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Friday, 31 December 2010

Highlights in 2010

Highlights in 2010

Into my 4th year of blogging about Samui and it's daily weather updates! With this blog I try to show the visitors to this blog and to the beautiful tropical island of Koh Samui some spots and ideas to see and visit during your stay that are slightly off the beaten path and inform you about local island life and tradition.

I think that I have a fairly unique insight on local island life and events because I'm married to a local Samui woman and through her and her family I am able to witness events that may not be possible for somebody visiting the island.
On top of that I review plenty of local Samui restaurants but also from outside of Samui, wherever my travels around (or outside) Thailand may bring me.
I hope you enjoy it and what follows now is a list of highlights during the last year;

January kicks off the 2010 highlights but they start on a sad note for me since on 14th January my Dad passed away. RIP dad.

My Dad and our kids on Choengmon Beach, December 2008

During February I witnessed a very local event, the Tambun Sala Koy, a nice local Samui and beach/island tradition.
This month saw also the yearly Thai Red Cross charity motorcycle ride around Samui.
February also marked three years of blogging about Samui and it's weather!

In March the whole family visited Pattaya during a dive trip I did there, including a fantastic exploratory wreck dive trip into the Gulf. A great time was had by all, especially during our visit to Dream World, an amusement park in Bangkok.

April saw a very busy month and besides daily weather updates I only got around to report about the yearly Chakri Memorial day and the wet and fun Thai New Year; Songkran.

On to May where the very legit question arose if Samui is safe to visit, with all the Bangkok unrest during April and May, fortunately enough the answer is yes although it seems that all of Thailand's tourism had a negative impulse from the unrest.
I also visited the Lebanon station for the first time, a great Lebanese restaurant in Chaweng.

June saw the construction of an old fashioned style well drilling on my wife's youngest sister's land and also saw a second serious incident in the form of a speed collision in a few years during the Full Moon Part on Koh Phangan.

Phetcharat boat after collision

In July the highlight was the Football World Championship which saw the Dutch team reach the finals, which they unfortunately lost for a third time!
I also was able to put my hands on some stunning pictures of one of the speedboats involved in the collision last month during transporting visitors to the Full Moon Party between Samui and Phangan.
It was also during this month that I started my Food on Wheels series, which turned out to become fairly popular, especially amongst my Thai fellow bloggers.
There was also a big protest demonstration all around the island against oil drilling off Samui's coast and beaches.

August brought some interesting posts and the first one is about a very popular up and coming social event, the local 'Walking street' events, my post is about seemingly the most popular one, the Fisherman's Village Walking Street event, held each Friday. You can find these events now in Lamai, Nathon and Maenam.
During one of my Koh Tao visits I witnessed some old style local tradition, the coconut monkey at work.
Thailand's gold prices are also fluctuating a lot and if you bought early on, you can reap the benefits now!

September was another busy blogging month and also saw me conduct my first PADI IDC outside of Koh Samui and I traveled to Koh Phangan to do so where I discovered one of the best Italian restaurants ever! In general I really liked Phangan and I can highly recommend a visit.
My running that I started earlier this year in January paid off by participating in my first ever running event, the Samui Island Marathon, although I only participated in the 10km run.

Samui Island Marathon

In the beginning of October I participated in another running event, the 5km Ibis fun run, as part of an adventure event.
This month saw some creative parking styles around the island and I spend time on Koh Lanta for my second PADI IDC away from home.
On a sadder note, my wife's grand mother passed away towards the end of the month, since I was not on Samui I couldn't attend the burial ceremony.

We're getting towards the end of the year and November knocked on the door, which I almost completely spend away from Samui, conducting IDC's in Kao Lak and Koh Lanta.
Due to the torrential rains in November, I saw a massive amount of visits and page views to my blog, a post with videos of the flooding received over 3.500 hits and proved to be the most popular of them all!
The yearly Loy Kratong event was celebrated by me at a lovely location in Kao Lak.

Plai Laem flooding November 2010

December saw me once more away from home for most of the month, the start of the month saw me in Koh Lanta once more to complete a second PADI IDC in a short time frame and towards the middle of the month I had a fantastic holiday in the United Arab Emirates.

Me at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, highest tower in the world

Now it's waiting for midnight tonight for the start of a New Year!

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you made it to the bottom of this page, it was a rather long read, especially if you clicked on some of the links and looked up the corresponding stories.
Have a look at my dive blog for a 2010 flash back.

A Happy New Year to all of you and I'm looking forward seeing you back in 2011!

Camille

10 comments:

connie said...

Hoi Camille, wij wensen jullie een gezond, liefdevol en gelukkig 2011!!
Hopelijk tot ziens in augustus, John en Connie

Camille said...

Hoi Connie,

Bedankt en ook voor jullie uiteraard de allerbeste wensen en een voorspoedig nieuw jaar gewenst vanuit Samui en het zou leuk zijn als we elkaar deze keer treffen!

Mike said...

Camille, Happy New Year and long may you continue with your excellent blog.

Lets hope Thailand has a good year for a change too.

connie said...

Hoi Camille, dat lijkt me ook leuk.
Ik ben natuurlijk al begonnen met het plannen van de reis. Vrienden van ons gaan ook maar dan 3 weken eerder.Zij zijn al eerder eens op Phuket geweest en willen daar in juli weer naar toe, hoe is het weer daar ten opzichte van Samui in deze maand? Zit er echt zo veel verschil in omdat Phuket laagseizoen prijzen hanteert?
Ben benieuwd wat jou bevindingen zijn.
Groetjes Connie

Camille said...

Hi Mike,

Thanks!

Let's hope indeed that Thailand will have a good year indeed!

Camille said...

Hoi Connie,

Voor het weer in Phuket kun je op Jamie zijn Phuket weer blog kijken, bij mijn links pagina makkelijk te vinden. In principe zou Samui iets beter weer hebben in Juli maar de prijzen kunnen daar inderdaad iets lager zijn.

Anonymous said...

hi,
appreciate ur good gesture at the very beginning of this year !
A very Happy & Prosperous New Year for u & ur family too !
My wife & I r seniors of 60+ from Malaysia. We r visiting Samui from 31 Janurary to 4 February. We plan to take 2 local day tours during our stay, one round the Island Land tour & one boat tour to Angthong Marine Park. And one free day to explore ourselves. Please recommend good tour company for us.
We also plan to stay in Thongtakian Resort for 4 nights. Is this a good choice? We r not drving so can we rely on public transport to Lamai & Chaweng from Thongtakian?
We want to try authentic Samui Thai food, Chinese seafood & also Western food. Any good restaurants to recommend?
Ur advice r apprecaited & needed for us to plan this trip. Thank u very much.

Camille said...

Hi,

Hope you will enjoy your stay on Samui and a Happy New Year!

Regarding the resort, Silver Bay is a beautiful little bay which I enjoy a lot, it is however slightly secluded and public transport will be either consist of so called ‘Song Thaews” open taxis with two rows of seats in the back or ‘taxi meters’ who don’t use their meters and are relatively expensive. You will be nearer to Lamai than Chaweng and for restaurants try ‘Sabeinglae’ for authentic Thai/Samui style food. This is at the other side of Lamai. Please look in my ‘labels’ section of my blog, on the left hand, about midway through the page, there will be plenty of restaurants listed under ‘restaurants’.

Regarding tour company, I would ask the resort and work a trip out with them, alternatively I can arrange for a private tour around the island, where you can see everything at your own pace in a Songthaew.

Hope this helps for now.

Quah said...

Hi, Dear Camille,
Thank u so much for ur prompt reply. A few more questions for u if u dun mind.
How do Song Thaews normally charge?
For example, how much will the Song Thaews charge from Thongtakian to Lamai? / to Chaweng ?
I have done a little bit of research online and found the 4X4 Island Safari Tour provided by the tourskohsamui.com
Is this company reliable? Is this tour good?
For a private tour around the island, where we can see everything at our own pace in a Songthaew, how much is the price per pax or per trip?
What will b included in the “everything”?
Can a Songthaew go to all the places covered by a 4X4 Island Safari Tour? Including more off-track places like the Namuang II waterfall, Mountain-top viewpoint at Yaod Khao and the Magical Garden?
Then for the Ang Thong National Marine Park, how about the Ang Thong National Marine Park snorkeling and kayaking tour, provided by the tourskohsamui.com ?
Thanks again.
Regards
Quah

Camille said...

Hi Quah,

You’re welcome, please ask!

Song Thaews should now have price lists inside the open air back side. Possibly between Silver Beach and Lamai around 50 to 100THb and from Silverbeach to Chaweng maybe around 150,-THB per person. A Songthaew for the day will go for around 2.000,-THB for the car and will go where ever you want and how long you want and will stop and go as you wish. This will include gasoline but not parking fees and any food and/or drinks that you have on the road and any possible entrance fees. They can go all the places a normal 4x4 can go, I go with my car to all these places. In my opinion recommendable over an organized tour, although it may be a bit more expensive but you dictate the pace.

I’m not familiar with the company that you mention, sorry, I can’t comment on them.