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Dress and Move on: No Bikini Sunbaking
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
PHUKET: Three European women sunning themselves in bikinis in a Phuket park were ordered today by police to get dressed.
The encounter came as Phuket's honorary consuls were discussing with the governor the need for universal standards that also took account of Thai culture.
In Europe, Australia and the US and Canada, it's not unusual for people to strip and take in the sun in public parks. It does no harm and is not seen as an affront to decency.
Patrol police on Phuket are entitled to enforce the conventional Thai view that naked flesh is essentially a no-no.
But a park is one place where it's not really offensive.
We would suggest that Western men especially strolling through shopping malls topless or on motorcycles without a shirt is more of a cultural no-no than sunbathers in a public park, who aren't moving.
Mobility makes the offence more in-your-face.
A greater number of young men especially these days strip to the waist because they think other people want to look at their muscular bodies. How wrong they are.
But the issue of what's cultural accepted and what's not works both ways.
Shorts, for example, have become the preferred apparel of thousands of young Thai women. Nobody tells them they are showing too much leg.
For patrol police to choose to give three sunbaking Westerners the order to put their clothes on is a sign that officers need to be given some up-to-date instruction in what's a cultural problem and what's not.
Three women sunbaking in a public park on Phuket is not a problem.
We suggest that these patrol officers be sent to walk the beaches at Patong, Kamala, Surin and Nai Harn for a week.
Comments have been disabled for this article.
I understand the Thai's have their laws and viewpoints on "public flesh exposure"....but if you want to be a world class beach destination...they need to rethink the rules...and for that matter if you are going to enforce the flesh law than you have to do it all over...guys riding around on their motor bikes shirtless...even walking around the shopping malls shirtless...It's a damn beach town!..what do you want???....Geez...Bring back the umbrellas but put your clothes on
November 25, 2015 17:53
Looks like Saphan hin in Phuket Town?
If so its not a beach but a park with 99% thais.
Right decision from Police!
November 25, 2015 18:21
I see both men and women tourists riding up to big Buddha every day in bathing suits, men in shorts only and women in bikinis seams if the police are offended they should put a check point on that road. I have however been stopped by the police driving north off the island at night with my car windows down and no shirt to avoid using the Air conditioner I was breaking the law and had to put my shirt back on.
November 25, 2015 18:41
People who arrive underdressed are provided with sarongs at the Big Buddha.
What offended me more is the topless foreigners on beaches like Kata. Clearly this is illegal under Thai law as my girlfriend at the time who is Thai would never dream of doing something like that and said she would be looked up. There needs to be clear signage as most tourists know nothing about Thai culture and it banned especially as they are always the ugly fat ladies. To confirm this has anyone ever seen a Thai lady topless on any beach in Thailand of course not.
I am preety far from ok
November 25, 2015 20:06
Your girlfriend would certainly be looked up.
Do you want more signage? Why not more brochures? Let's face it, signage and brochures are usually ignored by everybody. Phuket doesn't need more clutter.
We have not seen a Thai woman topless on a beach but we are going to continue to look for them.
November 25, 2015 20:18
You are disagreeing with the standard policies all across Europe, Australia, Canada and the US, Richard. If you have a problem with ''3 big-arsed European girls'' then clearly, sexism is another of your failings. If you want to express your opinion, start your own online site.
I think that in Thailand foreigners should follow the law and Police should enforce it. Nudity is for private places not for everyone on a public beach. What about kids they don't want to see fat ladies breasts. What next naked men with the penis' flapping around? Brochures and signs and ENFORCEMENT word will soon get around on the internet. 5000Baht fine and or 1 night in jail. The nude crowd is not a large earner for Phuket. Go away ugly fat ladies. Ed, I never saw any topless ladies when I lived in Queensland?
I am still pretty far from ok
November 25, 2015 20:57
Perhaps you did not know where to look.
These young women were doing nothing wrong and, as the article says, males walking through stores or riding motorcycles without shirts are far more culturally offensive.
Patrol police should find better things to do. Commenters should, too. You appear to be another appalling sexist.
Perhaps when the Police are not so busy they can do a random check? Come on Ed, who wants nudity with the fat ladies makes me feel quite sick. Would they like a man walking past with his penis exposed?
I am pretty far from ok again
November 25, 2015 22:06
No matter what their shape, everybody is entitled to be on the beaches. You're a body bigot. Puke in your carrybag or transport it away with you from the beach in a plastic container, please.
Ed, not everyone likes nudity and it is against Thai law. Therefore you have lost this argument or are you saying you do not follow Thai law. You are a Thai law bigot.
I am a body bigot
November 25, 2015 22:50
Sorry, I didn't realise there was any argument. I thought there was an article and commenters failing to add additional value. You wouldn't be a petty point scorer, would you?
Let's be real: Most western men who come to Thailand don't want to see half naked white women on the beaches period. Just like Thai men who travel to western countries beaches don't want to see half naked Thai women. I don't know if this is really "sexist" or not. More like sexual preference really.
November 26, 2015 02:25
It's sexist and insulting to criticise women for their body shape, Donald. People come in all kinds of bodies. Generalisations are also always wrong.
I have seen the FBI girls topless at patong
November 26, 2015 03:15
I am surprised and shocked, Farang nemesis.
Does nobody read up on Thai culture before they jump on a airplane I see no harm but Thais may view them as shameless hussie foreigner's oddly they seem to think the nice girls stay home and the trash girls come to Phuket its a strange logic but this is Thailand.
November 26, 2015 07:24
We don't live in a perfect world... it would be pretty boring if we did. Priorities is the point... Phuket has many more important things right now that could fill up a policeman's day.
November 26, 2015 08:14
I was unaware white pointers were native to Thailand. Assuming they were white?
IAPFFOk and IAABB,
I thought the new tourism slogan was tit for TAT. They were just helping with the promotion.
November 26, 2015 09:22
Regarding "thai culture" I'd like to mention that the conservative ideals the Culture Ministry is trying to uphold is not thai at at all. These new ideals were imported in the Victorian era from Britain in the early 1900s, when these Victorian ideas were adopted during the drive to modernise then Siam. Before that women quite often walked around bare breasted, especially in the north. This can easily be seen at any museum where they hav old photos depicting the siamese. So "thai culture" is actually imported from Europe and from Britain in particular. No thai I ever talked to knows about these concrete historical facts, which is a bit worrying.
November 26, 2015 09:55
Amazing Thailand. Land of contradictions.
@ Harald, indeed. Except, depending on the locations and ages, prostitues don't usually have to hide. They shout loudly.
@ christian, absolutely. Except Thais do know about it. There was a joke this last Songkran about the Culture Ministry asking women to dress more traditionally. They decided to go topless. (Actually only saw a few ladyboys going through with it unfortunately.)
@ IAPFFO (I concur with your name.) I just have to remark what a horrible person you seem to be. Do you look like Adonis ? If not, wind your neck in. Plus, I've seen Thai women go topless on Phuket beaches. It was awesome.
I think the cop that went over probably won the bet.
November 26, 2015 12:16
Cristian is right apart from the fact, that bare breasted Thai females in public was normal as late as the 1930s, so the government made a campaign against traditional Thai dress code.
See the poster at http://www.thai-blogs.com/2007/06/10/the-great-thai-culture-part-1/
And just a few years ago topless was quite normal on the beaches of Phuket, also among Thai ladies, but it seems that Victorian mentality has become the new fashion.
November 26, 2015 12:56
Country wise, country honor.
We can talk about how it was considered decades ago in Thailand. ( bra's or no bra's)
But my observation is that topless in many thai beaches is not thai, but thai people give 'room' to foreign women to sunbath topless. We all know that.
However, in a park ( not beach), just behind a foot path ( photo PW) could be a 'no' for thai people.
We have to respect that.
I wish the police would do more about tourist walking just in a pair of shorts in airco shopping centers. They don't do that in their own country, why than here in Thailand?
November 26, 2015 14:11
Uhm, since when did wearing a bikini become "being naked" ?
For a beach holiday destination which prides itself for adhering to international standards this action looks, to be kind, not well thought out.
I remember a story where a Russian man was fined for driving without a shirt in his sedan car. In the same story one could see a picture of a topless Thai man at a temple standing next to a police officer.
If you want tourists on a beach holiday, you need to show some understanding towards their culture too.
Cultural sensitivity is NOT a one way street.
November 26, 2015 15:04
Congratulations to the Thai police for finding time to bring these jezebels to justice. Don't forget, the Boys in Brown have to keep a constant vigil keeping keen eyes open for any sign of prostitution in Phuket.
November 26, 2015 17:39
@ Herbert- this was NOT a beach it was Saphan Hin Park. What is acceptable behaviour on the West Coast beaches is not necessarily acceptable elsewhere. Until recently males could be fined B300 in Phuket Town for being shirtless. There is a time and a place for things.
November 26, 2015 18:38
Wearing a bikini anywhere in a coastal park or at a beach is perfectly acceptable, MR. (There's also a beach at Saphan Hin park). Swimwear away from the coast is not acceptable.
A brief historical footnote. Back in the early to mid-1980s I recall that Nai Harn (and probably a few of the other beaches) was a 'mecca' for topless and often nude bathing and sun-bathing among westerners (women for the most part). It was a very different demographic in those days - almost wholly young foreigners - next to no retirees etc. etc. This particular phenomenon featured in the Thai press (newspapers and magazines) and was regarded as something of a drawcard for Thais (often from Bkk) on holidays who'd come down to the beach and gawk.
November 27, 2015 13:54
"No Thai I ever talked to knows about these concrete historical facts, which is a bit worrying."
Christian, I don't think much history is actually taught in schools here.
Perhaps a teacher could comment on this?
November 27, 2015 14:25
There is no beach at Saphan hin park, just mud flats when the tide is out, never seen anyone swimming there if they tried to they would be up to their knee's in mud, stirring the pot again Alan?
November 27, 2015 15:42
You really are not very observant, are you, peter? As Herbert says, ''not only does [the park] run along a khlong but also has a real, fine sand beach at the end.'' When I go places, I keep my eyes open. You should try it some time.
@ Mister Ree
Where did I say it happened on a beach ?
I said Phuket is a Beach holiday destination.
Furthermore you may want to take a stroll along Saphan Hin and find that not only does it run along a khlong but also has a real, fine sand beach at the end.
I don't recommend you go there in the evening though or you may catch the odd Thai teenager having sex in the very same park.
November 27, 2015 17:02