Koh Samui, Thailand's second-largest island, is a lush tropical paradise known for its beaches, coconut groves, palm trees, and mountainous rainforest. 

It's also home to some of the most luxurious villas, a variety of resorts, beach clubs, and a lively nightlife scene.

There are also a lot of adventures and activities on this island, making it one of the best islands to live in Thailand.

This guide will provide you with essential information about living in Koh Samui as an expat.

How to get to Samui

While flights to Koh Samui are quite expensive as the only airline that flies there is Bangkok Airways, there are cheaper alternatives to getting there.

You can actually drive your personal car to the island using Seatran or Raja ferries at Donsak pier in Surat Thani.

If you don’t own a car, there are overnight buses or cheaper flights that can take you to Surat Thani.

Getting around Samui

If you have a car or bike, it is easy to get around the island as the roads are quite developed there. 

Public transportation in Koh Samui is limited to taxis and songthaews. However, they can be quite expensive and not that convenient.

Things to do in Samui

There is a lot you can do in Samui. Enough to keep you completely preoccupied outside of your fulltime or partime work, whether it is during the day or night.

Here are some things to do:

  • Go exploring all the beaches and especially hidden beaches
  • Take day trips to nearby islands such as coral island, pig island, and the Ang Thong National Marine Park
  • Rent a jetski and go on an adventure on the ocean
  • You can also kayak, paddleboard, go sailing and snorkeling
  • ATV Bike riding through the jungles
  • Play volleyball with the locals and other expats on the beach
  • Chill or party at beach clubs
  • Visit night markets and fishing towns
  • Bar hop and party at bars and clubs at Chaweng beach town
  • Go on jungle safaris
  • Hiking and trekking to viewpoints and waterfalls

Finally, if you want to take a break from Samui, you can always do overnight visits to nearby islands such as Koh Tao and Koh Phangan.

Where to stay in Samui

Samui is rather large for an island so there are plenty of neighborhoods to choose from. The best place to live in Koh Samui can depend on your personal preferences, lifestyle, and budget.

Here are the most popular areas to consider.

Chaweng: This is the most developed and busiest area on the island, known for its touristy vibe, energetic nightlife, restaurants, and shopping. It's a great place for those who enjoy a lively atmosphere. There are lots of guesthouses, resorts, and hotels here with a few villas as well. 

Bophut: This area is home to Fisherman's Village, a charming and well-preserved part of the island with rustic-style buildings, boutique shops, beach bars, and upscale restaurants. It's a good choice for those seeking a balance between local culture and modern amenities.

Lamai: This is the second largest resort area after Chaweng. It has a relaxed atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and a variety of dining and accommodation options. It's less busy than Chaweng but still offers plenty of options for amenities and accommodation. It is where most expats like to live and meet people. 

Maenam: This area is quieter and more laid-back, making it a good choice for families or those seeking peace and tranquility. It has a beautiful beach and is home to some of the most amazing luxury villas and resorts in all of Thailand.

Choeng Mon: This is a small and quiet area known for its stunning beach. It's a great place for those seeking a relaxed and peaceful environment.

Cost of Living

Samui can be as expensive or as budget friendly as you want it to be. You just need to look hard enough. Overall, the cost of living in Koh Samui is generally quite affordable. 

Groceries and local food costs are quite reasonable. Nightlife is also pretty great with amazing options available and many places offer fantastic discounts.

You can live quite comfortably with an earning of 30,000 THB for a single person. For a lavish lifestyle, 70,000-80,000 THB would be appropriate. 

Koh Samui also has quite a few international schools as well as public Thai schools. There is a large expat community here so the school system is quite solid. 

There are also several hospitals on the island including Bangkok Hospital. Most of the hospitals are on the eastern coast. 

Overall, living in Koh Samui offers a unique blend of tropical paradise and modern comforts. With its affordable cost of living, high quality of life, and friendly community, it's an excellent choice for expats seeking a new home.

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