Having developed rapidly over the past ten to twenty years or so and despite many common misconceptions, generally speaking Thailand is a perfectly safe holiday destination. Millions of people visit the country every year, without experiencing any trouble whatsoever. However, it is also fair to say that standards in some parts of Thailand, particularly regarding health and safety, might not be up to the same levels as you come to expect back home. Having said that, you should not let this put you off visiting this truly amazing country and as long as you are aware of potential dangers and hazards that you may encounter during you stay in Thailand, then you will no doubt have a wonderful time here.
Providing you take a few extra precautions regarding your own personal health and safety, then you will be able to ensure that you remember your trip to the Land of Smiles for all the right reasons and that your visit pass without incident.
Thai people are known around the world for being very welcoming, friendly, and helpful and the fact that they are such perfect hosts is just one of the many reasons why Thailand has become one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.
Although some visitors to Thailand, unfortunately, do become the victims of scams or hustles, the actual risk of becoming a victim of a crime or experiencing any form of violence or duress during your stay in Thailand is actually very small. Becoming aggressive, raising your voice or becoming violent, very much goes against the Thai way of life and because of this it is actually very unusual for Thai people to become violent towards tourists.
Some of the most common situations or occasions where tourists are likely to experience some form of trouble or hassle whilst staying in Thailand usually involve street vendors, bar girls, pushy tuk tuk drivers or disagreements with taxi drivers.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t buy anything from a street vendor, go for a drink in a girly bar or use tuk tuk’s or taxi’s but it is important to exercise a certain degree of caution when engaging in these sorts of situations.
Koh Samui Health & Safety
With Koh Samui now widely regarded as being one of Thailand’s premier tourist destinations health and safety on the island has improved a lot during the last decade. For example, Samui’s local hospital and other medical facilities are quite modern and advanced for what is a relatively small island.
However, with the numbers of visitors to Koh Samui increasing rapidly over the last ten years, so has the number of tourists who find themselves a victim of crime. Unfortunately, amongst certain quarters, the island has earned itself somewhat of an unwanted reputation as a result of crime involving both Thai and foreign gangs.
This has led to a number of negative, and often unfair and inaccurate press reports, particularly from the international media, about everything from incidences of rape and murder to extortion, property scams and bribery.
Some of these crimes can be associated to a lack of policing on the island, which is a contributory factor to the crime levels on Koh Samui.
In the unlikely event that you do become a victim of crime during your stay on Koh Samui, the Thai Tourist Police are on hand throughout the island to provide assistance.
There are some risks from tropical diseases but these risks are only fairly small. Likewise, as mentioned, risks to personal safety are relatively small in Thailand and this is no different on Koh Samui. Probably one of the threats to visitors who stay on the island is from petty theft and as when visiting any foreign country, it is important that you always take care of your personal belongings.
Probably the main risk to health and safety on Koh Samui is from reckless driving and all round general road safety. This is particularly a problem with tourists who hire motorbikes but are not used to driving in Thailand or used to the conditions of some of the coastal roads on the island. Also the driving habits of some Thai people can often leave a lot to be desired!
Other potential risks to be people who visit the popular tourist destinations of Thailand, which includes Koh Samui are scams, poor standards for food hygiene and preparation, sexually transmitted diseases and irresponsibility with regards to potentially risky activities such as water sports.
Potential Health Risks and Diseases
Depending on where in the world you are travelling to Thailand from, it is probably fair to say that Koh Samui will be much warmer than it is in your home country. From the months of March to May Thailand can be extremely hot and it is not uncommon for temperatures to reach in excess of 40c. If you are not used to such high temperatures then you might struggle in this kind of heat. Therefore, in order to prevent dehydration it is really important that you drink plenty of water (as much as 3-4 litres) per day and where possible, try to keep out of the sun.
Symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, fever and sometimes difficulty when breathing. If you do happen to become severely dehydrated then a trip to the islands hospital is recommended. Alternatively, you can visit any of the islands pharmacies in order to purchase rehydration drinks/salts.
The infamous ‘Bangkok Belly’ will probably affect you at sometime during your visit to Thailand. It is all too common for non-Asians to experience an upset stomach or diarrhoea and often you can put this down to eating too much chilli, herbs and spices, much of which your stomach is not used too in your regular diet. Some roadside restaurants, cafes, noodle shops or fruit vendors who might prepare food in an unhygienic manner, can also be major culprits when it comes to visitors suffering from diarrhoea. That’s not to say you shouldn’t eat at any of these kinds of establishments, just make sure you check to see if where you are eating looks clean.
If you do suffer from an upset stomach then medication is widely available on Koh Samui. It is also important that you keep yourself properly hydrated and replenish any fluids that will have been lost during illness. For more serious bouts of diarrhoea, especially if you are vomiting then you should visit the islands hospital immediately.
The tap water throughout Thailand is not clean enough to drink and at all times you should make sure that you drink bottled water, which is widely available and much cheaper than it is back home. To be on the safe side it is advisable to even use bottled water when brushing your teeth. Generally speaking, the water and ice that is offered in many restaurants and bars on Koh Samui is ok to consume as this water will have been through a reverse osmosis system for water purification. However, if you are ever unsure, order drinks your without ice and always opt for bottled water.
In the last few years there has been a number of incidents of Dengue Fever on Koh Samui. With symptoms that are similar to malaria, Dengue Fever is spread by mosquitoes, which are typically found around stagnant water or pools, usually in urban areas. From the recent cases that there have been on the island, none of which have been fatal, but nearly all have required hospital treatment. If you think that you are showing symptoms of Dengue Fever, which includes severe headache, high fever, vomiting and muscle and joint pain, then you should go the hospital immediately.
Koh Samui is almost completely malaria free and even though there have been one or two isolated cases, other nearby areas of the Surat Thani province can often be affected, particularly during the rainy season.
Although taking malaria medication is not essential when travelling to Thailand, as it is with other countries, to be on the safe side you can always start taking anti malaria medication at home before you travel. If you happen to contract Malaria whilst you are staying on Koh Samui then visit the hospital where they will probably give you medication such as Soxycycline or Larium.
Whilst the situation regarding bird flu is a concern in other parts of Asia, it is deemed to be no longer a threat in Thailand. Chicken products across the country are safe to eat and of the few isolated cases of bird flu in Thailand, the people infected were those who had close contact with poultry and livestock. For the latest information on avian influenza it is recommended that you monitor news reports before you travel to Koh Samui.
Rabies throughout Thailand is a particular problem. In Koh Samui there are large numbers of stray or ‘beach dogs’ that live on the island. It is not uncommon for people to be bitten by these dogs and if you happen to be bitten then you should seek medical attention immediately.
That said, despite the large number of dogs on Koh Samui, a local charity (Koh Samui Dog Rescue Centre) has made great progress over the past decade in vaccinating a large number of the islands stray dogs against the disease. The result of this is that Samui is largely free of rabies.
HIV and Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Despite having a somewhat infamous reputation for its sex industry, Thailand has taken great steps in its campaign to raise awareness about how to limit the spread of AIDS and HIV. Estimates claim that the levels of infection are approximately around 5% of the population. However, those people involved in the country’s go-go scene or sex industry are obviously in a much higher risk group. Therefore, using a condom is when having sex essential, particularly if you have sexual intercourse with someone working in a go-go bar or in another area of Thailand’s sex industry.
Likewise, there are much higher incidences of other sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhoea, herpes and syphilis amongst Thailand’s prostitutes, go-go girls and their clients. It goes without saying that wearing a condom will greatly reduce the spreading of these and other sexually transmitted diseases.
It is somewhat of an ongoing joke amongst younger men who visit Thailand that the seriously hot Thai woman you get round to chatting up one evening, probably isn’t even a woman at all!
All jokes aside, the culture of ladyboys in Thailand is vibrant and often celebrated, which is very different to how cross dressers or transvestites are seen in other countries, particularly in the western world.
Ladyboys or ‘Katoeys’ as they are also known, are well respected in Thailand and they are found in all walks of life and are not only part of what can sometimes be Thailand’s famous nightlife. Having said that, many ladyboys know that they can make a considerable amount of money by cashing in on the country’s tourism industry as foreign visitors will often pay good money to watch ladyboy cabaret shows or have their pictures taken with a ladyboy.
Some tourists even pay large amounts of money to engage in some form of sexual activity with a ladyboy. Therefore, throughout the popular tourist hotspots of Thailand, such as Phuket and Pattaya, you will also find a large number of ladyboys and Koh Samui is no different.
Aside from the ladyboy cabarets in Chaweng and Lamai, there are also quite a few ladyboys who go out at night all dressed up and looking for a good time. Now, whilst the vast majority of ladboys are of a very pleasant persona, others can be quite aggressive and even turn violent towards foreigners, particularly if they feel that they are being made fun of or humiliated.
Because of this it is advisable to be respectful to ladyboys at all times, even though this whole culture is likely to be very different from what you are used to back home.
One of the other major problems with ladyboys on Koh Samui can involve unsuspecting men who think they have been chatting to a beautiful Thai woman all night, only to later find out (usually when he is just about to get very intimate with this ‘beautiful woman’!) that she is, in fact, a he! On some occasions, when the man happens to find out the truth, violence can ensue.
Another problem with ladyboys is in the way of petty theft and robbery. Although this is relatively uncommon, it has been known for gangs or groups of ladyboys to mug unsuspecting, often drunk foreign male tourists, who are trying to make their way back to their hotel following a heavy night out. They have also been known to drug male customers in order to steal their wallet or bag and then run off with it.
Generally the ladbyboys of Koh Samui are not dangerous, nor should they be avoided. Let’s face it, going to a ladyboy cabaret or having you picture taken with a ladyboy can be great fun and memorable part of your visit to the island.
However, it is probably best to be respectful and polite to them at all times. If you happen to find out, just before it is too late, that your new Thai girl is in fact a bloke, as difficult as it might be, try to remain calm and polite because if you become aggressive, a violent situation could occur.
Animals and Wildlife
Probably the single most common thing that is responsible for more admissions to hospitals and medical facilities than all other wildlife combined is the mosquito. As with anywhere in Thailand, getting bitten by mosquitoes can be a problem whilst staying on Koh Samui.
Although most people consider these pesky insects to be nothing more than an irritating nuisance; they can in fact transmit a wide range of disease including malaria and Dengue Fever. There are some 25000 reported cases of Malaria each year in Thailand, although many of these tend to be in the country’s rural areas, particularly around the borders with Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar (Burma). The Thai government has made huge progress over the years in tackling the spread of disease, particularly when compared to some of its neighbours.
When visiting Koh Samui or any of Thailand’s other popular tourist destinations then it is highly unlikely that you will catch malaria. You might want to take malaria tablets before travelling to the country, although this is not essential and many visitors to Thailand do not bother.
However, it is a good idea to make sure that you buy some insect repellent or mosquito cream that you can apply before going out, particularly at night. Insect repellent and cream is very cheap in Thailand and can be purchased from every 7/11 store, pharmacy and most supermarkets.
Although there are some dangerous animals in Thailand, there are not all that many on Koh Samui itself. Some people might even comment that the most dangerous animals that can be found on the island are some of the ‘Farangs’ (foreigners) who frequent Samui’s go-go bars of an evening!
Probably the biggest risk from animals and wildlife to visitors of Koh Samui comes from the local stray or homeless dogs that live on the island, some of which have been known to bite people that have got a little too close for the dogs liking. There is a problem with dogs on the island and even though the vast majority of them are peaceful and vary placid, some can become aggressive if provoked and others can decide to chase you, for example if you happen to be cycling or running past them.
In years gone by there has been a problem with rabies on the island too. However, over the past ten years a large number of dogs on Koh Samui have been vaccinated and today, rabies has all but been wiped out.
If you do happen to get bitten by one of the islands street dogs then you should seek medical attention straight away, just to be on the safe side.
Snakes and Other Nasty Critters
Koh Samui is also home to King and Queen Cobra snakes, although the likelihood of you ever seeing these, apart from in the Samui Snake Farm, is very unlikely. They usually live deep in the islands jungle and tend to avoid human contact at all times.
Whilst staying on the island, there is a small chance that you could come into contact with things such as scorpions or giant centipedes, both of which can pack a seriously nasty punch. Again, it is unlikely you will come into contact with either of these but just to be on the safe side it can be a good idea to shake out you shoes before putting them on, especially if they have been left outside overnight.
The waters around Koh Samui not only provide a great place for swimming and other water sports, Samui and the surrounding area is also becoming somewhat of haven for scuba diving and snorkelling. Koh Tao, which is only about 60km from Koh Samui is widely regarded as being on the best sites for diving and snorkelling in all of South East Asia.
However, people who participate in swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving and other water sports need to be aware that throughout the Gulf of Thailand there has been a sharp increase in the number of sightings and stings from Box Jellyfish.
It was previously only thought that Box Jellyfish, which are amongst the most poisonous in the world, were only found in the waters around Australia but in recent years there has been more and more evidence to suggest that they are in fact present in the waters around Thailand.
Box Jellyfish can be a similar size to a basketball and have tentacles that can be up to 3 metres in length and can deliver a sting, which in some cases can be fatal in only a few minutes. There have also been sightings in the waters of other parts of Thailand of smaller Box Jellyfish, which it is said, can be just as deadly.
Due to the number of sightings of Box Jellyfish around Koh Samui much is being done by the local authority to raise awareness and provide sufficient medical training and assistance to people who might come into contact with victims of jellyfish stings or for people who might get stung themselves.
Although official information regarding fatalities from Box Jellyfish stings in Koh Samui waters is somewhat misleading or inaccurate (authorities working not to panic tourists and scare away potential visitors) there have been several confirmed cases of people being stung off Chaweng beach, most recently in 2009.
If you do happen to get stung by a Box Jellyfish then you it is likely to be extremely painful. You will need to seek medical attention immediately. In the meantime you can pour vinegar on the over the affected area and you will also need to remove any tentacles that might be on your skin.
Despite the increased sightings of Box Jellyfish around Koh Samui, stings from jellyfish are still incredibly rare and whilst it is a good idea to be more vigilant for such creatures in the water, the possible presence of jellyfish shouldn’t put you off swimming or enjoying any of the other water sports that are available on the island.
It is also important that divers and snorkelers are careful around coral. Not only is it a living organism and can be easily damaged but it can also be razor sharp and in some cases can even give you a sting similar to that of a jellyfish.
On The Beach
The wonderful beaches of Koh Samui are one of the main reasons that thousands of tourists visit the island every year and are amongst some of the best in all of Thailand.
A trip to any of Samui’s beaches usually passes without incident for the vast majority of visitors. However, whilst the beaches are a perfectly enjoyable, they are often a somewhat of an unfamiliar environment to many people and as when visiting any beach, a certain degree of caution should be taken with regards to your own personal health and safety.
It surely goes without saying that when visiting any of the beaches on Koh Samui you should avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. The sun is likely to be much stronger in this part of the world than it is back home and the last thing you want after spending a day on the beach is to get sunburnt or even suffer from sunstroke, which could be extremely painful and uncomfortable and even leave you laid up in bed for a couple of days; not a great way to spend part of your holiday!
Therefore, you should try to stay out of the sun during the hottest times of the day, from around 11am to 4pm. If you are visiting the popular beaches of Lamai or Chaweng you can find shade under many of the beaches coconut trees (watch out for falling coconuts!) or you can also hire a sun umbrella and deckchairs from local beach vendors. Many of the hotels that are situated on Chaweng beach also provide their own private sun loungers and umbrellas so you will be able to use those as a customer of the hotel.
If you are on the beach during day always make sure you wear sun cream to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which cause sunburn. This is especially true for children and you should always try to use sun cream of SPF 15 or higher.
You might also want to wear a hat that protects your eyes, scalp, ears and neck from the sun; again the same goes for children.
It is also important that if you do spend time at the beach on Koh Samui then you make sure that you drink plenty of fluids in order to keep yourself properly hydrated.
Ok, so this really isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Did you know that falling coconuts kill over 100 people worldwide every year? And with the large amount of coconut palms that grow on Koh Samui, there is a genuine risk of people being injured from falling coconuts whilst visiting the island.
Sitting and relaxing underneath a coconut tree on one of the islands beaches might not be as safe as you thought! Around many of the beaches, there are signs warning people of the dangers of falling coconuts. Whilst being hit on the head by a falling coconut might not be fatal, it is more than capable of leaving a nasty bump or bruise and you might even require hospital treatment.
Although instances of crime on Koh Samui’s beaches are relatively uncommon, it is important that you do not give a would-be thief the opportunity to steal some of your personal belongings.
Never leave anything of value unattended on the beach, no matter if it is hidden away in a bag, or rolled up in a towel. Do not go for a swim and leave you iPod or camera lying around as this will make it very easy for someone to come along and take it. Common sense really! Don’t make it easy for opportunist thieves.
Koh Samui is famous for the wide variety of water sports and activities that are available to people who visit the island. One such popular activity involves jet skis, many of which can be hired from vendors on the beach.
Although the jet skis are perfectly safe to use, the vast majority of the time they are hired by people who have never driven a jet ski before or who have very little experience of driving a vehicle of this kind. This can not only create a potential danger to the people hiring the jet skis but also to other holiday makers who might be swimming in the waters around the beach.
Unlike other popular tourist resorts around Thailand, some beaches on Koh Samui do not have a designated area for swimming, which is free from jet skis. Consequently, both the swimmers and the jets skis can go where they like. Therefore, particularly if you are swimming off the beaches at Chaweng or Lamai, you need to watch out for people on jet skis. Likewise, if you hire a jet ski do not drive recklessly and try to go as far away from areas that are populated with people swimming as possible.
Jet skis can be great fun but it is imperative that you act responsibly when using them.
Hustle and Scams
Unfortunately, many of the popular tourist destinations of Thailand such as Koh Samui, Phuket and Pattaya are also considered to be somewhat of a haven for people who try to scam or hustle money out of naive and unsuspecting tourists.
Many of these scams can vary in their seriousness, ranging from kids trying to hustle a couple of hundred baht out of tourists over a game of Connect Four to smart suited, foreign ‘businessmen’ or ‘real estate agents’ who get naive tourists to sign legally binding contracts worth a considerable amount of money for time shares or property developments, which nearly always fail to materialise.
Some of the most common scams that visitors to Koh Samui are most likely to come across involve the local taxi drivers who might try to rip people off over the fare of a taxi ride. If you do use taxis on the island it can be a good idea to book them through your hotel or to make sure that you agree a price up front for the journey. Where possible, always try to look for a taxi that has a meter.
Another popular scam on the island involves tourists being approached by people trying to sell you things, such as diamonds or jewellery or claiming that you have won a grand prize, such as a membership to a luxury resort. These people might even try to buy you a drink in order to try and persuade you to buy whatever it is they are trying to sell.
You should always be extremely wary of anyone approaching you on the street trying to sell you something. The best advice is to remain polite and simply walk away. Also remember that if someone if offering you something that seems too good to be true, it probably is!
One scam that is becoming increasingly more common, particularly in Chaweng and Lamai involves what has been dubbed as the ‘Jet Ski Mafia’. Basically, when someone hires a Jet Ski on the beach, after they have finished using it they return to the vendor who claims that the Jet Ski has been damaged. A disagreement usually ensues, with the vendor and his friends using this to extort large sums of money from the unsuspecting tourist to cover the repair of the Jet Ski. Vendors have been known to become very threatening or aggressive towards customers.
The beaches at Chaweng and Lamai are also home to groups of young children, sometimes no older than 5 or 6 who will often try to challenge you to a game of Connect 4, especially in the evenings if you happen to be sat at one of the islands many beach bars. Whist at first this might seem like a little bit of fun, the kids will often bet 100 or 200 baht per game. Should you accept their challenge, the kids might even let you win the first couple of games, but beware as this is a classic hustle. These kids are geniuses when it comes to Connect 4 and before you know it you could well be a couple of thousand Baht down.
You also need to be careful of anyone who offers to act as your guide and show you around the islands main tourist attractions. They might also tell you, for example, that the Big Buddha statue is closed for the day and instead offer to take you to another attraction. On the way, it is highly likely that they will take you around many jewellery shops or tailors, often against you will, as the guide will be on a big commission bonus from these particular shops.
Despite some of the ongoing hustles, tricks and scams that a small number of tourists to Samui fall victim too, you should not let these put you off visiting the island. The vast majority of visitors enjoy a stay on the island without experiencing the slightest bit of trouble.
To stay safe and so not fall victim to one of these scams, always be aware of your surroundings and just be wary of anyone that is offering you something that sounds too good to be true. If in doubt, be polite, avoid confrontation and walk away; if necessary contact the islands tourist police.
Road Safety on Koh Samui
Let’s get straight to the point; the roads on Koh Samui are in a pretty poor condition and even parts of the islands main coastal ring road is in some places, nothing short of treacherous. These road conditions combined with the general habits of the local drivers on the island can make driving on the Samui a risky, if not dangerous pursuit. Also, the vast majority of locals who travel around the island on motorcycles do so without wearing a helmet and often at high speeds. It is these factors that have resulted in Koh Samui having one of the highest rates of road traffic accidents in all of Thailand.
A large number of the people involved in accidents on the roads of Koh Samui are foreign tourists who often hire motorcycles to travel around the island. Many of them don’t wear helmets and as a result, some accidents can be very serious indeed, if not fatal.
If you do end up driving a car or motorbike on Koh Samui you have to remember that the roads will not be anywhere near the same standard to what you are used to back home. The driving habits of the other local drivers on the islands roads will also leave a lot to be desired. Therefore, you need to make sure that you drive carefully and responsibly at all times.
If you happen to hire a car, always make sure you wear a seatbelt. When hiring a motorbike always wear a helmet. If a helmet is not provided ask for one, you might have to pay a bit extra but it would be pretty irresponsible and foolish to ride a motorcycle without one.
Full Moon Party
Every month during the full moon there is a large party that pretty much takes over the small town of Hat Rin on the nearby island Koh Phangan. Popular with thousands of foreign tourists who descend on the island every month specifically to revel in the islands party atmosphere, many of whom travel to Koh Phangan from Koh Samui for a couple of days or with one of the evening boat trips that run to and from the islands on the night of the big event.
Whilst the Full Moon Party can be a great event and is enjoyed by thousands of party goers every month, the site of the party can also be a hub for crimes such as drug taking, petty theft and even physical violence and sexual assault.
To ensure that your experience of the Full Moon Party is a positive one and that you avoid becoming an unnecessary victim of crime you should follow these few simple steps:
– Do not take any valuables to the event, certainly nothing that you are not prepared to lose or damage. Expensive cameras or mobile phones not only make you are target for thieves but they can also get easily damaged on the beach whilst you are busy partying the night away.
– Never accept food or drink that is offered to you by total strangers as there could literally be anything inside it.
– Drugs are easily available to those that go looking for them at the Full Moon Party. However, it is advised to steer well clear as Thailand has a pretty strict no tolerance policy towards the supply and consumption of illegal drugs.
As it is likely you will end up drinking plenty of alcohol during the Full Moon Party, combined with the warm temperatures, even at night, you will be more susceptible to becoming dehydrated so make sure you drink plenty of water in between alcoholic drinks.
It may come as no surprise to hear that drugs are illegal in Thailand. What you might not know is that Thai drug laws are very strict indeed and the authorities almost operate a complete no tolerance policy on illegal drugs. A foreign tourist who is caught in possession of a small amount of marijuana might be lucky enough to get away with a fine. However, even instances like this have resulted people spending a period of time locked up inside a Thai prison, which is not somewhere you want to be. Conditions inside Thai prisons are said to be extremely bad; so much so, that they probably make the prisons in your native country look like a five start hotel!
Therefore, whatever you do, do not put yourself at risk by getting involved in any way, shape or form with illegal drugs in Thailand.
Tsunamis and Flooding
Ever since the tragic Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, the south of Thailand, particularly the islands have been on high alert ever since. Even though nearly ten years have passed since that fateful day, these events still live in the memory of many Thai people.
Since 2004, many of the islands that are in the south of the country have been on high alert and Samui is no different. However, due its location in the Gulf of Thailand, the threat of a tsunami striking the island is much less than on the islands that are situated in the Andaman Sea, such as Phuket or Koh Phi Phi. That said there is still an active tsunami alarm and warning system in place throughout the island.
Whereas a tsunami might not be a great threat to the island of Samui, torrential rain and storms are, particularly during the rainy season, from the months of May to November.
In March and April of 2011, Koh Samui and other provinces in the south of Thailand were affected by flash floods following an unusually excessive amount of rain fall for the time of year. In total the floods that affected the southern part of Thailand claimed 21 lives and caused a massive amount of disruption and damage.
Many holiday makers and locals were evacuated to the islands higher ground, whilst thousands of others were left stranded for days at the islands international airport. Eventually many of these tourists were evacuated from Samui and nearby Koh Tao by the Thai Navy.
The mayor of Koh Samui estimated that the floods caused well over 100 million Baht’s worth of damage per day to the islands infrastructure, resorts and tourism industry.
However, these floods are extreme examples of the heavy amount of rainfall the island can experience and although they were fairly devastating at the time, it shouldn’t put you off visiting the island.