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David in Phuket
David in Phuket
Beloved Moi Vogel

Phuket Tsunami

Thursday, February 10, 2005

As a travel program, we thought we had a responsibility to send a crew to Thailand, a place we have visited countless times, to show viewers how things stand following the Boxing Day tsunami.

The wretched event hit close to home with the death of Moi Vogel and her husband Christian Nott. Moi was a much-loved Channel Nine employee and was a Getaway researcher and producer. Moi and Christian were honeymooning in Khao Lak and were amongst the thousands who lost their lives when the vicious wave struck.

No matter how graphic the footage we have all seen on news broadcasts, our crew found the aftermath beyond words. Now that over a month has passed, reality is setting in and it is becoming tragically obvious that those not physically injured have been affected in so many other ways.

Tourism is the lifeblood of Thailand. Each year thousands of people head there to holiday, relax on the beautiful beaches, shop like crazy in Bangkok, lap up real Thai food and enjoy the company of the serene and gentle locals.

Now so many of them face a bleak future, as with no tourists there are no jobs and that just leads to no money for them to survive, feed and raise their families and try to replace some of what they have lost.

Thanks to some hard work done by many selfless people, things are quickly being restored and many areas are ready to welcome the return of tourists. Beaches have been cleared, rubbish removed, rebuilding is happening everywhere and spirits are slowly on the rise.

It's always a good idea to check the latest news from our Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and it is understandable that they tend to be extra cautious. They offer advice on which tsunami affected areas they feel are ready for visitors and which are not. The ultimate decision, of course, is your own. Health concerns are important, but most tourists are wary about consuming things such as drinking water and unwashed foods when they are away from home anyway.

Here is an update on how the tourist situation stands in the tsunami affected parts of Asia as of February 10, 2005.


Sixty-five of Phuket's 89 Patong Beach hotels are open again and just three are yet to re-open on Kata Beach.

Phi Phi suffered more damage and just four of its 13 resorts are up and running. It is probably too early to travel to the Khao Lak and Takua Pa areas of Phang Nga province.

Krabi on the mainland has only five resorts closed and islands such as Koh Samui and Pattaya in the Gulf of Thailand were completely sheltered and remain open.


Waves had a minimal impact. The resort areas of Penang and Langawi did suffer some damage, but all hotels have re-opened.


Eighty-five percent of Sri Lanka's coastline was damaged, most severely the southern and eastern parts. Most hotels in the Galle area are open again, but are mainly occupied by aid workers and media. Surrounding areas have suffered total devastation and should be avoided. Colombo, Sigiriya Rock and Kandy have not been affected.


The low-lying Maldives were not totally wiped out as first feared, and 64 of the 87 island hotels are up and running but some facilities may not be fully operational.


The south-eastern coastal states of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were extensively damaged and reconstruction efforts are underway. Chennai tourist attractions and hotels not on the coast continue to operate as normal.

Our advice is that if you were considering travelling to parts of Asia, don't dismiss your plans before you find out the latest information.

Rest in Peace, Moisie


Phuket on Thailand's south-west coast.

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