Many of them are taking to the beaches to soak up the sun as the island experiences daily high temperatures of 32-33°C, while the nights bring – for locals, brisk – overnight lows of 24°C.
The increasing number of tourist arrivals on Phuket has been much welcomed news for business operators, especially in the wake of the past two years. Not so much so for island residents who up until the past few months have had the island all to themselves. Complaints of culture clash abound, testing patience, with some arrivals bringing their own bad behaviour with them.
Yet the turnout of foreigners at the blood donation drive at Central Floresta this week highlighted the spirit of giving, with foreigners hailing from many and varied countries turning up literally to give blood to help a fellow human being.
The event cannot be easily dismissed as self-serving as a drive for Rh-negative blood, more commonly needed by foreigners invovled in accidents. The people who turned up to give have no idea who their blood will help keep alive. The number and variety of nationalities involved was an excellent example of what most foreigners here want the island to be: a safe haven for all.
In Phuket, observing Christmas is not a religious duty. Many Thais join the festivities in the spirit of giving – something that so many Thais excel at. Municipalities and community groups across the island are also celebrating the season.
But celebrating Christmas the spirit on the paradise island of Phuket does not come without its dangers, post-party drunk driving foremost among them. The island’s roads are dangerous enough with dangerous drivers speeding, cutting across lanes, ignoring trafic signals and tourists not familiar with the roads – and other driving habits on the island – riding motorbikes for the first time.
There is no excuse for drunk driving. Stay where you are, stay at a cheap hotel nearby, have a sober friend drive you home or take a taxi. Most areas in Phuket now finally have taxi options where passengers are no longer held to ransom by cartels with exclusive rights to fares in specific area.
Christmas parties, brunches and other events are being held all across the island to mark the special day. From all of us here at The Phuket News, we wish one and all a safe, and very merry Christmas.