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The brollies are back but without sunbeds at Phuket's Patong beach today

They're Back! Phuket Umbrellas Unfurl at Patong Beach: Photo Special

Monday, January 12, 2015
PHUKET: Umbrellas have returned to the central most popular section of Phuket's famous Patong beach, where a mat and a large brolly now costs a tourist 200 baht.

Tourists are now banned from bringing their own umbrellas to the central area opposite the Soi Bangla walking street. Large umbrellas and mats can be hired from a kiosk.

The latest twist comes in a saga that began with the military clearing all of Phuket's popular west coast beaches and declaring that the days of private enterprise in public spaces were over.

Observers also reckon there are more vendors selling food, drink and souvenir items on the central section of Patong beach than ever before.

The umbrellas and mats returned last week. A clear explanation as to what the rules are has yet to emerge.

''Once, when visitors could sit or lie down on sunbeds, the visiting vendors caused no problems,'' a Patong resident said.

''Now, because the mats are on the sand, you're likely to have sand kicked in your face.''

Motorcycle and car hirers have returned to the prime parking spots along the Patong beach road in greater numbers, according to residents.

Jet-skis still occupy the prime spots in the water.

The latest compromise on the beach leaves visitors to Phuket and Patong able to come to only one conclusion: whatever changes take place, expect the tourists to pay more and to be more confused.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Wow - Before bring your own, now you cannot, wow this is so surprising! Who ever thought all would be back to same same, but different. Totally not surprised.

Posted by Feisty Farang on January 12, 2015 15:24

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so before you got 2 sun beds and a brolly for 200b.. Now you get a floormat and brolly..

Thaiflation..

Posted by Live lie on January 12, 2015 15:27

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I called 3 times last week to the tourist police, no response!

Jet skis park all over the southern end of PAtong beach

Posted by paul on January 12, 2015 15:36

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Ha Ha Ha - and loudly so in the vacationers and simply beach goers.
They[stake-holders in the money flow from M&B rentals] have tricked well all of them!
200 THB - 2X rental cost, but on lower capital investment .

And don't bring your own M&B - you will be arrested, indicted and tried after 2 month on this inexcusable offence.

Posted by Sue on January 12, 2015 15:38

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I am sorry Ed

Not matter how much you say things can changer for the better in Thailand, this image will keep coming back to me and many other people on how Thailand will always be talked about in a negative way.

No matter what spin you try and cast for the optimistic, this is just another example of the small minds and big pockets of the people in charge.

Live with it or leave, really is a simple equation.

Posted by ohno on January 12, 2015 15:47

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We have been coming to Patong for the last 13 years, and we're most disappointed last year to not be able to sun bathe on the beach, we are seniors and cannot manage to sit on the sand, please bring back the sun beds and umbrellas.

Posted by Violet Heather on January 12, 2015 15:53

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Does this come as a surprise to anyone?

Posted by Sherlock on January 12, 2015 16:02

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not only the beach !!!!! the prices from the golf in phuket are 3 times more high than bangkok or hua hin
yesterday the president from tat give speech opening from laguna golf phuket will be soon the third best accommodation for golf in asia !!!!yes you can speak like that when you not have too pay for green fees soon the golfers will not come anymore too phuket because more expensive than world champion courses !!!!golfers are not crazy there is already 30% down on green fees this is only the beginning !!!!

Posted by donaldo on January 12, 2015 16:18

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It becomes worse and worse. Public Beaches back to the people, yes???? Actually it is a NO! Coz now sudden the public is not allowed to bring a own umbrella.I thought the beaches were given back to the people? A mat and umbrella for 200 thb??? Before a lounger + umbrella for 100 thb. It seems the beach vendore went for a quiet 6 month training course: .. How can I cheat better..
Shame on Mayor and Council, well, it is mostly still the old bunch what is in charge.

Posted by Kurt on January 12, 2015 16:21

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@Violet so are the rest of us that live here and other tourists meant to have the eyesore all year so you can heav your 10 day vacation and are too weak or too lazy or both to carry an umbrella and matt. The least you should suggest is 50/50 natural area. Phuket is renowned for it's beaches not white plastic chairs! Why is it the country with the largest coastline of any country in the world which is also a developed G20 country does without sunbeds quite happily - Australia. I mean even seniors can carry an umbrella and mat! Why is it illegal to take your own umbrella I was told the beaches are for everyone. Now I am really confused are they for the Patong gangs, glad I don't live there, hate the place, seedy and stinky.

Posted by Feisty Farang on January 12, 2015 16:25

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That is where we arrive after 6 months of interictions. All that was done is useless except to raise prices on the beach. One wonders if it have not been specially ???
All discussions for or against n 'have been for nothing. The tourist asks chairs and parasols and the authorities must bend or lose tourists.
There is only the jeskis who do what they want in the last 6 months!
Incredible the authority that they have.

Posted by Anonymous on January 12, 2015 16:28

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Fantastic... Now the only thing we have to wait for are the sunbeds, which will be back sooner or later, and then we are back at May 21st 2014... I see no reason why the sunbeds would not return, because they occupy the same place as a mat. It might be a bit more to rent them now, because the vendors have to catch up with the losses, but that will be the least of the problems for the beach users. Comfort is what they are looking for, instead a burned skin, as you can see in the picture.@ Sherlock: I think that the only surprised person(s) is ( or are ) the editor(s) of PhuketWan.

Posted by Carl on January 12, 2015 16:57

Editor Comment:

Why would you think that, Carl? And why would you also think that the episode is over? This is a long-running serial. Change is inevitable.

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Ed, I think all those you called doomsayers are allowed to call you naive.

Posted by Sascha on January 12, 2015 17:03

Editor Comment:

They can call me whatever they wish, Sascha. But you might be naive to consider that this is the end of the story.

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I remember they said only poor vendors would be eligible for such concessions in future. On the patch of sand alone in your main photo, there are about 20 umbrella sets. 20 x 200baht is 4000 baht a day for that bit of sand alone. 120000baht per month, and up. It was never really going away for good - was it?

Posted by phonus balonus on January 12, 2015 18:52

Editor Comment:

Not without willpower and proper enforcement.

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Good job Thai authorities...you are killing this place so quickly...

Posted by sky on January 12, 2015 18:55

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In regards to my earlier article Australia is only just over 200 years old and is a G20 country! Enough said, Thank you Britain.

Posted by Feisty Farang on January 12, 2015 20:03

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So now we know who runs Patong .
So sad to see this but it would be interesting to know how much money goes to the local government and how much goes to the Mafia !!!

Posted by Tony Kenny on January 12, 2015 20:04

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Wasn't it exactly this what I wrote some weeks ago ? They come back, the only difference will be the price is doubled. The same happened with taxis, tuk tuk's etc as well, the card's will be shuffled again and everything will be where it was last year only more expensive. Yeah yeah you don't have to be a prophete to know this and no doomsayer either.

Posted by fred on January 12, 2015 20:14

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Editor Comment:

They can call me whatever they wish, Sascha. But you might be naive to consider that this is the end of the story.

Of course it is not the end! Sunbeds back soon....

Posted by Sascha on January 12, 2015 20:28

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In a while everybody can afford to go to the remaining beach clubs will be cheaper soon than a Patong brolly

Posted by Khun Philippe on January 12, 2015 20:57

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Do we know who owns the kiosks?

Posted by Richard on January 12, 2015 21:25

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Restaurants are popping up like mushrooms at Layan, with loungers and umbrellas, too. Nice to have a place to go for a relaxing lunch on the beach other that the overpriced, over-loud , over-height beach club at the entrance to the marine park

Posted by The Night Mare on January 12, 2015 21:44

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@Khun Phulippe

Prices going up there too, what cost 1000THB a year ago, now costs 2000THB++ per bed...

However, true, can be redeemed in full against F&B onsite.

Posted by Sue on January 12, 2015 21:46

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There is so much that I could say but what's the point.
Bring back the Army

Posted by Tbs on January 12, 2015 21:59

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Look at the larger issue in regards to the beach. A sustainable waste management system is the real issue. Who will want to sit on the beach at all if the water is polluted. We have all read of the "black " polluted water seeping from the island into the sea. Tackle that problem and you will have the wonderful beaches you dream of. Sunbeds and umbrellas are a red herring.

Posted by Vegas on January 12, 2015 22:17

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Well, it happened a couple of weeks later than most of us expected, but inevitably they are back

As Sascha quite rightly says - the Ed has been niave in his beliefs that things will change for the better. It's now much much worse than before the clear out in May

Rental cars and bikes taking all the parking
Meter Taxi fares higher
Taxis and tuktuks blocking more parking areas
Price of mats and umbrella have doubled
More vendors than ever before

So yes, change is still happening - it gets worse and worse every day

Anyone want to buy my restaurant so I can leave ??

Posted by Amazing Thailand on January 12, 2015 22:42

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Life is a compromise, unless you live on an island..

Posted by farang888 on January 12, 2015 23:15

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What a rubbish. Forbid anybody bring umbrella to a beach.. this i want see in wriying.. and i will bring my own there.. and let them try make a problem.. i will give them a hell

Posted by Tommy s on January 13, 2015 04:28

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Segment on the Australian ABC's PM program last night stating that umbrellas are no longer allowed to be taken to Phuket's beaches.

Posted by Anonymous on January 13, 2015 05:17

Editor Comment:

Not true. There is no overall Phuket Beach Authority so rules vary from beach to beach . . . and sometimes day to day.

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agree with vegas

Posted by surf starved katoey on January 13, 2015 06:50

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The beach rules are made by the beach mafia ed, always have been and always will, money is a powerful thing in Asia, Phuket wont change, neither will Thailand, like it or lump it thats how it is, the only change is the money now go,s into different pockets, army v police.

Posted by coxo on January 13, 2015 07:03

Editor Comment:

Change is inevitable. Money is a powerful thing everywhere.

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All what was done by the military from last year disappeared! Same situation as before, tuk tuks, jet skis, vendors....all in place. Same same but different, more expensive!

Posted by jean-paul patrick on January 13, 2015 12:14

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"Franky V": wrote this article in another link on PW but I think it is still relevant:-

With all these different 'trials' at different beaches, surely a simple sensible approach is all that is needed.
In many beaches around the world a zoning structure, if operated correctly works.
Let's use Surin as an example. The beach needs to be split into 15 equal size blocks with pathways in-between. each block is to be given its own different colour (and number to aid the colour blind tourist). On arriving at the beach, the visitor first reports to the Beach Zone Colour Co-ordinator (BZCC) and is allocated a random colour (with courtesy wristband of same colour) where they then sit - with or without their own umbrella. Each coloured zone has beach vendors allocated to it, and they wear matching coloured shirts and hats to avoid unfair competition. Once in the zone the beach goer can only get service from the correct coloured attendant. Then, to avoid one colour 'monopolising' the beach, every 30 minutes an air raid siren blares out, and a tannoy voice message, in multiple language format, announces that each zone must be vacated. The beach goer then returns to the BZCC centre and shows the colour they have just had, and is then allocated a different colour - thus providing the beach vendors an equal share of the spoils. This continues throughout the day until 4.30pm when the BZCC staff go home. Another office, called the Beach Zone Colour Co-Ordination Redemption Centre then (BZCCRC) opens. The beach goer can hand in their wristbands and receive a free ice-cream.
Simple yet effective.

Posted by Farang Tourist on January 13, 2015 14:45

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@ Ed: Change is inevitable... Yep, changes are happening right now as we speak. When you enter the road near the muslim cemetery in Bang Tao, and go to the beach.) People that are familiar with this area will remember the smell of rotten garbage bags at the end...) Guess what... The plastic sunbeds are back, in full sight. Changes are happening Ed. Just not in the directions that you dream about.

Posted by Carl on January 13, 2015 15:43

Editor Comment:

I've never specified that all change will be for the good, Carl, but only misanthropes and doomsayers imagine all change will be for the worse.

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just go to lai pang or layang beach.there are over 300 sunbeds for 100 baht each and restaurants all over the place.

Posted by beach lover on January 13, 2015 18:57

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If we go back in time I want the wooden pre tsunami sunbeds back. just kidding

Posted by Khun Philippe on January 13, 2015 19:31

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(moderated)

Posted by Rich on January 13, 2015 23:37

Editor Comment:

Unless you have something constructive to say that adds value, your views won't be published. Obsessions and petty point-scoring don't count.

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With the new arrangement, a new split has been worked out.

Posted by Anonymous on January 14, 2015 09:26

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I just find the whole situation sad and depressing. Thailand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, but turned to trash by greed and corruption. I understand it's run by Thai people and if we dont like it, then we are welcome to leave. I just find it sad that it has come to this.

Posted by Amazing Thailand on January 14, 2015 14:57

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My wife & I have stayed in Patong every year for the last 7 years, for 3 weeks at a time. We were really disappointed with our 2014 visit and won't be going back this year because of this nonsense. The tourists that spend the money on your island want to sit on sun loungers, not the sand. The service provided by beach vendors was great in the past. Sort it out Phuket!

Posted by Tony on January 22, 2015 13:09

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So sad, very, very, sad. I wont be back because not that I can not get a beach lounger but because the jet ski's are still there and that is just a tiny bit of why I wont be back.

Posted by Leigh on January 26, 2015 20:24

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"Does this come as a surprise to anyone?"

Yes, to the editor.

Posted by Sir Burr on January 27, 2015 11:23

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we won't be back until the chairs and umbrellas are. Been visiting for more than 15years.Will now go to Vietnam. Patongs lose

Posted by Anonymous on January 29, 2015 19:53

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It was great without sunbeds. But the apparent corruption continues to rule the Paying beaches, and the money
Hogs once again have their vendors creating a cluttered and unwelcoming beach. Make firm rules and let the military enforce them firmly. The money people will still do well and I might be more willing to return and spend my money.

Posted by Bill on February 6, 2015 10:27

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What is the Thai word for Don Quichote? That is what the editor is with his fight against the umbrellas.

Posted by Paul on February 6, 2015 17:23

Editor Comment:

It wasn't my idea, Paul. Someone in the military is your 'Don Q.' But we support the concept now that we've seen how much the ban improves Phuket's beaches and Phuket's future in tourism. Who wouldn't?

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Read what you wrote earlier editor. Now the umbrellas are back and next year the chairs. Now the umbrellas are far from the sea, next year they will be next to the water. Chairs, umbrellas, taxi(fare)s, the future will be like the last. Whether you like it or not. If you hate umbrellas etc. that much it is better not to live in Thailand (land of the smile, land of the free).

Posted by Paul on February 7, 2015 17:48

Editor Comment:

Guesswork, guesswork, guesswork, Paul. We don't make predictions. We'll leave that to fortune tellers and seers.

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Less than 2 months ago you called people who wrote that most tourists wanted umbrellas complete idiots. Why? Because in a newspaper 80% (EIGHTY PERCENT) was against the umbrellas! Problems with your memory editor?

Posted by Paul on February 8, 2015 17:29

Editor Comment:

Paul, this particular episode isn't over yet. My advice would be to wait until it becomes clear that a final settlement is in place. Phuket doesn't need sunbeds. Most people don't want sunbeds, or jet-skis.

Please send me the paragraph where I called people ''complete idiots.'' My memory is fine. Yours could be a problem.

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Most people don't want sunbeds?

When you really think that most people agree with you here in Phuket you and your mind have a serious problem.

When was the last time that you were on a Phuket beach? It is better for you to stay in a country where they agree with you. In Phuket most people want sunbeds.

Why do you think the umbrellas returned? But the people are not satisfied yet. They want more, they want sunbeds.

Whether you like or not, the sunbeds will RETURN.

Posted by Paul on February 9, 2015 17:57

Editor Comment:

Umbrellas have returned for one reason: the insatiable greed of the illegal operators who abused public space to make private profit. The lotus-eating layabouts are their puppets.

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I am a senior and I do not feel comfortable to sit on the sand. Please bring back the sun beds and umbrellas.

Posted by Anonymous on May 13, 2015 16:07

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this year we Will go elswhere. 8 weekend, we Will comeback back Wien you have Sun beds on the beachagain....

Posted by Nr and mrs THORSSON denmark on June 17, 2015 01:43

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@n feisty farang
biggest coastline in the world ?
Not even in the top 30.

Posted by FS on June 17, 2015 08:30

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Please let us seniors have chairs bring them back.

Posted by avachair on August 17, 2015 12:55

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You're right who interfere with these sun beds and umbrellas at with small children without a shadow dabble in the sand cool I am a tourist from Switzerland and I commended friend phuket! Take care of tourists and their cases resolved quickly and without prejudice to tourists

Posted by Zuza on October 15, 2015 05:16

Editor Comment:

No sign of the return of sunbeds but a limited number of umbrellas and mats are available, Zuza.

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We have been to beautiful Patong beach over 23 times and just love it.2things that I have missed is no lounges on the beach so we are unable to enjoy it as we old and getting down on a mat and getting sand kicked in our face not good..the other is to many Indians in Patong I feel that they are taking jobs from the Thai people and Patong is turning into little India not good as they are very rude if you don't buy from them ..sorry just my opinion xx

Posted by Christine on September 7, 2016 07:37


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