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Beach chairs are banned on Phuket: But who is going to tell the tourists?

Phuket Governor Bans Beach Chairs

Tuesday, February 17, 2015
PHUKET: Piling confusion onto chaos, Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwong told the holiday island's media this afternoon that all beach chairs remain banned at all Phuket beaches.

Tourists are not free to bring their own beach chairs. All chairs are banned at Phuket's beaches.

However, tourists are free to bring their own beach umbrellas. They may keep their umbrellas furled anywhere on any Phuket beach, if they wish to lie on a mat in the sunshine.

But if the tourist wishes to unfurl his or her umbrella, then it must only be done in the 10 percent of the particular Phuket beach set aside for umbrellas to be unfurled.

So now, all is plain.

Tourists may not bring chairs of any kind to any Phuket beach. But they may bring their own umbrellas, although these may only be unfurled in the 10 percent of the beaches allocated for unfurled umbrellas.

This area, incidentally, is where the BYO umbrella tourists are most likely to face the nasty looks of Phuket's newly-approved umbrella beach hirers.

The crackdown on beach chairs on all Phuket beaches will come soon, the governor intimated. But first, a public relations campaign is to be commenced to give Phuket's resorts the responsibility of explaining the ban on beach chairs to all tourists.

So it is the resort managers who will have to tell the tourists that they may not bring chairs to Phuket beaches, and that if they wish to bring umbrellas, they may only be unfurled in the 10 percent allocated for beach umbrellas.

Governor Nisit made his announcement at a Phuket City resort this afternoon with Phuket's police commander on one side and a senior Royal Thai Navy officer on the other side.

Just who will enforce the new Phuket beach edicts remains to be seen.

It was the governor's idea to compromise with the military's complete clearance of commercialism at all Phuket beaches by setting up 10 percent of space at each of Phuket's beaches where tourists can hire umbrellas and mats, as they once could across all of Phuket's beaches.

Sunbeds remain banned, but with the price of hiring a mat and an umbrella at Patong in the 10 percent zone similar to what it was to hire a sunbed and an umbrella, it may only be a matter of time before someone suggests: ''Hey, let's bring back the sunbeds.''

The whole idea about the military clearing the beaches of Phuket last year appeared to be about getting rid of the commercialism and keeping the tourists.

The latest strategy appears to be about getting rid of the tourists and keeping the commercialism.

It's plain that the police do not want to be the ones who are forced to order tourists not to use the beach chairs they have brought to the beach.

There is still no clarity on whether the beach chairs that the jet-ski operators sit on and the massage nail applicators sit on are also banned.

The police have told the governor that all chairs must be banned because it's not possible for them to tell whether a beach chair has been illegally hired or whether the tourist has brought their own chair.

The likely outcome of the governor's policy of banning all beach chairs and only allowing BYO umbrellas to be unfurled in the 10 percent zone is that fewer tourists from Europe and Australia will return to Phuket from now on.

Governor Nisit has said that this is just an experiment to see what works and it could quickly be replaced by another experiment. But most tourists do not come to Phuket to be part of experiments.

They come to Phuket to relax at the beaches, free from hassles.

They are not keen to be told where they can furl their umbrellas and where they can unfurl their umbrellas, or to not be able to bring a beach chair if they wish to bring a beach chair.

Just how long it will take the authorities to see Phuket's beaches from the perspective of the tourists, not from the perspective of the umbrella and mat hirers, remains to be seen.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


It is clear that the governor is not promoting tourism and hates the tourists who pay a part of his salary!
Where are the elected local politicians to protect the prosperity of Phuket people, Anchalee and co disapeared.
Time for Phuket people to stand up by themself and let hear there voice to the military and the ncpo that this can not go on like that. Time to replace this mickey mouse gang.
They should pamper the tourists that they come back to Phuket in these difficult economic times,no instead they chase them away. It feels like racism against tourists. Mr Prayuth were you not promoting prosperity for all Thais?

Posted by eric on February 17, 2015 21:46


Well, I knew there was going to be another nugget of wisdom bestowed upon the beach. I am somewhat surprised that the Governor is not embarrassed to stand up and deliver these foolish edicts. So here we have it, you can bring your own umbrella, but you can only use it on 10% of the beach, in direct competition with the few remaining vendors. That should work great. And for the rest of the 90% of the beach that isn't overrun with stenching jetskis and their attendant thugs, everyone is free to lay out there and fry. Boy-oh-boy-oh-boy.

Posted by Ed Sanders on February 17, 2015 22:17


Tic tac tic tac, time is now running out fast for the Thai authorities to stop experimenting with the most important asset that Phuket has, its so-called quality tourists.

Our guests from Europe, mostly middle-aged, elderly or families with children who used to come here every year and spend big money will NOT return again.

They need and WANT sunbeds and umbrellas on the beaches or they will simply have to look for another place to spend their holiday and money for the coming years.

Posted by PhuketFriendly on February 17, 2015 22:29


Ok thats it no more money to phuket.

Posted by Hooky on February 17, 2015 22:43


What more can be said. Great article and well written, and hit the nail squarely on the head. This is all about getting the vendors back on the beach and earning their money. Sod the tourists, we are the least of their concerns. Who cares what we want......

Posted by Amazing Thailand on February 17, 2015 22:46


i was surin hotel they have sitting cushions very conformable, yes rich people have no problem when they go on the beach they have chairs parasols etc , discrimination !!! i would pay the couvernor 14 days lay down in the sand with his wife !!in patong soon we have chairs or sun beds and loud yet skis are banned or perhaps patongs major !!!! that would be the good way that the people know about what they speak

Posted by DONALDO on February 17, 2015 22:58


Hey, tomorrow is another day, another changed decision. If anything it makes interesting reading and even more interesting for those going to the beach anticipating what to expect.
Nobody has recommended electric fences yet to keep all those lotophagist, leather skinned seaside dwelling creatures herded up into the correct pens. A few electric cattle prods would also help keep these rogue creatures from straying outside their designated areas and under control.

Posted by Manowar on February 17, 2015 23:03


I have to agree... this is becoming a huge joke in the eyes of the international community.

Posted by J on February 17, 2015 23:07


Yes, very clear.

Tourists not welcome. Leave all your valuables at the airport and get out !

Very soon you will have a beach full of vendors but no tourists. I can't wait to see the blank looks when everyone is dumbfounded how could this have happened.

Posted by Herbert on February 17, 2015 23:28


Time for Phuket people to stand by themselves?
Nothing will change, not today not tomorrow.
The beginning of the the end started years ago.
Phuket is an island that sinking and NO one can stop it.
so get into the liferaft while you can and get off this island while you can.....

Posted by nicky on February 18, 2015 00:01


The governor is right : if chairs were allowed very quickly the sand would be pre-empted like before by businesses. Use your towels, businesses would not pre-empt the sand with towels. If 10% is allocated to seniors who need more comfort this is ok for me. When I was a kid in Europe bringing chairs on the beaches was not seen respectful of others, like today nude breast or loud music

Posted by Natural beach for me on February 18, 2015 00:04


I advise anyone who see's the police removing tourists chairs and umbrellas to take a video of the incident and post it on facebook and youtube. Let these videos go out to the international community so tourists know just how restricted Phukets beaches are before they decide to come here. Maybe when phuket is losing millions of baht a year from loss of tourism, someone might get employed who actually knows what he is doing! It will take Phuket years to get over this madness and stop being considered a laughing stock to the rest of the world

Posted by Mr Wolf on February 18, 2015 00:12


Is the furling and unfurling area near the lovely jet ski's?
Who would want to sit on a mat and start all the hassle of unfurling when noisy jet ski's and chairs that they sit on are near the furling zone.

Posted by Tbs on February 18, 2015 00:50


The beach looks far worse with the BYO chairs on it than it did when the hired lounges were there.

Posted by Anonymous on February 18, 2015 02:03


... and how rights to use those 10% square meters will be allocated, whether on First In First Right to Use basis, for "end customers" except reservation of space by gear renters? I expect to see Muay Thai performance sans tickets right on the beach then!

Posted by Sue on February 18, 2015 05:09


ive had a buisness here for 6 years im all legal pay my tax every month pay who ever has to be paid. yet my wife went to pick the kids up from school. which meant i didnt have any thai staff on the premises. tourist police shown up took me to the police station. gave me a lecture about how im gonna go court in the morning be treated like a criminal. finger prints etc then i will be deported and not see my 2 children again. unless i pay them 50000 there and then. which like a mug i did but when they put it on you like they did i paid it. sometings got be done about this treament. ive got the policemans name but if i report what happens then. would apreciate some advice

Posted by resident on February 18, 2015 05:27

Editor Comment:

Can you name and identify the officers? What evidence do you have of the shakedown? Are there witnesses? Take your case to the Phuket Police Commander, regardless. Anyone who pays a bribe is likely to be asked to pay again. Copy your embassy on all documents.


BEWARE: The deckchair Police are out and about... don't get caught unfolding your chairs.... WHAT A DISGRACE!!

Posted by DG on February 18, 2015 05:46


The people who need the beach chairs are mostly older people and they do not use the jet ski and para sailer. They only block the beach.Is that so hard to understand?

Posted by steve on February 18, 2015 08:05


Brilliant. There's a lot more to come on this subject... The Governor should admit his 10% project isn't working (most can see that), and move on to a new (better) idea.

Posted by Duncan on February 18, 2015 08:47


People booking holidays want to know what is the status-quo before parting with their money. If I was Thai I would be embarrassed with this 'leadership'.

Posted by geoff on February 18, 2015 08:53


At least the Governor of a international holiday island admit that his staff, who should do the explaning,is not able to do so because of lack of language skills. Same as with thai tour guides, police officers. Any young shop assistant speaks better English than a senior government officer on Phuket.

Posted by Kurt on February 18, 2015 08:53


One word:SCANDALOUS !!!!!
Phuket is the first province to ban tourists to put their chairs on the beach or they want.
Beautiful negative publicity.
We certainly notify our European newspapers.

Posted by Manu on February 18, 2015 09:19


If only the governor could spend the same energy and determination to ban the jet skis and tuk tuks....who cares about a few private chairs on the beaches!!

Posted by jean-paul patrick on February 18, 2015 10:15


People are now expected to fry then in equatorial sun (Phuket is 7 Degrees North) on 90% of the beaches. I cannot see tourist numbers increasing with this idea, the world is getting smaller all the time with more airlines. I have less and less sympathy for Phuket's economic woes when things like this happen. Has anyone asked the tourists what they prefer?

Posted by Feisty Farang on February 18, 2015 10:22


After 10 years vacationing in Thailand I will not be back. I here a lot of good things about Vietnam.

Posted by Joshua on February 18, 2015 10:40


It's all well and good the Governor passing the buck, sorry responsibility, to the resorts to tell their guests. That's too late for many. He should be telling TAT to issue Press Releases to all international travel agencies and operators to inform travellers who are blissfully unaware of what is important to many before they book.
Will he instruct the resorts to tell tourists arriving in the wet season about the dangers of swimming and the meaning of red flags? Now that is a good idea that PW and others have been advocating for many years.

Posted by Alan on February 18, 2015 11:29


Let's hope hotel staff will take the opportunity to inform tourists of the many safety issues at Phuket's beaches.

All Thai institutions have a magic 'hat' used for decision making. All adhoc ideas are thrown into a hat. During stressful times when all about them are losing their heads the powers that be consult the 'hat' for guidance.

Posted by gee on February 18, 2015 12:22


Tourists, who are not in Phuket now, should keep in mind, that there is a tradition of bombastic messages from senior government officials here. There is also a tradition of these messages are rarely implemented.

Years back it was announced, that jet-skis should be faded out. Last year it was forbidden to rent motorcycles from the beach road and tuk-tuks were not allowed to park more on the same road.

Now it is no chairs, no smoking, eating, etc. on the beach. People who are here can see that none of these bans ever have been implemented, so relax, everything is like it uses to be here.

Posted by Sherlock on February 18, 2015 14:34


But I hope sunglasses, towels and swim-shorts won't be banned soon too. No Problem for me to lay down in the sands. But banning umbrellas is just completly nuts.

Posted by Domi K. on February 18, 2015 15:16


@ resident
So you got caught for "working without a workpermit". Don't sit in an office on your own without having one, it is pretty stupid. Got nothing to do with the beaches though.

Posted by FS on February 18, 2015 16:45


Today I HAVE EATEN on the beach, taking a risk to be arrested and fined, consuming 2 yogurts and a pack of chips. I wish to bring some better food with me, bug hesitated that better food would mean harsher punishment.

I was able to finish my meal before anyone from Eating Police noticed, so I was lucky.

Posted by Sue on February 18, 2015 17:24


@ Resident why not go to the Damrongtham Center in Phuket Town with your wife and lodge a complaint. It seems this was a blatant case of extortion- the threat of deportation is often made but not followed through- people panic and pay up ( drink drivers I know have had similar experiences paying large sums of money instead of going to court and getting a B2k fine).

If they find you guilty of working without a permit the fine will be minimal in comparison to the amount extorted. Even better than having the tourist cop's name would be to have CCTV of the incident. Let the wife speak for you and you may get more joy.

Posted by Mister Ree on February 18, 2015 17:37


Hi Sue - congrats! I hear that adventure holidays are all the rage these days!

Posted by San Wilko on February 18, 2015 18:28


Will they be banning large brimmed hats ( for shade) next ?

Posted by mike on February 18, 2015 23:31


I just cancelled my yearly month-long trip to Phuket. I am not going to fly to the other side of the world and spend big money there with this FOOLISHNESS going on. I wish this was not the reality. Koh Chang, here I come.

Posted by Nobama on February 19, 2015 01:26


So many chats written about this, and just one comment from ED, it had nothing to do with the thing going on, chairs, food etc. ED, I think you have a flu and fever, not feeling well.?

Posted by kjekje on February 19, 2015 02:22


THE END for Phuket, only Chines people coming for buss trip al day long.

Posted by Bjorn Ronningen on February 19, 2015 05:56


im the residant whos had my buisness for 6 years who had a visit from the tourist police i do have a valid work permit valid visa and all my licsenses for my buisnes they were not interested just wanted money by using threats towards me?

Posted by Anonymous on February 19, 2015 15:38



Say Hi then to Koh Chang taxi entrepreneurs, they are even better masters of their arts, than fellow ones in Phuket.

Also, I heard Koh Chang beaches cleanup started already.

Posted by Sue on February 19, 2015 15:41


Overlooked in all of this discussion is the fact that the beaches of Phuket are not more attractive since the ban on beach chairs.
The opposite is true - the beaches are a cluttered mess and look like a yard sale.
Walking the beach is now almost impossible as one has to zig-zag past peoples' belongings strewn everywhere.
Do not believe me ?
Just look at the accompanying photographs to this article.

Posted by graham on February 20, 2015 09:38

Editor Comment:

The beaches were at their best soon after the clearances, before the ''10 percent'' rule. Patong was perfect for a few days during the Asian Beach Games when jet-skis were not operating. The large umbrellas are ugly. The smaller, personal umbrellas don't stand so tall and therefore don't block the view.


i look forward to the ban on fat men wearing speedos.. this would be a positive step forward in removing the unsightly from the beaches of phuket..

Posted by another steve on February 20, 2015 10:51

Friday December 1, 2023
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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