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How Phuket's Surin shorefront could look: an idea from the mayor

Phuket Model Beach: Mayor's New Surin

Tuesday, October 1, 2013
PHUKET: Letters ordering businesses to clear land close to the sand at Phuket's Surin beach have been sent out - and local mayor Ma-Ann Samran has revealed his new idea for the Surin shorefront.

The vision for Phuket's popular five-star beach is published for the first time today on Phuketwan. It includes additional carparking, walkways and space for a five-star restaurant among trees further back from the beach.

As Mayor of Cherng Talay, Ma-Ann Samran has responsibility for the Surin beachfront and for the parkland that backs the pleasant and popular arc of sand.

Surin has a proud place in Phuket's history. HM The King and HM The Queen visited Surin when there was no development and the beachfront was natural.

In the past few days, two letters ordering businesses along the beachfront to follow the laws of Thailand have been distributed.

One letter delegates responsibility from the Thalang District municipality to Cherng Talay, the local council where Khun Ma-Ann is mayor.

The second letter orders businesses to obey the laws of Thailand and give up occupation of shorefront that is too close to the sea.

While the letters have been handed out, Mayor Ma-Ann has been envisaging a new future for Surin and the surrounding parkland.

When Phuketwan met with Mayor Ma-Ann, he passed on the work of a graphic designer who has projected the vision for Surin beach, as the mayor sees it.

At the meeting, civil engineer Rongrit Chaihanam explained how he had spent an entire day delivering the two important letters to Surin beachfront businesses.

In some cases, he said, there had been no responses and he had taped the letters to doors.

''I would say that some of these businesses were no more than 20 metres from the sea,'' Khun Rongrit said.

''Sometimes, people said good things to me. Others were just sarcastic, saying 'Nothing has happened, and nothing is going to happen.''

Restaurants have a long history on the shorefront at Surin. Phuket's first beach club appeared there five years ago. Several new beach clubs have been planned for this high season, some of them to be established in solid concrete.

Mayor Ma-Ann is prepared to offer a compromise. He said there was some excellent space back from the sand under trees in the park, which was once a Royal golf course.

He plans to offer some of this space for commercial development. ''It will be the best restaurant at Surin beach,'' he said.

''Everything has to be perfect. We want a five-star restaurant, with everything just the way it should be, a model for the rest of Phuket.

''Whoever want to take care of this space needs to be prepared to pay a lot of money.''

Mayor Ma-Ann's vision of the new Surin is the latest development in a long-running saga that became more intense late last year with plans to hold a two-day New Year's party on Surin beach.

At the last minute, when it seemed as though the plan would go ahead despite the opposition of the five-star resorts nearby, the party was shifted to Patong, where it did not inspire the predicted 50,000 partygoers.

Since then, though, the potential for Surin to become Phuket's upmarket entertainment beach appears to have been recognised. A ''beach club gold rush'' is underway at Surin.

Delivery of the letters in the past few days to Surin beach businesses follows two or three meetings at which Phuket Vice Governor Jamleran Tipayapongtada has told Mayor Ma-Ann and other Phuket officials that beachfronts must be cleared of all commercial operations.

''I want the beaches back for Phuket people,'' said Vice Governor Jamleran, who is Phuket born and bred.

According to Khun Rongrit, some people along the shorefront admitted they were ''not the owners.'' ''I rent it from somebody,'' was the message he heard from several people.

Whatever the outcome might be at Surin beach is likely to be a model for other Phuket beaches, where similar commercial pressures also apply.

Before long, it will become clear whether Phuket's beaches are to be preserved in a semi-natural state or exploited for profit.

Mayor Ma-Ann appears to be doing his best to draw his own line in the sand.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


The Rawai Orbortor largely ignores most restaurants and homes built on public property, including expensive beach property. This is most evident just behind the orbortor at Laem Phai, extending around Laem Promthep and to Yanui Beach, Nai Harn, Ao Sane and Nui Beach.

Someone constructed a fence with a ''keep out'' sign on the hillside between The Phuket Yacht Club and Ao Sane. They are evidently making plans of claiming this government property for their own benefit.

Numerous developments have been constructed north of Nai Harn to Kata Noi beach on government property yet no the local municipalities do nothing.

The Orbortor officials should be questioned as to what ''arrangements'' exist that have allowed this to take place.

Posted by bubba on October 1, 2013 04:25


That is an absolute disaster. The concrete will be poor quality and looking like the southern end of Kamala beach within 12 months. This provides nothing but an eye sore along the entire beach by the look of it.

If the restaurants are to go restore it to its natural state!

Posted by pp on October 1, 2013 05:24


Vision ! More like nightmare!
Insanity more concrete ! From the creator of the concrete eyesore known as the Surin beach football stadium complete with bright pink floodlight pylons. A monument to his vanity with limited practical use. He will tile the bay next !

How is the same mayor that allowed the encroachment of the beach in the first place still operating? Shouldn't there be a DSI enquiry!

Currently all sewage is on the beach is through septic tanks, last high season there was a film of filth on the water. No water treatment system, public toilets but we do have a football stadium !

Any future master planning of this beach cannot be left to this local administration, there need to be safe guards and a wider gene pool of planners.

Very concerned

Posted by Very Concerned on October 1, 2013 08:01


Jumping on the bandwagon I see. He has had many years to do something but now he says this, when the DSI are doing something.

Posted by tbs on October 1, 2013 08:54


@very-concerned - you are very right of course - charging the very person who allowed it to clean it up - ridiculous.

As for the DSI looks like they have fled Phuket, absolute no sign of them anywhere - and lots of talk but zero action.

Posted by Ciaran on October 1, 2013 09:13


A vision that is fairly easy to achieve, the outline of the concrete structure is already in place only remaining thing is to move the businesses over at the other side of the road....and then do some clean up. I wish that the Mayor had included a vision on how the waste and sewage from this area and from the whole back area including the hill properties and hotels is going to be treated. Can't see any problem in having businesses operating in the area as long as they pay the market price for the rent and the rent or the majority of it goes towards upkeep of the area.

Posted by Sailor on October 1, 2013 10:41


Oh yes, let's take away the reason people come to the beach, ie it's natural beauty, and cover it with cheap concrete and then line the sides with more shops/stalls. We have ALL seen how these concrete promenades look after a short period of time.

Posted by DSI Watcher on October 1, 2013 11:52


Great !Phuket will look like France or Spain soon. Prices are almost there too. Why should any european tourist travel for 12 - 20 hrs. to reach a destination that looks and costs exactly like the one 2 hours away from home ? Someone should really start to think, remember and realize why the good money spending europeans start to flock to Phuket 10, 15 Years ago ? Thats where, when all the Phuket wealth came from ! Not the Chinese zero Baht tourists or 7/11 Beer buying Russians.

Posted by Oliver on October 1, 2013 11:56


Stop this plan before it is too late - tourists come to Phuket for the greenery and not for the concrete ! If this becomes the model beach for Phuket then our future business is finished - better to leave what is in place now

Posted by Benjamin on October 1, 2013 11:58


I have been coming to Phuket as a tourist now for 5 years and am saddened at what I see - more and more of the jungle being destroyed to make ways for Condos or shop houses. We do not come to Phuket to see concrete lined beach fronts - we can see that at home so why can't we leave the beachfronts in a natural setting like how Nai Yang Beach used to look like 3 or 4 years ago ?

Posted by Julie on October 1, 2013 12:08


This will put the 'PATONG BEACH' sign to shame and cement the Mayor's legacy as a wise, selfless leader.
Phuket is so lucky to have such visionary leaders.

Posted by Yojimbo on October 1, 2013 17:50


For these "plans" there is just one word: Ugly.

Posted by BeerChang on October 1, 2013 18:31


Editor: Am I right to presume that this concrete walkway is placed where the present "road" is and not on the sand itself?

Posted by Conrad on October 1, 2013 20:54

Editor Comment:

We only have the images to go on.


Mr Mayor, why? What is wrong with the natural Sun, Sand and surf? This will be a hideous legacy to leave behind.

Posted by DuncanB on October 2, 2013 00:03


What silly pictures! They've forgotten to draw the mobile food stalls, taxi touts, tuk-tuks and other assorted street vendors.

Posted by Buster on October 2, 2013 03:37


Beware. The current Aor Bor Tor have had their eyes on the old Royal Golf Course land for a long time. It is supposed to never be developed This "clean up" is merely an excuse for them and their cronies to open restaurants, etc. and turn Surin into another Patong. I wonder who will be the landlord or operator of the new 5 star restaurant?

Posted by mike on October 2, 2013 11:06


So all laws are now going to be stuck to firmly ?? Thats the government line ??

Hence the entire south side of Bangla Rd, where the bars are built on sorporkor agricultural land that cannot have commercial activity on, or be sold, only farmed by the leaseholder..

These will all be bulldozed and they will plant rice or cashews there for a living will they ??

I mean its laws for all correct ?? Not just pick and chose ?? Consistent application of the land use laws. Or only 'some' laws are going to be insisted on.

Posted by LivinLOS on June 25, 2014 10:13

Editor Comment:

First we've heard of Bangla Road being a shrimp farm, LivinLOS. Are you sure about that? Sounds like a far-fetched rumor.


All the bars on the south side of the rd, from at least the Roo to the Beach, are on non ownership rights agricultural land titles and the right to use is rented from the orbortor or orborjor.

They are the same kind of titles that legally cannot have commercial activity, cannot be transferred or leased, etc etc Similar to the Surin land. Sorporkor is leasehold for agriculture only.

If they are talking absolute enforcement, then bangla rd itself is to be farmland again. So the idea of everyone being equal under law is a bit of a joke really no? Its back to selective blindness.

Posted by LivinLOS on June 25, 2014 10:42

Editor Comment:

Big difference between public beach and Soi Bangla.


"Big difference between public beach and Soi Bangla"

Actually there isnt in legal terms.. This is my point about the joke of 'enforcing the law', the land titles concerned are NorSorLor and SorPorKor.. Both are land titles defining state owned land, that cannot have ownership rights only useage rights, those rights cannot be bought or sold, and cannot have commercial activity on them.

It makes a mockery of the idea of absolute enforcement when we all know the enforcement will be selective based on whim. Its either legal or it isn't, its not possible to say its black and white in one case and grey in another.

Posted by LivinLOS on June 25, 2014 16:46

Editor Comment:

There are no land titles on public beaches.

Wednesday October 27, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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