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Phuket Jet-Skis Win Special Zones Off Patong, Kamala: Sunbeds Back Soon, Says Mayor

Thursday, November 27, 2014
PHUKET: Jet-skis should be operating on Phuket's Patong beach in zones from tomorrow, the Mayor of Patong, Chalermlak Kebsub, said today, with the restoration of sunbeds still being planned but likely soon.

Mayor Chalermlak was speaking after a private meeting at the Royal Thai Navy 3 base at Cape Panwa on the east coast with Phuket mayors in charge of beaches, the island's three district chiefs, Marine Office 5, and Vice Admiral Saiyan Prasongsomret.

The meeting lasted for about 90 minutes, the mayor said. ''The main point discussed was the control of jet-skis, speedboats and longtails in the water,'' she said.

From tomorrow, with rows of buoys in place, Patong jet-skis and speedboats will begin using two 300-metre zones that are interspersed between three 500-metre zones for swimmers only. Similar zoning is likely to be introduced at Kamala, she added.

The zoning plan is likely to be extended soon from the water to Patong beach where the mayor intends to restore sunbeds and umbrellas, but only behind the swimming zones, not the jet-ski zones.

Details remain unclear. Any return to sunbeds run by profit-making individuals would contravene the policy of the National Council for Peace and Order for the beaches to be for the public.

Sunbeds, however, are used exclusively by tourists, not Thais. Sunlovers were welcome to bring their own umbrellas, the mayor said.

Mayor Chalermlak said that the mayors of Rawai and Cherng Talay told the meeting that they had no serious concerns about water activities at the beaches they oversaw - Nai Harn, Bang Tao, Surin, Laypang and Layan.

Strong divisions appear to have grown between key people in Phuket's tourism industry who advocate promoting the island's natural attributes and other activities and those who enjoyed the old days when Patong beach and Kamala especially were covered in sunbeds serviced by vendors and it was impossible to walk along those beaches at high tide.

Phuketwan believes any return to the old system amounts to a huge mistake and leaves Patong especially with the wrong kind of approach.

By banning jet-skis and sunbeds it could have become one of the world's great public beaches. The neighboring provinces of Phang Nga and Krabi are now attracting more tourists because there are no jet-skis, vendors or sunbeds there.

Patong's mayor appears to be pandering to self-interested pressure groups, according to Phuketwan's editor.

It's not plain yet how whoever is in charge intends to justify clearing Phuket's beaches in May then returning them to clutter and chaos within months.

No vice governors were at today's meeting, Mayor Chalermlak said. The Governor is visiting China.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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You can't make this stuff up.

Posted by FrankieV on November 27, 2014 18:30

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Just wondering what part of the law in Thailand does he not understand ? I'm sure the Junta will be giving him a call soon.

Posted by reader on November 27, 2014 18:40

Editor Comment:

The Mayor of Chalong is a woman, reader.*

*editor's mistake. Make that Patong.

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Hello,
I do not understand how you see things from the chairs on the beach. I am 66 years old and my wife 70. We come here for 8 years and we stay 3 months. Do you really think that people from our age can stay all day sitting in the sand and without umbrella. You are busy killing tourism. Instead of evolving and adapting your tourist you make a regression. For both incomes of all Thais living tourism and tourists. I hope everything will return as before. I hope everything will return as before. if not, a lot of elderly people will not more come to spend their pension at Phuket.
Regards

Posted by Manu on November 27, 2014 19:18

Editor Comment:

There are certainly a lot of old people who can't get by without sunbeds when Phuket's future depends on the young. Putting up barriers of sunbeds lined with the elderly is not good for the future of Thailand, or tourism.

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Forget elephants gibbons and exotic lizards the most highly protected species in Phuket is jet ski operators & beach furniture rental salespersons.

Posted by slickmelb on November 27, 2014 19:21

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So people who don't want to lie among the sun-beds have to take their chances in the two 300-metre zones fighting for the sand with the the jet-skis and trying very hard not to be run over by the idiots driving their Jeep towing a jet-ski trailer along the beach.

Thanks a lot, Mayor.

Posted by Smithy on November 27, 2014 19:23

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the same story.. for all: turn the way of the road around Patong.. change taxi with metered one, cancelled Tuk Tuk for parking everywhere, delete people rent motorbike from the beach road and Bangla raod.. All is same before.. worst in many cases because now is so patethic the way they try to hide themselves.. The Major change, but the stupid ideas remain the same. No hope for changing in Phuket and no hope for the future.. nobody care the future.. sabai sabai and maipenrai...

Posted by dave on November 27, 2014 19:54

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On patong Beach, the number of times you can't walk the beach at high tide because of rows of lounge chairs is very small. Discouraging the elderly from coming to Phuket because of the absence of lounge chairs and umbrellas is absurd economic self destruction.

Posted by Ken Freed on November 27, 2014 20:43

Editor Comment:

Do you say that as an independent thinker, as a sunbed lover, or as someone who has a vested interest, financial or otherwise? If you are in any category except the first, your view has little value. Walking the beach at present is a great delight and it highlights what a treasure Patong should be. Covering it in sunbeds and jet-ski operations has never been anyone's idea of tourism's future. Your fear of ''absurd economic self destruction'' indicates your wallet is talking.

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A terrible aspect of the sunbeds is that they're left in huge stacks on the beach from evening until the next morning. They are a real eyesore in such a setting. The chaos and pain (ripoffs) of the jet skis is bad enough without huge stacks of plastic chairs and trashy umbrellas being left on the beach. Even the whiny oldsters must see that.

Posted by Day on November 27, 2014 21:07

Editor Comment:

Probably not. All they care about is being in a sunny foreign country, surrounded by people who give them what they want. It's colonialism by the seaside in a country that has never been colonised. There are no Thais on sunbeds. It's a foreign occupation on Thailand's delightful beaches. No national pride here. Will the military surrender to money?

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Here is an order laid down from above... then a while later let's have a closed door meeting and negotiate a way to protect the interests of a few self-serving individuals. Sounds like a Hollywood B Movie script... sadly it's true. Phuket looses out again.

Posted by Duncan on November 27, 2014 22:23

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1000s of retirees come to Patong and other beaches and stay for long times. Their contribution to the local economy exceeds that of younger short time visitors. My comments of the tides is based on the fact that I am on the beach 4 to 7 hours a day about half the year. These facts don't disappear because I happen to like beach umbrellas.

Posted by Ken Freed on November 27, 2014 22:27

Editor Comment:

I've walked most of Phuket's beaches, Ken, during high season and low and at high tide and low tide and there are very few other people enjoying the public space on the beaches because the sunbeds get in the way. They are an imposition on public space, a blot on the seascape, and one of the reasons why Phuket is no longer considered a ''quality'' destination. People spending four to seven hours a day on them is the reason why.

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I come to Phuket since 2000,and seen the island evolving the wrong way and becoming a second Pattaya (especially Patong) this is not Thailand anymore, a big loss of identity, I remember the days in Patong buying sigarettes from street vendors and having a few seven elevens or Family mart, Jet skis can go those people are the cancer of Phuket , but a return of sunbeds with uniform umbrellas and in smaller regulated zones schould be considered.For me all the subway,Mc dONALDS AND STUFF CAN GO BACK WEST THAI FOOD ONLY ?GIVE THAILAND BACK TO THE THAI PEOPLE AND THE TRAVELLERS TOURISTS SCHOULD GO TO ALL INN RESORTS IN WATHEVER OTHER COUNTRY THIS IS THE IDEAL WORLD; sic

Posted by khunphilip on November 27, 2014 22:55

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At least some of the most beautifull beaches at the island MUST be free of waterskiing, parasailors, sunbeds and umbreallas. Maybe the northern part Kata Beach (after the near beachroad turn right), the northern part of Karon Beach (200 meters after first turn right after Karon Circle) could be areas where this activity could be allowed, but absolutely not on the most beautifull areas. Also at Patong Beach there could be a possibility in the northern part (the last 200-300 meters). All other places waterskiing, parasailors, sunbeds and umbreallas should be banned. Beach wendors is OK in a limmitted number and they have to be registrated and wearing ID. They can sell kinds of food, non alcoholic drinks, handicraft and caps, but not sunglases and watches copies or not. Many tourists are happy for the thaimassage, so some places for this should be allowed with registrated and ID-wearing masseuses. And then a kind of beach police should take patrol and care that everything is done correct. Otherwise: Take one beach (and only one) out to waterskiing and parasailors. All tourists who want those activities can then enjoy this together with others liking the same without disturbing people who just want to swimm in silence and enjoy the beautifull atmosphere at a calm beach.

Posted by Lars on November 28, 2014 02:20

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Good job Mayor Chalermlak!!! Please ignore the biased blogging of the editor. Those of us who spend hours at the beach every day want the chairs and umbrellas.

Posted by Jim in Patong on November 28, 2014 03:04

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I do not believe Thais use Patong beach as they do not want to be part of the tourist crowd. Therefore sunbeds are not in any way an affront on the Thai people. Sunbeds and umbrellas are a luxury that is wanted by the tourist who actually use Patong beach. I lived on Oahu for 25 years and Waikiki beach has sunbeds and umbrellas for the same reason. Local Hawaiian people do not use Waikiki beach and are content with using other "local" beach areas. Thais and Hawaiians can justify the umbrellas and sunbeds because they benefit from the tourist dollars that are generated... Use the money generated by tourist to build a sustainable sewage system. Concentrate on that subject and not on the use of a sunbeds. Lets prioritize the problems.

Posted by Vegas on November 28, 2014 03:48

Editor Comment:

Enforcement may prove to be a greater problem on Patong. The sunbeds spoil the natural vista that has been revealed since the clearances. We've yet to hear how the cash from the lotus-eating layabouts will be turned to public use, not private profit.

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It was all a giant hoax to make the beaches presentable for the Beach Games

Posted by Hugh Jarse on November 28, 2014 04:53

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I don't think the Sunbeds will be back like before. Now they will be regulated and in "zoned" areas only. The Thai government seems to be strict with it's approach to this, there will still be plenty of areas on the beach with no Sunbeds, they won't be over ruling the place anymore.

Posted by Badger on November 28, 2014 04:55

Editor Comment:

A small number of sunbeds provided for a large number of sunbed fans will lead to arguments and possibly violence. There are a couple of choices to prevent squabbles and fistfights: a single row for tourists who can establish they have a disability, or a price of 1000 baht per rare and thus valuable sunbed.

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imo,- and experience thais dont like laying in the sun
it makes their skin tan- go blacker-
that reduces their standing in their society
white westerners like to get a tan but not get burned by uv sun rays, bring back loungers i say theres no way i'm laying on the sand on a towel

Posted by ayjay on November 28, 2014 06:26

Editor Comment:

Most Thais sensibly sit in wooded areas behind the beaches and enjoy the view. The view isn't there to be enjoyed when beaches are covered in sunbeds.

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I have very few interests in every returning to Thailand except for the beaches without crap and lean toos all over them . Why should the majoratory have to put up with you layabouts spoiling the beaches . Go sit by a pool in your retirement village if you don't like it .

Posted by P win on November 28, 2014 06:26

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I have experienced the "new" beaches and the "old" bed beaches. Either way there will never be agreement. I just do not get though why they managed to ban beds and not jet skis and parasailing. They are a huge blight on Patong and other beaches. No matter what happens with the beds the beaches are doomed if jet skiing and parasailing is allowed to stay. They need to be banished to an out of the way area somewhere as there is probably some demand for them. I have never been to any beach anywhere in the world where jetskis can run from the main swimming area. Just wish someone could explain why, if not graft, what?

Posted by Davemc on November 28, 2014 06:41

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so the water quality at patong will be - for a long time to come.swim in at patong at your own risk. should be signs placed in the beach

Posted by bondi on November 28, 2014 06:48

Editor Comment:

What's odd is that those in charge can't tell the difference between a beach with a future and one covered in jet-skis and sunbeds that has no future.

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Vegas,

you're wrong that Thai people are not using Patong:

on sunrise, local, mostly Muslim population and municipal officers, do jogging along the shore,
and a shift from night entertainment venues take a bath before going into the bed after finishing a job,

during a day,
some resident specific workforce for specific services later that day, playing beach games,
on weekend Thais arriving to the beach with families all over the days, and kids and teens can be found in the water at any time,and have picnic under the trees

after 4pm on working day,
Thais start to arrive to have a picnic, take a walk, take a swim, play beach games,

in the late evening and further into the night
numerous Thais, companies or just couples, walking on the beach - without any connection to tourists, they just chosen to do it there.

Posted by Sue on November 28, 2014 07:10

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in the meantime how many holidays are being cancelled or ruined by the lack of shade and chairs on the beaches of Phuket...?

Posted by STEVEN COPPING on November 28, 2014 07:17

Editor Comment:

That's a minor point in determining whether Patong has a short-term future covered in sunbeds and jet-skis or a long-term future as one of the world's most appealing public beaches. Is your wallet talking, Steven?

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I think the sunbeds and umbrellas are needed, however before there was just way to many, they need to limit the amount.

Posted by coxo on November 28, 2014 07:18

Editor Comment:

And then have referees for the fights about who gets them.

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one step forwards three steps back!!

Posted by another steve on November 28, 2014 08:22

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Sue,
from what you said I can only assume that Thais use Patong beach either before the use of sunbeds or after they have been removed. My point is : there are more pressing issues facing Phuket than the topic of sunbeds and umbrellas. If you don't address the issue of the sewage system no one will want to use the beach. Fix that problem first. Then put the issue of the sunbeds to a vote. The editor would have you believe that democracy would not be the answer since " the majority would vote not to have taxes". Apparently the editor believes the population would not be able to ascertain the benefit of the tax system. Apparently democracy panders to dumb people. I believe that the populace of Phuket should determine the future of Phuket. If in fact the people do not want sunbeds then so be it. Maybe the people of Phuket should be more empowered to determine their future and not the paternalistic opinions of a newspaper.

Posted by Vegas on November 28, 2014 08:28

Editor Comment:

Democracy panders to selfish people. The beaches of Thailand belong to all Thais, in the same way as the national parks belong to all Thais, not just those who live near them. A handful who live near the beaches rip off their fellow citizens by exploiting the beaches. The tourists have simply come along to be good hedonists and provide the cash for the greedy few.
Your last comment should have been left in Vegas.

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Mr editor you embarrass yourself. Democracy by its very nature panders to the majority not the minority. As an editor of a large newspaper here in Vegas I can assure you that you do not have the credentials to be a cub reporter in any large metropolis.

Posted by Vegas on November 28, 2014 08:44

Editor Comment:

Having worked in London, Melbourne, Hong Kong and a couple of other metropolises, I wonder why as the editor of a large newspaper you continue making errors of fact. PW is not a newspaper - yet another error of fact, Vegas.

My BS antennae is twitching wildly. Why would that be?

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I can not see fights erupting for beach chairs. There are enough hotels with more rooms than chairs around the pool, and I have never seen a fight over a sunbed. First come, first serve is the system. I'm happy that the chairs,and hopefully the umbrellas come back, but I hope it will be controlled. @ khunphilip: I also remember the days of a fewer 7/11's. I actually remember the day that the first 7/11 opened in samui. But that's life. Things evolve, and progress. @ P win: if you are not interested in coming back, except to a clean beach, then you miss out on a lot, because thailand is more than just sand. Enjoy the day!

Posted by Carl on November 28, 2014 08:48

Editor Comment:

Resort sunbeds are very different to beach sunbeds.

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My apologies. (moderated)

Posted by Vegas on November 28, 2014 09:09

Editor Comment:

Your apologies are accepted. Just let us know which metro newspaper you are editing, what your name is, and we'll post your comments again.

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Many of the people complaining about the lack of sunbeds are those that show up for a few weeks and then leave. They also leave their trash and cigarette butts behind on the beach. Their complaints are in regard to their own comfort and do not take into account the damage inflicted on the local community by the over commercialization of the beaches There could have been a compromise at the onset of the issue years ago, but none of the merchants was interested. It was all or nothing. Today we see the vested interest groups who have profited from the out of control corruption on the island showing their strength. The failure of the military administration to carry through on its promises and to enforce the current laws speaks volumes. Why was it so hard to clean things up first and then start over?

Posted by ryan on November 28, 2014 09:18

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The neighboring provinces of Phang Nga and Krabi are now attracting more tourists because there are no jet-skis, vendors or sunbeds there.

No they're choosing to go there because they're fed up with being ripped off for everything from food to taxis etc, and they're also fed up with the aggressive and greedy nature of the people that tourism in Phuket has produced. Luckily for us expats we can stay away from it very easily, tourists can't unless they go elsewhere which they are starting to do in great numbers. Expect many more in the future. 4 years and counting!

Posted by phuket madness on November 28, 2014 09:44

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My elderly parents have been here for three months every high season for the past nine years.
They spent every day on the beach, on a bed under an umbrella. They spent around 10,000 euros whilst they were here. This high season they won't be coming for one reason, there are no sunbeds nor umbrellas, and there are hundreds more like them. Tick- tock Thailand, another nail, tap tap.

Posted by Anonymous on November 28, 2014 09:55

Editor Comment:

As we've said repeatedly, the decision to clear the beaches is about the principle of the beaches being for the public and belonging to the people of Thailand, not money. If money is all that matters to you, that's sad.

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Dear Editor, regarding your comment on reader's comment, we are discussing the mayor of Patong here, not of Chalong. IMHO the Patong mayor is the only one of her kind in Phuket province.

Posted by BeerChang on November 28, 2014 11:43

Editor Comment:

Indeed, my mistake. The Mayor of Patong is a woman.

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Ken Freed

and 1000,000s of Chinese tourists visiting phuket and patong nowadays.
Their contribution to local economy exceeds complaining retirees and they don't complain :)

Posted by Sam on November 28, 2014 12:32

Editor Comment:

And they like to walk along Patong beach, not occupy a sunbed.

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I want to drive on the wrong side of the road. I also want to set up a restaurant in the middle of soi bangla. What's that? Illegal you say? But I want it, that means I should get it according to the corruption feeders here, as long as they get what they want. I could see myself enjoying a sunbed, but knowing that it's illegal and feeds corruption that is holding this country back, I would never do it. To do it anyway is selfish and ignorant, something for egotistical idiots.

Posted by christian on November 28, 2014 12:41

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Ed:

Some Chinese would certainly occupy sunbeds as soon as those are back on the beach. I wonder if Ken and retirees like him would be able to find their spots then?

Chinese do their best to avoid sunlight. They wear hats and carry umbrellas. Those who been to China may recall that Chinese carry umbrella even during winter to protect themselves from sun (first) and rain (just in case).

But the point is that even though the Chinese tourists are in majority they are not complaining.

Posted by Sam on November 28, 2014 13:07

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@ Vegas Ed worked for the Melb Age a highly respected newspaper not the Melb Truth or Toorak times which were scurrilous rags suitable for lining the bottom of bird cages the editor's credentials are not in doubt.

Posted by Slickmelb on November 28, 2014 20:26

Editor Comment:

Your comment adds great value, Slickmelb.

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(moderated) Get the hell out you fascist pig.

Posted by Vegas on November 30, 2014 09:55

Editor Comment:

My my, there's such a lot that should be left in Vegas

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Moderated: this means this blog idiot edits the comments of the reader.

Posted by Vegas on November 30, 2014 10:14

Editor Comment:

That's right, Vegas. Our policy is not to pass on ill-informed and ignorant comments from anonymous netizens. Add value or don't bother. Calling PW a blog makes it plain you rely on unreliable sources.


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