Koh Samui on a budget, is it even possible? Of course it is, anywhere in Thailand can be done on the cheap and that includes the highly popular island that tourist dream to come to for the perfect escape in paradise. The problem is affordability, once you have paid for your flights, ferry trip and luxury accommodation, the budget can be a little thin for the rest of your trip on Koh Samui.
Saving money for your Koh Samui holidays can be easy if you follow a few simple steps, a process I used myself when venturing onto the island. At times you will need to be bullish in a polite and stand your ground in the process, but in a kind of way where you are respectful to the locals customs and values.
Below are a few handy tips that can help you save a few coins on your holidays in Koh Samui and spread your travel money on the Island out even further.
Koh Samui on a Budget – How to Save those Few Extra Dollars
Take a ride on the back of the ute – Tuc Tuc Style
Getting aboard on the back of a sheltered utes with wooden seating on the sides hardly sounds comfortable, but the tuc-tuc style of transportation can be found everywhere on the island and it cost half the price of a taxi. The main point is that this unique from of transportation is safe, at which the driver goes along the dodgy roads of Samui at reasonable speeds.
The wooden seating is comfortable for the short time you are travelling and the best bit is you get a refreshing cool breeze which is as good as an air conditioner and much appreciated as you get around from shopping malls to your Koh Samui Resorts.
The Ute mode of transportation won’t take you all the way to your intended destination, as it only travels along the main road and doesn’t veer off track to directly take you to your intended location. But who can’t handle a small walk to save a few extra dollars.
Don’t get bullied by the taxi driver
Unlike the rest of Thailand, for some strange reason the taxis are not metred in Koh Samui. In that case, it’s the old set price, which can always make tourist feel that little uncomfortable they could get ripped off. Do not take the first price offered by the taxi driver, drop it down at least a good 100 baht and if they refuse, move on to the next taxi. There are no shortages of taxis on the island.
Book a cruise or day tours on the streets of Chaweng
A handy little tip that can be used in a lot of countries in Southeast Asia. When looking for a day tour or popular cruise to an island, don’t go rushing to the reception area at the resort for the ultimate Koh Samui travel deals.
The best way to find a great deal is to head into the major tourist town of Chaweng, find a travel agency booths stationed along the main street and you’ll come across the same expensive day-tour seen in the resort at a much lesser price. Generally the agency takes away the commission the resorts get and it is usually a fair chunk of commission money. A third option is to book a tour on the internet, the power of google will take you where you need to go and it’s another big money saver, which is just as reputable.
Barter travellers, BARTER at the markets!
No price tags on the merchandise in stores generally means only one thing, the shop owner will try and get every penny out of you by driving the prices up. As is the case with the taxis, you need to attempt to barter the price down and if the shop owner does not come to the party, the chances are the very same product is for sale at a lower price down the road.
In most circumstances it won’t come down to you leaving the shop, eventually the staff member will give as they want your money. Please remember, during any bartering, show respect and do not be rude, at the end of the day we are only talking about cutting down the price by a few measly dollars.
Beer is really cheap, so drink up
Resort beer is a lot more expensive than the drinks served in a bar on the beach or the bars on the main city streets, and that even includes the resorts’ happy hours. So avoid the seduction of a five-hour happy hour and head down the road instead for a cheap and cold beer or delicious cocktails. Most Koh Samui Beach Resorts will have a privately-owned bar in close proximity to your accommodation, even if the resort you are staying at is in an isolated place. Beryl Bar near Mai Samui Reosrt was a real winner for me.
Once again you will save an extra 50 percent off resort prices if you purchase your beer from the supermarkets. it’s crazy cheap. Please note that Liquor laws in Thailand do not allow you to purchase alcohol in supermarkets or seven-eleven stores between the hours 2pm and 5pm. These laws do not apply to bars, restaurants and resorts.
Same goes for Koh Samui restaurants too
Now the resort dining prices, at least where I stayed, were pretty good compared to say resorts in Australia or other places around the world. However Koh Samui is very affordable and it goes to another level if you get out of the resort and into the restaurants in nearby locations where you can save a good 50 percent on outside meals.
In more good news, the food outside the resort can be just as good as the food in the resorts, as the locals can cook a bloody good meal and take a lot of pride in their work.
Another bit of information for eating options in Samui are the food stalls situated on the streets, especially in Chaweng. The stalls are super affordable and the food that is cooked is healthy and shouldn’t leave you with the stomach bug, although I cannot guarantee that.
Find Koh Samui Budget Hotels
You don’t always have to stay in lavish resorts that are situated everywhere in Koh Samui, you can choose to stay in budget hotels at a really affordable price, that are clean, comfortable and will still give you that luxury feel. So check out Booking.com and find your ideal and affordable accommodation on the island. That means, you can spend your money elsewhere.
There you have it, a few pointers on how you can stay in Koh Samui on a budget and save a few extra dollars that can be spent else where on the island or perhaps put away for another holiday down the track. For now, let’s live it up in paradise.