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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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December 26th, 2004
TAT Trips
Last TAT stand at ITB International Tourism Exchange in Berlin From 11th to 15th March next year the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) on Koh Samui will again be sending a team to the ITB travel show in Berlin, Germany. This will be the fifth time that Samui has been represented at the fair, and due to the success of previous visits, the TAT has reserved a larger stand than usual at next year's event. The Samui stand will be specially designed and decorated to stand out from other destinations, and anyone who wishes to promote their products or services at the show should contact them as soon as possible to make an application. A pre-ITB exhibition is also taking place in Stockholm on 8th and 9th of March, at which Samui will also be represented.

Source: Community Magazine



December 22nd, 2004
Promoting Samui's Spas
The magic is real! Khun Vichit Vichaisan, the governor of Suratthani says that he wants Koh Samui to become the spa capital of Asia following the recent issue of 35 special government licenses to establishments on the island. In recognition of the industry's importance in the region, and in order to promote the spa industry further, the Suratthani government recently provided a budget of one million baht, which was given to the Spa Association for the marketing and promotion of the island as an international spa destination. Recent statistics show that around 120'000 people a year currently use Samui's spa facilities, and this represents a revenue of more than 600 million baht. This makes the health and spa sector one of the island's fastest growing businesses streams, and one that certainly provides tourists with a very good reason to come to Koh Samui.

Source: Community Magazine


December 16th, 2004
Samui the Safest for food
Clean Food, Good Taste on Samui! Koh Samui is the first district in Suratthani to be given a 100% clean bill of health and food safety by the Public Health Department. After an extensive series of inspections, the island's restaurants, stalls, and producers are all now certified as clean and chemical free, and statistics released by the inspection team make for some impressive results. In total, 99.39% of street vendors' stalls passed the inspections, as did 93.55% of small food outlets and 99.91% of fresh food market stalls. At the end of what has been a lenghty process, the Ministry issued official health certificates to 8 butchers, 298 food suppliers, and 307 street vendors, as well as to all three of the island's fresh food markets. The only task left for all these certified businesses therefore is to maintain the excellent standards that earned them their pass so that Samui continues to be a leader in food safety in the region.

Source: Community Magazine


December 14th, 2004
Underwater World
Help preserve the islands' reefs by more awareness of the fragile nature of the marine world... Due to the success of the Koh Tao Diving Association’s ‘Underwater World’ occasion earlier this year, the island plans to repeat the occasion on an annual basis. Khun Wichit Si Sang, the Director of the association says that with Koh Tao now certifying five thousand new divers every year, events like ‘Underwater World’ are important promotional tools, and also help to protect the environment through the collection of rubbish at many of the popular dive sites in the region. The event will take place in early February, and it is hoped that greater awareness of the fragile nature of the marine world will also help preserve the island’s reefs for future generations to enjoy.

Source: Community Magazine


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December 7th, 2004
Marine Park Closed
Angthong, also called The Golden Bowl, will soon re-open Mr Somkiat Luang Bumrung, the Director of the Angthong National Marine Park would like to inform our visitors that the park will be closed until the end of December, as volatile weather conditions can make travelling by boat to the area dangerous. November and December are also generally reserved for the regeneration of forest and marine life on the main islands, which attract a large number of day visitors throughout the rest of the year.
The Marine Park will re-open in January.

Source: Community Magazine




December 1st, 2004
Long Live His Majesty The King
Good wishes to His Majesty King Bhumipol Adulyadej of Thailand, on his Birthday December 5th, 2004. King's Birthday, photos of the King and the royal family everywhere December 5th is an important day in the Thai calendar because this is the day the country celebrates the birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the monarch of Thailand. It is also regarded as a National Day. On another count, it is proclaimed National Father's Day. The implication of December 5th therefore underlines the contribution and compassion His Majesty the King makes to and has for his subjects. The significant name of Bhumibol Adulyadej, meaning Strength of the Land Incomparable Power, became prophetic as his Reign advances through various critical periods and the Thai nation evolves more and more around the Throne as the sole sources of unity and strength.
Without the slightest doubt, he is regarded as father of the Nation.






November 25th, 2004
Loy Krathong Festival
Thailand's loveliest and most romantic festival Every year, on the full-moon night of the 12th lunar month, Thailand celebrates Loy Krathong also known as the “festival of lights”. On this evening, the country's waterways - rivers, canals, even hotel swimming pools - turn into a sea of dazzling lights. The lights come from small floats that carry people's cares downstream. This year Loy Krathong falls on November 26th. Loy means to float, and krathong means a “leaf cup”. Hence, most floating objects you see during the Loy Krathong night are flowers formed like cups, or artificial lotus petals shaped like cups. Loy Krathong is a colorful event, and many people call it Thailand's loveliest festival. To mark the occasion, Thai women wear resplendent, colorful traditional attire, and festoon their hair with flowers. Explanation of the festival's significance varies. There are those who say that as the floats embark on their journey, they take with them the owner's misfortunes and believe this is a way of sloughing off one's sins as well. On a lighter note, it is also believed that lovers can tell their romantic fortunes by watching their krathong float together downstream. As far as lovers are concerned, a pair of krathong sticking together into the darkness promises lifelong partnership... You don't need to believe the myth and philosophy behind it. But as a Samui guest, try not to miss this interesting festival. Most hotels have their own Loy Krathong celebrations complete with rituals, dinner and entertainment.


November 22nd, 2004
Laos to Copy Samui Spas
Let you pamper by one of Samui's world renown peaceful haven spas... A delegation from Laos visited Samui recently as guests of the island’s Spa association. Laos is hoping to expand its Spa industry and Koh Samui is seen as a model for the development of health businesses in the region. The delegation was taken to a number of Spas around the island where they were shown various design concepts, and also introduced to treatments and natural ingredients used in the various therapies. Khun Wilawan, the president of the Samui Spa Association welcomed the Laotian delegation, who expressed their admiration for Samui’s successful and sophisticated approach to the Spa industry.

Source: Community Magazine




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November 19th, 2004
Twin Town Visit
Jiuzhou-Wenchang Temple in the Guang Xi province, China. Image by courtesy of http://community.webshots.com/user/cathyh1108, author Cathy The district governor of China’s Guang Xi province recently met with his opposite number in Suratthani to cement a sister agreement signed by the two provinces earlier this year. A thirteen strong delegation from the Chinese city discussed ways to improve trade, tourism, and cultural exchange between the two regions as both Suratthani and Guang Xi provinces are similar in terms of their size and population. China represents huge potential in terms of boosting the Suratthani economy, and the first project to be initiated will involve the export of more than a thousand tonnes of “school rambutan” which are famous throughout Thailand for their succulence. In addition, fifty direct flights will bring around five thousand Chinese tourists to Suratthani a year, many of whom will also visit Koh Samui. Together these projects represent revenues of around fifty million baht, and both governors expressed their hopes for a profitable and mutually beneficial relationship for the future.

Source: Community Magazine


October 13th, 2004
My Retreat at Suan Mokkh International
The last day souvenir photo of the participants with on the back Ajarn Poh (left) and Tan Medhi (right) sitting in front of the main meditation hall Recently I ended a ten-day Buddhist meditation retreat at Suan Mokkh International, Chaiya, 50 km to the north of Suratthani. It has been a lifetime and unique experience. I tasted a peace which is a happiness that is beyond conventional happiness and my stay helped me along the path of my personal discovery. I also developed self-discipline and a compassionate understanding for all beings. For sure my stay there makes me contributes now to a happier and more peaceful world for me and my friends - human, animal, plant - and even things that are "non-living".
Suan Mokkh means "Garden of Liberation". It was founded in 1932 by Ajarn Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, a monk inspired by the Dhamma found in the original Pali scriptures (Pali is the language in which the Buddha taught). Originally intended as a small forest area for vipassana practice, Suan Mokkh has become a unique and influential teaching monastery. Since 1985, under the guidance of Ajarn Poh, the abbot, the International Dharma Hermitage has been offering regular courses to foreigners in two inter-related subjects: anapanasati (mindfulness with breathing) meditation technique and Dhamma Talks. Experience and understanding. Dhamma practice is for every human life, outside the monastery as well as inside; its teachings are not presented as religious articles of faith, but as helpful support for the meditation practice. Suan Mokkh has always tried to be a place where one can live in a simple, calm way that is intimate with nature. The coconut grove and the reflecting ponds have a calming effect. Nature is always there to reveal its truth to us and when that truth is understood, the mind becomes peaceful again. Their deep belief in simple living shows in the food (Thai-style vegetarian) and accommodations (simple, basic private rooms in a dormitory setting; a straw mat, wooden pillow, mosquito net and blanket are provided). The retreat not only is beneficial for the mind but also for the body: at the monastery, there is a yoga and exercise time in the morning, and last but not least, there are natural hot springs as well. The men and women have two separate areas to enjoy the relaxing warmth of the natural spring water. During the retreat we are asked to keep silent with mindfulness and wisdom, in order to quiet our mind and maintain a quiet, peaceful environment for everyone. This can be difficult at times, but most people find it a powerful and wonderful experience.
Therefore, I can highly recommend this retreat to those who want to understand the underlying principles of meditation and explore their mind.

More information about Suan Mokkh meditation retreats
(please do not E-mail us concerning retreats)



September 29th, 2004
Society - Tempting Fate
Try and use the laws of Kharma to create positive reactions in our lives... Is life such a risk? It is definitely true that some people certainly seem to face a constant battle to survive from the moment they are born. The chances of having an accident, falling ill or facing shortages in this world appear very high for most of its population, and those who never experience such misfortunes in their life are considered lucky indeed. In almost every culture, people employ charms and symbols, or participate in rituals to bring them good luck and protect them from the worst. In Thailand, our daily lives are certainly influenced by such beliefs, and most people take precautions with their destiny by wearing amulets around their necks, building houses for their spirits, and regularly making merit at the temple. During festivals or cultural events, people also ask for blessings, and perform special ceremonies to ensure that things go smoothly, and when a team is playing or numbers are picked for the lottery, thoughts and hearts turn once again towards fate and good luck. Nature undoubtedly plays her part in all of our destinies, and when you read or watch the news, natural disasters such as the recent floods that left so many people destitute in South Asia, seem to always be on the increase. Yet even these tragic events are not without cause, and all but the most extreme cases of misfortune can often be avoided, or at least lessened, with foresight.
One of the fundamental principles of Buddhist belief is the concept of Kharma, which states that every action has an equal and corresponding reaction. Unfortunately, many people tend to view this notion in a negative light, which may explain why they rely so heavily on luck to help them survive. If you treat people badly, you too will be treated badly, if you damage property, your property will be damaged, if you steal, you will be robbed, but if you do all these things with a talisman in your pocket, you may escape the consequences. Instead of trying to cheat fate in this way, Buddhist teachers would tell us to try and use the laws of Kharma to create positive reactions in our lives. In this way, if you love someone, you will be loved, if you take care of nature, it will offer you abundance, if you are generous, you will enjoy the generosity of others - with or without luck. Many of the people around the world can no longer afford to make these choices, their leaders, ancestors, and in many cases conquerors, made the wrong ones for them, and now they are left with little but their charms and prayers. But here on Samui, we are constantly given the chance to influence our fortunes, and as the island grows, the choices we make have ever greater results. If we protect the sea, it will be full of fish and provide food and recreation for visitors, if we build around the trees rather than cutting them down, they will hold fresh water in the ground, and keep the island looking green and attractive, if we respect and look after local people, they will embrace change, and adapt with the island to make it more successful. Good kharma requires a conscious effort, and the way we act now, will create whatever future it is that we truly deserve.

Source: Community Magazine


September 22nd, 2004
Top Level Suratthani Visit
A recent meeting of Thailand's PM, Shinawatra Taksin with UNO's General Secretary, Kofi Annan, in Bangkok Suratthani recently played host to Dr Taksin Shinawatra on an official visit that included Suratthani City, Koh Lumphu on the Tapee River, and a new recreational park outside the city. Local Ministers were joined by around three thousand people, who welcomed him to the province and also presented the Prime Minister with the new Suratthani City and Province Plan. The plan requires a budget of 1255 million baht and includes 72 million for the development of Koh Tao, 448 million for Samui's Nathon Town, 328 million for a water project in Suratthani, and 234 million to develop swampland in the area. The plan also features a project to build a gas pipeline from the port town of Khanom, wich will be managed by the Energy Ministry. Mr Taksin said that the proposals were sensible, and the budget reasonable compared with other provinces. He also stressed the importance of a reliable water and electricity supply, and said that Suratthani should focus on becoming a major tourist destination and transport hub for the south of Thailand. During his visit, Dr Shinawatra also referred to many other plans and policies currently being applied in the region, including on Koh Samui, which he said has already fallen foul to some regrettable mistakes. Not surprisingly, he made reference to high airfares to the island, and once again reiterated the plan to build a second airport. He also spoke of rejuvenating dead coral using technology from abroad. According to Dr Taksin, Suratthani province is an important strategic location for Thailand, and his government is therefore prepared to provide additional public investment, should founds in the budget dry up. He referred to a project in Chonburi that converts rubbish into electricity, and may be suitable for Koh Phangan. The visit was hailed a great success by provincial leaders, who are now no doubt hoping that their good leader's words are quickly translated into cash.

Source: Community Magazine


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September 13th, 2004
Restored Tourist Pagoda
Laem Sor Pagoda The Laem Sor Pagoda or Chedi is already a famous Samui landmark, and the site is visited by thousands of tourists from all over the world. There is, however, another even older pagoda located on a small hill close by, and this is now being restored in order to attract more tourists to this part of the island. In a special arrangement with a temple in India, ancient bones believed to belong to the Lord Buddha himself will then be transported to Koh Samui and placed inside the pagoda. This will make Laem Sor not only a very holy and revered pagoda, but also an interesting anthropological location for pilgrims and tourists alike. It will also help preserve traditional culture on an island that is in danger of losing its original symbols and beliefs.

Source: Community Magazine





September 3rd, 2004
The Story Behind The Big Buddha
Visitors have seen its splendor but few have heard of its story Based on size, nothing beats the Big Buddha image as Samui's premiere attraction. The 15-metre-tall statue is the most visited site on Samui. But few visitors know the story behind the titanic image on the tiny island of Koh Faen, connected to the mainland (Koh Samui) by a causeway. Before the building of the image, access to Koh Faen was limited to either boat at high tide or by walking accross the mud flats at low tide. There's a story on how Koh Faen got its name. The tale has it that a hunter and his dog were walking on the beach on the mainland fronting the island when a faen (small deer) crossed their way. The hunter and his dog chased the deer on the beach but before they could grab it, the deer jumped into the salty water and swam straight to the island. They followed but found no trace of the animal on the very small island. As time went, the island became Koh Faen or island of the deer. And it became a popular belief that the deer that disappeared on the island was a "guardian spirit" keeping watch over the place. The two-acre islet became a cremation site for children under seven years old. But in 1920, a head monk in Chaweng felt it was a good idea to build a monastery with a pagoda on the site. As construction began, the monk got ill and died. And the whole plan was set aside. Fifty years later a new monk, Phrakru Santinontakoon, revived the project. Instead of a pagoda, he decided to build a big statue of the Buddha. Construction began in 1972 and in roughly three years the project was completed. The Buddha image, 15 metres tall and 12 metres wide, sits on top of a hill. Small houses of worship were also built around the island for the monks. A wooden bridge was made to link the tiny island to the main island. When the bridge was destroyed two years later, a causeway was built.

Source: What's on Samui


August 29th, 2004
Two Brand New Hospitals on Samui
Great multi-lingual international hospitals on Samui This year two new international hospitals have been built on Koh Samui. Both of them beautifully merge with the surrounding lush coconut palm fringed tropical landscape. Both adhere to international standards with the aim of ensuring patients receive world class, safe medical care. One of them, the Bangkok Samui Hospital (ISO 9001 & 14001) - part of the well known Bangkok General Hospital Group (BGH) - is located on the Samui Ring Road in Chaweng near to Bangkok Airways' office. It offers among other services and facilities, a Hyperbaric Chamber, Spiral Computerized Tomography (CT Scan), Ultrasonography, Orthopedic Surgery, Neurosurgery, 24-hours Lab and blood bank, Outpatient specialty clinics such as Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Dentistry. It provides a 24-hours emergency and evacuation system using helicopter and/or airplane.
The other hospital is the Thai International Hospital. It is also located on the Samui Ring Road in Chaweng, opposite Tesco Lotus shopping mall. Its services and facilities include Whole body CT Scan, Ultrasound, Hemodialysis, Fluroscope, Computerized Electrocardiogram EKG, Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery, Complete Outer and Inner Patient Facility, Laboratory and more. The hospital has got a 24-hours Accident and Emergency Centre and Air-Sea-Ground Medical Assistance and Ambulance Services.
Both of the hospitals are fitted out with an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Both have internationally experienced, professional and multi-lingual medical personnel working together in highly developed specialist medical teams and committed to provide superior service. Both establishments have partnerships with most of world's premier insurances companies.

For the address of these hospitals, please refer to our 'Health' section by clicking here.




August 19th, 2004
Samui Food is Very Clean
Eat local Thai food, it is cheap and healthy! The Public Health Department released the results of their survey into food safety last month on Samui, and officially gave the island an all clear with regard to food hygiene. The 400 resorts tested all passed the inspection, and twice daily checks at the market left the inspectors 99.9% sure of the food on sale. Out of 523 restaurants, 506 either met or exceeded the standards of hygiene and food preparation set. Koh Samui is the first district to receive such scrutiny from the Health department, and all those who participated have promised to maintain the very high standards set around the island. The year 2004 is 'Health Year' in Thailand, so the results are particularly good for Koh Samui, and should help boost tourism, as well as encourage more people to eat local Thai food.

Source: Community Magazine


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August 11th, 2004
First foreigner baby birth on Samui
Born in the Land of Smiles... Elwood Smith, the first child to be born at Samui’s Thai International Hospital, arrived at 9:55 am on July 2. After all other plans failed, parents Aaron Smith (in mask) and Myrasol Diola traveled from their home in Bophut to the hospital on a moped, even stopping for gas on the way. The birth was relatively quick and without any hitches, with Elwood weighing in at 3.45kg.

Source: Phuket Gazette





July 29th, 2004
Public transport Controls
A typical local jeepney taxi Stricter controls are to be imposed on public transport providers by the Department of Transport and Communications. Regulations will be enforced to kerb overcharging, with a special focus on tourist areas like Koh Samui. The following rules will now apply across the board.
1. Fare prices must now be displayed to passengers in all public transport vehicles.
2. All taxis must display their license and a photograph of the license holder inside the vehicle.
3. The Tourist Police will be asked to attend all meetings of local transport co-operatives and associations to provide their valued input regarding how to deal with tourists.
4. The Transport department will review the current fare system on public vehicles to assess their suitability for both passengers and transport providers.
5. The Tourism Authority of Thailand will be asked to conduct English language training projects for taxi drivers in tourist areas.


Source: Community Magazine


July 20th, 2004
Wat Plai Laem
An out of the ordinary temple laying on lotus petals in the middle of a pond... Samui's newest temple, the spectacular Wat Plai Laem opened last month with a five day fair to celebrate, offering visitors food, clothes and household goods stalls, as well as live performances in the temple grounds. The ornate main building is especially interesting for the hand painted murals in its inner walls, depicting the life of the Buddha. The temple fair attracted thousands of visitors, particularly on the last night when legendary Thai rock band 'Carabao' played a concert to a packed crowd in a specially erected stage area.

Source: Community Magazine





July 14th, 2004
XV AIDS International Conference in Bangkok
The XV International AIDS Conference links community and science to galvanize the world’s response to HIV/AIDS through increased commitment, leadership and accountability. The main venue for the XV International AIDS Conference, held from July 11th to 16th, is IMPACT Muang Thong Thani, Nonthaburi. Nonthaburi is just northwest of Bangkok. Address:
IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Centre
99 Popular Road T. Bannai, A. Pakkred,
Nonthaburi 11120 (Bangkok).
For more info about the conference program and its issues, please visit the official website:
www.aids2004.org



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