How to Save Money in Koh Samui

Chaweng and LamaiKoh Samui is a beautiful tropical island in Thailand that attracts many tourists yearly. However, like most tourist destinations, it can be expensive.

But don’t worry; with a little planning and research, you can save money and still have an enjoyable experience. Here are some tips on how to save money in Koh Samui.

  1. Choose the Right Time to Travel

Koh SamuiThe timing of your trip to Koh Samui can significantly impact your budget. The high season in Koh Samui is from December to February, when the weather is ideal and tourist traffic is high.

During this time, accommodation, food, and activities prices can be much higher than in the low season. Therefore, if you’re on a budget, consider traveling during the low season (May to October), when prices are lower and there are fewer tourists.

  1. Book Your Accommodation in Advance

Koh Samui

Booking your accommodation in advance can save you a lot of money, especially if you’re traveling during the high season. Booking early lets you find great deals on hotels, resorts, and villas.

Also, consider staying outside the main tourist areas, as prices tend to be lower. You can find cheaper accommodation in Maenam, Bang Por, and Laem Set areas.

  1. Use Public Transportation

Taxis and private cars can be expensive in Koh Samui, so it’s best to use public transportation. Songthaews (shared pickup trucks) are a common mode of transport on the island and are much cheaper than taxis.

They operate on specific routes, and the fare is usually around 50-100 THB. You can also rent a scooter or a motorbike if you’re comfortable riding one. This will give you more flexibility and independence, and you can explore the island at your own pace.

  1. Eat Local Street Food

Koh Samui

Eating local street food is an excellent way to save money on food. You can find delicious and authentic Thai food at street vendors and local restaurants at a fraction of the cost of high-end restaurants.

You can try popular dishes such as pad thai, green curry, and mango sticky rice. Local markets such as the Fisherman’s Village Night Market and the Chaweng Walking Street are great places to try local food and drinks.

  1. Buy Groceries at Supermarkets


If you’re staying in an apartment or a villa, consider buying groceries at supermarkets instead of eating out daily. You can buy fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and seafood at local markets and supermarkets.

Some popular supermarkets on the island are Tesco Lotus, Big C, and Makro. You can also find specialty stores such as Villa Market, which sells imported products.

  1. Avoid Tourist Traps

Tourist traps are places that are designed to attract tourists and charge high prices. They can be found in popular tourist areas such as Chaweng and Lamai.

You can save money by avoiding these places and exploring lesser-known areas. You can find hidden gems such as waterfalls, temples, and local markets that are not as crowded and offer a more authentic experience.

  1. Participate in Free Activities

Wat Plai Laem

Koh Samui offers many free activities that you can enjoy. You can go to the beach, hike to waterfalls, visit temples, and watch the sunset.

You can also join free yoga classes, meditation sessions, and beach volleyball games. If you’re interested in history and culture, you can visit the Samui Cultural Center and the Wat Plai Laem temple.

  1. Bargain for Discounts

In Thailand, bargaining is a common practice; you can get good discounts if you’re good at it. You can bargain for prices at local markets, street vendors, and souvenir shops.

You can also negotiate prices for activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, and other tours. However, it’s important to be respectful and polite when bargaining and to have a realistic idea of what you’re willing to pay.

  1. Drink Tap Water

Buying bottled water can add up quickly, especially if you’re staying for an extended period. Instead, drink tap water, which is safe to drink in most parts of Koh Samui.

If you’re not sure, ask the locals or your hotel staff. You can also bring a refillable water bottle and fill it up at your accommodation or local restaurants.

  1. Plan Your Activities Wisely

Samui Cultural Center

Koh Samui offers many activities and tours, but they can be expensive. To save money, plan your activities wisely and prioritize the ones you’re most interested in.

You can also look for group tours, usually cheaper than private tours. You can also consider visiting attractions during off-peak hours, as prices tend to be lower.

Koh Samui can be affordable if you plan your trip wisely. By choosing the right time to travel, booking your accommodation in advance, using public transportation, eating local street food, buying groceries at supermarkets, avoiding tourist traps, participating in free activities, bargaining for discounts, drinking tap water, and planning your activities wisely, you can save money and still have a memorable experience on this beautiful island.

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Robyn Good
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