The Kra Canal - Port of Singapore killer, or debt trap?

A man had a plan for a canal across the Isthmus of Kra.

I got my visa extended for another three months this week. I have been waiting for confirmation of this, so now I can start making some plans for domestic travel for the next three months.

When my visa expires in August I hope by then that some “travel bubbles” have been established within Southeast Asia. Cambodia and Laos would be suitable countries as they also have low virus counts. I would like to visit Phnom Penh and see what is happening there (see the news below).

Latest posts at Living In Asia

The Thai Canal

The Kra Canal (now rebranded as the Thai Canal) has been a dream that won’t die. It was first envisaged in 1677, and in recent history it has regained momentum with interest from China and their Maritime Silk Road strategy.

With a canal cut across the Malay Peninsula, ships could save 1200km/2-3 days from the usual journey via Singapore.

Whenever a new proposal for a canal surfaces it is framed as being a threat to Singapore as a global shipping hub. Singapore have been diversifying their income stream for so long that the country would be ready for such a loss.

Thailand though have more to lose if the canal isn’t a success. The travel savings aren’t as compelling as the weeks that are saved by using the Suez and Panama canals.

I doubt this will happen, but I have put together this resource page to archive the major projects of Southeast Asia.

Southeast Asia Railways

“Covid-19 pandemic has not slowed Beijing's increasingly crucial plan to build a railway connecting China to mainland SE Asia.”

“The steel structure continuous beam, which is being constructed by Power Construction Corporation of China, has a total length of 213.8 meters, crossing two highway ramps and an overpass, with dense land transportation networks and complex construction environment.”


This site compares old and new photographs of the city, showing what remains what has changed over the years. Use the slide to toggle between old and new photos.


“Next to water, sand is our most consumed natural resource. The global demand for sand and gravel stands between 40 billion and 50 billion tonnes annually, according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and its scarcity is an emerging global crisis.”

“Lockdowns and movement restrictions have led to blue skies in some parts of Southeast Asia, giving residents a respite from air pollution.”

“The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has announced a four-city pilot of a project to make plastic waste management more “circular” and reduce plastic pollution of the marine environment.”

Other News


“Chicago-based architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) has released new renderings of its design for Naga3, the US$3.5 billion expansion of Cambodian integrated resort NagaWorld.”

On the one hand, it’s great that Phnom Penh is getting a building designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. On the other hand, the current Nagaworld casino is already enormous for a city the size of Phnom Penh. Nagaworld has a monopoly on casino operations in Phnom Phnom (compared to the free-for-all in Sihanoukville with 150 casinos), and they pay a small licence fee and minimal taxes.


“Villagers in informal settlements want to be put on the map as they struggle with a lack of land titles and official oversight.”


“Construction industry players are appealing to the government to create a proper Covid-19 testing protocol for each sector to ease worker bottlenecks.”


“The projects discussed included New Yangon City, Kyaukphyu Deep-Sea Port and Industrial Zone and the China-Myanmar Border Economic Cooperation Zone.”


“Construction workers and other employees of an infrastructure project must stay in their quarters for the duration of the project covered by the enhanced and general community quarantines (ECQ and GCQ) as a preventive measure against the coronavirus diseases (COVID-19).”


“Early Covid-19 action, export orders, sound government pay off.”


“The Prayut Chan-o-cha government on May 7 last year approved its controversial 18.7-billion-baht Southern Economic Corridor (also known as Southern Economic Zone) and claimed it would provide jobs for more than 100,000 people.”


Following up on last weeks report about Apple advertising for positions in Vietnam, Samsung are also expanding their operations in Vietnam.

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