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Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Koh Samui January Blog and Review of 2010

Still catching up on my posts but getting there. This is from January 2011

Let me start by wishing everyone a Very Happy and (hopefully) Prosperous New Year. Looking back over the last 12 months here on Samui I would say that the real estate market has been pretty static. As reported during the year there have been sales but almost exclusively in the price range below Baht 10 million. The Red Shirt protest in Bangkok earlier in the year clearly had a negative affect on tourism and combined with the strong Baht this has continued throughout the year so that even over the Christmas period hotels were reporting poor occupancy. The problem for the Thai Government is that the strength of the Baht is due to outside factors beyond their control so do not expect any changes there. The number of hotel rooms in Samui continues to increase in particular in the 5-star category with the opening of W in Maenam, Banyan Tree and Langham Place in Lamai, Hansar Samui in Bophut and soon Conrad followed by Vana Belle due next December. Infinity will also start operating as a hotel in the spring and I am aware of other hotels in the planning stage.

Earlier in the year I reported on the ring road having a layer of tarmac applied between Bophut and as far as the Law Courts in Hua Thanon. Whilst a great improvement it was always in doubt as to how long this would last as it was laid directly on to the concrete. Come the heavy rain of the monsoon and two areas not far from our office were quickly washed away but I was pleasantly surprised that this was the only real damage that occurred and for the most part the road held up pretty well. Back in May we were talking about the possibility of water rationing – certainly not needed now!

In July we had the mass protest against the proposed drilling for oil of the coast. Hundreds of people joined hands around the ring road in a mass peaceful demonstration. The proposal has since been put on ice for at least a year while further environmental studies take place.

September hosted the Samui International Jazz Music Festival which was a great success attracting hundreds of people to the lakeside venue in Chaweng. A mix of Dutch and Thai jazz musicians provided great entertainment for a full week and plans are already in hand for a follow up this year.
We have also seen at last the approval of the new electricity line from Taling Ngam to the new sub-station in Maenam which when complete will solve many of the power issues in the north of the island. The Municipality have approved the 22 metre steel poles which have caused controversy as being unsightly, but all other solutions were too expensive.

The exceptionally wet monsoon season has continued through December.

To see some of the damage go to these You Tube pages for the fallen tree in Hua Thanon for flooding in Lamai many views and more links.

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