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Tuesday 21 August 2018

Thai tourism body warns visitors not be imbeciles

It is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security when enjoying the sunshine, beaches and cheap beers of Thailand. 

That's why so many visitors come a cropper when riding barely-roadworthy motorbikes without a crash helmet while pissed as a parrot. 

But after a series of recent incidents the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is encouraging travellers to remain extra vigilant by following all safety rules and guidelines during the country's current monsoon season. It rains a lot in Thailand during the "wet season". That's why hotel rooms are cheaper.

Visitors are also advised to keep up-to-date with daily Thai weather forecasts by the Thai Meteorological Department (TMD) on impending storms, heavy rains, rough weather, etc. 
The TMD also issues regular flood, flash flood, or mud slide alerts while regular surf forecasts help predict high waves and other coastal threats that are common to the Andaman Sea.
If it is a particularly torrential monsoon shower, many tourist activities are curtailed or delayed if tour operators are responsible and think that there are undue health and safety risks, or threats. Others may just go ahead anyway. 
Activities likely to be affected include: mountain trekking, white-water rafting, zip lining, bungy jumping, snorkelling, sailing, diving and ferry transfers. 
If your ferry looks like it doesn't have enough life jackets, or like it could catch fire at any moment, wait for a better option. And if swimming under a waterfall looks risky; think again. 
May to October sees the Thailand monsoon season sweep into the southwest, with September bearing the brunt of the rains. It gets pretty rainy around Phuket, thanks to the region's proximity to the Andaman Sea, and many of the smaller islands are shut down during the monsoon.
The TAT advises "island crossings by ferry are going to be choppier than usual in the monsoon and must be scrutinised on an hourly basis even if a ticket is already purchased". 
The monsoon rains tend to be short, intense bursts of rainfall. They could last for a few hours in the middle of the day and waiting until the sky clears, and travelling when the next boat is ready can be a wise investment in staying alive.
Unlike the rest of the country, the Thailand monsoon season does not hit Ko Samui until later in the year, with the rains coming in during October to December, peaking in November and tailing off in January.

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