Quick Guide – Living costs in Koh Samui

Koh Samui is one of the most popular islands in Thailand, and an upmarket tourist destination. Unless you venture there in the off season,things can get extremely expensive. It actually depends entirely on your intended lifestyle, whether it is fancy or you prefer living like a local surviving on street food and cafes along the road (Which is the case almost everywhere you travel – it can be as expensive or as pocket friendly as you want it to be). So, to give you an idea of living costs in Koh Samui like food,transport,accommodation and outdoor activities; I have prepared this quick guide.

My sole purpose of traveling to Koh Samui was to explore the party scene there and even catch the full moon party at Koh Phangan. As you all already know I love the beach life, so I rarely need any excuses to wander off. It just so happens that South Thailand has some of the loveliest beaches in the world and it is a cost-effective destination for Indians. Unfortunately, I didn’t spend a lot of time in Samui but I got an idea of costs so here’s a breakdown for anyone planning to visit.

Living costs in Koh Samui

dogs in koh samui

At Lamai beach playing with these two lovelies – “Sun and Moon”

Accommodation in Koh Samui

A no frill attached bungalow near the beach can be rented for around 700 baht, while a single bedroom with a kitchen will cost 8,000 baht. Add a TV,fridge and wifi, then the reñt is likely to be near 10,0000 baht. Electricity, at 3 baht per unit, is not included in the rent and needs to be prepaid at any Seven Eleven outlet. If you are in the mood to indulge, opt for luxury Samui villas on rent which can be average 900 Baht per night. Alternatively, if you are adventurous and frugal, use Couchsurfing to even stay for free.

Public transport in Koh Samui

The yellow cabs are the most expensive means of getting around and cost about 400 baht per trip. Koh Samui has no buses, trains or tuk tuk like other islands in Thailand. Taxi scooters can be hired for about 100 baht per transfer. The cheapest mode of travel is a red van called Songthaew, which charges the locals 20 baht and foreigners 50 baht per trip.

Vehicle rentals in Koh Samui

Scooters can be hired for 250 baht per day or 3,000 baht per month. A car can be hired for 1,000 baht per day. Gasoline costs 27 baht per litre and is available at petrol pumps or from private vendors at a slightly higher cost. Scooters are my top mode of transport in beach towns – they are easy to move around, cost effective and fun. The fact that I had a bike accident in Laos, does not stop me from renting scooties during my travels.

Food costs in Koh Samui

green curry koh samui

Apart from plenty of high end dining options, there are street food vendors at every few steps in Samui island. While the average price of a Thai meal ranges between 70 to 100 baht, one can find a delicious meal for 40 baht in a makeshift Thai kitchen. Restaurants selling Western or Indian food charge about 200 baht per person. I was very inclined to try Crocodile meat there (its a local delicacy) but at the last minute, chickened out!

Activities and leisure costs in Koh Samui

For outdoor lovers, such as yours truly, there are many choices for spending a day in the open. Kayak rental is 100 baht per hour, Stand up paddleboard costs 350 baht per hour.

A Thai massage will put you back by 250 baht per hour. This was my most sought after activity though and I indulged in a Thai massage every other day. 

Gym membership for a very basic place is 1500 baht per person per month.

Alcoholic beverages in Samui

A bottle of small local beer  at a bar or restaurant will cost about 70 baht, and a larger one for 100 baht. A
cocktail costs between 80 to 120 baht depending on the outlet and area you are in.

Grocery costs in Koh Samui

A breakdown of few important grocery items:

Milk two liter               86 baht

Eggs per dozen           57 baht

Bread loaf                   25 baht

Chicken per kg          50 baht

Potatoes                     30 baht

Rice per kg                 32 baht

Beer in three pack      150 baht
Chang beer

Cheap local wine        280 baht

Mineral water             15 baht

Apples per kg              100 baht

Bananas per kg            35 baht

Overall, Koh Samui is a safe and beautiful island with much to offer. However, due to its location from mainland Bangkok, the cost of living is tad higher than other cities/beach towns in the country and around Asia.

Have you been to Koh Samui? How expensive or cost effective was it for you? Please share in comments below and also let me know how accurate, as per you, are these living costs in Koh Samui mentioned above?

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