Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Five Great Thai Beach Hideaways

Some of the top beaches in Thailand are situated in Koh Samui

Thailand is a storied tourist destination mainly because of its many superb beaches. The choices are truly numerous, but here are five surefire choices for memorable vacations.

Ko Taen, Ko Samui

The resort-island of Ko Samui is synonymous with pristine beaches. The good thing is that its neighboring islands also offers alternatives that are as exciting. One of these is Ko Taen which is just off the Samui’s southern coast. Full commercialization of the tourist trade hasn’t caught up with Ko Taen yet. As such, tourists who shun shops and night clubs will be more at home here. There’s even an eco-tourism lure in this island which can be reached via ferry boats which sail from Ko Samui’s Thong Krut port twice a day.

Bang Saphan Yai

Those who miss Samui of the l970s when it was still a backpackers’ haven will likely fall in love with Bang Saphan Yai. It attracts both local and international tourists for its laid-back beach ambience and more affordable facilities. Much of its charm is drawn from the palm plantations that line most of its shoreline. Two other islands are also nearby which can be included in a one-day itinerary.

Ko Yao Noi, Ko Yao Yai

The duo of Ko Yao Noi and Ko Yao Yai, located at the northern part of the Gulf of Phuket, is another sure bet for beach lovers. These two have been drawing much tourist attention not only because of its beaches but also due to the unadulterated Thai charm that they exude. Commercialism is starting to creep in, however, and hotel accommodations are getting more upscale. Budget-conscious tourists may have to hurry up and enjoy these beach destinations while they can.

Pak Nam Beach, Ko Phi Phi

Pak Nam is one saving grace for Ko Phi Phi whose recent tourism boom has sparked fears of overdevelopment. Relax Beach Resort is one magnet for Pak Nam which is nestled on the east side of Phi Phi island. Should hotel booking be a problem at peak months like December and January, Ao To Koh also in Phi Phi is an alternative to Pak Nam Beach.

Ko Lao Liang

A part of the Ko Petra National Park, Lao Liang consists of two northern and southern islands .Their splendid beaches and coral reefs can be enjoyed via organized tours providing accommodations in multi-room tents and shared bathroom facilities.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Hidden Costs of Travel on Koh Samui

Be aware of the hidden costs in Koh Samui

Some miscellaneous expenses accompany international travel, particularly for destinations like the resort-island of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. These costs are often overlooked, particularly by first-time visitors to this tourist destination hundreds of miles south of the Thai capital, Bangkok. It is a sound idea beforehand to unveil what these costs are and including them in your planning for a Samui trip. You may even be able to save on travel costs if these are items are anticipated and prepared for early enough.

 Fees which are associated with air travel constitute many hidden costs which you’ll encounter. Excess baggage fees are one consideration. Travelling light, which is advisable in a trip to Koh Samui, should help you cut on air transportation cost.

 Smart ways to fly

Optional airline services which carry certain charges are also worthwhile looking into. Preferred seating and pre-checked-in bags are among the passenger options which you may want to forego and further reduce your travel expenditures in the process. Another option which you can do away with is airline insurance. It may be superfluous if you already have personal travel insurance.

Some potential hidden costs are also posed by the food and drinks you consume at the airport and onboard the plane. Sneaking in some snacks, bottled water or beverages in your hand-carried luggage may do the trick to cut on your travel expenses. Do the same if you’re coming in to Koh Samui via a combination of either bus or train and ferry.

Explore alternative resources

Also, take full advantage of the onboard free meals and drinks which may already be included in your air fare. You’d be wise to take any plane food or drink freebies to your hotels, especially if a free breakfast isn’t included at your lodging accommodations.

Keeping yourself connected online during a Samui trip can also be a source of hidden costs. There are many ways to avoid this potential expenditure and still be able to have Internet access. Ensure that this service is freely available at your lodging accommodations. Also, many shopping malls and transport conveyances, including buses, now have free Wi-fi access, so there may be no need at all to spend time and money in an Internet café.

Visiting Koh Samui: How to Save Money

You don't have to spend a fortune to have a great time in Samui

You need not blow away your lifetime savings when visiting the ShaSa Resort in Koh Samui. Some sensible budgeting will help you to enjoy this popular destination’s pristine beaches and experience the quaint Thai culture without costing you an arm and a leg. Here are a few tips on how to save money in a trip to Koh Samui:

Manage travel funds well

Determine the bank fees which you may be charged if you use your bank ATM card during your trip. The bank fees imposed on such transactions are often substantial, and it could be a more cost-effective alternative to go for travelers checks instead.

Cut corners on local transportation

It is definitely more convenient and faster to fly in from Bangkok to Koh Samui. However, the air fare can be prohibitive for tourists on a limited budget. The less expensive choice is to use a combination of overland and sea travel facilities to the island. Bus and rail transports are available in Bangkok to the jump-off ports to Koh Samui. Going by these transport modes, you can choose from first-class or economy choices, which can further reduce the amount of money you’ll spend on a holiday on the island. Moreover, the land-sea trip itself can serve as a highlight to vacationing in Koh Samui.

Choose the beach resorts

Great value can be found in lodging and accommodations at Koh Samui beach resorts, and their rates are very reasonable. You can even opt for the less expensive non-aircon rooms in some of these establishments. The tropical climate in the island is surely warm, but with a choice of a room with good ventilation and a fan, a cool and comfortable stay can be assured. The ShaSa resort is great place to stay if you want have a relaxing stay in Koh Samui, 

Be sensible on travel accessories

Don’t invest in costly hiking boots; light and inexpensive footwear will do for your Koh Samui visit. Also, go digital in documenting your island vacation. Films and color slides are more expensive to process. Likewise, forego sleeping bags if you intend to have some overnight outdoor activities in your visit. Join organized treks or tours which already provide the equipment, such as tents, sheets, and beddings for such activity. 

photo credit: Joseeivissa via photopin cc

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Ten Reasons to Do a Koh Samui Adventure Tour

Many adventure tours include snorkelling and gorgeous fish

1. Adventure tours abound now. Travel agencies have long recognized the income-generating potential of serving the niche for travelers who would want to go off the beaten path. This is why ecotourism has become increasingly popular in recent years in popular destinations like Koh Samui.

2. Opportunities open on meeting “cool” people in adventure tours.  Most of those who join an organized tour to rarely visited or exotic places have a bent toward environmental conservation and similar advocacies. Being in the company of like-minded souls is one sure way to enjoy a holiday or vacation.

3. Conscientious pre-planning goes into an organized tour. Adventure tour operators have already established specific protocols to ensure an enjoyable experience in various travel destinations. They already have a network on the ground which can facilitate arrangements for such things as wilderness guides and the right equipment for an offbeat travel destination.

4. There’s an advantage in numbers. Going on an adventure trip with a group is definitely a money and time-saver. For example, local transportation facilities can be procured faster and more economically by a travelling group compared to individuals going on their own.

5. Insurance coverage provides a safety net. Adventure tour operators generally build their clientele by providing sufficient insurance on their operations. A fully insured and bonded operator can fulfill its contractual obligations with its clients even if it meets some unexpected financial difficulties.

6. Group tours provide budget options. Established operators often offer several travel packages tailor-fit to budget-conscious adventure travelers. 

7. Local knowledge comes with a group tour. Language barriers are easily hurdled as guides can also act as translators.

 8. Adventure tour operators help create a unique experience for their clients. Additionally, they strive to differentiate their services from competitors.

9. There’s the thrill of discovery in adventure tours. Travel operators such as ShaSa Resort are a potent resource for less-known places to visit and enjoy, destinations which an individual traveler would find difficulty finding on their own.

10. Adventure tours can be inexpensive. Upfront price quotes can be discouraging, but in the long run, these tours are economical with the time saved in terms of preparation and the items already covered in a package, such as local transportation, guide, equipment, food, and accommodations.

photo credit: jurvetson via photopin cc

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Staying Safe in Koh Samui

Helicopter view of Koh samui

One of the main reasons why ShaSa Resort in Koh Samui has continued to draw visitors is because the island is an extremely safe tourist destination, just like other major travel hubs in Thailand. Tourism contributes a significant portion of Samui’s economy, and hence, local authorities have instituted the necessary measures to see to it that untoward incidents involving those visiting the island are avoided as much as possible.

Nevertheless, it is also advisable for tourists to take some precautions in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit to Koh Samui. Its alluring locale of pristine beaches, for one, can be a distraction to those who became oblivious to their risks, which can be, encountered anywhere else.

Some lifestyle perils

Alcohol intake can be an issue for those seeking the many pleasures of available on Koh Samui. Being drunk or having a drink too many can be an invitation to disaster if it’s mixed with swimming, diving, or parasailing. Assaults on tourists in the island are rare and isolated cases, but being under the influence of liquor can certainly make you more of a target. This is especially so during the wee hours of the day, or when driving around motorbikes which are so popular in Koh Samui.

Drug abuse is another potential holiday spoiler. As in most Asian countries, the laws on regulated drugs, including marijuana, are very strict in Thailand. Getting high while partaking of the leisure opportunities in Koh Samui could turn into an unsavory adventure that is to be regretted later.

Plain common sense is the key

Food and non-alcoholic beverages are less worrisome. It is only those visitors whose digestive systems aren’t conditioned to intake of spicy Asian foods who should be wary of the local cuisine. They should go easy first on such local delicacies, which can upset not only their stomachs but also can alter their travel itinerary due to health issues. Sticking to bottled water intake is also wise, as local tap water can be suspect, especially outside of the upscale hotel facilities.

A common-sense approach can easily resolve other safety and security concerns in a stay at Koh Samui. Among these are securing personal belongings while in transit which are safer with government-run buses plying the route from Bangkok to jump-off points to the island. Wearing flashy jewelries and flaunting expensive gadgets are to be avoided, precautions that should also be part of safe daily living.