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SQUEALER

SQUEALER MAGAZINE / ISSUE 9

KOH SAMUI’S DEFINITIVE TOILET READ

! N IO IT D E L IA C E P S

MAGAZINE

THE

ISSUE 9 / MAY 2014

BRITNEY SPEARS ON TRAVEL: “The cool thing about being famous is traveling. I have always wanted to travel across seas, like to Canada and stuff.”

FOCUS ON KOH SAMUI Small Island…Big Heart

KEEP CALM AND

TRAVEL WITH US

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SQUEALER magazine

WELCOME

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The Squealer puts the fun back in travel, nothing more nothing less… To start us off we place the focus firmly on Koh Samui, a little island just off the coast of Thailand. It may be small but it’s big in attitude and style, well it hasn’t been voted the best beach holiday destination in Asia for nothing.

Editor Lorraine Clark Design and Web ets.io

So to get us in the mood, enjoy some travel quotes from some seasoned travelers… “Airline food is the tiniest food I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Any kind of meat that you get -- chicken, steak, anything -- has grill marks on each side, like somehow we’ll actually believe there’s an open-flame grill in the front of the plane.” - Ellen DeGeneres “Airplane travel is nature’s way of making you look like your passport photo.” - Al Gore “What does it mean to pre-board? Do you get on before you get on?” - George Carlin

Advertising advertising@squealermagazine.com Newsdesk newsdesk@squealermagazine.com

Questions and Contact: Email: info@squealermagazine.com Web: www.squealermagazine.com

“People say there are delays on flights. Delays, really? New York to California in five hours, that used to take 30 years, a bunch of people used to die on the way there, have a baby, you would end up with a whole different group of people by the time you got there. Now you watch a movie, go to the toilet and you’re home.” - Louis C.K. “Kilometers are shorter than miles. Save gas, take your next trip in kilometers.” - George Carlin “When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” - Susan Heller Happy travels! Lorraine

‘When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.’ – Clifton Jadiman

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TRAVEL SQUEALER

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DON’T CRY FOR ME KOH SAMUI Joe Swain laments the demise of Koh Samui’s once proud species of visitor: the backpacker 4


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t’s hard to imagine Koh Samui as it was in 1989. No airport, no giant superstores, no golf courses and certainly no McDonalds. Indeed, it was a major stopping off point on the South East Asian backpacker route and as such, catered mainly for budget travelers. Or ‘bloody hippies’ as they were affectionately known in those days. The sort of people who thought nothing of spending an hour haggling an impoverished coconut farmer down from 60 Baht a night (to displace him and his family from their rickety timber shack) to 59 Baht. “We’re not rich you know” they’d whine as they snapped away at disappearing sunsets with their 1000 USD Olympus Trip cameras. “You must understand, we’re not tourists, we’re travelers. “As is such a minor change in terminology might bring about a ritual slaughtering of scared chickens by an overjoyed tribal leader, a garland of flowers and a free opium pipe. I know all this of course because I was one of them. I didn’t think of myself as a hippy though; that was a term strictly reserved for people who ‘traveled’ in India. We were the new breed of backpackers, twenty something office workers who’d saved up enough cash from their grimy city jobs to see a little more of the world than the Spanish Costas. We accepted the tag ‘backpacker’ more readily

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because we actually used backpacks to carry our things around rather than the rolled up sarongs favoured by the hippies. Not that the Thais saw the difference. I remember chatting to a bar owner in Samui’s then most frequented bar called The Pink Flamingo (or something like that) who asked me a straightforward enough question. “Why is it”, he enquired, “that you all carry around

from the mainland port of Suratthani. There was talk of an airport coming soon, a truth that usually solicited a “what a shame” type response from the budget bunnies who thought such a move would surely be disastrous for the island’s businesses. They (ok ‘we’) were of the horribly naïve opinion that the retaliatory shift to less spoilt Thai islands (i.e. poorer ones) that the airport’s arrival would surely spark the consequent removal of our sweaty little wads of cash from the local economy, would somehow sound the island’s death knell as one of the most popular ‘R&R’ destinations in Asia.

A conclusion based upon the view that the only people willing to holiday in places like Samui were those who didn’t mind roughing it a bit. In a way we were right. Backpackers are indeed a rare sight on Samui today. But you’d be hard pushed to find a local businessman ruing that fact. The island has, you might say, ‘un-roughened’ itself rather spectacularly. those huge bags on your backs and yet all you A process which started with the arrival of the ever wear are shorts and vests? What’s in the airport. It now boasts a plethora of International bags? 30 more pairs of shorts and 30 more vests?’ standard hotels and resorts and it draws its milI had no answer. lions of annual visitors from virtually every country in the world. Indeed some would say it now In those days a trip to Samui entailed an overrivals its traditional big brothers, Phuket and Bali night voyage on a packed open-topped ferry in that category. Distressing news for the hippies,

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Some people worry about the sheer ace of the island’s development. That with the construction of so many back garden swimming pools, Samui will surely sink into the sea. And it’s true, s with all construction boom towns, the local saloons boast more than a few Stetson-clad builders selling their dubious dreams to impressionable on-line investors. But in my opinion the sort of people, who can afford to spend anything between 200,000 USD and 2,000,000 USD on a slice of paradise without even making a site visit, deserve to be fleeced. The best advice is probably look around for a developer who actually lives in one of his or her own complexes, or, better still, has a Samuian on the board of directors.

who kept their side of the bargain by moving to neighbouring, Koh Phangan and Koh Lanta on the West Coast. And whilst the airport is still one of the cutest you will ever see, with its beautiful open air terminal buildings and manicured lawns, an extension to the runway has opened the door for Thai operator Bangkok Airways to complement its original propeller fleet with small jets. A move which has, for example, cut the journey time from Singapore down to well under two hours. But more interestingly perhaps is not the island’s

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growth as a tourist resort, but as a retirement and holiday home destination. Recent changes in land laws have made it possible, with navigable restrictions, for foreigners to own property here on a long term basis. This has seen a an incredible acceleration in construction and a market of such buoyancy that is now able to attract buyers way from traditional hotspots like England, Spain, Florida and Western Australia. The latest figures cite an expatriate population in excess of 25,000. Hence the rush to build state of the art golf courses, plush villa complexes, International schools and high-tech business parks.

I make no great bones about being a big fan of Samui. Every time I go there I wish I could afford to buy a piece of it before it’s too late. Prices have risen steadily over the last 10 years but it’s still true to say that for what you would pay to own a crappy little one-bedroom flat above a fish and chip shop in some godforsaken provincial suburb in England, you can still get a 3-bedroomed luxury villa with all the trimmings here in Samui. No sweat. These days the fashionable investors are buying plots on inland developments within a quick drive or a healthy evening stroll of the beaches, rather than paying high premiums for a salt-inthe-nostrils location. You might not get that Malibu-de-bum-bum experience that the rock stars so enjoy, but you get far more square meters for your money. Wherein lies one of Samui’s greatest


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ironies. For 30 years ago (the first tourist didn’t arrive until the mid-70’s) the island’s main wealth lay in its lush coconut plantations, which were, and still are, mainly located inland. Hence local families would reward their ‘good’ offspring with bequests of fertile inland plots, as a reward for being goodie goodies. Whilst the naughty ones were fobbed off with the ‘rubbish’ beachside plots. Who says the meek are going to inherit the earth?

Want to learn more? Visit www.samuiholiday.com

Getting there: Bangkok Airways flies from a variety of locations seven days a week: www.bangkokair.com for details.

Living there: Call Holiday Property Abroad on +66 89 047 6348 or visit their website www.holidaypropertyabroad.com (buy me one, please)

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SAMUI PHOTOS


SAMUI PHOTOS

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Back in the 1970s the word ‘Samui’ was known only to a few of the most adventurous backpackers eager to explore this little known and tricky to reach island. Then, a basic thatched bungalow with generator power and running water was considered luxury. Nowadays, 5-star resorts, that rival any world-class destination, occupy the prime beachfront and cliff-top locations bringing the jetsetter crowd to this now well-known and easily accessible island in the Gulf of Thailand. Samui is Thailand’s third largest island, yet measures just 21 kilometres at its widest point and 25 at its longest. A ring-road runs around the island for approximately 50 kilometres and links the many beaches and bays, so hiring a car or scooter is recommended, as it’s the best way to explore. Don’t be afraid to venture down an unmarked palm-lined track – this is how you come across some of Samui’s best kept secret beaches. And it’s beaches after all that bring visitors to a tropical island, and those visitors will not be disappointed with Samui’s selection of bays and coves - from long stretches of white sand, to small coves, protected by giant boulders. 10


Samui’s eastern and northern shores are the most populated, and Chaweng is the busiest beach, with hardly a gap along the beachfront between restaurants, resorts and bars. At night, the beach takes off her sundress and glams up with her evening dress, completes with diamond earrings – metaphorically speaking that is. As the sun sets, sun-loungers are replaced with tables set out at the water’s edge. The aroma of sunscreen is replaced by the mouth-watering smells wafting from the open seafood barbecues on the beach. Sunglasses come off, first to view the brilliant sunsets, and later to gaze at the moon over the bay, or the fairy lights and lanterns lighting up the beach and palm trees. As developed as Samui has become in some areas, what’s good to know is that the island observes a quaint building regulation – no building may be higher than the closest coconut palm. Now while these palms can get quite tall, this is still a far cry from the skyscrapers that line Phuket’s (Thailand’s biggest island) shore,

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and most resorts are still of the villa or bungalow style. If you’re looking for a slower pace, head west and south and get a feel of what Samui must have been like a few decades ago.

Another beach worth visiting is Choeng Mon at the north-eastern tip of the island. Frequented by expats, this is an ideal family beach, with just enough vendors to be convenient when you’re looking for a snack or drink, but not enough to bother you. South of Chaweng, before Samui’s second largest beach of Lamai, are two small coves, namely Crystal Bay and Coral Cove. Samui has more to offer visitors and residents than just glorious beaches. Golf enthusiasts will delight in the views on offer from the challenging Santiburi Golf Club, high up in the hills above Maenam. There’re other golfing options available on the island too, including mini golf, and believe it or not, football golf. There’s a fair selection of adrenalin sports, both on land and in water too. Prefer something a little less energetic? Well Samui has become

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known as a spa, detox and pampering hub of Southeast Asia. Whether you’re after a full detox program or just a day of ‘me time’, you’ll find a vast array of spas to choose from. You can’t go wrong with a 300 baht massage on the beach too.

One of the best parts of travelling is trying new food. Whether it’s Thai food you’re after or international cuisine, Samui’s chefs can prepare it for you. Be sure to try a walking street market during your stay too.

Whether you’re a backpacker, a flashpacker or a 5-star-all-theway kind of traveller, again, Samui will please accommodation-wise. From tiny beach bungalows, with not more than a hammock swinging between two trees, to luxury establishments offering the best of everything as well as all types of rooms in between, you’ll find it on Samui. There’s traditional to contemporary, family-friendly to hip and happening and all-inclusive resorts to self-catering establishments too.

Fancy a night out on the town? Well the busier areas such as Chaweng and Lamai are home to a vast selection of night clubs, bars and cabaret shows. But you don’t have to wait until evening to party, with venues such as Nikki Beach on the west coast, and Beach Republic on the east coast, hosting DJs from lunchtime as guests mingle, dine and laze by the beachfront pools.

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There’s plenty to see too during your stay, from viewpoints to


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temples and religious sites and butterfly gardens to Muay Thai boxing matches. There’s so much to see and do, that’s it’s best to make a list of your favourites so you don’t miss out. Shopaholics won’t be disappointed with the retail therapy on offer. From bargaining at market stands to buying local designer-wear or original souvenirs made on Samui , you’ll find just what you’re looking for. Samui may not have big shopping malls (yet), but that doesn’t mean shopping can’t be fun and rewarding as you wander along the shopping strips set back from the beaches. Of course, you can have a suit tailor-made too in just a day or two. Who would have thought? Whether you’re planning an action-packed holiday, or a time to unwind with the family, you can find all the information you require at www.samuiholiday.com. It will even tell you how to get here …

www.samuiholiday.com

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Holiday Property Abroad – Villa rentals on the island of Koh Samui, Thailand. We have a great selection of rental villas to choose from – With the best deals and the knowledge to be able to make your Villa vacation dream come true. If you can’t find what you like on our website, contact us with your details and we will look for you! www.holidaypropertyabroad.com email: info@holidaypropertyabroad.com phone: (+66) 089 047 6348

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FUNNIES

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A tourist was being led through the swamps of Florida. “Is it true,” he asked, “that an alligator won’t attack you if you carry a flashlight?” “That depends,” replied the guide, “on how fast you carry the flashlight.”

“I’ve just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I’ll tell you what—never again.” A Texan farmer goes to Australia for a vacation. There he meets an Aussie farmer and gets talking. The Aussie shows off his big wheat field and the Texan says, “Oh! We have wheat fields that are at least twice as large”. Then they walk around the ranch a little and the Aussie shows off his herd of cattle. The Texan immediately says, “ We have longhorns that are at least twice as large as your cows”. The conversation has, meanwhile, almost died when the Texan sees a herd of kangaroos hopping through the field. He asks, “And what are those”? The Aussie asks with an incredulous look, “Don’t you have any grasshoppers in Texas”? 17


FUNNIES

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James says to Craig: “You know... I reckon I’m about ready for a vacation, only this year I’m gonna do it a little different. The last few years, I took your advice as to where to go. Two years ago you said to me to go to Hawaii. I went to Hawaii, and Marie got pregnant. Then last year, you told me to go to the Bahamas. I went to the Bahamas, and Marie got pregnant again.” Craig says: “So what you gonna do different this year?” James says: “This year, I’m going to take Marie with me...” A lady aboard a cruise ship was not impressed by the jazz trio in one of the shipboard restaurants. When her waiter came around, she asked, “Will they play anything I ask?” “Of course!” replied the waiter. “Then tell them to go play chess!” Three guys are stuck on a deserted island, when one of them finds a lamp on the beach. He picks it up and gives it a little rub and a genie pops out. The genie looks at the three guys and says: “I normally give three wishes, but since there are three of you, I will grant each of you one wish.” Well, the first guy is sick and tired of being on the island, so he wishes to go back home. POOF!!! He disappears. The second one said he, too, is tired of the island, and wishes to go home. POOF!!! He too disappears. The genie then turns to the last guy and asks him what his wish is. “Gee,” he says,” I’m awfully lonely here by myself. I wish my friends were still here!”

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FEATURE

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For all you foodies out there‌Koh Samui has it all, tickle your taste buds with the vast array of food it has to offer!

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FEATURE

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To virtually visit Koh Samui…www.samuiholiday.com

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SAMUI FACTS SQUEALER MAGAZINE / ISSUE 9

Koh means island in Thai Samui is Thailand’s third largest island It is only about a 50 kms drive to get round the whole island Koh Samui is surrounded by sixty other islands, some inhabited…some not! “Tom Yum Goong” or Spicy Shrimp Soup is Thailand’s No1 food The Thai Elephant is the symbol of the nation – the king has ten rare ‘white’ elephants “Tu Rian” or Durian fruit is the most expensive Thai fruit and banned from some public places Koh Samui Airport is often described as “the most beautiful airport in the world” “Cha Yen” or Thai Iced Tea is one of the most traditional everyday drinks “Khom Fai” or Sky Lanterns are often released on the many beaches by people for good luck Thailand is known as “The Land of Smiles” for a reason, so remember to ‘Smile a lot’!

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The traditional form of greeting is a “Wai” , where both hands are put together “prayer like’ and rasied the face…here is a short video to help you out!

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A full café menu, accompanied with high class cuisine…The English style Fish & Chips will blow your mind! The A La Carte menu will delight your senses and there is plenty to choose from the Fine Wines, Beers and Champagne on offer, there is most definitely something for everyone at The Red Brick Café.

“The funky café with a twist!”

Fully air-conditioned restaurant, with a Kiddies Corner with entertainment for the younger ones… giving parents a chance to enjoy themselves and relax a little. Fast WIFI and Flat screen TV’s. You can find us in the Boonjumnong Apartment complex (also home to Wine Connection and The Irish Times), adjacent to Tesco Lotus Chaweng. We look forward to seeing you soon! Tel: 077 484 980 Email: redbrickcafe@hotmail.com 29


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Stand Out From The Rest

Advertise in The Squealer and get yourself noticed! The Definitive Toilet Read

Don’t follow the masses... Advertise in The Squealer Magazine to really get noticed on the street.’

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For more information contact: advertising@squealermagazine.com or phone Lorraine (the one who does most everything in the office) (+66) 089 047 6348 Issuu www.squealermagazine.com

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