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Posted: 02 Apr 2014 | 6:00 am
The long mean dry season will soon come to an end in chaotic Thailand, where politics never sleeps. But a brief respite from the tension and heat has been found in the invasion by realty TV franchise family The Kardashians of the sun soaked shores of Phuket.
It's an unlikely invasion that has already been beamed far and wide. But for those in the know, the true location where Hollywood now resides in a luxury villa is actually over the bridge on the Thai mainland in Phang Nga.
While the global media machine spins online updates of darling Kim and her countless sisters, snap-happy paparazzi have gone viral with more bikini pics than one could even imagine existed in "Thongland". Yet despite the publicity frenzy, the press being the press has somehow confused the location as actually being on Phuket.
I've always known we American's have a poor sense of geography, but somehow this particular name game has a more sinister edge. Brand Phuket appears eager to devour its geographically close siblings, and to steal the global spotlight in the process. The high season has once again seen a surge of Russian travellers, and the word on the street is that Putin's Crimean plot might have given the Phuket puppet masters some ideas.
Things started off innocently enough, with some of the island's prized luxury real estate pushing off the island onto more pristine stretches of white sand where posh ultra villas started sprouting wings to attract the rich and famous. But maybe there is something more to this Russian connection as Phuket goes coastal with armed force?
The Kardasians, obviously, are more fond of smartphones and selfies than AK-47's, but for Phang Nga, as in Ukraine, the only defence may be to sulk off in abject anonymity.
Elsewhere in the region, Asia's resort real estate markets also continue to be headlined by their star destinations. Down in the southern parts of Indonesia, for example, where the property market is now looking beyond it's famous core, the brandologists are still stuck in the la la land known as "Beyond Bali".
You see, Hollywood and real estate have something in common. It's that headlining power and the iron fisted will to crush the competition, or at least confuse them enough to imagine they really are in Oz. Hey Toto, come on over!
Yes, its hot out there, nothing cold about it. Welcome to the "Warm War", where even the Russians want to holiday like the Kardashians.
In the end, world peace is just a tweet away.
A column featuring environmental issues and conservation around the island. Click here for more Green Reports check out the latest story from the leading experts:
Thailand-based Khiri Travel will highlight the opportunities of green travel at the upcoming PATA Travel Mart in Phnom Penh.
Both the Banyan Tree Phuket and Angsana Laguna Phuket resorts have been given EarthCheck bronze status.
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