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Cost of Living in Koh Samui for Digital Nomads

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If you’ve never been to Koh Samui, let me tell you, it’s one of the most incredible places on the planet. I know because I lived there for two years and even have a tattoo on my arm of the view I had -I loved it that much!

One of the best things about living on this picturesque Thai island is the very affordable living costs. The cost of living in Koh Samui was a major draw, and soon you’ll see why.

Cost of Living in Koh Samui

One of my favorite things about living in Koh Samui was that I was able to save a ton of money while living in paradise. The cost of living in Koh Samui is insanely low (compared to Western countries); however, should you wish to, it also allows the opportunity for you to choose to live more luxuriously too.

The list below comes from my own personal experience, scouring reliable sources, and speaking with other digital nomads who have lived on the island for a few months. On average, the cost of living per month for one person is $1,139 and $2,497 for a family. Amazing, right?

Cost of Accommodation in Koh Samui

accommodation bungalow Koh Samui

There are many amazing options when it comes to accommodations on Koh Samui. There are apartments and bungalows, houses, villas, hotels, and resorts – all with varying prices and amenities. Here’s a bit more about each.

Apartments/Bungalows

Koh Samui accommodation

When I lived on the island, I chose to live in a one-bedroom bungalow. Bungalows and apartments are great options for those staying both short and long-term – and they can be quite affordable. For example, I paid $350 per month in the town of Nathon.

On average, however, you can expect to pay about ฿14,140 ($396.52) per month for a one-bedroom in the center of Chaweng or ฿13,000 ($364.56) outside of the city. A 3-bedroom averages ฿42,500 ($1,191.81) in the popular areas or ฿36,666 ($1,028.21) a bit away. Many times, utilities are not included.

The easiest way to find apartments is through Airbnb or via private rental companies.

Houses

If you’re looking for something a little more private or have a family and a larger budget, renting a house is a great choice. There are gorgeous houses for rent scattered all around the island, many with amenities such private pools and outdoor baths.

Since it’s an entire home you’re renting, prices are a little more steep. Expect to pay around $900-$1,800 per month, depending on what you’re looking for. And you’ll probably have to pay extra for utilities and cleaning services.

You can use Airbnb and private rental companies to find homes ranging from the budget to the glamorous.

Villas

Koh Samui villa

One thing about Koh Samui is that it’s home to some insanely gorgeous villas all around the island. As you can imagine, these can be quite expensive. But if you have the budget, why not?

Many villas are either beachfront or up in the mountains with a view. Many have infinity pools, private beaches, and even staff sometimes. Utilities are usually included when renting a villa but expect to pay anywhere from ฿25,000 ($700) per month for a 1-bedroom to ฿3,500,000 ($98,149) per month for a 5-bedroom.

Most villas are booked through private companies but some real gems can also be found on Airbnb.

Hotels & Resorts

Of course, hotels and resorts are always an option for shorter stays; and many hotels and hostels offer discounts for long-term rates. What’s nice about these accommodations is that so many things are included, like housekeeping, utilities, and even breakfast.

Much like all the housing options, hotels, resorts, and hostels can vary greatly in price. For example, the average night at a hotel is $21 and $452 per month, the average night at a resort is $153, and the average night at a hostel is around $12.

Cost of Groceries in Koh Samui

thai market

By choosing to buy groceries and cooking at home, you can save a serious amount of money. Groceries are cheap, and there are supermarkets scattered throughout the island – the most popular being Tops or Lotus. You can also find great deals at the fresh markets that are held daily. Here are some examples of the average prices you can expect to pay for standard items:

  • Milk – 1 liter, 59 baht ($1.65 USD)
  • Eggs – Dozen, 90 baht ($2.52 USD)
  • Rice – 1 lb, 11 baht ($0.30 USD)
  • Bread – 1 loaf, 42 baht ($1.18 USD)
  • Beer – 0.5 liter domestic, 57 baht ($1.60 USD)
  • Wine – 1 bottle of red table wine, 600 baht ($16.83 USD)
  • Fruit – 1 lb varied fruits, 14-48 baht ($0.39-$1.35 USD)
  • Vegetables – 1 lb varied veggies, 14-30 baht ($0.39-$0.84 USD)
  • Poultry – 1 lb fillets, 39 baht ($1.09 USD)
  • Beef – 1 lb round, 143 baht ($4.01 USD)

SIM Cards and WiFi

sim card connection

If you’re planning on staying for a few months, you’ll want to factor in SIM cards and/or WiFi into your living costs in Koh Samui. Both are very affordable and accessible all around the island.

The most popular options for SIM cards tend to be AIS, DTAC, TrueMove, and CAT (4G & 5G). The first three make up 97% of the market in Thailand, and they’re the most reliable. Mobile data can cost around $1.93 per month for 10GB. If you have to pay for WiFi in your home, expect to pay about ฿506 ($14.09) for 60Mbps per month.

Cost of Coworking Spaces

coworking space

There are quite a few great coworking spaces on Koh Samui, which are ideal for digital nomads planning on staying a few months. Some popular choices on the island include Be Productive, Organic Coworking Club, and Desk and Chair.

Be Productive offers monthly plans for ฿6800 ($190.69 USD) per month, Organic Coworking Club has apartments for rent that are specifically for digital nomads (message for prices), and Desk and Chair’s day-rate is ฿500 ($14.02 USD), ฿1,750 ($49.07 USD) for the week, and ฿6,895 for the month ($193.35 USD).

Public Transportation Costs

scooter hire

Getting around the small island of Koh Samui is super easy, and you have quite a few options. The most common choice for digital nomads who are staying for a while is a scooter. Other options include taxis, car rentals, songthaews (more below), and shuttles.

  1. Scooter: Many digital nomads factor into their living costs a monthly scooter rental. You can work out deals for long-term rates, but the 3-day rate is usually around ฿200 ($5.61 USD).
  2. Taxi: Depending on where you’re staying on the island, you might be able to walk to many places. However, if you want to get a taxi, rates start at ฿50 ($1.40 USD) and about ฿58 ($1.63 USD) per mile.
  3. Car Rental: Renting a car is also an option; however, it’s usually the most expensive choice. Car rentals usually start at around $21 USD per day.
  4. Songthaew: A songthaew is a popular option for locals to get around the island and you’re more than welcome to hop on as well. These trucks with a covered bed with benches cost about ฿50-100 ($1.40-2.80 USD) depending on where you’re going.
  5. Shuttle: If you happen to be heading to the airport, a shuttle is a great option. There’s usually a set price depending on where you’re staying, and normal rates are about ฿500 ($14.02 USD).

Food and Drinks in a Restaurant

thai food

The food is one of my favorite things about living in Koh Samui. Thai food is authentic and affordable, but you can find all sorts of cuisines ranging from street food to Michelin-star restaurants.

For example, the cost of a meal at an inexpensive local restaurant can cost just ฿100 ($2.80) per person, while the cost of a meal at a mid-range restaurant for two people can cost around ฿800 ($22.43). High-end restaurants can be just about as expensive as you’re willing to spend!

What I love about the island is that eating out can be one of the cheapest living costs in Koh Samui. I had some of the best meals of my life at the local night markets, but it was always nice to splurge every now and again. After all, you can afford it since you’re spending so little elsewhere!

If you’re looking for an alcholic beverage with your meal, expect to pay around $16 for a bottle of wine, $2 for a large bottle of domestic beer, and $5 for a cocktail. Keep an eye out for 2-for-1 deals, happy hour specials, and lunch sets at many restaurants and cafes.

Healthcare in Koh Samui

dentist/healthcare

Regular medical care and urgent care is available in Koh Samui, as well as many dentists. I actually got a set of crowns fitted on the island and absolutely love them (they were a fraction of the cost of what I would pay in the States!).

If you want to visit a general practitioner on Koh Samui for regular check-ups or visits, digital nomads can expect to pay around ฿1,500 ($42.06) for a short appoitment. If you want to get your teeth cleaned at one of the dozens of dentists on the island, the cost is around ฿1200-1800 ($33.65-$50.48).

Miscellaneous Costs in Koh Samui

gym membership

The cost of living in Koh Samui is super affordable in nearly every way. Because of this, you can spend your disposable income on the fun stuff.

  1. Haircut: If you’re anything like me, your hair will grow super fast in the sun. Expect to spend around ฿400 ($11.22).
  2. Coffee at a Cafe: Getting your caffeine fix won’t break the bank. A cappuccino costs about ฿82 ($2.30).
  3. Ticket to the Cinema: Catch the latest flick at the theater for around ฿532 ($14.92) for two tickets.
  4. Gym Membership: There are many gym choices on Koh Samui; the average cost is around ฿1,250 ($35) per month.

Tips for Saving Costs while Living in Koh Samui

Thai Baht cash

Even though the overall costs of living in Koh Samui are generally low, there are some simple tips to save you even more money.

1. Eat street food or at local restaurants

As I mentioned earlier, the street food was some of the most delicious food I’ve ever had. And it’s so cheap! By eating at night markets, street vendors, and local restaurants, you’ll definitely cut down on your costs in Koh Samui.

2. Get around by songthaew

Hopping on a songthaew is by far the cheapest mode of transportation to get around the island. It can be a little intimidating at first – it’s a very unique type of transport – but it’s actually pretty fun and definitely saves you money.

3. Take out large sums of money

ATM cashpoint

Having cash on hand is always a good idea in Koh Samui because many places and vendors don’t take cards, and if they do, they charge a fee. Since ATMS around the island will also charge a fee, it’s best to take out larger sums of money at a time to save you.

Make sure to store your money in a safe and secure area, preferably a locked safe.

4. Barter at the markets

Whether you’re shopping for fruits and veggies, fresh fish, or souvenirs, you can most likely get your price down with some simple bartering. Don’t be afraid to barter, as it’s quite normal, and the Thai people are extremely nice and welcoming.

5. Ask your landlord or hotel about scooter rentals

There are tons of scooter rental places all throughout the island. However, if you’ve built a good relationship with your landlord or hotel staff, chances are, they have a hook-up. Once you’ve moved in and established a rapport, ask them if there are any deals on a long-term scooter rental.

Cost of Living in Koh Samui FAQs:

Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about the living costs in Koh Samui:

What is the average monthly cost of living in Koh Samui?

For one person, the average monthly cost of living in Koh Samui is $1,139, and $2,497 for a family.

How much do you need to live comfortably in Koh Samui?

You can live very comfortably in Koh Samui off of around $2,000 per month.

Can you live off of $3,000 per month in Koh Samui?

You can easily live off of $3,000 per month in Koh Samui – quite luxuriously. The average cost of living in Koh Samui is about $1,139 per month for one person.

Is Koh Samui an expensive destination?

Compared to the U.S., Koh Samui is not an expensive destination at all. However, it is one of the more expensive islands in Thailand, and there’s always the option to do things high-end.

What is the cheapest area to live in Koh Samui?

The cheapest areas to live in Koh Samui are Lamai, Nathon, and Mae Nam.

What’s the most expensive area to live in Koh Samui?

The most expensive areas to live in Koh Samui are Chaweng and Bo Phut.

How expensive is it to live in Koh Samui?

It’s not expensive to live in Koh Samui (if you don’t want it to be). The average person spends about $1,200 per month for all their costs in Koh Samui.

In Closing

My two years of living in Koh Samui were some of the most magical I’ve ever experienced. Not only is it breathtakingly beautiful, but the culture is incredible, and the cost of living is especially affordable.

If you’re a digital nomad looking for someplace to call home for a few weeks, a few months, or more, Koh Samui should be at the top of your list.

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