Cold spell blamed for three deaths in sunny Thailand

Bangkok - A cold front sweeping in from China that has dropped temperatures to as low as 7 degrees celsius in parts of sunny Thailand has been blamed for three deaths, although alcohol may have contributed, media reports said Tuesday.

The high pressure system that moved into Thailand over the weekend was blamed for the death of a 71-year-old Buddhist monk in Ayutthaya province on Sunday and two men in northern Thailand on Monday, the Bangkok Post reported.

Police said Thanya Saeng-aroon, 37, who was found dead in his bed wearing only his underwear in Chiang Rai, 660 kilometres north of Bangkok, may have fallen asleep under the influence of alcohol, exposing his body to the harsh elements too long.

Thailand's Meteorological Department has forecast that temperatures could drop to 7-15 degrees celsius in northern Thailand over the next four days, 7-13 degrees in the North-East and 13-16 degrees in the central plains, that includes Bangkok.

On the bright side, the unusual cold spell has created a new tourist attraction for Thailand's national parks in the north, where Thais have been flocking to get a glimpse of frost, an unusual phenomenon in the kingdom where the average temperature is about 32 degrees and can reach 42 degrees in the hot season. (dpa)