Thailand: Holiday Paradise in Danger

Thailand: Holiday Paradise in Danger

2019, Environment  -   13 Comments
Ratings: 8.11/10 from 35 users.

From the glossy brochures and flashy advertisements, Thailand appears to have the stuff that vacation dreams are made of. But underneath the spectacular island views, the myriad of sun-drenched beaches and the clear blue waters lays a paradise on the verge of ruin. Thailand: Holiday Paradise in Danger examines the toll that tourist congestion has taken on the natural splendor of the country.

Thailand plays host to over 34 million tourists a year. They come for the paragliding, the underwater adventures, and the chance to lay eyes upon the setting of a famous James Bond film.

But their footprint endangers the very qualities that drew them to the country in the first place. Divers frequently fish their garbage out of the waters. Piles of plastic waste lie deserted on the otherwise pristine sandy beaches. The coral reefs are disintegrating amidst the trampling of millions of feet. The vitality of the ecosystem is dwindling, endangering the quality of life for humans and wildlife alike.

The glorious underwater environment is still teaming with a diverse array of sea life, but the purity of the ocean has diminished substantially just in the past decade. Heaps of garbage can be found on the sea bed, the beautiful coral reefs are eroding, and the surface of the waters play host to masses of untreated sewage and plastic trash. The brilliant blue waters have been clouded.

Through it claimed the lives of over 700 residents and tourists, memories of the catastrophic 2004 tsunami have faded. Little has been done to ensure fewer casualties should another disaster strike. The economic allure of tourism has called for enhanced hotel construction, but there has been no progress in developing satisfactory evacuation plans for any of these structures. Meanwhile, this unprecedented increase in tourism dollars has done little to improve the lives of everyday residents. In short, this level of tourist traffic is unsustainable under the current system.

Thailand: Holiday Paradise in Danger takes a deep dive into the realities of the region - from economics to pollution to climate change - and exposes a corroding ecosystem that might have already reached its breaking point.

Directed by: Johannes Höflich, Jo Angerer

More great documentaries

Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 years ago

92 percent propaganda. Mostly a government greed problem. Clearly most of the plastic pollution is dumped at sea, with govt approval, and washes back in -or - is from some other country washing in; or both.

The slightly further inland garbage claimed to be tourist garbage included car tires and other non-tourist stuff; tourists didn't throw that there. Those locals don't give a rip, that is why it is there. In certain areas on the usa west coast they have clean up days where people (mostly from the big cities who like the coast) volunteer to gather up all the garbage that washed ashore. Trucks haul it to land fills. If the Thai govt bought a few portable plasma burners, installed on larger boats which harvest the floating garbage and also stopped at islands to process their collected garbage, problem solved. For those that don't know, a plasma burner, burns things at such high temperatures there is little left. It can dispose of nerve gas to concrete with rebar and recycle some of the heat to electricity.

If the Thai govt required the tour boat operators to refuse non swimmers, not to use sun screen until after come out of the water, to educate tourist NOT to walk on the coral, of course some wouldn't listen but most would and much of the problems would be greatly improved.

They "could" install an underwater row of large stepping stones or piers to protect the coral and instruct those that must stand to stand on the stones instead of the coral.

If no govt, the problem would be solved much quicker. No govt to protect the offending tour boat operators, that don't train their tourists to respect the rules, from having their boats sunk.

How absurd, the divers claim plastic nets ruin coral but then attach coral to the welded metal structures with PLASTIC zip ties. Use a fiber twine (that eventually breaks down?) like the early on fellow described rope nets as not damaging the coral.

Sewage piped to the sea. Another government problem quickly fixed by the hotel taxes slotted for waste conversion to electricity plants or at least an oxidizer clarifier. It would seem some of the mentioned added heat to the local waters would be from the effluent piped straight to the water which can release heat when it breaks down.

Obviously the Tsunami safety issue a govt problem. That govt, like ALL govts (especially socialist), doesn't care about their own people or the tourists, just the money and power. Yes most things are opposite as the young are taught in the govt indoctrination centers called schools. Nor do hotel operators really care unless built to withstand a Tsunami and anything that T-wave may be carrying with it, like a big steel boat...!

It is always great to see the true color hypocrisy of the know nothing do-gooders who want to get rid of (kill) people en masse to supposedly save the planet, when if all the planet savers would off themselves, their perceived problem would be solved... but not really, the same things would still need to be fixed at some point, albeit more distant.

Govt rarely fixes anything, it causes all the problems because it doesn't care no matter how much it claims it does. Results are what matters, not BS emotional reaction targeting to those they emotionally sensitized in their schools.

3 years ago

I have lived in Thailand for 34 years now, and the destruction of this country in most aspects, has been saddening; to say the least.

3 years ago


"Hear, hear".....spelling correction....g-r-a-m-m-a-r ! :-)

Petra Idalia Hernandez
3 years ago

The once beautiful perfect paradise island of Puerto Rico is pretty much in the same shape, And Mt, Everest now. So it's a bottom-of-the-ocean thing to a top-of-the world-thing. In truth it is already in outer space (heaven?).
Why don't we use the money Trump wants for an anti immigrant fence for an anti tourist invasion into nature's realm? Earth is for people and all other land living beings, the sea is for sea stuff! And neither land nor sea nor heaven is for plastic, cars,man made junk.

3 years ago

O-V-E-R-P-O-P-U-L-A-T-I-O-N...……………….REDUCE human numbers and all these problems vanish.

3 years ago

I hate crowds, so I will not be visiting Thailand sorry ! The actual country is gorgeous & about 300 yrs ago I might have adored this place ! As I always say - too many humans on this planet - we are destroying everything in sight !