Connect with us


Farewell to ghosts



PATONG: A ceremony was held at Patong Beach yesterday to exorcize “sea ghosts” of people killed by the tsunami, in the hope that Korean tourists will be persuaded to return to Phuket.

The ceremony was organized by the the Seoul, South Korea, office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

The Patong Beach ceremony was conducted by Korean medium Lee Hyo Nam. It lasted about four hours and included dancing and the offering of fruit, intended to reassure Koreans of all beliefs.

Before the March 22 ceremony, Mr Lee told the Gazette that the aim of the rite was to invite the souls of all the dead, of whatever nationality, to depart to the heavens.

“The ghost that scares Koreans most is the sea ghost,” he explained. “We believe that people who drown cannot go to heaven. They remain in the sea, beneath the people swimming there. They try to lure the swimmers to the same death as they suffered, so more people will drown.

“We believe that there are about 1,000 ghosts around Patong Beach, but the aim of the ceremony is to call upon the gods of the land, sea and sky to take the spirits in the sea to the shore and from there to the heavens.”

Mr Lee added that media coverage of the tsunami had led people in South Korea to believe that Phuket was damaged far more than it was, and that things were still as bad on Phuket as they are, for example, in Banda Aceh, Indonesia.

Noonsongyi Han, Information Officer of the Seoul TAT office, told the Gazette it was felt that Koreans would be reluctant to return to the island as long as they believed it was still haunted by the ghosts of the tsunami dead.

The TAT spent 700,000 baht on the ceremony, providing flights from South Korea on Orient Thai Airlines for journalists, to ensure that the event received coverage in the South Korean media.

Ms Noonsongyi said 32 Koreans died when the tsunami struck the six Andaman provinces. Of these, 18 died on Phuket. One Korean is still missing.

“We had about 100,000 Korean tourists come to Phuket last year, and if you compare numbers for January to March last year with the same period this year, the number of Korean visitors is down about 40% this year.

“We think this is because Korean people believe in ghosts. Around 40% of Koreans are animist, 30% are Buddhist and the other 30% are Christian,” said Ms Noonsongyi.

“We hope that, after this ceremony, we will have more Koreans coming to Phuket, although I can’t predict how many will come.”

Three days earlier, 160 sportsmen took part in an overnight soccer tournament at Kalim Beach, intended to reassure people that the area was not haunted.

Altogether, 32 teams of five players competed in the event, between 6pm on March 19 and 6am on March 20.

Organizer Amnuay Kuabkum told the Gazette, “We were here all night and we didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, such as ghosts.”

The event also raised 5,000 baht for tsunami-hit Baan Kalim School.


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Politics8 mins ago

Exiled Sri Lanka President warned to stay in his hotel in Bangkok

World9 mins ago

UPDATE: Salman Rushdie on ventilator, details on stabber emerge

Thailand1 hour ago

Campaign to get international training for Thai teen declared record sprinter

Sponsored2 days ago

BKFC THAILAND 3: Moment of truth set for September 3

Crime1 hour ago

Royal birthdays bring over 100,000 royal prison pardons

Video1 hour ago

The Voice Behind the World’s Top Brands ft. Krit Tone Sukawat | Thaiger Podcast Ep.2

Press Room2 hours ago

Thailand as your next destination for Motorcycle Adventure post-COVID

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Crime3 hours ago

Singaporean and Thai swindler couple arrested in Malaysia

Crime13 hours ago

Author Salman Rushdie stabbed at New York lecture

Transport18 hours ago

Daily trains begin between Malaysian border and Bangkok

Coronavirus (Covid-19)19 hours ago

Virologist predicts most of Thailand will have had Covid by 2023

Transport20 hours ago

Bangkok gets 20 new electric buses next week

Crime20 hours ago

Armed robber escapes with gold worth 800,000 baht in Thailand

This is Thailand21 hours ago

Similarity of Mothers Around the World | Thai Mother’s Day 2022

Crime22 hours ago

Foreigner faces prison for Parrotfishing in Thailand

Bangkok23 hours ago

Woman escapes death after car hit by fallen debris in Bangkok

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11