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Monday, 11 July 2011

Ko Samui Properties Blog for June 2011

This is late again as I was in Bangkok having eye surgery - full report on that in the July Blog!

Last month I commented again on the relationship between Bangkok Airways and tourism on the island and the negative effect their airfares were having. They have been widely criticised in the Press and on-line and to their credit they made an effort and offered a restricted number of seats on the Bangkok-Samui-Bangkok route at Baht 4,300 return up until the end of July. Or so it was reported. Nothing on their Web site and nothing in their promotions except ones to increase the frustration when you see you can fly from Bangkok to Chang Mai or Phuket for around Baht 2,000. I would be interested to hear from anyone who managed to get one of these fares. Even the Residents Card is of little use with regard to fares. Discounts are only available on their highest fares and it is often cheaper to ask about their Promotional Fares – but you have to ask because the booking staff will not volunteer that information.

I have always been very supportive of Bangkok Airways and the risk they took in building the airport. However, enough is enough. Personally I consider Samui Airport to be one of the worst designed airports in the world. It looks stunning but is totally impracticable. In every airport you can expect to walk a good distance from check-in to the gate – but not in the boiling sunshine or torrential rain. Buggies? If you are lucky and forget it on a late flight. I have complained on more than one occasion when I have been to Bangkok for the day and returned on the last flight and requested a buggy to take me from arrivals to the departure car park. Even in the pouring rain they were reluctant to help. The response of Bangkok Airways is to start charging for the departures car park. Baht 200/day. Not a huge amount and I know that all airports charge for parking but for someone working on the island, having a Residents Card and making a one or two day trip to Bangkok, you would think they might just provide free parking – but then they would have to provide transport from arrivals!

The real estate market seems to be picking up somewhat. We have been receiving more serious enquiries recently than for a long time and interest has moved up into the 10-15 million range whereas previously it was almost exclusively under 10 million. However, before everyone starts putting their prices up, the only properties selling in that range are those that have already been discounted. What is also noticeable is that with so many agents having disappeared over the last year or so, there are signs of one or two coming back, unfortunately with little real estate experience. So just be careful who you are dealing with.

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