It is a brag like no other to say you own a tropical island. Johnny Depp has his own private island, as does Richard Branson. Having your own island says you have really made it; more so than owning your own luxury yacht. For those interested, Koh Mudsum just off the south coast of Koh Samui, is up for sale.
There are two types of people who are likely to buy an island: rich people who want to develop the area and make money (usually from high-end tourism); and those who just want their own island.
When I read on the internet that Koh Mudsum was for sale I was shocked: Thailand has a strong official line that land is not sale to foreigners. Thailand is for Thai people. It is a slogan that Thaksin used very successfully during his last election.
How then could the authorities allow a foreigner to buy an entire island, even if it is a small and uninhabited island? The answer is that they don’t. Koh Mudsum is only available on a leasehold. That means you can rent it for 30 years. The cost is 8 million Thai Baht per rai. A rai is a parcel of land that is 40 meters by 40 meters.
A further caveat is that you cannot buy (or lease) the entire island: rather it comes in two parcels of land – one parcel is 44 rai and the other is 46 rai.
So Koh Mudsum is not for sale. Rather those who own the land wish to get rich quick, and then get the land back 30 years later! You would have to be very rich to even consider such a poor deal. However, all status symbols are ludicrous to some extent, and the more they cost the more ludicrous they seem.
You can catch a boat to Koh Mudsum from Baan Bang Kao. There are some boat tours that include snorkeling off the coast of Koh Mudsum.
If you want to 'buy' Koh Mudsum here is where you can start: http://www.privateislandsonline.com/islands/koh-mudsum