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Phuket tourists can bring sun loungers, umbrellas to beaches, say officials

PHUKET: Tourists can bring their own sun loungers and umbrellas to Patong and all beaches in Kata and Karon, The Phuket News has confirmed. However, they must use them inside the “10% zones” reserved for vendors.

By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Tuesday 7 March 2017, 07:39PM

“This applies to expats and Thais, too, of course. They can bring their own sun loungers and umbrellas, and not rent from a vendor, but they must keep them inside the zones,” Mayor Chalermluck told The Phuket News today (Mar 7).

Complaints about any incidents with beach vendors about planting your own umbrella or sun lounger inside the zones are to be directed to Patong Municipality, Mayor Chalermluck added.

Please inform our public relations office of any complaints by calling 076-344275. I have already informed them to record all complaints,” she said.

The same applies at all beaches in Kata and Karon, confirmed Rachen Phuntarakit, the Chief Administrative Officer (Palad) for Karon Municipality.

“This will make it very tight inside the 10% zones, but this is the best we can do for now,” he said.

“I have spoken to the vendors (at beaches in Kata and Karon) about this, so there should be no problems,” Mr Rachen added.

Likewise, any complaints about beach vendors in Kata and Karon are to be directed to Karon Municipality by calling 076-330186.

“Please call Karon Municipality and ask the operator to connect you with an officer from our legal division,” he said.

The Phuket News notes that the Tourist Police hotline 1155 also has volunteer translators for many languages, including Russian and Chinese.

“Later, we might suggest to the provincial beach management committee to allow tourists to bring their own sun loungers and umbrellas and use them outside the zones – but that has not yet been confirmed and will not happen until after this one-month trial has concluded,” Mr Rachen explained.

“So for now all sun loungers sand umbrellas – even those brought by tourists – must stay inside the 10% zones. New signs will be posted to explain this to tourists,” he said.

Vendors renting out sun loungers and umbrellas are permitted to place only two lines of sun loungers on the sand and also must remain within the 10% zones, Mr Rachen noted.

The news comes after sun loungers and beach umbrellas were allowed back at Kata Beach, Kata Noi Beach, Karon Beach and Karon Noi Beach (also called Relax Bay, in front of Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort, over the weekend.

The rolling out of the return of the sun loungers was conducted under the watchful eyes of soldiers from the Royal Thai Army.

“The army will be keeping a close eye on the vendors, and will return to inspect all beaches about once a month,” Mr Rachen said.

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Mr Rachen still called the move to allow the sun loungers back on the sands a “trial”, as announced by Phuket Governor Chockchai Dejamornthan last Friday (Mar 3). (See story here.)

The trial is scheduled to last one month, Mr Rachen said.

“After the trial has concluded, we will present maps showing the 10% zones at all four beaches under Karon Municipality’s jurisdiction to the Phuket provincial beach management committee for ratification,” he explained.

“The zones and rules might change – that is up to them,” he added.

The maps and zones were drawn up by Karon Municipality Public Works Chief Wanchai Saetan, Mr Rachen noted.

“These same maps were presented to the army at a meeting on Friday (Mar 3) for their approval before we started allowing the sun loungers back on the beaches,” he explained.

Mr Rachen noted there were still many issues to resolve.

“Under our old lists (before sun loungers and beach umbrellas were banned in 2014), we have 119 people who are permitted to rent out umbrellas as follows: 15 at Kata Noi Beach, 34 at Kata Beach, 67 at Karon Beach and three at Karon Noi Beach,” he revealed.

However, the “beach zone maps” obtained by The Phuket News (see photos above) show only 10 zones in total at all four beaches in Kata and Karon.

The length of each zone ranges from 50 metres each at Karon Beach to 187.5m each at Kata Beach – but each zone is only 7.5 metres wide.

Mr Rachen did not elaborate on how many people were empowered by Karon Municipality to rent out sun loungers on beaches at Kata and Karon.

The sun loungers were allowed back onto Patong Beach last Monday (Feb 27) only after Maj Gen Pornsak Poonsawat, Deputy Commander of Royal Thai Army Region 4, the military unit responsible for all of Southern Thailand, gave his direct consent without any provincial officials present but during an “inspection” led by Patong Mayor Chalermluck. (See story here.)

The sun lounger and beach umbrella rentals in Phuket were banned by police in 2014 after high-ranking police revealed details of the cases they had built against Karon Mayor Thawee Thongchaem, who surrendered to police on June 4 that year to answer to a variety of corruption and ‘”taxi mafia” charges.

Central to the investigation was how officials offered dozens of government “concession” contracts to allow vendors to work on Kata and Karon beaches, with contracts totalling billions of baht. (See story here.)

The Phuket News has yet to confirm which beaches will be next to have sun loungers on the sand, but photos of sun loungers on Naiharn Beach circulated on social media today.



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Kurt | 08 March 2017 - 19:43:10

@ Farangswed:.  Yup, as I predicted, coming Songkran everything at Phuket beaches will be back to as it was 3 years ago with Songkran 2014.
The money power of rich thai influential vendor people can't be resisted any longer by officials.
At this moment we witness a very interesting Phuket beach happening.
Call it 'Restoration'.
Possible because there are no beach laws 'designed...

Farangswed | 08 March 2017 - 16:50:01

Hehe yeah right 2 rows   today they have 5 rows & military just passing 

Kurt | 08 March 2017 - 15:06:17

@ Nasa, Of course, 10% means nothing here.
'Feeding families' culture goes with a minimum of 30%.
And than continuing crabbing for more %%, of course.

The rich powerful influential Vendors take back what was taken from them.
This are not the beach boys you see working for the vendors.

And later, very much later, may be there is a 10% space for tourists who like to beach with their...

CaptainJack69 | 08 March 2017 - 12:55:25

Obviously beach-goers on our public beaches should be able to bring their own umbrellas and put them where-ever they want. Obviously.

The problem comes from that group of people we have all come to refer to as "beach mafia" who are just waiting for the slightest gap in regulations so they can cover our beaches with their equipment and charge us to use it.

Now it should be easy for ...

Rorii | 08 March 2017 - 06:26:24

Now, just what would happen if a tourist/expat dared to take their own lounger, or umbrella, I just have to say it, this idea was thought up by an utter idiot. 10% zones are illegal anyway, but if they keep them let them be only for commercial  use, tourists/expats and thai should be free to use the other 90%.

rawaiozman | 08 March 2017 - 05:49:56

People have been bringing their own chairs/umbrellas to Nai Harn for a long time and to this day continue to do so... all outside of the 10% zones.  The way the 10% zones are managed it leaves no space for any person to put their own chairs / umbrellas in these 2 areas... impossible!!

Nasa12 | 08 March 2017 - 05:19:15

In Kata the 10% zones  are already growing to 30% ++ in only 1 week.

jogi | 07 March 2017 - 23:17:12

ha ha ha it will be only a matter of time till war break out between beach lounger vendors and tourist with own beach gears. who will be treten by who to move, to pay for space in that crumped 10% zone??? phonnummers Karon and patong municipality for complain in this matter?  in thai language if somebody ever will answer. PN offers a hotline from tourist police who have volunteers for different fo...

Kurt | 07 March 2017 - 20:56:27

And that 10% beach zone nonsense drags on and on. ..Must this, Must that!
10% beach zone pushing ( illegal according Phuket Governor, remember?) is ment to control thai vendor.
Not for the tourist with own chair + umbrella.
Thai beaches are free to public.

All this zone setting looks like to be done by people who run groceries. A bit here, a bit there.
But for what? No body authorities know...

Beach Mafia | 07 March 2017 - 20:24:01

Karon Mayor Thawee Thongchaem, who surrendered to police on June 4 2014 to answer to a variety of corruption and ‘”taxi mafia” charges.

What ever happened to him? How much did he pay to get off?

This is a joke. You can bring your own umbrella but must locate it inside the 10% zone ( really about 50% ) controlled by the Beach Mafia.

eric1964 | 07 March 2017 - 20:08:44

A little late the tourists are going home and the season is finishing.10% is ridiculous 25% why not? At least 25% from the beaches would be kept clean as the municipalities are doing nothing at all! Lets hope that there is not one who wants to show off and changes again everything 

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