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Older and archives of samui and thailand news

We thought that you would appreciate of being able to read the older Samui (and beyond) news any time. We display them throughout the year to let you be aware of life on the island. Some of the news contain useful information and tips. These are the reasons why we decided to make them available to you from now on.
Have a good reading!     ;-)

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January 22nd, 2004
Chinese New Year!
On January 22nd, the Chinese enter the Year of the Monkey, and Samui is not left over, since from 21st till 25th of January, you will be able to attend various celebrations on the island. During these few days, you will be able to see numerous parades in the main towns of the island, but the best moment of the festival will take place on the 24th at the end of the day in Nathon's Chinese temple. Chinese dances with the "Singto" (dances of the lions) and other interesting spectacles, such as for example, a walk on glowing embers of a big fire or, you will even be able to see there some people fallen in a trance and having their cheeks pierced through with a long metal stick (see photo). An opportunity not to be missed!

December 11th, 2003
Thai TV Upgrade
Thai TV channel eleven has, until recently been very difficult to pick up here on Koh Samui. But now, thanks to the construction of a new base station in the mountains, the channel will be available to all viewers by tuning into UHF and using the television's auto search function. Those with an antenna on their roof should point it towards the mountains for the best reception, but those with a smaller aerial should also receive a reasonable signal. Another Thai channel, ITV, also plan is to build a base station on Koh Samui in order to give their broadcast a stronger signal around the island.

Source: Community Magazine

December 10th, 2003
Spa Law Changes
The lack of specific laws governing the large number of health spas found all over Samui and beyond, has led to a cooperation between the Koh Samui Spa Club and the central Thai government. Health spas are currently subject to the same laws as dubious massage parlours, which has caused both confusion and consternation for those involved in the modern health industry on the island. There are currently around 30 such spas operating here, and this represents a significant income for the region. New laws are therefore being discussed and written, with the aim of standardizing spa practices and services, while also distinguishing the new centres from their somewhat less holistic cousins.

Source: Community Magazine

December 7th, 2003
East meets West
The current trend toward creating transport links between Southern Thailand's two coastlines continues. Big spending Bangkok Airways recently joined the crusade by adding a Bangkok-Krabi-Koh Samui flight to their list of new routes, with two flights a day out of the capital, and one leaving Samui in the return direction. The airline company will run both their 120-seater Boeing, and their 760 ATR planes on the route, and are launching the service with two special promotions. From Sunday to Thursday they are offering a special two person price of 6500 baht on the Bangkok-Krabi section of the flight, and from Nov 1 to 15 December, the price of a round trip flight from Krabi-Samui will be 3540 baht.

Source: Community Magazine

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November 15th, 2003
Thai Airways to fly to Samui
Thai Airways planes are coming to Koh Samui, and flights were scheduled from 26 October. The agreement may not be permanent, however, due to a number of factors, many of which have been raised with the government by Mr Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth, the CEO of Bangkok Airways, who own Samui's only airport. Mr Prasert challenged Thai Airways original plans to fly in their 197 seater Boeing 737 jets to Samui, based on the fact that these aircraft exceed the runway's 57.71 tonne weight limit by 38%. He also questioned the planned time of the flights, which were scheduled for later than 9pm at night. The estimated cost to Thai Airways of landing a plane on Koh Samui is 150 000 baht per flight, meaning that tickets cost around 6800 baht. This has caused several business people on Samui to suggested that it might be more effective for the national airline to purchase a high speed boat, such as those used in Australia, and then continue their flights to Suratthani with a connecting land and sea transfer service. An additional argument put forward by Mr Prasert, is that with air travel accounting for just 30-40% of arrivals on the island, it would be better to improve land and sea access before increasing the number of planes. The future of the Thai Airways service seems unclear after the agreed period, which ends on 27 March 2004.

Source: Community Magazine

November 14th, 2003
New ferries on both Samui routes
Both the Seatran and Raja Ferry companies recently invested large sums to purchase brand new European built ferry liners. The new vessels will operate on the two Donsak to Samui routes, and are expected to further improve the new services that have been much better since an element of competition was introduced to the island's sea transport operations. Sea passengers account for 60 - 70% of arrivals to Koh Samui, making an easy and efficient service very important to the island's trade and tourism interests.

Source: Community Magazine

November 14th, 2003
Tenacious Turtles
Three years ago a colony of turtles began laying their eggs on a beach in Koh Samui where government health minister Khun Sudarat also owns a house.
After repeatedly witnessing the destruction of these eggs, which fell foul to stray dogs and insects, the minister decided to take action. Last year, she rallied local people to collect the turtle eggs and transport them to the Samui aquarium. Forty seven baby turtles were born earlier this year, and once they were strong enough, received special micro chip implants before being released back into the waters around Samui. The chips are specially designed to help track the turtles, but also seem to deter fishermen from killing them, because the Fisheries Department buy back those animals which they have tagged for tracking purposes. A 5kg specimen was recently found and bought from fisherman in a village in Suratthani, and from his implant was found to have been released five years earlier in Pattaya!

Source: Community Magazine

October 25th, 2003
Pouring rain...
Whereas since last year Samui rather knew drought - this for the greatest enjoyment of suntanning lovers but not for the water company which supplies with this invaluable liquid the homes of the island mainly by collecting rainwater - in any case this last week will have been very soaked, like seldom even in monsoon period, but fortunately it looks like there is an abatement...
Indeed, it rained almost without stopping these last days and some small floods occurred locally, in Nathon and Chaweng, but nothing serious. You can imagine what it's like from the photograph above...

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October 20th, 2003
Did you know?
Transit tours. Arriving passengers at Bangkok International Airport with between five and 12 hours transit time can enjoy a Bangkok Transit Tour jointly offered by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Association of Thai Travel Agents. Contact the counters located near the transfer desks in terminals 1 and 2 and sign up to visit Bangkok's main attractions. Passengers on this tour do not have to pay the 500-baht airport tax.

Source: Sawasdee magazine-October 2003, by Thai Airways International Public Company Ltd.

October 5th, 2003
Immigration fees raised
The Immigration Office raises its fees but also its services...
Since last August 26th, the visas fees for Thailand as well as the immigration services fees raised, for example, the extension of a visa, which in the past costed 500 baht, passes to 1'900 baht! As a result, Samui's Immigration will propose new services, for example, regular visits to the nearby islands of Koh Pha-Ngan and Koh Tao which lack it, in order to help the tourists in their visa extension demands, it is necessary indeed to justify increase...

September 29th, 2003
The Samui Tunnel?
Eight page proposal for an undersea tunnel from Suratthani to Koh Samui was presented to Khun Somkid Jaturapitak, assistant to the Prime Minister, during his visit to Koh Samui on August 8.
The proposal outlined the current demand and recommended cooperation from western country such as the UK, Germany or China in the construction of the tunnel. Two ferry lines currently operate ten boats to the island with 23 crossings a day and an average of 4100 passengers. Between 1000 and 1500 cars arrive and leave the island, as well 100.000 tonnes of goods and 1.8 million litres of gas per month.
Initial studies show 1 km deep granit base, and the proposal suggested an electric train line as the most suitable form of transport on the route.

August 22th, 2003
Samui Carnival Pay Out
Bangkok Airways recently anounced profits from the first Samui Carnival, which was held in July. At a ceremony held on 16 August in the Samui Palm Beach resort, Dr. Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth, President & CEO Bangkok Airways, provided figures for entrance fee takings, which amounted to 968.900 Baht, and the game zone, which brought in 157.390 baht. He also announced details of donations made to Koh Samui that included the local municipality office, who received 150.000 baht, the Police force, who also received 150.000 baht and locals schools, who received 518.900 baht.
The remaining funds have been allocated to the Tourism Association Koh Samui for continued promotional activities and marketing campaigns tha thelp raise the profile of the island.
Bangkok Airways invested a significant sum to stage the Samui Carnival during a time when tourist numbers were down. Their financial and practical involvement, as well as the subsequent donations, showed their strong commitment to Koh Samui as a destination.

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