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Hi Everyone,

 

Not too sure where to post this as I haven't found any existing topics so here it goes.

I will be moving to Koh Samui mid-may this year for quite some time (will get the 9 months STV tourist visa and see what I do from there) and was initially thinking getting a place in either Chaweng or Lamai but I've read here that those places are dead at the moment due to the pandemic. Do you guys think it should get better by then or should I avoid those areas for now? As per a STV requirement I need to have a placed booked for the first 3 months and will only be able to go house hunting afterwards. I've already found a few places that look interesting online and contacting a few real estate agents to get ''local prices'' but the more help the merrier so if you've heard of anything let me know. I've read here that since the pandemic there's a lot of housing available and prices can be quite negociated. I'm 28 and would also be open to a shared accomodations to meet some locals or expats who have been living here for a while but couldn't really find anything online, I'm unsure if that's because I'm not looking properly or if that's not really a thing over there.

If that makes any difference, I'm a French citizen that has lived in Canada for the past 10 years and will be pursuing a degree online from an Australian university and am planning on moving to Sydney once the country opens up to foreigners.

 

Once again I appreciate any help.

 

Cheers,

 

Guillaume

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1 hour ago, Pochon said:

initially thinking getting a place in either Chaweng or Lamai but I've read here that those places are dead at the moment due to the pandemic. Do you guys think it should get better by then or should I avoid those areas for now? As per a STV requirement I need to have a placed booked for the first 3 months and will only be able to go house hunting afterwards.

Both Chaweng and Lamai are dedicated areas into tourism, and both areas are if not completely dead by their beach road areas, then fairly dead.

 

Chaweng area would be the most alive, just you get to second road it's quite alive due to local life and some expats, but not fully alive as it would be normally. Chaweng has the benefit of Central Festival shopping mall where you among others open shops find a good supermarket, Tops, that also sells affordable ready made dishes.

 

wIMG20210303170742_Top-dish.jpg.4e4de98776299bbbf7d9db1d0ed46bcf.jpg

 

There are also some few restaurants open in the beach road area but not many, and I don't think the situation will change by mid May, as re-opening for tourism seems to be later, perhaps not before October, and it might still take some time before mass tourism restart.

 

Other areas you could look at would be Bang Rak, Bo Phut or Maenam, which seems a bit more alive than Chaweng Beach.

 

Situation might begin to change after your first three month, it will then be in August, or there might be more reliable facts about reopening for tourism. You will also have a chance to check potential areas yourself, depending of your interests and life-style, which is always better to do in real life than by Internet images. Finding affordable relocation accommodation should not be a problem as the island used to have lots of visitors, so numerous places are empty and might be available at bargain prices; often good offers are found by just a sign, or word of mouth.

 

If you are considering night life there is not much right now, however some pubs and a few bars are open til around midnight, and the music venues where Thais are hanging out have reopened. But things can change over the next few month, or even weeks, and in that case there will probably be some clubs reopening in Chaweng's beach road area.

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8 hours ago, Swimfan said:

Have a look on the Samui FB property groups. Bargains abound. 

 

That's a very good point indeed, I'll definitely check them out. Thanks Swimfan!

 

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6 hours ago, khunPer said:

Both Chaweng and Lamai are dedicated areas into tourism, and both areas are if not completely dead by their beach road areas, then fairly dead.

 

Chaweng area would be the most alive, just you get to second road it's quite alive due to local life and some expats, but not fully alive as it would be normally. Chaweng has the benefit of Central Festival shopping mall where you among others open shops find a good supermarket, Tops, that also sells affordable ready made dishes.

 

wIMG20210303170742_Top-dish.jpg.4e4de98776299bbbf7d9db1d0ed46bcf.jpg

 

There are also some few restaurants open in the beach road area but not many, and I don't think the situation will change by mid May, as re-opening for tourism seems to be later, perhaps not before October, and it might still take some time before mass tourism restart.

 

Other areas you could look at would be Bang Rak, Bo Phut or Maenam, which seems a bit more alive than Chaweng Beach.

 

Situation might begin to change after your first three month, it will then be in August, or there might be more reliable facts about reopening for tourism. You will also have a chance to check potential areas yourself, depending of your interests and life-style, which is always better to do in real life than by Internet images. Finding affordable relocation accommodation should not be a problem as the island used to have lots of visitors, so numerous places are empty and might be available at bargain prices; often good offers are found by just a sign, or word of mouth.

 

If you are considering night life there is not much right now, however some pubs and a few bars are open til around midnight, and the music venues where Thais are hanging out have reopened. But things can change over the next few month, or even weeks, and in that case there will probably be some clubs reopening in Chaweng's beach road area.

 

 

You're making a great point regarding the fact that it'll be much easier to find something that'll suit me for a longer term after my first 3 months in Koh Samui. I've also started watching some videos from not too long ago and Chaweng and Lamai do indeed look pretty dead. I'll always have time to move there once life starts picking up again in those neighboorhoods. 

 

To be honest I didn't check Bo Phut that much before you mentionned it and I feel like it's growing on me and might just find a place other there instead, as (from the videos I saw online) it doesn't look to as much impacted as Chaweng indeed. 

I'm starting to look for places east of the fisherman's village as it seems to have less resorts and more restaurants, stores and bars than west of there, but if you have any input on where's the ideal location I'm all ears.

I'll also take a look at Maenam and get back to you as I've heard it mentionned many times but initially discarded it because I felt it was too far from Chaweng/Lamai where I initially thought most of restaurants and bars were to be found.

 

I can't thank you enough for the time and the amount of details you've included in your response!

 

Cheers,

 

Guillaume

 

 

 

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Both Maenam and Bangrak have always been popular with expats living on the island. (Lower rents.)

This means that businesses in these areas have not relied totally on foreign tourists.

In Bangrak, at least two new restaurants have opened this year. Places are surviving, but still struggling though.

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14 hours ago, Pochon said:

will get the 9 months STV tourist visa and see what I do from ther

 

Beware that, as far as I'm aware, once the 9 months is up, you cannot convert this visa to any other class in country.

 

If I'm correct, then that means that in the possible case that countries are still in lockdown when your visa expires (so no border hops), and if Thailand decide not to provide more covid extensions for whatever reason, then you may face the end of the road for your journey.

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9 hours ago, Tropicalevo said:

Both Maenam and Bangrak have always been popular with expats living on the island. (Lower rents.)

 

 

Is that also the case with Bo Phut? Meaning is it mainly populated by long term staying expats and locals or do you think it's as quiet as Chaweng or Lamai right now?

 

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9 hours ago, JayClay said:

 

Beware that, as far as I'm aware, once the 9 months is up, you cannot convert this visa to any other class in country.

 

If I'm correct, then that means that in the possible case that countries are still in lockdown when your visa expires (so no border hops), and if Thailand decide not to provide more covid extensions for whatever reason, then you may face the end of the road for your journey.

 

Thanks for letting me know. To be honest I went for this visa as I thought it'd be the easiest to get in a short amount of time as I need to move there by early may to get out of ASQ by mid may and hope for the best after those 9 months to renew on another tourist visa depending on how much longer I needed to stay in the country. In the event nothing were to work, well at least I would have a few months to figure out my next move. 

 

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9 hours ago, phetphet said:

Seeing as you are french, and in case you might want to be where there are more of your compatriots. There seems to be quite a lot of french people and french run businesses in and around Fisherman's village.

 

In saying that, anywhere on the north east of the island, from Choeng Mon to Maenam is probably best at the moment because as you have noted, Chaweng is dead. But only the beach road.

 

If you want quieter, then Plai Laem or Choeng Mon. Bangrak a little busier, Fisherman's village rents may be higher. I believe there is a french run estate agent /property management company there. Can't remember the name.

 

Maenam a little further away (10-15 mins on a motor scooter), but  you might stand a better chance of getting something on the beach.

 

But going back to Chaweng. It is a great beach, and because it is so quiet, you might be able to negotiate a real deal in one of the smaller beachfront  resorts that are still open. By staying there you would be close to many amenities such as Central Festival and Tops Supermarket, Chaweng  Lake for night markets and exercise. There is a track around the lake where people jog, bike ride, and free gym equipment ( not the best, but useable). Also near the few nightclubs that are open if that is your thing.

 

 

 

Although I don't mind meeting French people, I find it more interesting to meet locals and expats from other countries so if I were to choose to stay in Bo Phut it wouldn't be especially for the French, but thank you for letting me know.

 

Regarding the french run real estate agency, I've contacted Samui Immobilier among others, which name is in French, and the agent has a typical French name as well, maybe you were referring to that one.

 

I should also mention that I never rode a motor bike and reading a lot of posts saying it can be quite dangerous sometimes I was thinking mainly visiting the neighbooring bays on foot as I don't mind walking 1 hour+ and getting a navigo for places further away such as Chaweng for example.

 

 

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1 hour ago, khunPer said:

As @phetphetsays, the area by Chaweng Lake, 2nd Road, is quite cozy, for example for afternoon exercise...

wIMG_0002ce_Chaweng-Lake.jpg.967e7d0d42bc2fabd5cebe72f4f8ec80.jpg

 

–And there is often a fine afternoon-evening market also...

IMG202008271752_Chaweng-2nd-Road.jpg.20f033519de398be2f78bb64b6ba1bcc.jpg

 

In evenings, and so far until midnight, the locals (mainly Thais) hang out and listen to live music in Old School Bar by the southern end of the Lake...

wIMG_0396_Old-School-Bar_CR.jpg.19a12e7677a75948ecc47db60d22810f.jpg

 

–whilst foreigners, and some free lancers, are found in Black Bamboo pub, next to the nightlife area behind Central Festival...

wIMG_0397_Black-Bamboo_1024.jpg.82e9d3411812cc80d84731cb94667782.jpg

 

I drove down Chaweng beach road two days ago, and it's still as deserted as the various videos show, almost all are closed.

 

You mentioned bars, and your age 28, so if you are seeking some level of entertainment, then apart from Chaweng the Bang Rak area is quite lively with both cozy beachfront meeting points in afternoons and early evenings, and quite a number of open bars, pretty close to "normal" life. Bang Rak is the "east of Fisherman Village", the next bay.

 

Fisherman Village has mainly pubs, and of course restaurants, the are no typical beer bars, but in front of the shopping arcade "The Wharf" there is a cozy beachfront pub "Coco Tam's", a usually crowded meeting place in afternoons and early evenings.

 

Choosing any area away from Chaweng might include consideration of transportation, if you wish to visit Chaweng; either using for example a Grab-taxi, or renting some kind of vehicle. Small motorbikes/scooters are cheap to rent, but drive carefully, in daytime and early evenings there are still a lot of traffic on the island, only deserted safe exceptions are Chaweng and Lamai beach roads.


Bo Phut and Bang Rak beaches are however not the best for swimming.

 

Also Maenam use to have quite a number of French people, including a small expat community. If you are looking for beach – with Google "street view" you can walk many of Samui's beaches – Maenam is great, actually voted number 9 in one of Asia's Top-10 beach list. Still plenty of affordable possibilities for beachfront accommodation, here is how it appears during the Covid-lockdown...

IMG_9775_maenam-beach.jpg.7e6fa60aca95c7dae3175454d4f0f4d4.jpg

 

–but Chaweng Beach is also outstanding with its whiter sand, but normally also with more waves. By the public entrance at the southern end by "Seen Beach Club", the beach becomes quite lively and crowded in the afternoons, especially during weekends (lockdown photos)...wIMG_9984_Chaweng-Beach-col(w800).jpg.e9f7908b98c3ea4edb6684cb8b3f61dd.jpg

wIMG20200830172400_Sunday-on-Chaweng-beach(1024).jpg.387b0f70ba87cbeeb87a8b25bad01297.jpg

 

 

Thank you for all the info. I'm not the type of person to go to the beach to swim everyday so I won't mind going a longer distance to get to a better one than the one I'm living near of, and making it a day to visit the area at the same time.

 

I'll take a deeper look at what to do in Bang Rak and I think it'll be between Bang Rak and Bo Phut. I feel like Maenam is a little too far away from the rest of the island while if I were to live in any of the two others I could do most of the exploring on foot. And anyway I'll only be taking a place for the first 3 months, so I'll still be able to move to a different area afterwards.

 

Now, I've mentioned a couple times I was planning on going to a lot of places by foot, but is it actually safe to do so? I've seen sidewalks on the main beach roads on Google Street View, but is walking from Bo Phut or Bang Rak to Chaweng doable and safe? 

 

 

Once again, thank you all for your help that's extremely appreciated!

 

Cheers,

 

Guillaume

 

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1 hour ago, Pochon said:

Now, I've mentioned a couple times I was planning on going to a lot of places by foot, but is it actually safe to do so? I've seen sidewalks on the main beach roads on Google Street View, but is walking from Bo Phut or Bang Rak to Chaweng doable and safe? 

Walking is doable, but there might be many obstructions on some of the side walks, and walking from Bo Phut (Fisherman Village area) to Chaweng (which is also in Bo Phut district) is quite a distance, that might feel longer if walking on roads with bad, or no, sidewalks, like the short cut from Bang Rak to Chaweng. However, you can easily get used to it, and for example as I do, always walk against the traffic, so you see what is coming towards you (apart from those Thais driving in the wrong side of the road).

 

Many sidewalks look like this...

wIMG_0375_Sidewalk-with-obstructions(1024).jpg.17269491a786b50f3797c39b47927d2c.jpg

 

The Ring Road has quite good sidewalks now, as it just been remade with new sewers, side walks and tarmac. Walking from Bo Phut Fisherman Village by the Ring Road is fine, and the way from the Ring Road down to the Chaweng Beach is not too bad. From Fisherman Village intersection by Ring Road and following the road by the lake till Central Festival roundabout is about 5 kilometers...

 

Distance-FMV-Chaweng.jpg.45261d152c3f2d92168cfe962890f30d.jpg

 

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59 minutes ago, khunPer said:

Walking is doable, but there might be many obstructions on some of the side walks, and walking from Bo Phut (Fisherman Village area) to Chaweng (which is also in Bo Phut district) is quite a distance, that might feel longer if walking on roads with bad, or no, sidewalks, like the short cut from Bang Rak to Chaweng. However, you can easily get used to it, and for example as I do, always walk against the traffic, so you see what is coming towards you (apart from those Thais driving in the wrong side of the road).

 

Many sidewalks look like this...

wIMG_0375_Sidewalk-with-obstructions(1024).jpg.17269491a786b50f3797c39b47927d2c.jpg

 

The Ring Road has quite good sidewalks now, as it just been remade with new sewers, side walks and tarmac. Walking from Bo Phut Fisherman Village by the Ring Road is fine, and the way from the Ring Road down to the Chaweng Beach is not too bad. From Fisherman Village intersection by Ring Road and following the road by the lake till Central Festival roundabout is about 5 kilometers...

 

Distance-FMV-Chaweng.jpg.45261d152c3f2d92168cfe962890f30d.jpg

 

 

Ok great thanks for all that info!

 

Another question I had regarding finding a place to live, is how common is it for people in Koh Samui to share a place as roommates? 

I've searched a bit and didn't find anything at all anywhere, and it's not even an option to search for just a room in a shared house on any website. Is that just not a thing on Koh Samui?

 

Thanks,

 

Guillaume

 

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4 hours ago, Pochon said:

 

Ok great thanks for all that info!

 

Another question I had regarding finding a place to live, is how common is it for people in Koh Samui to share a place as roommates? 

I've searched a bit and didn't find anything at all anywhere, and it's not even an option to search for just a room in a shared house on any website. Is that just not a thing on Koh Samui?

 

Thanks,

 

Guillaume

It's my impression that those, who are sharing a room, are either pals travelling together, or someone you befriend underway; however some people that are sharing a room, share it with a local, but that's not to save rent...😉

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4 hours ago, khunPer said:

some people that are sharing a room, share it with a local, but that's not to save rent...😉

Oh, that could be a great saver! 😊

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9 hours ago, Pochon said:

Ok great thanks for all that info!

 

Another question I had regarding finding a place to live, is how common is it for people in Koh Samui to share a place as roommates? 

I've searched a bit and didn't find anything at all anywhere, and it's not even an option to search for just a room in a shared house on any website. Is that just not a thing on Koh Samui?

 

Thanks,

 

Guillaume

That's quite an interesting question and from an urban Western perspective, one would assume that it is 'a thing', but actually, I don't think it is. Thailand is such a transient place which doesn't lend itself to this type of sharing..I'm surprised that social media, couch surfing and the like has thrown up something though............Potentially an online business opportunity...!

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16 hours ago, Pochon said:

 and getting a navigo for places further away such as Chaweng for example

Sadly Navigo ceased to exist and the only option aside from flagging down a taxi (not recommended) is Grab which is ridiculously expensive compared to other places in thailand.

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16 hours ago, bojo said:

That's quite an interesting question and from an urban Western perspective, one would assume that it is 'a thing', but actually, I don't think it is. Thailand is such a transient place which doesn't lend itself to this type of sharing..I'm surprised that social media, couch surfing and the like has thrown up something though............Potentially an online business opportunity...!

 

That's good to know thanks, and it now makes sense that I couldn't find anything related!

 

16 hours ago, Don Chance said:

Why ko Samui?   Ko Phangan would be a better choice or Phuket.

 

As @khunPer said, I can visit Koh Phangan from Koh Samui - which I'll probably do - but from what I've read online and from what people told be of both, I'd rather have my main place in Koh Samui. Regarding Phuket, it doesn't have a great reputation here in France, and is viewed as a city full of tourists that don't really care about locals nor traditions, but maybe that's wrong. Nevertheless, again like @khunPer said, I've made up my mind about Koh Samui. Thank you for the input though.

 

13 hours ago, huberthammer said:

Sadly Navigo ceased to exist and the only option aside from flagging down a taxi (not recommended) is Grab which is ridiculously expensive compared to other places in thailand.

 

Ah that's too bad, it really seemed like a great way to move around the island. I'll check Grab out and figure it out on the fly once I'm there anyway.

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On 3/4/2021 at 2:30 AM, Pochon said:

I'm a French citizen that has lived in Canada for the past 10 years and will be pursuing a degree online from an Australian university and am planning on moving to Sydney once the country opens up to foreigners.

If you're busy studying for a degree, why do you care if an area is "dead"?  Wouldn't quieter be better for studying?

You admit you're not staying.  Why are you shopping for a house?

Sounds like you should stay in Canada. 

Obviously you're making a LOT of money there if you can afford to fly to Thailand and live on an expensive island and shop for houses. 👍

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2 hours ago, Neilly said:

Either English isn't your first language or you didn't bother reading the post from the beginning?

He already stated he doesn't ride a bike/scooter...if you're in a "dead" area you'll starve...even the 7-11's have shut down in some places

He's not "shopping" for a house...he wants to rent one

As for the last two points, I'd say it was none of your damn business...so it's off to the Ignore Bin for you cupcake 🤭...bye

Lots of people on TVF ignore basic questions and common sense advice. 😅

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