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A red flag on a Phuket beach: Now Phuket is being red-flagged

British Warning Follows Phuket Beach Drownings

Sunday, September 13, 2009
Phuketwan News Analysis

PHUKET may soon suffer another blow to its image as an ideal beach holiday destination, this time because of alarm about the safety of tourists.

Britain's large-circulation Mail on Sunday newspaper reports that ABTA, the body that represents more than 5000 British travel agents, is to publish leaflets warning holidaymakers of the rip tides at beaches around the island.

Criticism is also made that Phuket's Karon beach has been listed among Lonely Planet's ''top 10 beaches for families'' in the latest edition of its 'Travel With Children' guide.

The publishers are now considering removing Karon from the list because of the number of drownings on the beach during the monsoon season, the Mail report says.

Journalist Stephanie Condron writes that the 'Lonely Planet' is normally regarded as the traveller's bible - relied upon as the essential source of accurate information.

''However the Karon entry makes no mention of the deadly rip tides which make even paddling dangerous in the rainy season that coincides with Britain's school summer holidays,'' she writes.

Earlier this year, Phuket and the Andaman coast were awarded the title of the ''world's best five-star destination'' by a writer in the New York Times.

However, travel writers, resort managements and local authorities have for years ignored the reality: that Phuket has failed to face up to issues of tourist safety and ignored blatant rip-offs and corruption along its beachfronts.

The Mail on Sunday report says that a Lonely Planet section about Thailand repeats the recommendation, saying: ''On the Andaman coast are the luxurious resorts of Phuket - Karon beach is good for families.''

The Mail says: ''It omits the dangers of the sea during the monsoon season, stating: 'The weather is usually good from February to late June.' The only advice is to avoid the rainy season from July to October because it is wet.''

Lynn Creasey, whose son James Patton, 21, drowned off Karon on June 6, told the newspaper: ''To think it's rated as one of the top ten in the world for families when so many people have died there is shocking and terrifying.

''James did not stand a chance in that water - the thought of little children paddling in it terrifies me.''

Mrs Creasey, 60, added: ''We are pushing to have that beach removed from the top ten or at least for them to include details about the dangers of the undercurrents.''

The Mail adds: ''There is a lifeguard system but locals say the guards are not trained to jump into the water to rescue people, although they do warn holidaymakers not to go into the sea.

''Some lifeguards keep red flags flying for the duration of the monsoon season, warning people not to go into the water.

''Fooled by blue skies and apparently calm seas, tourists regularly ignore the signs.''

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Comments have been disabled for this article.


Lonely Planet should include the fact about rip currents in its guide it is one of the most beautiful beaches and there is nothing wrong with telling people about the currents during the monsoon season, the more people that know the less chance of people dying.

Knowledge is the key information posters leaflets and publications in local newspapers on how to identify rips and what to do if you are caught up in them would also help.

If people in Thailand had been taught like the Japanese are in school that when water recedes fast a Tsunami is coming do you think the death toll may have been lower. Knowledge is the key

Posted by Michael on September 13, 2009 11:40


Phuket deserves this after a decade of slaughtering of the Golden Goose in every way, shape and form.

Editor: Thanks for that. Any more noble, positive ideas? Or do you only know how to be destructive? What have you ever done to improve the situation?

Posted by Christy S on September 13, 2009 15:37


Before commenting on the guide books, people should bother read them first. I've seen explicit warnings regarding this exact danger in both LP and other guide books. Perhaps people should bother to purchase and read them first.

Editor: The article is questioning the approach taken in one guide book only, 'Travel With Children'. As the article says, LP is usually a source of reliable information. If warnings are in other guides, you'd expect to find one in 'Travel With Children.'

Posted by Cat on September 14, 2009 03:04


Phuket (and Thailand ) is imploding from corruption and greed, this site reports it everyday. Snide, unprofessional editor retorts do you no service.

Editor: We believe change will come. Your total negativity is the problem. Why are you here if you have contempt for the people and can find nothing constructive to say? Why do you assume the worst in everyone? Why do you use multiple identities to spread hate?

Posted by Christy S on September 14, 2009 07:53

Thursday May 23, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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