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The investigation party begins its tour of Racha island off Phuket today

Phuket LIVE: The Degradation of Racha, Once an Island Paradise

Thursday, February 7, 2013
PHUKET: Racha island, a short speedboat ride away from Phuket, was once a highly-regarded destination for day-trips by visitors from Phuket. Today, behind the still-beautiful facade, lies a toxic time bomb of waste, set to destroy the destination, experts now say.

Why is the once-beautiful gem now an environmental nightmare? How is it that the people who make money from its beauty have decided to let it be destroyed in the process?

As Phuketwan's photojournalist on the spot, I am reporting LIVE from Racha off Phuket as a team of Phuket administrators assesses first-hand the scale of the issues facing the future of Racha . . . and Phuket.

10.10am We are now at the Racha Resort, the best-known five-star resort on the island, where the water system is being closely checked by Phuket Vice Governor Dr Sommai Preechasin, the Chief of Phuket's Marine Office 5, Phuripat Theerakulpisut, and others in the party. The resort's owners is among the group.

10.40am The Racha has a water treatment system . . . the Baan Raya does not. Fat is excluded, but the rest? That just flows into a pond, out the back. How can people in an environmentally sensitive place imagine that this is going to work? How come there is no enforcement of regulations? Why is Phuket's tourism future being undermined by the greedy and the selfish? You have two seconds to answer.

10.56am On to the Rayaburi . . . a prime example, acording to experts, of how not to construct a resort in a sensitive natural environment. Here, concrete blocks have been dug into the beach so the buildings can be expanded. The perpetrators do not seem to mind that the beach belongs to the public, that is, all Thai people. They've just done what they pleased. Nobody tried to stop them.

11.45am A meeting on Racha hears that about 800 day-trippers come to the island each day, leaving behind trash of 1.5 kilos per individual. About one tonne of garbage per day has to be disposed of on Racha.

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the beach belongs to all thai people, what about all these resorts that block access to beaches all over the kingdom and say private beach.next they will claim they own the water .should be more public access to all beaches for all ,samui is a prime example of what not to do . you can nearly drive round the whole island and not sea the beach.

Posted by fez on February 7, 2013 13:04

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I received an email this morning from my brother-in-law in UK and it appears he has a friend, who has a friend whose family have a booking at Rayaburi Racha Resort for 10 days over the UK Easter holiday period. They had evidently seen your reports about the resort together with the negative publicity about Phuket in general, (you certainly have readers from afar) and were asking my advice as to what to do. Bluntly I replied to cancel if they could and instead explore Pak Meng, Sikao and the islands in Trang province or, better still, if they could re-arrange flights, go to Phan Thiet in Vietnam which is rather like Phuket was around 15 years ago, unspoilt, with cleaner beaches, more friendly people, uncrowded and devoid of scams.
Why do I write about this seemingly private matter? Because the negative publicity generated from your articles, and from many other sources is obviously taking its toll, rightly so, not just on Racha Island but on Phuket in general. I lived there for 11 years and witnessed its descent from respectability to less than mediocrity before moving on to the NorthEast, where life is somewhat different but easygoing and without the daily tales of scams and corruption.
I fear the reaction from the family who have pre-booked their holiday on Racha Island will be repeated many hundreds of times and from my point of view, deservedly. The days that somebody places the well-being of tourists instead of just separating them from their money are long gone and things can only get worse. Phuket Greed should now be in the travellers' dictionary.

Posted by Pete on February 8, 2013 08:34

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"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws."- Plato (427-347 B.C.)

Posted by Graham on February 8, 2013 19:21

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Now the beach club society has been established to boost quality tourism...a good thing for phuket?

Phuketwan going to write about it?


Phuketwan going to write about it?

Posted by Beachboy on February 9, 2013 13:16

Editor Comment:

We've already reported on beach clubs on Phuket, Beachboy. It's a trend. Those in popular locations will do well.Those built on or over sand are suspicious. Whether they're all legal is something for the authorities to decide.

Don't expect local councils to react, though.

Don't expect local councils to react, though.


Friday October 24, 2014
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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