef shark. But occasionally we are lucky enough to be graced with the presence of the world’s biggest fish… the whale shark.
Phuket Thailand Emergency Contacts and numbers..
Phuket Thailand Emergency Contacts and numbers.. Emergency telephone numbers No one wants to experience a real emergency themselves but the possibility can never be ruled out. Planned precautions can help avoid an emergency situation or at least reduce the effects. We should always make precautions and go through possible scenarios in our minds. At this point I will spare you from trivial pieces of advice about how to be cautious in everyday situations. It always makes sense to store the most important telephone numbers in case of an emergency in your mobile phone. I always save these emergency telephone numbers with a specific symbol (e.g. *) and the respective name to avoid having to scroll through these numbers in everyday use of your mobile telephone. This means that all of the telephone numbers are kept together in a group so that they can be quickly found when scrolling through the telephone numbers.
PoliceTelephone: 191 (national emergency number) Homepage: http://www.royalthaipolice.go.th (Thai)
Tourist police (only in holiday resorts)Telephone: 1155 (national) Homepage: http://www.thailandtouristpolice.com (Thai/English/German..) E-mail: email@example.com This specially trained police department is available to tourists in holiday resorts. All of the officers can speak English and some can speak other foreign languages.
Fire BrigadeTelephone: 199 (national emergency number)
Emergency Medical Services (EMS)Telephone: 1669 (nationwide)
HospitalA list of reputable hospitals in Thailand [more] Store the telephone numbers of your preferred clinics and the emergency telephone numbers in the contact list in your mobile telephone. In order to be able to immediately prove your ability to pay in the hospital in case of an emergency it is recommended that you always carry your credit card. If you do not do this, there was always the danger of being sent away from hospital. You should never rely on the fact that hospitals are legally obliged to help you if your life is in danger. Discussions about whether the case is an emergency are too much for a person in an emergency situation, assuming that he is still able to discuss the situation. The emergency ambulance service of a reputable hospital is to be favoured above an emergency service offered by regular service providers or so-called “rescue” because the workers are generally not qualified medical staff.
Blocking travel cheques and credit cards
- American Express: 02+273 0022
- Eurocard/Mastercard: 001-800-118 870 663
- VISA: 001-800-441 348 5
Blocking telephone cardsIt is recommended that you block your telephone card if you lose your contract mobile phone. Any misuse of your mobile phone can result in a very expensive telephone bill. All mobile phones have a serial number, the so-called IMEI number, which is only issued for one single mobile phone in the world. The number can be displayed on the phone by entering *#06#. The number should then be kept in a safe place. If you lose your mobile phone you can then try to request that the provider permanently deactivates the mobile phone. This means that the thief cannot use the phone. However, the question is whether the provider is prepared to help and whether experimental technicians aren’t capable of reviving the telephone.
Health and travel insurance Phuket Thailand
Health and travel insurance Phuket Thailand Health insurance In health matters, Thailand is generally less expensive than Europe. However if you do not want to do without a private clinic, a heart attack can lead to a 1 million Baht hospital invoice. Travel health insurance policies are usually only valid for a limited amount of time, usually for the length of a holiday. Legal health insurance policies do not generally offer protection outside of Europe. Foreigners can also arrange a Thai health insurance. You should consider whether the upper payment tariffs are sufficient to cover treatment of serious illnesses in a private hospital. There is always the danger that the insurance company cancels the policy from their side or refuses to renew the policy for clients who are older or are suffering from a cost intensive illness. In many Thai insurance contracts, it is especially pointed out that the renewal of the contract is guaranteed up to 70 years old. There is of course, the danger that the contract will not be extended once you reach this age. However, there are now Thai insurance companies e.g. NSI, which offer an extensive insurance protection with a lifelong protection warranty which do, however, incur more expensive rates. The contracts are usually staggered according to scope of services. The insurance premium can be considerably lowered by restricting the service level, for example by restriction of the insurance cover to include only outpatient hospital visits, since the costs of outpatient treatment is relatively inexpensive in Thailand. However this method of economizing might prove to become a pitfall if a kidney problem leads to the need for permanent kidney dialysis. A return to your homeland for a holiday is usually covered in an international insurance policy. However, a stay in Canada and in the USA usually requires an supplementary premium, because of the high costs treatment costs there. The companies vary greatly from each other in the upper insurance levels. A policy which has a low level of cover might mean that you sit on the costs of treatment for serious illnesses. If necessary, this could be balanced out by using the national hospitals which are considerably less expensive. In Thai health insurance corporations, as well in many Anglo-Saxon insurance companies, it is often the case that the insurance premiums are heavily increased in the year after expensive treatment for an illness. If you are admitted to hospital, the insurance card alone is not usually recognized complete cover of costs. The hospital must first of all ensure recovery of the costs. Rather than cash, a credit card can be quite helpful in this case. Confirmation from the insurance office that the insurance contract is actually valid, is often also accepted. Hospitals are obliged to apply life-saving measures without previous clarification of the question of cost. The advantage of holding a Thai insurance policy is surely that the hospitals can account for all resulting costs very simply and directly with the insurer. If you are insured by a European insurance company, the hospital will usually require an acceptance of the costs for in-patient treatment, by FAX. Dependent on the individual case, this can take a few days. In this time, the hospital will require the payment from you to cover your treatment. After receipt of the acceptance of the costs, you will of course receive a refund of the amount paid. Out-patient costs will have to be submitted by you in writing before being refunded by European companies. When choosing an insurance company, you should therefore consider other factors than just the cost of the premium. You must consider the cancellation period, level of service along with the costs covered and how quickly they can cover the costs. Read the conditions of insurance policies very carefully!
- Can the insurance company cancel the policy and/or reject the extension of the contract?
- What type of reputation does the insurance company have?
- Is completion of the payment problem-free (ask a hospital for their opinion)?
- Are the upper limits of the service really sufficient?
- Is the premium increase still affordable with increasing age?
- Is the contract temporary and/or limited up to a certain age?
- Is a long, unrestricted visit abroad actually insured?