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  1. #1
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    Koh Samui -- As It Was

    The Bangkok Post has been running a series of stories on the rape of Koh Samui. Most of the photographs have been recent ones showing the extent over overdevelopment.

    I have a few photos to share taken back in 1977:

    Hat Lamai:



    Ao Thong Ta Khian:



    Fishing fleet at Ao Thong Ta Khian:



    Gust house at Ao Thong Ta Khian:



    Looking north toward Hat Chaweng:



    Hat Chaweng used to be nothing but an oyster village. The road didn't even go from Lamai to Chaweng:



    View back toward Thong Ta Khian from the track to Chaweng:



    Coconuts used to be big business. Here's the guy who harvested them:



    Nice sarong, Mike. Even nicer mustache:


  2. #2
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    Back in 1977 Lonely Plant had exactly two publications: "Across Asia on the Cheap", which covered west and south Asia, and "Southeast Asia on a Shoestring". "Shoestring" was 240 pages long and had exactly one paragraph on Koh Samui which described it as "so far untouched".

    Here are some excerpts from my travel journal:

    "30/8/77 - Arrived Koh Samui and immediately took a mini-bus to Lam
    Lemai where we rented dorm rooms for 5B each. [In 1977
    US$1.00=20B] The hotel is just a restaurant and a few huts on the
    beach at the edge of a coconut grove. At night, small fishing canoes
    lit by a single lantern glide up and down the shore.

    "31/8/77 - Got up at 7 for a breakfast of coffee, toast and 1/2 a
    papaya. [Breakfast was included in the price of the room. 5B for room
    and breakfast.]

    "1/9/77 - Took a mini-bus out to the last town on the road (3B), Tong
    Takien. The town consists of 3 restaurants on a cove where several
    fishing boats are moored. Rented bungalows for 5B each. [The
    "bungalow" was a plywood shack about 1 meter by 2 meters with a tin
    roof, one window and one door.]

    "2/9/77 - Crab and fried rice for lunch - 6B. Found our restaurant
    sells ganja so we bought some along with some cheap whiskey in old
    soda bottles. For dinner we had miang kham (shredded coconut, dried
    prawns, peanuts, lemon cucumber and onion wrapped in a green tea leaf
    topped with a sweet chutney) and warm beer. [At that time there was no
    electricity at Tong Takien. So, no ice, no cold drinks.]

    "3/9/77 - Had some ovomaltine and doughnuts for breakfast again. Had a
    tasty lunch of noodles and squid. Went snorkeling after.

    "7/9/77 - After supper the old man of the family gave us some dope as
    well as a superbly rolled joint - rolled in a bamboo leaf paper and
    tied with a bit of cotton.

    "9/9/77 - Set out to walk to Chaweng [no road from Tong Takien to
    Chaweng in those days], a pearl diving village about 4-5K up the
    coast. A beautiful hilly walk along the coast. On arrival saw a huge
    mound of oyster shells. Chaweng was nothing special, although the
    bungalows were quite new and comfortable-looking.

    "10/9/77 - A heavy rain began shortly after breakfast. Had a beautiful
    lunch of crab, pineapple and banana for 3B. After lunch we watched
    some trained baboons pick coconuts. Later it rained so hard that the
    multitude of splashes on the rocks looked like a cover of newly fallen
    snow."

  3. #3
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    Marmite the Dog's Avatar
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    Seeing as AO is not very technical, I'll take the liberty to repost his Samui pictures.










  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog
    Seeing as AO is not very technical, I'll take the liberty to repost his Samui pictures.
    Are they all from 1988?

  5. #5
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    I think so.

  6. #6
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    wow - that's pretty cool - thanks for sharing it.

  7. #7
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    Dougal's Avatar
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    Whenever I see these 'how it was back then' pictures I wonder if we will look back on today with the same sense of regret at what has gone forever.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal
    Whenever I see these 'how it was back then' pictures I wonder if we will look back on today with the same sense of regret at what has gone forever.
    I think that's the nature of the human condition. You both photograph and choose to remember the things that please you. When comparing old memories or old photographs with the way things are today the present will often come up short over the past.

    Of course, this is not always the case. But with places that have a natural attraction, like Koh Samui, "progress" will often be regretted.

    But, compare Aging One's photos with mine. In 1977 accommodation was very basic; there was no electricity, no hot showers, no fancy restaurants, no entertainment. By the late 80's all that and more had arrived. For some that was a big improvement, for others a step toward ruining an unspoiled natural resource.

    But look again. In 1977 the island was covered with coconut plantations. To create those plantations hectare after hectare of rain forest had to be cut down and destroyed.

    When does change stop being an improvement over what was before?

  9. #9
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    A very nice trip down memory lane. Thanks for that.

  10. #10
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    RE : Koh Samui -- As It Was

    the pictures really nice.
    thank for this pictures and information

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