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The scene at Nai Yang in 2010 with beachfront restaurants being rebuilt

Phuket's Beaches Attacked in 'Greed Rush'

Saturday, February 5, 2011
PRIVATISATION of Phuket's beachfronts has triggered a crisis at once-peaceful Nai Yang, where the local mayor says three to five new restaurants are now springing up each month.

According to Surapong Panyawai, mayor of Sakoo council, efforts to plan a sensible and environmentally healthy approach along Nai Yang beach have been undermined by the rush to make money along the beach.

For decades the beach, close to Phuket International Airport, remained a peaceful place for a beach meal. But all that has changed now.

''We have not been able to resolve the issues involved,'' Khun Surapong said. ''Because the space is public land, everybody believes they can set up business there and make money.''

The charm of Nai Yang is that the beach road winds around several large trees, an indication that locals at one time appreciated the beauty of the shorefront. There are fewer signs of that now, amid a scramble to set up shop.

Even the border with the Sirinath National Park is now uncertain, with rangers anxious to prevent encroachment by squatters who might seek a slice of the protected reserve.

A new approach that was to begin with construction of a 300,000 baht concrete row of restaurants to replace the bamboo and thatch structures soon developed problems. Only 13 of the 19 existing restaurants had a place in the new model.

At least one of the six restaurateurs who were left out rebuilt his own premises overnight, one of the reasons why prices at all the restaurants have rapidly spiralled higher.

And even the 13 owners who were part of the rebuilding plan have their noses out of joint because they were asked to directly contribute 100,000 baht to construction costs, as well as having to pay monthly rent to the council.

Bad water runoff to the sea is also a problem, particularly near a large sala where a group of local women have traditionally done massages for tourists.

The beach has moved upmarket with the advent of the Indigo Pearl Resort behind the beach road. As with many of Phuket's beaches, the problems really begin once locals sense that there is money to be made.

Symbol of the opportunism posed by Phuket's sand and sea is the Bus Bar, a bus that was simply parked under trees near Nai Yang beach one day, and soon after opened for business as a restaurant and bar.

Local officials planned a meeting on January 14 to halt the restaurant openings but abandoned it because of local resentments.
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Gotta love it --- The Bus Bar. A classier approach would be to run a yacht aground or fly a jumbo in (like in KL in the '80'2.)

Posted by ssresident on February 5, 2011 11:36


Yet again the sheer lack of control and levels of greed are destroying a once unspoilt and beautiful part of the island. Is there no end to the stupidity... well yes there is. It will get to the point where tourists don't want to sit on a beach where garbage is buried, nor swim in the waters that is full of raw sewage.

With all the problems this island has, add to that the problems country-wide, there will be no money to be made because no-one will be here.

Einstein "There are only two thing in life that are infinite... the Universe and Man's stupidity."

Posted by Graham on February 5, 2011 14:15


As a foreigner who has lived and worked in the Nai Yang area since 2005, the current activities going on at the nearby beach are purely due to total and unmitigated greed by local Thais who are destroying the area in their stampede to claim a part of the 'action'.

They seem unconcerned that the land that they are building on (without building permission), is not actually their land.

Pure greed is destroying this area, and no-one seems to have the guts or responsibility to put an end to this destruction, or to at least try to ensure good building practice and consideration of the local environment.

Why are these new restaurants and bars being built on the beach side of the beach road? I thought that all beaches are owned by HM the King? Did these Thais ask for his permission???

Posted by Simon Luttrell on February 5, 2011 16:33


Simon and Graham, yes you hit nail right on it's stupid head.
Let's kill all tourist trade through CORRUPTION and GREED.
It will end with the death of Phuket. The death is happening now.
Greedy people your money is drying up, Som nom na.

Posted by GrahamM on February 6, 2011 09:26


More worrying than the eyesore but usually charming businesses is the fact raw sewage is going into the ocean and garbage is being buried on the beaches. If that doesn't show how uncommitted to preservation some Thais are, nothing does.

Posted by Cap't Kirk on February 6, 2011 13:15


I can remember arriving in Phuket from Bangkok in the middle of a threatened 'coup' during 1990, I was stunned by the beauty of the island and the Thai people's attitude that prevailed at the time. I came back for the next 3 years ! Then I took a job in Europe and didn't have the time for long haul till 2007 when I returned expecting to see some expansion but what greeted me was a bloody nightmare !

Three weeks of hell ! Your beaches are filthy and they stink!! The beach 'facilities' such as they are,are nothing more than licensed con men targeting all felangs no matter what?

Endless rows of mad Taxi drivers with a real death wish and absolutely NO insurance !! TukTuk drivers with an attitude that only brings out the worst in me. I find it difficult to control my temper when I am being accosted and jostled for buying a suit or taking a journey with them.

The uncontrolled building around NaiYang and the completely untreated sewage problems caused by the proliferating number of bars with sand pit soakaways and other such ridiculous methods of sewage disposal will only serve to multiply the problems there already with the ongoing plagues of sandflies that already make the place like hell to most europeans.

When they start carrying diseases from the raw faeces that the sand is supposed to disperse I wonder who will survive? I certainly will because I would not come back to that pit of s##t ever again !

Posted by Vic Britt on February 6, 2011 18:30


Who is responsible for the raw sewage outlet that runs close to the massage ladies' sala on Nai Yang beach? When I built my hotel in Nai Yang about 5 years ago, it was mandatory that I provided on-site treatment of sewage and waste water, in the form of grease-traps, septic tanks and soakaways.

Are the businesses on the beach somehow exluded from these rules? It should not be difficult to trace which beach business(es) are responsible for this raw sewage.

If it's a communal sewage outlet, then it would not be too costly for the businesses to each contribute to the installation of a communal septic tank and soakaway.

Oh wait! Stupid me. That would mean using some of their profits to help the local environment. What was I thinking??? Back to the drawing board....

Posted by Simon Luttrell on February 6, 2011 18:46


Naithon is hot on the heels of Nai Yang. Restaurants on the beach, Bars playing techno music, live bands with horrible voices and stage acts. What used to be a peaceful pristine 800m beach is now a a horrid eyesore with tons of garbage and stray dogs who defaecate all over the beach - if you don't rent a sunchair, be careful where you place your towel!

Apparently, the restaurants and bars have a 'permit' to set up their business on the beach, which is part of the Sirinath National Park. When the new 200 room Hilton/Pullman opens, there will be an addition of over 400 guests on a small 800m long beach with no public toilet.. swim with your mouth closed! and I cannot imagine how many more restaurants, bars and massage parlors will come to tap the business of 400 more people on an already over populated beach.

Posted by h2odragonfly on February 8, 2011 11:17


It is so sad that all these news, are most of the times in English written newspaper and not in Thai. All these issues, Tuk Tuks, destroying the Thai nature and marine animal thieves are read here and other English newspaper for Phuket. Many Thais who do think about their country have no clue. I sent once a link about the Jetski scam to Thai friend in BKK and they didn't know about it...

Posted by X expat on February 8, 2011 19:49


Further to my observations written earlier I would like to reply to X expat in that IF people were to complain to the Thai press it probably wouldn't suit the politicians and would never be published anyway.You had a beautiful country 20 years ago NOT ANY MORE !!

Posted by Vic Britt on February 9, 2011 01:15


I have read all the comments with interest and agree completely.

We have been visiting Thailand since 1995 and have been to Nai Yang every Christmas since 2002 (including the tsunami year).
The sand flies are a nightmare, encouraged by the rubbish and they bite like crocodiles.

The beach road is a disgrace full of black bags of stinking rubbish, torn apart by dogs. The sewage mentioned is a real threat as it spills onto the beach by the main massage building and once or twice local children were playing there oblivious to the danger.

I feel all parties are to blame, the locals who dump the rubbish and the government that allows them to get away with it. The delapidated and depressing old Crown Nai Yang Resort stands as a symbol of what the area has become, tired and dirty.

I have friends who live in and around Nai Yang who do care about what is happening in the area and Phuket in general, but they are all Farangs??

The Thais seem preoccupied in making money at any and all costs. And don't be fooled by the rusty motor bikes, The new 4x4s are kept well out of sight!

Posted by Manchester Mike on February 9, 2011 17:56

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