It’s early June in the idyllic paradise of Koh Samui, and the mood is nothing short of subdued. We seem to be the only ones staying at this gorgeous, cheap hotel across the road from Lamai Beach. The Swedes and the Germans and the Russians are long gone, having returned to their homelands to enjoy the best time of year, summer time in Europe. The restaurants are almost completely empty, and have resorted to putting up signs saying that every dish is 90 baht (less than $3) and cocktails are 2-4-1. But still, things are quiet in town.
At the usually raucous and racy boxing ring in Lamai, most of the ‘girly bars’ are closed, and the only one that’s open has three or four ladies in blue dresses dancing half heartedly on the bar, while the rest of the staff are sitting, heads down, looking at their phones. They perk up when my father takes my 2-year-old daughter over to see them. The kid seems to like the loud music and although she is too young to know what gyrating and twerking is, she comes back, wide eyed, to tell me they are having a ‘big party’. I mutter to my father that if she grows up to be a professional pole dancer, I’ll know why.
Winter is high season in Thailand, with many retirees returning to the islands for their annual four months of cheap living, quiz nights, cold beers, and spicy food. But the slump of summer I’ve never seen before. I wonder how many of the shops will manage to stay open for the next five months with no customers.
Perhaps this is a good time to visit the island. You might not get the usual energetic party atmosphere, but things sure are cheaper in terms of flights and hotels. So if you’re looking for some peace and quiet, summer time is the best time to go. Because the cold of winter brings the hordes of tourists like flies to shit, causing the island to go into a frenzy of activity, with drag queens in ball gowns parading up the sidewalks, the girly bars pump up the base and draw in the crowds, the shop keepers get into the hustle of hustling a few more euros out of your pocket, as high season goes into full boom.
In the meantime….