Why living in Koh Samui?

Koh Samui is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand and in the region. Not only does it attract many tourists each year, but the island is also home to many expats. Here we take a look at what living in Koh Samui is like, where to live, what is the cost and living in this paradise island and why it is a good idea to make it your home.

Table of Contents
  1. The gem of the Gulf of Thailand
  2. What is the cuisine like in Koh Samui?
  3. What are the main facilities, schools, hospitals, malls in Koh Samui?
  4. What are the main beaches in Koh Samui?
  5. What are the main islands to visit around Koh Samui?
  6. What are the main tourist activities?
  7. What are the main cultural events in Koh Samui?
  8. What is the cost of living in Koh Samui?
  9. What is the best place to live in Koh Samui?
  10. What are the Pros and Cons of living the island life?


The gem of the Gulf of Thailand

Koh Samui is an island located in the southern part of Thailand that is about 50 miles from the mainland. It is easily accessible with regular ferries from the mainland as well as private speedboat services.

The island is renowned for its stunning beaches and crystal clear waters, but that is not the only good thing about living in Koh Samui. The island is also known for its laid back way of life and its trendy pubs, bars, and eateries. The significant expatriate population from all parts of the world also helps make it easier for foreigners to settle in.

As well as the laid back way of life, the island also has a lively nightlife. Different parts of the island have a different feel about them, so it is easy to find something that takes your mood.

You will also find a wide range of accommodation available for rent, from budget bungalows, to houses or luxury villas.

Living in Koh Samui is like living in a little paradise and if you’re planning to experience it, have a look at “What to know about living in Thailand”, to know more about the daily life in the “Land of Smiles”.

What is the cuisine like in Koh Samui?

As a Thai island, you should expect to find a lot of Thai cuisine. This includes dishes from the south of the country as well as from the rest of the country. While a lot of Thai dishes are too spicy for a lot of people, there are also plenty that have few to no spices at all. Not only does Thai cuisine taste delectable, it is also very affordable.

With many tourists visiting, and long term expats living in Koh Samui, you will find cuisines from all over the world. British and Irish pubs are a great place to go to for western-style food and you will also find restaurants with menus from elsewhere in Europe and further afield.

What are the main facilities, schools, hospitals, malls in Koh Samui?

For families with children living in Koh Samui, the island has a good selection of international and private schools. The international schools tend to be in the higher price range, while some private schools are more affordable and still offer a good standard of education.

Koh Samui has some very good hospitals which easily meet the standards you will find in most western hospitals. These are mostly private hospitals while there is also a government hospital which also has good standards.

You will also find a good selection of shopping malls on the island, selling just about everything you could need for life on the island. You will also find modern supermarkets that stock food and other household items like those you would have at home.

What are the main beaches in Koh Samui?

The beaches in Koh Samui are among the best you will find anywhere. Here is a look at some of the most popular.

  • The main beach is Chaweng beach. It is a large beach, that gets quite busy with tourists and locals. If you are living in Koh Samui and you want a quiet life, Chaweng may not be the best spot, but it is the best place to live in Koh Samui if you like to party.
  • Lamai beach is probably the island’s second beach. It is not as busy as Chaweng beach, but you will still find plenty going on. The prices are also a little lower than on Chaweng beach.
  • Maenam beach is one of the best spots on the island for people looking for budget accommodation. Like most of the beaches on Koh Samui, this beach is relaxing, and simply stunning.
  • Another favorite beach on the island is Bophut. Bophut is home to the charming fisherman’s village. It is a great place to enjoy the sand and sea by day, and some food and cocktails at night.

What are the main islands to visit around Koh Samui?

Near Koh Samui there’s a handful of other islands to visit. Here is a brief look at some of the most popular islands:

  • Koh Phangan is home to the famous full moon parties, while other events are also held in between full moons. The parties are not all the island has to offer though as it has some of the most beautiful beaches you could imagine with a gorgeous hilly, jungle back-drop. Koh Phangan makes for a great day trip if you are living in Koh Samui. There is also plenty of quality accommodation available.
  • Ang Thong national marine park has a total of 42 small islands. Here you will find limestone mountains, waterfalls, thick tropical jungle, hidden coves, and stunning beaches. Accommodation is available, but quite limited.
  • Koh Tao is a haven for scuba divers, with thriving coral reefs that are home to a range of marine animals. The island has some nightlife and a range of accommodation.

What are the main tourist activities?

As you would probably expect, many of the tourist activities on the island revolve around the beaches and while many types of affordable water-sports can be done, going to a island hoping trip, visiting the fisherman’s village in Bophut or the Angthong National Marine Park, are among the best attractions of island.

One popular attraction is the island’s ladyboy cabarets. The ‘ladies’ here put on a singing and dancing spectacular that is full of color and action that can make for a fun night out.

For something a little on the macabre side, you can visit the Mummy Monk at Wat Khunaram. Here you will find the remains of Luang Pordaeng, a Buddhist monk who wished his remains to be placed in a special glass case to help preserve his body – which is on display

There are several waterfalls on Koh Samui. Many people living in Koh Samui will recommend the Na Muang waterfalls. It is a great spot to take in the natural beauty of the waterfalls, while you can cool down in the pools.

What are the main cultural events in Koh Samui?

Thailand is a nation oozing culture, and you will get to experience plenty of the Thai culture on Koh Samui.

People living in Koh Samui will find plenty of displays of traditional singing and dancing with the local tourist authorities and businesses making sure visitors get a good show.

There are also festivals that foreigners can join. One of these is Songkran, which is the Thai New Year. You will be able to experience many of the traditions associated with the festival, one of which is quite difficult to avoid. This being that the whole island (and the rest of the country), basically has a giant water fight for 3 days.

You will also find that Chinese New Year is enthusiastically celebrated on the island and you can expect to hear a lot of Chinese firecrackers. The western New Year is also celebrated, and you can expect to be in for impressive firework displays.

What is the cost of living in Koh Samui?

Koh Samui is very affordable and on some of the beaches you will find a selection of affordable beach huts. Alternatively, you will be able to find a comfortable apartment for rent on the island for around $500/month if you are staying in the longer term.

Food is also very cheap, and a delicious Thai meal can be found for just around $1.5. If you want Western food instead, then you should expect to pay around $5 upwards for a meal. Shopping is not so pricey neither, especially if you use the local markets and stick to Thai products.

If you are looking for the finer things in life, then Koh Samui can cater to you also. With 5 star resorts and luxury villas, there is plenty of top-end accommodation to choose from along with fine restaurants.

What is the best place to live in Koh Samui?

The best place to live on the island depends largely on your personal preferences. A lot of people will prefer to be where the action is.

  • In which case, Chaweng would be the best spot. While being where the activity is a benefit to many people, it is also not without its downsides. These include higher prices than elsewhere on the island and the beach can become crowded.
  • Lamai Beach is a good compromise if you want some activity, but not too much. While the nightlife is not as lively as in Chaweng, a lot of people might prefer it that way. The prices are generally a bit lower and the beach is unlikely to get crowded.
  • Bophut Beach is the best place to live in Koh Samui if you want to stay somewhere that just oozes charm. People living here will find plenty of restaurants and trendy spots to have a drink. There is also a good choice of accommodation at different ends of the budget range.
  • If you are on a strict budget, then Maenam Beach may be the best spot for you. Here, you will find a good choice of budget accommodation to choose from. The potential downsides are that there is not much to do in the area.


What are the Pros and Cons of living the island life?

The island life in general is one that appeals to many people. In Koh Samui, the proximity to stunning beaches is an obvious attraction and the laid back yet trendy feel of the place is another draw, which also pushed expats to invest in Samui. A relatively small community is also something that is very appealing to a lot of people. Plus, of course, there is the warm Thai hospitality.

On the other hand, there are some drawbacks. One of them being a relative lack of stores and occasional trips to the mainland might be needed to stock up on what you need. The weather can also put a damper on things and there may be little to do when the weather is poor. While the island does have a lot to do, you might be looking for something else after living on Koh Samui for some time.