NATCON returned to the world naturist scene as Thailand's contribution to an international gathering of naturists and nudists in Asia. The concept remains a three-day event that combines meetings, games, and parties, bringing together naturists from around the world.
This year, NATCON'23 took place from April 29 to May 1, 2023, with nearly 100 naturists traveling to Thailand to attend the event. The top nationalities represented were Indians and Taiwanese, with close to 20 participants from each of these countries. Thailand came in third place with 16 participants. Malaysia (8), Singapore (8), USA (6), China (4), Australia (4), UK (2), France (2), Netherlands (2), Belgium (2), and one participant from Ireland, Philippines, Denmark, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Korea, and Japan also joined the event.
The Naturist Association Thailand had selected Oriental Beach Village Phuket as the venue for the 10th annual NATCON. The resort has the unique advantage of being the only naturist resort in Thailand located directly on a wide, sandy beach. As a result of being chosen, the resort had completely overhauled its premises, improving the existing rooms and increasing their number. Eventually, the resort was able to accommodate 43 guests. The remaining participants were accommodated at the neighboring Sunset Beach Resort Koh Kho Khao. Although this resort was not a naturist resort, the quality of the rooms made up for it to a large extent. During the closing ceremony of NATCON'23, the owner of Oriental Beach Village announced that negotiations had begun with the owner of Sunset Beach Resort to convert it into a naturist resort.
The beach outside both resorts was clean and wide, with no floating garbage. Many participants enjoyed a naked stroll along the beach for a kilometer or two before breakfast, while the sun rose behind the pine trees lining the beach, providing a great way to start the day.
A few participants arrived the day before, but most of them flew into Phuket International Airport on the morning of Saturday, April 29 and were transported to the NATCON'23 venue in waiting minivans arranged by NAT. The official start of the event was at 15:00, where NAT founder Gregers Moller welcomed the participants, along with Paulo Richel, the owner of Oriental Beach Village Phuket.
The afternoon program consisted of briefings from various Asian nations where naturism is gaining ground. Malaysia, India, and Thailand, the flagship among Asian naturist movements, presented their current situations. Thailand reported that membership was increasing again since the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions were lifted. As of NATCON'23, the Naturist Association Thailand had 140 Premium Members, 533 Regular Members, and five Resort Members. Thailand's naturist resorts were also recovering, with the combined occupancy of the five member resorts in the first three months surpassing that of the entire year of 2016. The association predicted that the year would end on the same level as 2019, the last normal year before the pandemic.
The first party night commenced with dancing around and in the pool of Oriental Beach Village, continuing into the tropical night.
The following morning, a sunrise yoga session was offered on the beach. After breakfast, the traditional NATCON games took place, with some new additions due to the location. The classic egg throwing contest and the duck race, also known as 'the blow job,' were complemented by a kite flying contest and a sandcastle building contest. The winners were announced during the evening dinner, and the finals of the egg throwing contest were held the next morning.
Throughout the day, participants had the opportunity to participate in a modeling activity, where six local professional artists sketched or oil painted the posing naturists. The resulting artwork was impressive, and some pieces would be included in a gallery event in Bangkok later that year. For those who preferred relaxation, five Thai masseuses were available with aromatic oils and their skills in twisting and stretching.
After dinner, the night began with a grand bonfire on the beach. Participants were provided with drums in the form of empty plastic paint buckets and other rhythmic instruments. Led by a member armed with a giant cowbell, they danced in a drum circle around the fire. It was a visually and audibly spectacular sight, with almost 100 naked bodies moving rhythmically around the blazing bonfire in the dark tropical night, drumming on the buckets and other improvised instruments. Lanterns with burning candles were eventually released into the dark sky. These lanterns, known as "khom loi," are made of thin material such as rice paper, with a candle attached. When filled with warm air, they float gracefully into the sky as long as the candle is burning.
As the fire turned into glowing charcoal, most participants returned to the resort for a fun and lively party, marking the final night of the event.
The next morning began with a beach walk and yoga on the beach before breakfast. Following breakfast, the finals of the egg throwing contest were held on the beach in front of the resorts.
During the closing speech before noon, Gregers Moller and Paulo Richel expressed their gratitude to the many participants who had attended and revived NATCON as the main naturist event in Asia. They then planted an Indian almond tree on the beach outside the resort as a symbol of NATCON'23. This tree was an offspring from a giant almond tree at Barefeet Naturist Resort in Bangkok and is known for its exceptionally large leaves.
Most members boarded the minivans arranged by NAT going back to Phuket International Airport or the Peace Blue Naturist Resort, Naiharn at the south of Phuket. A few stayed an extra day or two before departing from Phuket Airport to return to their home countries. They all left with the motivation to continue spreading the word about naturism as a great, fun, and harmless lifestyle.
Members can login to enjoy 167 photos from the event here: https://thailandnaturist.com/members/gregers/photos/albums/249/