Holidays are truly fun in Koh Samui and you know what would make it even better? Shopping and hunting for quality items on your vacation. What we love about the island is that there are so many incredible products you can buy without leaving a dent on your pocket. Curious? Check our list.
Thai Cushion Covers and Pillowcases
Sure, this may cost a lot more than the other items listed here but for what they are, they are a bargain. Thai cushion covers and pillowcases are usually made from Thai silk and they are intricately designed, making them look more expensive than they actually are. You can pick from many colors and designs. A set in bright orange or lime green will surely make your bedroom pop. Be sure to buy several. You will love using them in your home. Plus, they will always remind you of your brief stay in Samui. You can find these at various stores. To save money, check several stalls first. Don’t buy the first one you see.
Thai Herbal Green Balm
This is without a doubt one of the most popular local products among tourists. This is a common household remedy for aches and pains. Suffering from headache? Dab some on your temples. Seasick, smell the tub for instant relief. This also works for insect bites, skin itch, gas pains, muscle pains, and stomach ache. It is small enough to fit in your purse and with so many uses, believe us that you will love this humble balm so much. You only need to apply a little amount to experience relief so your tub will last you a long time.
The scent of lemongrass is synonymous to the smell of Thailand and of Samui. This is used for a lot of their recipes. This grass like herb has a citrusy smell kinda like lemons but distinct. You can buy this on wet markets. Boil it and you have a refreshing tea that can aid with weight loss. You can also buy cheap lemongrass bath products such as soaps and massage oils. Since it is locally produced, this is cheap.
Oh fish sauce. This is an acquired taste but if you love Thai food and you are planning to cook some yourself, you need a bottle of this in your pantry. This smells pungent and strong but it adds a dimension to dips, marinades, and stir fries. Thai fish sauce has a more delicate flavor than the one used in the Philippines for instance. A little of this on your cooking will allow you to provide a little Thai influence in your dishes. Go easy on this though. It is delicious but like soy sauce, it is high in sodium. Use in moderation.
There are so many great tasting fruits you can sample in Koh Samui. They come in different colors, shapes, and taste. Some of them are too exotic to resist. While on the island, feast on mangoes, pineapple, watermelon, rambutan, dragonfruit, and pomelo. These are nutritious and are nice substitutes for dessert. Also since they are homegrown, they are affordable too.
If you need some booze, don’t load up on imported beer or get carried away with foreign wines. You will easily blow your travel budget if you do. For alcohol fix, we love the local beers. They are cheap and do the business of getting anyone drunk if that’s what you are going for. Chang is the cheapest you can find although many people think that Singha is superior in terms of taste. Anyway, you decide. They are both cheap. With these two brands you can load up on alcohol and not worry about spending too much. Other local brands you might encounter are Leo Super, Archa, and Phuket Lager Beer.
To say that food is cheap in Samui is not absolutely true. It depends on where you eat. If you dine in fancy restaurants with the views and beach frontage, expect to pay more even if you are just having spring rolls or green curry. If cheap eats are what you are after, the street stalls are your best bet. There you can find quality local food at low prices. Among our favorite street snacks is Thai noodle soup or gwoy tiao. This filling dish costs as low as 30 baht although some sell it for about 80 baht. This soup is comprised of a broth base with can be made with chicken, pork, or beef. You have the option to choose the meat and go for chicken, seafood, pork, or beef. Noodles can be flat or wiry. Vegetables are added too so it is a complete meal in one bowl. You can spice it up with chilli, fish sauce, and white vinegar. It is fun to eat because you can customize it according to your tastes. Another cheap street food you can go crazy for is chicken satay. This is of Indonesian origin but is a staple in the streets of Samui. This grilled meat is served with yummy peanut sauce and is slightly yellowish because of the presence of turmeric in the marinade. You can buy this for as low as 10 baht per stick and eat it along with rice or salad or on its own. Other affordable street food are pad Thai, spring rolls, and fritters.
If you are not brand conscious, you can go loco with local clothing. The ladies have a wide array of choices when it comes to tops, dresses, skirts, and pants. If you are petite and are near the size of the average Thai woman, you can find quality swimwear to fit you as well.
Local Grocery Finds
If you raid Tesco, Makro, and Big C, make sure to take time exploring local products. There are affordable seafood snack, dried seaweed, instant noodles, and Thai candies you can try. Of course, don’t forget to buy several packs of Thai Lay’s chips. They have amazing and unique flavors such as Italian Cheese Supreme, Mexican Spicy Chicken, English Ham & Mustard, Nori, and so much more. You can collect them all and experience key International flavors for less.