Bigger look: Northern Pattaya beach in Chon Buri, now widened by construction of a sandfill to combat natural erosion.
CHON BURI: Pattaya beach is attracting more people since a sandfill extension built at its northern end widened the restored end back to its original 35 metres.
The Marine Department hired a contractor to improve the landscape and extend the beach under a beach “nourishment” scheme after a survey highlighted major erosion along the 2.7km Pattaya beach, from the northern end to the southern.
So far, the beach has been expanded with the addition of extra sand along a distance of more than 400 metres, starting from the northern end, both restoring and widening it.
More holidaymakers can be seen each day enjoying the restored strip, boosting the tourist atmosphere of the resort town.
The beach’s restoration was originally scheduled to begin in late September 2016 and be completed in March 2017.
However, in February the director of the 6th Marine Region Office in Pattaya, Ekkarat Khanthano, announced the 429-million-baht beach restoration scheme was still on hold because of the scarcity of sources of new sand.
This was finally solved by taking sand from Koh Rang Kwian, an island about 10km from nearby Koh Larn. It has the same kind of sand as Pattaya and is not a tourist island.
About 360,000 cubic metres of sand are required for the 2.8km project, which ranges from the Dusit Thani Hotel in North Pattaya to Walking Street at the southern end of the city.
Overall, it is planned to increase the beach width to 50m, and is aimed at combating natural erosion, Mr Ekkarat said. Without restoration and constant maintenance Pattaya beach was at risk of disappearing, he added.
Pattaya is one of 10 beaches likely to be lost within a decade unless drastic measures are taken to prevent chronic erosion, according to an official survey in 2016.
Some sections of the sandy beachfront have receded to only 2-3 metres, compared with 35m in the past.
Thailand has 23 seaside provinces with a coastline stretching 2,000km along the Gulf of Thailand and 1,000km along the Andaman Sea.
Of this total, some 670km of shoreline is being eroded away at an average 5m a year, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.