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Thursday, 2 August 2007

Koh Samui round up August 2007

I know we Brits tend to talk too much about the weather but the first half of July was really very pleasant in respect of temperatures and we did not get too much rain. Some evenings were extremely pleasant – for us Europeans anyway. My wife did not agree and found it cold so I told her to do the ironing and that would warm her up. Apparently my food is likely to be as cold as the weather for a while.

I am pleased to say that after the last two months I am more positive about the future of the real estate market here in Samui than I have been for some time. Since the beginning of June we have seen more activity and concluded more deals than for a long time. Another phenomena has been the increase in visitors to our web site which has trebled since August last year and doubled since March of this year. This indicates that interest in Koh Samui is coming back and that people are starting to look again and in consequence of that we are now receiving more serious enquiries, mostly by email from people anticipating visiting the island over the next few months.

There has been much discussion over the last couple of years about the prospect of Koh Samui receiving City Status and the present Mayor is pushing very hard for this. Whilst it is true that Koh Samui now has the requisite 50,000 registered population, it does not quite meet the second requirement of density which is 3,000 per square kilometer. Koh Samui is roughly 525 square kilometers so only has a density of 95/sq km. Now this being Thailand you can guarantee there will be a way round this and one suggestion I have heard is that Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao could be made a Special Economic Zone, as Bangkok and Pattaya, which would have much the same effect. Nothing is likely to happen before the Election but watch this space!

The Buddhist Holy Day of Asarnha Bucha fell this year on Sunday 29th July. Asarnha Bucha Day is the day considered to be the birth of Buddhism, as the Buddha departed the location where he obtained his enlightenment two months earlier and then, coming to a forest area in the city of Pharansi, where he showed favour to five ascetics who became his followers. So this is a very Holy day in the Buddhist religion which is why bars are shut for that day and the day following the start of Buddhist Lent (Asarnha Bucha Day) is another important Buddhist Holy day called Khao Pansaa where the Monks traditionally retreat to the Temple at which they were ordained for three months during the rainy season. I mention this after the event because the longer you live in Thailand and the longer you have a Thai wife the more you learn about Thai culture and the ceremonies. Now let us say my dear wife has reached “a certain age” and as a consequence our joint ages are near enough to 100 so that we had to enact a special ceremony involving eels. Now before you let your imagination run away with you this all occurred in public in broad daylight. First we had to buy ten live eels each from Laem Din market after which we proceeded to the Chaweng Lake, fired up the joss sticks, said a few prayers and set the eels free in the lake. Apparently this is to bring us good luck and good fortune for the coming year. After the year we have just been through I think I will go back and set some more free today!!

Talking of bars closing last Sunday, I called one bar owner and asked where she was. She said she was in the bar. I asked if they were open then. Her reply “Just a little bit!” Such is Thailand!

A quick reminder if you are planning a trip to Samui in November – Loh Kratong falls on the 24th November this year. If you have never seen this before it is well worth planning your visit around this Festival where hundreds if not thousands of candle lit Kratongs are set afloat in the sea, on lakes and rivers. More details on that in a future Newsletter.


Do you have a question?

Do you have a question you would like answering on real estate in Koh Samui? Please feel free to email me directly and I will give you the benefit of my experience over the last 35 years in the international real estate business and six years in Koh Samui. I can answer you privately or, if the question is of general interest, I can publish the reply in this Newsletter – without naming you of course!

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