Daily Archives: August 21, 2005

The first Thailand-Malaysia Games

The first Thailand-Malaysia Games (17th-19th August 2005) organized by Yala Institute of Physical Education under Minister of Tourim and Sports, coordinated and supported by Municipality of Betong, has been smoothly run and ended last Friday. The opening ceremony was officiated by Arzan Wannoor MP, Adviser to the Prime Minister. The slogan for this event is “Friendship Beyond Frontiers” and the objectives are to strengthen the friendship between the two neighbouring countries and to promote tourism and economic activities of Southern Thailand.

Each side has sent out about 100 participants respectively to take part in the various games such as basketball, mini-marathon, football, VIP football, Chinese chess and golf. With so many participants from Malaysia and other Southern provinces, Betong town was bustling with joy and excitement, and of course business too! During the three days, I heard people communicating in Thai, Malay, English, Indian, Mandarin and some other Chinese dialects. It was just like a small international town! A Malaysian reporter who came here for the first time told me that the Games was more like a carnival rather than a sport event!

I had a bit of adventure and fun of myself too…Besides receiving the Malaysian media and guests, I was invited to assist in the interpretation for some reporters and speakers. Luckily nothing too technical in the speech which was a relief, as I was not too sure of some of the Thai terminologies. I also ran(and hide!) here and there ,taking pictures …catching the natural snapshots of people!

Many people doubt about the situation in Southern Thailand, even though Betong is two hours away from the unrest area and although we do take extra precautions , however, I must say that life still goes on…!!

The Parade

The Malaysian Guests & Malay Children in their traditional costumes

The Cheering Dance & The Colourful Thai

Watching parade from the 1st floor window

Andaman Club & Kawthaung (Myanmar)

Andaman club is about 30 mins ferry ride away but since it is located in Myanmar, we need to leave the Kingdom and pay a levy to enter the Union of Myanmar. The Andaman club hotel rooms were on offer at 1200 bahts with breakfast thrown in.

If you are NOT into gambling, there is nothing much to do in Andaman club. We are virtually prisoners in this “penal island” as we are not even allowed to walk around island outside the hotel complex. The reasons given by the guards were that they are worried about our safety. There are snakes in the island!

Unlike Poipet casinos, the Andaman club is a high stake casino. To enter into the casino which is located one floor above the lobby, the patron needs to exchange at least 10,000 bahts of chips. We opted to play with the machine at lobby level.

Luckily there is a 18-hole golf course in the Club. At my insistance,the concierge drove us in a car to go around the course to see for ourselves if it is worth paying 1500 bahts for green fees. Golf is really not the main business for this CLUB as we can see that the couse is really run down. There were not a single player in the field. We could see some staff maintaining the course. The consolation is that the scenery is really superb.

Hole #3 is really a challenge

The next day we went to Kawthaung (a.k.a. as Victoria Point by the British). The Visa to Andaman club is still valid for the visit. Kawthaung is a small town which depends heavily on trading with Ranong. There aren’t many tourist attactions except for a big Burmese and a Chinese Kwan Yin temple.

Ferry Jetty at Kawthaung

View from Hilltop Burmese Temple

Driving from Ranong back to Phuket, we stopped at one of many waterfalls on the way. Our trip to Phuket/Ranong/Kawthaung ended with the last night in Hotel Royal Paradise (Patong).