Is Koh Samui Expensive?

The short answer is, no.

Koh Samui is a very budget friendly and safe destination with a much lower price point than many Western/European countries. It’s a wonderful place where you’re able to take part in activities, explore, relax, and rent or buy properties without breaking the bank.


Of course, Koh Samui has many luxuries to offer as well, but they are not mandatory for a typical lifestyle. It is also the perfect destination for retirees, with its calm atmosphere, beautiful looks, and best of all its friendly people. After all, there’s a reason Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s most visited and renowned locations. And even though it does have say, more expensive housing than mainland Thailand, among other things; When accounting for general expenses and cost of living, Koh Samui hasn’t separated itself as an outlier. In fact, cost of living on the island currently is similar to that of mainland Thailand.

What about Koh Samui’s economy?

Koh Samui airport

Unsurprisingly, Koh Samui has always been dependent on tourism. This wondrous and beautiful island’s rich history was actually a product of that. And consequently, its culture has also revolved around said tourism. Therefore, when the Covid-19 pandemic came around, many of the locals saw a drop in their business and the island seemed to have lost part of its soul. Apart from businesses left practically untouched by the fall of tourism like a minority of manufacturers and exporters, say in rubber or steel, Koh Samui island was largely affected by the pandemic overall. 


Sensibly, more than a few hotels, restaurants, vendors and similar contributed to Koh Samui being one of the first locations to welcome back tourists when the pandemic first settled down. Nowadays, the island is blooming again and we can expect a bright future as it continues to develop and welcome a new wave of tourism.

In terms of accommodation, there is something for everyone.


There are always plenty of types of housing on offer, ranging from smaller and cheaper bungalow type housing, to luxurious villas with breathtaking sea views. Of course, choosing either the former or latter option depends on your budget and taste. But rest assured, there is no single price point that defines Koh Samui island. With a constant influx of tourism, expats, and investors, many dream projects and properties have been realized. Whether you are looking to buy, build, or rent your dream property, Koh Samui undoubtedly provides you the perfect blueprint to do so.


Depending on the location, prestation and number of bedrooms, costs for rental can range between 500 Thai Baht ($15 USD) per night all the way to 10,000+ Thai Baht ($300 USD) per night. If you’re looking at a long term rental (3+ months), there are many sea view 3+ bedroom properties available at around 40,000 Thai Baht ($1200 USD) per month. This usually includes pool, garden maintenance and internet costs all accounted 

Exploring Koh Samui.

Exploring all that Koh Samui has to offer can be quite the task. Therefore, having the right method of transport at the ready is crucial. Albeit, with various types of transport available, which should you aim for? Perhaps you’d want to ride around comfortably with your rented motorbike or car. Maybe you could escape the hassle all together and choose a taxi or tour guide to lead you around the island. So, which option best suits you? Let’s look at some upsides and downsides each option brings.


The most convenient option would be to rent out a motorbike for 250~300 Thai Baht ($7~9 USD) per day. You can also rent out a car for 1000 Thai Baht ($30 USD) per day and 10,000 Thai Baht per month ($300 USD). This allows you to go anywhere, anytime and at your leisure. It’s also great for your independence. Being able to see fun and beautiful locations on your own is like an adventure, especially with spots where taxis or guides wouldn’t necessarily take you. Alas, this freedom comes at a cost, which is lack of safety in case of an accident.


As for some other transportation methods, taxis are also in contention for being one of the most popular. Despite being so popular and convenient, taxis are an expensive option as there is only one company operating them on the island. Regardless, costs can be negotiated and bargained down before you get in. Though still quite costly, if you manage to bargain, you will be able to cut your expenses. That is especially true if you have a day chock-full of travelling.


The cheapest way of getting around Koh Samui is by songthaew (pick-up trucks with bench seats in the back) which drive along the main roads and follow set routes between resorts. They usually cost between 40~60 Thai Baht per person ($~2 USD). Similarly, there is also a tour bus that became available in 2019. Quite obviously, these are not the best option for getting exactly where you want because of the stated reason above. Still, following along the main roads can be a good way to find popular locations and get a sense of where you may want to head next.

Food prices are reasonable.

thai food

Local markets or supermarkets offer fresh ingredients and cheap meals, perfect if you love to cook or are looking forward to trying local foods. Plus, apart from endless varieties of sweets being sold, regional foods and ingredients are very healthy. But If you’re heading to a restaurant you should expect to pay around 180~500 Thai Baht ($5~15 USD) per meal. 


Here’s a chart with approximate costs for common foods, items and activities:

 Coffee Americano 30 Thai Baht ($1 USD)
 1.5 liter Water Bottle 34 Thai Baht ($1 USD)
 2 Liter of Coca-Cola 42 Thai Baht ($1.2 USD)
 1 Liter of Singha Beer 62 Thai Baht ($2 USD)
 Bottle of Sunscreen 500 Thai Baht ($15 USD)
 1hr Thai massage 250-300 Thai Baht ($7~9 USD)
 Bottle of Wine 200-1000+ Thai Baht ($6~30 USD)
 Boat Trip to the national park 2000 Thai Baht ($60 USD)
 Fishing tour 2000 Thai Baht ($60 USD)
 Rent a jetski per 30 min 1500-2000 Thai Baht ($40~60 USD)

All prices given are approximate

If you have any questions regarding the laws & regulations, property/land purchase process, timeframes, building regulations and references or any questions related to Koh Samui, we would be happy to help you. 

You can reach us on our Contact us page for any further inquiries.

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