The Bangkok Post reports that hotel and tour operators in Khao Lak, a Thailand resort area north of Phuket, will reduce room rates and tour package prices next year to improve occupancy rates during the low season (June to October). Visitors could see discounts of 30 percent to 50 percent at luxury hotels and resorts in Khao Lak, which is still recovering from the tsunami disaster in late December 2004. About 4,000 rooms are currently available in Khao Lak. This figure is expected to rise next year to 6,000, the number of hotel rooms the resort had before the tsunami.
Familiar hotel brand names in Khao Lak include Le Meridien, Best Western and Ramada. From Bangkok, the easiest option for travel to Khao Lak is by air to Phuket or Krabi airport, then continuing the trip overland .
To allay fears as the anniversary of the tsunami nears, earthquake warnings and other safety measures have been put in place at every beach area in south Thailand, including Khao Lak. The system gives warnings (in Thai, English, Chinese, Japanese, German and Swedish) 30-40 minutes ahead of earthquakes larger than 7.5 on the Richter scale. (MR)