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Phuket Tourist Life After The Tsunami

Jan 4, 2008
It has been just a little bit more than three years ago that the popular tourist destination Phuket was hit by the Tsunami. We all remember the terrifying pictures of this greatest natural catastrophe in the recorded history broadcasted around the world. Most of us living in Thailand had friends and family or new people directly who lost their lives in the tsunami or were inflicted physical and mental hardship from the tidal waves along the coastlines if the Indian ocean. Phuket, also called the pearl of the Andaman sea, one of the world's most popular tropical tourist destination because of its many attractions ranging from nightlife to stunning natural beauty and a whole array of water sports, the years to come suddenly appeared destined to loose momentum.

What has changed since then? What have we learned? What has happend to the risning star among the tropical islands that was increasingly gaining a reputation for yacht charter and deap seas fishing as well?

Anchalee Wanitch Thepbutr, president of the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization, said during the second anniversary of the disaster that the island's tourism industry has already got back to the stage before the tsunami.

The post-tsunami devastations along the popular beaches of Patong, Kamala, Karon and Kata have been replaced by new hotels, restaurants and street markets and are once again bustling with foreign and local tourists.

Disaster evacuation plans appear to be history and have not been implemented as widely postulated after the tidal waves had struck in 2004. Likewise the beach zoning plan allowing people to escape from giant waves also appears to have been forgotten: The beach-strip extending 30 meters from the high-tide level that the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department demanded should remain empty and free from any obstacles is now packed with chairs, dining tables and booths of vendors selling food and souvenirs.

In fact only warning signs indicating in which direction to run if a tsunami ever were to strike again reminds visitors of the disaster from three years ago.

As an irony of history the second anniversary of the tsunami was overshadowed by scandal involving money donated from abroad. A recent letter to the Thai Royal Police signed by diplomats of seven countries asked for an internal audit investigating of the use of sixty million Thai Baht in donations.

So, until further notice Phuket remains a top destination for sun and fun seekers. Especially for yachting, sailing and fishing Phuket has become increasingly renown.

The common opinion of locals in Phuket appears to be that now everybody would just run and not wait until the wave comes. And that is probably the remaining lesson from the 2004 disaster: Tsunamis can happen in Thailand, before that was thought to be impossible.
About the Author
Poyel Nelson enjoys water and boats in Thailand. Phuket Yacht Charter
Global Watersports Directory
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