SURAT THANI: The plight of the couple and their two young sons has been covered in the UK media as the situation escalates in Thailand with travel connections between the two countries on course to be severed for some time. Both the UK and Thai governments are battling against the Covid 19 virus with things like more ominous right now in Britain.

A UK couple in Koh Phangan are weighing up their options after selling up and moving to the tourist island in southern Thailand at the beginning of March. This week, the UK Ambassador advised UK nationals in the kingdom to think seriously about repatriating back to Britain particularly if they are tourists or have only been in Thailand for a short time. Ambassador Brian Davidson said that commercial flights were still available but the time window was closing quickly. He emphasised that it was unlikely there would be a government airlift from Thailand given priorities elsewhere.

29-year-old Lauren Edwards and her 45-year-old husband Greg Wiseman arrived on the island of Koh Phangan in southern Thailand to begin a new life and adventure with their two young children 3-year-old Ifor and 1-year-old Gryff. Three days later, her husband’s employer, a diving company ceased operation due to the Covid 19 emergency. The couple are trying to weigh up whether to sit tight until the emergency blows over or make a dash back to the United Kingdom.

A UK couple who arrived on Koh Phangan on March 2nd to begin a new life and adventure with two young pre-school children have been left unemployed, adrift and living on their savings after selling up in the UK and moving to Koh Phangan in Surat Thani province.

The young couple spoke to a popular media outlet in Devon this week and explained the perplexing situation they find themselves in. ‘We don’t want to come back to the UK because we have nothing there now. We gave up everything,’ 29-year-old Lauren Edwards told the Devon Live news website

Seeking a dream lifestyle on the island that was home to Half Moon parties – already now like a bygone era

The young UK couple with two children thought they were escaping to a dream lifestyle and getting away from the rat race when they arrived on the paradise island of Koh Phangan in Surat Thani.

In recent weeks, the coronavirus has shut down the island and left its population also facing challenging times as it struggles to protect the local community from this threat and tries to survive economically on dwindling tourism revenue which has now almost faded away.

The first shoe to drop was the cancellation of the island’s famous Half Moon parties, formerly a right of passage for millions of western millennials around the world.

All that now seems like a bygone era as the scale of economic devastation from this Covid 19 emergency continues to grow.

Couple now forced to live off their savings

This week, they appealed for help from home in the UK as they find themselves without employment and living off their savings.

Lauren Edwards and her 45-year-old husband Greg Wiseman arrived on Koh Phangan on March 2nd with their two little boys, 3-year-old Ifor and 1-year-old Gryff.

Had lived on Koh Phangan for a period in 2015

The couple were both familiar with Koh Phangan having worked there in 2015.

Both are fanatical and expert divers, an activity and profession very much in demand on the island when it is normally thriving with tourism every day of the year.

They learned the ropes back then and thought it would be a similar experience on this occasion. 

Of course, nothing could have predicted the disaster that has not just hit Koh Phangan or Thailand but the whole world since the end of January and more particularly, the escalation of matters in the last month or so as the disease has ravaged the western world.

After three days, the dream ended

Three days after the couple arrived, the dive firm Lauren’s husband Greg worked for had no option but to close due to the emergency brought on by the coronavirus.

‘It’s kind of Chinese whispers, it’s hard to get reliable information so we are on a beach and kind of in a little bubble at the moment, and trying to think of what to do next,’ 29-year old Lauren told the local news outlet back homee.

Sold up in the UK to fund the new start in Thailand and an adventure before their children grew up

She revealed that the couple had sold up their possessions in the United Kingdom to take on a new life and adventure.

The couple figured now was the time before their two little boys needed to knuckle down at school, to take them on an adventure and have some fun.

‘We were living in Devon and decided to just have a complete change so we sold everything’, Lauren said. 

The couple had a plan that Lauren could teach English while her husband Greg could find work as a diving instructor.

The clinching factor in their decision to make the leap and move to Thailand was that Greg was offered a job on Koh Phangan with the firm he had worked for there in 2015.

Job on Koh Phangan was the key to their plans

The couple’s ultimate dream was to travel the globe with their young children but the job in Thailand and their knowledge of Koh Phangan made it an ideal base or staging point for their adventure.

They are now surviving on the money that they had put by after selling up at home and living near beautiful Thong Nai Pan Yai beach. 

The couple plan on just waiting for now unsure of what the future might bring while eyeing the prospect of an emergency dash home at any time. But, time for this is running out.

Advice from the UK Ambassador Brian Davidson to UK nationals  – get home if you can as window closes

On Wednesday, the British Ambassador to Thailand warned all UK nationals that the Foreign Office advice, at this time, is that anyone who has been in Thailand on a short term basis should return home on commercial flights before they fizzle out over the coming week or two.

Brian Davidson pulled no punches as he warned that there will be no airlift for UK nationals in Thailand such as that organised on Thursday for German nationals out of Phuket. 

He said that there were other parts of the globe where British citizens were more in need of rescue.

Further reading:

Officials find a visa solution for up to 500,000 foreigners riding out the coronavirus crisis here in Thailand

UK man survives vicious flu infection after emergency 5-hour surgery on his lungs at a top Bangkok hospital