Saturday, 2 May 2015

Shopping in Big Buddha, Koh Samui

Informal commercialization

The Big Buddha is one of the most popular tourist attractions on the Island of Samui. As such, the area embracing the foot of this colossal testament to this Eastern deity has become one of the fastest developing areas on the island. Every year, thousands of travelers from all corners of the globe flock its sandy shores. The local Thai vendors were the first to acknowledge the potential for profit that this area had shown and came in their masses to set up an array of different shops and market stalls. This informal commercialization has occurred to such an extent, thanks to the popularity of the Big Buddha statue that the beach now has its own marketplace that bustles with activity, bargains and the smell of cooked food.

Tourists are offered an array of memorabilia and souvenirs ranging from hand-crafted statues, knock-off T-shirts, embroidered table cloths and stunning oil paintings to the latest DVDs, music CDs, clothing, sports gear and much more. This marketplace is essentially a cluster of little stalls surround the temple area, making it a great retail capper to a stroll around the Buddha statue and an unforgettable experience to those wishing to indulge in Thai shopping! On Friday nights, local bands get up on make-shift stages set up around the marketplace to delight - or in cases, make you wince - at the Thai interpretation of Western music!

Best hand crafted silver shops

There aren't many 'brand name stores' in Big Buddha Beach, however the area does host a handful of beach shops, a surf store and one or two women's clothing shops. Some of the best hand crafted silver shops are to be found in this area and the quality of their craftsmanship draws people from all over the island. These shops are located in a cluster around the corner of the market area.

The main road that leads straight through the centre of Big Buddha Beach has recently been upgraded and now, sitting adjacent to it, one can find a supermarket, several dive shops and a fresh produce store. As the road repairs grew closer to completion, many pub owners took the opportunity to set up shop, resulting in a proliferation of bars, clubs and night time activity in this area, which has certainly added to its growing popularity with the tourists. However, for those of you who have set out to have a nice and relaxing holiday, there are still those precious secluded and pris-tine spots on Big Buddha beach that lie hidden from the hustle and bustle of the outside world.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Travelling to Koh Samui

Koh Samui Travel

The island of Koh Samui has become a hugely popular tourist destination in the past ten years. The Island sits on the west coast of the country and in the blue waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Most travellers to the island come from Europe and wonder how to get to the island. Arrival in Bangkok is usually the first point of the journey. From that point it is just a matter of how quickly you want to get to Samui and what budget you have.
The easiest way to reach Koh Samui is to fly from Bangkok. The island has a beautiful airport that really does make you feel like you are arriving on a tropical paradise. Bangkok Airways operate flights to and from the island and Bangkok approximately every hour and the flight lasts either 50 minutes or one hour thirty minutes depending on the flight. The flights start from around 6am and the last flight is around 11pm at night. Prices range between £51 and £92 each way.
Bangkok Office:Tel. 02-229 3456
Samui Airport Office: 077-422 513
Chaweng Office, Samui: 077-420 133
Another cheaper option is to fly from Bangkok to Surrat Thani, which is the mainland region next to Samui. The flights to the Surrat Thani airport are a lot cheaper at about £26 and you can then buy a bus ticket and boat ticket at the airport across to the island.
Travelling to Samui by Train
A further cheaper option for Koh Samui travel is the train. Many people enjoy this option with a sleeper berth in the overnight train costing about £2 and then the boat across.
Second class sleeper trains leave Surat Thani at 17:50 and 19:04 and arrive in Bangkok at 05:35 and 05:50 the following morning. One can connect with either of these trains by taking the Songserm passenger ferry which leaves Nathon Pier at 14:30 and connect with the Songserm bus to the station (total cost, including train, £13). Also, the Phantip bus leaves the foot of Nathon pier at 13:30, takes the car ferry and then goes directly to the train station (total cost, including train £11). Advance bookings are recommended. Prices above are for a bottom bunk on the train.
Finally there is the coach option that many backpackers take. It is about 14 hours and costs about £2. Buses Information Services - Phantip Co.Ltd Tel: 077-421221
When you are on the island there are plenty of options for Ko Samui travel. There are plenty of taxis on the island but they do tend to be expensive. There are buses that operate called 'song tow' which are kind of like a covered pick up truck with benches in the back. With these you can get around for most journeys at less than £1. The popular option with young tourists is to hire a motorbike. This does free up your travelling but many people do suffer accidents. Be sure you have insurance, a license and wear a helmet. Bikes cost between £3 and £7 a day to hire. Finally there are plenty of places that can hire a car to you, which is a much safer option for Ko Samui travel. Prices vary according to the vehicle.

Samui Travelling Tips

  • If you are travelling in to Koh Samui from abroad, and are catching a connecting flight from Bangkok to Samui - remember that your luggage will not be automatically checked in for you on the connecting flight. You will need to collect your luggage yourself and check it in again at the domestic flights counter in Bangkok airport.
  • If you haven't yet booked a hotel or arranged for an airport transfer, be aware that the prices you will pay at the airport will be a lot higher than those you see advertised on this website. Your safest bet is to book your hotel and airport transfers through us before you depart for Ko Samui. This will give you peace of mind that you have somewhere to stay and be a lot easier on your wallet as well!