On January 15th, 2024, the Phra Nakhon District Office stated to the public regarding viral images of two foreign tourists in a bikini sunbathing at Sanam Luang, Bangkok, causing controversy on Thai social media.
The Phra Nakhon District Office publicly revealed that the case happened on December 29th, 2023, and Phra Nakhon municipal police were immediately dispatched to the scene after receiving a report. The two foreign tourists were warned and agreed to follow the instructions.
The Phra Nakhon District Office promised to put information signs in the area to prevent future incidents.
Recently, on January 15th, Thai national media interviewed Phra Phayom Kalayano, the abbot of Wat Suan Kaew, regarding the incident in Chiang Mai. Phra Phayom stated that it was a cultural difference and a lack of understanding of Thai cultural traditions.
Phra Phayom also gave his insight that Thai people should not be angry or insulted but gradually inform them with logic.
“Temple officials may explain to them that Thai culture does not widely accept such behaviors. There would be no second time after being warned and given an explanation regarding appropriateness,” concluded Phra Phayom.
The incidents caused widespread anger and calls for the tourists to be held accountable on Thai social media although as stated temple and government officials have taken a softer tone, saying the tourists didn’t purposely mean to cause offense and it was better to educate tourists on why such an act could offend people versus push for legal action or deportation which could harm tourism.