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Taken away and not coming back . . . Patong sunbeds leave the beach

Rumors of a Return of Phuket Sunbeds Are Scotched By Beach Authorities

Friday, October 17, 2014
PHUKET: Rumors that Phuket's sunbeds are coming back any day now in time for the tourist high season are not true, say the people in charge of the holiday island's beaches.

Phuket's three district chiefs were told yesterday by Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwong that the island's administrators must continue to implement the policy imposed by the National Council for Peace and Order, which has decreed that there are to be no more sunbeds on beaches.

Several of the island's honorary consuls confirmed today that complaints continue to come about the ban on commercial activities on Phuket beaches, especially from elderly visitors who can't imagine themselves sitting on beach mats instead of sunbeds.

Cherng Talay Mayor Ma-Ann Samran, who oversees Surin, Laypang and Bang Tao beaches, said today that he believed people would try to dodge the ban repeatedly as the high season begins from November 1.

''I have been told that some people are already putting out mats and umbrellas at one beach,'' he said. ''But that's illegal, too.''

Beachgoers are entitled to bring their own equipment, it just has to go away with them when they leave.

Mayor Ma-ann, along with Patong Mayor Chalermlak Kebsub, has many residents still unhappy that their jobs have disappeared with the sunbeds.

''It's not unusual to have complaints,'' Mayor Chalermlak said. ''Residents will say 'I have only ever had one job, and that was working with sunbeds.'''

Efforts by all the mayors are being made to find alternative jobs for the displaced masseuses and vendors, said Rawai Mayor Aroon Solos, who oversees Nai Harn beach.

He said that pleas to the resorts in his district and other districts had not been particularly successful.

Many of the displaced workers like their old lifestyle and are reluctant to have too many bosses.

In some parts of Phuket, the search continues to find public areas where the vendors can work - but that won't be on Phuket's beaches.

Although most beachgoers appear to have adapted rapidly and are taking great delight in the new, wide beach vistas, in many cases newly freed from illegal restaurants and beach clubs, the crunch will come with the high season.

There will be far more people on the beaches. Some will need to be told gently why their favorite sunbed is not available.

And unless the municipal councils or the resorts have a plan in place, new security measures will be needed to replace the vendors who at least looked after swimmers' possessions.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


many residents still unhappy that their jobs have disappeared


Please call things by proper names: their rent-generating businesses disappeared.

Posted by Sue on October 17, 2014 16:30


Sorry to tell you Phuketwan, but most tourists i come in contact with do want a sun bed and umbrella.
This is a case of overkill by the authorities. The wide beaches of Patong and Karon could easily accommodate a couple of rows of sun beds. If properly regulated by the local councils, i can't see an issue with the policy of keeping the beaches au naturelle.
This regime is being just a tad dictatorial.
Listen to to customers. They Do want a sun bed, and they DO want tuk tuk s and taxis to LOWER their prices.

Posted by jimbo34 on October 17, 2014 17:01

Editor Comment:

If one grain of sand on a Phuket beach belongs to the public then every grain of sand on that beach belongs to the public. This is not about being just a little bit pregnant but about saving Thailand's beaches for Thais, not for tourists - or at least, not for the lotus-eating layabouts. There is no way a scheme that puts a few sunbeds on any beach can work if authorities then have to decide who gets them and who doesn't. That would be just like deciding, as authorities have done in the past, which people deserve to make money from the beaches that everybody owns. Democracy at work, jimbo. The beaches belong to every Thai. The beaches belong to every tourist.

gravatar response to your response to Jimbo....Then why doesn't the same rules apply to jet skis and para sailers?

Posted by zig on October 17, 2014 17:18

Editor Comment:

The same rule should apply. They're on the water and shouldn't be allowed to work off the beach, in my view, if they are allowed to work at all. The parasailers especially clearly make use of the beach for commercial purposes. Picking up and dropping off large numbers of tourists at beaches is also questionable.


Adhoc restaurants continue to offer delicious, affordable food, cooked, served and consumed on public land.

Posted by gee on October 17, 2014 17:38


With the junta's agreement in principle, the local authority could tender out a fixed pitch or 2 or 3, for a stated fixed number of beds (of specified materials and dimensions) to the highest bidder, and allow no further beds. Both the authority and paying operator would be quick to pounce on any unauthorised operator who would try to set up without permission. Renters (tourists) would have to accept the system is "first come first served" and not all could be accommodated. I don't see how that's not workable, and would go a long way to meeting aspirations of both operators and tourists if kept to a sensible number. The authorities would have to be firm in their intentions and permissions If your retort is that this could not be policed and monitored properly, then there is no hope for emmpty beaches in the long run in any event.

Posted by phonus balonus on October 17, 2014 17:47

Editor Comment:

Fixed number of beds to the highest bidder? First come, first served? Yeah, right. Totally unfair and undemocratic. You guys, like the beach vendors, never get past the money.


"Picking up and dropping off large numbers of tourists at beaches is also questionable."

By the same token then longtail and speedboat pickups should also be banned at beaches, not just jetskis.

Posted by phonus balonus on October 17, 2014 17:50

Editor Comment:

I guess that's why the jet-skis are still with us.


"Adhoc restaurants continue to offer delicious, affordable food, cooked, served and consumed on public land."

Where? Please provide some tasty examples

Posted by phonus balonus on October 17, 2014 17:51


so Ed..have you as a reporter ever asked the same question to those in charge?

Posted by zig on October 17, 2014 17:53

Editor Comment:

And who might that be, zig?


"Totally unfair and undemocratic".

I don't agree, but alright, have a ballot then for a larger amount of smaller "packages" of sunbeds. People will have to accept that it's regulated and no longer a "free-for-all"

Posted by phonus balonus on October 17, 2014 18:19

Editor Comment:

An elite few with sunbeds? Wrong planet, pb.


Just hope tourist will go rampage when they can't get what a beach destination like Phuket is expected to deliver: Service and comfort next to the sea !

Posted by Resident on October 17, 2014 18:31

Editor Comment:

You mean, the old, unsustainable Phuket. Environmentally compatible destinations offer no such thing. This is a beach, not poolside.


I guess Paradise beach restaurant will do a roaring trade this year then - they have moved their sunbeds back from the beach (which now looks beautiful again, and have them packed in tight rows between their buildings and the beach. I wouldnt want to be there like a sardine but there are beds and a beach - people will just have to go there i guess.

Posted by Amazing Thailand on October 17, 2014 19:30


I hope the hospitals are well prepared for the huge numbers of tourists who will not realize until too late that they have had too much sun. I had sunstroke as a teenager once and it was no joke, lost two days of my life completely and was ill for a week. Also the police better be ready to break up fights over places under the trees. I'm not joking I see both these things happening as real possibilities.....we shall see. Meanwhile the only difference around Kata/Karon is that the tuk tuk stands don't have TV so the drivers are looking even more unfriendly than before !(Hard to imagine I know). This high season could put Phuket tourism back 20 years - fine by me, I preferred how it was 30 years ago.

Posted by Honesto on October 17, 2014 19:49

Editor Comment:

More people wear hats and sunscreen these days, Honesto. If there were just a few sunbeds, there would certainly be fights. Under the trees is not so desirable. Petty thefts and people who have no idea why the sunbeds have gone will be the key issues.


Wasn't it that after tsunami there was compete ban on all sun beds in Phuket, as well as Phang Nga?

In Khao Lak I think some material numbers of sunbeds on a beach started to appear appr.from 2009 and dramatically increased during last years.

I stayed on 2007 XMas in Khao Lak Merlin at Khao Lak beach that is at very South of Khao Lak, and the hotel was full of German speaking tourists, zero-English speakers, who all were located on sunbeds on the grass field between the shore and the hotel. When I asked the hotel to make a bed on the beach they told me they are prohibited to put sunbeds on the beach, so if I wish then I should move it there myself, that what I did.

In 2008 LeMeridien Khao Lak in November still had no sunbeds on PakNam beach in Northern Khao Lak.
Yes, at nearby White Sand Beach there were sunbeds on the beach , but very few.

In 2009 one beach front hotel on a deserted strip of KhukKhak beach of Northern Khao Lak had no sun beds at all, and provided beach bags and mats for guests.

At those times there were very few sunbeds in the beach at Bang Niang beach too.

And all the customers were more or less happy.

Later on sunbeds sprung up as mushrooms after the rain, and every year it become only worse.

Pakweeb beach (White Sand beach) in 2012 already had quite a lot of sunbeds, but in 2014 it went down to the stare of Patong or Surin beach at high tide.

The hotel at Khuk Khak beach, obviously after a propert short way away ex Sofitel Blue Lagoon finally settled to operate as JW Mariott and put a field-full of contemporary sunbeds on the beach. And it grown from 1 row to currently 3 rows, however when local council had some events on a beach they reduced it to a single picture-like row.

With those observations I wish to tell that customers in general were happy even without sunbeds , and yes those who went to Khao Lak, ok, they are not customers of luxury sector, as there few properties that fit, but still those are "quality tourists" the Kingdom is aspiring for.
Although I personally remember that Khao Lak Merlin as one of the worst hotels I ever stayed in Thailand in terms of service, it was full and its guests were apparently satisfied and happy on the sunbeds put on the grass.

So if someone for some reason looking for "affordable comfort" they can switch to Hurghada for winter and for Antalya for summer, if definitely will be cheaper and with many sunbeds and umbrellas, hope they will enjoy it there.

Posted by Sue on October 17, 2014 20:25

Editor Comment:

Yes. All or nothing makes more sense.


Government (either local or national) really need to start installing free to use umbrella's on the beaches otherwise they will become ghost towns. It's just to hot and people burn to easy to have no shade at all on most beaches. Chairs (paid or unpaid) should not be allowed.

Posted by Lashay on October 17, 2014 22:58


I thinck I read it wrong Thai beaches are for Thai people and not for tourisme . My god!!!! Our beaches in Europ are for everybody. And Ed we as europeen tourisme with our white skin we can't protect our skin with a sunhead and suncream . I would like to see the % of people who come every year to Phucket who will say goodbay Phuket and Thailand because they don't like anymore tourisme. After the tsunami they pray for tourisme !!!!!! Now ???????

Posted by malena on October 18, 2014 04:31

Editor Comment:

''The beaches belong to every Thai. The beaches belong to every tourist.''
The beaches are as appealing now as they were in the 1980s, although perhaps not quite as white. Tourists came then because there was nothing on the beaches. There are many now who will come for the same reason.


Yesterday in Loma Park autside the resturant the over rent aut capert on the beach for 150 bath/day on the public area!

Posted by El marinero on October 18, 2014 08:51


Without wishing to enter into a debate on employment for locals, may I ask just one question? Please name any world famous beaches that provide commercially available sunloungers? Certainly nothing in Australia, Hawaii or Brazil. Phuket was a dream destination long before sunloungers appeared on the beaches.

Posted by Tom on October 18, 2014 10:57


hope they stick to there guns and keep the beaches clear.allow a few,then the stand over tactics start all over again.look up arguably the best beaches in the world in nsw australia and there are no sunbeds yet bondi gets thousands of tourists there on the beach

Posted by brian on October 18, 2014 11:10


For YEARS Nai Harn beach had just a small section at the entrance providing a handful of chairs and a couple of masseuses together with just one drink seller, no food. Who allowed the entire beach to be filled to the brim with loungers and drinks/food outlets? Give an inch, take a mile. Greed has spoiled it for everyone. Som nom na. Oh BTW, out of work/ I can't find a regular gardener/housekeeper for any amount of money. Both these jobs require WORK.

Posted by jonty on October 18, 2014 12:53


So why do the likes of some beach clubs, such as maybe some who's adverts are on this website still use public land charging people for bean bags, as do some hotels. This is commercial use for public land. Rules have to be enforced for everyone.

Posted by John Holmes on October 18, 2014 13:34

Editor Comment:

If you can find an advertisement for a beach club on this site, please let us know. As the beach mayors have said, tell them if you think you have spotted an offender. Or contact the Damrungtam complaints office at Phuket Provincial Hall. Or go direct to the military at the Cape Panwa Navy base.


Don't worry about the tourists and their views. We are only "lotus-eating layabouts." How to win friends and influence people!

Posted by Alan on October 18, 2014 15:45

Editor Comment:

Money not buying you love, Alan? Cash not conquering all? How nice that not everything can be bought.


The hotels can have a lucritive new buisness hireing out umbrellas and bannana lounges returned that day or night whats so hard about it.

Posted by slickmelb on October 18, 2014 17:59


If the tourists want the sunbeds so much why have there been no protests in Australia, which like Thailand has a tourist industry that thrives on beach goers, and as far as I am aware has no sunbeds on any beach anywhere in Australia for rent.

Posted by Arthur on October 18, 2014 20:23


What are you talking about? I stay in Thailand for nearly half of the year with the love of my wife of 45 years to enjoy the pensions we receive to enjoy spending in a country we love. To be branded as "lotus eating layabouts" is a low and ignorant blow even for you! And I've never paid to hire a lounger or umbrella on any beach in Thailand or Phuket and don't intend doing so. Their removal though leaves plenty of sand for you to keep your head buried in if you continue to believe that their removal will have no detrimental effect on tourism and the tourists, like us, you so freely disparage will be replaced by pure nature lovers like yourself. I respect and support your campaign on behalf of the Rohingya and other groups persecuted in Thailand and we do our utmost with other friends in Khao Lak to raise funds for their support. So I hope that at least this cash will help to conquer something so I have no idea what your comment "How nice that not everything can be bought" has any bearing on me or anything I other comments have posted but I have no doubt that your reply will be just as insulting and personal as previous ones.

Posted by Alan on October 18, 2014 20:46

Editor Comment:

There is nothing personal in any of my responses, Alan. ''Lotus-eating layabouts'' seems to me to be reasonably accurate, given that people who use the sunbeds are doted upon and only have to wave a small pinkie in the air to have a beach person come running. The concept is from a bygone age. With every square inch taken at some beaches by mercenaries or hedonists, something had to give. The Thai government decided it wanted the beaches back, for the good of the country, so every Thai and every tourist could enjoy them without having to fight their way to the water's edge over sunbronzed layabouts and their obedient servants, who were, you should be aware by now, robbing their fellow citizens and depriving them of their birthright. If you can't see that . . . fffft. If you have never paid for a sunbed, what's your problem? The 21st century may just be passing you by. The decision has been made in principle, without consideration for losses, and the Thai government should be applauded for that. Let's hope a few more decisions are made on principle.


The editor wanted us to believe that only very few tourists wanted sunbeds. Reality is opposite, most tourists want them. A few beachgoers don't care.

Posted by Kas on October 19, 2014 14:42

Editor Comment:

Please send the results of your survey, Kas. A newspaper poll here involving thousands of responses showed just the opposite.


Every day one can see trucks loaded with Myanmar workers going to work on Phuket's building sites, work that Thai;s apparently don't want to do. If the beach vendors joined them they too would have money to provide for their families. There is plenty of work here in Phuket it's just that after years of illegal easy takings the beach people don't want to get their hands dirty.

Posted by seht1912 on October 19, 2014 19:13


Today I read fanstastic promotion of Phuket on g+ where it appeared under promoted posts as "hot':

"Phuket, Thailand - a tropical island vacation awaits
Chartered a boat cruise, soak in the crystal clear waters surrounding the many island outcrops around Phuket, paraglide or rent a water scooter and you are off to an amazing start to your holiday vacation."

And then people who believe that these lines are true coming to Phuket, eager the list.
May be it was paid by jet-ski operators..?

Posted by Sue on October 20, 2014 00:22


I'm looking forward to mid Feb, when I will pass another 3 weeks in Kata.
We already know, that we won't be able to swim together anymore, as one of us has to keep an eye on our belongings. We plan to get up at 7 o'clock ish. That leaves us time enough to get a decent breakfast and be at the beach early enough to get one of the few shadowy and sandy places underneath the trees. I admit in our mid fifties we need some 10 days to get accustomed to the heat and sunshine, pussies as we are. We don't fear drowning because of too much food at breakfast. Better a filled belly than leaving the beach at 1 or 2pm to get something to eat, when the breakfast would have been a preferably light one.
Who needs a fight at 2 or 3pm after lunch, just to get his well earned shadow corner back, which was rightful conquered in the early morning hours?
But if I think about it properly, I guess there are enough Kids between 3 and 10 I might kick off their blankets, or some other elder people in their eighties, which I could easily convince with my some 17 stone arguments.
As for the icy drinks, be it water or these delicious mango or banana shakes: my doctor always told me, that cold drinks in 30-35 outside temperature are very unhealthfull.
Believe me or not, my wife and I are desperatly looking forward to refresh ourselves after lunch with boiling mineral water.
Thank god or gouvernor or junta, that we now can use the night for a recreative kip instead of useless spending money in bars. We would need all of our concentration, to survey our stuff on the beach - no time so sleep during the day.
Nevertheless we will talk to other tourist and make our own judgement whether there are some 30, 50 or 90% of them who would want sunloungers and or umbrellas.
For my gusto there are too many guys here, who try to make me believe that a beach without shadow is good four tourism.
I'll see what will be going on in Feb/March and surely will be back in 2016.
I would take bets, that there will be a reduction of tourists of at least 20-30% from 2015 to 2016.

But who am I to say that???

Posted by Bregoulou on October 20, 2014 23:11


Read the posts on this article and talk to the tourists. That's the real world editor.

Posted by Kas on October 21, 2014 13:59

Editor Comment:

Sunbeds are not in the real world, Kas.


I totally agree with everything that Alan has said. He is spot on.
I have never known an attitude to tourists like the editor has. I LOVE Thailand but will not be going again unless I know there will be the choice of beach restaurants the way it was. I stay at hotels with sunbeds so that isn't a problem for me. I can hear you rejoicing editor at one less visitor.

Posted by Forestred on October 23, 2014 00:41

Editor Comment:

I don't take pleasure in people not visiting Phuket but it does surprise me that so many of those visitors come for a sunbed and slavish attention, and nothing else. Those for whom a sunbed is so significant seem to me to be from an era that is fast disappearing, and rightly so.


I think it is a shame that there are no more sunbeds. My husband and I come to Patong 3 times a year and this may be the last time due to this fact. This is why we enjoy relaxing in Patong, a beach chair, umbrella and drinks served while we relax and all our belongings are safe. Please bring some back. Keep maybe 100m clear of chairs, then have 100m of chairs, this will then cater for everyone and the locals will get some jobs back. What harm were they doing?? Very Very sad!!

Posted by Fay on October 23, 2014 15:07


Editor, you shouldn't tar everyone with the same brush saying that people on sunbeds want lavish attention. Most of us just want somewhere comfortable to sit and read a book or watch the world go by.This is something that tourists want anywhere in the world but it doesn't mean that they do nothing else.We have hired a car, done boat trips etc and explored Thailand. Tourists do these things to escape from the real world of work and every day living back home and then it is back to reality until the next holiday. To be classed as Lotus eating layabouts is very rude and insulting. The Thais that I have grown to love over the last 6 years of visiting once or twice a year have always been so lovely and polite, that is why I find your replies so out of character.

Posted by Forestred on October 23, 2014 16:54

Editor Comment:

It's a descriptive phrase that is difficult to disprove. the ''layabouts'' part is accurate. Perhaps there are some hedonists among the lotus eaters.


I'm not quite sure what the intentions of this editor (whoever he or she might be). With the banishment of sun lounges and umbrellas and thus with drinks and food, there is not really a touristic future for the island. In a tabloid newspaper there's an article with the Headline: "Phuket's top brass declare beaches ready for high season".
This nearly made me lough, if the matter wouldn't be so serious.
I wonder who'll clean the beaches and environment in the high season. When I recap correctly from the last years, there's been a very clean Kata beach, only on the last couple of hundred meters towards the surf club at the corner, where all the Thais were picnicing there always was a lot of garbage and nobody cared to clean there. This will probably become normality on all the beaches in future and thus more tourists will think twice, if they would come back again.
So Mr. or Mrs. Editor: you can continue insulting tourists who've decided to refill their tanks after a years work and beg for bagpackers who have no problems with sand pure and less comfort than the usual tourist who spends money.
Eventually Phuket will become more interesting again, when the prices for accomodation, be it hotels or guesthouses, food, drinks and a lot more will drop, because of lack of tourists. If it this what the Editor and a few others like to have: you're welcome

Posted by Bregoulou on October 23, 2014 22:39

Editor Comment:

It's always ''the Thais'' who leave the litter, never the tourists. Of course. the tourists have people to pick up after them. Odd how none of the people who come to Phuket to loll on the sunbeds have only become interested in other problems now. What a pity the sunbeds did not disappear after the tsunami in 2004. Phuket could already be a different destination.


We object to the removal of the sunbeds from beaches. It is so important to us that we will reconsider our holiday destination. we have done a multiple trips a year since 2009.

Posted by Paul on October 24, 2014 12:13

Editor Comment:

This is your third message in a row, Paul. You may object all your like. This is not about money, but about the principle of public ownership of beaches. If you happen to come from a country where the beaches belong to the public and are carefully protected, it would be unreasonable of you to urge Thais to treat their beaches differently.


" If you happen to come from a country where the beaches belong to the public and are carefully protected, it would be unreasonable of you to urge Thais to treat their beaches differently."
Mr. or Mrs. Editor: obviously you're out of arguments. I don't know about Paul, but I do come from a country where the environement is protected and I've been to a lot of places all over Europe where this is the case too. But who tells you that protecting environment and sun beds with umbrellas can't go together. I've never seen a problem in that. One must be blind and/or imo too green to focus so much on "the beach is public". Other countries have "public beaches" as well, and they don't fuss around like you guys are doing now.
Anyway, investigations about our next holidays in Vietnam or Myanmar have already started.

Posted by Bregoulou on October 24, 2014 14:18

Editor Comment:

The problem with sunbeds is that the money goes into the pockets of the people who own the sunbeds. In some cases, millions of baht have allegedly been extorted from resorts. At some beaches, private individuals were in the process of claiming beaches for themselves, erecting whatever made them money. None of it goes into beach protection. If you came to Phuket for the sunbeds and fail to see the sense in Thailand saving its beaches, enjoy yourself in Vietnam and Burma. And forgive me from having a chuckle, please.


Extortion from resorts? The deal you are talking about is the one with Centara Grand Hotel in Karon. Two years ago and even last year the Centara was very pleased with the deal. Why didn't they go tho the police 2 years ago?

Posted by Kas on October 24, 2014 15:06

Editor Comment:

You'd need to ask them that. Probably, with taxi drivers at the only entrance to the property and the beach chair vendors and the taxi drivers the best of friends, for very good reasons. Go ask them.


If the beach is public, the government can rent out beach chairs in a proper way so the money can go to the Thai people instead to the local Maffia,might be a good idea,because the current situation isn't good for Phuket as a tourist destination,I am a traveller and I love visiting Thailand with my wife and daughter but a lot of Tourists will think twice before coming.We do love you and support you so we will be there for x mas

Posted by khunphilip on October 25, 2014 00:46

Editor Comment:

It's not about money or even the economy but about protecting and preserving the beaches for generations to come. Please do think twice if you are not in favor of the beaches being kept as natural as possible for all tourists and Thais to enjoy.


Thailand has 100s of miles with beaches with no chairs.Nature lovers can walk on the beach for weeks with out seeing a umbrella.
Having umbrellas on a few beaches is a great and needed service to tourist
with white white skin so they do not burn to a crisp..Hats and sunscreen just do not cut it..

Try getting Thai women to go to a beach
with out shade,Guess what they wont go.

Phuket beach survived a tsunami I am
sure Phuket will survive with beach
chairs and umbrellas just fine...

Posted by bob on October 26, 2014 03:58

Editor Comment:

The wooden sunbeds were killers during the tsunami, another reason to keep them off the beaches. When Australia puts sunbeds on Bondi and the California coast disappears under umbrellas, Thailand should reconsider. No country that values its natural heritage allows privateers to profit and take over its beaches. The tourists? They will adapt.


Today Sunday. Just arrived from Kamala beach. I saw one vendors hire out sunbeds. Hi had about 10 pcs under a tree on the beach.
At Surin there was 5 yetskis on the beach.

Posted by sunlover on October 26, 2014 12:06


Removing the sunbeds is a very effective mean, to perform The Thai Hotels Association wish about reducing the amount of tourists on Phuket.

Everybody who works in the tourism industry here, knows the consequenses!

If sombody should be in doubt, then just look at the comments of this article.

And arguing that sunbeds damage the environment is simply nonsense.

Posted by Sherlock on October 26, 2014 14:35

Editor Comment:

Privateers taking over the beaches is what damages the environment. It was most evident at Surin but perhaps you think it's not going to happen at more than one beach . . . and the decision was made, refreshingly, on principle. Your only interest is self-interest. M-o-n-e-y.


Why shouldn't Australia and California not reconsider? Many European countries value their natural heritage and allow privateers to profit from the beaches.

Posted by Kas on October 26, 2014 18:59

Editor Comment:

Fortunately that will be up to the Californians and the Australians. Europeans, it seems, are not so forward thinking, if what you say is true.


Sad to see that so many tourists now these days look lost when they arrive at the beach. They were so used to the comforts of the sun beds, the drinks, and the shade. ( please don't say there is plenty of shade under the trees ) I have seen people just standing on Patong beach, looking around, as if they are on another planet, and then leaving disappointed that they don't have that sun bed and umbrella anymore. Many people asked me already, as i come in contact with them through my job, what happened, and how sad it is to find out that all is gone, except the jet ski's and para sailing. Maybe, just maybe, the ones that say that it is so much better now, are the ones that do not use the beach like tourists do. I personally thought it was an extra bit of comfort for people that come from countries where they don't have sun beds and umbrellas on the beach. It gave so many people a reason to come to Phuket. Otherwise, they could just go to their own beaches, bake in the sun, or bring their own umbrella and drinks. I know that Thailand has a lot more to offer than just a beach. But if sitting on a towel in the sand is the only choice they have here, i hope that not too many people will turn their back and look for other places. By the way, when i see the parasailing going on very strong, next to the police box in patong, i think they won't go anywhere, cause they don't feel threatened at all.

Posted by carl on October 31, 2014 14:30


I went to surin beach tuesday for lunch it was a stunning day and the beach was full of tourists enjoying themselves and no one had a beach chair or umbrella i have lived here now for nearly 8 years and the beach looked as it did when i first arrived... please keep them off the beaches....

Posted by Anonymous on October 31, 2014 15:52


Eight years ago there were already many chairs on the beach. I'm afraid that there is something wrong with your memory. But editor will be happy with your message Anonymous. In a poll 80% was in favor of the cleaning. Here much more then 20% of the messages are in favor of the return of the sunbeds.

Posted by Kas on October 31, 2014 18:51

Editor Comment:

Kas, the comments on Phuketwan on the sunbeds issue come mostly from people who want their sunbeds, or those who fear the loss of the sunbeds will cost them business. The people who don't want the sunbeds have won. Don't expect them to comment. This is human nature - and self-interest.


Was the question of the poll: is removal of sunbeds a good idea?

No, the question of the poll was:
"Should beach clubs be allowed to use at least some parts of the beach as they promote the island's image as a high-end, world-class tourist destination?"

Posted by Sten on November 2, 2014 17:18

Editor Comment:

There were byo umbrellas and a couple of byo jet-skis in the water at Surin beach today. Most people are very adaptable.


Despite living on Australia's Gold Coast my wife and I have been visiting Phuket for the last 16 years. We like the people, food and beaches. We work hard and enjoy the ability to chill out on the beach using the beach chairs and umbrella. Have done all the touristy things previously. Now no more. That's fine to give the beaches back to the Thai people who from what I see do not usually use them anyway until the sun goes down anyway because its too hot without shade. Phuket had a unique character which is fast disappearing and its sad. My friends who are in Patong right now say everyone is very sad because business is so bad. Like many others I will be in Patong over the xmas/new year period for 3 weeks but unless there is some relaxation of the sunbeds then it will probably be the end of a lovely 16 year relationship. I feel very sorry for all the Thai people who will be affected by the tourist downturn and just feel that a sensible council should see the opportunity here and manage it properly to make all parties happy. Empty beaches, however beautiful, still need to be maintained.

Posted by Craig Gold Coast on November 4, 2014 09:07

Editor Comment:

Correct me if I am wrong, Craig, but isn't it true that the high-rise buildings provide the beach at Surfer's Paradise with plenty of unwanted shade in the early afternoon? Examples of poor planning are easy to find everywhere. The beaches in Australia and Thailand are for the public. That means commerce is banned. The sunbeds should never have been allowed. The people who made money from them were ripping off their fellow citizens. At some beaches, restaurants and beach clubs were taking over the sands. It's never possible to ''make all parties happy'' because compromises don't work.


All reasonable people know that life is one big compromise. Best compromise? nobody happy:-).

Posted by Heike on November 4, 2014 18:33


As a family with small children we can not go to the public beach anymore
We cant protect our child from the sun
We buy own umbrella but the police say that we cant use
How is that possible
What goverment care more about jet ski vendors then family with children

Posted by Thomas Tagheim on November 6, 2014 09:58

Editor Comment:

The police are unlikely to say that because it's not true. You are allowed to bring your own sunbed and umbrella.


Your comment, I don't take pleasure in people not visiting Phuket but it does surprise me that so many of those visitors come for a sunbed and slavish attention, and nothing else.

I think the Slaves you are talking about are getting paid for the job they do. Have you ever been to a restaurant or a bar to get served?

Posted by Bernt on November 6, 2014 10:15

Editor Comment:

There's a difference between a public beach and a private restaurant. Does it need to be explained?


Useless, to argue with the Editor, Bernt.
He is always right, an all tourists on the beach who need shadow for their physical health are lotus-eating layabouts. He doesn't care about Little children or old People. He even cannot read properly, because otherwise he would have understand what these words mean:
"We buy own umbrella but the police say that we cant use", or why would he reply: The police are unlikely to say that because it's not true"?
Editor: it is in this thread and in another one, where Thomas writes, that the Police told him so. How can you be so ignorant? Although, that confirms my opinion about your attitude.

Posted by Bregoulou on November 6, 2014 18:24

Editor Comment:

As I said, B, readers can tell the serious comments from the non-serious ones.


Please dont question what i say about what the police told us about umbrellas
I have no reason to lie
What i say on this site it was what really happen
I only want people to know how the new goverment treat the tourist
They really not care for small children it seams jet ski vendors is more important

Posted by Thomas Tagheim on November 7, 2014 01:07

Editor Comment:

Do you mean the policeman at Patong beach who greets all the jet-ski operators as pals and helps out with extra threats when tourists are ripped off? Or do you mean the officers at Kathu Police Station?


What does it matter if a policeman from Patong or Kathu have told Mr Thomas to not use the umbrella on the beach?

Posted by Bernt on November 7, 2014 09:55

Editor Comment:

Because one would be official and the other would not.


Craig Gold Coast:
Tourism is changed if you haven't noticed yet. There is a new potential lovely nation that has invaded Thailand and Phuket. The number is growing since "The Philippines" and "Vietnam" are not welcoming them with open arms any longer.

They call them land-eaters! Gosh what that could mean?

This Asian nation unlike westerners are not used to sleep on the beach or go for swimming. They rather take some pictures and then head back to shade.
They are spending a lot of money in Thailand. So there is no need "to be worried for all Thai people".

Drive around Phuket and you will find them inside any restaurants, supermarkets or food & fruit markets. Visit a Big C / Lotus or Tops supermarket and see how they are plundering the food from the shelves.

Not only that. They are regular visitors to those ladyboy shows, animal shows or whatever shows with buffet involved.

The time i was staying in a hotel, i could barely find any breakfast at 8.30 am.
These early birds are d*** fast to eat all the food and take whatever they can back with themselves to their rooms.

You may find the beaches are clean and empty but don't worry, restaurants are full, tour agents are overloaded and road traffic and congestion is a killer!

Posted by Sam on November 7, 2014 16:42


Although the weather has not been very inviting to the beach the last days, I was very surprised when I discovered there where no sunbeds at Patong Beach. OK maybe the weather or maybe the season I thought. Then I googled and found out why. Had I known, I wouldnt have gone here if I knew and consider to cut my stay short.Maybe its just me, but I had the impression tourism was a main source of income for this country. Maybe Thais are so rich now they dont need to bother about tourists. The can keep the "beaches for themselves". (Ha, ha).

By my standards I cannot quite see how the relatively small amounts to pay for a chair, a parasol and some drinks an maybe some food on the beach ("public" as the editor is so much insisting) can make the vendors so insanely rich. Small money in my frame of reference. But extremely irritating for tourist.

Anyway, I like Thailand and has laid down a lot of money here over the years. But it will be some time until next. Guess there will have to be some change in this country before I come back. And I will advise people I know to go some other country.

Posted by Bob on November 10, 2014 12:28


You are not the only one Bob. All the people I speak are reconsidering. Right now they do not now which country (instead of Thailand) they will choose for their next holiday (Cambodja, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Vietnam).

Posted by Philippe on November 12, 2014 19:56


I still think it is very unfair not to allow lounger and umbrellas on beach. An Umbrella is a absolute necessity have they not heard of skin cancer ? I will not ever be coming back to Phuket after 12 years. Shame poor ignorant people who bring in laws like this.

Posted by M S on November 13, 2014 15:14


Last year we were in Karon and rented 2 chairs and 1 big umbrella for 200 Baht. Now we can only rent small umbrellas on Karon beach for 100 Baht per umbrella.

Posted by Alex on November 13, 2014 19:42


Hallo!! What happen with the meating nov 12 about sunbeds and unbrellas??

Posted by sunlover on November 14, 2014 14:23


I just wont to say, me and my friends, how come since meany years, if the sunbeds and umbrellas, not come back.... WE DON'T COME BACK to Patong next year ....we will look to go to a another country...maybe Vietnam ? That's very simple...we can spend or money in an other country...!!!

Posted by Christine on December 28, 2014 23:56


We have been going to Thailand from Canada for 2 months every year since the year of the tsunami and loving it. We are very upset about no lounging chairs as we are seniors and need back support . We cannot sit on mats on the beach. This will be our last year if we can't rent lounging chairs.Can a decision not be made for the high season to keep the tourists?

Posted by Anonymous on January 1, 2015 05:45

Editor Comment:

A change of heart this high season is unlikely. The price that comes with reclaiming Phuket's beaches as public space is the banning of sunbeds.


I'm here from South Devon UK. Dubbed the English Rivera. The beaches are packed every summer.
There's no sunbeds but you take your own folding chair and umbrella or small popup beach tent for the children.
We have one ice cream hut on each beach and cafe shops within a short distance.
When going to the beach we are each responsibe for our own valuables, we don't expect them to be looked after by anyone else.
At the end of the day the beach is cleared and every so often a tractor and rake clear any debris.
When we go on holiday why should we expect sunbeds and drinks at the click of a finger in other countries?
We won't spoil our own beaches, We should be an example, and help other countries look after their heritage.
Don't be selfish crying because you don't have a sun lounger or someone to babysit your "valuables" or bring you drinks.
Make your own provisions and you can enjoy the beaches, like everyone else.

Posted by Morky on January 1, 2015 14:03

Editor Comment:

Morky, you're the (male or female) Man.



Why should Thai beaches be treated in the same way as the English do? There is no reason. Englang is England and Thailand is Thailand.

Except the editor and a few other people most beacgoers like the sunbeds and umbrellas VERY MUCH. If you don't like a sunbed you are free to sit in the sand.

Taking your own chair is a nice option if you have a car. I understand that you want Hertz, Avis etc earn a bit more money. What about the parking space? What a nice view, all those cars.

Posted by Martijn on January 1, 2015 18:58


I've been coming to Phuket yearly since 1984.I'm inclined to go elsewhere this year if it's true that I must sit on a towel from 9am until 6pm every day for 6 weeks, reading my books under the burning sun. Ask a dermatologist / opthomolgist , pediatric

Posted by thomas on January 2, 2015 09:09

Editor Comment:

If you are on the beach for six weeks every day from 9am to 6pm, spending just a couple of hours there will probably be an improvement. I do hope you are not one of those shrivelled brown people who look like almonds gone bad at the end of their stay. There are plenty of pleasant alternative places to read books.


No-I swim about an hour a day,eat in nearby restaurants and read under an umbrella the rest of the time. I put lotion on to guard against reflected rays. My point is :must I now be exposed to 10 or so hours of direct sun every day for 6 weeks??!! I am looking to other destinations although I love Phuket.

Posted by thomas on January 2, 2015 10:49



You don't need a car to carry a lightweight beach chair, and yes if Thailand don't want to destroy their beautiful beaches they will have to treat them with more respect, and taking a leaf out of our book would be a start.

When visitors only see the beaches for the short duration of their holiday, it seems the overall appearance and deterioration of the beach is of no consequence to them. But when its your home country, and your legacy it has to be preserved before its too late.
So perhaps its best those who don't care go elsewhere now.

There's lots of advice here on how to sit comfortably on Patong beach without a lounger.

Posted by Morky on January 2, 2015 11:11



Short period? I am here every year for 6 (six) months. All the tourists who come here for a long period (months) prefer the beach with sunbeds and umbrellas.

Did you already find a solution for the parkingproblem?

By the way. Today I saw someone renting out sunbeds. If you and the editor like ik or not when you return next year the plastic sunbeds and big umbrellas will be back.

Posted by Martijn on January 2, 2015 18:54

Editor Comment:

''All the tourists who come here for a long period (months) prefer the beach with sunbeds and umbrellas.'' If you've interviewed every one of the long-stay tourists, that's great. But I reckon you're extrapolating to push your own bias, Martijn.



You don't talk for all the long term "tourist"
I've been coming here many years and not just for a couple of weeks. Lots of my friends live on the island, And some are Foreigner's, not one of them support the sunbeds and are indeed happy they are gone.
And to all those who are throwing thier toys out the pram because you can't have a sunlounger its embarrassing, move on go somewhere else. Thailand will still be here for those of us who appreciate it.


Posted by Morky on January 2, 2015 19:31


Have been coming to phuket for 14 years but won't be coming back until the beach beds and umbrellas are reinstalled

Posted by Anonymous on May 26, 2015 00:45


I've been in Phuket for my winter holidays for 7 years in line. Last 2 years me and my friends (a group of 10) moved to Seychelles to search for more natural beaches.

This year we come back to Phuket (we are here right now) after reading about the "beach cleaning", and what a fantastic surprise was to see the beaches in their natural beauty!

We will come back for sure next years, and again as the situation will be the same.

I think that who beleaves that future of turism can be a plastic sunbed, really is not understanding anything about what new generations are looking for... Long live the NATURE!

(Marco from Italy)

Posted by Marco on January 3, 2016 01:58

Sunday June 23, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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