PHUKET, 13 May 2019: What’s the number one attraction in Phuket? The beaches? Perhaps the shopping malls or the anything-goes nightlife on Soi Bangla?
Nope. None of these figures as the island’s top tourist attraction. That honour, based on votes from users of Tripadvisor, goes to the Soi Dog Foundation (SDF) located in the north of Phuket island.
The foundation has attracted more than 1,000 reviews and is the only attraction in Tripadvisor’s Top 10 that rates five bubbles out of five.
SDF founder John Dalley said today, “We’re absolutely delighted to be No 1 Phuket attraction in Tripadvisor, and we are very grateful to all the volunteers and visitors who gave us high scores and positive reviews.
To see the list, go here and scroll down to “Top Attractions in Phuket”
Soi Dog Foundation is listed well down the ‘Things to Do’ list on the Phuket page under the category nature and parks. TTR Weekly checked out the claim. It had a score of 1,037 reviews by far the highest and that gives it the top slot under the island’s attractions based on the constantly changing review count. Its nearest rival was Ban Tao Beach with 847 reviews, but Soi Dog was the only attraction listed with five bubbles.
To put the achievement in context, John Gray’s Hong by Starlight with Sea Cave Kayaking excursion, the first kayaking venture in Phuket and world acclaimed for pioneering responsible tourism principles, sports five bubbles on Tripadvisor, but has accumulated just 217 reviews.
Soi Dog Foundation (“soi” is Thai for “alley” or “street”) was founded 15 years ago on Phuket. It is now the largest charity in Southeast Asia working with stray animals, with the most modern and well-equipped animal hospital in Asia.
Apart from rescuing sick and injured animals and finding new homes for them (600 were rehomed worldwide last year alone), the foundation’s main aim is to control the dog population by neutering and vaccinating as many as possible.
Soi Dog currently sterilises and vaccinates around 6,000 animals per month and close to 300,000 have been sterilised since operations began. This includes more than 80% of Phuket’s stray dog population, a programme that has resulted in the stray dog population being reduced from about 80,000 to about 7,000.
Soi Dog Foundation has now taken on a much bigger project – bringing the 640,000-strong street dog population of Bangkok to heel.
Soi Dog Foundation was also instrumental, four years ago, in wiping out the organised illegal dog meat trade that saw thousands of dogs, including people’s pets, stolen from Thailand and trucked in horrific conditions across Laos to Vietnam, where they were brutally slaughtered and their carcasses sold in markets or to dog meat restaurants.
Soi Dog is a charity that needs THB29 million ( USD830,000) a month to cover running costs. This comes entirely from donations.
And if you are wondering that is why it gains a spot in our daily news today.