On Koh Samui island in Southern Thailand, 70 Ukrainians, mostly women and children, who fled their war-torn homeland say they have found peace and safety.
In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, The Kala Samui Hotel owner Mr. Supakchai Pongchabapnapa said he opened his hotel’s 38 rooms to war-torn Ukrainians who fled their homeland and have gradually arrived on Koh Samui.
Since the hotel had been closed by the Covid-19 situation, Mr. Supachai said it would be better to open it to the Ukrainians rather than keep it closed.
He is also only charging them each 200 baht (US$5.70) per night.
The 70 Ukrainians, mostly women and children have lived in 38 rooms for about two months, where some work online. The hotel does not have any other guests.
According to Mr. Supachai, he wasn’t concerned about profiting from them. The money they pay barely covers the hotel employees’ wages.
Songkran event organized for Ukrainians on Koh Samui
If the (Russia-Ukraine) conflict ends, the Ukrainians can return to their country and resume a normal life. I hope they will develop a positive opinion of Thailand, the Thai people, and the locals of Koh Samui.
Maybe, one day, they will be able to return as full-fledged tourists, he said.
About 90% of the Ukrainians living here had never been to Thailand before. This is their first time here. They hope to return home in about five months. But I suspect it may take as long as seven months.
He said the Ukrainians lead a simple lifestyle and don’t ask for help.
During the Songkran Festival, he organized an event to make them feel more at home and less homesick. He said they enjoyed Thai food and fruits.
Earlier this month, a Ukrainian woman aged 28 passed away from a cerebral aneurysm. Phra Kru Palad Wimolsirilak from Wat Khongkharam was invited to perform religious rites at her funeral,” he said.
According to a hotel employee, Ukrainians have caused no problems or quarrels in the hotel. She said they buy their own things and cooked food for themselves.