PHUKET: The government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej has given the green light to the Ao Phuket development plan, a 100-billion-baht megaproject on 3,000 rai of reclaimed land that would include a convention center, marina and other facilities.

The latest movement in the Ao Phuket plan, first conceived over two decades ago, follows from PM Samak’s assigning responsibility for the project to the the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (DASTA), a public organization under the direction of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports established in 2005 under the first Thaksin government.

Phuket Governor Niran Kalayanamit met with DASTA’s Ao Phuket working committee at the Phuket Merlin Hotel on May 2.

The Ao Phuket committee, accompanied by DASTA chairman Gen Soonthorn Khumkomkul, earlier that morning traveled to the waterfront to view the intended project site, which stretches across Phuket Bay all the way from Saphan Hin to Rassada Harbor.

Also attending the meeting were representatives from Phuket City Municipality, the Tourism Authority of Thailand South Region 4 Office in Phuket, the Phuket Tourist Association, Muang District Office, Rassada and Wichit municipalities and other agencies.

PM Samak in March 2008 authorized the DASTA to take responsibility for areas it deems as appropriate for “sustainable” tourism development.

Rajathin Syamananda, who heads DASTA’s Ao Phuket project committee, is well acquainted with the project as a former director-general of the Interior Ministry’s Town and Country Planning Department.

The MICE facilities would comprise: “Phuket Arena”, a 40,000-square-meter convention center with the capacity to host events for up to 15,000 people; two exhibition areas of 60,000 and 30,000 sqm each; a 40,000-sqm business center with space for 100 businesses to rent; a 1,000-room hotel complex; and a 60,000 sqm shopping center featuring shopping malls, souvenir shops, restaurants, cinemas and other facilities.

The circular, 690-rai marina development to the south would include berthing facilities for superyachts, hundreds of slips for smaller vessels, a retail and commercial center, repair and maintenance facilities, and apartment or condominium blocks.

On the economic front, K. Rajathin said the original cost estimate of 63.5 billion baht when the plans were drawn up might no longer be practical.

The total price tag would probably hit 100 billion baht

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With a little over a month to go the Koh Samui Regatta organisation team is moving into top gear to ensure another great event.

Regularly attracting over 35 to 40 yachts this Regatta has a truly international feel as the upwards of 300 participants head in to this beautiful tropical island from all points of the globe.

The recent announcement that Matt Allen’s ‘Ichi Ban’ is being shipped from Dubai, fresh from her recent victory at the premier racing event in the Gulf the Maktoum Cup, ensures that there will again be a hot premier racing class at this years Samui Regatta. And although Ray Roberts on ‘Quantum Racing’ has already wrapped up the Asian Yachting Grand Prix championship there is still a matter of bragging rights to hoist aloft the beautiful KSR Waterford Crystal Perpetual Bowl on the winners podium come 7th June.

The ‘Quantum Racing’ DK 46 will face some stiff competition. Perennial line honours winner ‘Jelik’ the Reichel Pugh 76, under the guidance of Frank Pong will be looking to repeat her 2006 success but defending champion Bill Bremner is back from Singapore on his new ‘Foxy Lady IV’ a TP52 recently shipped in from the US. Going head to head with Bill and also sailing a TP52 will be Hong Kong’s Sam Chan on ‘Ffree Fire’. Unfortunately it looks like the other TP52, ‘Strewth’ from Hong will not make it in time following their ‘mishap’ on the recent Rolex China Seas Race. Neil Pryde and his professional crew is fast getting to grips with the Wellbourne redesigned ‘Hi-Fi’ which was a previous KSR winner as ‘Hollywood Boulevard’. But you can never rule out Kinmoth and Burns on ‘Mandrake’ a previous Admirals Cup winner and Chris Meads new Corby 43 ‘Full Metal Jacket’.

But the Samui Regatta is not just about the Grand Prix yachts and we should not forget the many other boats that travel the thousands of miles to compete in the other classes and come together to make this such a friendly and laid back event. From the super cruiser-racers such as ‘Moonblue II’ and ‘Intrigue’ through to IRC 2 with the likes of ‘Abraxas’, ‘Lunch Cutter’ and ‘Happy Endings’ from Singapore, as well as ‘La Samudra’ and ‘Remington’ from Phuket, as well as ‘Thai Raver’ and ‘Magic Roundabout’ from Pattaya. The multihulls will be well represented by the 50 ft. ‘Sonic’ and ‘Cedar Swan’ as well as the new Corsair trimarans from Pattaya, the Firefly One Design cat class is back in force with ‘Moto Inzi’, ‘Pagatoon’ and ‘Dhevetara Frog’. And this year the Sports Boats Class is shaping up to be the biggest to date with the local Elliott 7’s ‘Moon Shadow’ and ‘Ice Bucket’ being joined by ‘Somtam Express’ from Phuket and ‘Porn Star’ and ‘Big Blue’ from Pattaya, not to mention a sprinkling of Platu 25’s. The Sunsail ‘One-Design’ charter fleet also provides a great option to ‘fly in and sail’ as Aussie legend George Snow and his mates from the CYCA in Sydney proved when they chartered the fleet for some keen one design racing a couple of years back.

And be sure to make it to Samui for the 7th running of the ‘Tropical Island Regatta’ from the 1st to 7th June 2008.

An exciting opportunity for those people considering chartering a yacht for this regatta.

Currently we have Sunsail, Gulf Charter and The Frog are all available.

Reference :

What makes a resort romantic? room? location? Perhaps it's wisest to say that a combination of many factors adds up to the magical feeling that you've at last found your romantic Shangri la. A lot of research to find out which are Phuket's most romantic resorts. Here are the top choices on an island that has some of the most romantic beaches and sunsets in the whole world!!!

5. Twinpalms Phuket Hotel

76 Rooms, Surin Beach
Twinpalms Phuket is one of Phuket's chicest resorts, the lagoon suites are superb and have direct pool access which means you hardly have to leave your room throughout your holiday. The well appointed and innovatively designed suites in this stylish resort are spacious, to say the least, and feature huge king-sized beds. Whilst not directly on the beach, you only have to walk 160m across a park and you're on Surin, one of Phuket's finest beaches.

4. Banyan Tree Laguna Phuket

121 Villas, Bang Tao Beach

Imagine a drawn sunken spa bath with floating flower petals, complemented by a villa bedroom dressed with scented candles, aromatic oils, fragrant flowers, wine and ambient music. That's the Banyan Tree Spa Pool Villa's "Intimate Moments" experience - this is truly a luxury resort.

Privacy is 100% assured, most villas offer private pools. You can also choose an in-villa midnight feast for two, this top-rated spa has been voted one of the best spa destinations in the world. Romance and luxury - what an unbeatable combination.

3. Andaman White Beach Resort

54 Rooms, Naithon Beach
White sand is romantic. The sensuous feel of this magical powder between your toes adds to the intensity of the Andaman White Beach experience. With 54 rooms set on a small beach with no access to outsiders, this resort nestles in a coconut plantation and features self contained villas that offer total privacy.

The resort also has a complete wedding package for those ready to commit and four romantic dining venues to woo your loved one in. In-villa dining makes the ultimate romantic experience that much closer.

2. SALA Phuket

79 Rooms, Mai Khao Beach
SALA Phuket was almost number one, however privacy is ensured by walls that hinder sea views. This deluxe pool villa resort has all the ingredients for a perfect romantic holiday. Its very location is Eden-like with Mai Khao Beach mere steps away.

Some 63 of the 79 villas here feature a luxurious swimming pool and all villas have total privacy for those intimate moments. The rooms themselves are straight out of the Arabian Nights with billowing curtains, soft textiles and even softer cushions and pillows. For that extra touch of totally private luxury, Sala Phuket delivers.

and The Winner is...
1. Trisara Phuket Resort

42 Rooms, Naithon Beach
Trisara simply oozes romance and is definitely the best romantic resort in Phuket. Who can resist the stunning sunset views from these private pool villas set into a verdant tropical hillside; the attention to detail; the lushness of a huge soft bed with sensual music on a Bose music system?

Lovers can choose from 33 pool villas and 12 villa homes, all facing the Andaman sea, many on the resort's private beach. In-villa dining ensures privacy and if you choose to dine out at this top-end resort the atmosphere is one of complete discretion. Trisara makes love easy.

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Family name: Pomacentridae
Order name: Perciformes
Common name: Clownfish / clown anemonefish
Scientific name: Amphiprion percula

Clownfish are native to wide ranges of the warm waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans, including Andaman Sea. The clownfish feeds on undigested matter which otherwise potentially could harm the sea anemone, and the faecal matter from the clownfish provides nutrient to the sea anemone. It has also been suggested that the activity of the clownfish results in greater water circulation around the sea anemone. In addition to providing food for the clownfish, the sea anemone also provides safety due to its poison.

Clownfish live in small groups inhabiting a single anemone each. Most always a breeding pair, consisting of a single mating female and one mating male, cohabit with a few non-mating smaller male fish. When the dominant female dies, the dominant male changes sex and becomes the female. They exhibit a sexual life style known as sequential hermaphroditism, and specifically the protandrous form where they begin as males and can later in life switch to using functioning female gonads.

Clownfish lay eggs on any flat surface close to or under the protection of their host anemones. In the wild, clownfish spawn around the time of the full moon and the male parent guards them until they hatch about 6 to 10 days later, typically 2 hours after darkness starts.

Clownfish are omnivorous: in the wild they eat live food such as algae, plankton, molluscs and crustacea; in captivity they can survive on live meat, fish flakes and fish pellets. They feed mostly on copepods and mysids, and the undigested excrement from their host anemones.

The diet of the clownfish suggest that it is an opportunistic diner rather than a predator. It can wait until the anemone has stung and eaten its prey and then it gobbles up the leftovers, whether these pieces have not been eaten, or take the form of undigested excrement. It is also known to eat dead anemone tentacles, plankton, molluscs, crustacea and certain parasites that it finds on its host's body.

There are so many destinations for diving with Nemo that is pointless to name them all. However, here's a selection of dive destinations that offers a wide variety of anemonefish: Phi Phi Islands | Phuket | Koh Samui | Similans

source Reference: &

PHUKET: This year’s green season has seen a healthy increase in the number of holidaymakers visiting Phuket, said Suwalai Pinpradab, director of Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) Southern Region 4 Office.

Hotel occupancy rates are reportedly about 80%, marking a 20% to 30% increase on last year, with Patong being one of the busiest places on the island, according to TAT figures.

Phuket Tourist Association (PTA) President Maitree Narukatpichai reported that the PTA’s statistics were less impressive but he was still happy with the situation, saying that hotel occupancy in Phuket was currently between 60% and 70%.

K. Maitree told the Gazette that hotels such as the Holiday Inn Phuket Resort and the Phuket Merlin Hotel are operating at up to 90% occupancy. Hotels in Kata and Karon are running at about 50% occupancy, while Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort and Spa is at 60%, he added.

Methee Tanmanatragul of the Thai Hotels Association Southern Chapter said, “The occupancy rate has increased partly because there are more Middle Eastern and Indian people visiting Phuket.”

Other reasons for the busy green season include other Asian source markets, such as Hong Kong, China and Taiwan, experiencing particularly hot seasons; TAT’s tourist-enticing roadshows held in Middle-Eastern countries; and more direct flights serving Phuket from places including Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, said K. Suwalai.

“We are all doing our best to promote tourism during the green season. For example, for Phuket Walk & Run on September 30 we have been working with 21 Japanese tour operators to sell about 500 packages for people to visit Phuket. The Japanese like this kind of sport,” added K. Suwalai.

“Tourism in Phuket has been gradually improving since the tsunami. I think that next year will be even better, especially with more charter flights from places like Scandinavia,” said K. Methee.

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