Here’s a real-life travel situation and a potential solution to it.
Koh Samui remains a popular destination for those looking for a beach or tropical getaway in Asia and around the world Teflon® coated Thailand. The yuan remains strong against the Thai baht (THB), and Thai food certainly hasn’t lost its appeal, nor have Thai people become less friendly or helpful.
However, Koh Samui suffers from an air ticket monopoly almost as much as Hong Kong. Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways have basically stitched the slot up and the prices are ridiculously high as a result. The non-concessional fare from Bangkok to Koh Samui is approximately RMB 1,850 round trip. The one-way fare for a one-hour flight is more than 900 RMB. That money can be spent on lots of coconuts, pad thai and other fun stuff. If only there was another way. It is also the departure point for scuba diving mecca Koh Tao and the full moon party island Koh Phangan.
On the recommendation of a Thai friend, I discovered a nearby gateway not monopolized by local aerospace companies: Surat Thani. Even though the journey to and from Surat Thani adds at least two hours to Koh Samui and requires a bus ride from the airport to the coast and then a ferry, round-trip airfare from Bangkok costs less than a similar flight to Koh Samui Half the cost of the flight to Koh Samui. Samui International Airport is still the cutest boutique airport in the world and also served me the best fresh coconuts I’ve ever had (lots of coconut water, sweet, cold, with tons of coconut meat in it) at an outrageous cost Stay away. I look forward to a full report when I wrap up my trip there in early July. (See updates in the comments section below.)
Elsewhere in Thailand, Bangkok remains a place of fun. While a bit hard to find, Feedpoint Food and Bakery will delight anyone looking for East Coast comfort food. Yes, we know, is there any non-Thai food in Bangkok? Actually yes – Bangkok’s diversity and cosmopolitanity make it a great place to sample a variety of different cuisines. Anyway, go to Feedpoint for bagels, bagel sandwiches and brownies. We highly recommend the pastrami with double meat and cheese, which is second only to Dan Ryan’s Reuben in Hong Kong. I forget how much it was but the hike was well worth it.owner Eric Seldin A native New Yorker, he knows bagels. On your way back, stop at Terminal 21, Asok’s ultra-stylish tourist-themed shopping mall. If you’re looking for delicious Middle Eastern cuisine, try the lunch specials at Beirut Restaurant, opposite the JW Marriott in Ploenchit Centre. Sukhumvit Soi 2 (the one in the basement, not the one on the ground floor).
The road is coming soon. Greetings from Sri Lanka, I wish you all a safe and happy summer travel.
More stories by this author here.
Photo: Steven Schwankert/Pekingese