Many thousands of tourists visiting Koh Samui each year decide that renting a small motorcycle of scooter is the best way to explore this island. Whilst it is certainly the cheapest, there are also many downfalls. Keep reading to discover most of them.
Beware the Traffic!
Koh Samui sees more road accidents each year than any other two Thai regions put together. This is due to two specific factors. Firstly there is the quality of the roads. Koh Samui is infamous for its atrocious roads full of potholes, ban surface and broken concrete. Secondly the traffic, especially around to , is very heavy in places, with huge trucks overtaking these tiny scooters at incredible speeds, whilst the scooter rider tries to navigate their way along the aforementioned bad roads. Heads up, be careful, Koh Samui roads are dangerous.
Scratch & Scam
Many of the less reputable scooter rental operations upon Koh Samui (and it is very hard to spot them) are fond of taking a large deposit when the scooter is rented. They are clever, they will have a sign saying something like “We don’t need to keep your passport, we just take a deposit of 5,000 Baht” out front, and people think great, I don’t have to trust anybody with my passport. Big mistake, once the rental operator has that deposit, they will do everything they can to make sure they do not have to give it back. I have personally seen people ripped off for several thousand Baht because of a tiny scratch, which is almost unnoticeable and probably not even caused by the renter, for several thousand Baht. Similarly if you break something on the bike, say a wing mirror, you will be charge many times more than the true cost of a replacement. When you do hire a scooter, check it over and have the owner agree the condition of the bike before you ride it away.
Psssssst – Not Again!
Be prepared for punctures, and I mean plural, my personal record was three in a single day. The combination of bad roads and the worn tires that are on most rental scooters, mean that punctures are the norm. Luckily there seems to be a puncture repair shop on every corner!
The Basket is not for your Bag
Do not be tempted to put your handbag or day pack into the front basket of your scooter. A favourite hobby of young Thai males is to ride by and snatch the bag; can you ride a scooter well enough to catch them?
Overall, yes a scooter is a fun way to explore Koh Samui, but it is also risky at times. Always ride safely, and never drink and drive. Keep your wits about you and be prepared for anything!