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Demolition time: Phuket beach clubs bow to government orders

Demolition time: Phuket beach clubs bow to government orders

PHUKET: The beachfront at Surin Beach began to undergo a massive change today (June 16) as restaurants and beach clubs, who have been sitting on public land – in some cases for decades – complied with government orders to clear illegal structures.

By Anthika Muangrod

Monday 16 June 2014, 05:53PM

Bongo Rum Bar is already gone. Permanently. Half of Bimi Beach Club is gone, as is the beachside half of Diamond Beach Club.

The famed beachside deck and bar of Catch Beach Club will be ripped up tomorrow (June 17).

The pool and bar at Zazada Beach Club will be destroyed as soon as management can confirm the exact boundaries of the public land.

Xana Beach Club and Nikki Beach Club, further north on the shore of Bangtao Bay, are both legal, Ma’an Samran, Chief Executive of the Cherng Talay Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor) told The Phuket News today. The same is understood to be true of Bliss Beach Club. Their structures are all on private land.

But the famed Lotus restaurant on Bang Tao has to go completely, Mr Ma’an said. Other bars and restaurants on beaches or on the rocks are going or gone, their owners bowing to the inevitable.

On Friday night Skyla’s Beach House on the rocks at the north end of Kamala Beach announced on its Facebook page, “The Thai army has ordered Skyla’s Beach House to close down so we are throwing one thumping last party TONIGHT, hope u can join this memorable occasion!!! Let make the best party ever guys!!!” [sic].

The owners began pulling it down on Sunday.

At Surin, which has long drawn the smartest and most glittering of Phuket’s visitors, some of the clubs are making the best of a bad time. Catch Beach Club restaurant manager Eknarin “Eak” Udomlarp told The Phuket News that instead of the beachside deck, a new open-air section of the club will be built behind the existing building – the side away from the sea.

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This will take just five days to construct, before a grand opening is held. The exact date will be announced soon.

“I think we will probably have more customers than before, because we are changing the look of our club to be even more gorgeous,” Mr Eak said.

Zazada’s assistant operation manager, Kantasit Charoensuk, said, “We are waiting for confirmation of the land boundaries but we will lose the swimming pool and the bar. That’s a big loss; the swimming pool is the biggest selling point for us.

“We will demolish the concrete structures and landscape the [public land] part.”

Diamond Beach Club manager Kittipong Porjai said all structures would be removed from the public land, and replaced only with beach chairs, but otherwise no major changes would be made.

Anything more than a chair and umbrella on the seaward side of the walkway has to go. Right along the beach restaurants and bars were removing salas, bowers and benches, and the sound of jackhammers and sledge hammers will be coming soon as concrete structures are demolished.

It’s been a good run for most of the owners along Surin Beach. But today, as great grey waves crashed onto Surin Beach, the fun atmosphere was replaced by something grimmer and more subdued.

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