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General Useful Information

Electricity
Thai Electrical Plugs
Thai plugs

The electric system is 220 Volt AC, 50Hz. American and European-style rounded and flat pin plugs can be used in sockets. Travellers with shavers, tape recorders and other appliances will require a plug-adapter kit and these can be bought in many supermarkets here on Samui. Power failures are not uncommon, especially during the rainy season; so it's a good idea to keep a torch handy.

Local Time
Thailand time is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and 6 hours ahead of British Summer Time (BST). It is 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST) and 15 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (PST).

bottleed drinking water
Bottled water
Water
Drink only bottled water, most hotels will supply at least one or two bottles daily inside your room. Bottled water is on sale in various sizes in all supermarkets. Nearly all restaurants use clean factory-made ice cubes.

Language

Thai is the national language. English is widely understood in Samui however, it is useful to learn a few simple Thai phrases and Thai's will be delighted that you made the effort.

Business Hours

Banking hours are Monday to Friday 8.30am-3.30pm, exchange kiosks are open until 7pm in Nathon and 10pm in Chaweng and Lamai. Shops and stores usually open seven days a week from 10am-6pm in Nathon and 10am-11pm in Chaweng and Lamai. Office hours are usually Monday-Friday 9am-5pm.

Visas

Visas and Passports
Visas
For stays of up to 30 days, most foreign passport holders automatically get a free non-extendable transit visa, providing they show proof of a confirmed date return ticket by air, sea or any other means of transport via the Thai/Malaysian border.

If you are planning to stay longer than 30 days, you can apply for a tourist visa for up to 60 days at a Thai embassy or consulate outside of Thailand. This visa can be extended in Samui up to a further 30 days at the discretion of officals; extentions cost 1900 baht and are issued at the immigration office in Nathon.

If you overstay your visa you will be fined 200 baht per extra day when you depart Thailand.

Note: A passport valid for 6 months beyond intended length of stay is required by all.


Camera Film
Fuji Camera Film
Camera film
The price of film is similar to that in western countries, and can be purchased in most supermarkets around Samui. Developing is far less expensive, very good quality and ready within a few hours. Film developing shops are located in most Samui towns and resorts.

Laundry
Laundry service sign
Laundry sign
Nearly all hotels and resorts on Samui offer a laundry services, as well as many small laundry businesses around the island, it is low in cost and ready usually within 24 hours. Charge is either by item or by kilo and ironing is included in the price.

Postal Service

Postal box as seen on koh samui
Thai postbox
The main post office is in Nathon, there are sub-branches in Chaweng, Lamai and Maenam - all are located on the main road. Opening hours are from 9am to 4pm, Monday - Saturday.
The Thai postal service is very reliable and Airmail takes around 7 days to reach Europe. A postcard stamp costs 14 baht and goes by airmail, stamps can be purchased in most hotels or supermakets. Parcels can be sent by surface mail (cheapest) but take about 3 months, or by air-mail parcel service which is almost 3 times as expensive and takes around a week. A Poste Restante service is operated in Nathon.


Telephone
International yellow phone
International Phone
IDD (International Direct Dialing) is available from most hotels and travel agents around the island. The outgoing international code is 001 followed by the relevent country code. The cheapest way is to phone from a post office or to buy an international phonecard. These cards can be used at public cardphones - usually located outside a supermarket where you can buy the cards.
Recently the telephone system on Samui has been upgraded and all local numbers are now prefixed by 077.


Email and Internet
Internet and email
Internet and email
For those seeking email and internet services there will be no problem getting connected here on Samui. Most hotels now offer this service, as well as many internet cafes and travel shops around the island - in fact you will be spoilt for choice, especially in the main resorts of Chaweng and Lamai. Most places charge 1 baht per minute and a small charge for printing out emails. The cheapest and best value on the island is at the main post office in Nathon, where there are many terminals that can be used in air-conditioned comfort.

Newspapers and Magazines

Thai newpapers
The Nation & Bangkok Post newspapers
There are two daily English language newspapers - the Bangkok Post and the Nation. These are normally a day late, except in a few top end hotels who have them flown in specially for their guests.
Foreign national newspapers, magazines and other publications (Time & Newsweek) can be purchased in some of the bigger supermarkets.
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