Plane spotting, photo shoots at Thailand’s controversial airport beach

25-Jun-2019 Intellasia | CNN | 6:02 AM Print This Post

It’s 9:55 a.m. and all’s quiet on Phuket’s Mai Khao Beach.

Tourists stand on the shoreline, scanning the cloud-free skies for approaching aircraft, some looking at their phones for flight data.

As the blurry form in the distance begins to take shape, the crowds scatter across the light brown sand, which is already scorching in the 35-degree Celsius heat. A dozen or so more visitors rush out from the shelter of nearby trees to claim their spots on the shore.

Partners, family members and friends dutifully squat down, phones and cameras at the ready.

The plane is now fully visible and the crowd freezes in place, almost in unison. Some pose outlandishly, waving their arms, others morph into their best swimsuit model impressions.

Then, the roar of the Thai Airways Boeing 747 cuts through the air as it glides in overhead before touching down at its destinationPhuket International Airport.

Scenes like this play out every 10 to 15 minutes on average depending on the season, earning Mai Khao Beach a reputation as one of Asia’s top plane spotting locations.

Though many visitors come to pose for photographs, there’s plenty of action for genuine aviation geeks as well. According to Airports of Thailand flight data, 116,487 flightsboth international and domesticmoved through Phuket International Airport in 2019.

“I know of enthusiasts who travel from all over the world to visit, and the variety of aircraft you’ll see is pretty impressive owing to the popularity of Phuket as a resort,” says Matt Falcus, founder of and author of the World Airports Spotting Guides.


Category: Thailand

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