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Topless riders show too much flesh and offend in Patong this week

Button Up: Topless Tourists Face Arrest

Sunday, January 5, 2014
PHUKET: Tourists are being told to keep their shirts on or face a dressing down and possibly a fine for displaying unwanted flesh and cultural insensitivity.

Visitors are allowed to be half-cut but not half-dressed: that was the message yesterday from Phuket Governor Maitree Intrusud after he went to Patong for an inspection tour.

''Tourists should wear shirts,'' he said. ''Away from the beach, it's impolite to go without your top covered up.

''Besides, it's actually against the law and police can arrest and fine transgressors.''

Even in your own car or on a motorcycle, it's an offence in every sense of the word.

The Governor said he had had complaints from residents in Cherng Talay, Kamala, Patong, Kata and Karon about topless tourists.

Some people even go topless when shopping in supermarkets, a cause of great offence to Phuket residents.

''It's best to remember 'When in Rome, do what the Romans do,''' the governor said. The sense of cultural indignation is widespread.

We hate to say it, but even a singlet is an improvement.

TripAdvisor suggests: ''Thai people pay extra attention to be dressed properly please respect them for there (sic) effort and follow there(sic) example. Thai people may not mind as much in the touristy areas and beaches however once out of these areas please dress appropriately.''


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Yesss. Finally someone has picked up the issue. Good move, Governor. Hope you can get through with it.

Posted by Hopelander on January 5, 2014 09:25


Oh dear, the governor seems to have bad eyesight, I have seem many Thais "topless" unfortunately they were all male, even in temple grounds. Perhaps he needs to look in his own backyard first, before pointing the finger at tourists. But I have to agree, topless tourist in shops...yuck. As he says, when in Rome...etc.

Posted by Laurie Howells on January 5, 2014 09:37


I love your 2nd paragraph 'Visitors are allowed to be half-cut but not half-dressed'.

I was in Buri Ram 3 days ago & witnessed a 'hilarious' incident. A more than half cut Welshman left an Irish pub, got onto his motorbike & promptly fell off it in the middle of the road. A local policemen picked him up, dusted him down, made sure he was okay, & helped him back onto his motorbike & to get under way. Only in Thailand!

Posted by Logic on January 5, 2014 09:52


Please apply this to the topless women on the beaches to. Changing costumes without being in a changing room should also come in for a reprimand.

Posted by Graham on January 5, 2014 10:13


I agree start in Jungceylon too many tourists esp beef cakes who are so in love with their body's walking around pretty naked!

Posted by Anonymous on January 5, 2014 10:30


So, will the same ruling apply to all the old Thai Chinese fellas in Phuket Town who don't wear a top?

Posted by sir burr on January 5, 2014 10:31

Editor Comment:

In your own home you may dress as you please, sir burr.


Oh blah...culture is an ever-changing thing. Thais were quite happily and freely going around topless until the late 1930s, when the state started to dictate "correct" ways of dressing under the regime of Field Marshal Phibun. Here's a poster from that era: -- Phuket is not a buttoned-up place; the way people dress, or undress, here is simply a reflection of that. Maybe the Gov could focus on better regulating more life-and-death issues first, like the road rules and marine safety.

Posted by Lana on January 5, 2014 11:39


When in Rome do like the Romans ... don't think this saying is very good to use on Thailand . That westerners should cover up and understand that is something else .. but this is , for a great part, now a low cost holiday location, and the Governor need to understand that this is what he gets.

Posted by Sailor on January 5, 2014 12:25


Very Good move. Please implement it.

I feel it is very disgusting when I see people in a restaurant or in a shopping mall without a shirt. Be also strict to the Ladies who are Topless on the Beach

Posted by Mj on January 5, 2014 12:26


I hope this edict will not apply to those lovely thai boys and girls who dance in bars around Bangla/Paradise in Patong - and only to overweight people aged over 20.

Posted by barry on January 5, 2014 12:36


I see the direction, I can understand the direction, every side of it, but =="Besides, it's actually against the law and police can arrest and fine transgressors."== Did he mention, where, in whatever book, we/a judge will find this law? My knowledge stopes with 'a man need to wear underpants' And by the way, pointing also the part, why police can fine man with boobs for not wearing a bra in public, if they clearly have no change, to become a woman by law.
As far as I know, even in Spain/Mallorca, they had to install the law, first. And to mention it, with the 'no topless walking in this/outside this area'. signs, on Phuket? Aside billboards?
So it comes back to the money: If shop/bar owners and staff would not look for it, only, hotels would not accept people walking topless trough the Lobby, shopping center would advise the guards, to keep topless men out (Bikini for ladies, no one talking about that?), who would run around topless? Aside the muscle boys on motos, sunburned the other day?
Are they starting to do something against driving / overtaking in the wrong direction/lane, no head lights, wrong color head lights, brake 'failures'? Maybe helping the homeless, sleeping and begging in front of the 999 market, outside the Kata beach resort, passed by so many police already, would that be a thing, to do?
Patong is 'the beach' area. Phuket town, no beach close by, is a total other thing. But here we have then the locals. No one wanna change them, right?
Amazing land of free!

Posted by Anonymous on January 5, 2014 12:53


Changing costumes without being in a changing room should also come in for a reprimand.

Honey, where are "changing rooms" on public beaches in Thailand? I have never seen a single one.

I would be happy to see first free sweet water showers- like in Cyprus. Although they are not well resourced with water, still they provide such essential convenience.

P.S. Once I had a day tour around tropical forest on one small island of Fiji with two young Americans, that included swimming in a waterfall etc and lasted like 6 hrs. They never went to pee in a bush and never changed their wet clothes as there we no changing room - and that seems for me stupidly puritanical for me. Whole Europe changes their swimming suits while wrapped in a beach towel.

Posted by Sue on January 5, 2014 13:02


I definitely agree with Phuket Governor. In Chalong-Rawai area, many foreigners are topless to show their tatoos and foreign ladies go into the banks and post-office or are shopping at supermarkets in bikini which is offending many local people.
Today many local muslims wear headscarf to show they are not prostitutes to avoid to be harassed by sex-predators.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on January 5, 2014 13:32


It would also prohibit the use of flip-flops to drive, as it is in Europe (including shoes with high heels). Many motorcycle accidents would be avoided by enforcing this simple rule...

Posted by dave on January 5, 2014 14:30


Good news. I don't know who ever thought it was proper to visit a supermarket without a shirt on, or drive along the main road in that way.
But I'm with Graham here. Topless ladies on the beach should be warned/fined as well. Even though it always has been illegal, there are no signs at beaches explaining this to tourists.

Posted by Tinkerbell on January 5, 2014 14:36


@Dave It's a myth until you show the European law, prohibiting flip flops or high heels, during using a vehicle as a driver. It's always named 'adequate shoes'. As long the flip flops/high heels aren't the reason for the accident, no one will rule that. Maybe an insurance will try, to save money, but it's very clear stated in court cases!

And Sue," Whole Europe changes their swimming suits while wrapped in a beach towel.", you (and I) maybe won't know about that. ;-)But I got told, some of the local ladies undress and dress themselves, wrapped in a towel. Best in the dark. I mean, they do this in the very same bedroom, they share the bed with the 'spectator'. Not only before mama, papa, sisters and brothers. Looks like, it's common. Also most local jeans and t'shirt 'swimming suit' users not changing the close, till they back at home.

Posted by Anonymous on January 5, 2014 16:06


I'm all for this, except where the Governor declares this applies to tourists.

Every day I can see Thai men walk around topless outside the premises of their homes. Even at temple grounds and next to a police officer as was captured in a recent PW picture.

As long as the same rules apply to EVERYONE regardless of race, nationality or skin color, enforce whatever laws you feel is appropriate.

Launch a campaign targeting only tourists and in my books you are a racist.

Posted by ThaiMike on January 5, 2014 17:31


Very, very good Governor. Hope it's same both men an women, specially women in bikinis.

Posted by Novis on January 5, 2014 21:49


@ Sue.Ok agreed change rooms are scarce. A towel would be most welcome as I dont like to sit having a bite to eat at a beach while 70+ year old women remove tops and bottoms of bekinis to change into dry costumes in front of me.
Not a pretty picture. I have only seen 2
men do that in the past. Its called decency. Time and place for everything honey.

Posted by Graham on January 6, 2014 09:12


Great Indeed ! Topless people in the streets, as well as the dirty garbages on the beaches are the two most disgusting things in Patong.

Posted by Anonymous on January 6, 2014 10:24


Little bit of overkill me thinks. There a lot more serious issues to sort out first, and if it's so offending to the locals for a male to not wear a shirt, then their morals must be. Very strict and all activities in Patong that are sex related should be condemned first. I do agree that bare boobs are offensive .

Posted by Gregg P Cornell on January 6, 2014 19:19

Editor Comment:

Phuket may be more international than most of Thailand but retaining the cultural traditions is important. Thais are coy about displays of naked flesh at any time. Being rude and topless in a supermarket and sexy behavior in Soi Bangla are quite different, Gregg. Let's hope you understand the difference. Do you shop where you live without wearing a shirt?


Traditional cultural norms would be practically naked-not until the westerners showed up in the region was the human form suddenly considered offensive, especially women's. This is a total non-issue as plenty of Thai men are shirtless, a privilege no women are allowed to enjoy outside their homes, and some not even there, either ! I do agree clothing in food places should be worn by both sexes as a health practice.

Posted by The Night Mare on January 7, 2014 01:53


So, what is about thai beach boys who ride bikes shirtless and freely go to supermarkets in a similar way?

Posted by Tray on January 7, 2014 15:00


I have been trying to get something done for example I have a shop and do not allow bare chests or swimwear.A great money spinner would be to fine them say200bht anywhere outside the beach itself. All I want is respect and I am a farang

Posted by Richard on January 9, 2014 11:39


I have nothing against foreign women going topless in public places, but when the men do it too, I think they should be fined. Who want to see the blubbery tattooed male body in the shopping mall?

Posted by Andy on January 11, 2014 16:18


@Sue: 'P.S. Once I had a day tour around tropical forest on one small island of Fiji with two young Americans, that included swimming in a waterfall etc and lasted like 6 hrs. They never went to pee in a bush and never changed their wet clothes as there we no changing room - and that seems for me stupidly puritanical for me. Whole Europe changes their swimming suits while wrapped in a beach towel.'

Sue, really? Were you horrified that Americans did not pee in a bush? Are you saying that you did? Disgusting. I agree with the others, I do not want to see anyone change on the beach, and possibly that should be a 'norm' that changes in Europe.

Thais can dress anyway they wish. I love to see the older men wearing sarongs and no shirt, that is their culture and right. Also, love to see a few of the young men doing that, maybe that can become a 'norm'. :)

Posted by LaDeDa on January 12, 2014 01:38


At last !!!!!!!! the main culprits are a few nationalities which most know. Wearing a speedo in Jungceylon or bikinis so unappealing. Should make it a nationwide law.

Posted by capealava on January 13, 2014 17:26


Thank you. Too many shirtless Russians.

Posted by Russians on January 14, 2014 09:43


Will the Governor do something about these young people who have nazi t-shirts or nazi symbols on helmets here in thailand? Speak about cultural insensitivity.

Posted by Johan on January 17, 2014 22:51


@Johan, if you also mean that the swastika should also be banned, then that would be hard... long before the Nazis commandeered it, it was the simple for the goddess of wealth, prosperity and auspiciousness.

Posted by Laurie Howells on January 18, 2014 15:34

Editor Comment:

Symbol, I think.


@Laurie Howells

I know the difference, and i have no problem with the buddhist symbol.

A nazi swastika does not look the same.
The nazi swastika is rotated in another angle, and is on red and white background.

Posted by Johan on January 21, 2014 19:26

Wednesday January 20, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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