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Tourists are advised at Patong beach today not to bring beach chairs

Beach Chair Rebels' Final Warning

Monday, February 16, 2015
PHUKET: The difference between the fuss about beach chairs and other wrangles on Phuket is that the veteran tourists actually do want to take it lying down.

They want to take it lying down . . . on their own beach chairs, in the shade at Patong or Kamala.

Phuketwan reporters watched at Patong beach today as a group of patrol police rode motorcycles along the footpath, then approached tourists on beach chairs and explained that beach chairs have now been outlawed from all of the island's beaches.

Most but not all of the tourists using the beach chairs are veterans, and some say they have health problems with legs, knees and hips that prevent them from using beach mats and leave them needing beach chairs.

We spoke to tourists from Sweden, France and Germany. All of them said the police were polite and made the point that they were merely enforcing regulations.

Some of the tourists said they would not be coming back with their beach chairs tomorrow after today's police warning . . . and others said they would be returning to their regular spots at Patong beach in defiance of the warnings.

Further north at Kamala beach, a group of tourists went to the local police station to ask what was happening.

On Patong, a Swedish woman told Phuketwan that her 75-year-old uncle was recovering from a hip operation and could not lower himself onto a beach mat. Or rather, she said he could lower himself onto a beach mat - but that he would then be unable to get up again.

''The police told us 'Today you can have a chair. But tomorrow, the chairs must go.' We will come back with the chairs tomorrow. Police can take them if they want.''

An elderly Frenchman was equally disillusioned but less inclined to be defiant.

''Every year we have had a superb time on Phuket. We come for about one month each year.

''This year we discover a beach without any chairs, we discover tourists are not happy, we discover workers are not happy.

''Every day we bring our own chairs to the beach, because we are told you have to buy chairs. We rent the umbrellas. I am 74 years old, and i need my chair.

''I will not be bringing my chair to the beach tomorrow. After 19 years, it is finished. We will go somewhere else next year.''

The complete ban on beach chairs has been ordered after talks between the Royal Thai Navy, the Governor and senior police who say that it is impossible to distinguish which chairs have been hired and which have been brought to the beach by tourists, so all chairs must be banned.

It's not clear yet whether police will tomorrow also confiscate the plastic chairs being used by customers at a beach cafe on the sand or the plastic chairs being used by jet-ski operators waiting for business.

All of Phuket's public beaches were cleared of private enterprise vendors - except for jet-skis and parasailer speedboats - after the military takeover of Thailand last year.

The problems with beach chairs have only emerged since a compromise was made to restore 10 percent of each beach to vendors who can hire umbrellas and mats to tourists. The sunbeds that used to accompany the umbrellas remain forbidden.

It's believed that tourists may bring their own personal umbrellas and mats and use them outside the 10 percent hire zones.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


I have been coming to Phuket for 4 or 5 months for the past 5 years. Today I saw an officer telling an old woman she could not bring her chair to the beach. I asked him what he wanted us to do and he screamed "go back! Go out! You no good!" I intend to comply with his directive because I think this could get dangerous for tourists and excess.

Posted by Anonymous on February 16, 2015 17:40


I think it's obvious that you should be able to bring your own chair. People should be banned from renting them out like before.

They are doing this deliberately because they know it will create a lot of fuss so the 'beach mafia' can take control again.

Posted by Chipotle on February 16, 2015 18:03


How to change from a 40 years deregulated beach lounge system going along with the 5 and 4 star hotels and tourists needs into a silly same price regulated system going along with guesthouses needs. Well done indeed ! It is supposed to attract high class european tourists as planned by Minister of Tourism, isn't it ?!?

Posted by mark on February 16, 2015 18:13

Editor Comment:

No, it's supposed to clear the beaches and restore them to the public, both Thai and non-Thai. Money doesn't come into it.


The 10 percent hire zone and driving jet-skis without licence are both illegal activities, but which Thai law forbids people to bring their own chair to the beach?

Posted by Sherlock on February 16, 2015 18:16



Posted by LivinLOS on February 16, 2015 18:26

Editor Comment:

Believe other publications at your peril, but don't expect us to publish BS.


It took Phuketwan some time but finally even Phuketwan believes now that many tourists are very disappointed and, worse, will not return to Phuket.

The problems didn't start with the compromise but with the removal of the chairs and umbrellas.

Posted by Paul on February 16, 2015 18:44

Editor Comment:

The problems began with compromises. Phuketwan believes Phuket's best interests woulds be served by removing the 10 percent of hired umbrellas and mats, returning all the beaches to the public, and allowing tourists and visitors to bring their own umbrellas and chairs. That works in the countries where the beaches are well protected and still well used by swimmers and sun-lovers. It would work on Phuket if the authorities weren't obliged to listen to the greedy.Our opinion hasn't changed, nor has our ability to report events without bias.


Brasil even there famous cocacabana beach you can bring your own chairs and umbrellas and its not so full of whinging tourist moaning about chairs and umbrellas

Posted by Michael on February 16, 2015 21:35

Editor Comment:

Australia is the same. BYO if you wish. Phuket has 30 years of bad habits to overcome. Compromise won't cut it.


Can you imagine some elderly or incapacitated person going to their GP (doctor) for a medical line, so they can get dispensation to sit on a chair on the beach whilst on holiday?

Then, on arrival, they would have to get it translated into Thai & notarised by a Thai lawyer.

The mind boggles!

Posted by Logic on February 16, 2015 22:24


Why can I not help but laugh at this situation, I actually dont miss phuket at all its time to let it go back to nature and the only way that will happen is if everyone simplys packs there bags and does what the officer says!

Posted by Richard Ronayne on February 16, 2015 22:37


It's just a matter of jumping when they say JUMP!

Posted by farang888 on February 16, 2015 22:46


This is the reason behind the chair ban;..."it is impossible to distinguish which chairs have been hired and which have been brought to the beach by tourists, so all chairs must be banned." So, if the vendors stopped trying to continue renting chairs to make a dollar as they did last year then the tourists would be left alone. I don't see that happening.

Posted by seht1912 on February 16, 2015 23:17


What happens if you bring a little three legged stool to sit on thats not a beach chair ??

Posted by william on February 16, 2015 23:32


Still believing that many tourists want a chair? Still ignoring the fact that the problems started with the removal of the chairs and umbrellas? How blind can you be.

The chairs and umbrellas worked perfect. Never change a winning team. On the other beaches of Thailand the government knows that and there are still chairs and umbrellas.

I thought there was a Thai law, or is there a special Phuket(wan) law?

Posted by Paul on February 17, 2015 10:49

Editor Comment:

Thai law says all beaches are public and the umbrellas and sunbeds were in breach of Thai law. The chairs and umbrellas did not ''worked perfect.'' They were an example of a few abusing the rights of many for private profit.


This will hit local tourist industry very hard..
I work in tourism and I run a global information site - I will advise people to look elsewhere. When this all becomes public knowledge the town and beaches will look like a ghost town!!

Posted by Montys Mate on February 17, 2015 11:03


North of Phuket some hotels have extra big round mats, may be 30 cm high, they take even more space and are as ugly as the big plastic chairs we have seen for years covering the beaches. All this is crazy : why can't we respect nature and use discrete towels ? Also should we understand that now the rule is that only 10% of the beaches ( but what distance is 100 ? ) can be pre-empted by aligned mats and large umbrellas ?

Posted by Natural beach advocate on February 17, 2015 15:22


And the jet skis and parasailers continue, why ?

Posted by Paul on February 17, 2015 20:21


so reading this ...

Everyone on holiday seams to be expected to be here for months rather than a few weeks ( a normal holiday time ) sorry I don't carry deck chairs with me when i holliday ... I do expect to hire one at the beach though ... Evey commercial beach resort I've been to has them even the UK ( and its to co,d for them most of the time ) sorry I won't be going back for a while now .. Phuket just doesn't want my money .. I've gone to pattaya instead ... Beach chairs everywhere ooo and much much cheaper than Phuket all round ... And nice wee islands to go to near by ...

Posted by Stuart morrison on February 18, 2015 00:47


In Hua Hin there were some restrictions but generally its business as usual (with food and other prices clearly signed) and everyone is comfortably lying/sitting on the beach beds. There is still plenty of beach without chairs. If Hua Hin and other beaches beaches can do it why not Phuket?

Posted by Allangb on February 19, 2015 09:28

Editor Comment:

Hua Hin's foreshore has in many places already disappeared under restaurants and that's something that won't be allowed to happen on Phuket.


No problem if anything like the jet skis final final final final final last warning

Posted by slickmelb on February 19, 2015 19:32


@ slickelb, you are almost right lad. There will be 14 final warnings given. Then the gov will retire. So another three final warnings will be issued by the new gov. Then a committee to investigate the situation will be formed. After five committee finals, there will be an ABF issued, ( Absolute Bloody Final) warning. And then nothing will be done, as the matter will have been buried under new threats. I learn't this in 12 years of living here.

Posted by Duncan B on February 19, 2015 23:23


Of course the beach is public property ! But a town as dependent on tourists as Patong has to make good use of the only asset that is really has - and make money with it for schools, hospitals, streets etc.

Just like the city council of Paris rents out public sidewalks to cafe owners, Rome has hundreds of street restaurants on public property, etc. etc. etc.

In the past this money went into private pockets and that was obviously wrong. But that doesn't mean that
it is basically wrong to use the beach to earn money. I would even call it the duty of a responsible city
administration to use its assets in an economically - and environmentally - reasonable way.

Posted by Gerry on February 20, 2015 08:33


What they need to do is leave tbe beach chairs alone & stop us being hassled about ping pong shows every 3 metres. I was just there & was saddened that the friendly beach guys i have known for 4 years are out of work. Maybe they will need to commit crime to survive - but at least the beaches will have no chairs now!! - Will go elsewhere next holiday.

Posted by Steve on February 22, 2015 03:59


There are some times you posted that zones are divided. 200 meters for water sports and 500m for tourists.
To this day I see: the area from the south jetty to the old Ocean has 350 meters. The area starting at the Impala to Loma Park has 420 meters. Together this makes 770 meters or 35% from the beach only for these two areas. Let us not forget that there are still several areas for these water sports. We arrive at least 50% for jet skiing and parasailing! Do you find that normal? There is someone there you can control and direct the rules published by the autorities. These operators are they so powerful? Is money really the master? here?

Posted by Manu on February 22, 2015 15:49


As I commented on another article the situation in Patong is unfathomable, contradictory and a mess. Worse than before the clean up due to fiercer turf wars and more jetskis. While I was there we had army on the beach talking to tourists and even a low flying military helicopter did a couple of fly pasts around the beach taking film.

I have had some fabulous times in Phuket and met some nice people, both locals and tourists, and the locals have said "you will come back next year". Sadly, I doubt if I will and only if this nonsensically situation get sorted.

BTW there is much talk about making the beaches public, but the public can't take their own deck chairs. Sums it up really!

Posted by richard on February 26, 2015 00:17


In order to keep myself up to date with the latest TAT campaign I feel I should change my name from Amazing Thailand to Discover Thainess

So, speaking g to many tourists over the last few weeks at the beach, I haven't yet found anyone who wants to come back here again next year. Just too much confusion as to what is going on at the beach and all the constant changes in direction

General feeling from regular visitors is that it's worse than before the cleanup last year, and next year they will go somewhere else. Tourists are not being made welcome anymore, being chased off the beach by armed police for sitting on a chair.

I believe I have now understood the new TAT campaign - I have now "discovered Thainess"

Can't say I really like it these days !

Posted by Discover Thainess on February 26, 2015 11:11

Thursday June 20, 2024
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