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Wrecked beyond belief . . . Kata, one of Phuket's wounded beaches

Storm Batters Phuket Beaches: Photo Special

Friday, June 8, 2012
Phuket's Bruised Beaches: Photo Album Above

PHUKET: A Phuketwan survey along Phuket's holiday west coast today showed massive damage to some beaches, perhaps inflicting wounds worse than during the 2004 tsunami.

While the big wave of December 26 2004 swept the beaches and left them clean of almost everything, yesterday's monsoon surf tore the beaches to bits, depositing the sand inland in the case of Kamala or ripping it back out to sea at Surin and Kata.

More damage was reported further south on Phuket at Nai Harn and Rawai, where sea walls took a heavy battering.

The tourists? As with the tsunami, people who had paid for a beach holiday were determined to take it.

Plenty of people dressed for swimming were evident on Phuket's battered beaches today, even though the beaches were a long way from what appears in tourist brochures and sunshine was nowhere to be seen.

Part of the problem is that Phuket is marketed as a year-round destination when this year's exceptional monsoon storms have proven that May-June and probably September-October will not necessarily fulfill holiday dreams.

Meanwhile, concerns will swing to the beaches themselves. After the 2004 tsunami, recovery came fairly swiftly. This time, it may take longer . . . and in any case, it rests entirely with the sea.

What the tsunami presented for Phuket in 2004 was a chance to start over again, to keep the beaches clear of lounges and vendors, and to put in place better management systems for protecting the sand.

Surin beach will need major work. Concrete stairways have been torn to pieces. Some of the other beautiful beaches, now battered beyond belief, will also need major surgery.

Where will the money come from?

With so much private commercialisation of all Phuket's beaches, Phuketwan has suggested the establishment of a single Phuket Beach Authority to licence businesses, and to put the money back into protection of the beaches rather than the pockets of local council officials.

On what the sea told us yesterday, it still sounds like a good idea if Phuket wants to ensure its future as a popular beach destination with natural beauty at its heart.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Beyound believe also of the people, leaving all their common sense at home, heading to the beach when there is a severe storm. Anyone going for a swim yesterday should take some personal responsibility it is plain to see that you don't go swimming during a storm. Unbelievable these photos.

Posted by wm on June 8, 2012 17:23


Yesterday at mid-day Phuket saw a rare event called a storm tide. A storm tide is when a storm surge (which is wind causing water to pile up and low pressure overhead causing the sea to bulge) coincides with a high tide. Tide tables show yesterdays noontime high tide was the highest tide of the month at 3.5m, just as the storm was in full swing.

Posted by Joe on June 8, 2012 17:29


What the tsunami presented for Phuket in 2004 was a chance to start over again, to keep the beaches clear of lounges and vendors, and to put in place better management systems for protecting the sand.

Er right ... so why didn't that happen Ed?

Posted by Simon Luttrell on June 8, 2012 18:00

Editor Comment:

Perhaps a reader has the time to respond.


I will respond. Because the usual palms were greased.

Posted by stu on June 8, 2012 20:01


The sea wanna take back what humans wanna steal . . . a clear and free beach

Posted by Dave on June 8, 2012 20:04


Welcome to Phuket's "Summer Season".

Posted by Buster on June 8, 2012 20:51


Not saying that I'm not alarmed by the scale of the destruction but it's truly nature in action. Hundreds of years ago the waterline was probably 2 or 300 meters inland from where it is now. It's now time to give a bit back, and nature sometimes has a way of getting what it wants.

But Oh dear, where will all the illegal beach vendors go to sell their wares.?

They'll probably ask the Or Bor Tor for disaster relief, probably get it and wait for the sand to return so they can set up again. one thing for sure they wont open a shop, pay rent and tax nor anything else to assist their recovery.

Posted by interested observer on June 9, 2012 00:43


Nature doing what the authorities wont.

Posted by JingJing on June 9, 2012 05:24


There will always be 5 or 10 year abnormal storms which will create chaos along beach fronts. Sandbag and vertical seawalls will always undermine and collapse.
At locations such as Rawai, diffusers, concrete tetrapods, and groins would be a better approach.
However the openly exposed west coast beaches require proper development management and the only answer is to keep traders well removed from the high water mark which has been deliniated once again by this recent storm.
But we all know that this will never happen and the same destruction will reoccur down the track, don't we folks?

Posted by Hugh Jarse on June 9, 2012 09:36


So happy that you wrote this! It IS an "exceptional monsoon storms "...I have never seen this strength , just a couple of times probably in my 18 years here! And still, so many people are totally unaware, telling you "oh, it is normal, it is monsoon season". Yes, I know this, It is monsoon season but not an ordinary one!

Posted by Olly on June 9, 2012 16:06


If the sea is coming over onto the "land" then probably best to stay back from the natural level then. A lesson that desperately needs to be learned by Pla Seafood on Surin beach who vainly believe they can conquer mother nature - but end up leaving a mess

Posted by Toolbox on June 9, 2012 16:26


As soon as conditions will allow, all will be back as it was before, unless of some areas damaged. And why ?? It's always the same thing, too much money goes to the wrong people...
And we won't change it.

Posted by Resident on June 9, 2012 19:10

Monday July 15, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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