A Thai naturist movement dating back to 1931 has come to light based on a clipping from the newspaper Bangkok Times from 1931. Click here to read it it Thai!
Here is a raw translation to English:
Yes, we are not kidding, long time ago we already had a naturist club in Thailand where people came to take off their clothes and take sunbath to improve their health.
In Thailand in 1931 there a naturist club was established which had 4000 members. The writer of this article was Gileng Pralongchern who got the information from Mr Rome Bunnag who was a documentary author of the book Damnarn Tungklarngkrung
The founding father of nude sunbathing in Thailand Mr Sarin Foothai
The sunbathing club was not owned by a foreigner but by a Thai man Mr. Sarin Foothai who worked with the Japanese paper Siam Yamamoto in Bangkok. One day a person visited the printer and he and Mr. Sarin had a good talk. They became friends and he invited Mr. Sarin to travel abroad with him. Mr Sarin agreed and during the voyage they were among others in England, where Mr. Sarin tried to be a member of a naturist club.
According to Mr. Sarin, sunbathing nude was a way to release his mind from worries. After he had practiced it for a while, his chronic headache and his slight tuberculosis disappeared. Three years later, after he was back from the trip, he submitted an application to the police to apply for permission to open a sunbathing club. The police was open minded and gave him the permission on the condition that he build a solid wall around the area to protect it from view.
The sunbathing club occupied an area of 4 rai (6400 sq.m.) in Bangkapi. That was at that time far outside Bangkok, but the activity went well. After Mr Sarin advertised it across the country there was about 4000 members of the club. There were 68 regular sunbathers and apart from that members took training in physical exercise. Members had to accept the rules of the club, including abstaining from the use of tobacco.
When you are going naked you are not there to watch the others naked. Actually the purpose of being a naturist was to engage in activity to build up yourself. In the manual how to sunbath it is recommended that you gain maximum from sunbathing if you combine it with physical activity. The sun rays in Thailand are very strong and beneficial for the body. The sun is active from very early until late evening, but the sun rays would be highest value from 17.30 until sunset. Mr Sarin said members of the club got different benefits from practicing nude sunbathing, the old people would get more fresh with a younger heart. The young men will get better shape and become good looking - better than before. Overweight people will slim down and women would get better breast shape.
The sunbathing club got quite popular and did a nice profit. Mr Sarin started expanding the activity and bought more land 100 rai in Bangsue to be the sunbathing club number 2. He also hired a naturist from oversees to be physical trainer.
After the change from absolute monarchy to democracy in Thailand in 1932, Mr. Sarin was investigated by the police if he was harbouring political enemies who would plot a political activity. Mr Sarin was interrogated and after a while he gave up and stopped the Bangsue naturist club project. Next, also the Bangkapi club was closed and then there was no more nude sunbathing club in Thailand.