Author Topic: Koh Samui Trip Report  (Read 6561 times)

Offline Suave

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Koh Samui Trip Report
« on: October 05, 2013, 05:36:03 PM »
Actually, It's more of a guide than a report.

USM Airport:
The (cute)airport (with nice trollys from plane to terminal) is owned by Bangkok Airways which is why flights to/from here are generally more expensive than the rest of Thailand. Early morning and late evening flights are generally cheaper.
For those on a budget, consider flying via URT (Surat Thani - nearest point on the mainland) and taking a ferry.

Feel free to pick up a FREE truemove sim card in the airport. Some plans will give you free wifi which works in many parts of the island.

There are 2 General ways of getting from the airport (find the taxi counter after exiting arrivals)
Private Taxi (Usualy nice SUVs with AC) = 500 BHT to chaweng
Shared Minivan = 130 BHT to chaweng
Taxi Price List

Chaweng
This is the happening place on the island, many hotels/hostels, shops, market, beaches, restaurant/cafes etc.
This is also where the Chabad is located - It has recently been beautifully expanded and has many amenites such as a Restaurant, Shul, Free Internet, Cheap International Calling and a very friendly Shliach; Mendy Goldshmid (who speaks several Languages including Hebrew & English). It is located right behind the Walking Street (small night market)
Chabad Koh Samui

My favorite place to stay in chaweng is the Avenue Samui (formerly known as the FX Resort). It has decent rooms, semi-friendly staff who know the ins & outs of shabbos keys (which will cost you 1000BHT fully refundable deposit)  and will even remove the battery from the electronic lock. You can leave the key at reception when going out as there is obviously no eiruv on the island.
I strongly suggest checking prices & booking via Agoda.com and/or Booking.com. It is a 6 minute walk from Chabad.
I paid $35 per night.
The Avenue Samui

If you are looking to hide in the jungle (for pretty decent prices) check out The Sunday Sactuary which is run by a very friendly Thai guy

Things to see & do
Namuang  waterfalls - A bit overplayed but worth a visit. It will cost you about 100BHT per person to get a Jeep ride to the bottom of the falls after which you will need to walk (or climb) to the actual falls, Namuang 1 is mediocre at best but features a nice swimming hole. If you keep hiking up you will reach Namuang Waterfall 2 which is much larger (79m) and more refreshing. You can also take pictures with tigers, ride elephants etc.

Shooting Ranges - If you are American, don't bother as they are extremely expensive and nothing compared to ranges in the states.

Big Buddha Temple - You might see this when landing. Have not been inside, some souvenir shops at the entrance - nice selection of white shirts (hippy tzfat style)
There is also a nice little ice cream shop called '-18 below' on the water as you enter the area - Great place to watch sunset (if davening mincha face away from statues obviously)

Mae Nam Beach - This quiet beach, located in the north of the island is decent enough for swimming and sunbathing, especially for families with children, due to the shallow water.

Namtok Hin Lat This waterfall is easily accessible by car. Some of the numerous tiny levels have large basins for swimmers.

Lamai Beach - Fun happening place. Schmutzy by night. This & [ur=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kTwLNoA0oCYl]This[/url] is what I enjoyed most here, its called FlyBoarding

Lookout for the Tiger Zoo & Aquarium, Monkey Shows, Butterfly Garden, Mummified Munk etc...

There are many other islands surrounding Koh Samui, worth checking out Ang Thong & Koh Tao (IMHO) You can get a ferry from Nathon Pier (arrange with your hotel or agency)

There is a golf course on top of a hill between Chaweng & Lamai (same road as the British school) - You can also check out The Jungle Place which is a moderately priced resort on a hilltop, worth having a tea there.

One of my favorite things to do is to ride around the island & explore on a Motorcycle, lots of things to discover.

Getting Around
Samui is known has many road accidents especially during monsoon season, You can rent Jeeps, Cars etc...
Personally i suggest renting a Moped (125CC goes for about 150BHT-200BHT per day). ALWAYS take a 360 degree cellphone video of the Bike (JetSki, Car, Jeep or anything else you rent) you are renting to avoid scams. Wear a helmet or potentially pay a fine if stopped by police (there is an ATM in the police station LOL)

Taxis are expensive and dishonest in general.

Money Etc.
There are exchange places everywhere, I have not found any that are open after 10PM
Most places will only accept BHT.
ALL ATMS charge a $5/$6 fee. (there are some shops/places that can charge your CC and give you cash)

At press time: 30BHT = 1USD (approx)

Average Prices:
Pack of cigarettes: 66BHT
Bottle of water in shop: 10 BHT
Bottle of water on beach or attraction: 30/40BHT
Laundry: 30/40BHT per kilo
Guesthouse nightly rate: $5 - $25
Decent Hotel: $30
Nice Hotel: $100
Extremely Nice Hotel: $500 (Look up the W(I love this place) and Conrad - Both are mentioned many times in the forums)
Chabad Restaurant Meal: 225BHT for schnitzel with a side dish (a couple eating nicely will run about 800BHT)

Weather / Climate:
Samui's weather patterns are a little different from the rest of Thailand. In April through September, when most of the country has its monsoon, Samui stays fairly dry, but from October to December, it's wet in Samui and drier elsewhere. The driest season is from January to March. Pesach & Sukkos are both very nice times.
You may get rains all year - but they usually come in fast & heavy and last less than an hour. It can get very humid here, beware.

Safety Etc
  • Do NOT drink tap water. Most hotels will provide free bottled water in your room.
  • If you will be hanging out at beaches after sunset, make sure to bring mosquito spray.
  • Most Taxi motorcycles double as drug dealers. Most will sell you out to the cops too.
  • Be Polite, dress modestly and take off shoes when requested.
  • NEVER make fun of Thai Royalty (this includes currency)
  • Be VERY vigilant when driving. Worse than brooklyn at times.
  • Always carry bottled water with you, drink plenty.
  • If you are going for massages, do it on the main drags and look for well lit (semi-fancy) places. The places on the outskirts or the dimly lit ones with girls hanging out outside offer more than massages.
  • Many stray dogs around, be wary as they may be rabid.
  • Wearing a kippa is OK (but a cap never hurts, I have seen women with tichels too).

Links / More Info
Wiki Travel - Always worth reading
Local Travel Site - Decent summaries of local attractions
Lonely Planet - Worth a look

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

ETA: BHT should be THB
« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 07:14:43 PM by Suave »
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Offline HP58

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Re: Koh Samui Trip Report
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2013, 09:00:12 PM »
Nice! Very thorough!

Offline AJK

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Re: Koh Samui Trip Report
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2013, 09:22:41 PM »
Nicely done!
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline ZCN

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Re: Koh Samui Trip Report
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2013, 09:26:01 PM »
Awesome job!! I'm planning a trip to USM in December and this will be very helpful!

Offline Marco Polo

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Re: Koh Samui Trip Report
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2013, 09:34:43 PM »
Great info. Thanks!
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Offline AJK

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Re: Koh Samui Trip Report
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2013, 09:43:54 PM »
I would add that Silver Beach was a must-see. Water was unbelievably warm. Like a bath tub.
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Offline Marco Polo

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Re: Koh Samui Trip Report
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2013, 10:05:46 PM »
I would add that Silver Beach was a must-see. Water was unbelievably warm. Like a bath tub.
Due to climate, or all the tourists and locals...?
Quaerite et Invenietis.

Offline Ergel

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Re: Koh Samui Trip Report
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2013, 10:08:40 PM »
Due to climate, or all the tourists and locals...?
The little kids peeing ::)
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Offline AJK

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Re: Koh Samui Trip Report
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2013, 12:44:01 AM »
Due to climate, or all the tourists and locals...?

Very shallow until like 300 feet out. That, combined with the sun, I'd imagine.
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Offline SavingsBigtime

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Re: Koh Samui Trip Report
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2013, 01:11:27 AM »
Thanks great report .

Offline Suave

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Re: Koh Samui Trip Report
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2013, 01:15:42 AM »
Great info. Thanks!

Nice! Very thorough!

Awesome job!! I'm planning a trip to USM in December and this will be very helpful!

Nicely done!

Thanks! (long overdue, i believe I was pestered to do this 1.5 years ago) now where is the status I was promised?

How many of you want a TR for Koh Phi Phi?
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Offline ZCN

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Re: Koh Samui Trip Report
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2013, 01:21:51 AM »
How many of you want a TR for Koh Phi Phi?


Would love to have one

Offline Drago

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Re: Koh Samui Trip Report
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2013, 08:50:29 AM »

Would love to have one
+1
Any other TR's for southern Thailand?

Well done.

Offline mendoul

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Re: Koh Samui Trip Report
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2013, 10:08:39 AM »
amazing, well done!!!!!
thanks
mendy

Offline Hershelsdeals

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Re: Koh Samui Trip Report
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2014, 11:07:25 PM »
@bubble347 we are waiting for your TR