If you've been to Thailand you may have seen these...
They look just like normal chicken's eggs, except they're pink.
But be careful.
Inside they are nothing like normal eggs.
And if you attempt to crack one open for your breakfast it might put you off eggs for life.
You see, the yolk is black and the white a sort of jelly-like mess.
They are actually called Century Eggs.
Not because they are centuries old (although they look it), but because of the way they are made which dates back hundreds of years.
If you've got the stomach for it, you could try them served in the traditional Thai way.
Cut into slices and served with chilli, ginger, a little sugar, salt, fish sauce and lemon juice.
The question is - do pink eggs come from pink chickens?...
Whilst you're thinking about it, here are some properties going 'cheep' (sorry, I couldn't resist).
If you're looking for a villa, you won't want to miss this one in Surin.
Villas on this estate don't come up for sale very often.
And when they do they are usually snapped up pretty quickly.
Because it's just a 5 minute walk to Surin Beach.
The villa is on 2 floors.
On the lower floor there's a large open plan living room with a dining area and kitchen.
There's also a separate pavilion which serves as a study and overlooks the private swimming pool.
Upstairs are 4 bedrooms, 2 with en-suite bathrooms.
Similar villas on this estate have recently sold for 27,000,000 Baht (US$ 879,938).
But you can pick this one up for only 18,000,000 Baht (US$ 586,625).
So it's quite a saving.
Although it does need a bit of cosmetic work.
The solid wood floors need re-finishing and the house needs painting inside and out.
But it wouldn't cost that much to make it perfect.
Want to know more?
Simply reply to me.
If you're on the lookout for a good investment, I have just the thing in Layan.
It's a 1 bedroom apartment only 10 minutes' walk to the beach.
Here's the deal...
The seller paid 4,500,000 Baht (US$ 146,689) for it in July 2008.
Today he'll take 3,150,000 Baht (US$ 102,682).
That's a saving of 1,350,000 Baht (US$ 44,007).
But that's not all.
He's been renting the apartment to holidaymakers.
And his return this year was 313,216 Baht (US$ 10,207).
That's a net yield of 9.94%.
I know what you're thinking.
If he's making such a good return why does he want to sell?
Quite simply, he needs the cash.
If you'd like full details - just reply to me.
I don't think these 2 properties will be on the market for long.
So if you are coming to Phuket and don't want to miss out - why not send me an email or give me a call?
I don't bite and people do say I‘m "not full of crap like most estate agents".
...but there is a catch.
You see, the winner of the 2012 F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and 2007 F1 World Champion, Kimi Raikkonen, is selling his Phuket home.
And I assume he would need to sign the paperwork.
So you'd get his autograph for free!
Kimi bought the property in 2008.
Just a few months after he'd won the 2007 F1 World Drivers' Championship.
He said at the time; "It will be a nice place to go with my family and friends when I have two weeks off in the winter."
And according to staff at the resort he always had a great time when he stayed.
I tried to quiz them for more details - but they are very discreet and I got nowhere.
So what is Kimi's Phuket property really like?
As you'd expect, it's in a 5-star resort with restaurants, a spa, a gym and a swimming pool.
The 279m2 house is right on the beachfront.
It has an infinity-edged pool and steps down to the ocean.
The ground floor has a large open-plan living, dining room and kitchen.
There's also an en-suite guest bedroom on this level.
Upstairs is the master suite with its large corner bathtub and walk-in closet.
On top there's a private roof terrace with sun loungers and a BBQ.
All floors have views of the ocean and nearby islands.
Kimi's property is fully furnished - but there are no trophies or F1 memorabilia that I could see.
The asking price is 29,000,000 Baht (US$ 942,471).
Is he open to offers?
There is only one way to find out.
If you want to know more - just send me an email.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has unveiled ambitious plans to double tourist arrivals to the Kingdom over the next two years.
Armed with a budget of 500 million baht (US$16.4 million) and a new campaign slogan, “The miracle years of amazing Thailand”, TAT will attempt to double arrivals to thirty million per year, whilst also increasing income from tourism to 2 trillion baht (US$65.5 billion) per annum.
TAT has already earmarked most of the two year budget: 180 million baht (US$6 million) will be used to sponsor international sporting events such, as Formula One, the UK Football League, the Sao Paolo Snow Festival and the Australian Open golf championship.
A further 60 million baht (US$2 million) has been allocated for domestic marketing.
International celebrities will also be invited to Thailand to take part in the campaign.
TAT will continue to promote Thailand’s national festivals, such as Loy Krathong, Songkran and the Vegetarian Festival as world events.
In fact, over the next two years there are more than one hundred and eighty events planned to encourage tourists to visit the different provinces.
"TAT will put on many events and activities to encourage local people to travel across regions in the country," Prakit Phiriyakiat commented.
Visa fees will also be waived for tourists from selected countries and tax reductions will be implemented on domestic fares across the country.
The new “miracle campaign” has received full support from central government and the new Thai Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra.
TAT has also requested an additional budget from the Thai Government to enable it to develop Thailand’s attractions and upgrade the entire Thai tourism industry.
Will the change of slogan from “Amazing Thailand” to “Miracle years of amazing Thailand” do the trick?
It remains to be seen. This is some of the competition; “Surprising Singapore”, “Malaysia Truly Asia”, Indonesia “Admit It, You love it” and the Philippines’ “WOW”.
Phuket, Thailand: According to a report in the Phuket Gazette, Phuket property development The Village, Coconut Island could be facing legal action for infringing Thai environmental and licensing laws.
A complaint filed by local residents at Phuket Provincial Hall last week stated that The Village was releasing untreated waste water into the sea.
The matter was followed up personally by Phuket Vice Governor Somkiet Sangkhaosutthirak who visited the island last week with a thirty person inspection team.
The Village’s Managing Director, Christopher Gordon, refuted the allegations stating; “All of the villas have their own [sewage treatment]. These all connect up to the central system. The wastewater is absolutely treated before it is released to the sea. It is a Thai-government approved system.”
But, after further inspection, the Phuket Vice Governor remained unconvinced, commenting; “I understand that the project is on-going. We will need a team to return and inspect the project once it is completed,” he said.
During the inspection, sudden and prolonged rainfall revealed that large amounts of silt were running off the construction site and directly into the sea.
Further investigation showed that the The Village’s Environmental Impact Assessment Report had stipulated that the project must have a 13,000 square metre enclosure to trap any silt and allow the sediment to settle before releasing the water into the sea.
Christopher Gordon has now been given up to one month to install the enclosure. The Vice Governor said that failure to do so will result in legal action being taken against the resort.
Although Thai law states that this should have been done before any building work was carried out, Gordon responded by saying; “Please give me some time. I cannot do it all in one day.”
Another area of concern for the Phuket Vice Governor was The Village’s hotel license, or rather a lack thereof.
Gordon has been renting out Jacuzzi suites in the project’s second phase, which is still incomplete. But to comply with legislation the development must have a hotel license to do so.
“The houses won’t be a problem because they are under the Land Development Act. But opening some parts for guests to rent out daily, and in the middle of the construction, must be considered as operating a hotel business. We would like to suggest that you apply for a hotel license in order to let guests stay nightly, weekly or whatever, legally. You may not fully understand Thai law, but what you are doing is risky - it can be construed as contravening the Hotel Act,” Vice Governor Somkiet warned.
Christopher Gordon agreed to attend to both issues raised by the Phuket Vice Governor. However, it remains unclear why the developer did not comply with the law from the beginning.
As Phuket Boat Lagoon continues to be almost always full to capacity, its owners have been looking across the water to Krabi to increase the number of yacht berths that they can offer.
And it seems that their plans are well advanced, as they have just announced that phase one of their Krabi Boat Lagoon is due to be completed in November this year.
The new marina is located in the Baan Taling Chan area of the Southern Thai province of Krabi.
Phase one covers an area of forty two rai (6.72 hectares) and provides ninety wet berths, seventy hard stands and six undercover berths. The facility can take vessels of up to twenty metres in length.
“[Yacht] Berths will be offered initially to existing owners in Phuket and an on-site sales office in Krabi will open next month,” said Sriya Yongsakul, sales and marketing director for Krabi Boat Lagoon.
The marina’s facilities will include a fuel dock, a boat service centre, twenty four hour security and a travel lift which can support yachts of up to fifty tonnes.
The total area of land allocated for the Krabi Boat Lagoon project is one hundred and ten rai (17.6 hectares).
Phuket Boat Lagoon was the island’s first marina complex.
The brain-child of Khun Kanit Yongsakul, it was officially opened in 1994 and is situated at the end of a two mile creek called Klong Tha Rua on the East Coast of Phuket in Southern Thailand
The circular marina provides moorings for vessels up to 42.7 metres long.
Most sailors consider the complex to be on a par with other leading marinas across the globe.
Facilities include a fuel dock, three travel lifts with a capacity of up to sixty tons, a large concrete work area and hard-standing for up to eighty craft, dry stack storage to accommodate twenty speedboats, one hundred and seventy wet berths all with power and water, a concrete boat ramp, hot showers and changing room facilities.
Phuket Boat Lagoon and its neighbour, Royal Phuket Marina, are twenty kilometres from Phuket International Airport and eight kilometres from Phuket Town.
More than five hundred Thai massage therapists descended on Kata Beach in Phuket, Thailand today for an un-official attempt at setting a new world record for simultaneous massage.
Although the official figure is yet to be confirmed, it is thought a total of five hundred and eighty four pairs took part. The current official Guinness World Record is two hundred and thirty two, set on 30TH March 2010, at an event organised by the Tourism Board of Victoria in Australia.
The un-official Phuket world record attempt is part of a wider campaign by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to raise the profile of Thai Massage throughout the world. Promotional activities kicked off in the northern city of Chiang Mai on 3rd June 2011 and similar events were also held in Surat Thani and Ubon Ratchathani in southern Thailand.
The campaign will reach its climax with an official attempt on the Guinness World Record in Bangkok on 17th November 2011. Already, eight hundred and forty pairs are expected to take part.
The father of Thai massage and medicine is said to be Doctor Shivago Komarpaj (Jivaka Kumar Bhacca) from northern India, who lived over 2,500 years ago.
Komarpaj was a student of the Buddah and the personal doctor of the first Buddhist monks.
Thai massage, also known as Nuadd Bo-Rarn, is a combination of influences from India, China and traditional Thai medicine.
Modern Thai massage is derived from traditional healing techniques used across the different provinces of Thailand. There are many variations which differ according to the region.
Today, many Buddhist temples continue to practise the art of Thai massage to treat the sick as an alternative to Western medicine.
Currently there are two hundred and twenty certified institutes which provide massage training throughout Thailand. Since 2004 over 500,000 Thai’s have taken a certified massage training course.
The much trumpeted online check-in system for yachts arriving at Chalong Marina in Phuket, Thailand will finally go live on 1st September 2011.
The announcement was made by officials from the Phuket division of the Software Industry Promotion Agency (SIPA) during a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall.
“We have finished developing the system and it is now in a trial period that also provides training to business operators and government authorities so they will be well prepared to put it to use,” Project Manager for SIPA, Pracha Asawateera, commented.
The new system will mean that yacht owners can now submit all their information via the online system before arriving at Chalong Marina.
“The Marine Department, Immigration Bureau, and Customs are all responsible for each yacht, crew and cargo check-in. [At the moment] each department has a different form for visitors to fill in and the problem is that it takes so much time for them to complete all three.
“[With the on-line system] when yacht owners and passengers arrive at the marina, they only need to bring documents such as passports and yacht registration. Government officials can also plan how many officers need to be at the marina because they will know how many yachts will be arriving,” Asawateera explained.
The electronic check-in system has been in development since December 2010.
Chalong Marina is the main customs and immigration point for private yachts arriving in Phuket.
Construction of the marina started in 2007. Phase one was a seventy million baht (US$2.34 million) project to build port facilities, quays and a waste water treatment pool.
Work began on phase two in September 2010 and is now almost complete. The second phase cost two hundred and thirty five million baht (US$7.86 million) and includes a passenger terminal with immigration and customs offices.
A second pier is also being built, at a cost of 11.6 million baht (US$388,000), for the exclusive use of local fishermen and long tail boats.
Once fully open, Chalong Marina will provide space for fifty yachts, up to thirty metres in length.
Phuket, Thailand: After more than a decade of waiting, proposals for the Phuket light railway transit system finally seem to be gathering some momentum.
The Phuket Provincial Office finalised its list of potential bidders for the project on June 16th 2011.
Phuket Vice Governor, Niwit, confirmed that there were ten potential investors, including Thai and foreign firms.
Sung-Ming Lee, the President of Dohwa Engineering, was in Phuket this week to assess the scheme’s viability. The South Korean firm are thought to be one of the front runners to be awarded the contract.
“We have been inspecting Phuket’s public transportation for two days. So far we have seen that Phuket has transportation problems and we have seen a lot of traffic jams,” Sung-Min Lee commented.
Lee presented several proposals to Phuket Governor, Tri Augkaradacha, at a meeting held at the Provincial Hall in Phuket Town on August 10th. These included a number of suggested routes the new transport system could take across the Island.
At the meeting the Phuket Governor was invited to visit Dohwa’s headquarters in South Korea so he could see some of their completed projects for himself.
“This company is showing a clear interest in investing in Phuket’s public transportation. They are paying attention to our requirements and they are offering to finance the project,” commented Governor Tri.
Lee will now return to Korea and finalise plans for the project.
Established in 1957, Dohwa Engineering is ranked 106th in ‘The Top 150 Global Design Firms List, 2011’. Published annually in July, the list ranks the world’s 150 largest designs firms based on total design specific revenue.
The proposal for a light-rail link in Phuket dates back decades. A feasibility study was finally carried out in early 2006. The subsequent report estimated that building a single rail link between Phuket International Airport and Phuket Town would cost around twenty billion baht.
The new Srisoonthorn Bridge which links Phuket Island to Phang Nga Province and mainland Thailand has finally opened to traffic.
The bridge was scheduled to open at the beginning of June this year but was delayed due to “last-minute changes in the work plan."
To mark the opening Phuket Provincial Highways Office Chief, Arun Sanae, made the first trip across the 300 million (US$10 million) Baht structure.
But, although the bridge is now open, fifty per cent of the left hand lane will remain closed until renovations on the existing Sarasin Bridge have been completed. The old Sarasin Bridge is being converted into a tourist attraction.
The constructor, Italian-Thai Development PCL., is expected to hand the project over to the Phuket Provincial Highways Office by the end of August 2011.
However, the road connecting the southbound carriageway to Phuket Island has yet to be completed because one elderly couple are refusing to vacate their rented house and land. The house needs to be demolished so that the connecting road can be built.
“We will ask the landowner to ask the couple to move out of the house and we will complete the road,” commented Arun Sanae.
Pending a resolution, a temporary road has been proposed which will bypass the couple’s home.
Approved on October 28th 2009 with a budget of 378 million baht (US$12.5 million), the 655 metre Srisoonthorn Bridge was dubbed ‘Sarasin Bridge 2’ during its construction phase.
The forty one year old Sarasin Bridge is well known in Phuket and throughout Thailand as a ‘lovers leap’. In 1987 a Thai feature film was made based on the story of the first two lovers to make the tragic leap from the structure. The title translates as simply; ‘Sarasin, the Bridge of Love’.
Phuket’s award winning Banyan Tree Spa has opened its first branch in Singapore, on the 55th floor of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.
Although Banyan Tree Holdings is a Singaporean company headed by founder and chairman, Ho Kwon Ping, this is the firm’s first venture on home soil.
“We are bringing the best of the Banyan Tree Spa experience to our home ground and proud to have the stunning location of Marina Bay Sands to plant our first flag. We aim to make Singapore proud by opening the city's first ever Banyan Tree Spa at the height of nearly two hundred metres in the sky, and welcome Singaporeans to visit this spectacular spa.
“This opening is a key milestone in the history of Banyan Tree. We are confident that our presence will elevate the standards of spa services in Singapore to another level, and exceed our clients' expectations,” Ho Kwon Ping commented.
Banyan Tree history dates back to 1984 when Ho Kwon Ping first had his vision of building a luxury resort in Bang Tao on the northwest coast of Phuket.
At that time large scale tin mining had devastated most of the landscape in Phuket.
In fact, the area surrounding Bangtao Beach was so badly polluted experts said it was impossible for anything to grow. And in 1977 a United Nations Development Plan survey team classified the area as “too environmentally damaged to have any development potential.”
However, Ping was undeterred. He bought the one thousand acre disused Bangtao tin mine and the surrounding land. It was polluted, dotted with craters and littered with rusting machinery. Observers at the time said it looked more like a moonscape than a tropical island paradise.
Ping stuck to his task and invested US$200 million. The waste land was levelled, the mining craters were turned into lagoons and the whole area was replanted with fruit, palm and Casuarina trees.
Laguna Phuket opened in 1987. Its first hotel was the 254 room Dusit Thanni Laguna Phuket.
In 1994 Ping opened the first Banyan Tree Spa at Laguna Phuket. The concept was to provide Asia with its first luxury oriental spa.
There are now sixty four Banyan Tree Spa’s in twenty six different countries.
The chain also has plans to open a further eighteen Banyan Tree Spa’s by 2014 in Vietnam, Spain, Portugal, China, India, Greece, Morocco, Oman and Montenegro.
Today, Laguna Phuket has a total of seven five-star hotels; Banyan Tree Phuket; Angsana Laguna Phuket; Dusit Thanni Laguna Phuket; Laguna Beach Resort; Best Western Allamanda Laguna Phuket; Laguna Holiday Club Resort; and Outrigger Laguna Phuket Resort and Villas.
Marina Bay Sands officially opened on the 23rd June 2010.
Since its opening the casino alone has attracted around 25,000 visitors a day.
The integrated resort was developed by Las Vegas Sands. It houses a casino, a 2,561 room hotel, a 1,300,000 square foot exhibition centre, an 800,000 square foot shopping centre, an art and science museum, two theatres, seven celebrity chef restaurants, two floating pavilions, an ice skating rink and now a Banyan Tree Spa.