Tourists struggle down to idyllic Thai beaches
AFP - 1 hour 23 minutes ago
KRABI, Thailand (AFP) - - Flights from Bangkok may be paralysed by anti-government protests, but tourists seem determined to use all means possible to get to the fine sand beaches in Thailand's south.
Sara Forssell, 25, who works in a dive shop in the southern town of Krabi, said her best friend's boyfriend had been stuck in Bangkok after flying in from Stockholm and spending five hours in a plane on the tarmac.
"There were no flights and no information at the airport so I just told him to get to a bus station. He arrived by bus this morning after travelling for 35 hours," she told AFP.
Thousands of anti-government protesters besieged Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok on Tuesday evening. It has been closed ever since, and about 3,000 passengers trapped inside were evacuated on Wednesday.
Protesters trying to topple the government also forced the closure of smaller domestic airport Don Mueang on Thursday, bringing to a halt all commercial air travel out of the Thai capital.
But of the 50 guests due to arrive at the deluxe Rayavadee resort in Krabi for a wedding on Friday, only five have so far been unable to find their way down to the southern beach resort on the Andaman coast.
"The bride and groom were stuck in Bangkok yesterday (Wednesday) -- they really didn't want to miss it," said general manager Christophe Pointaux, adding that they settled on a 12-hour drive.
"I think they'll definitely have a memorable wedding after this."
How to escape paradise, however, is another problem.
"Oh my God, maybe I should change my flight. I'm running out of money so it's not ideal," said Anna Ross, 21, from Britain who is due to fly to London via Bangkok on Sunday.
"I don't really need to get home, but I'd like to be home in time for Christmas," she said.
Tourists remained mostly in good spirits on Thursday, tanning themselves on the beach and by the pool in the sunshine after a couple of rainy days.
Hotel workers said it seemed quieter than usual on the beach and in the resort, though it was difficult to tell if that was because of the global economic downturn or more recent political events
Rising fuel costs had already pushed arrivals at Suvarnabhumi down to about 600,000 in August -- a 33 percent drop from a year earlier. In September, arrivals were down 21 percent from the previous year.
Kongkrit Hiranyakit, president at the government-run Tourism Council of Thailand, warned that the siege and closure Suvarnabhumi Airport was costing Thailand about seven million dollars a day in tourist revenue.
"I only massaged four people yesterday, that's not many. This should be high season but it's just the same as low season -- not many tourists," said Ti Lek Banyasarn, foot masseuse on Krabi's West Railay beach
"It's no good having protesters taking over Suvarnabhumi. It's no good for my business."
Recommend this article
Average (0 votes)
Sign in to recommend this article »
Most Recommended Stories »
Related Articles: Entertainment & Lifestyle
T.I. serves Thanksgiving dinner to Atlanta needyAP - 2 hours 35 minutes ago
Berlin museum shows off antique godsAP - Friday, November 28
Daniel Barenboim set for Metropolitan Opera debutAP - Friday, November 28
City Ballet celebrates whopper of a giftAP - Friday, November 28
Spanish novelist Juan Marse wins Cervantes PrizeAP - Friday, November 28
Tourists prepare to leave the departure terminal after anti-government protesters forced the closure of Bangkok's main airport, the Suvarnabhumi international airport, in Bangkok on November 26, 2008. Flights from Bangkok may be paralysed by anti-government protests, but tourists seem determined to use all means possible to get to the fine sand beaches in Thailand's south.
Most Popular – Entertainment
US clears Bank of America deal for Merrill Lynch
US president's mother 'doing very well' in hospital: Laura Bush
Love handles increase death risk: study
Obama vows 'help is on the way' for the economy
Michael Jackson strikes 'amicable' deal with Arab sheikh
View Complete List »