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Updated: May 22
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Samui, the south Thailand vacation island (Koh Samui) is a premier Thailand holiday centre and Koh Samui resorts are still recommended, in spite of crimes involving tourists that have made international news in recent times. There are concerns for both locals and the many tourists and expats that live there; no one can be guaranteed absolute safety anywhere, especially in these days of international terrorism. Thailand, considering the numbers of its annual tourist arrivals, is no exception but incidents of serious crime are relatively few and there have been no Islamic-inspired activities aimed at tourists. Thailand generally and certainly Samui are great vacation destinations.
Learn more about this unique tropical island hideaway on Koh Samui.
Facilities and activities for visitors to Koh Samui are wide ranging and plentiful as you can see by reading recent recent traveller reviews about where to stay and what to do on Koh Samui.
The Sandalwood Luxury Villas on Koh Samui have just been rated 19th Best Hotel in the World (2011) by TripAdvisor's millions of independent reviewers.
Over-development may eventually ruin Koh Samui
In the past six years, the southern Thailand island resort of Koh Samui (Samui Island) has been virtually 'put up for sale' and many foreigners, known as farang, now own more than one third of the island's real estate and businesses, investing in bars, hotels, restaurants and villas and spas. However, according to recent reports, less than one fifth of Samui's island families have benefited from this boom, and this is leading to increasing tensions between rich and poor residents, mainland Thais, and also foreigners. These tensions have triggered a series of violent assaults and robberies, break-ins and acts of vandalism – crimes of opportunity and spite – aimed primarily at tourists. Island families who have done well from the land sell-offs and incoming foreign businessmen have become embroiled in a rats' nest of competing interests.
This isn't Samui – yet! The photo was taken several years ago of Pattaya – former 'beach resort', now a fully-fledged Thai city, fast becoming a little "Moscow-by-the-sea" for Russian families and mafia. Not so long ago Pattaya was just a beachside village with some bars and brothels servicing mainly US sailors on R&R and some Bangkok residents. Samui could be on track to suffer the same fate if the current rate of property development continues.
The 'rot' seems to have set in
soon after the death two years ago of Sombat Phusiriwat (Kamnan
Dum). The demise of one of Koh Samui's most
influential figures (at 58, reportedly of natural causes) left a
power vacuum which has since been filled by a new mafia
of both local and overseas gangsters. This is
according to Sombat's nephew Somkiat, who maintains that
the behaviour of gangsters on the island has changed
significantly from when his uncle, known to have links with
southern Thai 'hitmen' and involved with crime in other southern
Thai towns and resorts like
Hua Hin and
was the 'godfather'. Now people from other parts of Thailand and
foreigners, many from former soviet bloc, are attempting to seek
money and power from crime on Samui, he
says, as they have in Pattaya.
In an attempt to alleviate Samui's development problems which ultimately affect everyone living on the island, business and community leaders now hold monthly meetings to discuss crime and other issues which are degrading what should be an idyllic 'tropical paradise' island destination.
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