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Thread: Samui - The beach battery recharge..

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Samui - The beach battery recharge..

    Well it had been a while since I had been to the beach with my missus.. The last few months trips to places with beaches.. Patts, HH and even Koh Chang had either been boozy ones or sans the old lady.. We used to spend a lot of time over on Samui, multiple times in my Thai experience I have even flirted with living there, and for years we would spend a month of Phukets wet season over on Samui as a break every summer. I realized recently it had been over 3 years since I had been and wondered how radical the changes would be.

    One of the drawbacks of Samui, unless your driving / ferry visiting is that its charming island style little airport, is private owned and run and hence charges huge landing fees making it cheaper to fly to hong kong than it is to Samui. I did some checking and saw it would be about 15k each return to fly in doing CNX BKK Samui and 30k is a bit steep. I also had seen they just started Air Asia CNX to Samui flights where you get flight, bus transfer, and ferry ticket all in one price. This came out at about 1600 or 1700 per person each way maybe an extra 1000 on luggage.. All up under 7k to book late, fly direct and have a package.

    All in all its a route I liked.. I dislike airports, queues and cramped air travel and one flight one bus and one ferry everything outside of the bus was basically an upgrade over going through the king power mall that is Swampy.. I cant imagine any flight as pleasant as walking around on the deck of the ferry, fresh air, watching the sunset over Surat Thani.. Its downside is if your travelling with luggage (35kgs thanks to the missus) you have to manhandle that on and off the boats etc. The whole thing took an almost identical 6 hours from airport to lipa noi ferry (equivalent to airport to airport in my mind).

    The worst part would be the 2 bus journeys.. Outbound was big tour buses (2 or 3 of them amazingly.. Loads on the outbound route) and returning was a single mini bus driven by a hyper erratic, probably on drugs, driver.. Neither were uncomfortable just not what you could call fun.. Outbound we were surrounded by young backpackers, and while I am not one to have any grudge against backpackers like many (older ??) expats seem to, by god they talk some shite.. One snippet next to me I had to contain a groan was..

    BP 1.. So have you been to India
    BP 2.. Yes I was just there.. it was amazing.. I did the entire north..
    BP 1.. Really how long were you there.
    BP 2.. Ohh 2 weeks.

    Urge to slap, rising.. rising..

    But there you go.. For me it was a fine option, 1/4 the price I had seen going the old way and overall the same amount of time with much more of it being open air and walking about.. That said while on Samui I was told theres a BKK air flight, one per day, direct Samui to CNX.. Thats a very different proposition and would be enough time and hassle saving to mean its worth a lot more price. If its worth the 14,000 per person I just priced it up at v the 3200 or so air asia cost me, depends on going solo or your attitude to the value of time wasted.

    Arrival at lipa noi peer had a taxi mafia cartel that would make Phuket proud.. starting (when spoken to in only Thai not tinglish) at 700 and finally getting to 500b just for the hop to Lamai.. Shared mini buses at 200 per head but, after a journey, fuck that huh !! Public Transportation is for Jerks and Lesbians... Arrival to Lamai just after sunset feeling not drained etc.

    All in all the air asia version wasnt a big hassle, and was a real cheap way to connect these 2, and I hope they keep it going..

    More later..
    nelsonone, PadMC, jackal and 2 others like this.

  2. #2
    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    That's handy to know about the direct flight, priced up a few dates for next June as both Chiang Mai and Samui are on my to do list and it's coming in around 6000 Baht one way. Not into the trains, planes and automobiles route although with two travelling the savings do add up. At least the flights from DMK to Chiang Mai are very cheap indeed, around 2000 baht return with Lion air.

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dontpanic View Post
    That's handy to know about the direct flight, priced up a few dates for next June as both Chiang Mai and Samui are on my to do list and it's coming in around 6000 Baht one way. Not into the trains, planes and automobiles route although with two travelling the savings do add up. At least the flights from DMK to Chiang Mai are very cheap indeed, around 2000 baht return with Lion air.
    Lion air is great for bangkok but.. then you have to get from Swampy to DMK for your Thai air or bangkok air connection.. Thats enough hassle I would stay on BKK air alone (the best of the local budget airlines imo)..

    Samui is just less easy to connect into than other places.. due to that airport monopoly scene..

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    So I am not going to do a tour report.. We dont exactly do bugger all.. Hang out, go to the beach.. Ride around the island.. Go to temples and Buddhas.. Go get drunk in the bars.. Sleep late.. Eat seafood.. Rinse repeat.. Given that lack of a need for much stimulation Samui really does offer a great package.. This time I didnt even dislike Chaweng as much as I had come to feel before.. I was quite pleasantly surprised by my feeling to it cruising through a few times.. The tourist (family) bar and restuarant strip.. The lake and soi reggae pub.. Etc etc.. I didnt do a late soi green Mango club night this trip but it generally gave a good vibe even over there in Chaweng.

    Of course Lamai is a much better destination for me if your not looking for the club scene every night.. Much better beach, much better access and beach bars.. Enough beer bars.. More than enough girlies of the ready and willing if slightly not quite top shelf variety.. Enthusiastic, definitely.. And I dont think your going to hear too many knockbacks or high prices quoted at this time of year !! To my eyes one change is there seems more of, and more obviously P4P massages lining the road.. Possibly its I am more used to hunting out oddball northern karaoke and more subtle places that I forgot the more obvious nature of them there, but I dont think so (maybe a little from column A ad a little from Column B)..

    Other than that Lamai has hardly changed one iota in years.. Almost baffling in the whole time I have been going there theres maybe a handful of new bars.. A Tesco Lotus went in maybe 5 years ago.. They fixed up the ring road, and a few of the back roads around the coconut groves have a few more resorts put in.. But in comparison Phuket is unrecognizeable, hell even Chiang Mai has changed massively in the last 4 years I have been here.. But Lamai, which is a highly desirable beach destination on a tourist tropical island, has barely nudged the development-o-meter.. Good for us, maybe less good for the locals. Most of the same bars that were in whatever places are still in the same places being run by the same people.. Sure theres a few that have changed but nothing like the turnover and changes that happen in so many other tourist Thailand spots.

    The same can be said for housing and villas.. Sure a few have gone in.. And sure its not exactly how it was 7 or 10 years back.. But the scope for growth is still huge.. I went exploring back roads and 2 concrete roads I remember from 5 years ago, going right up the hillsides I checked out again on almost the last day.. One of them still doesnt have a single home of villa put in, still has for sale signs on a plot I looked at YEARS ago.. Another one which went 200m or so up from sea level.. giving this absolutely awesome 180 degree view of the whole west coast, lamai, south to hua thanon and leam set, this king of the hill view on a road with government power etc and just 5 mins from a tourist town.. and there was just a handful of homes on it, some of them even fairly low value thai design simple things. I fail to see why these dont have the 20 - 40 million baht villas being thrown down like any half decent seaview on Phuket or even more marginal coasts (Lanta, Hua Hin)..

    I mean, Samui is very quintessential island life vibe.. Its got poor / strained infrastructure.. The roads are those rough concrete jobbers for the most part.. The power can flick off for a while.. I wouldnt want the hospital to be in charge of doing too much to me.. Etc Etc Etc.. But all that is sort of hand in hand with its cruise on a scooter through the coconut groves appeals.. Once comes with the other, its high points are also the things that over time might grate..
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    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    It's one of my worries about Samui that I'll get a bit bored after a few days as the beach scene isn't my cup of tea and I like the shops, markets, cinema's etc that other destinations offer to give me something to do during the day, this is why I'm thinking doing a week in Chiang Mai might just suit me better rather than trying to squeeze too much travelling into a holiday.

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Also on the visitor numbers and possibly fate of the bar scene too.. Maybe reading way too much into a few days visit at one time of year but..

    Lamai has a decent amount of beer bars.. And plenty of friendly young lasses in them.. It was quiet for customers but not empty of all life.. Especially the kind of 'couple friendly' ones like the bars around the boxing zone.. Where a friend of ours is still in charge of a few of them.. This has the effect of many girls but not seeing too many get taken.. Or even bought too many drinks.. They were making money / drinks from winning bar games (jenga and the like) from punters with their wives more.. This also had the knock on effect of the 'fat western wives, jumping up on the chrome pole' syndrome which is to me cringe worthy.. Your not showing your husband your 'sexy like them too'.. Your not showing feminist solidarity with your new 3rd world sisters, you couldnt handle the reality of their lives for a month.. Get your 80 kilo ass back down on a chair, behave, and have another malibu and coke.. Luckily theres also plenty of bars that are less couple safe inviting and like beer bars anywhere, can be great fun or miss depending totally on mood.. Its often a reflection of your energy and if your happy to throw a few drinks into them to get them going.. Multiple fun nights and probably 100s of available ladies.. Tho finding one Nels hasnt been with might take some hunting.. Also noticed more 'tall ones' than I remember..

    One shocker.. On a evening over to Chaweng.. We did the one way circuit of town, beach Rd had plenty of bodies walking about.. pubs and eateries had people.. Not packed but enough bodies milling about it didnt look quiet.. I then cut through the last side street to the lake zone, and noticed the girly bars on the cut through almost empty.. and getting out to Reggae pub road, with my old lady on the scoot, looking for a beer bar to stop and grab a beer (as I had the missus I was looking for one that appeared less slap and tickle more beer and tunes).. Hence I cruised slowly the entire road in turned around at the Reggae and whole road out.. There must be ballpark 20 bars there ?? and I was the only farang in the street.. By that I dont mean I was almost alone, I mean I went past every bar in the whole street at at 9:30 or 10pm not a single bar had a single paying customer !! Even if you figure thats only 5 girls to a bar, thats still 100 women without a single punter buying drinks.. And not like it was Mos Eisley cantina either.. There were plenty of ones worth of being bought a drink.. 99 bar on the corner had a few very appealing ones.. That few customers simply cant work long term.

    Now I know Nov is often a lull before high season.. But surely deepest darkest low season is more sept oct not middle to late Nov ?? Maybe Chaweng is losing its single male customers to Lamai.. Maybe the demographics are working against those style beer bars ?? All I know is it was empty, and that dont pay staff salaries or keep Mare and Pa in Issan in card games and rice whisky..

  7. #7
    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dontpanic View Post
    It's one of my worries about Samui that I'll get a bit bored after a few days as the beach scene isn't my cup of tea and I like the shops, markets, cinema's etc that other destinations offer to give me something to do during the day, this is why I'm thinking doing a week in Chiang Mai might just suit me better rather than trying to squeeze too much travelling into a holiday.
    Hard to say as those things exist a little in Chaweng (theres a cinema, shops, market stuff) but I hate shopping and tat markets.. Zero appeal.. Cinema sure I like, but its not why I go on a vacation.. Also I just like cruising about.. A scooter and a bit of a mountain to head up every blind alley, get the lie of the land, find out what connects to what, and I am happy as a pig in the proverbial..

    Slow days.. A late breakfast or lunch.. A swim.. A mooch about for a few hours.. then a chill, nap, swim, or email check.. and ready for a bite and a beer.. Some jokes with the girls.. Thats a holiday to me..
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    Senior Member PadMC's Avatar
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    so weird... I was just thinking were you going to do a tr. Good read big guy

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PadMC View Post
    so weird... I was just thinking were you going to do a tr. Good read big guy
    I heard you would be arriving there soon.. ?? Enjoy..

    And its less a TR, more just rambling impressions.. Looking for changes and constants.. What appeals and what doesnt..

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    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    The beer bar complex just before Walking Street in Patts was extremely empty in June too(the one with the boxing ring), probably a similar ratio or 100-1. It was on my to do list and still is.

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    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    Just a note on the seasons here as an adjunct to Sef's notes.....

    Peak Season is from is December until mid Feb...although that dies down rather quickly after NY...by mid Jan the place is starting to turn into more of a high season rather than a full on peak

    There is a mini high season for Songkran that is particularly popular for the Thais...and then another HS which runs for the Euro Summer from late June until mid September

    Oct/Nov/Dec are the wet/low season....with Nov the wettest month of the year (on average) it gets double the rainfall at around 450ml than Oct and Dec which get around the 250ml mark....

    so yeah Sef's visit was in the wettest month and the lowest of the low season however iirc we still had around half the days of his visit rain free...a quarter with showers and the other quarter were limited by rain....not so bad for the wettest month of the year especially considering its quite a bit cooler during this time which is a nice respite

    One of my main reasons for coming to live here was to get away from the long wet in Phuket which runs for pretty much half of the year...and so I could swim in the sea all year round..if the conditions are not quite right on one side of the island.....easy/peasy...jump on the scoot for 20 mins and hit the other side of the island where it is protected
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    Senior Member Geespot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dontpanic View Post
    The beer bar complex just before Walking Street in Patts was extremely empty in June too(the one with the boxing ring), probably a similar ratio or 100-1. It was on my to do list and still is.
    Maybe for a few days but no more than...............one of my very regular shitholes Easy Bar is in there, so Im there enough days of the weeks to see how custom is going..............around the same time LK was pretty dead as well

    Things in Patts have certainly picked up now in terms of beer bar & ago go punters

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    Senior Member PadMC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LivinLOS View Post
    I heard you would be arriving there soon.. ?? Enjoy..
    aye I'm booked for late dec and I'll be in los till the end of jan. I had to change dates a few times, sorry I missed you. must bump the arrivals thread.

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    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geespot View Post
    Maybe for a few days but no more than...............one of my very regular shitholes Easy Bar is in there, so Im there enough days of the weeks to see how custom is going..............around the same time LK was pretty dead as well

    Things in Patts have certainly picked up now in terms of beer bar & ago go punters

    Yes for sure, worth pointing out this was literally a week after the general curfew in tourist spots was lifted and people were cancelling in their droves.

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    Senior Member Waharoa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geespot View Post
    Maybe for a few days but no more than...............one of my very regular shitholes Easy Bar is in there, so Im there enough days of the weeks to see how custom is going..............around the same time LK was pretty dead as well

    Things in Patts have certainly picked up now in terms of beer bar & ago go punters
    StillEarly is in Patts now... and said its as dead as a dodo... with photos of empty Walking Street... you guys in parallel universes? ..55

    Multiple fun nights and probably 100s of available ladies.. Tho finding one Nels hasnt been with might take some hunting
    When in Lamai... I carry a photo of Nels in my back pocket and pretend I am looking for him. Takes a bit of searching but I usually find a BG eventually who has no idea who he is...

  16. #16
    Senior Member Geespot's Avatar
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    Nope I'm not there back in UK for 5 weeks. Was busy when I left 10 days ago. Getting reports everyday from friends living there saying busy enough
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    Senior Member Waharoa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geespot View Post
    Nope I'm not there back in UK for 5 weeks. Was busy when I left 10 days ago. Getting reports everyday from friends living there saying busy enough
    To be fair Bawdy said it was busy last week. Must just have got slow since SE arrived a few days ago... he has that effect... 55

  18. #18
    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LivinLOS View Post

    Slow days.. A late breakfast or lunch.. A swim.. A mooch about for a few hours.. then a chill, nap, swim, or email check.. and ready for a bite and a beer.. Some jokes with the girls.. Thats a holiday to me..
    add in a scooter ride here, a bit of work there and the odd movie and that's life for me.....555
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  19. #19
    Senior Member kris-one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waharoa View Post
    To be fair Bawdy said it was busy last week. Must just have got slow since SE arrived a few days ago... he has that effect... 55
    Walking Street was definitely busy for the last 10 days.




  20. #20
    Senior Member kris-one's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LivinLOS View Post
    The worst part would be the 2 bus journeys.. Outbound was big tour buses (2 or 3 of them amazingly.. Loads on the outbound route) and returning was a single mini bus driven by a hyper erratic, probably on drugs, driver.. Neither were uncomfortable just not what you could call fun..
    I made the mistake of sitting up top next to the driver of a mini bus coming back from Koh Chnag to BKK thinking would get a bit more legroom and space. Never again... put me at the back where ignorance is bliss. Lost count of the number of near crash experiences we had that afternoon... it was a long 4 hours 555




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