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PHUKET: The Royal Thai Army has declared that sun loungers are now allowed in the 10 percent zone at Patong Beach.

The decision was handed down yesterday afternoon by army and beach management committee officials, who decided to reverse the Royal Thai Navy’s ruling declaring them illegal in December last year (story here).

The same outcome is expected for other Phuket beaches, but no timeline has yet been announced.

Following the announcement, vendors at Patong Beach immediately brought dozens of loungers and other furniture down to the beach.

Army Region 4 Deputy Commander Pornsak Poonsawat and other officers patrolled Patong Beach to ensure order and safety, and also to follow up on decades-old rental bike management and parking issues along the beach road that they had attempted to rectify earlier this month (story here).

“We had initially decided to ban sun beds, even in the 10 per cent zone, and only allow mattresses and umbrellas. However, that ‘seems to be’ posing problems for tourists, particularly older ones,” said Maj Gen Pornsak.

“From what we have observed, both tourists and vendors are satisfied with this decision,” he added.

The beach management committee will continue to monitor the situation and if ‘all goes well’, the loungers will once again become a permanent fixture on the sand.

“We have not set a limit on the number of loungers allowed. This can vary depending on the demand, but vendors have to ensure that they are placed in an orderly and appropriate fashion. Local authorities also have to keep an eye on them,” said Gen Pornsak.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong