According to a lonely planet guide that I read lately, Koh Samui has the highest rate per population of accidents and deaths on the roads compared to anywhere else in Thailand.
A lot of this is due to sand and/or water on the roads and the steep inland mountain 'roads".
Having rode a moterbike throughout Samui I can say that there definatly is a lot of sand on many of the roads and on my last trip there in Jan '06 there was also a lot of water too. There has been a lot of heavy rain in Samui throughout Nov 05 to Jan '06
Puddles of water or sand can be very dangerous if you are going too fast.
It happened to two friends who rented a motor bike and did a little tour on the island. They were going with about 60 km per hour on a main road and had their belongings placed in the basket in the front of the bike. A faster motor bike overtook them as usual.
But suddenly it pulled right, the rider took their bags, and accelerated speed immediately.
It was impossible for them to follow him because he was much faster.
They lost credit cards, camera, money, sun glasses, etc.
Never place your bags in the front basket! keep it on your back.
When driving on Samui for the first time it can be quiet a shock to see a "keep left"sign when in fact the thai people seem to do as they please.While this is law,even the police seem to use both sides of the road.One thing the locals love to do is attempt to overtake on a blind corner or crest so it pays when aproaching these two things to stay as far left as is safe. It can be quiet daunting being confronted with traffic all around you.The best advice is be aware of the conditions, don`t panic & be patient(no road rage).
The hiring of a jeep is both good & dangerous. As I mentioned in my off the beaten path tip if you decide to tackle Lamai mountain it would be an advantage if you have alot of experience in 4 wheeldriving. This road/track is a trap for the inexperienced with large crevices,steep rises & descents with some really sheer drops if you look over the side. If you are not confident enough to drive yourself there are trips in multi people jeeps run by tourist operators
Taxis on Samui don't have meters so you have to bargain but usually they will charge you a fix rate like 500 baht.They will try to tell you where your going is so far or the price of petrol is expensive...blar blar...most of these taxis hang around the pier or airport waiting for tourist.
The general fix rates.
Airport > Chaweng > Bophut > Maenam > Choengmon > Big Buddha Beach
1 to 4 persons 200 to 300 Baht (more than 4 passenger is 50 to 80 baht each)
Airport > Lamai > Nathon
1 to 3 persons 300 to 400 Baht (more than 3 passenger 100 to 150 Baht each)
Airport > Ban Taling Nam
1 to 4 persons 400 to 500 Baht (more than 4 passenger 100 to 150 Baht each)
For a small island the traffic is considerably hectic particularly around Chaweng and the other busy towns. There are crossings but generally cars do not stop so you often find yourself dodging in and out. Just be careful especially at night time.
Remember In Thailand drive on the left, and if on a scooter or motorbike you should wear a helmet and can be fined if you don't.
Obviously a car is safer but not so versitile but whatever you hire out its an experience and not for the faint hearted..........
Its total madness so be careful.
Stop signs, red lights or you in the middle of the road no body takes any notice,
Overloaded lorries, people sitting on the roof, babies on handlebars, fridges on handlebars...............4 people on a scooter, its all here
Check insurance...........check road worthiness...........and as i said be careful
When walking or crossing roads, make sure you look all the ways (left, right, ahead and behind) and never apply your civilized mentality or you will never be able to cross the road. There are no signs nor rules to follow. Remember there was a stone-aged video game that a frog was trying to cross a busy road with cars coming from both direction? You would feel like that frog in Samui.
Sometimes you may need to stop in the middle of the road and let the cars go around you, just don't forget to look in all directions even in the middle of the road.
while we were in a taxi driving along some inner land of koh samui, suddenly someone use stones to hit our running car, the glass and head of the car is damaged, luckily not too bad, don know who were those ppl and don know why they attack
After sunrise on Chaweng Beach before 6am I ventured out to the main road (by the Starbucks). None of the shops open until 7-730am. A nice looking local female that partied a little too much the previous night approaches me and becomes very....well you know.....nice. Then after I got her off one side of me, she comes to the other side and by now, I know what she is up to. As she reaches in my pocket in an attempt to grab something (money was her objective I'm sure), I give her a nice little nudge and tell her in a nice American way : ) to leave me alone. So watch out if you are up earlier than everyone. Stay on the beach until the shops open. This was a Monday morning so it was Sunday night revelers still hanging out on the main strip at 6am.