Thousands leave spots including Koh Phangan and Koh Tao as area’s first tropical storm outside monsoon for about 30 years looms

Tens of thousands of tourists have fled the Thai resort islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Tao in a mass exodus ahead of Tropical Storm Pabuk which is set to bring heavy rains, wind and seven-metre (22ft) waves.

The islands, hugely popular with holiday-makers especially during the peak Christmas and New Year season, have emptied out since Wednesday as tourists packed onto ferries bound for the southern Thai mainland, with swimming banned and boats set to suspend services.

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Read More Thailand: tourists flee as Tropical Storm Pabuk set to bring seven-metre waves

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