Thursday, 28 February 2013

Drinking and Driving Don’t Mix in Koh Samui

Drinking and driving is not the smartest decision you can make in Thailand
When the Koh Samui weather conditions remain dry throughout the week, what’s the best thing to do in order to enjoy a lonely night? For many of this island’s visitors, that’d be heading down to a club and getting intoxicated with the local crowds.

As tempting as this may be for anyone belonging to the younger generation, sometimes its important to limit alcohol consumption, most especially when the party-goer chooses to drive himself home instead of hiring a taxi.

From the law’s point of view, the permissible limit of BAC levels for drivers is 0.5 grams. But for the bloke who had his driver’s license for less than five year, this limit drops down to 0.2 grams. The Thai government is doing everything that it can to reduce the number of drunk-driving incidents. Anyone that’s caught driving beyond the accepted BAC levels will either be heavily fined, or sentenced to jail – depending on how bad the accident is.

Thai police come equipped with breath test detectors for catching drunks. They also setup outposts throughout the entire country – Koh Samui included – and are given a greater level of freedom when it comes to dealing with woozy drivers.

It’s not surprising that the government is trying to clamp down on the issue, as studies show that there are roughly 25,000 deaths caused by intoxicated drivers every year. The frequency of such related accidents is even worse during festivals and special holidays, and reach as high as 800 deaths per day.

In the worst-case scenario, a vacationist could easily contribute to the statistic of dead motorists due to intoxication. He may even bump the annual figures even higher if he has passengers, or crashes into another vehicle or individual.

In other cases, the tourist may be lucky enough to walk away from the vehicular accident, with nobody – including himself – harmed. However, this leaves him in a world of trouble with the law. Again, he’ll most likely be made to be a hefty fine, or spend the night cramped in a jail cell with other sadistic inmates who’ve been waiting to get their hands on a foreigner!

When out partying, it’s always best to leave the car behind, and take a taxi home instead. Koh Samui government highlights the importance of setting limits for alcohol intake for the sake of personal safety, as well as the greater good of all.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Checking the Authenticity of Baht Notes in Koh Samui

Thai baht front top to bottom 1000 baht, 500 baht, 100 baht and 50 baht note
It doesn’t get any better than checking in at a luxury suite at ShaSa Resort and Residences, and spending the day visiting as many Koh Samui attractions as possible. However, a vacationist’s seemingly perfect holiday can easily be turned inside out if he makes the mistake of exchanging his cash for fake baht notes.

Police in Thailand have recently issued several warnings regarding the emergence of counterfeited dough yet again. Although the instances of these occurrences happening to tourists are statistically uncommon, there’s always that small chance wherein an individual unwittingly exchanges his money for knockoffs.

Counterfeiters have done an excellent job at creating fake bills, which closely resemble the real thing. Numerous cashiers are trained to identify fake currencies, and upon catching a customer paying facsimiles, they’ll be left with no choice but to contact local authorities.

Unwillingly using replica baht usually won’t entail trouble with the law, but it does mean a potentially long interview will be conducted in order to determine innocence. On the other hand, if the tourist happens to be caught knowingly using pseudo notes, then he or she could pay a fine of up to 30,000 baht (USD1000) and/or be sentenced to jail for 15 years.

To avoid the hassle of being interrogated by suspicious cops or spending a lengthy holiday in a dirty prison cell with other lawbreakers, the management at ShaSa Resort shares the following tips for distinguishing between the real deal and fakes: first, try wetting a portion of the bill. If it’s fake, then some of the colours will start running.

Authentic baht notes also have a holographic strip on the left hand side, which is typically larger than that of its unreal counterparts.

Here’s another helpful tip: compare suspicious notes with an authentic bill acquired from legit moneychangers at airports within the island or abroad. Even foreigners coming to Samui for the first time will immediately be able to detect a notable difference between genuine bills and their pseudo counterparts, so using this particular test as a “pre-test” to warrant the need for using the other tests mentioned earlier would definitely be helpful.

Before getting overwhelmed with plotting an itinerary for the Koh Samui attractions to visit, the management of ShaSa Resort strongly advises ensuring the authenticity of their baht notes first. To negate the risk of receiving fake bills, dealing with Thai banks or legit moneychangers is recommended.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Why you shouldn’t have your Photos Taken with Gibbons in Koh Samui

Picture of Thai Gibbon

Upon booking a stay at the luxurious Shasa Resort & Residences at Koh Samui, many guests often decide where to go or what to do in their bedrooms. Contemplating which of the many Koh Samui attractions should be visited first can be a daunting task for anyone riled up with the sheer thought of endless possibilities.

However, not all of these crowd-drawers are in the best interest of all parties involved, especially entrepreneurs who deal some sort of business involving the use of gibbons.
Although it is illegal in Thailand to extract these animals from the wild due to their dwindling numbers, businessmen are still placing orders for as many gibbons as needed to continue their businesses’ operations.

Nine species of gibbons within SE Asia are currently listed in Appendix 1 of the Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). In Thailand, the scarce number of these furry little beasts is attributed to several factors, including the destruction of their natural habitats.

In addition, ShaSa Resort management employees explain that these mammals are being poached for their meat, their medicine, and pet trade – all of which has the potential to rake in hefty amounts of cash, which is why the law of gibbon extraction is repeatedly broken.

In order to acquire gibbon babies, their protective mothers are shot dead. The stolen babes are then sold as expensive pets, or used in business establishments as attractions. At some bars, they’re locked up in cages as eye-candy for incoming customers.

By the time they reach the age of six or seven, these gibbons tend to get aggressive. Owners of these apes then resort to filing their canines down and placing a collar around their necks. Other entrepreneurs often resort to killing their “crowd-drawers”, and replacing them with newborn gibbons.

At popular beaches, vendors who approach tourists and offer them a chance to have their pictures taken (in exchange for a certain amount of money) with gibbons usually subject these animals to harsh living conditions. Moreover, keep in mind that up to ten gibbons can be shot dead in order to obtain a single baby gibbon.

The management of ShaSa Resort frowns upon such practices, and firmly believes that these beasts should have never been included in the list of legit Koh Samui attractions as displayed at other websites. To help put an end to this cruel trade, vacationists are advised to resist the temptation of having their pictures taken with the poor monkeys.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Active Lifestyle in Koh Samui

Wake boarding is one of the many things you can do in Koh Smaui  to enjoy a healthy lifestyle 

Sports-minded tourists or travellers with lifestyles revolving around physical fitness need not forego of their activities when visiting the island of Koh Samui in southern Thailand. As a matter of fact, the Koh Samui highlights of their visit can include various sports and similar recreational activities. 

The tourist accommodations at the island’s beach destinations offer many choices in water-based sports and recreational activities. Among these are jet skiing, kayaking, kite boarding, snorkelling, and scuba-diving.

Tourists with an active lifestyle will be delighted to note that lists of Koh Samui things to do also include many land-based recreational pursuits. Some beach resorts, such as those at the southern tip of the island, feature their own fully equipped fitness centres. 

These facilities are at par with Western standards. Resort visitors who have a training regimen to keep will have at their disposal modern exercise equipment, such as electronic treadmill and state-of-the-art workout machines, in addition to the traditional free weights.

Many Koh Samui resorts also maintain tennis courts with lights for evening matches. Moreover, tourists who want to improve their lobs and volleys can avail of tennis lessons designed specifically for adults and kids. Those more inclined toward table tennis will likewise find the facilities they need in some beach resort clubhouses.

Visiting duffers won’t be away from their woods and irons either. Koh Samui is home to the Santiburi Samui Country Club located at the mountainous northern part of the island. This 6,930-yard, 18-hole, par 72 layout promises championship calibre of play. 

Its links are striking, taking golfers across winding fairways traversing coconut groves and creeks amid wondrous views of the Gulf of Thailand, cliffs, and mountains. The Santiburi course offers challenging play with its up-and-down-hill configuration.

Mini golf too is an option for Koh Samui tourists yet to earn their spurs in the full version of the royal and ancient game. A mini golf course is located near the Santiburi Samui Country Club at the forests overlooking the Choeng Mon beach resort. Called Mini Golf International and a member of the World Mini-Golf Federation, this is the only professional mini golf course in Thailand.

At Koh Samui, tourists can also have a sampling of Thailand’s home-grown sport muay thai or Thai kickboxing. Besides this Thai national sport, more traditional sporting activities are also widely played in the island. Several football clubs and associations in Samui regularly conduct tournaments and pick-up matches. More sedate games such as petanque and badminton also have many adherents in the island.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Cockfighting in Koh Samui

Cockfighting matches can be quite exciting
Is flying halfway across the planet worth a few days’ break in this tropical island? For almost every single individual who’s been here before, the answer is yes. Koh Samui attractions come in all sorts of forms to draw in the consistently massive stream of tourists throughout most of the year.

Koh Samui travel guides say that cockfighting is one of the most popular sports in Thailand today. Locals within the country have fallen in love with this form of competition since the establishment of Ayutthaya as the Thai Kingdom’s capital back in A.D. 1350.

Records indicate that by 1562, the Ayutthaya Kingdom was placed under Burmese occupation. Burma then decided to take Crown Prince Naresuan captive by the time he was seven years old in order to ensure the fidelity of his father, who was already a prominent prince during that time.

Naresuan was then trained by the Burmese King Bayinnuang in literature, martial arts, and military strategies during his stay in Burma, and was even regarded as one of the princes within the Burmese Palace. Amongst the many things the Crown Prince saw or learned during his nine years in the foreign nation, Naresuan developed a liking for cockfighting as well.

Today, this sport has managed to garner the attention and active participation of locals throughout Thailand. Unlike other Koh Samui attractions, making or losing money during each fight is possible, as spectators are permitted to bet.

A large number of participants and crowds in attendance have the potential to rake in plenty of cash for the ring operator. One big fight can generate more or less 200,000 baht (around USD6000), which is a large sum of money in Thailand.

While other countries that also participate in this sport usually attach a sharp blade or spur to the leg of each battling cock before a fight – which means the chickens will be fighting till one is severely injured or dead – Samui cockfights exclude such weapons.

This crowd-drawer is like the other Koh Samui attractions wherein no blood is shed (except for Muay Thai bouts). The winner of a cockfighting match is declared when his opponent either tires or stops fighting.

Lastly, although gambling is illegal in Thailand, guides say that fight promoters are usually able to obtain exemptions, thereby allowing big bets to be wagered.