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Sunbeds are not coming back on Phuket, says the holiday island's governor

No More Sunbeds on Phuket But Governor's Action Plan Allows Beach Umbrella Zones

Thursday, December 18, 2014
Phuket Beaches Summit

PHUKET: Sunbeds are not coming back to Phuket's beaches, the island's governor announced today in declaring a bold action plan aimed at boosting Phuket tourism in balance with nature.

To attempt to head off criticism, Governor Nisit Jansomwong said he had taken his action plan to the Interior Minister in Bangkok earlier this week and won endorsement for it.

''If anyone has a problem with this plan, call me first,'' he said. ''You folks have been fighting among each other for too long.''

Traditionally, people with complaints on Phuket have called powerful contacts in Bangkok, setting off a networking competition. That's clearly something the governor wants to stop.

Overall control of the action plan will rest with a Beach Management Committee consisting of a vice governor, representatives from resorts, lifeguards, councils, beach workers, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Royal Thai Navy and police.

''We are going to try this action plan,'' he told about 100 officials from Phuket's key councils and departments. ''Everybody blames the governor but you don't look at yourselves,'' he told those gathered at Phuket Provincial Hall for the beach summit.

''There is still confusion,'' he said. ''Tourists bring their own umbrellas and local authorities stop them. The problem is that standards of enforcement differ widely.

''Phuket people have to understand now that i am the person trying to help create a better future for the island.''

He said that while Phuket's beaches once rated highly, recent polls by CNN, the Guardian newspaper and National Geographic did not have any Phuket beaches among the top beaches.

''Sunbeds are banned,'' he said. ''I talked to tourists. Some people want them, others don't want them. Some families with young children really need umbrellas. They can have them.

''But umbrellas must take out less than 10 percent of beaches and be contained in zones.

''Councils have to look at setting up official kiosks where they can sell or rent umbrellas or mats and towels.

''These kiosks can operate between the hours of 9.30pm and 4.30pm and after 4.30pm, the umbrellas must vanish from the beaches.''

After 4.30pm, the beach workers will clean the beaches, the governor said. He added that he wanted to help poorer beach workers and urged them to register with Phuket Provincial administration.

The idea is that Phuket people or long-time residents on Phuket can register to form cooperatives at all Phuket beaches, with control centring on a council kiosk.

Uniforms will be issued and beach masseuses can work as required. ''These kiosks are to be under council control,'' he said, ''not by local individuals.''

Special council beach department officers will determine who is working in the cooperative and people will not necessarily have the option of working every day. Demand will control how many people are needed to work.

''Phuket's vice governors will work with all councils to introduce this scheme by the new year,'' the governor said. ''In three months, I will commission a study to see whether this action plan is working. If it is not, we will try something else.''

Governor Nisit said he intended to hold a competition next year to decide the best-managed, safest and cleanest beach on the island.

What Phuketwan Says:

GOVERNOR NISIT'S action plan deserves support. For too long greed has governed the gradual destruction of Phuket's beaches. There will be plenty of complaints from the people who have used the island's beaches as a means to grow rich or sustain a living. Phuket's future rests with presenting itself to the world as the New Phuket and the governor's action plan is a great start. Now it needs to be imposed and enforced. Everyone involved should support him.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


I've had 30 years watching what goes on in Phuket and the sunbed owners have nobody to blame but themselves for losing their businesses.

Nobody minded sunbeds or even people selling stuff at the beach but what we saw in the years after the tsunami was just unacceptable with people lording over the beaches as if it was their own land.

None of this mess could have happened without the collusion of officials so whatever system they put in place needs to be backed up by enforcement or we'll be back where we started.

Unfortunately I think Phuket has burnt so many people it's going to be a huge job to get them to return given the current global economy.

Posted by Arun Muruga on December 18, 2014 19:31

Editor Comment:

A turnaround takes about 12 months - if those involved are willing. Once greed is banished, Phuket has a chance.


Action plan sounds great. Every once in a while - out of the Tombola of Great Ideas & Strategies - some random plan unexpectedly actually becomes real on Phuket. Let us keep our fingers x-ed and hope the lucky number is on this one.

Posted by Pink Glasses on December 18, 2014 19:40


Someone needs to say it... it was the sunbeds, umbrellas, and ease of food and drink that set Thailand apart from any other destination.

Banning sunbeds from the beach is just a shot in the foot as far as I am concerned

Posted by Gunny on December 18, 2014 20:03


The sunbeds and parasols at Patong offered comfortable protection form the sun, especially valued by disabled people like myself. I never had a problem with any of the operators. The minority are kept happy with jetski and parasailing crooks, the majority lose out. The Governor should put up a sign "Tourists not Welcome"

Posted by Sandy Shores on December 18, 2014 21:12


So the law which bans PRIVATE business on the beach is now allowed to be violated again?

When will they clear the subneds from the beaches at Khai Island and the others?

Posted by Tbs on December 18, 2014 22:56


Hope this beach management committee will function as a board of directors instructing Council as to what's workable fair and equitable with a balanced view for all stakeholders within budget restraints and not Council instructing them or be pointless this Governor appears to have vision.

Posted by slickmelb on December 18, 2014 23:15


This is my 11 season at karon, I think it will be my last if I do not get sunbed and parasol. Know of many others who say the same.

Posted by Thaitourist on December 19, 2014 01:38


I need sunbeds to rent because i sit in a wheelchair.for me it is Not possible to go on the beach now.2015 i booked my holiday again but if there are no sunbeds i will change the destination....i know a lot of people who canceld their holiday at phuket because of the new rules at the beach.if i had an Email adress of the Gouverneur of phuket i will ask him about my Problem.....and also older people who stay months in phuket cannot take a towel and stay at the beach.....think about this Problem love Gouverneur....

Posted by Silvia on December 19, 2014 02:20


After more than 15 trips to Thailand my vife and i went to Sianouk Cambodia ..lots of lazy sunbeds!! Sorry but my money goes to Cambodia from now!!

Posted by Anonymous on December 19, 2014 03:18


was really looking forward to surfing KARON THIS LOW SEASON....but....I know the beaches are going to be full of rubbish on the south end because the guys who I surfed with the last 2 years,worked the umbrellas down there are no longer there to keep the beach clean or rescue tourists from might give it a's a real shame they can't get this together....I miss my friends over there but I'm seriously considering changing destinations....

Posted by surf starved katoey on December 19, 2014 06:05


we have many disabled people come to our beaches,they bring their own small collapsible chairs to sit on.they dont have a problem ,silva there are nice trees to sit under to keep you out of the sun and relax.we who live in the sun every year have a saying from 1pm-3pm sit under a tree

Posted by bondi on December 19, 2014 07:41


Good news and there should be some cheap second hand sun beds for sale soon

Posted by Paul on December 19, 2014 08:04


I already know 3 familys from Norway that canceled their trip to Phuket beqause it is not possible to use the beach when there is no sunbeds and unberellas. The sun is actually to strong to stay at the beach without this. Tourist does not normaly have a car to brig this with them so it say itself that then find another plays to enjoy their wacation. Im sorry to tell that i bellive Phuket are loosing at lot of Scandinavian tourist becqause of this :(

Posted by Leif Martin on December 19, 2014 08:09

Editor Comment:

The vast majority of Scandinavians are nature-lovers.


Wounderfull news. At last someone who cares about the beaches . I have a feeling this governor has plans to get Phuket back to being a beautiful place .

Posted by Tony Kenny on December 19, 2014 08:09


Will not be coming to Phuket or Thailand, ridiculous having no beds on the beach. Who ever leaves Phuket last turn the lights out please, tick-tick Thailand

Posted by Anonymous on December 19, 2014 09:15


Seems to me the dominant opinion here wants to see the beds restored. I only ever go to the beach to swim, I don't hang around on the sand, but I really do hear the calls for the beds. People want sunbeds, people don't want jetskis. But the opposite is available .....

Posted by Geoff on December 19, 2014 09:32

Editor Comment:

The ''dominant opinion'' here is that Thailand's people want their beaches back. And the Thai people want their beaches preserved for future generations.


@Leif - Scandinavians are indifferent to the whole situation. They as the Editor states are normally Nature Lovers. Your theory is BS. Khao Lak is booming with Scandinavians and their are no sunbeds on the beaches - no jet skis - no vendors.

So the model can easily work with implementation.

Posted by Ciaran on December 19, 2014 10:28


I'm disabled, my parents are old, we loved the comfort at the beach. Why don't they make regulated zones for beach chairs? It's only for a few month in the high season.

Since 15 years we are visiting Thailand, spending about 15.000 ??? for 3 weeks (without flights). Next year we don't come back. Thank you Mr. Nisit.

Posted by Peter on December 19, 2014 10:35


leif martin why do you need a sunbed to sit on the beach it has nothing to do with the rays from the sun.bring your own umbrella they weigh about 2kls

Posted by bondi on December 19, 2014 10:36


I really admire the optinismus of some PW readers.
The reflex of the general exultation after a positive message is always amazing.

I can remember the scream of joy, as the DSI came to the island to combat corruption. As the taxi problem was tackled with taxi meter, reduced prices and the demolition of the disgusting huts.

You remember resolutions as the limitation of parking for tuk tuks only 5 per lot, the search for a suitable central space for taxis and rented bikes in Patong?

The ban of plastic bags at Tesco? The 5 plan of the new elected patong mayor?

The checkpoint in Kathu for trucks and buses, to make the mountain safe? There are so many more examples of any solutions that were never implemented.

And how is the situation now?
I see disappointment, bitterness, sarcasm and bad mood everywhere.

But maybe its really different this time, the implementation of a PW idea would be great and obvious.

I will start my celebration when I see results.

Posted by Georg The Viking on December 19, 2014 10:40

Editor Comment:

Far too doomy and gloomy, Georg. The disappointment and bitterness is among the doomsayers.


Reaction on your editors comment. I see no changes/voice left after PW gets "silenced". All hope / commitment lost. No more unity, no more "meeting point"

Posted by phuketgreed on December 19, 2014 10:57

Editor Comment:

Who is going to silence PW? First we've heard of it.


''Sunbeds are banned,'' he said. ''I talked to tourists. Some people want them, others don't want them. Some families with young children really need umbrellas. They can have them.

Does that mean that I can no longer take my own collapsible sunbed to the beach? Will armed militia try to confiscate it if they see me in lecto recumbit?

Posted by Anonymous on December 19, 2014 11:26


Very Good !!! All of everything off the beach at 16:30 to prevent anyone from "moving in".

Posted by Anonymous on December 19, 2014 12:31


And the proceeds should be used to buy 1 Barber beach cleaning machine which can mow and clean 10 km of beach per night to a depth of 20 cm eliminating everything from 1/4" tar balls, cigarette butts, and bigger.

Cost only $50,000 USD and they should hire a farang with experience to teach the thai staff how to properly do it and maintain the machine.

Yay !!!

Posted by Anonymous on December 19, 2014 12:38


People need shade. We can't stay hours under the sun. What we don't want it's all these jet ski and parasailing. It's dangerous, noisy and they pollute.
I stopped to go to Phuket for 2 years after 20 yrs coming once or twice a yr. I follow the news and if one day it looks good i will come back but not for now.

Posted by Anonymous on December 19, 2014 12:38


Great news. Now get anything which not propel itself away from the beaches and and as fare offshore that no swimmer get there.

Posted by Harald on December 19, 2014 13:06


Phuket will stay off my holiday list of places to visit until loungers return to the beaches. This is plain stupid, why not have designated areas for them too?

Posted by 1Tell on December 19, 2014 13:54


I can survive on a beach without a chair but not without shadow and there is still confusion with this 10% rule. The past 8 years I enjoyed the services of exactly this guy on your picture (beside the chairs) at patong beach. He and his brothers were always very friendly and never mistreated or sent away someone that didn't rent a chair. We had often fun together sometimes playing football, thais against tourists and i can't say one bad word against these people. I will miss them honestly said

Posted by fred on December 19, 2014 15:05


I like the way Governor Nisit thinks. I really hope the action plan works. I'll be back in Phuket next month. Looking forward to seeing clean sunbed free beaches.

Posted by Donald Jackso on December 19, 2014 15:16


@ ED

"Far too doomy and gloomy, Georg. The disappointment and bitterness is among the doomsayers."

Alan, however you call the reactions of the readers, they do not come from nowhere.

Of course, I would prefer to be optimistic, but everyday life here makes it a very, very difficult.

You cannot accuse the people for their reactions to certain events here. Each human being is different.

And if you call me doomy and gloomy, ok.

What's so wrong with that? Is an optimistic view a condition in order to be allowed to write here?

Posted by Georg The Viking on December 19, 2014 16:14

Editor Comment:

Gloom and doom have no value in society generally because there are always things to be positive about. I would say, Georg, and scientists recently supported the theory, that positive people live longer. There is glass half empty, glass half full . . . then there is the Phuket doomsayer who can't even see the glass. To interpret the news negatively probably only serves to shorten your life. If that's not a good enough reason to look at the positives, I don't know what is.


Been discussing With my wife and we have found out that we cancel Our trip to Phuket in February. Since we do not know how Things will be it is better for us to og somewhere else.

Posted by NorwegianFamily on December 19, 2014 17:38


I understand the concerns regarding sitting in the sun for hours with no shade, however you can bring your own umbrella or rent one from a kiosk, problem solved. Sunbeds are unnecessary, the rows upon rows were an eyesore for the beaches.

In Australia we used to turn up for a day at the beach with towels, umbrellas, and an Eski. I personally do not see the issue with the direction Phuket is trying to take.

Posted by thaiswimmer on December 19, 2014 18:09


I have been a regular visitor to Patong for many years. I look forward to sitting on a comfortable lounger under a big umbrella. Reading, enjoying food and drink brought to me by vendors who I have got to know over the years. What I don't like are jet ski's and the like. I have already booked and paid for my flight and hotel for February. If I could cancel I would.

Next time it will be Cambodia or Vietnam. Sorry Phuket because I will miss the place and the local people who look after the tourists and make a living. I worry for you and your families.

If the problem was Mafia controlled gangs take on the Mafia not the easy targets who work on the beeches.

Posted by Richard on December 19, 2014 20:03


What a find from the governor, already a lot of cancellations in the hotel business, lots of jobless and desperate people in Phuket for the next months. And he will be surprised that criminality is growing. A beach in a hot country as Thailand needs sunbeds and umbrellas, this can be regulated as good as the massage ladies.Sunbeds not but jet skis yes, I not see it essential for a beach to have jet skis, sunbeds and umbrellas yes. Phuket is becoming as a bakery without cakes. Looking forward to the return of a regular goverment who will be able to bring back prosperity to Phuket and hapiness to the tourists.

Posted by Eric on December 19, 2014 21:44

Editor Comment:

I guess the regular government will prop up the rouble and ensure the economies of the world are functioning, Eric, as well as supporting corruption at every level.


Well, i am coming back to Phuket with my husband and son. It' all about the people and culture, no sunbeds, and we buy umberellas and going to enjoy the beach and ocean. See you in two weeks!

Posted by Anonymous on December 20, 2014 04:12


Like smoking allowed again in aircon venues in Bangkok, this ban will not be enforced.

Posted by Anonymous on December 20, 2014 10:18


Editor Comment:

The ''dominant opinion'' here is that
Thailand's people want their beaches back. And the Thai people want their beaches preserved for future generations.

The problem with your comment is that hardly any Thai people (apart from the vendors) actually go to the beach - most of them can't even swim. "The dominant opinion" seems to be your own biased view - I haven't seen too many local Thais voice opinions against the sun-beds. After 25 years of going to Phuket we are off to Vietnam in March to lay on the beach on a sun-bed under an umbrella.

Posted by Bye Bye Phuket on December 20, 2014 12:44

Editor Comment:

Chances are you come from a country where beaches are well-protected and sunbeds are not allowed, but you're happy to treat beaches in developing countries differently. There's a word for that. Thai people all own the beaches and they can all see the difference that the clearances have made. A few locals and not-so-locals simply cashed in to make private profit in public space. The new Phuket will be better off without sunbeds and hedonists.


@ Alan i still hope the case against PW will be dropped & you can & will stay online. (Enjoy then first a visit to your dad). I do hope PW will continue till in length of times. You are my nr.1 new source in Thailand. Don't see my previous words as negative they are expression of worry.

Posted by phuketgreed on December 20, 2014 15:06


Most people want to stay and watch the sunset sipping a beer with a vender they like, but the vender has the leave at 4:30. Apparently you cannot get skin cancer between 4:30 & 6:30?
Thai logic?
Most people like to sit on the beach get a drink or meal nearby and use a toilet.
Try licencing the previous registered restaurant\ bar owners
(that provided toilets, shade, service & rubbish removal) to a reasonable section of land that they worked before say 10x10 meters and structures to be approved as safe & appropriate design (go outside the 10x10 zone they lose the licence immediately) and they pay 10-20% takings to council each week.
This can pay for rubbish bins, collection, toilets and other local services.
It's called taxes, licencing & regulation SIMPLE!
P.S. Ed, try packing an umbrella, chairs, Ice box in to your 20kg luggage, plus you need to hire a car or an illegal taxi to get it to the beach.
Phuket is Thailand's tourist gateway not just for locals or expats, not to mention probably only 30% of Thai's who live & work here are from Phuket.

Posted by What Tha Pha on December 20, 2014 17:10

Editor Comment:

The sun is pretty low by 4.30pm. Thais usually think that's a good time to go to the beach. People seem to be managing ok without the sunbeds and umbrellas. Sunset is better at most beaches without obstructions in the way.


Alan, you sometimes have a very simplified view.

Optimists are the people who are really nice and good, and make the world more valuable. Pessimists are gloomy doomsayer and have nothing of value to say.

My English is not good enough to judge whether gloomy doomsayer is an insult or not but it sounds very pejorative.

I agree with you, even that optimists live longer, just like married people and vegetarians, but this is because they generally maintain a healthier lifestyle. They see things positively, exercise more, drink less, have nice friends and hobbies etc.

Another example from history. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, the Jews had quite a few years time to flee to other countries.
The pessimists went and survived, the optimists believed in the good of civilization and culture, and could not imagine that it would get worse. They died in the notorious camps.

To be a pessimist has a negative connotation, but it's just a different world view, not a worse one.
I know you Aussies are hopeless otimists.

But incidentally, it is part of the personality. You can not push a button and change yourself into another person even if you will.

I do not want to start a side debate about psychologic problems, but it is part of your PW publication to show pessimists are not very welcome here.

Posted by Georg The Viking on December 20, 2014 17:45

Editor Comment:

People who don't add value are not welcome and they tend to be people who fixate on the negatives. Your views of history and of national characteristics are inappropriate and untrue.


This is my 11 season at Patong, I think it will be my last if I do not get sunbed and parasol. Know of many others who say the same.

Posted by Overskou on December 20, 2014 18:01


After 30 years coming to Patong for 5-6 weeks each winter I'm thinking I had better go elsewhere if I must endure the sun beating on me as I read my novel. And must I sit on a towel 9 hours a day too? Alternatives should have been considered. I am 63 years old.

Posted by thomas on December 20, 2014 22:13


Parasols have been around for decades on Phuket sunbeds are a newer innovation
you lived without them before some carry on like the world has ended take a carry banana lounge if you must and stop moaning.

Posted by slickmelb on December 21, 2014 00:53


I come in Patong since 15 years to have relax to the beach. How Can I relax lied down on sand and no umbrella. This year I'll come only becose already bought airline ticket( many other friends agree with me) but if they not reconsider, it will be the last time in phuket. With umbrella vendors nobody have problem and you cut it, with jetski you have big problem everyday and they remain. I hope Governors change their mind

Posted by Unclesan on December 21, 2014 02:18


I agree with the editor and the people who support the law. Aside from that, the fact the sunbed business snowballed into a corrupt source of funds for bad politicians etc.. makes the sight of them even worse.

As many folks have commented, there are plenty of world class beaches in hot climates where people get by without the umbrellas all over the beach.

Let's hope the government embraces the beaches and keeps them clean with a regular beach cleaning machine service. And perhaps a few national park style kiosks to sell necessities for convenience of visitors.

It's true some tourists might be lost, but they'll be replaced with higher quality tourists.

I hope they can move on with metered taxis and public buses. That will more than make up for tourists lost due to the umbrella corruption being eliminated.

Another suggestion would be beachside public bathrooms of the same style as those found on Sentosa Island in Singapore. They are designed to be cleaned daily with pressure cleaners and that's done every morning so they are spotless and odor free.

Also, those who feel sorry for the folks who lost their illegitimate jobs when the umbrellas were eliminated should watch as they pull up to the beach in their brand new pickup trucks maxed out with all the toys.

When the average "real" working Thai can't afford anything but a motorbike, why should beachboys be compensated so highly. It's no wonder the work ethic in Phuket has dropped to such a low standard.

The wrong people get rewarded. Same goes for all the illegitimate food carts, taxi drivers, etc. It's time those guys started having to make a business like everyone in the real world, rent or buy a place, pay taxes (not corruption money) etc. etc.

There's a giant mess to clean up and they have to start somewhere. The people who feel sorry for the illegitimate business people are being snowed in.

Those Thais make a great job of acting poor in front of tourists and the moment they leave their umbrella concession or food stall, they hop into new cars some even Benzs and laugh all the way to the bank.

It's time for everyone to wake up, things have changed a lot in the 25 years I've been here.

Posted by Anonymous on December 21, 2014 04:13

Editor Comment:

Great comment. Couldn't agree more.


It sounds very much as though the comment from Anonymous (21/12/14) might have been written by Alan the Editor!!

Posted by Bye Bye Phuket on December 21, 2014 10:45

Editor Comment:

No need for me to do that, Bye Bye Phuket/ Chris/ Aussie Tourist/ Aussie Vacationer. If I wanted to express an opinion, I would write an article, or respond to a comment. Anonymous responses don't have much credibility, even when they're sensible.


@bye bye Phuket unless the editor is the Phukets wans food critic or a Michelson star inspector be no point in anonymity umm ED your not a secret 5 star hotel inspector or something are you? shhhh

Posted by slickmelb on December 21, 2014 12:54



Could you possibly tell me what language you're writing in so I can go to Google Translation?

Posted by Sam Wilko on December 21, 2014 17:02


It is complet ridicilous to allow jetski and forbidden sunbeds and umbrellas. Dont be asthonised if tourists will go to other destinations where they can enjoy beach and sun without to have fear for skin cancel and can stay comfortabel on a sunbed.

Posted by Erik on December 27, 2014 02:23


We have been coming to phuket for 12 years and need a sunbed cant lie on hard sand .if we can't get a bed and umbrella we will go to Vietnam where we can hire these items and its a lot cheaper there

Posted by roger on December 31, 2014 19:13

Editor Comment:

Sounds good, roger.


Everyone knows that the sand is soft on the pristine beaches in Phuket, roger and ugly cheapo plastic is not needed. Have a great time in Vietnam and hope you have a happy new year.

Posted by Mac on December 31, 2014 21:34


I do not understand the logic of the matter. Patong is a pure tourist destination, there would not be anything without the tourists. patong live for tourists and die without the tourists. and the lack of logic continues in such a way that the jet ski operators with the noise and pollution problems are allowed on the beaches, but the umbrellas and sunbeds are not's amazing that the friendliest operators are removed first. why not overpriced tuk tuks and jet-ski operators who cheat and scam? Sunbed operators did a lot of work for100 baht per bay. Giving good advices, moving umbrellas and so on. And this talk about public property like beaches are? Tuk tuks are operating on the public roads and streets, with outrageous prices compared to anything. I ffeel like this was only the struck to the weakest. i have visited Patong forthe five years now and enjoyed some part of my holiday on the sunbeds with extra good service. Now that part is gone, That was one of the main reasons why I liked Patong. It is really stupid to say that sunbeds and umbrellas are something unnatural in a plain touristresort...btw Phuket wan editor...does not understand his position as editor and reporter. As an editor you can not take any opinion to anything, you have to be like above to all opinions and try to be neutral. But it is goodby to the Patong and Phuket now. Editor can sit on the beach alone :-)

Posted by Jyrki on January 2, 2015 23:12

Editor Comment:

''As an editor you can not take any opinion to anything, you have to be like above to all opinions and try to be neutral.'' That has never been the case anywhere, Jyrki. The world changes because editors choose a right cause of action from a wrong cause of action.Patong has the opportunity to become a world-class public beach, free of lotus-eating layabouts. The beach is crowded enough without sunbeds.


It must be clever to push people to vietnam or to other resorts.

Posted by Jyrki on January 3, 2015 02:48

Editor Comment:

Nobody is ''pushing'' anyone to go. PW's advice is that 2015 tourists should enjoy the New Phuket.


In many of your comments you are pushing people to the other places. have there been lack of tourists in Patong becouse of sunbeds on tourist resort beach? No. Good service on the beach is the tourist trap. The beach with notorious jet ski operators is not. As an editor you should fight against the real problems like taximafia...not for some plastic chairs on the beach? If those operators have not paid the taxes, it is the mark of bad administration and corrupted coverment. And I am laughing for thephuketwan editors ways to change the world. Your fight against the sunbeds is pathetic, focus for the real problems. If you are not stupid or corrupted you know what they are.

Posted by Jyrki on January 3, 2015 19:24

Editor Comment:

The military cleared the beaches, Jyrki, and that came as a complete surprise to us. We'd never advocated clearing the sunbeds: that appeared to us to be impossible. So if you have any kind of argument, it's with the military. Please do let us know how you go.


"action plan deserves support. For too long greed has governed the gradual destruction of Phuket's beaches" Ok the gradual destruction of the beaches is the most annoying thing in the Phuket? No. It is the taximafia which is the biggest problem... Editor wants to have patong beach to be first class beach in the world, but it will never be as you cant swin there safely. It was but now it is not. Who f***ing cares about those listings?

Posted by Jyrki on January 3, 2015 19:59


thaiswimmer, how can you compare Phuket to your home Australia, where you take everything with you to the beach, including as eski? This is a tourist resort, people do not pack these sort of things in there luggage. As for someone else's comment about sheltering under the trees, pathetic, How many trees are on the beach for all of the tourists to shade under?

Posted by Sandy Shores on January 3, 2015 23:42


I see it in kamala every day. If people want shadow they can get shadow.
Enough trees there.
And you can rent brollies everywhere.

Remains the "problem" with the sunbeds.
But to lie in the soft sand under an umbrella is not so bad too, isn't it?

Actually the beach looks better without the ugly plastic pieces, it results in a more open look, a more relaxed, unprofessionellere atmosphere.

Posted by Georg The Viking on January 4, 2015 09:34


@ Georg the Viking: please explain to me the open feeling if you can rent umbrella's everywhere.Because the space that an umbrella takes is the same as an umbrella with a sunbed underneath it.So imagine a beach full with umbrella's, and a beach full with umbrella's with a sunbed underneath. The view is gonna be exactly the same from above.

Posted by Carl on January 6, 2015 11:05


For me it looks different Carl but it is only my point of wiew.

Of course it would be better if the brollies would also disappear, but umbrellas along with plastic beds lined up in long rows I find it extremely unnatural in connection with a beach.

And please not forget that hundreds of these beds were unused and at low tide, it was nearly impossible to see a beach.

Posted by Georg The Viking on January 6, 2015 13:36


@Georg The Viking

You mean at high tide.

Posted by phonus on January 6, 2015 14:36


"please explain to me the open feeling if you can rent umbrella's "

Just look at the beaches. Even last week, at the peak of tourism and many people on the beach, it did not give a full impression at all. People are walking, talking to others. The whole beach gives a much, much friendlier atmosphere.

Posted by stevenl on January 6, 2015 17:51


i have been reading a lot about this 'no umbrella' thing it Thailand.
i have been coming to Phuket for the past 5 years, i will be there next week, because i have booked 6 months ago, but without sunbeds, that will be my last visit on the island.
if you dont like the plastic sunbeds, why dont you replace them with wooden or bamboo ones? they are more natural looking, and they will keep tourist happy.
if you stick on what you are doing, i can see half the tourism on Thailand next year! and then the thieving for survival will start.
its a shame for such a nice place!!

Posted by peter on January 6, 2015 18:17

Editor Comment:

So much knowledge without arriving, peter. Better to wait until you get here and see what you think then.


That's the problem. People are complaining about the lack of "free sand" in Kamala and Patong but for example in Karon there was no problem at all. Now the government created another problem. A lot of tourists on the entire island who are very unhappy with the situation.

Posted by Marnix on January 6, 2015 18:18

Editor Comment:

The problem is the beaches were being used for private profit. A little or a lot, it matters not.


This argument could go on forever. Right or wrong a large part of the problem is for years Phuket has been promoted by pictures of colourful chairs and brollies all lined up on beautiful beaches. As long as people have that picture in their heads they will feel disappointed when they arrive. Most websites and tourist sites still show these pictures and talk about the wonderful day lying under the umbrellas on a lounger. Until all this changes that will be the perception, and perception is 9/10 of reality. Agree or disagree the debate will not stop until there is certainty and the advertising changes, that will take a while. I would not give up on Phuket just yet, there is just too many of us that love it.

Posted by Davemc60 on January 7, 2015 05:37


Editor states "the beeches were being used for private profit".

In actual fact the beeches "are" being used for private profit. The ones left who are making the private profit are the ones who nobody seems to want.

Posted by Richard on January 7, 2015 23:11


I've been coming to karon for 9 years having no bed or umbrellas ruined my holiday last year no older tourist will come back without the beds think governor needs to rethink as closing door on tourism.but I do agree it should be controlled.most of us save all year for our wonderful relaxing holiday as much as I love our friends we have made in Thailand i want chairs umbrellas the banter from vendors the food and drink massage when I leave the beach hopefully this will change for the better in the future .

Posted by Linda on January 17, 2015 04:15


Having just spent 3 weeks at bang Tao with my family for Christmas, which we have done every year for 8 years, it was really sad to see everything at bang Tao beach gone. I normally spent the day sitting at Greenleaf and watch the sea while my kids played in the sand. As I have a spinal problem. Then in the evening watching the sunset while having dinner at lotus. While my kids danced and sang with the Philippino band. So sad that you now cannot walk on the bare beach due to building debris from the destruction of everything on the beach. From the 3rd best beach in the world 2009 to a dirty beach with hidden hazards 2015. All they needed to do was prepare an action plan and work with the local community, finalise a strategy to create a win win outcome. Instead they hired a bulldozer.

Posted by Conquestador on January 18, 2015 10:35


Visited Phuket on holiday many times
this will be my last
Tourists want sun beds and umbrellas. Those who live in cold climates are not use to fierce sun and need shade to enjoy the beach
Worst move ever. Monitor the tourist income carefully, I think you will see it plummet

Posted by Anonymous on January 30, 2015 19:40


Please wake up and smell the coffee. I spoke to a man yesterday and he is with 50 others and they have said they will not be back next year. Another couple who come here potong every year for 4 months, stayed 1 month and went home saying they will not come back unless the sun beds are back. Just crazy, thank you for making our life hard and i really feel sorry for the locals who work 15hr a day while you sit in your office making there life a living hell.

Posted by greg scrogings on February 16, 2015 18:03

Editor Comment:

You may have some self-interest involved in that first comment, greg. Clearly, you think rip-offs and scams committed on public space by greedy people are ok. I'd rather have my concept of right and wrong than yours, thanks.By the way, I spend more time at more beaches than just about anyone you really know.


Wonderful news, I went to a Phuket beach recently and it was like going back 20 yrs in time to when Phuket was a beautiful place. I think it's a good idea if the hoardes of sun bed loungers go and ruin a paradise somewhere else. But for those who enjoy the natural beauty and need an umbrella then council run kiosks is a good thing.

Posted by Anonymous on February 24, 2015 19:33


We have been staying at Le Meridien Phuket beach resort for the past15 years. The hotel management go out of their way to ensure the beach and the furniture (umbrellas, tables and sunbeds) on the beach remain in perfect order and condition. This action should be enforced by local authorities on all public beaches. We look forward to our annual BEACH holiday, however without the beach luxuries of furniture we will not be returning.

Posted by Anonymous on March 23, 2015 18:07


Patong is a tourist destination - not an Eco-Resort. Cater to the needs of the tourist, do it strategically, do it legally and do it with style. Identify the demographic and understand what they want. Yes, you can have loungers, umbrellas and vendors if it's licenced, managed and operated openly and transparently. There is such a thing as too much - the zoning makes sense so do it.
It shouldn't be difficult.

Posted by Nick on March 24, 2015 09:24

Editor Comment:

Compromise always leads to corruption. Cleared of layabouts, jet-skis and parasailers, Patong has the potential to be one of the world's best public beaches, as was shown immediately after the clearances. Patong will be just fine without the hedonism of some tourists and the greed of the vendors.


For this reason alone I will not be returning to Phuket, we stay in luxury hotels such as Amanpuri, Banyan Tree, Meridien and if we cannot sit on the beach, we ll find another resort, not wanting to sit on the grass (meridien have put sunbeds on the basketball court) sadly we have been coming to Phuket for 30 years but will not return.
understand the touts got out of hand but if I am paying $500 - $1000 a night, this is not acceptable. Goodbye Phuket, there are nicer resorts anyway

Posted by Anonymous on March 25, 2015 20:47


The banning of sunbeds on Patong beach took my family by surprise this January when we visited again for about the 6th time. What a retrograde step. We could have purchased some from the guy who is allowed to supply umbrellas, for some ridiculous price and then we would have to carry them around all day, to lunch, back to the beach and then to the hotel - then we would have to find a buyer for them at the end of the holiday. I'm minded to look for other places to go as we love the beach but this has really disappointed us. Dreamed up unwisely by some officials who did not think through the unintended consequences of their actions - the actual outcome is that it has put us off from coming again. What a crying shame. Very poor show chaps!

Posted by A Tourist on April 2, 2015 20:01


We do need some sun beds not 1000s of them.when sun beds return we will return.

Posted by Gordon on June 28, 2015 18:59

Editor Comment:

The problem is, Gordon, how many sunbeds is enough? People say the beaches look much better without them.

Wednesday March 29, 2023
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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