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chub

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  1. I have seen the "10% beach chair zones" growing so, out of curiosity, I measured the percentage of beach length covered by sun loungers on a few beaches. The blocks of umbrellas are easily visible on Google Earth and I think their measuring tools are pretty accurate. The measurements are based on satellite photos dated 16 April 2017, the end of last high season. Karon Beach has 5 blocks of chairs covering 27% of the length of the beach (excluding chairs within Centara Grand perimeter) Karon Nui Beach, occupied by the Meridien Hotel, has loungers on 40% of its length in 2 blocks Kata Beach has 2 blocks of sun loungers covering 30% of the beach length Patong has 5 blocks of sun loungers covering 16% of the beach length, but these are 3 or 4 rows deep We may expect further expansion of the "10%" zones in the current high season!
  2. The red flags and 'Do not swim ' signs on Karon Beach have been taken over by the parasail operators and used to reinforce their efforts to keep beach users and swimmers away from their four exclusive landing and take-off zones. The signs are not erected by lifeguards and bear no relevance to the sea state. This misuse of warning signs will further erode their credibility.
  3. Below are some extracts from the response by the Airport Express company to a Question in the Phuket News of 20 September 2016 "Is the Phuket Airport Bus Still Running to Patong". The company claims it doesn't have a website or email address and its office cannot be found! They emphasise that no passengers may be picked up en route, (especially between Patong and Karon/Kata!). This company is clearly trying to deter passengers from using its service. Extracts follow. ------------------------------------------- We launched the Airport Bus Express to Patong several years ago and later slowly expanded our service to include Kata and Karon. The fare to Patong is currently B150 and to Kata and Karon is B200. Tickets can be bought from the driver. Edit: The fare to Kata and Karon is exactly the same as the Airport Minibus service operated by the same operator. Our buses are cream-coloured with blue stripes. There is another bus service called “Airport Bus” that uses orange buses. These buses go to Phuket Town. If you take this bus, you will need to catch another bus in Phuket Town to take you to Patong. Please note that the bus will depart once it is full. Don’t worry, though, as we have buses departing Phuket Airport every hour. If you are in a hurry, it may be best to take a taxi from the airport. We advise the same to people who are carrying a lot of luggage with them. When you get on the bus, you must tell the driver where your hotel is. The driver will drop you off at your hotel if possible. However, if your hotel is on a steep hill that our bus will not be able to climb, we will ask you to travel in one of our minivans for convenience and safety. Don’t worry, the fare is the same. Passengers can get off the bus (or minivan) at several locations en route to Patong, Kata and Karon. However, the bus or van will not pick up any passengers en route. In Patong, we use Jungceylon as our main “terminal” for buses returning to Phuket Airport. If you want to use our service from Kata or Karon, please call us and we will pick you up. Likewise, if you are staying in Patong, just call us and we will pick you up if we can. Unfortunately, our website is no longer operating and our company currently does not have a contact email address, so it is best to contact us directly for the latest information. For more details or to book tickets in advance, or call us at 076-328291 or 084-0652122. Our main office is near the Bangkok Bank branch on Phang Muang Sai Kor Rd in Patong, near Nanai Soi 8, but many foreigners have trouble finding our office, so I strongly recommend you just call us. – Nikorn Petcharat, Manager, Airport Express Bus
  4. Kata Karon One-Way System?

    Anybody remember this 2012 project by three professors and the students from Technishe Universitat Kaiserslautern and the Faculty of Architecture and Planning at Thammasat University which aimed "to make Kata-Karon liveable". -------------------------------------------------------- Phuket Governor eyes interest in beach town beautification project Phuket Gazette – Saturday, April 28, 2012 11:32:21 AM PHUKET: Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha yesterday confirmed that he would follow up on proposals made by an international consortium of urban architects on how to improve the aesthetics of the tourist-popular Kata-Karon beachfront areas. The news came at a meeting of urban planning academics from Technische Universitat (TU) Kaiserslautern in Germany, headed by Professor Dr Wolfgang Bohm. His research team has been working in conjunction with a team from the Faculty of Architecture and Planning at Thammasat University in Bangkok on the project titled “The Kata-Karon Project: A model towards future development in Phuket”. The combined teams identified the seven public areas or “issues of concern” that need attention: 1. Kata View Point 2. Karon Circle and Kata-Karon “city gates” 3. Karon Park 4. Improvement of streets and sidewalks, including road surface, footpath, parking, landscaping, bus stops and rubbish collection 5. Bus station at Kata-Karon Municipality Offices 6. Beach lifeguards 7. Tourist information center Gov Tri said, “I will look into the development proposals of each project with the committee and we will consider them in the future.” ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- That was the last public information on this project. As far as I know, the promised public exhibition of proposals to improve the aesthetics of Kata-Karon never took place. I suspect that any initiatives which upset the 'status quo' or the interests of influential local groups were quietly veto'd.
  5. Kata Karon One-Way System?

    There is dense, fast-moving traffic along Karon Beach Road making it difficult and dangerous for tourists to cross the road between the hotels and the beach. The bigger hotels have to employ red flag guards to help tourists cross. There are several pedestrian crossings but drivers ignore them, creating an additional hazard. Uncontrolled parking of tuk-tuks and green plate taxis blocks sight lines so pedestrians and emerging vehicles cannot be seen. It's an obvious location where the safety and interests of tourists should be considered. About 7-8 years ago a light-controlled pedestrian crossing was installed on the beach road south of Karon Circle. It created gaps in the downstream traffic stream that allowed pedestrians a chance to cross. The lights worked for about six months, for the next two years they lapsed to permanent flashing amber, then they went dark, and after 5 years rotted away and were removed. This technology is beyond the local government's ability to maintain. Another folly - about 20 years ago a pedestrian underpass was built under the northbound exit of Karon Circle. It's still there, open, and has never been used. The most effective means of improving conditions for tourists on Karon Beach Road would be to require all through traffic between Karon Circle and Kata to use the inland bypass - Patak Road. Beach Road would be for access only' and 'traffic calming' measures installed on the beach road, including wider footpaths and priority pedestrian crossing places. As Old Croc reports, a footpath is currently being constructed along the north side of Tania Road. In the absence of other measures, making the two roads that connect the beach road to Patak Road, alternate one-way will simply speed up traffic, and allow even more taxis and tuk-tuks to park, single and double, as in Patong. It's very sad that the local authority, dominated by taxi and tuk-tuk interests, has so little understanding of good practice in the management of traffic and pedestrians and so little consideration of the interests of the tourists who provide their income.
  6. Anybody remember this idea from two years ago. Another bus proposal, unrelated to any plan, strategy or identifiable demand, Just somebody's brainwave, announced, a confused discussion, then forgotten. Transport needs to be PLANNED! Sorry for the underlined text - I can't delete the underlining. Free Phuket airport shuttle bus in the pipeline Thursday 14 May 2015, 01:58PM PHUKET: A new free shuttle bus service, provided by Airports of Thailand (AoT) and running from the airport to Saphan Hin, Karon and Rawai were disccused a meeting held on Tuesday (May 12) to update on management progress at Phuket International Airport. President of Phuket Tourism Business Association, Sathirapong Na Takuatoong (in glasses) doesn't want to upset the taxis. Speaking about the new bus service, Lawyer and political advisor, Sarayuth Mallam proposed that there should be three lines; first would be Airport – Bangtao – Kamala – Patong – Karon (Beach Front line). Second, Airport – Bang Ku – Chaofa West – Rawai and third a city line to Saphan Hin. However, President of Phuket Tourism Business Association, Sathirapong Na Takuatoong said, “If we want to do the shuttle bus it shouldn't affect the earnings of other people. We might focus on the waiting time, if you want to travel cheap you have to wait maybe half an hour for a bus to be available. That will not take advantage out of the metered taxis.” Deputy Director of Airport Of Thailand, Phuket Office, Second Lieutenant Thani Chuangchoo said, “That would mean that there would then be two types of airport bus, one is a shuttle bus and the another is the airport bus. “With the shuttle bus, when passengers take the route to or from the airport the bus will only stop at designated points, but with the airport bus this will stop anywhere along the route to pick up passengers. “I think the shuttle bus is more universal but passengers will need to show their boarding pass before using the bus because it will be free.” Gov Nisit stressed that the shuttle bus is necessary to meet the needs of airport passengers. Currently, there are two routes for the airport bus – Phuket Town line (nine rounds) and Kata-Karon (12 rounds). However, these are not operated by AoT Sec Lt Thani said, “The airport bus can be remained in operation because it is another choice for locals. But we will not allow them to be a minivan because we already have a concession for that type of vehicle.” Jaturong Kaewkasi of the Phuket Office of the Transport Department said, “Actually, the reason that we use minivans is because sometimes there are not enough passengers for a bus, and if we use a bus it will cost us more money.”
  7. PKCD’s previous announcement last November, of an ‘island wide’ bus network included a detailed map of six routes radiating from Phuket Town, as far as north as end of the Bypass and as far south as Chalong Circle, but of course excluding any link to the west coast to avoid any incursion into the monopoly of the taxi-tuktuk cartels. PKCD’s current announcement is for a single route between the Airport and Darasamuth (Central Festival/Homeworks). The proposed route is indicated only by broad arrows but it duplicates most of the current Airport Bus to Phuket Town route which, despite serving Phuket Town and onward truck-bus connections, carries very few passengers. Why then does PKCD want to operate a bus route that obviously has very little demand? The proposed route also duplicates most of the light rail route so the one hour bus journey time will be extended by having to negotiate fifty kilometres of LRT construction works including six underpasses. The strangest part of PKCD’s proposal is that “when travellers come from the airport, they can put their belongings at Homeworks and their luggage will be transferred directly to their hotel, so they can get straight to their holiday experience.” The holiday experience will therefore begin with negotiating onward transport, minus luggage, to the west coast resorts with the various taxi cartels that infest Central Festival or waiting for the unreliable and primitive local truck buses. If PKCD can transport the luggage to a hotel, why can’t they also transport the travellers to their hotel? We know the answer. PKCD’s picture of the Mercedes Benz ‘Smart Bus’ to be used for the route is taken from a M-B promotion on ‘Motor Car Tube’ on the internet. It shows a left hand drive school bus which has a retractable ‘stop’ sign in English and Arabic. Perhaps PKCD has no idea what a high quality urban bus looks like! PKCD’s proposal illustrates the very limited scope for public transport if it must avoid incursion into the entrenched monopoly truck-bus routes or the west coast taxi monopoly.
  8. Actually, very few details of the light rail line have been published. Experience world-wide however shows that in almost all such systems costs are under-estimated and ridership overestimated, by huge margins. Most rail passengers are formerly bus passengers, so conventional wisdom is that you only consider investing in light rail when the corridor already has a very high bus frequency. The Phuket LRT corridor, except for Thalang, Phuket Town and Chalong, has mostly low-density ribbon development along the highway – businesses which have located there to provide access by private vehicles. There are virtually no buses so all future LRT passengers must transfer from private and informal modes. This makes forecasting of demand little better than a guess, and the temptation for the proponents of the system to make unrealistic forecasts of demand is very strong. No estimates of demand, ridership, revenue and subsidy have been published. Also, no details of the LRT alignment, stations and depots have been published. The LRT presents a dilemma: where LRT passes through narrow streets in Phuket Town, there is not enough road width to provide a segregated 2-way track: LRT must operate in mixed traffic and it will suffer delays at junctions even with signal pre-emption. Incursions by motor vehicles on the track, including pedestrians crossing the road will cause conflicts.LRT will need to operate at less than 20km/h in these areas. No doubt, substantial demand from the airport is assumed in the passenger forecast. But LRT will be slow - average speed probably no more than 30km/h including stops, negotiating congested city streets and junction delays. It will take almost two hours from the airport to the terminus at Chalong. No details have been published of how passengers will continue their journey from Chalong. Failure to provide a rapid and seamless interchange to another mode at acceptable cost will obviously be a major deterrent to use the LRT system at all. Add another 30 minutes for the onward journey to Kata, Karon and Patong. Relatively few tourists will use LRT, especially if the interchange at Chalong to the west coast resorts is not comfortable, reliable, cheap and direct to the hotel. The current airport van service takes tourists direct to their Patong hotels for THB 180, albeit with dangerous driving and a compulsory stop at a tour agency to suffer some ‘hard sell’ tours. An increasing proportion of tourists arrive on package tours and will be transported to their hotels by bus. Many flights from China arrive after midnight when LRT will not run. ‘Quality’ tourists and families will prefer the ‘limousine’ direct their hotel. Locals all have the option of private transport. It’s hard to foresee much demand from the airport. Just look at the empty Airport Buses to Phuket Town and the almost invisible “Airport Express” bus service. So the headline of this article ‘details revealed of province’s Tramway project’ is very misleading. Very few details have been revealed of the alignment, road cross-sections, junction layouts and signalling, depots, interchange arrangements at both ends, passenger and revenue forecasts. It looks very like a classic case of ‘build it and they’ll come.’
  9. The Hotel Act (2008) requires any place that provides accommodation for less than one month in exchange for payment is defined as a “Hotel”, regulated by the Hotel Act, and requires a hotel license, but there are important exceptions. Regarding short-term lets by condo owners, perhaps the Governor is not aware that (according to advice recently published by a prominent local law firm) a hotel licence is not required for any premises that: 1) have less than five rooms; and 2) cannot accommodate over twenty guests at a time; and 3) the income being earned for such is merely “additional income”, In these cases a license is not required but the owner must report to such accommodation activity to the relevant local authorities. Thus, operators who are providing rentals of less than 5 bedrooms for less than 30 days AND only for “additional income”, could comply with the Hotel Act by simply reporting their activity to the relevant local authorities.
  10. Without wishing to detract from the heroic image projected by our lifeguard contractor, it's obvious to anyone who spends time on Karon Beach that the men who operate the parachutes, jet skis and mats and umbrellas are wearing the 'lifeguards' uniform shorts. They bring the 'No Swimming' flags into disrepute by arranging them to keep people out of the wide swathes of beach that they reserve for their operations. Either the lifeguards are doubling up as beach business operators or more likely, the beach operators are wearing lifeguard uniforms to satisfy the numbers. What is clear is that no lifeguards are manning the lifeguard stations, watching swimmers or patrolling the beach.
  11. Google Earth

    I should add that the area outlined in yellow in the previous post lies between 110 metres and 140 metres above sea level.
  12. Google Earth

    There is some interesting data on the new Google earth scans. The area of the foothills behind Karon, outlined in yellow in the attached screen shot, has been developed in the last two years with villas and roads. We understand that no development is permitted above 80 metres, so how did all this development get approved? The steep hillside site outlined in red was cleared and extensively excavated 2 or 3 years ago to form a platform, obviously in preparation for a building. An access road has also been gouged out of the hillside. Google Earth shows this platform to be 110 metres above sea level. It probably exceeds the maximum gradient for development too. Construction has not started but the site remains a scar on the hillside and soil is falling down the slope. We can assume someone thought it would be OK to develop this site. What hope is there for Phuket's forested hills?
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