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Opinion: Goodbye, Phuket

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PHUKET: In 1997, we travelled to Thailand for the first time – to Bangkok and Hua Hin. It was love at first sight. We fell in love with this beautiful, wonderful country, the warm and heartfelt people, the beautiful beach and the food. The sun and heat made us so happy, as we are used to being in the cold.

We have been back in Thailand every year in February or March. We extended our stay from 14 days the first years, to now visiting for three weeks to a month. Some of our friends are retired and they are there for two months at a time.

In the past several years, we have come to Patong, Phuket, and stayed in a small, nice hotel: Baan Pron Phateep.

We stayed there with about five Danish couples and also a few Swedish friends. In total there were six couples ranging in age from 40 to 80 years old – but still going strong and enjoying life!

We all very much enjoyed our stays. We would go on the beach during the day and lie in the sun loungers, take day tours, go out to eat in the evening.

Yes, we spent a lot of money in Thailand every year, and we have done so with pleasure.

We were pleased to be able to come back this year. The first of our crew arrived in early January, and my wife and I came on February 2.

Through the autumn season at home, all we heard were rumors that the sun loungers had been removed from the beach. However, we thought – and hoped – that they would be returned. This was not the case.

Our friend who arrived in January reported that there were in fact no sun loungers on the beach. He decided to invest in one, which he had to carry from the hotel to the beach every day and back again.

We did the same when we arrived, and it went fairly well, albeit a little awkward and strange – something we have not experienced anywhere else in the world. We are all getting up in age and cannot lie on mats on the ground, and we must also have a parasol to protect our skin from the strong sun.

Little did we know that it was also prohibited to bring our own sun loungers to the beach – until we were met by police.

The island has lost its charm, and its cozy places. We will not come back, and many other tourists we have met have told us they will not come back either. It is unfortunate.

We were also sorely disappointed to find out that the idyllic Raya Island, where we have gone for many years now, had been completely changed. So, goodbye to Raya Island as well.

When we and our friends staying at the hotel made it known that we would not come back because of what we experienced this year, our Thai friends were upset. We will miss them and the Thailand that we knew from before. We now see their frustration – not the joy we saw before.

Thank you for so many good years. We have had so many good Thai experiences since 1997. Now, we will go to Bali, the Philippines and elsewhere to enjoy our winter and be treated as tourists should.

— Jan Yde

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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