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-   -   Gutted! Koh Samui August with family (https://www.fodors.com/community/asia/gutted-koh-samui-august-with-family-970526/)

peck1 Mar 15th, 2013 02:29 AM

Gutted! Koh Samui August with family
 
Hi there, I am planning a kind of trip of a lifetime with my family by coming to Thailand in August (school holidays)

After researching I deduced that Koh Samui would have the best chance of dry, sunny weather this time of year as that, and a nice white beach is important.

I'm doing Chiang Mai for 4 days and 2 days in Bangkok but am gutted after reading some posts on here about Koh Samui not being "authentic" Thai island.

I have booked a lovely hotel on South Chaweng beach as that seems to be a nice beach but am really upset that the whole area may shatter my Thai dreams!

What do people think? Is there anywhere else in August that I could go to which will have nice sunny weather which is less commercialised or do you think Koh Samui is not as bad as people think?

Thanks so much.

Hanuman Mar 15th, 2013 02:48 AM

Define "authentic Thai island"? Koh Samui is in Thailand so it is definitely authentically Thai.

peck1 Mar 15th, 2013 02:50 AM

sorry to be so trite - I mean nice beach, local restaurants, Thai buildings - I'm not sure! I guess from reading one post they said "if you're looking for the Thai experience, don't go to Samui" and I panicked!

Cicerone Mar 15th, 2013 03:46 AM

The word “authentic” when applied to travel makes me cringe. The only place it might apply is EuroDiseny – which is not “authentic” Europe. Otherwise, I don’t know what the word means.

Koh Samui is pretty much purpose-built for tourists. It does not have a long rich history like other parts of Thailand. There are not the plethora of temples you will see in other parts of Thailand. There are not a whole lot of rice paddies and villagers and water buffalo like you can find in other parts. If by “Thai buildings” you mean the graceful curved roofs; there are many in hotels, but again there is no Royal Palace like Bangkok. There are many tourists for the purpose of relaxation. At times it would seem like tourists outnumber residents.

But to say Koh Samui is not “authentic” Thailand is sort of like saying Key West is not “authentically” the US, and if you want to see the authentic US you need to go to Chicago or Kansas. True, most Americans don’t spend their days driving around in convertibles, riding bikes under the palms, snorkeling or sitting by the beach. But Key West is still is the US, so it is an authentic US experience in its own way. The same with Koh Samui. It’s a Thai beach resort experience. (Bearing in mind that until very recently, Thais have not traditionally spent much time relaxing on beaches. So it is a somewhat new addition to the Thai experience.)

Koh Samui has pretty beaches (many can be rocky and swimming is not always possible, check this carefully for your hotel if this is what you want), it has many good restaurants of varying cuisines and cost. It is, IMO, a good place for a relaxing end to a vacation.

Are there more remote places you could go that are not as developed? Of course there are. (In August, you need to rule out the west coast areas which will be rainy.) But most of these would require a ferry ride or a bus/car ride of some length after a flight. Do you want to do this? With only a few days do you want to spend most of the time getting to and from a remote area just because there will be fewer tourists? I don’t get the point of that.

rhkkmk Mar 15th, 2013 05:59 AM

is it the "real" thailand, who knows what that means.. as pointed out it is thailand and it is enjoyable... is it "touristy", yes of course it is... is it built up, yes it is because it is a nice beach area where $$ can be made... will you have a nice time, of course...

go and forget all these labels

peck1 Mar 15th, 2013 06:19 AM

thanks. No problem to travel to other places - just need the weather.

Hanuman Mar 15th, 2013 06:20 PM

That's the problem - the weather for August. You can gamble going to other places and it can pay off as well since most will be offering special rates for their low season. Phuket (possible rough sea and red flagged beaches), Krabi, Koa , Khao Lak on the Andaman coast. Koh Chang, Koh Samed, Hua Hin etc on the gulf of Thailand side.

Also, I don't understand what you mean when you wrote "Thai buildings"? Are you referring to traditional Thai wooden (teak houses) of the past? They are not really suited for the beach and not many people build them any more!

Kathie Mar 15th, 2013 07:09 PM

A dear, departed poster here used to say that the beaches in Thailand are "Thailand Light." By this he meant that if you want to understand the culture and history, a beach is not the place to go. That is true in Thailand , that is true in the US. It doesn't mean that you won't get the flavor of Thailand at a beach, you will - the food, the warmth of the people will still be there.

Go and enjoy as others have said. It doesn't sound like you are aiming for a cultural immersion experience - and you won't get one. But you can enjoy a lovely holiday there.

chris45ny Mar 15th, 2013 07:40 PM

Bangkok is like a Thai NYC-very busy, noisy, etc. but there are some lovely things to see that will give you that unique Thai experience you're searching for. Chiang Mai is a very good choice-very different from Bangkok. Most people who travel there love it. My daughter loved Koh Samui more than Phuket. Good beaches on K. Samui are Kata and Karon. You will get a different flavor of Thailand with each of these 3 destinations but I'm sure you will be very happy with your choices.

Have a great trip and post back and let us know how it all went!

Kathie Mar 15th, 2013 08:54 PM

Kata and Karon beaches are on Phuket, which is unlikely to have good weather in August.

Lyndie Mar 16th, 2013 06:54 AM

Bophut Fishing village on the north coast of Samui still retains a little Thai village atmosphere. Choeng Mon Beach is one of the best beaches on Samui. These two places are within 5 kms of each other. If you want a glorious beach then stay at Choeng Mon. If you want some village life experiences then Bophut may suit you. Chaweng Beach is not a nice beach(surrounded by reef so swimming is tidal) and there is no village atmosphere. It is full of tourist shops and big and small hotels all trying to make a buck! Koh Samui is still a beautiful island. I lived there for many months over several years and I'm returning again in a week. I believe if you chose a well-researched location you will enjoy the island immensely. I will update here of my experiences. Happy travels!

peck1 Mar 16th, 2013 07:13 AM

thanks lyndie. really helpful. apologies to all those who replied if i am not able to articulate what i mean! hard when you have never been somewhere and don't know what you don't know so bear with me please!

lyndie,so choeng beack is nicer than south chaweng in terms of swimming and sand? enjoy your trip lyndie. sharron

Lyndie Mar 16th, 2013 07:25 AM

Hi Sharon

Choeng Mon is a shallow beach (1-2 metres) with white sand and pale blue water. The beach looks straight out to Koh Pha ngan . There are some pics of the beach on www.choengmon.com. Sala Samui is an upmarket hotel on the beach. Others are Imperial boathouse and the White House. If you tell me what you're looking for I can possibly check out a couple of hotels with my friend who's been staying on Choeng Mon for the past 2 months. Thanks for good wishes! Ciao!

Lyndie Mar 16th, 2013 07:31 AM

Sorry Sharron! I dropped an "r". Apologies! It's 2.30 a.m. here in Oz and I cannot sleep! Excited about my trip. I leave Mar 19 for 5.5 weeks in Asia! Yippee!

peck1 Mar 16th, 2013 09:05 AM

wow - that's my daughter's bday - I'll be thinking of you starting your trip.

Ideally, I'd love a beachfront room/bungalow but with 5 of us, that's proving quite difficult and that's why the hotel (Banana Fan Sea Resort) in South Chaweng appealled. I checked out your hotel but the beachfront is thousands of pounds a week!!! Many thanks

PaganiPilot Mar 16th, 2013 09:42 AM

Thanks for your intelligent post, Ciccerone.

Lyndie Mar 16th, 2013 11:37 AM

Hi Sharron. There's much less expensive accommodation on Choeng Mon Beach than Sala Samui (which is fabulous!) Check out latestays.com and hotelscombined.com for deals. Samui Honey Cottages is great value and very close to the beach. Good luck with your research!

JamesA Mar 17th, 2013 09:04 AM

You have told us 6 days for Chiang mai and bangkok but not how many days you have for the beach / island time.

Koh Samui is developed for tourists but there are quieter more relaxed beaches, but it 'is' a tourist island, but that does mean you have what it appears most tourists want.
If you and the family wanted great snorkeling then look also at Koh Tao which is not far from Koh Samui but a very different style island. Koh Tao is a beautiful island, the snorkeling is easy and fun for the family.
If you have sufficient days perhaps time on Koh Samui and say 2 nights on Koh Tao

For hotels I would stick with local Thailand booking sites

Kathie Mar 17th, 2013 10:45 AM

www.sawasdee.com is the Thai booking site I use.

shanek Mar 18th, 2013 04:16 AM

Lyndie has accurately summed up Choeng Mon as a nice, quieter alternative, but I certainly cannot agree with her comments about Chaweng not being a nice beach.
It is still a stunning beach and excellent for swimming. Whilst the northern part does indeed have a reef, there is no such impediment at the southern end, which is where the Banana Fan Sea Resort is located.
This part of the beach has powdery white sand and the water is generally clear when the weather is fine, which will most likely be the case in August.
The main beach road, even at the less hectic southern part of Chaweng, is busy and dotted with the trappings of tourism, but the beachfront is still relaxed and beautiful, IMHO.

bombayteddy Mar 20th, 2013 05:49 AM

In the first place, Koh Samui weather in August is NOT all sunny. I was there Aug 11 to 17 some years ago and on certain evenings it rained cats and dogs, with SCARY storms coming off the sea.
Second, Chaweng is the wrong area to stay if you wish to avoid anything "touristy". I would recommend the (relatively) unspoiled West coast, in particular a lovely family-run hotel called Rajapruek Resort, right ON a quiet beach with amazing sunsets, and very reasonably priced.
Last, for really good weather in August, why dont you fly to Bali? You can get a flight on Thai Airways (or a low-cost airline) from Bangkok.
Hope this helps!

peck1 Mar 21st, 2013 01:33 PM

Hi Lyndie, if your friend is able to, I am looking for a beachfront or near the beach property with pool to accommodate a family of 5. If it is a private villa, ok to be within walking distance of beach and town. If hotel, would like to be on the beach.

Many thanks

Sharron

Treeleaper Mar 23rd, 2013 01:26 PM

I spent a week on Ko Sumai in 1982. That was before "development" happened. Transport to the island was by ferry, travellers were all backpackers looking for somewhere to blob out for a few days after the rigours of South East Asia. Accommodation for us was a one roomed hut on the beach. Sure there were a couple of rudimentary shops near the jetty, selling T shirts but that was the extent of any "touristiness." I understand there is an airport there now and high rise hotels. Holiday makers going there now don't know what they've missed.

LADUDE May 27th, 2013 11:38 AM

I am looking for swimmable beaches in the month of August ie: have water as part of scenery,not rocks and mud. Told Chaweng and Cheong Mon are the two to go for. Many beaches are ugly in August.. ( from posted pics )especially in the south and small private beaches..Understand December to March have nice water.
Any comments are appreciated..


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