By guest contributor Bruce Kendall
In Thailand, naturism was first started in 1930 by Mr. Salin Foothai who brought the concept back from Europe and started an organization in Bangkok. However, his “Sunbather’s Club” lasted only two years. According to Mr. Foothai, after the Thai revolution in 1932 the military worried that his naturist camp was in reality a training camp for resistance fighters. He got tired defending it and eventually closed it down.
The current Naturist Association Thailand Co., Ltd. (NAT) started in 2007 in a Bangkok backyard by an expat and his Thai wife. Since then, naturism has been growing successfully for over 10 years. It was slow to start but it keeps gaining ground with Thai followers as well as visiting tourists and local expats.
Businesses promoting naturism in Thailand
The independent businesses that became members of NAT and went after the naturist target market in a professional manner gradually built up an excellent base clientele and attracted many new guests.
The first resort to benefit was Chan Resort in Pattaya. They sold their original resort and bought new land and in 2009 opened a resort dedicated just to naturism. They were the true center of naturism in Thailand and continue to attract a large and functioning clientele.
Then Oriental Village outside of Chiang Mai joined in 2010 and has continued to prosper. It is also looking to expand by relocating to a beach front property where it will, without a doubt, prosper.
It has been said; “…to have a naturist venue in Thailand is like a gold mine but to have one on a beach is a platinum mine.”
The next successful resort to open up was Barefeet Naturist Resort in Bangkok. This resort started small in 2015 but expanded in 2017 to double its size with a health spa attached to their resort. When it first opened it quickly became a center for naturists just arriving or transiting through Bangkok. Now with a health center and larger
swimming pool it will surely prosper.
Then Lemon Tree Resort in Naiharn Beach, Phuket came onto the scene. This resort runs very professionally using modern marketing techniques and online applications to keep themselves noticed on the Internet. They now have
purchased new land for the purpose of building a resort designed for naturist guests and expected to open it in early fall of 2018.
Not just the boys
In July 2017 a business group of Thai women started planning a naturist resort outside of Pattaya. They went through several design concepts until they eventually had plans drawn up by an architect and submitted them to the land office for approval. After having to go through several revisions requested by the land office they came
across a developed property and they realized it was perfect for naturism.
With a few modifications for privacy and upgrading, it was ready and opened November 1, 2017 with the name Phuan Naturist Village. Phuan means “friends” in Thai. The resort is located south of Pattaya in Sattahip which is unique in the naturist world as four independent and determined Thai women own and manage it. In over 30 years of research I have never found a naturist resort, club, hotel, or any other venue that has been owned and managed by four women.
With the great climate here in Thailand it is perfect for naturism as a tourist venue because it spreads the seasons out. When it is cold in Australia they come. When it is cold in Europe they come. And the Thai come all year long.
Naturist Association Thailand provides guidance, marketing, property evaluation for naturist venues, and other support.