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Thursday, 10 March 2011

Koh Samui Properties March Blog

Last month I discussed how air travel had made the world that much smaller and the impact it has had on Koh Samui. There is little doubt in my mind that the creation of Samui Airport by Bangkok Airways was the catalyst for the development that has taken place here over the last ten years in particular. Without the airport it is inconceivable to me that the plethora of new villas and hotels would have been built.

Now many people dislike the changes that have occurred and would like to see Koh Samui stay as it was 20 years ago. Whilst there is an attraction in that, is that really fair to the indigenous people of the island? Development has brought its problems, that cannot be denied, but it has also brought many benefits and indeed wealth to the islanders. For many reasons the infrastructure has failed to keep up with the pace of development but that is gradually being addressed. People quickly forget what it was like that long ago and I can only speak for the last ten years here.
- We complain about the electric supply but ten years ago we only had for the most part single phase supply and blackouts were far more common than they are now. The second under sea cable and new transformer station in Maenam are all part of addressing the present issues.
- Broadband internet was unheard of. Slow dial-up connections were all you could get if you could get a telephone line at all!
- Water was from a well. The desalination plant and city water did not exist.
- Many roads were sand and gravel including, not too long previously, Chaweng Beach Road. Access to the hills was difficult and only possible by 4-wheel drive. Now most of those hillside tracks are concreted roads.
- Supermarkets were poorly stocked and many products out of date and more than once I found bread full of mould when I got it home. Now we have a choice of supermarkets and convenience stores by the dozen with fresh produce available 24 hours a day.

Some people will continue to argue that all these developments are a bad thing and perhaps they have a point in the way they have expanded in a seemingly uncontrolled way, but there is also an element of selfishness in that view. Why should the people of Samui be denied these facilities to retain an idealized vision of what Samui once was – or perhaps never was. It is the “old hands” that complain. People coming to Samui today for the first time see it as it is. It remains a beautiful island despite the problems common to any developing vacation destination.

Over the last year hotels have seen reduced occupancy and lower room rates. This is for a multitude of reasons not the least of which has been the political instability and demonstrations in the country. The worldwide economic slump and devaluation of most currencies against the Thai Baht have made it more expensive to come to Thailand. As you will see from reports below, Bangkok Airways are also being cited as part of the problem with the high air fares and lack of capacity. So Bangkok Airways who were the catalyst for the development of Samui are now being held partly responsible for declining tourism on the island. Once again there is a clamor for a second airport but that is unrealistic. Who is going to build it? Not the government to be sure (it is hard enough to get funding for essential infrastructure) and why would a private operator take the risk?

The economics of supply and demand will no doubt sort much of this out. One major international hotel chain has just announced it is pulling out of Samui after only a short period here. No reason has been given and whether the decision is based on economics or other factors is not known, but I doubt they will be last. Others though are still coming!

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Philippines properties for sale said...

Nice post! I just wish you can post some picture of the Koh Samui property. Anyway, thanks for sharing this update.


Ko Samui Villas said...

A very insightful post here, Harry. I completely agree - at times it can be difficult to enjoy all the western mod-cons while also maintaining the island's cultural heritage.

samui villa said...

I think this is informative blogs for knowing about the properties in samui villa. Actually I am thinking to visit samui villa with my family as it's a wonderful tourist place.

samui vacation villas said...

Wow, those are really lovely pics of hotels you have shown here. I wonder that samui villa has placed a location for taking trip in there. I knew about some place in Thailand but samui villa came with different idea.

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