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Ko Samui Properties Sept 2010

VIEWS: 143 PAGES: 8

									                   NEWSLETTER No 72 – SEPTEMBER 2010
If you are receiving this Newsletter for the first time, but do not wish to receive it in the future please simply reply to the email it came
with and let me know. If you know someone who would like to be added to the Mailing List, please let me know at the same email
address.

When sending funds to Thailand I have always found it better to convert to Thai Baht here. For large sums of money it can
make a big difference but even on relatively small sums every penny saved is worth it. Just recently I received a transfer for
a rental payment. The Baht amount required was 72,000. The client had his bank in the UK convert to Baht and gave him a
rate of 49.7916 which cost GBP 1,446.02. If he had transferred GBP the cost would have been GBP 1,419.98 as the rate here
was 50.705 a saving of GBP 26.04. Now you say, how do I know how much to send? Every bank here has a web site and on
that site it shows currency exchange rates. We use Bangkok Bank and you can find their currency rates at
http://www.bangkokbank.com/bangkok%20bank/web%20services/rates/pages/fx_rates.aspx
Look at the Buying Rates TT Column and you will see the rate in real time for whichever currency you are sending.
Obviously you need to allow for charges – inward transfers to Bangkok Bank are usually Baht 200 but can be higher for
larger amounts – but you will get those anyway. Rates change from day to day and my experience is that transfers from the
UK sent standard rate take 2-3 days although they will always quote 3-5 days. In the nine years I have been here and
receiving client’s funds, I have never known anyone get a better rate offshore.

Everyone has different ideas about street food. Some love it some hate it. Many people regard it as unhygienic but I have to
say in the ten years I have been in Thailand, so far (touch wood) I have never had a problem and have sampled the delights
in Bangkok and many places in between and of course here in Samui. One place I call at regularly is in Hua Thanon, usually
mid afternoon on my way back to the office following a site visit.




Every week day afternoon between 3pm and 6pm, Em sets up her stall and makes these delicious sweets. Made from a
combination of rice flour and sugar, topped with coconut milk they are cooked fresh in a baking tray. Five for ten Baht
served in a banana leaf basket, you must let them cool down a little before eating as they are really hot! You can find Em as
you enter Hua Thanon from the direction of Nathon, on the left hand side. Look for the cardboard cut out boy with the red
shirt – see the picture above!

Follow Ko Samui Properties on these Social Media Sites

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People continue to recognize that there has been a significant market adjustment over the last two years. Each week we
have been getting instructions to reduce asking prices to levels more appropriate to the prevailing market conditions
although May was again somewhat quiet in this respect. You can however find these on our web site at the Hot Press
Offers . You will see a great number of properties with prices that have been reduced from between 17% and 30%. These
reductions are producing sales and, although still not many, there are a few more buyers around than there were a few
weeks ago.



                                                                                                                                       Page 1 of 8
Land prices have remained relatively fixed and accordingly few sales have been registered. However here are details of one
piece of beach front land in Plai Laem where the price has been very dramatically reduced to achieve a sale.


                     PRICE REDUCTION
                     Beach Land – 10.5 Rai with 49 metres of sandy beach in Plai Laem
                     Baht 160,000,000 – Now available at Baht 135,000,000 – only 12.85 million/rai!


                       PRICE REDUCTION
                       Luxury 3 Bedroom Thai Style Villa with pool - Bangrak -
                       Baht 17,000,000 – Now available at Baht 13,000,000



                       PRICE REDUCTION
                       5 Bedroom bungalow with pool in Taling Ngam
                       Baht 23,000,000 – Now available at Baht 19,000,000



                 PRICE REDUCTION
                 5 Bedroom Hillside Ocean View House in Bang Po
                 Baht 20,000,000 – Now available at Baht 15,000,000




                       PRICE REDUCTION
                       3 Bedroom Hill Side Ocean view Luxury Villa with pool in Cheongmon
                       Baht 22,000,000 – Now available at Baht 16,000,000


                       PRICE REDUCTION
                       2 Bedroom house with pool in Lamai –
                       Baht 8.5 million – Now available at Baht 6,500,000



See also in particular the following New Listings – CTRL + click to follow the link:

                       NEW LISTING
                       3 Bedroom detached ocean front villa in Choengmon
                       Available at - Baht 32,000,000




                       NEW LISTING
                       4 Bedroom detached villa in Choengmon
                       Available at - Baht 5,700,000



                        For Festivals around Thailand visit the Tourist Authority of Thailand website.




I am pleased to note that Samui Express is at last back on line and you can find them here
And you can find The Samui Gazette here - http://thesamuigazette.com/


                                                                                                                 Page 2 of 8
For one week festival in September 2010 the air of Koh Samui will be filled with Jazz
music.
International and Thai artist will come to this beautiful, tropical island to perform on various
locations. Meet 20 well known international artists, such as Peter Beets, Saskia Laroo,
Renske Taminiau, and Alexander Beets and over 100 established Thai Jazz musicians, as
the Big Band “The Nontri Orchestra”. There will be 22 stages and 42 shows starting on
September 24 until September 30. All concerts will be free to the public.
This annual event is taking place once per year and has its origin in the successful Samui
Jazz Series, which in the previous years took place once per month. When asked about
the main objectives of the Samui International Jazz Music Festival Mr. Santi, the Festival
Director said: Besides bringing the joy of Jazz Music to this fabulous location, the answer
is to inspire young Thai Jazz musicians and to give them the chance to perform with
international artist.
Also will this event promote Koh Samui as a tourist destination while low season. The
Samui International Jazz Music Festival 2010 is brought to you by Amsiam travel in
cooperation with Bangkok Airways, together with its main sponsors the Suratthani
Provincial Administrative, the Thai Hotels Association (THA) and the Tourism Association
of Koh Samui.
Don’t miss out on the Samui International Jazz Music Festival 2010! For more information
please visit www.samuijazzfestival.com, Tel: 077 427 591




Saskia Laroo              Alexander Beets           Susanne Alt              Gijs Dijkhuizen           Saskia Laroo

Recent Appointment                                                                                       4Hoteliers.com
Colin Bryan has been appointed General Manager of SALA Samui Resort and Spa, Koh Samui. He had been with Six Senses
for five years, most recently as Resort Manager at Six Senses Hideaway Samui.

Show of hands against oil projects          Bangkok Post 1 August 2010
DRAMATIC ISLAND PROTEST AGAINST EXPLORATION, COURT BATTLE THREATENED
                                   SURAT THANI : Tens of thousands of protesters yesterday formed a human link around
                                   Koh Samui to show their opposition to four oil exploration projects, heralding what they say
                                   could lead to a protracted legal battle.
                                   BLACK AND GREASY: Protesters display a photo of an oil-soaked bird, a victim of the
                                   recent massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, to show the possible adverse impact if an
                                   offshore oil exploration project near Koh Samui goes ahead.



                                                                                                                       Page 3 of 8
The protesters, made up of villagers, students, environmental advocates, tourist operators and tourists, formed a human chain along
the island's 52-kilometre ring-road in a dramatic show of opposition to the energy projects, which promise millions of baht in
investment money and hundreds of potential jobs. Fishermen say they will block the exploration work if the projects go ahead.
Meanwhile, a local conservation group led by the Koh Samui mayor says the group will file charges in the Administrative Court if the
government refuses to heed its demands by Thursday. The legal battle could be based on similar principles employed by villagers in
the dispute over the Map Ta Phut industrial estate. The court could overturn the oil exploration projects just as it put on hold billions
of baht worth of investment at the Map Ta Phut industrial estate for failing to comply with the charter. The Administrative Court last
year ordered the suspension of 76 industrial projects - many belonging to large companies such as PTT and the Siam Cement
Group - because of the failure of state agencies to comply with Section 67 of the constitution. Section 67 requires an independent
body to screen industrial projects classified as potentially harmful to the environment and public health. The four exploration licences
- which would allow companies to explore for oil off the resort islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao - were approved
after the constitution took effect, but in the absence of the independent body.

                                                      DON’T LET THEM IN: Some 30,000 locals, tourists, hotel operators and
                                                      environmentalists linked hands yesterday to form a line along a 52km road
                                                      around the island to protest the project. PHOTOS: NATTHITI AMPAIWAN
                                                      The court suspended the Map Ta Phut projects because the state had dragged
                                                      its hands in setting up the independent body. A new temporary independent
                                                      screening organisation has since been created.
                                                      At Koh Samui, the protesters yesterday joined hands as if they were building a
                                                      "wall" to protect the island, which is only 42km away from one proposed oil
                                                      exploration spot.
                                                      Some students pretended to be oil slick victims, blackening their clothes and
                                                      bodies.
They held photos of birds and marine species coated with oil, victims of the environmental disaster caused by an explosion on an oil
rig in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20.
The protesters are worried a similar crisis could happen here, polluting the islands and putting tourism at risk.
NuCoastal (Thailand), a wholly owned subsidiary of London-based Coastal Energy Company, holds a licence to explore for oil in the
seas off Songkhla. It has now been granted permission to explore off Koh Samui. Another three companies have been granted
permission and are now carrying out environmental impact assessments, said Gulf of Thailand conservation network chairman
Rammanate Jaikwang, also the Koh Samui mayor. The protest group has petitioned Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to review or
cancel the projects. Public hearings have been held, but Ruengnam Jaikwang, chairman of the hotel business association on the
eastern coast, questioned their transparency, because the NuCoastal project was approved at the meetings despite protests.
Surat Thani energy official Rorya Jantarattana said oil drilling in the Gulf of Thailand has been carried out for 32 years without
problems. Electricity is produced from up to 2,000 sites of the 5,000 sites explored, he said. However, fishermen have vowed to
block the exploration work if the projects go ahead, said Wanni Thaipanich, chairman of the association of tourism promotion for Koh
Phangan. A French tourist who joined the protest asked why the government had allowed oil exploration near Koh Samui.
"Nature would be affected for sure," he said. In July, protests forced the cancellation of a hearing into the NuCoastal project.




Samui condemns Thai Gulf oil drilling
SAMUI GAZETTE JULY 2010
By Jeerathe Kawnim &
Akanee Thongthara
The municipal government of Samui, business and civic
groups and local residents have criticized the project of
NuCoastal (Thailand) Co. Ltd. to drill for oil in the Gulf of
Thailand during the last public hearing held recently. The oil
drilling project, only 42 kilometers off the island and covers
around 554 square kilometers, received concession from the
Thai national government in 2007. The public hearing was met
with 400 protesters which include students from Suratthani
Rajabhat University, Love Chaweng Group, owners of
tourism-related business and expatriates. Samui mayor
Ramnet Jaikwang told the crowd that he has sent official
correspondences which indicated the island’s objection to the
project. “Because the contracts have been awarded years
ago, we realize it is
very difficult to stop it. However, we should insist that Samui
does not need an oil drilling project,” he said. Besides
NuCoastal (Thailand), Chevron, Pearl Oil (Amata),

                                                                                                                               Page 4 of 8
Salamander Energy, have also received concession from the government. In fact, the companies have drawn operation plans for the
next 18 months and some have started the survey and exploration process in the Gulf of Thailand.
The protesters are concerned about the environmental hazards of the oil drilling. In the wake of the tragic EXXON Valdez spill in
1989, research shows that “large oil spills can be devastating to the marine environment. They kill fish, mammals, birds and their
offspring, destroy plant life, and reduce the food supply for organisms that survive.” The negative impact of the project on Samui’s
natural surroundings will likewise affect tourism, the main business of the island. The organizers also mentioned that there is no
buffer zone or cushion to protect Samui and neighboring islands from the exploration project. The danger of oil leak and spill is also
ever present. An expert said that the five to six proposed blocks for drilling are on the sea current path to Samui, that is following the
wind path of the northeast monsoon from China Sea. “Samui people and tourists will smell the smelly oil as part of their daily life.”
Love Chaweng group head Thanongsak Somwong intercepted the public hearing and expressed his disgust over the government’s
approval of the project. “If NuCoastal and some other companies received concession from the government, many other companies
will start drilling petroleum around the island too.” He remarked that the local fishing industry will die because of the oil drilling. “If the
government really needs energy resources, we can use clean renewable energy such as wind or hydrothermal for energy. These
sources are more suitable here,” he said. Participants of the public hearing walked out on representatives of NuCoastal and the
Ministry of Energy. “We have said everything we would like to say and there is no need for any discussion. We will come back if the
government does not stop pushing the project,” Thanongsak added. In a separate report, Mineral Fuels Department director general
Kurujit Nakhonthap said that the oil exploration is “safe and poses no negative impact on environment.” He reasoned that oil
exploration and production in the gulf have been going on for over 35 years and that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is unlikely to
happen here. He said that tourism operators should not be too much worried as the Gulf of Thailand contains mainly natural gas.
“More than 5,000 wells have been drilled in the Gulf of Thailand over nearly 40 years past and no accident affecting the environment
has ever occurred,” Kurujit said. Another major protest will be mounted at the end of July.

Coral reef installed in Ban Tai                                                              Samui Gazette                July 2010
The welding of final structures took place for the “Marubis” extension to Samui’s Biorock Coral Regeneration site in
Ban Tai recently. The frames were carried to the beach and deployed in the ocean where corals will be attached to the
structures, to allow them to develop and grow. Initiated by the local villagers of Ban Tai and subsidized by Biorock Thailand in terms
of design, labor and materials, the first stage of this project was financed by Samui Mala, a community volunteer group who support
a clean and green Samui. Since the launch of the first Biorock module in October last year, Biorock Thailand has found further
funding via the Marubis Foundation in Germany for expansion of the reef. The extension will be considerably larger than the original
structure, covering much more substrate and providing a large area of fish and coral habitat. Pilot projects around Samui and Koh
Tao clearly show that Biorock methods are extremely effective in rapidly growing back vibrant coral and fish communities in places
that were practically barren or subject to high sediment stress. Small, naturally broken coral fragments are attached to Biorock
structures. These rapidly show very vibrant colours, extremely dense branching and exceptionally rapid growth.
High rates of spontaneous coral and oyster recruitment were seen on many of the structures, with some nearly completely
covered with natural coral recruits within two years.

Bt19.3 million released for Koh Samui road widening                                             Samui Gazette                   July 2010
By Akanee Thongthara
The Koh Samui municipality proposed a project which will improve the foundation of public facilities needed to accommodate the
growth of the island’s economy and the communities. They have then received a Bt19,379,455-budget to widen the road from
the junction at the Bandon International Hospital up to the intersection at Bon Kai. From 7.5 meters, the road will be widened up to
eight meters and proper drainage systems will be installed. Construction started in May this year and is expected to finish in
November. The national government through the Ministry of Finance allocated Bt23 trillion to support the Strong Thailand scheme as
a sustainable development tool up to 2012. Under the project also known as Thai MEN AT WOR K.

Fuji Group diversifies with Samui hotel                                                     Bangkok Post        18 August 2010
Fuji Group, a major local Japanese restaurant chain, will diversify into the hotel business by opening a three-star hotel on Koh
Samui by the end of this year, according to executive director Amnaj Tanaka. The company is investing 300 to 400 million baht to
develop the 85-room Thana Boutique Hotel on a two-rai site on Chaweng beach. "We decided to diversify into the hotel business in
order to foster our existing services business," he said. Fuji Group also plans to add eight more Fuji restaurants this year, in addition
to 62 currently. Each restaurant will cost about 20 million baht. "We aim to add 8-10 branches annually in both Bangkok and
upcountry areas," Mr Amnaj said. The 30-year-old company recorded sales last year of 3 billion baht, with 5% same-store sales
forecast this year. Fuji Group also operates eight branches of CoCoIchibanya, a Japanese curry restaurant. It plans to add four more
branches this year, with a total budget of 48 million baht. Daisaku Tanaka, managing director of Fuji Group, said the company also
aimed to enter international markets within the next two years. It has been contacted by investors from Singapore, Malaysia,
Vietnam, and Hong Kong. The company yesterday introduced the Fuji Smart Life Privileges card, aiming to increase customer
loyalty. It currently has 200,000 members, 70% of them active. It expects the new card will bring 25% growth in membership
annually.

W Koh Samui opening delayed                                                         Property Report 13 August 2010
The opening of the W Koh Samui Retreat & Residences in Thailand has been pushed back from August to November due to
construction delays. The W Koh Samui Residences will feature 17 thee and four-bedroom villas for sale on Koh Samui’s northern

                                                                                                                                     Page 5 of 8
shore. Each villa is designed in “tropical zen” style and services include 24-hour concierge, pool and landscaping maintenance, and
access to all the hotel’s services. The hotel will offer 75 villas, various dining and drinking options, and a deluxe spa.

Bangkok airport express train to open next week                                      AFP                           18 August 2010
BANGKOK (AFP) -- An elevated train line linking Bangkok's city centre and its main airport will be fully open for service next week
after months of delays, the Thai state railway said Wednesday. The non-stop "airport link", which covers 28 kilometres (17 miles) and
cost 25.9 billion baht (800 million dollars), will officially open on Monday. Trains are due to run daily every 40 minutes, between 6am
and midnight. After months of test runs, the express service will offer passengers a 15-minute journey to Suvarnabhumi airport from
Bangkok's centre for 100 baht, a spokeswoman for the State Railway of Thailand said. Passengers returning the same day will not
need to purchase another ticket. A second city line will offer a 30-minute journey at a cheaper rate, stopping at eight stations along
the way.




Dusit Hotel Group Adding Phuket and Samui Properties
As reported in The Nation Newspaper a representative of leading Thailand chain Dusit Thani has said the group is in expansion
mode in Phuket and Koh Samui. According to the story a core Dusit branded hotel on a conversion basis in Samui will be
announced
soon. While in Phuket a second property is under negotiation, though logically given its recent acquisition of the Dusit Laguna Phuket
industry sources say the new one could be a sub-brand such as the recently realigned DusitD2, Dusit Residence or Dusit Princess.
Currently on the company website, in the current pipeline is Eighth Heaven Phang Nga - A Dusit Devarana Resort - Opening 2011.
At last check this project appeared to have been put on hold. For a number of years the group had a presence in Koh Samui at the
Santiburi Resort, though this ultimately became an independently operated property. Samui looks to see a series of new chain
brandings as its understood Moevenpick will be announcing a signing on the island shortly. No details have been released yet on the
property.

Samui taking flight again                                                          Bangkok Post                 28 August 2010
After taking a hard hit during the global slump, the island resort is showing strong signs of a recovery
The controversy over oil exploration off the coast of Koh Samui does not seem to have dented tourism on the island. The number of
visitors increased by 19% in the first half of 2010 compared with last year, which admittedly was a low tide for Samui, said Bill
Barnett, managing director of C9 Hotelworks. While the uplift is encouraging, it must be emphasised that Samui was probably the
local resort market most affected by the global financial crisis. "There was a pretty sharp decline two years ago and this year we saw
a high recovery, but it started from a low base," said Mr Barnett. Research by C9 Hotelworks shows that total tourist arrivals in the

                                                                                                                             Page 6 of 8
first half of this year were 8% higher than in the same period of 2009, with the recovery in overseas visitors reflecting a 21% increase
in international flights from a year earlier. Aside from Bangkok Airways, which owns Samui Airport, two other airlines, Berjaya Air
and Firefly of Malaysia, now fly to the island. "Certainly people are coming from Malaysia, people are coming from Indonesia _ we
are seeing a sharp increase in regional travellers over the past two years so that is a strong fundamental," said Mr Barnett.
He noted that the recovery in Samui tourism has begun despite the political events in Bangkok in April and May. Overseas tourists
seem happy to come to Thailand as long as they don't see Bangkok on the boarding pass. C9 Hotelworks' research also shows that
hotel performance on the island in the first half of this year saw surges in occupancy, rates and revenue per available room night
(RevPAR) of 3%, 13% and 24%, respectively, when compared to the figures from last year. While the existing room supply shrank by
11%, to 14,261, due to the closure of a number of small properties over the past year, the luxury tier is set to grow by 109% in the
second half of the year. This will add 205 rooms to the supply. Key new hotels opening this year and next are:
FW Retreat Koh Samui (75 rooms, November 2010);
FInfinity Residences & Resort (65 rooms, December 2010)
FConrad Koh Samui Resort & Spa (65 rooms, Q1 2011);
FAll Seasons Samui Chaweng (153 rooms, Q1 2011);
FVana Belle Samui Resort & Spa (Starwood Luxury Collection), 180 rooms, August 2011.
Mr Barnett sees two projects on the island as being particularly interesting, describing them as "green shoots". The first is the
Conrad which has been very aggressive in its marketing and is offering 7% guaranteed return for the first five years.
"They got a model unit opened very early in the game, so that is driving sales _ we are seeing sales momentum in the Conrad."
The other project is Beach Republic, which surprisingly is offering fractional ownership by cashing in on its name as an
entertainment venue.
"It's a beach club in Lamai but they have also gone and opened a resort, and with it they are doing fractional sales. People like the
brand, they like the concept, they feel at home and they are buying into it."
Fractional ownership is also taking hold elsewhere on the island, for example at X2 Resort.
Mr Barnett said there is a good spread of people buying property and trying fractional ownership in Samui and they comprise both
long- and short-haul travellers. "One thing about Samui is that it doesn't have much domestic content. I think a lot of that can be
attributed to really expensive airfares, going back to Bangkok Airways." Another interesting thing about Samui is that there are no
transactions in the $3-5 million (95-126 million baht) range as occurs in Phuket. "But certainly the sweet spot of the upscale real
estate is between one and two million dollars. We are seeing Conrad selling for about 40 to 45 million baht, but by the time you add
in the guaranteed return of 7% over five years, that effectively is coming in at 30 million baht." He added that Conrad's pricing point
was considerably less for this type of product than it would be in Phuket. The opening of several big international hotel chains in
Samui has also whet the appetite of other investors, with Park Hyatt also poised to restart this year, according to Mr Barnett.
"There are a couple of other international brands looking to come into the market as well. The emergence of new brands indicates
that there is positive investor sentiment on the island." Mr Barnett said when Samui is mentioned in the media these days, the hot
issues are pollution on the island, the roadway and especially the demonstrations about oil exploration. "Samui needs more demand
generators," he said." We always talk about golf courses and marinas but we are seeing some green shoots, so that is a good thing."
Mr Barnett sees an interesting change in Samui in that it seems to be evolving in the development cycle and is no longer a
backpackers' destination. The closure of 1,808 guesthouse rooms in the past year clearly shows that this type of accommodation is
no longer feasible. "What we are seeing is backpackers are moving to other islands _ Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. Samui is edging
higher, very similar to what Phuket saw 15 to 20 years ago." However this does not mean Samui is moving ahead of Phuket, as the
two islands are entirely different markets. "There is really not a lot to compare. Samui is purely a destination and Phuket is a
destination resort but it's also used as a transit point to greater Phuket _ to Krabi, to Phangnga, to the Similan islands, for boating.
It's a different kind of destination so I don't think it's fair to draw comparisons."
Even so, improvements are needed on the island, and one necessity is a bigger airport. Mr Barnett remarked that the authorities
should not look at whether the current facility can handle the capacity for the next two years, but for the next 20 years.

Cops vow to strictly enforce traffic rules                                        Samui Express                9th August 2010
The superintendent of the Bophut police station, Pol. Col. Phayoong Saksurin, has served notice that they would enforce the rules
for drivers on the road. He said there had been a surge in the number of drivers ignoring basic rules of road safety, resulting in
higher road accident rate on the island. The new Bophut station covers two major tourism areas – Tambon Bophut and Tambon
Maret.
Col. Phayoong reiterated the following don’ts in order to prevent road accidents:
Don’t drive drunk
Don’t drive without a helmet
Don’t use a substandard motorbike
Don’t drive without fastening the safety belt
Don’t drive without your driver’s license
Don’t drive faster than the speed limit
Col. Phayoong said the Bophut police station is giving away helmets to drivers and organizes accident-defensive lectures as part of
its road-safety awareness campaign. Police Capt. Sitthisak Lekchoochat, deputy police traffic inspector, who heads this project,
claimed that based on their day-to-day statistics, the number of accidents, injuries and deaths have decreased since the campaign
started. He, however, admitted problems remained with regards to police commitment to their duty. Police have also admitted that
people were not satisfied with their performance. Captain Sitthisak observed that when police enforced the law, some people
complained of harassment. When they break a traffic rule, he said, they think they are right. So, this causes a conflict between police

                                                                                                                              Page 7 of 8
and the people. In any case, the deputy traffic inspector emphasized that all policemen must offer their best service to the people
and absolutely shun bribes.

Artificial corals for HM the Queen                                               Samui Express                  20 August 2010
IN celebration of HM the Queen’s birthday and in response to the Queen’s call for using artificial corals to enhance marine life,
Transport and Communication Minister Sophon Sarum recently brought to Samui over 50 junk train cars donated by his Ministry for
use as artificial reefs. Mr. Sophon was accompanied by Vice Admiral Khanat Thongpoon, commander of the Navy First Sector.
The cars were transported by the Narathiwat Royal Battle Ship and will be sunk in the Gulf of Thailand. The artificial corals will
hopefully turn Samui into a popular and important dive site in Thailand. This project has received the help and cooperation of the
Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.
And trees, too
IN honor of HM the Queen’s birthday last Aug.12, Koh Samui municipal officials, monks, students, local people, and members of the
Koh Samui Preservation group joined hands in planting 999 Yang trees (Dipterocarpus alatus Roxb.) at the vicinity of Wat Jaeng in
Tambon Angthong on Aug. 9. The tree planters were led by Koh Samui Deputy Mayor Narop Tuaychaoren.T
he objectives of this project were to show allegiance to HM the Queen on her birthday; increase more forest areas on Samui; and
instill awareness on everyone in preserving their local forests, mangroves and other natural resources. The activity also aimed to
reduce global warming and air pollution.

2 forest reserves stripped of trees                           Samui Express                            26 August 2010
A RECENT inspection of Koh Samui’s forest sanctuaries at Khao Mai Phai and Khao Thai Kwai showed that unscrupulous
businessmen and local people continued to illegally cut trees there. Wuthikul Ngampanya, chief of the Samui Water Resource
Office; Somchai Somwong, assistant district officer; and Phoonsri Meedej, assistant district officer of Damrongchaidhamma Center)
led an inspection team of Water Resource and Samui district administration officers that went to the forest sanctuaries, which serve
as water sources. Both forest water sheds are in Moo 5, Tambon Lipa Noi. That area measures more than 300 rai, and some
portions had been trespassed on and planted with durian and mangosteen trees. The area has been declared a forest reserve under
the 2484 A.D. Forest Act. Local people believe that it belongs to but has been abandoned along time ago by a certain Akorn
Hoontrakul.
The visiting officers and reporters joining the inspection team were astonished at what they saw: many dead big trees.
Big hollows were seen at the foot of each of the many dead trees, as if some chemical substance was applied into the trunk to let the
tree die. About 20 curious villagers came to observe the inspection and asked the Water Resource officers to open the gate to the
sanctuary. The officers invited Preecha Samuichaorensin, former village headman of Moo 1, Tambon Lipa Noi, to join their dialogue
with the villagers. The officers said they would open the gate but that the people had to help in taking care of the forest sanctuary.
Officers said that based on their inspection, the deforested area measured about 30 rai and that the logs illegally cut were worth
more than Bt1 million.

Road widening complete in 3 mos—Ramnet                                               Samui Express                26 August 2010
Koh Samui Mayor Ramnet Jaikwang said the ongoing road-widening project along Soi Bon Kai covering the length from the corner
of Bandon Hospital up to the soi junction at 7-Eleven convenience store will be com- pleted in three months. In an interview with
Samui Express, Ramnet said that once the project is completed, work will shift to the other side of the soi, which will be extended up
to the road leading to the airport. “The purpose of this pro-ject is to upgrade the road here as this has become busy lately and
motorists experience traffic gridlocks while passing through. We want the people of Samui and the tourists to have an easy and
convenient time when traversing this road,” Ramnet said during an inspection of the project. He said the widened road is expected to
eliminate traffic congestion and benefit tourists going to the airport, as well as support Samui’s tourism program. The existing road
will be widened to 8 meters on each side. A proper drainage will also be installed. The national government is funding the Bt19.3-
million road project in an effort to provide the necessary infrastructure that will help speed up the growth of the island economy,
including tourism. The mayor said he is also looking at improving the island’s main road in the future.

New way to reach Samui from BKK                                                  Samui Express              26 August 2010
BUDGET airline Nok Air has joined hands with Lomprayah High Speed Catamaran Co. Ltd., the biggest ferry line on Samui, in
opening a new plane-and-ferry alternative mode of transport for travelers going to Samui from Bangkok and vice versa. The new
route and Nok Air–Lomprayah partnership were announced at a press conference held at ibis hotel on Aug. 5. Lomparayah uses
high-speed catamarans between Koh Samui and Donsak in Suratthani mainland. Passengers going to Bangkok then take a bus to
Nakhon Sri Thammarat airport and fly to Don Meuang airport. Total travel time between Samui and Bangkok is less than five hours.
Nok Air flies to Samui daily, departing from Don Muang airport at 6 a.m. The traveler reaches Samui at 10:40 a.m. Return travel
departs from Samui at 1 p.m., and the flight reaches Don Muang airport at 5:40 p.m.




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