THE pristine Thai island of Phuket has always been immensely popular with travelers and for a plethora of reasons.
It is a rainforested, mountainous destination in the Andaman Sea and home to some of Thailand’s most popular beaches, well loved by millions of sun seekers. Its location along the west coast of Thailand affords it stunning beaches and clear waters, all within reach of its many high-end seaside resorts and restaurants.
Phuket is also popular with partygoers as they often flock to Patong, the main resort town and Phuket’s famous “watering hole,” to club-hop or dance the night away as its many nightclubs, bars, and discos.
So it is no wonder why it would often end up in travelers’ social media feeds.
Some of Phuket’s most popular, idyllic beaches are Patong Beach, Karon Beach, Surin Beach, Nai Harn Beach, and of course, Mai Khao Beach. Located on the northwest coast of Phuket, Mai Khao Beach, in particular, boasts a skinny strip of warm, golden sand and crystal clear waters which has been on top of every traveler’s bucket list.
The 11-kilometer stretch of Mai Khao Beach is still generally undeveloped and the beach is practically deserted a lot of the time (so you can walk for kilometers without seeing a single other person) as it is part of the Sirinat National Park. As you would imagine, lounging on the beach and lazing the day away would be an absolute breeze.
However, it does share its space with the JW Marriot Phuket Resort and the Phuket International Nai Yang Beach. This means excited beach bums will more often than not be greeted by almost all planes which are flying into Phuket.
In fact, planes would fly low enough to be directly over the beach at low altitude before touching down. Safe to say, on Phuket, Mai Khao Beach is one of the rare few places where you will be able to score a selfie or at least strike a silly pose with a landing aircraft.
But the Thai authorities are no longer going to let that happen.
According to a provision in the country’s Air Navigation Act, anyone caught flying drones, shining lights or lasers, or even posing for a shot of an approaching aircraft will likely end up in jail – or worse, face a death sentence. This is because such actions could distract the crew in the cockpit and ultimately endanger the lives of all passengers on board.
The Thai authorities are also imposing a nine-kilometer exclusion zone around the airport. So maybe keep that in mind the next time you are just-a-strolling on Mai Khao Beach and know that some selfies are just not worth prison time.