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32km Away, Koh Samet Deserted as Rayong Tourist Panic Continues

Koh Samet Beach Abandoned Deserted Thailand

Koh Samet’s pier was virtually deserted Saturday with very few tourists ignoring the ridiculous panic over a single coronavirus case found a week ago 32 kilometers away.

Thais have lost their collective mind over the visit of Egyptian Air Force members to downtown Rayong last weekend during which one airman unknowingly infected with Covid-19, ventured four blocks from his hotel to a shopping mall for four hours.

When news broke of the incident, 80 percent of the hotel booking in the entire province were canceled, thousands of people who were nowhere near the airman went for needless coronavirus tests (and tested negative of course) and the government fired the governor and closed all the province’s schools.

Koh Samet, which only reopened to the public July 1 and this week had its visit caps lifted is taking the unwarranted blunt of the tourist insanity. It’s located 32 kilometers from the Egyptian’s hotel.

The deserted pier Banphe only saw a few sensible tourists boarding the ferry. Ferry operators said the number of tourists dropped by 70 percent after the island reopened 18 days ago.

A ferry operator said his boat was capable of carrying 74 passengers but to observe social distancing its load was limited to 40 passengers a trip. Today less than 20 people boarded his boat per trip and most of them were workers, not tourists.

Most buses on Koh Samet were parked. Shops and restaurants had no customers. Beach chair operators said they doubted that they would earn a baht today.