IVL feels the need to address issues regarding closings, changes and suggested protocols on Koh Samui during the mourning period following the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol last week.
Misinformation is a disservice at the best of times and during a national mourning period the over sensationalized, clickbait, school boy “journalism” we have unfortunately been seeing on-line regarding Thailand is misleading and offensive.
We have compiled questions asked by villa guests and emails received from frequent Samui fans that trust IVL for villa holidays to dispel rumours, correct misunderstandings and let you know that Koh Samui is open for business, though respectfully toned down.
The mourning period should not be seen as a government clampdown by an oppressive regime with the sole purpose of ruining your fun but rather a time for our host country to pay respects to their revered King.
Contemporary Thailand has never seen mourning on such a scale as His Majesty King Bhumibol led for 88 years and is the only king the vast majority of Thai people have ever known.
The essence of the relationship the Thai people have with His Majesty King Bhumibol lies at the intersection of culture, religion and politics. Though the nuances may not always be apparent to a first time tourist to Thailand, those who love Koh Samui will appreciate the relationship Thai people have with King Bhumibol and respect the mourning period.
Based on questions IVL has received both in person and in email here is our list of what to expect on Koh Samui.
By all means, eat! Even better, have a meal with a friend you haven’t seen for a while, take a Thai friend for lunch or try a restaurant you haven’t been to.
The vast majority of restaurants, both Thai run and foreign, are open and still serving food, though some restaurants have opted to refrain from selling alcohol until November 14.
As for the ubiquitous street food vendors, you can still count on them for a quick and tasty meal at a low price.
Some bars and nightclubs have decided to close down until November 14. Last weekend Soi Green Mango was quiet which, to be quite honest, was rather pleasant.
Many bars and nightclubs are still operating but at a more low key level with limited hours of operation and restrictions on music and dancing, particularly live music, so as not to appear festive.
All major events have been cancelled (live music, boxing, marathons etc) until 14th November.
Wedding ceremonies will continue as planned. Please enjoy your special day - it may help put a smile on people’s faces. However, for the reception afterwards, please limit music, dancing and partying to a considerate level.
Private celebrations in the privacy of your villa or hotel room should also be kept at a considerate level so as not to be heard by neighbors.
While driving on Samui we suggest you keep music at a level that cannot be heard from outside the vehicle.
Respectful clothing should be worn. Thai people are currently wearing black, grey and white out of respect, however this is not expected of tourists.
Enjoy the beach. Swimwear is acceptable but kindly cover up before entering hotels, restaurants or other venues.
It is not customary to talk about Thai politics or the royal family in Thailand, especially now in the current sensitive climate.
Government offices, contrary to rumours, are all open as usual.
Here are a few suggested ways to enjoy the Koh Samui you fell in love with while maintaining a respectful tone.
It's a good time to better yourself: how about a wellness retreat, take a Thai cooking, fruit carving or massage course or get your scuba diving license?
Hire a car or book a driver and explore the island. Perhaps there are some beaches you have never been to. Explore various villages on the island. Consider hiking in the mountains to get away from everything.
Watersports anyone? Now would be a great time to finally try stand up paddle boarding, snorkelling in a shallow cove or parasailing.
How about a boat trip? Everything is available from a traditional longtail boat visit the nearby island of Koh Taen or a larger boat for a day trip to Angthong Marine Park, Koh Phangan or Koh Tao.
For those who enjoy larger outdoor parties, IVL has heard The Black Moon Party will be held on November 29.
IVL continues to care for guests staying in our villas and taking bookings for the upcoming holiday season and next year. Feel free to ask further questions you have and we provide the best answers we can for you to make the most of your time on Koh Samui.