Umbrellas, Beach Chairs Banned Again On Phuket’s Surin Beach
Beach vendors have been ordered to remove all umbrellas and beach chairs from the sand at Surin Beach, on Phuket’s west coast, by May 1st. Those who do not comply will face legal action, MaAnn Samran, chief of the Cherng Talay Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor), told a meeting at Provincial Hall this week.
The meeting, led by Phuket Administrative Chief Palad Thawornwat Khongkaew, was held for Mr MaAnn to explain reports of encroachment onto public beaches in Phuket, which coincidentally followed the Royal Thai Army presence in Phuket questioning Mr MaAnn over restaurants setting up tables and chairs on the sand at nearby Bang Tao Beach.
“On March 13, 36 beach operators came with reporters and requested for a ‘10% zone’ to be established at Surin Beach. I have already informed them that Surin Beach is a ‘royal majesty honour beach’, so no such zone is allowed,” Mr MaAnn said. “Cherng Talay OrBorTor has no power to change that. The request must be sent to Phuket Governor,” he added.
However, Mr MaAnn said he was willing to change his stance if the Governor’s Office ordered him to do so. “If the Phuket Provincial Office accepts the request, we will arrange to set up zoning at the beach. We have also talked with some other relevant officers last Sunday. However in this meeting, it was concluded that umbrellas and beach beds must be removed from Surin Beach by March 1,” he said.
Mr MaAnn did not explain whether or not tourists – or expats or Thais – would be allowed to take their own umbrellas and beach chairs and use them on the sand at Surin. Mr MaAnn’s claim that Surin Beach is a “royal majesty honour beach” follows long-drawn-out plans for Surin Beach to be rebuilt as Phuket’s own version of “Rajabhakti Park” – and hence dedicated to Thai royalty. However, those plans, calling for an extravagant budget of B800 million, were scrapped last year.
Also, the revised plans announced last September espoused a much more modest redevelopment of B12mn with the park not to carry any name change dedicated to royalty. Yet Mr MaAnn yesterday said that instead of B12mn, a reduced budget of B8mn will be spent on creating a new park at Surin Beach. For that price, taxpayers will get a fence.
“The Cherng Talay OrBorTor has requested for B8 million to make footpath fences and create space for a market which will be held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday to help beach operators displaced by the ban to make a living,” Mr MaAan explained.
Meanwhile, Mr MaAnn said beach vendors could continue to trade at nearby Bang Tao Beach. “Bang Tao Beach still has the 10% zone,” Mr Maan said.