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Plans to make Phuket’s Bang Tao Beach ‘virgin’ an uphill battle, says Army

PHUKET: MaAnn Samran, Chief of the Cherng Talay Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor), has told the Royal Thai Army in Phuket that he plans to clear Bang Tao Beach of all vendors.

tourism, marine, military,

The Phuket News

Friday 24 March 2017, 10:29AM

The beach club restaurant was found with dining chairs and tables on the sand at Bang Tao Beach. Photo: Supplied
The beach club restaurant was found with dining chairs and tables on the sand at Bang Tao Beach. Photo: Supplied

The news comes after an inspection of the beach by Col Santi Sakuntanark, Commander of the 25th Infantry Regiment and the highest-ranking army officer stationed in Phuket, brought to light restaurants with even tables and chairs on the sand. (See story here.)

“I want to talk with the Cherng Talay chief about the restaurant with chairs and tables on the beach… He well knows about it, but he has done nothing to arrest these people. Bang Tao beach is one of the nine beaches under the ‘beach management’ policy,” Col Santi said last week.

Mr MaAnn met with soldiers on Tuesday (Mar 21), but failed to explain why the beach club restaurant was on the sand.

“I was away in Bangkok on Tuesday, so I am looking to meet with him tomorrow,” Col Santi told The Phuket News today (Mar 24).

“By the rules, the restaurant cannot stay on the beach, including its chairs and tables. It is not even allowed in the ‘10% zone’, where on Bang Tao Beach only sun loungers and umbrellas are allowed,” he said.

“Tomorrow, I really want to speak with Mr MaAnn, but he is always avoiding us and always busy,” Col Santi said.

“The main topic of our discussion is to be what he really wants to do with Bang Tao Baeach, before he sends his request to the District Chief,” he added.


Regarding the restaurant that is already on the beach, Col Santi said, “The owner claims the restaurant is on ‘their’ own land. I have now asked for co-operation from the Land Office, the Marine Office, National Park officers and other officials to determine this as soon as possible before I take any further action.”

Col Santi explained that clearing Bang Tao Beach of all vendors would be a lengthy procedure.

“There are many steps to do, and the final request must be submitted to the provincial beach management committee,” he said.

“And I know Mr MaAnn does not want to force the vendors from the beach, he wants to talk with them first,” he added.

Regarding nearby Surin Beach, which is also within Mr MaAnn's area of responsibility, Col Santi remained steadfast that it is to remain free of vendors.

“Surin beach is still a virgin beach, I insist,” he said.

Col Santi also pointed out, “I did not come here to change the rules. I am to here to enforce the beach management regulations that were already in place.”



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Jor12 | 25 March 2017 - 20:56:37

From the comments here, it's as plain as day why Thai authorities never listen nor want to listen to outsiders and what they consider best for Thai people. 

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Foot | 24 March 2017 - 17:56:49

_BenPendejo-  Much of what you sat is true.  Based on the same logic, no Thais would be allowed to drive in the rain.

It doesn’t matter what you or I want.  It’s just business.  I only discuss what Phuket needs to do if it decides it wants to be a major tourist destination.  

Maybe Thailand would finally pick up pointers from the tourist world.  But, they don't like to.

If Phuket doesn’t want tourists, and the billions it brings in, then don’t do these things.  Want proof?  

4 years ago, the very profitable high season was November to May.  The 2016-17 high season was from December 20 to January 30.  And, it wasn’t much better than the low seasons of the past.  Western tourists stopped coming because of the elimination of the things tourists want.

To condemn Thais to miss the tourism dollar is just selfish.  Thailand has two industries to bring in money to raise them out of extreme poverty - rice and tourism.  Until they adopt the best techniques for both, they're stuck.

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BenPendejo | 24 March 2017 - 16:27:16

Ericlek64 and Foot...speak for yourself when considering how you think a beach should be managed.  However, many of us realize that you simply cannot give Thais an inch, or it will be just a matter of time before the greed overwhelms them and the beach turns into an aggressive and filthy vendor-fest.  They just cannot be managed, and have proven this time after time.  If you want an example...go to Surin...or Kamala, which is now closer to having a 100% vendor zone.  The Army clears the Surin bums off the beach in the morning, but by noon business is back in full swing.  The only way to manage it is to have the local government build concession areas and lease those spaces out by lottery.  The concession areas can offer beach chairs and umbrellas for rent for people to put wherever they want.  If there is any expansion of business and commerce area...BAMMO...concession lost and they're done from doing business.  In the US, the City does this, and most of the beach remains free for people to do as they wish, and concessions are available all up and down the beach.

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Kurt | 24 March 2017 - 16:24:17

It seems that mr MaAnn is a pain in the A.. of other Phuket government officials.
Mr MaAnn is running his own law ignoring 'shop' under a false government flag.
That is why he always avoids talking with other sincere thai officials and avoid them.
He doesn't want to support/enforce the thai laws. Not want to remove the enormous  rich vendors from the beach.
( we not talk about the hard working beach boys here)
How can he be a government official?
There is just 1 explanation for that.
I not understand why other more sincere thai government officials not make a short cut.
Dismiss this mr MaAnn. Give him another decoration for his uniform shirt and send him away.
Just end something shame full.

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ERICLEK64 | 24 March 2017 - 11:35:23

This guy has no idea for what a beach is used all over the world and should be moved to the mountain in the north. The or bor tor has understood now that he will not get the well paid position in Bkk they promissed him and now is not cooperative as a few months ago. Its time to have elections, a goverment with brains and having people here to manage the beaches like a beache should be managed. If you want to attract the tourists thats basic,

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Foot | 24 March 2017 - 10:49:34

Bang Tao should be a beach can enjoy with sunbathing, umbrellas, and vendors.

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