Koh Samui and Thailand in general is home to some great food and it’s safe to say you’ll never go hungry there. A big plus is you can eat really well for very little, so, go for a run, empty your belly and get hungry for a lip smacking Thai holiday, with our guide to cheap eating Koh Samui.
The cheapest way to eat in Koh Samui is to enjoy the local fresh food. There are some fantastic Thai restaurants on the island where you can enjoy local dishes for as little as 50THB a dish. Bear in mind that Thai people understand that we are not as used to food as spicy as they have it and most will ask you how hot you like your food.
Eat on the beach in Chaweng at the Impianaor indulge in a local Thai favourite at Zazen.
All you can eat BBQs
These are an amazingly good value choice. These hot pot restaurants are scattered around the island and you can eat for as little as 109 BHT.
Once you sit down a small BBQ will be brought over to your table. You will be provided with some stock to pour into the moat around the BBQ itself and you cook your own meat or seafood (basically whatever takes your fancy!) You will find unlimited vegetables in the buffet area to put into your broth as well as garlic, chilli, spices and seasoning. The buffet offers a huge selection of different meats and fish to BBQ and you will also find a salad bar, French fries, Spring Rolls, fried rice and other tempting treats to feast on.
All-you-can-eat BBQ’s in Koh Samui also include tea, coffee, cakes, fruit and ice cream that make it one of the best value meal deals in Koh Samui.
Another great place to try something new and for only a few THB is at the Thai temple fairs and markets. Many of the local markets do amazing fried chicken for around 25 THB/ piece that comes with sticky rice and sweet chili sauce.
There is a walking street market in Meanam on Thursday nights and one in Bophut Fisherman’s village on Fridays, both have some great food stalls with all sorts of some of the most deliciously cheap eats in Koh Samui.
Temple parties are good fun and also offer lots of wonderful foods, sounds, sights and smells of Thailand.
No visit for cheap eating Koh Samui is complete without trying something new. There are lots of street vendors who all offer clean and fresh food as well as noodle soup shops that offer delicious noodle soup for as little as 40 THB.
Here’s our idea of heaven: powder soft, pure white, sandy beaches, never having to lift a finger as you’re brought cocktail after cocktail directly to your hammock. Long days of doing nothing except slapping on that bit of sun cream and watching your tan creep up on you. Palm trees swaying in the breeze and coconut milk served fresh from the tree. Hey, wake up! Sorry, we thought you might have been daydreaming like we do when we start to think of Koh Samui holidays
Beaches of Koh Samui
Primarily, people travel to Koh Samui for its legendary beaches. There are busy ones, quiet ones, water sports and relaxation, beach bars and epic parties, and beautiful people. All in a days’ work for Thai beaches really.
Laem Yai A quiet, secluded beach, perfect for couples or anyone just looking for a bit of peace and quiet.
Mae Nam A very beautiful, quiet and relaxed beach, perfect if you’re on a Christmas break on the island and really want that get-away-from-it-all kind experience.
BoPhut Otherwise known as the fisherman’s village, a great place to simply relax, and watch the world go by. But, go quickly! As this is becoming a firm favourite with tourists.
Chaweng This is the biggest and busiest beach on the island. You’ll find every type of life here from knackered looking backpackers, to luxury travellers in designer bikinis.
Lamai This is the island’s second beach, you’ll find a few more backpackers here than in other parts.
Bang Rak Home of the Big Buddha, it’s in a great location for hopping on a speedboat over to Had Rin on neighbouring island Koh Pha Ngan for the utterly legendary Full Moon Parties.
Click here to read more about family friendly beaches in Crete.
Things to do
Koh Samui with the kids Of all the Thai islands, Koh Samui is one of the most family friendly choices but there are still plenty of things to consider, pavements aren’t very pram friendly and high chairs aren’t readily available. Thai food is quite spicy, but there are generally child friendly options and childcare might not be available everywhere but locals definitely dote on children. We suggest sticking to the international style beach resorts for your own comfort and that of your little ones. There is plenty that kids will love and Bo Phut and Mae Nam are a great choice for travelling with youngsters.
A night of boxing Thai or Muay boxing is the national sport and the stadium near the Reggae Pub in Chaweng is at the centre of the action. The matches kick off (pun intended) around 9 and go on ‘til midnight. This is the real thing too, a noisy, exciting, hardcore night out.
Check out the creepy crawlies The Samui Butterfly Garden and Insect museum is a fun day out. You’ll find butterflies up to 25cms in length, while the insect museum has lots of different species and rare bugs as well as a bee house.
Sunset Snorkel Or morning snorkel or afternoon, anytime really. The diving here is wonderful, because the beaches are beautiful, the water is crystal clear and you can dive practically all year round.
Make friends with Nelly A jungle trip on an elephant’s back is a joy. The elephant is Thailand’s national animal, and Samui’s tropical rainforest centre makes it the obvious choice for exploring on this mighty animal’s back.
Party If partying is your thing, then there is possibly no better place in the whole world than Thailand. Head for Chaweng, the busiest and most party-centric beach on the island. Green Mango Square (named after the Green Mango club!) is just a couple of minutes from the beach and it’s filled with eye opening shows, featuring dancers in all stages of dress, there are booming sound systems, cocktails and hundreds of serious partying travellers. Join up with friends (or make new ones) in one of the many bars.
Full moon party Another option for those with partying in mind is to head for Bang Rak and hop on a speedboat for one of those Full Moon parties. There are bucket parties, dancing beaches and lots of health and safety issues to take note of. On big nights, like New Years, it draws up to 30,000 revellers. It tends to kick off with the bucket party. Each one is filled with some spirits and a handful of straws. That will give you a bit of an idea of what’s in store…
Na Muang Waterfall the spectacular pair of cascades are found a little inland from Nathon Bay and nicknamed the ‘Purple Waterfalls’ (so of course we’d love them!) They are named after the purple shade of their rock faces, if you go there, we want a picture!!
Mummy Monk In Lamai Beach, you’ll find the Mummified Monk, who died in the 70s in a seated position. Ever since his body’s been on display and even after 30 years shows little sign of deterioration.
Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks (pictured above) Ahem, these are a little on the risqué side, but obviously that’s what people are into, as these cheeky rock formations are one of the biggest attractions on the island. Just ask a local about the legend of the rocks that resemble male and female bits.
Where to stay
LuxuryMelati Beach Resort and Spa, Bophut: On a secluded beach, you’ll find this luxurious 5* resort, with outdoor baths, private pools and all sorts of food and drinks option. It has its own spa and the seafood and BBQ at the on-site restaurant are to die for.
FamiliesCocopalm Beach Resort: In Mae Nam Beach the Cocopalm is a far from the crowds of Chaweng, but still has plenty to keep kids busy. They’ll love the colourful surroundings and the quiet beach is ideal for building sandcastles.
CouplesDara Samui Beach Resort and Spa Villa: Think canopy draped beds, with luxurious traditional surroundings and a modern twist, that’s what you’ll get at this romantic 4*. This little slice of paradise is the place to go for a couples’ pamper session with excellent service and great facilities so you can do as much or as little as you like.
PartyingBeach Republic, Lamai: This is where the beautiful people go to party on Koh Samui. A really unique hotel, the Beach Republic is well equipped with entertaining people and prides itself on its ‘sexy, sophisticated and cosmopolitan’ atmosphere.
Click here to find more hotels in Thailand from Purple Travel.