Good day Gavin,
This goes on a bit so I hope you are wide awake and sitting comfortably with a cold Chang at hand.
My recent stay in Samui was very uneventful by my standards.I actually found myself looking at "off plan" houses being built near Lamai.All with swimming pool and with a "top drawer" view.They are being built by an English guy who seems genuine enough.However I'm not so worried about that side of things but more concerned with the "Thai LTD company". If you delve into the rules and regulations on Thai companies,foreigners and land ownership there is certainly a risk in theory at least that at some point in the future the Thai government could either force you to sell(and what a Thai National buyers market that would be!)or worse still just take your land and the property contained therein from you.
Anyway on to more interesting things.Myself and a few friends took the pickup truck, via the car ferry to Don Sak and then onto Phuket.Not a bad drive,pretty scenic really.Spent a few days at Karon in Phuket but also visited Patong on a night and revisited other beaches such as Kata,Kamala and Surin.
Since my first visit in 1987 I of course had seen changes with time but Wow!...what changes there have been in the last 10 years ...I didn't recognise the place.Obviously a lot of post Tsunami money has been pouring into this place.
To be honest I only had enough time to see the main beaches but as far as they go you could be at any Internationl resort anywhere in the world.
Phuket for me is a place that has totally lost its "Thainess".
Sure it looked modern and clean and you would want for nothing except maybe to feel you were actually still in Thailand!!?
For me by authentic Thai standards it was incredibly bland.Add to this the horrendous traffic and the 3 lane ugly "motorway" type of roads on the interior and I think you get the picture.
I never thought I would say this about Thailand but if I had to live in Phuket I think I might find myself getting a little stressed from time to time with all the tourist mayhem and traffic problems.Ok ok not stressed by English standards but none the less a little stressed!
I know Samui has also changed a great deal but thankfully it seems a few light years away from what Phuket has become.
Good news on the Lamai Wanta front with its new trendy beach side restaurant.The owner has kept his prices in line with the rooms...that is nice and cheap.It's 39BHT for a Chang and 49BHT for a Singha which I think is about as cheap as it gets on Lamai beach front.And oh yes I almost forgot...the food is pretty good as well.
Talking of Samui I will be back in July and will be spending about 3 days in Bangkok so might be able to catch up with you sometime.
October 19th is the line drawn in the sand as far as packing it all in here in Blighty goes.The flight is booked and I shall not be returning to these cold shores for at least 8 months(remember to get heavily invested in Thai beer stocks in anticipatation of their expected market surge).Its going to be more of the same every year from there on in.
Anyway must get back to the day job.
Speak with you later
Hammer's for the cup?