*SOS=Surviving on samui 

Now everybody knows Samui is well known for its great beaches, now what do scooters and beaches have in common??

Well even after a long hard look, it's tough to determine how parts of these beaches end up on the worst corners of the roads and cause so many people to visit Samui's pharmacies.

Maybe the owners of the pharmacies are taking loads of sand every night and sprinkling them on strategic points outside their shops for a bit of extra income, but that theory won't be confirmed without some long nights hanging around those areas to see what is going on...

Now by all means if you have never ridden a scooter before definitely give it a try on Samui.

There are great hospitals and hundreds of pharmacies to take care of you and since Samui is a small island, any boost to the economy is much appreciated!

Riding a scooter is fun and one of [if not the best way ] to see Samui

But be warned

You need 3 special things to ride a scooter on Samui [experience, common sense, and eyes in the back of your head]

1. The most important being experience

And for those that don’t have any experience, you can't buy it from the supermarket either, however after you have survived your holiday on Samui and returned home then you will have gained some experience.

2. The second thing you need is common sense

Now it seems that most tourists lose this somewhere between the airport and the hotel. And even the expats and locals that have been looking for common sense for quite some time have actually never seen any [anywhere]. You would have thought that all those tourists looing their common sense all the time, you would eventually find some somewhere but, alas, no.

Common sense is also a western comcept and it could be that it doesn't even exist in Thailand. 

3. Eyes in the back of your head

You can order these from any local hospital that does cosmetic surgery  

After Thai people stopped riding elephants [they cost to much to feed and were rather slow] they started riding bicycles, but that was hard work so they started riding scooters instead [much better].

Now the first scooters were manual [had clutch and gears] so you had to ride with both hands.However, this meant that you couldn’t hold onto the kids as well as the rest of the house hold goods so they invented an automatic model [and the rest is history so to speak].

Now you can ride while feeding the little one and chat on the iphone all at the same time on the way to the market carrying the family and the dog as well in the basket.

If  you look hard enough you might even see a baby seat on a scooter, designed so the little one can go with you everywhere [otherwise the basket in front with the dog will do].

Then there are also many underage scooter riders on Samui…let's say that in Thailand after you learn how to walk [or before], next you learn to ride the scooter. Children ride scooters on Samui as young as 7, 8 9 year olds riding them to school. You could encouter a roadblock near a school if there is a crack down on young riders. They will be stopped and blocking traffic to call mum or dad  to tell them they will be late home and could they come down and pay the fine? And...the next day ride their scooters back to school.

Oh, and if you get stopped and fined, you should keep the receipt. You are free to get back on your scooter [with no helmet] put all 3 of you back on the bike and off you go! If you get stopped again on the same day and you have kept the receipt ,just produce this to the officer and you will be allowed to proceed on as they won't fine you twice in one day [no kidding]. This is how things are on Samui [the police are very nice and considerate guys].

Riders with no helmet

It's totally breaking the law but if you are trying hard to blend in with the locals you have to remember that a helmet costs 500 to over 1000 baht [or there abouts]. The fine is normally 300 baht [for Thai people], so if you only get stopped so often, just do the math - it's cheaper not to have one.

Thailand is Buddhist and they live for today, they are not worried about tomorrow, or death by accident, since they believe they will be reincarnated and come back as a policeman and then fine YOU for no helmet.

Keep in mind, though; showing off your body in a public place is very disrespectful in the Thai culture.

So if you get pulled up for no helmet [1]by the police and wonder why the policeman treats you with disgust its not because you didn’t wear a helmet ,or hat [2]. the simple fact is your are being  totally rude and disrespectful just because you took your shirt off [3]and thought you were cool, you will probably be made to pay the full fine of 500 baht and if you’re a woman in a skimpy bikini, the policeman will probably try to chat you up because you must be a prostitute to be dressed in public like that. So next time think a little about where you are and respect the country your in.

Paperwork

The scooter hire companies will not ask for your license, the police however will and unless you have a valid International license with a motorbike endorcement, you are breaking the law, a UK learner licese which would allow you to ride with L plates is not valid abroad,  your travel insurance will be invalid and if you damage the scooter or crash and damage other vehicles, you are expected to pay for that as well. 

Be sure to take photo's of all scratches and any other things you feel the renter maybe able to do a money grab for....and don't forget the tires! Remember for the most part - you exchange a passport for the use of a scooter. If you can't prove there was damage or wear when you took the scooter, you will possibly be responsible for repairs (or replacement, in the case of a tire).

Everybody knows that a scooter is for 2 people, right? But not on Samui.3 people is normal, 4 quite common, 5 must be a family outing [there will be a dog in there somewhere also]. You could see huge loads of people and items on scooters, from big screen tvs to a full size mattress [lucky it wasn’t too windy that day]. You could see a bicycle tied on the back of the scooter [sideways across the seat], too. A novel way to solve the problem of running out of petrol.

If you see 2 scooters going along the road connected by a leg and a foot up the exhaust of the one in front, the guy has run out of gas and is getting a push to the nearest garage.

If you see somebody on a bike swerving in and out from the side to the middle of the road and not just once but all the time mile after mile what would you think?  Absolutely drunk?? Wasted??? A bit of both ? Well on Samui this is normal, yes, normal, absolutely an everyday occurrence, but not due to alcohol at all or drugs. Actually they are just following the law.

On Samui there is a dedicated scooter lane clearly marked around the main ring road, This is designed to separate the bikes from the cars and trucks. However this is also a great place to park your car, which everybody now does and if you are riding your scooter down the bike lane you have to appear drunk to avoid from smashing into parked cars.

In conclusion, it is just about impossible to actually ride a bike /scooter with out breaking any laws on Samui

if you want to blend in with the locals you will need the following

1 at least 3 people on the scooter

2 wear a cap so as to avoid speeding [and sunburn]

3 wear flip flops only [bare feet better]

4 a dog in the front basket

5 at least some sort of furniture to carry along with the cell phone and baby

Now you will blend in with the locals totally and can ride around samui with out being recognized