After a brief period of existence during the 30’s, Thai naturism got a second reboot around 2007. Thanks to some expats and Thai individuals that believe in naturism and its implantation in Thailand, their countless dedicated time paid off and helped to develop a network known in all Asia.
The word spreads around as visitors from China, Vietnam, Malaysia, just to name a few, now come to Thailand in order to relax in the nude because they do not have such facilities in their home countries.
But what is missing are official nude beaches. There are at least four naturist resorts but no nude beach in a tropical country like Thailand. And naturist activities are often organized almost in secret for members only to know.
But it does not mean this situation will stay that way in the future. Thailand’s potential for naturism is there and may be huge.
Thinking about that, it was pretty much the same situation in Quebec province (Canada) until the seventies when regarding naturism. Difference between Quebec at that time and Thailand now is not so big.
First efforts of Quebec naturist to regroup together started from the fifties. At that time, some pioneers gather in their home in Montreal or in some isolated summer house in the Laurentians. But the Duplessis government (often called the Dark Age period between years 1944-60) disapproves the movement and the naturists face police repression, sometimes even in their own residence. Furthermore, serious personality conflict undermine the movement.
Making their life difficult by the government, some Quebecers create naturist center outside of Quebec, the most famous being in Ontario (East Heaven) and in Vermont State, USA (Maple Glen).
The “Quiet Revolution” and sexual liberation that follows in the sixties will help to recruit more followers but laws still are oppressive and opening of naturist camping and resorts was not possible in Quebec until the beginning of the seventies. Since the creation of the first naturist camping, others followed. An unofficial, but tolerated nude beach where hundreds of naked people spend their weekend came also, not too far from Montreal, and the rest is history.
I do not know for you, but for myself, I cannot help but to see some similarities when I compare Quebec in 1960 and Thailand in 2016. And if naturism evolved in Quebec (and the rest of Canada) as its current state now, I do not see why it would not follow a similar path in Thailand.
Let’s take a look at the Thai naturist network. There are now 4 official naturist resort: one in Pattaya (and the oldest one), one in Chiang Mai, one in Bangkok, and a very recent one in Phuket who changed their status into a naturist one at the end of May. It is a small network, but they are located at places most often visited by tourists. It is the backbone of the Thai naturism. Some others could add in the future.
In Quebec, it took more than 20 years (from the 50s to the 70s) to have at least 4 naturist camping opened so we can say the process went faster in Thailand than in Quebec and the rest of Canada. This gives hopes for a brighter future. But the main difference remains in changing people’s mentality. And this take time.
What delayed naturism progress in Quebec until the sixties was that the clergy had a big influence over the daily life of citizens and they were backed up by the politicians in power. For example, books talking about sex (among others) and about other sensitive matter at the time were banned by the church. Schools were unisex (no genders mixed), activities as simple than going to swim at the public swimming pool were also unisex. It was a bit of a closed society, afraid of new ideas, afraid of what was foreign. But once things started to change in the sixties, it went very fast and it took more or less a decade for the naturism to go out of its closet and get off the ground.
It is very likely that this process will take more of a decade in Thailand for several reasons. Changing people mentalities takes time. Asian culture is different. There is a big taboo about nudity that is often associated with sex. Very likely that the process will be slower in Thailand than in Quebec. But it will happen. No doubts about that.
Thanks to the dedicated people who believe in naturism in Thailand, the infrastructure looks now firm and strong. Naturist resorts are there and the Naturist Association of Thailand has a functional webpage in the internet.
Newspaper in Asia now writes reportages about Thailand as a possible naturist destination. In my last visit, I saw more Thai people visiting resorts for a weekend or as a day guest. All those people, foreign and locals, helps to spread the word that naturism in Thailand is growing up and continue to move forward. Maybe an official nude beach could come one day, but I think it is in the long term.
Yes, it will take longer time than in western societies to make naturism widely accepted in Thailand, but the seed is there. Just be patient.