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Poll: Does Phuket need more virgin beaches?

PHUKET: The new governor of Phuket, Chockchai Dejamornthan, last month stated that he plans to remove all “10 per cent zones” from Phuket’s beaches, thus leaving all sands along Phuket’s coast as “virgin beaches”.

tourism, patong, economics, environment,

The Phuket News

Tuesday 1 November 2016, 04:27PM

Sun loungers on Karon Beach. In their heyday, sun loungers were available on nearly every beach in Phuket. Photo: Brunner Hans Rudolf  / Flickr
Sun loungers on Karon Beach. In their heyday, sun loungers were available on nearly every beach in Phuket. Photo: Brunner Hans Rudolf / Flickr

The hotly debated “10% zones” are last bastions where vendors may work on beaches in Phuket, and were introduced by Phuket’s previous Governor, Chamroen Tipayapongtada.

However, the “beach rules” in Phuket specifically apply only in Phuket.

The 10% rule does not apply anywhere else in Thailand, not even in Khao Lak, just one hour’s drive north of Phuket, or even on Phi Phi or elsewhere in across the bay in Krabi.

Gov Chockchai last month noted,, “I have thought a lot about what to do about this, as there are actually no laws which allows 10 per cent zones on beaches.

“Also, it appears that we still have issues with the umbrella and beach chair mafias. There will be no more mafias. It is my duty to work out who will manage Phuket’s beaches, but I can assure you it will not be mafias and they will be run in accordance with the law.

“As it is illegal to have these 10 per cent zones they will gradually be removed leaving virgin beaches,” Gov Chockchai said.

With the annual tourism high season nearly upon us, The Phuket News asks readers, “Do you support Gov Chockchai’s plan to clear Phuket’s beaches of all vendors?”

British International School, Phuket

Responses available are:

  • Yes, all beaches in Phuket should be clear of all vendors.
  • Yes, clear the beaches of vendors, but allow tourists to bring their own sun loungers.
  • No, leave the ‘10% rule’ in place – it is the best solution so far.
  • No, allow vendors back on the beaches, which worked well for tourists for years.

To vote in the poll, click here.

The poll will close at midnight on Nov 14, just before the high-season tourists begin to arrive.

If your preferred response is not available, feel free to express your opinion in the comments section below.

To see the results of our previous poll, which asked, “Is the Thai lottery worth playing?”, click here.

If you have a suggestion for a poll, email with “Poll suggestion” in the Subject line.



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eric dekegel | 05 November 2016 - 14:59:45

Well being the first to comment all following comments are following our vieuw as farang, but I not saw 1 comment of a thai, who is also concerned and here we speak about income.Its's clear that the I don't know anymore governor, I lost the count will be the one who will organize, he is here just to cut rubans,eat and drink for free, thats reality.Many are already building up slowly there tents and at the end of the season the governor if he still here will order to clear this, this is Thailand I am here 13 years, I should make a bestseller about Phuket and his officials who are useless for the people of phuket.No happy tourists means next season no tourists at all, many go already to Bali en Vietnam where they welcome them and are laughing with how Phuket is managed by his officials. It would be interesting to know if they read the Phuket news?Maybe to difficult for them.Yesterday I travelled up and down from Cherng talay to the airport for 3 hours, at the domestic arrival I never saw such a mess and lack of organisation, I don't know whats going to happen when the mass of tourists are arriving and how we will be able to find our customers in that mass of people.There is a lot of work for our friend who will probably go in 6 months.

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Concerned | 04 November 2016 - 09:53:39

Well said Kurt : 
if you over 50 and have worked you whole live you are perhaps in tile for a little comfort to lie in/on a beach chair from where you are more easily able to get up. It is the Farang over 50 generation who has the cash to afford 5 star Resorts they are the big spenders who enjoy a day on a clean beach on beach chairs and sun umbrellas in peace and comfort.
Young fit Backpackers don’t mind to lie on a matt so do most locals but they are not the once with the big cash, exceptions are may occur.  

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Ed Sanders | 03 November 2016 - 18:46:19

Yes Kurt...Thai beaches are all virgin beaches... just like all gogo dancers on Bangle Road are virgin dancers.  And my point Kurt that I didn't mention, is that tourists should be able to do what they want here...and I don't see anything wrong with allowing local people (not beach mafiosos) in obtaining permission to rent beach chairs and umbrellas for tourists to put wherever they damn well please.  They should be issued cool and regular uniforms so you can tell they are legit, including their gov't ID card around their neck.  Anyone caught fudging the rules loses their work permit/ID card and is fined 1,000 baht for the first time, 5,000 the next.

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Kurt | 03 November 2016 - 16:39:47

Are the present dirty Phuket beaches--> Virgin beaches??
I don't think so. 
They are thai dirty like the Phuket road sites with all the blocked water removal infra structures when it rains and coz floodings.

Thai and environment cleaness, it still bites each other.
On Phuket there are more foreigners then thai concerned about it.

Wait until AFTER Long Krathong festival, and see how nature is left alone with all the after festival rubbish at beaches and Naiharn lake.

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Kurt | 03 November 2016 - 16:28:05

Ed sanders: With very much interest I red your comment.

--Yes, in the past the beach chair workers were providing ash trays ( cutted plastic bottles).
--Yes, soft sand, but very hot soft sand.
What is the difference  of 'space taking' between a plactic mat and a chair?  ( mats were previously in the chairs).

About all the other correct things you wrote I not need to comment. You are right.
But the thai see it different, they like to 'control' the tourists. For the sake of what?
Just to show they are in charge of something in a way what is just 'own foot shooting'.
The fun is, they not understand it.

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Ed Sanders | 02 November 2016 - 23:25:04

Oh boy oh boy.  Glad to hear so many people chiming in on the needs for dumbass plastic beach beds. Speak for yourselves, I loathed the jam packing of the crappy things, stuffed along the shore until there was no open sand left to sit in.  Beach beds are for rocky and cobbled beach, like in the Mediterranean. Here in the soft white sand, the chairs provided an area for fat-asses that can pick themselves up and down, and provide all the Russian/Euro smokers a place to stuff their cigarette stubs.  Thais have proven time after time that they cannot be managed or controlled, as evinced at Surin Beach which is now crawling with illegal vendors...they just can't stop.  Not only can't Thais be managed, laws and rules cannot be enforced, because there is nobody there to enforce anything...there is no law enforcement in Phuket. You want beds and mats, go to Laem Sing and a few other illegal beaches where the beach mafia continues to ply their dirty trade, they're all over.  Hell, go to Surin or Kamala or can get everything you want and need. Please, just don't let any of these vendors gain another foothold.

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Rorii | 02 November 2016 - 17:46:47

Kurt, a week or so back, the  "laws" were called "fantasy" laws, and were illegal, but not only those associated to the beaches, this is something I have said many times, only to have our "friend" Joe12 disagree... well Joe12, an apology is well and truly over due. Laws have to be passed by government, not by anyone else, including mayors, police, immigration officers, land department officers, tourism ministers etc. All are guilty of enforcing illegal laws.

The Phuket News

Kurt | 02 November 2016 - 15:27:12

I do like all the comments below here.
Very true, it shows something we all understand.
Why do Phuket authorities not understand it?
Answer: No affinity with beach culture on their own island.

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Kurt | 02 November 2016 - 13:05:55

There we go, this governor plainly said it; There are no laws which ALLOW 10% zones at Phuket beaches.
That means the last 2 previous governors have been acting illegal and breached thai laws.
My jaw drops.

Previous governors, more than the last 2, also did allow freeloading mafia ( non tax paying!! )at beaches with chairs and umbrellas. That people became rich with their 'beach free state' practices without a government to stop them.
Or the Phuket government was incompetent, or became to 'weak', paralyzed by corruption money.

Really hope this governor has the power and will to rule the beaches according thai laws.

-- Bring the icecream seller back on the beaches. The boys earn a decent income, and the beachgoers are happy to buy.
-- Bring back the drink/fruit sellers at the beaches, government rent out appointed selling spots to them. They make a living, and the beachgoers are happy being able to buy.
-- Bring back at appointed areas a limited amount of chairs.
Government can earn rent of the appointed locations.
And the tourist who are 'demanding' chairs will be happy.
And back to the normal rent of 100 thb!!
Asking 200 thb for a mat on the hot sand is crazy.
By the way, what is the difference between a mat and a chair?
Both take the same space.
A mat shows:  "Poor Phuket".

It is time the Government appoint a special Beach Authority, someone who is ruling the beaches, someone with knowledge of beach culture.
The poor thai office armchair pen-pushers have been proven the last 2 years that they not have a clue about beach culture, and worse, violate the thai laws, as the present Governor indicated.

The Phuket beach clock is ticking. Time to act.
And last but not least: Start to keep your phuket beaches clean and not allow Orbor Tors to release untreated water ( laundries, urine, feaces, etc) by visible/unvisible pipelines or canals at beach locations.

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Andy | 02 November 2016 - 12:28:22

Many good comments here.
I cycled along Surin beach yesterday, the place is a complete mess, there will be some angry tourists come December high season. Yes, the beach clubs had got out of control but look at what's left - a junkyard. What is forgotten is it was the beach vendors that cleaned the beach and kept the place tidy. The vendors wanted you to enjoy your visit and come back again.
Put government (local or central) in charge of anything and always and everywhere they will ruin it. There is no problem that government can't make worse.

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