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A big, noisy night on Patong beach: should it happen every night?

Fireworks Driving Us Off Phuket:Tourists

Wednesday, February 15, 2012
PHUKET: A group of German friends are threatening to abandon their regular holidays and cost Phuket millions of baht unless police are able to stop noisy fireworks along Phuket's famous Patong beach.

Patong police superintendent Colonel Arayapan Pukbuakao said today that dealing with Patong's illegal fireworks was ''more difficult than arresting a murderer'' because it was so hard to catch perpetrators in the act.

Skyrockets and exploding crackers are a worsening problem at Phuket's most popular beaches where some tourists pay for the noise and the showers of sparks while others want the beaches to remain natural and prefer their holidays to be restful.

The German man wrote in his letter to the colonel that he and his friends stayed in Patong for three months of the year, spending a total of about 12 million baht.

''Now, [for the] first time in all these years, we are discussing not to come to Patong anymore, we have alternatives in Cambodia and Vietnam.

''Every night is a nightmare, from midnight to 5 o'clock in the morning people fire noisy fireworks along the beach, we cannot sleep. This noise is so strong, even the windows are vibrating! And every night!

''We found even two empty fireworks and rockets in the ninth floor balkony!!! What a danger for fire!''

The letter from the Germans is the latest manifestation of the privatisation of Phuket's public beaches. This high season dance party operators, mobile restaurants and the fireworks sellers are cashing in at night in the same way that illegal resort bars, vendors and jet-ski operators rake in money during the day.

Unless Yingluck Shinawatra's national government can save the beaches from privatisation, Phuket's future as a tourism destination will be plunged into jeopardy.

The misuse and abuse of Phuket's beaches is expected to be high on the list for discussion when the Prime Minister and her Cabinet hold a session on Phuket next month.

If the government introduced a single authority to control all of Phuket's beaches - as Phuketwan has proposed - activities on the sands could be properly regulated and the revenue could go towards protecting and maintaining the beaches, not into the corrupt pockets of local officials and money-grubbers.

At present, the private profiteers are ruining it for everyone.

Some local officials admit to Phuketwan that they are powerless to prevent the despoilation because the fact that the beaches are public is misinterpreted as meaning the sands are ''for all of us to do whatever we like.''

The letter from the German group is representative of a growing band of regular Phuket visitors who are now looking at alternatives - and unless action is taken, these regular tourists won't be coming back.

''We see Thai people during the night, selling these fireworks!'' the German man's letter continues.

The letter says the sellers operate from specific points on Patong beach that he lists and adds: ''Maybe you should catch the wholesaler!''

But Colonel Arayapan said that the skyrocket and cracker salespeople often hid their wares in the sand from police beach patrols.

Where once police were able to fine sellers immediately, offenders now have to formally charged in court, he said. The fines of 2000 baht are apparently not enough to stop the noise.

Other complaints about fireworks and noise have been made in Kata, Karon and Surin. Sometimes, locals set off the crackers for their own enjoyment.

''We can understand when crackers and fireworks are a part of Phuket festivals, but do they really need to be set off every night?'' a frustrated resort owner told Phuketwan.

The letter from the German group to the colonel says: ''We are asking you to help all this (money to Phuket bringing) tourists to enjoy their vacation, to help the tourist industry in Patong!''

The Germans say they will take their complaints to Facebook and TripAdvisor and notify the European media of their unhappiness unless the problem is solved quickly.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Many many complaints about it in Kata Beach and other places. Just look at Tripadvisor. Is it really that hard to CATCh the people SELLING them?
A crackdown every so often would be a good deterrent.

Posted by Vfaye on February 15, 2012 11:55

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Fireworks are supposed to be a rare treat, a celebration of something special. The special nights in Kamala are the ones where we don't have fireworks.. With the tourist problem and Phuket FantaSea, they are few and far between.

Posted by Horseradish on February 15, 2012 12:44

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Vfaye

Like the article states, the fine is only 2000 baht, so not much of a deterrent.

On a different note, I had no idea about any fireworks problem on Phuket. Then again Im not exactly a frequent visitor in Patong. But i do know this, I can NOT think of a worse place for middle aged tourists to have a long stay holiday. Are these germans only now waking up to what a sleaze-hole Patong is? Because of some fireworks? And why "threaten" to go to another country? They only need to move a few kilometers on the actual Island to get away from this problem. These people are clueless.
And I had to laugh when I read the excerpts from his letter with the exclamation marks, i could almost hear the german dialect while reading Yoo Maast fix ziss probleem!

Posted by christian on February 15, 2012 12:55

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Daily complaints from our hotel guests at the Holiday Inn, and some guests checked out already . While guests understand this might go on for a couple of days after New Year or Chinese New Year but not every night.
In view of yesterday's bombs in Bangkok, loud nightly explosions are scaring guests.wm

Posted by wm on February 15, 2012 13:31

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My family and I love the new years eve fireworks on Patong Beach and we have been every year for the past 8 years. We brought my 6 year old for the first time last year. We had a wonderful time along with all the others at our particular spot.
Why don't those who don't like fireworks stay elsewhere on the island? Patong is not an appropriate for a long stay destination for old people anyway.
HK Mike.

Posted by Anonymous on February 15, 2012 14:06

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No education - no consideration. This trend of mentality is shown all over.

Posted by Sherlock on February 15, 2012 15:36

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@ "Patong police superintendent Colonel Arayapan Pukbuakao said today that dealing with Patong's illegal fireworks was ''more difficult than arresting a murderer'' because it was so hard to catch perpetrators in the act"
What a load of cobblers...555..No...colonel, its rather easy to catch fireworks users..Stand anywhere near the beach, look and listen, and when you hear and see the fireworks, you simply walk over and arrest the people there and then...oh so easy huh!!!Said Colonel quotes "was so hard to catch perpetrators in the act"
Ahhhmmmm..why colonel?? It aint exactly rocket science as i illustrated above.....

Posted by davidj949 on February 15, 2012 16:50

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HK Mike, just to let you know New Years Eve is December 31st. not every night.

Posted by john s on February 15, 2012 17:26

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So Police should take action against the Supercheap-Store, where all that stuff is purchased by the vendors for a couple of Baht...

Posted by Martin on February 15, 2012 17:49

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My wife and I have been coming to Patong for the last 18yrs and spent 8 weeks over the last Christmas/New Year period and would like to say to "christian on February 15, 2012 12:55" I Stay on Sainamyen rd near the Nanai rd intersection. We experienced fireworks (not sparklers) going off at random (any-time) between sunset and sunrise from early Dec to early Feb. My wife is deaf and even she is woken by these blasts that are big enough to rattle our bed.

On the point of police enforcement made by others disregard not going to happen, When wandering beach vendors first started up the police would patrol the beach using quad bikes and vendors would run for the hills, now after just having spent 8 weeks everyday at the beach we did not see one policeman but did get humbugged by the now unrelenting beach vendors in the style that made us originally quit the Bali beaches. We are reconsidering Phuket as our beach destination due to the fireworks, transport situation and beach harassment.

But where to go?

Shame because Phuket was nice once.

Posted by Chris on February 15, 2012 17:54

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How about a little compromise, no fire works after midnight.

Posted by Pete on February 16, 2012 11:10

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How about all you crybabies just don't leave whatever nanny state you live in? If you don't like the local customs, stay home!

Posted by Not A Big Baby on February 16, 2012 17:58

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Now that I know, I plan on going just to shoot fireworks! You babies just need to be coddled back in your nanny states that you came from. Freedom!
Excelsior!

Posted by Rob on February 16, 2012 21:07

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Comment to 'NotABigBaby', shooting off fireworks each night on the beach is not a 'local custom'.

Phuket needs to try to remain a non-violent, peaceful, non-corrupt place to live and visit. Unfortunately, it is not.

Posted by EWren on February 17, 2012 04:09

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Maybe the TAT's new campaign should be: If it's illegal, you can do it in Phuket!

Posted by kel on February 17, 2012 14:40

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I am about to make my 30th trip to Karon Beach since 2004, and i prefer peace and quiet, hence not staying in Patong, but these Fireworks start EVERY night at midnight and go on for hopefully only 1 hour, but normally they are Extremely Loud and powerful and go on till almost 3am. I feel sorry for the animals and Locals, as i can stop coming as i often think when woken up nightly. Surely under cover police could do a blitz, purchasing then arresting the sellers.

Posted by Gregg Cornell on February 17, 2012 21:09

Editor Comment:

Surely.

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I guess the authorities will react when some of this highly explosive stuff blow up and kill a few locals/tourists !?!? You just have to put up with it till then !

Posted by Anonymous on March 7, 2012 21:25

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Just as a belated update, the hotel I'm working at just received an official letter from the municipality that the selling of fireworks and flying lanterns are illegal and that letting them off in public areas is also illegal. Now that they've sent the hotels the warning, let's see how they're going to handle the vendors on the beach selling these illegally, and if any tourist would be arrested for letting them off in public spaces.
Or is this warning to the hotels to protect the monopoly of these illegal vendors?

Posted by may on March 12, 2012 16:44


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