Vijitra Duangdee

Singapore’s confident it can keep inflation in check, but the Philippines could tip over into recession, analysts say – as Thailand looks to tourism to save the day.

From Singapore to Japan, and most everywhere in between, inbound travel protocols are being relaxed. Soaring food prices, inflation and global supply chain disruptions threaten the region’s tourism rebound, however.

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The volume and severity of allegations against Prinn Panitchpakdi, a former deputy leader of the Democrat Party, have opened a debate on the relationship between men, power and sex in Thailand.

From next year, the city state will allow single women aged 21 to 35 to freeze their eggs. But fertility is a complex matter, as South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand’s experience shows.

The exodus of Russian tourists amid the war in Ukraine has put Thailand’s much-trailed tourism reboot on the line – as it bursts other Asian nation’s dreams of a swift rebound from the pandemic.

For decades, criminals of all stripes have felt the pull of Thailand, from drug traffickers and dark web administrators to fugitive terrorists, Russian arms dealers, and Chinese, Korean and Taiwanese scam artists.

Nutcharut ‘Mink’ Wongharuthai has already made history as the first woman to make a maximum 147 break, and now she’s set her sights on the professional tour.

For those who can stomach it, crocodile is a cheaper and more protein-rich alternative. At this rate, reptile farmers may need to upscale their businesses.

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Ten eateries in the former Thai capital of Ayutthaya have won the ‘Bib Gourmand’ distinction, raising hopes that tourists’ appetite for the city will return.

Real estate firms in the country have seen a slight uptick in remote purchases by Chinese clients, providing a balm for the pandemic-hit sector.

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In Tha Rae village, Roman Catholic descendants of uprooted Vietnamese, Chinese and Lao ethnic groups decorate their homes for Christmas and hold a three-day star procession, drawing thousands of onlookers.

For decades, Bangkok’s stately Hua Lumphong terminus has welcomed weary workers, travellers and backpackers to Thailand’s capital but a US$4.8 billion replacement built with a planned high-speed rail link to Laos and China in mind has put the 105-year-old landmark’s future in doubt.

The 1,000km-long railway linking Vientiane to China’s Kunming promises to cut freight costs and bring in an influx of Chinese tourists and cash – but not everyone in the landlocked Southeast Asian nation is on board.

Americans have to wait months for goods from China, but a Singles’ Day mega-shopper in Singapore who bought 191 items has received most of their packages already.

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Northeastern Isaan region has one-third of Thailand’s population and has produced stars and celebrities, yet its people are derided as uncouth and ill-educated. Now, there’s a growing backlash against such prejudice.

From the racy go-gos of Soi Cowboy to Thong Lor’s mixology bars, 20 months of lost business and no government help during Covid-19 mean many establishments gone for good.

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Increased costs, the risk of new variants emerging, and a lack of demand from Chinese tourists are all hurdles on the long road to full recovery.

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The week-long Chinese holiday is usually one of tourism-reliant Thailand’s peak travel periods, but for the second year in a row it’s been all but cancelled by Covid-19.

The spread of Alpha and Delta variants in Bangkok and the Deep South has raised fears the virus will seep back into tourism centres just as they reopen.

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The southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat are recording scores of new infections each day, but 17 years of conflict has fostered a deep mistrust in government among the region’s Muslim majority.

Over 70 per cent of the island’s population will be vaccinated before it reopens on July 1 – but Chinese tour groups are not expected to return just yet.

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Amid a third wave of infections, eateries have been forced to close, suspend or limit operations, while those that hobble on are banned from selling alcohol.

The resort city is looking to inoculate much of its population in a bid to offer quarantine-free travel to foreign tourists – and is looking to pivot from go-go bars and sex work to more upmarket, family-friendly businesses.