Being nude in Asia

Asians have had a long history of nudity in their lifestyles throughout both the ancient and relatively modern ages. However, it's almost impossible for a woman to take their tops off on a beach, let alone find a nudist beach in Asia today. Granted, there are a very few countries like Thailand where there are a few nudist venues and where nudism is for the most part, tolerated, but those are too few an exception. This is of course ridiculous because not only of our history of nudity but because most of our countries have incredible nature and experience wonderful weather throughout the year, all perfect to get naked in. Why has this come about? How are we coping with it?

There are many reasons for our incredible aversion to nudity and it would take another blog to discuss those. But from living in my country alone (Sri Lanka) and having studied its history, I know that a lot of these prudish attitudes came into being after the British invasion of the 19th century. We had a monarchical system here before which, apart from its feudalistic and imperialistic facades, did have a good tolerance of nudity. Women in villages used to go fully topless without anyone caring, dancers performed topless in palaces and royal events all the time and Art often depicted full-on nudity sans censorship of any form. It was after the British enforced their Victorian moralities that things began to change. They have since moved on from this prudishness, but many of our countries are still stuck in the 19th century.

I'm not saying that the British are the only reason for our negative attitudes to nudity, but they were a main contributing factor. Today, we are forced to be nudists only in our homes, not daring to go nude even in our own backyards for fear of persecution. We practice in secret, meet in secret and have become a taboo community who will be vilified if ever caught. It really is sad but the young generation at least, seems a bit more immune from their parent's ultra-textile attitudes. One can only hope that this generation will grow-up and embrace nudism for what it really is, at least from online communities like this, and make our continent a more nude-friendly zone. But then again, it's a long way to go and so very few people to travel with..

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68 thoughts on “Being nude in Asia”

    • Can you explain for which (various) circumstances the 500 baht fine had to be paid? Was anyone taken to a police station? If so, was one transferred to a court office? For other misdemeanors such as card playing (though considered low level gambling, the penalty is already higher), this may occur and one pays the amount of the fine at the court office. That is however, in fact a bail and later on the judge will usually come to a verdict without presence or representation of the Thai player, convicting to a fine of the same amount. If this would happen to a foreigner, I'm pretty sure it would be noticed thereafter by officers considering to grant a visa or an extension of stay…

      Even at a Royal Thai Police station, e.g. an Immigration Office, the document one has to sign at paying a fine, includes a phrase by which one admits being guilty at … – this input space was even left blank when I was presented one to sign. In fact, the form was made out on the name of a Thai friend who had not reported my staying 'over 24 hours' at his property and therefore had to pay 2,000 baht, which I was willing to pay for him; after my pointing out the confusion, it was properly filled in (otherwise they could have put "murder" though that's probably not so cheap) and he signed the document.

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    • Indeed, by section 388 of the Criminal Code. I never had to pay it. The problem might be that it could come with a criminal record, which usually can be avoided for traffic violations with similar fines. I don't think one can use any Title IX section against nudity in Thailand; nevertheless, by reading the text of article 385 of the Belgian Criminal Code, it's not obvious that judges could possibly convict true and discreet naturists – but they do.

      In this context, by 'publicly' I did not mean in the middle of a market square. It might be actually allowed to be seen on an indicated naturist beach, or hardly ever possibly seen by others than a group of naturists on a remote but publicly accessible beach. So far, in Thailand only the latter is thinkable for a very tiny group of a few persons, in only very few places and there not at all times – and still at risk of the section 388 penalty.

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  1. Considering the present state of the government in Thailand we are happy where we are right now. Like I said we are only 10 years old this year and have made tremendous progress considering the circumstances of the geo/political area we live in. Consider where the USA was ten years after naturism started there.

    I don't know what are normal levels for prices at any resort, and I have been visiting here for 20 years and living here for 5. Prices will level out and places will charge what the market will bare, as is the case in any market place. If it is too expensive for you find some remote resort on an island and you can probably swim and sun nude.

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    • I already found four suitable mainland beaches (thus with much less transportation and staying costs than on islands); two of them have a simple (non naturist) resort immediately at the beach. But that's on the very, very long Thai coastlines, which I had followed and explored as much as possible for their entire lengths – it took me 15 years of my visits. And as I had mentioned on April 22, discretion remains compulsory: in behaviour there as well as in maintaining a low number of visitors and not publishing locations. Naturism as social gathering, is as yet not publicly possible in Thailand.

      In the last 25 years, I also explored numerous inland lakes. These are mainly created as water reservoirs, thus with few places for easy access and then hardly ever suitable for nude swimming. Rivers tend to be flowing too rapidly or are in full sight. Just occasionally, one may find a temporary opportunity. Several not too easily accessible waterfall pools did allow me a nicely refreshing dip as well.

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  2. Very nice read!
    Many Asian countries are indeed still stuck with leftovers from their colonists, and prudery is unfortunately such a leftover.
    But we hope that this will change soon. Thailand has already noticed the economical opportunities of attracting nudists and probably other countries with similar weather will follow soon..

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    • Thank you very much guys, always great to hear some nice feedback! 🙂 Yes Thailand is indeed a very good example for other countries like my own to follow, but the politics of our countries don't really even have any room for debate for lifestyles like nudism, cultural/religious powers always make sure of that. But one can always hope of course, and I'm just one of them! 🙂

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    • Thailand is not attracting nudists. There are a few private naturist resorts — indecently overpriced. All Thai beaches are public (though one or two might be difficult to get to by public ways) and therefore nudity is <i>not</i> permitted. It means, there are no official or busy nude beaches.

      Thai are not actually prude but regard wearing clothes as a normally expected sign of respect. That's why visiting certain offices in shorts or sandals is not allowed. Nudity is seen as utter disrespect. But some Thai are well aware of westerners having different ways and tend to accept it, provided the westerners are generally known to behave respectfully to them and remain discreet.

      If too many naturists would visit a somewhat secluded beach, thus attracting the attention beyond a small local community of tolerant Thais, police action would still have to be expected soon… Slight indiscretions might initially cause police to talk to locals, for putting a stop to it. Naturists should be aware of the locals really not wanting to lose face by such reprimands and their uneasiness for having to bring up the subject with their customer(s).

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      • I am sorry to disagree but Thailand is gaining members both Thai and visiting naturists. Naturist resorts are being planned and developed by Thai. Don't expect Thailand to be at the level of Europe or Australia, we have only been doing this in an organized fashion since 2007. But our roots go back to 1931 when the first naturist group was started by a Thai.

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        • As I said: a few private naturist resorts. About five years ago, their number had increased to… <i>five</i>, in a country as large and more populous than France. At least of the one near Cha-Am, even immediate neighbours did not know that the resort (five very simple small bungalows with common kitchen area and very small pool), contained <i>nude</i> people.

          I looked for the prices also of the others, and compared them with non-naturist resorts that offered otherwise similar comfort and facilities in a comparable location: 2 to 4 times the rate that I need to pay. Of course also some 'normal' resorts are overpriced, but I can easily avoid those and don't spend that much extra for saving on swimwear.

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