Koh Samui
April 17, 2014

26 random (but useful) Koh Samui faqs

Here’s a very random sample of recent reader questions about Koh Samui travel – everything from Aussie Rules to quinoa.

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26 Random (But Useful) Koh Samui FAQs

1. What do you do if you get bitten by a mosquito in Thailand?

If you're Thai, you'll dab on Tiger Balm. We suggest a different method for foreigners. We *completely* swear by the totally natural, totally cruelty-free Incognito Natural Anti Mozzie Spray. See our full review for our favourite mosquito repellent, Incognito Natural Anti Mozzie Spray

2. Can you put your feet up in Thailand?

On your bed when you're sleeping? Of course. On a pool bed or in a hammock? Yes. When you're getting a foot massage or a pedicure? Uh huh. Now find out where and when the answer is no, no and more no. Believe it or not, there are a lot of ways to be really rude in Thailand through totally innocent things you do with your feet – see a few more do's and don'ts as a cultural primer

3. How big is Koh Samui?

Before you find out the answer – try to guess. Is it bigger or smaller than Bermuda? Hawaii? Fiji?

4. What’s the weather like on Koh Samui in May?

About as glorious as it gets, with 7 hours of average daily sunshine and lots more good weather news to get excited about.

5. Can you buy kids’ clothes on Koh Samui?

Yes, of course! We hear of many parents doing a massive shopping spree for children's basic clothing while on Samui. You'll want to bring children's sunhats and swimsuits from home, though.

Tip: For shopping tips and things to do, grab a gratuitous can of coconut water and dive into The Koh Samui Guide.  

6. What to wear in Thailand when it rains?

The first rule of common sense? Nothing that's white. Besides a great rain jacket, make sure you bring the right shoes for rainy weather – Thailand is extra-slippery when wet.

7. Where to watch AFL in Koh Samui?

Your fellow Aussies have a long list of options for you. Alternatively, these days you'll find pretty decent WiFi on Koh Samui – especially at high-end hotels. Why not just order a beer poolside, and fire up your iPad to stream it from your resort?

8. How to cut a pineapple in Thai style?

Grab a sharp knife (and a pineapple); we'll teach you in 5 easy steps.

9. Do you have to check in early at Koh Samui Airport?

At busy periods like Christmas, you'll want to give yourself more time. The rest of the year there's a degree of flexibility.

10. Where to get married in Koh Samui?

No pressure on that answer! As a starting point, why not weigh up the pros and cons of a villa or a resort wedding on Koh Samui?

11. Can you topless sunbathe in Thailand?

Many oblivious visitors do, but you really shouldn’t – it's a total cultural taboo (find out how to be the rudest tourist in Thailand). If an all-over tan is a really necessary part of your holiday, book a private villa or resort suite with private outdoor space (noting when and where any local staff might be around).

12. What’s the best herbal mosquito repellant for Thailand?

Wa-hey! We run away from DEET, too, and we're not alone – these natural mosquito products are THE most popular travel products with our readers. More than anything we could recommend, try Incognito's product line – their natural mosquito repellent is an obvious inclusion, but their full range includes soap and deodorant as well. A clever option for lazy people is invisaband bracelets, they're all-natural mosquito repellent bracelets – basically, microfiber wristbands treated with geranium oil.

13. Can you buy diapers on Koh Samui?

Yes, no problem. For convenience and a better selection you might want to bring your own supply from home but, if needed, both Western and local brands are available at Samui’s supermarkets. Find out exactly what to expect on Samui, including the best island shopping, in The Koh Samui Guide.

14. How to dress in Thailand in March and April?

April and May are Koh Samui's hottest months of the year so, more than ever, you’ll want to pay really close attention to your choices of fabric and make sure to pack a good sun hat. If you’re coming for Songkran make sure to avoid wearing white (it's a giant water fight).

15. What are good gifts for someone travelling to Thailand?

Suggestions will vary whether they’re headed to Thailand on honeymoon or for a backpacking gap year, but you'll easily find something suitable in The A to Z Thailand packing list.

16. What are the best walking shoes for Thailand travel?

Depending on whether you’re doing city sight-seeing or challenging walks in nature, or a random mixture of beach holiday adventures, easily choose the best shoes to wear in Thailand for your itinerary. We're warning you – Crocs might be involved.

17. Where is recommended for cheap accommodation on Lamai Beach?

To save your pennies and either on or near Lamai Beach, your options include:

18. Where can I eat gluten-free on Koh Samui?

A growing number of healthy spots offer not just breakfast, lunch and dinner options but small shops with gluten-free staples like quinoa. When eating Thai, you can easily find fantastic local seafood, rice and rice noodles, coconut dishes and fruit salads galore. At many restaurants can specify exactly how you’d like your fish cooked, making it easy to avoid soy and oyster sauce. For drinks, Koh Samui rum is ready and waiting!

Tip: For total foodie heaven, we’ve put 15 years of Official Eating Research into The Koh Samui Guide – the only ebook guaranteed to make you fatter.  

19. Can I wear a bikini in Thailand?

There are definitely regional nuances but – speaking generally – in resort areas on tourist islands, yes bikinis are a common sight. Definitely, cover up when you leave the beach, and probably leave your skimpiest bikini at home (or for wear in your villa or suite’s private pool, rather than for walks along the beach). Find out what to wear in Thailand, including women's bathing suit and cover-up ideas.

20. What’s the baggage allowance on Bangkok Airways?

Join Bangkok Airways’s frequent flyer programme, FlyerBonus, and your weight limit goes up to 30 kg (a whopping 66 pounds).

As currently stated, checked baggage limits are 20 kilos for adults and 10 kilos for babies. For carry-on, the weight limit is 5 kilos (11 pounds) and dimensions depend on the plane.

On most Bangkok Airways planes (Airbuses), your carry-on has to be smaller than 56 x 36 x 23 centimetres (22 X 14 X 9 inches).

Prop planes have a slightly smaller carry-on size limit: 44 x 28 x 23 centimeters (17 X 11 X 9 inches). The bags below all fit within this limit.

Carry-on bags that fit propeller planes on Bangkok Airways: Tumi tote + messenger bag + nylon duffel + canvas duffel

In our experience, it’s perfectly fine to have a normal-sized carry-on with an additional handbag or small tote. Double-check your ticket for any fine print about carry-on specifications. For more details about bringing golf clubs, scuba gear or baby stuff, see Bangkok Airways’s FAQs.

21. How to make Koh Samui coconut jam?

Answer: “take two coconuts”... For those who haven’t tried it – Thai coconut jam is a much more delicious, much less sickly version of a Bounty bar’s innards, with a spreadable consistency. It’s the right amount of sweet and something that you could put on toast for breakfast without much guilt. After scouring Google, this recipe looks like the real thing.

22. What are the best gifts to buy in Thailand?

Your shopping options in Thailand will depend on where you’re headed. For small souvenirs and token presents you’ll find trinkets galore in every beach town and a great selection of Thai sweets and treats (with a large shop at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport particularly). We tend to bring back random selections of (packaged and sealed) jams, candy, candles and anything made from coconut wood.

23. What’s the best Thai cookery book?

We ourselves have only ever used David Thompson’s Thai Food cookbook – and it’s fantastic. However, Pok Pok by Andy Ricker has consistently sat at the top of Amazon’s best-seller list since its 2013 publication.

24. How fast can water monitors swim?

We can’t find a definitive answer (they’re a very unpopular animal in Thailand and thus have received little study). However, like a great white shark, it’s likely they can out-swim Michael Phelps – sources state that monitor lizards can stay underwater for 30 minutes and can swim deep into the sea. Our readers have spotted them in or near water on all but one occasion.

25. How many kinds of bananas are there in Thailand?

As far as we’ve read (in English language sources), no one really knows. At least 28 and possibly over one hundred. For a quick idea of the range and variety, here’s a poster of Hawaii’s banana varieties and some photos of a Bangkok banana show.

26. Books to read before you go to Thailand?

If we had to choose just three (from a very long list) they’d be:

Any more burning Koh Samui FAQs?

Find everything else you need to know in The Koh Samui Guide. Enjoy!