Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Koh Samet -- a paradise only in your guidebook

A middle class Thai perspective on the asshole circus one can expect visiting Koh Samet. The only thing that makes this letter unusual is that it was written by a Thai.

from letters to The Nation

Re: "Tourists charged more but get little for their money", Letters, May 21.

Having read Sandy Shores' comments on Koh Samet, I feel compelled to add my twopence.

I took my staff on a trip to Rayong recently, and we had a wonderful holiday. However, when we visited Koh Samet for a day trip, my gentle staff from Chiang Mai were horrified at the unacceptable language and verbal abuse they encountered by unsmiling Koh Sametians. Service was poor, bad language was used, insults were flung around, and we also overheard innocently passing farangs being insulted by shopkeepers and harassed by officials, using most improper language. Comments such as, "Go home if you want to bargain" and, "We don't need your money, we have many tourists here every day," and general insults as to the shapes, race and looks of farangs walking past.

There was not one smiling face that we saw. In short, this is an island apparently inhabited by people with no manners. I would urge whoever is in charge to instil some etiquette lessons as well as basic business principles to these greedy islanders who live off tourists whom they feel only contempt for. Needless to say, we will not be visiting again.

On our boat ride back, I heard one of our graphic designers shake her head and say, "Mai khao jai, this is not Thailand. These are not Thais." Sadly, they are.

Pim Kemasingki

Chiang Mai