Koh Samui Communication
Even just a few years ago you could see the looks of disappointment on visitors faces as they waved their laptops about only to be met with blank stares from hotel receptionists all over the island. But in the last few years things seems to have caught up and it is now quite impossible not to be able to keep in touch by e-mail.
One word of caution: don't expect the same sort of connection speed that you are used to back home. Broadband has only been generally available for a few years and is 99% of the places are running with no more than the basic package of 1 Mbit/sec.
Although this is fine for e-mails and general web-browsing, what you won't realise is that each of the 'pipes' (the lines that groups of customers are connected to) are cheerfully over-subscribed. The result is that you'll often experience a 'stop start' connection, with bursts of connectivity mixed in with a few minutes of everything coming to a halt.
If you really need a rock-solid and super-fast connection (maybe for some business whilst you're here) then you'll need to get yourself over to Lamai where the Sawasdee company run an optical line.
Samui doesn't have much in the way of actual cafes that have WiFi access (other than Starbucks, of course) but it does have a thousand shops of all descriptions which have desktop PCs available for Internet access. In fact, if your resort doesn't have a free PC terminal, either hardwired or WiFi, then you've probably gone back to nature and are renting a hut in the middle of nowhere.
Wireless Hot Spots
Things are rapidly picking up in this area and very many resorts are providing WiFi for their guests. This is usually free, although we know of several of the smaller bungalow resorts that are charging quite high hourly fees for this. But the opposite is true too, and you'll come across small restaurants where the only price of WiFi is your custom for an hour or so.
For a free wireless connection try Big C department store in the restaurant area (situated on the ring road between Bo Phut and Chaweng). And, of course, Starbucks in the middle of Chaweng Beach Road.
There are international pay phones outside most 7-11s and you'll need to buy a card from inside to use them. The cost is slightly cheaper than using a mobile phone to call abroad, but more expensive if you call to another mobile. Few people use these now, as there are cheaper and easier alternatives.
How about bringing your mobile phone with you? You can then buy a Thai SIM card for 49 Baht, and pay as you go. The SIM will fit your UK phone. You will obviously have a specific phone number for that SIM, but for calling home and SMS this is the best way.
However, you will probably have a phone with a contract tied to a service provider like Vodaphone or AT & T, and that means your phone will be locked against the use of a Thai SIM card. There are two simple ways round this.
One way is to buy a neat little device before you come. This is a 'SIM Unlock Card' which is available all over EBay for as little as 2 Euros. It's easy to use - you simply place it in contact with the Thai SIM card and slot them into your phone sandwiched together. This then by-passes your own service provider and allows you to use a Thai SIM. Naturally, you will have a new (Thai) number to go with this, but you can anticipate this and send a group SMS to all your friends back home with you new and temporary phone number. This is quite safe and works perfectly without messing up your phone settings.
The other way is to go to Tesco Lotus or Big C and buy the cheapest phone you can find (If it is a used one then ask the shop to set it to the English (etc) language for you.) It will cost from 800 baht and when you leave you can either sell it or leave it as a gift for one of the new friends you've made on your holiday!
Using Thai SIM cards
Thailand has a simple system. You go to a phone shop such as one of those dotted around the streets or in Tesco Lotus and ask for a 'One-2-Call' SIM card. This will cost you 49 baht and there's no paperwork involved. It will come with its own phone number and with 20 baht of free calls on it. You ask for a top-up at the same time and the shop will put anything up to 1,500 baht of credit on it for you. When this runs out you go to any 7-11 and ask for another 'One-2-Call' card - they'll do it for you there, too!
Real feel 39 °C
Wind 19 KPH
5 Day Weather Forecast