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Koh Samui: For sale and gathering dust - island that catered to foreigners is completely deserted

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On 7/17/2020 at 3:53 PM, Awinkl said:

Yes Beachlover, I am fully aware that Farangs cannot own Land, but they flocked to it - and theyeby encouraged overdevelopment.

And that 2nd point? I understand that it is a customary practice in LOS to "increase" prices - whenever Business is slow .... in the hope to make-up for the shortfall?? .... and to attract more Customers ..... ? ...LOL

Agreed, but countries that care about the environment don't allow unrestricted development in areas of natural beauty. In LOS the environment comes a loooooooong way below money.

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On 7/18/2020 at 3:19 AM, khunPer said:

Well, if farangs didn't overpopulate Samui from the beginning – and even wrote about the "paradise" island in a German travel magazine – Samui would not have been spoiled; no development would have been necessary, not even basic beachfront huts for backpackers. 

 

And all us arriving to paradise later – because so many talked so positive about it, and even wrote articles in magazines – would not have added more development by building our own houses, at leased or company-owned land, on an already over-developed island.

 

So to sum up how I understand what you are saying: Samui was spoiled by it's first generation of travellers!

 

Could even be that some of those are now among those complaining about over-development...:whistling: 

🙂

The first farangs arrived on a coconut boat. Had the locals had a clue they'd have banded together then and decided not to let the Bkk greedies buy up land and build big hotels, airport etc. Of course the promise of big money usually wins everytime.

My point is that development didn't have to be at the expense of the environment, had the authorities cared, but of course we know that they don't.

The existing infrastructure in 1993 could have been improved, without destroying the very reason the island became popular. They didn't have to build an airport or cover the hillsides with houses.

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On 7/17/2020 at 4:19 PM, khunPer said:

Well, if farangs didn't overpopulate Samui from the beginning – and even wrote about the "paradise" island in a German travel magazine – Samui would not have been spoiled; no development would have been necessary, not even basic beachfront huts for backpackers. 

 

And all us arriving to paradise later – because so many talked so positive about it, and even wrote articles in magazines – would not have added more development by building our own houses, at leased or company-owned land, on an already over-developed island.

 

So to sum up how I understand what you are saying: Samui was spoiled by it's first generation of travellers!

 

Could even be that some of those are now among those complaining about over-development...:whistling: 

🙂

They are the regulations which everybody knows were flouted and ignored in the scheme to get rich

 

You can't really twist that back on the people that were allowed to buy, visit and develop, it lies entirely on the lack of governance and greed............

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1 hour ago, Anythingleft? said:

They are the regulations which everybody knows were flouted and ignored in the scheme to get rich

 

You can't really twist that back on the people that were allowed to buy, visit and develop, it lies entirely on the lack of governance and greed............

Kindly disagree, it's a question of market demand.

 

The regulations on the island was that no building construction could be higher than the coconut palms, today it's changed to 12 meters. That seemed to be kept. The island was also later divided into zones with different regulations – some says six meters high, one floor only, and not over x square meters (think it's 70 square meters without checking) – depending of the distance from the beachfront/seafront; if long enough back inland larger constructions are allowed.

 

If there is a demand then things moves faster, and even a brown envelope might be a part of it. It also happens other places than Samui, and Thailand, over-development happens all over the World. The more tourists coming, the higher a demand. We have experienced years where everything was fully booked; not only available accommodation, but also airplanes, catamaran ferries, bus tickets, and train tickets. People that needed to fly home from Bangkok, and haven't booked the ticket up there in advance, realized that they needed to leave the island two-three days before, and change between numerous local busses with night stop en route to get up to Bangkok. By that time that was a problem to complain about. The result was bigger catamaran ferries, and bigger airplanes and more departures; and of course building more high-end resorts.

 

If no demand, no "greed". Who would invest millions of baht, and billions of baht into something with no demand, no customers; for example building an airport?

 

If Samui had been kept little more secret by the first backpackers, the island might still be an underdeveloped coconut plantagen, and some fishing boats; and with no interest at all from the mass tourism, as the island was underdeveloped...:whistling:

 

Some of us don't complain, we still find Samui attractive, and a much better placed now when developed beyond muddy dirt roads, generator electric power; and no supply of anything, but the most essential daily needs.

 

It's impossible to live in the past, unless you find an isolate time-pocket in a secret place. There are however a few more inhabited islands in the archipelago around Samui, so perhaps another new "paradise" is available – perhaps check Koh Phaluai – but then please keep it little more secret...🙂

 

AF1QipNw_jgd_LlyWnphVhf4anMt6qXjLCRmSRgS

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7 hours ago, thaibeachlovers said:

The first farangs arrived on a coconut boat. Had the locals had a clue they'd have banded together then and decided not to let the Bkk greedies buy up land and build big hotels, airport etc. Of course the promise of big money usually wins everytime.

My point is that development didn't have to be at the expense of the environment, had the authorities cared, but of course we know that they don't.

The existing infrastructure in 1993 could have been improved, without destroying the very reason the island became popular. They didn't have to build an airport or cover the hillsides with houses.

I think nobody had any clue by that times – and during the years that followed – what the young German backpackers on the coconut boat meant for the future of the island.

 

What happened other places in Thailand, Pattaya and Phuket for example?

 

If you look at the tourist arrival statistics then it kind of exploded from the beginning of the 1980ies and beoynd. In 2003 the tourist arrivals in Thailand was 10 million a year, last year – 16 years after – it was almost four times as many, more than 39 million. The official calculated predictions (before Covid-19 pandemic) is a double up, 80 millions tourists are expected in 2030...😯

 

There was a demand for an airport, therefore it was build – for private funds, not because some politicians wanted to increase infrastructure – and there was a demand for private villas with sea-view. Same things happens almost everywhere in the World, where there is a beautiful place the masses wish to be part of; the memories from the time before the mass arrivals are great, but don't expect it's the same when revisiting...🙂

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50 minutes ago, khunPer said:

Kindly disagree, it's a question of market demand.

 

The regulations on the island was that no building construction could be higher than the coconut palms, today it's changed to 12 meters. That seemed to be kept. The island was also later divided into zones with different regulations – some says six meters high, one floor only, and not over x square meters (think it's 70 square meters without checking) – depending of the distance from the beachfront/seafront; if long enough back inland larger constructions are allowed.

 

If there is a demand then things moves faster, and even a brown envelope might be a part of it. It also happens other places than Samui, and Thailand, over-development happens all over the World. The more tourists coming, the higher a demand. We have experienced years where everything was fully booked; not only available accommodation, but also airplanes, catamaran ferries, bus tickets, and train tickets. People that needed to fly home from Bangkok, and haven't booked the ticket up there in advance, realized that they needed to leave the island two-three days before, and change between numerous local busses with night stop en route to get up to Bangkok. By that time that was a problem to complain about. The result was bigger catamaran ferries, and bigger airplanes and more departures; and of course building more high-end resorts.

 

If no demand, no "greed". Who would invest millions of baht, and billions of baht into something with no demand, no customers; for example building an airport?

 

If Samui had been kept little more secret by the first backpackers, the island might still be an underdeveloped coconut plantagen, and some fishing boats; and with no interest at all from the mass tourism, as the island was underdeveloped...:whistling:

 

Some of us don't complain, we still find Samui attractive, and a much better placed now when developed beyond muddy dirt roads, generator electric power; and no supply of anything, but the most essential daily needs.

 

It's impossible to live in the past, unless you find an isolate time-pocket in a secret place. There are however a few more inhabited islands in the archipelago around Samui, so perhaps another new "paradise" is available – perhaps check Koh Phaluai – but then please keep it little more secret...🙂

 

AF1QipNw_jgd_LlyWnphVhf4anMt6qXjLCRmSRgS

The first line of the original sentence "if farangs didn't overpopulate" how could they manage to overpopulate any area if the planning restrictions in place had been upheld from the outset? 

This suggests to me, as the restrictions were apparently not flouted, that all construction is within the correct scope for the area. So how is it overpopulated?? or is it that the regulations have kept changing and adapting to allow the greed and business to flourish?

 

One sentence contradicts the other.........

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Well, there are many valid Comments made in most of the Posts - Yes Samui "was" a Paradise - and for some who will go there next year .... (for the 1st time) ... it will STILL be a Paradise, because they didn't know how it was .... a long time ago.

I have heard about Samui in the 80's, but was too busy working and going to different places - but finally made it to Samui around 2011 - yes WAY TOO LATE to experience the early Paradise, but ..... it was still ok?

Maybe a bit too busy, maybe a bit too overdeveloped, but I just rented a Motorbike and explored all around the Island - including up into the Mountain areas. There was still a lot of "natural beauty" around - and perhaps the secret is to go away from the packed-out places ... and seek-out the more "off-the-beaten-road-places"? What has remained with me though, was the somewhat stuck-up attitude of some Local Residents and also of many Farangs that settled there.

Would I go back for another visit?.... I probably would - however, my biggest problem is I am running out of time - as I get older..... 🥴 ..... so I have a few more good years left ... and soooo many places STILL to go......

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1 hour ago, khunPer said:

so perhaps another new "paradise" is available – perhaps check Koh Phaluai – but then please keep it little more secret...🙂

 

.... PSSSST ..... it's a bit too close to Samui, but definitely will be worthwhile to check-out. THANK's!!

I am also interested in some Islands further down the coast - actually I think already in Malaysian waters and not that easy to get to .... from BKK?

Went to Koh Lipe ... and liked it ..... and fortunately, there are still a lot of (very interesting) places ... to explore.... 😊 that will keep me busy (in my Retirement).

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Posted (edited)

One other point to mention re the infrastructure and being able to improve it with the mass tourism.

Samui was always under the control of the governer of Suratthani.

There would be big budgets to improve the infrastucture on Samui BUT the governer decided where those budgets were spent. In Suratthani of course!

Samui only really had a proper chance to improve the infrastructure once it became a city in its own right with its own mayor Then the budgets were spent on the island. Better roads, better drains, better water and power supply etc etc. This happened about 2012. Before then, very little money was spent on the island.

Edited by Tropicalevo
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39 minutes ago, Awinkl said:

.Went to Koh Lipe ... and liked it ..... and fortunately, there are still a lot of (very interesting) places ... to explore.... 😊 that will keep me busy (in my Retirement).

Be careful where you go. I retired in 1999, and came to Samui in 2000 for a one week holiday. I am still here! Bought the land on day 5 and started construction one and a half month's later.

 

One thing is certain. Wherever you 'lay your hat' will be very different 10 years from now. Nothing stays the same in today's world.

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I agree with that it seems like Samui was spoiled first by "overpopulation" by both tourists and expats – the first we are often told to be backpacker hippies that never returned home – which resulted in "over development". And in the always crystal clear light of hindsigt everything should have been better planned from the beginning.

 

We locals know, as mentioned above by @Tropicalevo, that for several years until quite recently the tax-money from Samui ended in Surat Thani, where the majority of provincial voters live, so they got wide 4-lane tarmac roads with no cars, whilst Samui got narrow bad maintained, cheap cement roads, overloaded with traffic. On top Samui had power supply problems – underwater cables, with until a few years ago too low capacity, and no back up – and unsolved incinerator warranty faults; the latter also seems to be a similar problem at Koh Tao.

 

I've personally always thanked all the Egyptian Gods I know by heart – and some more well-known, just to be on the safe side – that Bangkok Airways from the early days acted like "Bandit Airways" with a high mileage charge for Samui, due to the higher rate on the private funded airport. That has kept the island free from budget, charter, and package tourism by air. Can you imagine how Samui would have developed with the often talked about second government funded airport, aiming for massive amount of budget carriers, bringing even more tourists in..?

 

In a way, it might be great that there were "no planning", and therefore no second low-fee airport...:whistling:

 

And even without the a second airport – or a bridge to the mainland – the number of tourist arrivals kept rising, but the mix of tourists changed to both relative more Asians, and relative higher number of families, and families with children, and relative fewer single males; the latter could be the reason for both more "Bar for Sale"-signs, and less number of beer bars. Asian guests spend lesser time than Westerners on a Thai holiday, so the total booked hotel-nights might not be linear increasing with the number of arrivals.

 

However, it seems like multiple tourists places around the World are also suffering from "overpopulation" and probably in addition some also from "over development"; especially a number of European destinations have been the talk of the town in the news articles.

 

Venice and other European destination began (before Covid-19) to charge a kind of "entrance fee" to reduce number of tourists, and also make sure there were funds for maintaining the infrastructure load...

Venice:

Quote

Councillors overwhelmingly endorsed the entrance fee at a meeting on Tuesday evening, saying day-trippers would now have to pay 3 euros ($3.42) each this year to enter Venice. The sum will rise to between 6-10 euros from the start of 2020, depending on whether tourists come in high or low season.Feb 27, 2019

Source: Reuters "Italy's Venice to charge admission fees for tourists".

Mallorca:

Quote

A single adult going for a holiday for 7 days and staying in a 3 star hotel; the tax payable will be 3 Euros per day for 7 days so a total of 21 Euros. A single adult going for a holiday for 7 days and staying on a cruise; the tax payable will be 2 Euros per day for 7 days so a total of 14 Euros.Feb 7, 2020

Source: MP "How much is tourist tax in Majorca 2020".

Amsterdam:

Quote

Starting Jan. 1, the city willcharge a flat fee of€3 (about $3.25) per person, per night for any visitor spending the night in Amsterdam. That's on top of the 7% tourist tax currently in effect. (Private Airbnb and houseboat owners are also required to collect the 7% tax and pay the city.)Sep 30, 2019

Source: USA Today "Amsterdam's new tax puts city's tourist taxes among Europe's highest".

 

High prices and fee seems to fit quite well with the Thai government's wishes for so-called "quality tourism", or quality rather than quantity.

 

Would fees – for example relative high fees – be a solution for Samui to stop overpopulation and improve infrastructure..?

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On 7/19/2020 at 4:56 PM, Tropicalevo said:

Be careful where you go. I retired in 1999, and came to Samui in 2000 for a one week holiday. I am still here! Bought the land on day 5 and started construction one and a half month's later.

 

One thing is certain. Wherever you 'lay your hat' will be very different 10 years from now. Nothing stays the same in today's world.

I retired also, got myself a small Condo that is good enough for my needs and I use as a Base to move around .... from there. LOS is very Central and many places in SEA can be reached within easy flights. And for me, there are still way too many places to visit, but it's always nice to come back to my little HOME away from home.

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Posted (edited)

All those nice beach huts I would stay in on Samui in the early 2000s may return when those overpriced hotel resorts are out of business! Turning the clock back 

Edited by pixelaoffy

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On 7/11/2020 at 9:48 PM, thaibeachlovers said:

The island that sold its soul for greed got its comeuppance!

I for one have no sympathy.

I stopped going there last century when it went trendy and expensive. Kicked the cheap places out ( like Charlie's hut ), destroyed the old Ark bar and built horrid concrete places everywhere.

Couldn't believe it last time I sailed past on the ferry to Phangan- concrete villas destroying every hillside. Used to be a great place to holiday- Chaweng is one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen, but ruined by greed and aircraft.

Only people to blame are the Thais that destroyed it to get rich.

And the first price for the most cynical statement of the century goes to...

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