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Friday, December 30, 2011

Thai Nudity... no images- culture.

This blog looks at where, why, when nudity in Thailand happens seen from the perspective of a normal Thai National and a European. The blog has been written without nude images in an attempt to make it serious.

As I have commented in previous blogs this month, Thai Culture maintains a rather conservative and traditional form and public nudity in Thailand is rare. When you compare the tabloid newspaper images from Europe with those of a Thai newspaper you can see that Europe is far more at home with topless female images on display every day. In Europe these tabloid papers show a daily diet of provocative and racey images that would not be accepted in Thailand.

Even when many people from outside Thailand point to the well publicised girlie bars, go-go clubs and shows and say this can't be true, the fact remains that the vast majority of Thai culture looks down on, frowns at and rarely gets involved in nudity.

'Thai Face' ensures that only those who have been forced or dropped to the lowest levels and find themselves in the sex industry would show themselves off in public. How you look is of key concern to Thai people and being nude in public is not seen as desirable in anyway.

As in Europe, it would never be seen as a worthwhile drunken prank, to pose nude for a picture or an expression of free will to be nude in public. The European act of nudity of enjoying time with no clothes on in public or at a nudist camp, would be a complete anathema to a Thai National.

Nude or topless beaches in Thailand
I know this is a complicated area of thought and a potential minefield for opinion but in my humble opinion, your average Thai citizen would react as much, and if not a lot more than a European in seeing a nude lady or man. This isn't an issue for tourist in Thailand in the norm except when Europeans visit Thai beaches.

Topless female sun bathing in a hotel or resort is not really seen as the done thing even though it does happen. Most of the time the hotel or resort owners would be too embarrassed to comment to a guest, but take it from me, it is not considered normal.

Nude beaches are not formally sanctioned in Thailand but some beaches are more known as more tolerant than others. Many tourists to Thailand from Europe will go topless but not on the main beaches. When women go topless they will get many admirers and often unwanted attention so these places are typically off the beaten track. The vast majority of Thai men are not used to seeing topless and so nudity creates quite a stir.

By the by....

Thai men and women.

Thai men and women are strong characters when it comes to marriage and living their life. By comparison European men and women share a lot more equal status with their wife's. There is a culture of acceptance among many strong Thai men for having affairs or taking up with a girlfriend while married. This is certainly not the rule but compared to Europe it is more common.

Coffee House sexuality.
The coffee house, often found in an established hotel is a feature in towns where men would go to be sung to /crooned at by Singers, women who, over time, might be asked out on a date by the men in the coffee shop. But this is more sensual entertainment and fully clothed.

Sex outside marriage
It might be argued that there are less cultural barriers to sex in Thailand than in Europe. Older Christian values of sex outside a marriage are similar to Buddhist values but failure to stay faithful in Christian lore brings out emotions of guilt where in Thailand the values it would be more to do with loss of face for your self or within the family.

Girlie Bars.. a go-go entertainment.
There is a lot of nudity inside the streets in places like Patpong in Bangok and Soi Bangla in Patong, Phuket but this is not the focus of this blog subject.

To help promote this blog I have listed the search words with a similar theme
Thai nude
Thailand nude
Thailand nudity
Thai nudity
Thai nudist
Thailand nudist
Thailand nudist beach

No Caveat
Again, these are my personal thoughts on nudity in Thailand.


  1. Nudity was common in the villages 80 years ago and in 1931 a Thai in Bangkok started the first naturist group. It was common for women to be topless and children to run around the village nude and swim n the rivers nude. Thai are not as obsessed with seeing people nude as western people are in their own countries.

    Today there is a naturist organization started by a Thai lady and her foreign husband. It started in 2007 with 5 members and continues to grow past 2000+ members today. Many of the naturist visitors and members have been seen nude on remote beaches by fishermen and passersby as long as the person is not doing anything rude there never has been a problem. When you do this in public, then there are problems. They do not condone being nude in public. Of course the fine for being nude is only 500 baht .

    Today there are 6 member resorts of Naturist Association Thailand Ltd. And over 2000 members which nearly half are Thai. In reality Thai naturism will grow to be a commanding presence in the tourist market place. And Thai naturist membership will grow to the tens of thousands in the coming years. This is evident by the fact that once Thai found out about the Thai naturist organization they join.

    Naturism is an internal desire in humans regardless of their upbringing, religion, friends, family or status in society. It has been stated that 10% of any population has naturism tendencies. Once you let your mind outgrow the media/governmental imposed idea that a naked body is sexual or a sexual statement you can see humans for what they really are and not sexual entities.

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  3. Thank you for your perspective, Bruce, it makes a good read.

    My aim for my blog is to make people aware of social norms in Thailand. It is a mistake for travellers to presume what is normal in Europe would be understood in Thailand.

    Sorry to be slow accepting your comment but I have been in Thailand hanging out with my wife's family again.

    Thank you once again for writing such a thought provoking reply.

  4. I think Thailand presents various inexplicable social contradictions to foreigners when it comes to sex-related issues. Apart from nudity, there's also the matter of commercial sex, in a country that is highly religious and traditional. My very limited understanding is that this has something to do with the country's Buddhist nature. While Buddhism does not encourage such acts, neither does it overtly condemn. Instead, the precepts of tolerance, understanding, and compassion are encouraged. For the common Thai, my guess is that he/she would not despise someone forced to bare her body to make a living, but would certainly frown when someone does it for fun.

    But this is just my very layman perception.