Resort Owner Takes in 3 Russian Tourists Stranded in Phuket

A Tourist Police officer questions the three stranded Russian tourists in Phuket on April 5, 2020.

PHUKET — A hotel owner in the locked down island of Phuket on Tuesday said three Russians stranded there are now staying at the resort for free. 

The owner, who asked Khaosod English not to identify the person’s name or the hotel by name, said the Russian tourists had been sleeping next to a crematorium at a temple since their flight was cancelled. The trio is one of 20,000 Russians reportedly left behind in Thailand due to travel disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We are just helping them due to basic humanitarian values. I don’t want the hotel to be named just for doing this simple thing, or [I might be] accused of taking an opportunity,” said the hotel owner. “At least, sleeping here is better than sleeping next to where they burn corpses.”

All hotels in the province are supposed to be shuttered per a government order. 

A local administrator in Mai Khao district also said residents and monks have been helping the three Russians for over a week now.

“Everyone was helping out as much as possible. There was plenty of food,” Winai Sae-Iew, the village headman of Moo 4, said by phone Tuesday. “[The Russians] were nice too. We asked them to stay inside due to the curfew, and they did.” 

The three tourists were identified as Alexei Galiev, 31, Nikolai Sharov, 29, and Sofia Sharova, 24. They were supposed to board a plane home on March 25 but their flight was abruptly cancelled due to the coronavirus shutdown order. 

According to TASS news agency, at least 20,800 Russian nationals are currently stranded in Thailand due to the coronavirus pandemic, 8,000 of them in Phuket.

Photos of monks donating their alms to Russian tourists on Koh Samui also went viral on social media in Thailand after they were picked up by a Russian news agency.

A Twitter share of the photos, published by RIA Novosti news website, has been retweeted more than 7,800 times.  One such post on Facebook also attracted over 36,000 reactions and 3,700 shares. 

“People from all corners of the world visit Thailand not just for our beautiful tourist spots but because of our good hearts, smiles, wais, and readiness to help tourists,” Facebook user Ninat Khongsomprach commented.

“As soon as my sister heard the news, she brought them food for two days straight,” wrote user Mi Ew.