Staying hydrated is a necessity especially in a sunny place like Koh Samui. The blazing sun and the humidity can make you sweat like you wouldn’t believe. Upping your fluid intake is important so why not take the time to get to know some yummy local drinks? Here is our list of must try Koh Samui beverages.
Cha Yen or Thai Iced Tea
This is a very popular drink that appeals to people of all ages. Usually tea is flavored with something citrus like lime or lemon when cold. Thai iced tea is milky, like latte with the astringent bite of tea in the background. It is orange in color. The original recipe for this chilled beverage calls for premium Ceylon tea that is strongly brewed. Because this kind of tea is pricey, improvisations have been made. Nowadays, the version uses local tea and food coloring is added to impart an orange hue. Spices and flavoring may be added to the tea base to give dimension. The base is then mixed with sugar and condensed milk to add sweetness and give body to the drink. The sweet tea mixture is then chilled or poured over ice. Other recipes use sugar, evaporated milk, and coconut milk. Generally Thai iced tea tastes sweet, creamy, and has a slight bitter aftertaste due to the tea.
Thai Iced Coffee
A great drink to give you your much needed caffeine, Thai iced coffee is something you shouldn’t miss when you visit a local cafe or a street food stall. This tastes like coffee that is sweetened with milk. It has a hint of spice, since cardamom is usually added to the coffee while brewing. The creamy sweetness comes from the sugar and condensed milk. This is always served very cold and it is best that way. Because it is sweet, it is a good standby when you are eating something spicy. The milk in the beverage will counteract the chili while the coolness will soothe your burned tongue. Thais drink this night and day. We’re not surprised because it tastes amazing.
There is also a version of Thai iced coffee that has no milk called Oliang. It actually tastes like Cafe Americano. It is just coffee with sugar then chilled. Despite its being plain, it also is a great drink especially during hot afternoons.
Young Coconut Juice (Coconut Water)
Without a doubt the best drink found in nature next to water, coconut juice is a tropical essential. What better way to spend your day than being at the beach and sipping coconut juice fresh from the shell?
A not so well-known version of this drink is roasted coconut juice. The coconut shell is roasted then you push the shell open with a knife and drink the juice while warm. It’s actually weird in a good way.
A drink that will instantly revive you when you feel really hot and your blood sugar has dipped low is mango shake. Thai mangoes are naturally sweet and when made into a nice cooling shake, they are even more delicious. There are two versions of this. One has no milk and the other is sweetened with condensed milk or made creamy with evaporated milk. Both are good.
Watermelon has a distinct watery smell—if there is such a thing. It is so refreshing on its own, but as a tropical cooler, it is way better. If you are having this, make sure to not overdo the sugar. Too much sweetness can ruin this.
A drink made from tamarind puree, this will make your mouth water with its balance of sweet and sour. This is very addictive when chilled then served with a lot of ice.
Made from soybeans, this is an invigorating drink that is full of nutrients and has the benefits of milk and more. If you are feeling exhausted, have a chilled glass of this and you will feel so much better.
Thai rice wine or sato is a delicious drink for those who are looking for something with a kick. This is best served with ice and goes well with really spicy Thai food.
Made from hibiscus flowers, this scarlet drink can be served hot or cold. This is not just any drink. It has loads of benefits. Hibiscus tea is a remedy for stomach disorders, a cure for cholesterol, and an aide for weight loss.
Western beer brands are expensive in Koh Samui. If you are a hardcore beer fanatic, you may want to try local beer brands. Singha and Chang are the two most popular brands in Thailand. Chang is favored by those who are on a budget since it is the cheaper of the two. Singha, while a bit pricey is still cheaper than foreign beers. When it comes to taste, it beats Chang. Both beers are good and are easily obtained anywhere on the island.
Probably the most popular way to get drunk for cheap in Koh Samui is to load up on Thai Whisky. This is an acquired taste and it would take some getting used to. Try it with a cola drink—Pepsi and Coke are commonly used to dilute it. Despite its name, Thai whisky is not really whisky but rum. A must try brand is Sang Som. You can find this easily at convenience stores and supermarkets.
Nom Yen ( Thai Iced Milk with Syrup)
For those who do not like caffeine but would want a chilled milky drink, you can try Nom Yen. This is a beverage made from milk, sugar, red or green food coloring, and lots of ice. This is highly favored by the youngsters because it is sweet and has an appealing color.