Tourism News

Tourism News Phuketwan Tourism News
facebook recommendations


Sign up now for our News Alert emails and the latest breaking news plus new features.

Click to subscribe

Existing subscribers can unsubscribe here


The rubbish is buried on Layan beach, along with Phuket's reputation

Garbage Buried on Phuket Beach: Shock Video

Saturday, January 22, 2011
ALARMING video footage has surfaced on the Internet showing large numbers of bags of rubbish being buried by a backhoe on a once pristine Phuket beach.

The backhoe dumped about 40 or 50 bags of rubbish into three large holes then covered them over with sand at Layan beach, the man who took the disturbing footage said today.

'Rob' prefers to remain anonymous out of concern for his safety but posted the link on the influential site because he ''loves Phuket''.

''I was just hoping it [the video] would eventually reach the right people,'' he told Phuketwan.

Concerns are mounting about lack of protection for beaches on Phuket as tourist numbers increase. Privatisation of the beaches by local officials who charge fees for commercial activities is accelerating the deterioration.

Layan beach is one of the more remote beaches on Phuket's west coast and it has yet to be overwhelmed by beach lounges, vendors and restaurants and beach clubs.

However, Rob's video is a disturbing indication that even in more natural parts of Phuket, locals are only concerned about maintaining appearances and lack any real commitment to long-term preservation of Phuket's most valuable natural treasures.

On January 9, Rob was able to see what happened to the rubbish on Layan beach.

As the backhoe worked digging three holes on the beach and among the bordering trees, two men collected black bags from other parts of the beach and carried them back to the mounting pile of rubbish.

''I started filming the digging of one complete hole from start to finish and I was shocked,'' he said. ''While I was filming the men kept looking over, so I tried not to be too obvious, I didn't want a beating or my camera taken.

''I often go to Layan beach,'' Rob said. ''I have been a few times to Phuket and this is my favorite beach. I always seem to go to for lots of reasons . . . central location from wherever I'm staying, few tourists, local feel with nice friendly locals, clean, gentle waters, powdery sand, little lagoon at one end, an island to swim out to, cheap and quiet, it's lovely there.''

Idyllic Layan . . . until the rubbish starts poking through the sand and the toxic sludge creates a stench.

Here's Rob's account of what he saw and filmed: ''I was holidaying in Phuket in January for two weeks after being in Malaysia for two weeks over Christmas. On previous days leading up to filming day, I'd seen lots of black bags filled up next to the treeline at the edge of the beach.

''They smelled and I noticed lots of bottles, plates, bbq stuff, wrappers and assorted junk hanging out. My wife commented how it was bad they'd been apparently dumped, but we decided that they had cleaned the beaches probably recently, and that the bags would be gathered over coming days.

''On January 9, I think, three pickup vehicles parked past the 'Do not cross or be fined' signs at the end of the road/Layan beach. They'd been there for a few hours. One of them hitched a jet-ski up and did a u-turn on the beach.

''As he did, a black pickup flew down the road, beeping wildly. I knew he wasn't supposed to be on the beach and said to my wife 'Uh oh, this guy's in trouble and is going to be fined.' The two guys in the black pickup jumped out, approached the jet-ski vehicle and had strong words, then let him leave after a few minutes.

''They didn't fine him as far as I could see for driving on beach or being past 'do not cross' signs. Their actions suggested they where officials from some organisation, probably to do with conservation of the beach.

''They stayed there for about 10 minutes in their black pickup, then got out when a jcb digger started approaching. They then walked as the digger drove alongside them towards the black plastic bags, dug three holes - two on the beach, one in the trees - and buried the bags full of rubbish.

''There were about 40 or 50 bags I guess, and I'm sure they have done it before as they clearly had a well-tested plan. There was no debating or discussions what they where going to do, they just did it fast and efficiently. You can hear glass etc falling in the hole as the jcb sweeps up the mess.''

Phuket's only trash centre, at Saphan Hin in Phuket City, is about 45 kilometres to the south of Layan beach.

The video can be found at:
The Rape of Phuket That Everyone Gets to Watch
News Analysis Phuket to be listed as a UN World heritage site for its natural beauty? You must be joking. The island's beaches are being raped by greedy people who only want a quick profit.
The Rape of Phuket That Everyone Gets to Watch

Phuket Beach Rumbles Grow: Taxi Driver Alarms Judge
Latest A young female judge called for help when confronted by a taxi driver at Phuket's Surin beach last night, latest sign that both locals and the law are not happy with Phuket beach thugs.
Phuket Beach Rumbles Grow: Taxi Driver Alarms Judge

Phuket's Top Beaches Losing Quality Fast
Latest Phuket's beaches may be attracting tourists but the environmental standards are not being preserved and the future of the beaches and the industry looks bleak, say pollution experts.
Phuket's Top Beaches Losing Quality Fast

Phuket Corruption Probe on Holiday Inn Road
Latest Officials are investigating claims that a road to two new resorts on Phuket was built by a local council at a cost of 28 million baht across a pristine billabong at no benefit for locals.
Phuket Corruption Probe on Holiday Inn Road

Rip-Offs? Phuket Still Has That Super-Rich Appeal
Phuket Property Outlook 2011 When it comes to the very wealthy, nobody understands their needs better than a couple of plush resorts and the Hunters of Hunter Sotheby's.
Rip-Offs? Phuket Still Has That Super-Rich Appeal


Comments have been disabled for this article.


I to was going to comment, but let's take videos and post them, then let's see the sh%$ fly?
Good on you, Rob.

Posted by Robin on January 22, 2011 10:49


Seems like a lot of hassle to bury what is really a small amount of garbage when regular collections are made in the area.

Are you sure it was only garbage they were burying ????

Posted by Soupdragon on January 22, 2011 11:33


Well that'll spread nicely around Trip Advisor and no doubt a few more web sites. With beach rating in Thailand dropping and all the other problems you have to ask "How much damage do the Thais really want to do to their image and the tourist industry?"

This is just madness.

Posted by Graham on January 22, 2011 19:28


Thank you for the link, there was also this text by another comment by lingyai:
"4. Re: thai officials destroying beaches - layan beach nr bang tao
Jan 21, 2011, 7:10 AM
Destination Expert
for Puerto Princesa
Well, it can happen, but it requires true leadership at the top. We just don't have politicians who care enough to get their hands dirty and set an example. They also need to be tough.

I've been here 22 years, hold a clean-up with my students every year, use glass bottles only on my trip - and my competitors just laugh at me for even caring. I'm also DE for Puerto Princesa forum and it is the cleanest, greenest, crime free spot I know in Asia. The mayor is a good guy, but tough and well organized.


Throw a cigarette butt out of a Puerto Princesa Tuk Tuk and the driver issues a P200 ticket, #2 is P500, #3 is P1,000, #4 is 30 days in jail. The drivers don't get a kick-back; they just follow the Mayor's example and take pride in their city

Same goes for plastic rubbish - and there is ZERO in the town and the sea. The harbor is so clean you see the bottom from a boat. Dump your engine oil and you might as well leave town.

The mayor gained respect his first day in office when he discovered his predecessor stole all the City's money - so he took his own broom and started sweeping the streets. By day's end, everybody in town was sweeping the streets.

Rank has no privilege. When he caught a national senator's boat dynamite fishing, he seized the boat. When the Senator came to collect his boat, the mayor didn't take corruption - he threatened to throw the Senator in jail for dynamite fishing and attempted murder because his crew tried to shoot the police. The Senator decided it wasn't his boat and left town.

Every Valentine's Day there's a mangrove planting festival. The Mayor, his Senator friends and visiting Ambassadors all get down on their knees in the mud and plant mangroves.

There is no corruption. Try to buy off the police and you go to jail.

Is there any corruption in Phuket? Are there any politicians willing to sweep the streets with their own brooms? Get muddy planting mangroves? Are the local hoteliers willing to go pick up rubbish with their own hands, If not, we will lose Phuket.

We just finished cleaning up an iconic tourist attraction. My students were shocked with the rubbish. The locals just watched, thinking we were crazy. Where were the politicians helping with the clean-up?

My point is it starts at the top. Leaders must be tough, and set an example. If that doesn't happen, Phuket tourism is doomed. Already the high end tourists are leaving - chased off by chop suey development, rubbish everywhere, rich Russians and low-end Asian group tours. We can turn it around, but to do so, we need leaders who aren't afraid to spend the day on a beach cleaning up rubbish, to properly manage our National Parks, and get down in the mud and plant more mangroves.

Maybe the Mayor, Governor, and their cabinet officials should pay a visit to Puerto Princesa. I'm sure their Mayor can find a nice mud bank that needs more mangroves.

Edited: 7:11 am, yesterday

Dreaming should be possible.

Posted by Lena on January 22, 2011 19:48

Editor Comment:

Yes, we sent lingyai the link.


Well done Rob, lets hope some high up official views this video.

Posted by Michael on January 22, 2011 20:10


well well done ED.. To inform the people about this shame and prove it, it's exactly what a good newspaper (online or not) should do..
Thank you very much..

Posted by Richard on January 22, 2011 20:25


make it a link so I don't have to type this shyt in, thx
on the youtube garbage moment, again thx

Posted by what's it to you, loverboy on January 23, 2011 01:05

Editor Comment:

cut and paste works wonders


As annoying and confrontational as I may sometimes think you are Ed, it's stories like that you publish when nobody else does that has my utmost respect.

In you usual manner you will tell me you could not care less but I say it anyway.

You are a pain in the butt but sometimes that's exactly what is needed.

Posted by Chris on January 23, 2011 01:50


Great advertising for hotels in the area - name and shame! I just used Expedia and found a nice hotel at US$691-$1032 for two nights, lovely pics of Layan Beach on their website.
I don't thinks so!!!

Posted by Clean and Green? on January 23, 2011 09:41


i don't expect Shangri la would be too pleased given there planned investment with 'posts in the ground' for a massive complex next to the beach which sheer size and brand name suggests must be $$$$ considerable.

Nor do i imagine would be pleased, so i emailed them too

here's what the turtle foundation quote for man made debris to breakdown [official signs on the beach]

Posted by rob on January 23, 2011 10:46

Editor Comment:

Rob, well said but I believe Shangri la is a 'hibernating' development. A start was made several years ago, then interrupted. If work resumes, please let us know.


"Editor Comment:

cut and paste works wonders"

So does &!

Try this link:

Posted by Mike Boyd on January 23, 2011 11:55


from the turtle and marine conservation foundation :
Sawasdee ka Khun Rob,

Thank you very much for your email and Video

I feel so sad after I saw this video.
I will forward this to Government organization in Phuket that we work with,

National Park, Marine and Coastal Resources Conservation Center,

Natural Resources and Environment office, and try to find out what we could do to stop this.

I also know some hotels around that area. I will try to check who did it.
We can't let something like this happen in Phuket.

If you have more information or any update situation in that area,
Pls contact me by email or mobile phone.

And if you find they do something like this again.
Pls call me! I will bring some government organization to see this.

Best Regards,


Khemwalai Theerasuwanajak (Aim)
Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation
Turtle Awareness Center,
Turtle Village, Mai Khao, Thalang, Phuket
Tel/Fax: 076 314 825
Mobile: 086 689 2230

Posted by rob on January 23, 2011 23:39


The most shameful thing is that this rubbish came from a huge wedding which was held on the beach just before NYE. I walk my dog in the area and was amazed to see the pavillions, stages, light and sound rigs, makeshift temple, portable toilets, generators, etc which they shipped in - to an area which is part of a National Park, supposedly protected, and with no vehicle access. They also put down lots of stones to make a road so they could get all the vehicles and equipment in. The state of the beach afterwards was disgusting - rubbish and empty fireworks containers strewn everywhere, and the black bags left near the tree line, which started to rot and smell over the next few days.
Someone must have incentives big incentive for allowing such a think to happen in a NP - shame they couldn't use some of it to clear up the mess properly.

Posted by Anonymous on January 24, 2011 12:38


Layan's Soi # 1, way down the dirt road - also has become an enormous illegal dump apparently for a huge local resort conglomerate if one looks at the garbage. Check it out.

Posted by E.L.F. on January 24, 2011 12:54

Saturday June 6, 2020
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


Facebook Twitter