Friday, June 10, 2016

Naturism in Thailand and beyond

Today, June 10 marks the opening of the 5th International Naturist and Nudist Conference in Thailand, hosted by the Naturist Association of Thailand on a lake.
The choice of site is original, and in many ways the association itself is also groundbreaking. Naturism has for too long been thought of as a mainly European, overwhelmingly Caucasian affair. Virtually each European country now has free clothing-optional beaches, naturist hotels or at least resorts where one can play sports, walk, run, swim, eat or just sunbathe naked.
Naturism also exists in other continents, in Latin America, in South Africa, and of course in Australia and New Zealand, the latter playing host to the International Naturist Federation's world congress in November this year.
Yet Thailand is the spearhead of an effort to make naturism more acceptable in Asia, and it is working. Since its inception years ago, NAT has been successful in converting more resort operators in the Southeast Asian country - one of the world's top holiday destinations - to give naturism a chance.
According to the NAT website,, at least two new resorts are likely to open in the near future, the first on the popular island of Phuket, the other west of Bangkok. That comes in addition to those already in existence in other tourist destinations like Pattaya, Chiang Mai and the Bangkok region.
One of the features of this weekend's three-day conference is that NAT is also looking beyond Thailand to help local naturists set up similar associations in other Asian countries, such as India.
Residing in Taiwan, I know what the problems are. Public nudity is banned in most countries in the area, and even topless bathing is unseen or frowned upon. Add to that, the fear of many Asians of the hot sun in their countries, driving them away from beaches, and the beauty ideal which says that a white skin is more beautiful than a healthy tan.
Topless bathing and naturism are also not allowed in Thailand, but because the naturist resorts are shut off from the outside world, they are legal, as the nudity is not deemed public.
The more than 50 delegates from over a dozen countries present at the Thai conference will enjoy water games and a trip on rafts, but they will also discuss the situation of naturism in India, the Southeast Asian ASEAN nations, and other countries.
Last June 5 was World Naturism Day, this weekend sees NATCON 2016 in Thailand and many World Naked Bike Rides across the globe, leading into the summer, which should see naturist activities all over the world.
Now is the best time to prepare for more naturism, and try it during your holiday, even if it's just an hour on a free beach somewhere.

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