Health & safety
Several travellers have written to warn others to take care when making train, bus and air bookings. These sometimes aren’t made at all, the bus turns out to be far inferior to the one expected or other hassles develop. We too have had trouble with buses/boat combos, and our last research trip included a harrowing minibus ride from Phuket to Surat Thani that left us biting our nails and screaming for our money back. Unfortunately there is little you can do to avoid this, except make sure to ask as many questions as possible when booking tickets. Air scams include travel agents telling customers that economy class on planes is fully booked and only business class is available; the agent then sells the customer an air ticket – at business-class prices – that turns out to be economy class.
As on Phuket, the rate of fatalities on Samui from road accidents is quite high. This is due mainly to the large number of tourists who rent motorcycles only to find out that Samui’s winding roads, stray dogs and coconut trucks can be lethal to those who have never dealt with them. If you feel you must rent a motorcycle, protect yourself by wearing a helmet, shoes and appropriate clothing when driving.
Theft isn’t unknown on the island. If you’re staying in a beach bungalow, consider depositing your valuables with the management while off on excursions around the island or swimming at the beach.
There are several hospitals on the island and nursing-care units for stubbed toes, scraped knees, pregnancy tests and earaches.
Hyperbaric chamber (0 7742 7427) The only hyperbaric chamber on the island is in Hat Bang Rak (Big Buddha Beach).
Samui International Hospital (0 7723 0781, 0 7742 2272; www.sih.co.th) For any medical or dental problem. Emergency ambulance service is available 24 hours and credit cards are accepted. Opposite the Muang Kulaypan Hotel.
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