It's always been the big question - is nudity in Thailand allowed and are there any secluded beaches where you as a foreigner can simply shed your clothes, go nude sunbathing and become one with nature.
To answer the question about there being any beaches where you can simply wander around naked, you'd have to understand that nudity in public places such as on the beaches of Thailand or anywhere else for that matter, is not a common cause in these parts of South East Asia.
And this is especially true in Thailand since the country is a mixture of Buddhist culture and Islamic religion, both of which nudity in some form is frowned upon. It's also about considering local sensitivities.
As in prostitution, nudity in public is actually illegal and could result in jail time, though rarely implemented. There is, however, a chance that you may be given a fine or at the very least, a slap on the wrist.
Going topless by western standards is pretty normal on many of the beaches in Phuket such as those of Patong, Kata Noi or Karon. You probably won't be hassled by the police there, however, there aren't any beaches that would legally allow you to go completely naked.
In some cases even going topless is a sign of disrespect to the locals, their customs, culture and feelings. Heck, they don't even like people showing affection on the streets, though they'll tolerate this much more than public nudity. Sorry if this is going to burst your bubble.
But you never know, you just might be able to find a secluded spot somewhere away from public scrutiny and just go for it. You may also have to discretely ask around if there are any safe areas for nude bathing. Bare in mind, it's an extremely sensitive issue in these parts.
There's also a good chance that in isolated cases, the authorities just might turn a blind eye to nudity, but in any event, rarely would any such a person approach you with a bribe. But you have to be aware that tourism is indeed a huge chunk of change in Thailand and any income generated from it is a necessity for anyone's survival.
Even if it's not directly in your face, generally Thai people are tolerant of nudism. Funny enough nudity in Thailand is more frowned upon by other expats than it is from locals. The thing is this - you need to be informed and as discrete as possible so as not to upset anyone.
Generally speaking exposing the naked body on the beaches and national parks other than at private naturist resorts is considered impolite. However, because international tourists come to Thailand due to its natural beauty, (beaches, islands, countryside and gorgeous girls) the money spent hugely benefits this popular nation. In the interest of their culture, some locals will go so far as to look the other way simply for the monetary exchange that may come their way.
All in all, it's really a matter of opinion and as with everything else you just have to go with the flow of things. You never know you may get lucky and find a nice quiet spot all to yourself where no one else is around to bother you. No harm in that. And if other naturists happen to be in your face or space, don't go out there and make a big noise. After all, you don't want to overly expose yourself to others since they too may also want to be at peace with nature while in the buff.
Sometimes you may wish that the police would come and cart off that naked obese old fart whose blocking the tranquillity of your perfect beach view simply because it is an eyesore and anything but beauty.
It's all about respect and being respectful of others. I'm sure that most of you are aware that when visiting the temples in Thailand, there is a need to cover up with the appropriate attire. It's the right thing to do.
Exposed arms and legs are strictly taboo in the temples. It's simply a matter of respecting the cultural laws when visiting a foreign country like Thailand where nudity is frowned upon and is not commonplace.
Without going into the whole nine yards as to all this talk about nudity in Thailand, it's really simply a matter of understanding local cultures and I would have to say that if we are respectful of the country's customs, etiquette and well-being, you will get along just fine.
If you'd like to know whether or not there are any nudist beaches in Thailand, I've found a few places that might be of interest. There are two beaches on Phuket Island, one on Koh Phangan Island and one on the Andaman Coast, where some form of nudity in Thailand has its roots. However, you still have to be cautious regarding Thai customs.
On the southernmost tip of Phuket is Nui Beach, a small private cove where you're more than welcome to do a spot of nude sunbathing. The beach is also good for surfing and kayaking. The only snag is that in order to get there, you'll have to travel with an all terrain vehicle such as a quad bike or a four-wheel drive vehicle, as the road leading to the beach is nothing but pure gravel. However, there is a solution to this problem should you be staying at the Lemon Tree Resort, just a short distance away. The resort can arrange the road trip for you.
The nudist beach on Phuket Island is called Mai Khao Beach which you'll find it on the north western tip of the island. There are no boats reaching these shores but, you can easily get there by road from the island's international airport. The road going straight to the beach passes JW Marriott Resort and Spa. The beach is nine kilometers long (five and a half miles) making it the longest beach in Phuket.
Though not officially a nudist beach, many tourists often walk and swim in the nude at the Golden Buddha Beach situated on the west coast of Koh Phra Thong facing the Andaman Sea. It's eco-friendly and it's pretty isolated too. But the best part about this particular beach is that it comprises of more than ten kilometres of stunning coastline.
Topless suntanning and bathing are quite the norm here, but you can easily find a nice quiet spot should you want to bare your butt too. If you happen to stay at one the resort's on the beach, simply cover up if any of their staff members should happen to pass in your direction.
Leela Beach, set in a beautiful and peaceful sanctuary on Koh Phangan Island is another unofficial nudist beach destination. It's long been known for its topless suntanning and bathing but you can get away with some nudity here too. You just have to be aware that nudity in Thailand is still illegal, so precautions are not to be discounted.
Be aware of your surroundings and if anything should seem out of the ordinary, just cover up until that particular problem goes away. You'll find the beach situated on the southern headland past the full moon party beach of Haad Rin.
Leela Beach is a great place to relax under its palm fringed backdrop and soft white sandy shore. There's also a couple of bungalows on the beach should you wish to hang around a little while longer.
There's some great news for those of you who'd love to wear your birthday suit without the long arm of the law staring down on your bare butt. I have just discovered an island off the southernmost tip of Phuket called Cosy Island. It's also far from prying eyes, simply because there are no real tourists to speak of around these parts.
This island is so remote, it's the perfect spot to be free as a bird. You can swim and snorkel relatively undisturbed on the island, which is just a fifteen minute (two kilometers) long tail boat ride from the pier at Rawai Beach in Phuket. However, because the island and the beach are private, there is a small transfer and entrance fee. Read more.
While we are on the subject of nudity in Thailand why not check out what one guy had to say about a nudist resort he and his wife visited just outside Pattaya. Bare in mind that the resort, mentioned above is for the most part a swingers club.
However, if you're looking for a naturist resort in the area you may want to try the Chan Resort. Though I have heard some favourable reports about this place I have yet to see it for myself. If you have visited the Chan Resort and would like to share your views, that would be great. There's a contact form at the bottom of this page.
If you want to go all natural as nature intended - and happen to be in the northern part of Thailand, then the Oriental Village Resort in Chiang Mai might just be up your street. But bear in mind that this is a family place so there will be some areas where you need to cover up. Other than that, there's lots of other activities going on around here.
And if you're one of those guys who likes to let it all hang out in the au naturel and happen to be in the big city, then you just might like to hang out with the new kid on the block in the form of a naturist resort in Bangkok. The all new Naturist Resort in Bangkok is the place to go if you haven't the time to travel all the way north but still want the service excellence you'd come to expect from a naturist in Thailand.
I hope that what you've read here will greatly help you get to grips with the true nature of how things pan out in this part of the woods. At the same time be respectful and accept the fact that nudity in Thailand is still an extremely sensitive subject. Otherwise, just enjoy.
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