The southern province has become a hot destination of choice, with people traveling from far and wide for its sun-soaked beaches along the Andaman Sea and the tempting lure of the offshore gambling houses. This information comes from the frontline representatives of local tourism who are witnessing the rush first-hand.
Accommodation options in this coastal province are experiencing an influx of bookings during both the regular and extended weekends. As a matter of fact, these establishments are almost hitting full capacity!
The magnetic pull for Thai tourists seems to unfold across the sea border, where enticing casinos waft in the air on Koh Son and Koh Khu islands. These islands are strategically positioned along the Thailand-Myanmar border and have become a sort of sanctuary for casino enthusiasts. Given that casinos remain a prohibited entity in Thailand, it’s easy to see how these islands are becoming a secret haven for many. The underground betting industry in Thailand is a mammoth one, counting its worth in several billions of dollars yearly.
Nit Uiteckkheng, the once high-ranking official of the Ranong Tourism Businesses Association, confirmed the recent tourist surge in the area. He stated that the steady rise in visitors has triggered a domino effect, forcing the tourists to explore alternative accommodation options like Koh Payam, an island that sits just a two-hour boat ride away from the mainland.
Meanwhile, Assistant governor Kittipol Roddon recently convened a meeting with various agencies and operators. The objective was to devise appropriate safety measures for tourist boats during the height of the tourist season. Most notably, the agreement was reached to equip tour boats that shuttle visitors to Koh Song in Myanmar with life jackets and two-way radios to ensure their safety.
Furthermore, these boats must also have provisions to ferry Thai tourists back to their homeland in case of emergencies. This is especially crucial due to the unsettled political condition in Myanmar, where the junta is grappling with an intense armed rebellion against their military rule.
Before heading off to their casino adventure, Thai tourists are required to get their Myanmar visas stamped. This is an obligatory procedure that needs to be followed at the Ranong border checkpoints. Conversely, Myanmar residents are only required to have border passes to gain entry into Ranong. The bustling activity in the coastal province sets a lively tone, hinting at the promise of more exciting times to come.