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Koh Samui deserted: A very UN-Merry Christmas on once bustling holiday island


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Koh Samui deserted: A very UN-Merry Christmas on once bustling holiday island
 
4pm1.jpg
Picture: Naew Na
 
Santa did not visit Koh Samui this year.
 
Thai media Naew Na went to the usually thriving holiday island and found it almost totally deserted on Christmas Day.
 
In Chaweng there were just a few Thai tourists at the Ark Bar on the beach.
 
The owner had bravely put on a fire show. What staff remained were kitted out in Santa hats - with face masks and shields for company.
 
The Christmas lights on the main drag were out. 
 
There would normally be 500 taxis doing a great trade, said driver Apichai - now fewer than 100 were left.
 
4pm2.jpg
Picture: Naew Na
 
Sometimes drivers would do a 22 hour shift without a single customer.
 
It was still better than being miserable at home though hardly conducive to getting money for his family or car repayments.
 
Many cars had been reclaimed by finance companies. 
 
There was absolutely no comparison with Christmas on Samui last year and this. 
 
4pm3.jpg
Picture: Naew Na
 
The island has already seen tourism completely destroyed in 2020 due to the lack of foreign tourists on which it relied. 
 
Now with many new cases of Covid-19 what little domestic tourism there was is now also under threat.
 
Soure: Naew Na
 
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2 hours ago, Trexpat said:

As much as this is terrible for the local business people there are some that get no sympathy. I spent 4 years living on the Island and during that time Taxi's and the charges were a frequent topic of conversation. (as they are in other major tourist destination in Thailand).

Taxi Operators have operated with impunity and total disregard for the law, now as things get tough they bleat like lambs about how hard done by they are. I would like to hope they have seen the error in their ways and think about turnng on their meter that are so proudly advertised on the exterior of their cars.

I am sure the other operator with a disregard for realistic pricing, Bangkok Air, will also be crying in their congee about the state of affairs. Once again tough luck and time to get real.

The inflated transportation costs have been hammering the Islands potential for years and now the Thais simply do not want to go as they fear being overcharged, same scenario in Phuket. I really hope they get their collective heads on straight and realise that it is going to take time for recovery and they need to take the lead. Unfortunately I doubt it, but I hope they prove me wrong.

Totally agree the prices are a scandal

This would be a good time to open up about why. Do they have to pay off various groups to be allowed to operate or find themselves in trouble. Special licences? Payment to wait in or go to certain places. Forced to join co-operatives?

Threats if they charge a rate others would see as undercutting the 'proper' fare.

Who might the forces be that benefit from all of this? How high up does/did the money flow and how much is for them and how much remains for the taxi driver?

 

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10 hours ago, webfact said:
Koh Samui deserted: A very UN-Merry Christmas on once bustling holiday island
 
4pm1.jpg
Picture: Naew Na
 
Santa did not visit Koh Samui this year.
 
Thai media Naew Na went to the usually thriving holiday island and found it almost totally deserted on Christmas Day.
 
In Chaweng there were just a few Thai tourists at the Ark Bar on the beach.
 
The owner had bravely put on a fire show. What staff remained were kitted out in Santa hats - with face masks and shields for company.
 
The Christmas lights on the main drag were out. 
 
There would normally be 500 taxis doing a great trade, said driver Apichai - now fewer than 100 were left.
 
4pm2.jpg
Picture: Naew Na
 
Sometimes drivers would do a 22 hour shift without a single customer.
 
It was still better than being miserable at home though hardly conducive to getting money for his family or car repayments.
 
Many cars had been reclaimed by finance companies. 
 
There was absolutely no comparison with Christmas on Samui last year and this. 
 
4pm3.jpg
Picture: Naew Na
 
The island has already seen tourism completely destroyed in 2020 due to the lack of foreign tourists on which it relied. 
 
Now with many new cases of Covid-19 what little domestic tourism there was is now also under threat.
 
Soure: Naew Na
 

Sounds great..just like the old days before the grockels and hoi poloi invaded the place. Let's hope it returns to being the peaceful free, semi autonomous idyl it used to be before mass tourism, the airport and the mainland mafia, bureaucrats and BIB spoilt a great place.

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1 hour ago, greeneking said:

Totally agree the prices are a scandal

This would be a good time to open up about why. Do they have to pay off various groups to be allowed to operate or find themselves in trouble. Special licences? Payment to wait in or go to certain places. Forced to join co-operatives?

Threats if they charge a rate others would see as undercutting the 'proper' fare.

Who might the forces be that benefit from all of this? How high up does/did the money flow and how much is for them and how much remains for the taxi driver?

 

Can’t remember what the cost to get the uniform/ shirt . But the drivers mostly lease the cars at around 10-16000 a month depending on age of car etc , they pay for the car if it breaks down , they pay insurance etc , they pay for the paint job and obviously pay for gasoline. I always used the same guys for years but most eventually left and now I just use a private one . Private and taxi were both same price though give or take 100bht .

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11 hours ago, webfact said:

There was absolutely no comparison with Christmas on Samui last year and this. 

Wonder how the comparison with Christmas last year was at other tourists destinations around the World...🤔

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9 hours ago, Nout said:

Sounds great..just like the old days before the grockels and hoi poloi invaded the place. Let's hope it returns to being the peaceful free, semi autonomous idyl it used to be before mass tourism, the airport and the mainland mafia, bureaucrats and BIB spoilt a great place.

What is groekel and a  poloi ????

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1 hour ago, wavodavo said:

What is groekel and a  poloi ????

A 'grockle' is a tourist and said by the locals in some areas of the south west UK - https://www.lexico.com/explore/what-is-the-origin-of-the-word-grockle

 

'Hoi polloi' means something similar - 'the masses' or 'great unwashed' spring to mind.

https://www.lexico.com/definition/hoi_polloi

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I also have no sympathy for the Samui taxi drivers. Always used Navigo until that stopped. Would charge and acceptable Baht 200 from where we live to the centre of Bangrak. The alternative became Grab but they wanted Baht 400 for the same journey. Needless to say we don't use them. There are still as few private taxi drivers around who charge sensible prices, but few and far between so if you find one, you tend to keep quiet about him/her!

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18 hours ago, khunPer said:

Wonder how the comparison with Christmas last year was at other tourists destinations around the World...🤔

I cannot answer your question khunPer but I can give a comparison of the number of check-ins, in my business, this month.

So far, 83 check-ins and still taking last minute bookings. (One just an hour ago.)

Last year, only three months had more check ins than now.

July - 89 check-ins

August - 99 check ins

December - 115 check ins

So we have had more check-ins this month than for nine of the months in 2019.

2019 was open skies and lots of foreign tourists.

This month, zero foreign tourists. Yet 83 large groups of people checking into villas.

Year on Year, Samui where I am, is NOT dead yet.

But hey, what do I know? I live here and work in the tourism business.

The usual TV bar-stool 'experts' obviously know more about tourism on Samui than I do.

Edited by Tropicalevo
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1 hour ago, Tropicalevo said:

I cannot answer your question khunPer but I can give a comparison of the number of check-ins, in my business, this month.

So far, 83 check-ins and still taking last minute bookings. (One just an hour ago.)

Last year, only three months had more check ins than now.

July - 89 check-ins

August - 99 check ins

December - 115 check ins

So we have had more check-ins this month than for nine of the months in 2019.

2019 was open skies and lots of foreign tourists.

This month, zero foreign tourists. Yet 83 large groups of people checking into villas.

Year on Year, Samui where I am, is NOT dead yet.

But hey, what do I know? I live here and work in the tourism business.

The usual TV bar-stool 'experts' obviously know more about tourism on Samui than I do.

Are these for new year ? I imagine most people want to escape where they live if everything is getting closed or cancelled for new year .

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3 hours ago, ronaldo0 said:

Are these for new year ? I imagine most people want to escape where they live if everything is getting closed or cancelled for new year .

This morning's last minute check in leaves on 31st Dec. I cannot find a logical pattern other than people are coming to Samui. All I know is that I am not looking at a deserted island.

We have had some December bookings for a while. Initially Thai tourists but once the school holidays hit, then mostly foreigners 'taking the children to the seaside'?

Only 18 of the 83 check-ins are over NYE.

The other 65 check-ins have left Samui already or are leaving before NYE.

The thing is that these check-ins are probably 500 guests or more? Where are they eating, drinking, shopping?

Another consideration. The villas that I work with, are less than one third of the villas in this area. The other villas have guests as well. I have no idea of occupancy levels or numbers of guests, but there are quite a few people walking around that are staying at other villas.

So far, I have only counted short stay check ins.

These numbers do not include long stay guests (3 months to one year). There are a number of these as well.

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5 hours ago, Tropicalevo said:

Last year, only three months had more check ins than now.

July - 89 check-ins

August - 99 check ins

December - 115 check ins

So we have had more check-ins this month than for nine of the months in 2019.

 

That is how someone in denial, promoting his services declares it

 

I read that this month you had 25% less check ins than the same month last year, and most likely at a much lower price as well.

 

And I guess that the other 11 months this year have similar results, or even worse, if you compare them with the same months in 2019.

 

 

Edited by Susco
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2 hours ago, Tropicalevo said:

This morning's last minute check in leaves on 31st Dec. I cannot find a logical pattern other than people are coming to Samui. All I know is that I am not looking at a deserted island.

We have had some December bookings for a while. Initially Thai tourists but once the school holidays hit, then mostly foreigners 'taking the children to the seaside'?

Only 18 of the 83 check-ins are over NYE.

The other 65 check-ins have left Samui already or are leaving before NYE.

The thing is that these check-ins are probably 500 guests or more? Where are they eating, drinking, shopping?

Another consideration. The villas that I work with, are less than one third of the villas in this area. The other villas have guests as well. I have no idea of occupancy levels or numbers of guests, but there are quite a few people walking around that are staying at other villas.

So far, I have only counted short stay check ins.

These numbers do not include long stay guests (3 months to one year). There are a number of these as well.

I found a few of these villas the guests stayed for a few days and never actually left the villas at all . The owners sent staff to get everything the guest required and they are now employing a chef to cater dinner etc and employ them on a permanent basis at low wage while charging the guest a high price to eat in . The guests think they paid to rent a nice villa so they use it and spend most of the day around the pool drinking and never even see samui . The other thing these groups do is hire a boat trip for a day on a private hire so they have the boat to themselves and will have all food and drink on board .

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8 hours ago, Susco said:

 

That is how someone in denial, promoting his services declares it

 

I read that this month you had 25% less check ins than the same month last year, and most likely at a much lower price as well.

 

And I guess that the other 11 months this year have similar results, or even worse, if you compare them with the same months in 2019.

 

 

A few wrong assumptions in your post.

I am not sure where you think that I am in denial. I just say things as there are. Staff have not been able to have a day off this month because of the amount of work.

I never promote my services. (We are too busy anyway.) From your comments I would suggest that you do not know what services we provide. Most of the check-ins quoted come from less than one third of my customers.

As soon as I post a number for the check-ins it is likely to be out of date the next day. Cancellations/last minute bookings etc make the numbers pretty dynamic.

Carry on guessing.

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On 12/29/2020 at 12:26 AM, brain150 said:

So there are 2 places on the Island with customers .... doesn't sound like much if the rest of the Island is empty [which it is]

Chi is way overpriced but good for people who like to show up ... nothing special about the place but at least they are "bouncing"  🤣

 

There are more than 1200 restaurants in Samui on TripAdvisor...you get the picture.

 

More telling is the Bangkok Airways Q3 loss of 1.58 billion baht... means very few people are coming to Samui compared to normal times. It looks Q4 and Q1 are not going to get any better,  so maybe more government handouts are coming.  Now is the time for the government to squeeze them for the airport,  but who knows, they may be well connected, and the losses would be socialized. 

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8 minutes ago, gearbox said:

 

There are more than 1200 restaurants in Samui on TripAdvisor...you get the picture.

 

More telling is the Bangkok Airways Q3 loss of 1.58 billion baht... means very few people are coming to Samui compared to normal times. It looks Q4 and Q1 are not going to get any better,  so maybe more government handouts are coming.  Now is the time for the government to squeeze them for the airport,  but who knows, they may be well connected, and the losses would be socialized. 

Tourism is said to be 80 percent down, so of course 4 out of 5 normal flights would be either not fly, or be empty; and 4 out of 5 restaurants would be closed, or have no customers.

 

This is not happening in Thailand alone, or Bangkok Airways only, it's in general all over the World. Some of the Thai airlines have already either given up, or are under bankruptcy protection for reconstruction, which is similar to a number of airlines around the World.

 

With 80 percent guests missing a lot will be empty, especially in those areas that mainly depend on foreign tourists, like Chaweng Beach and Lamai Beach; just like other similar destinations in Thailand, and all over the World. 

 

I would however not worry that much about Bangkok Airways, or the local family-owned resorts on Samui, they'll survive, and still be there when the tourists comes back.

 

Domestic Thai tourists have other preferences than foreign tourists, especially than Western tourists that were the majority on Samui. At the moment it's mainly some higher end resorts that have reopened and have customers, rather than the for normal folks more affordable places, which seems to remain closed.

 

Apart from the domestic tourists there are still some "stranded tourists" on the island. A few month back Surat Thani province had 10,000 of them, mainly on the islands. Furthermore there is a fairly large expat community of several thousands, who don't dine out every day, but still gives regular business to a lot of places, often those that are not too dependent on tourists and therefore survive, some of them are even busy.

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