Spending a holiday in Koh Samui? Here are more ways to save money on your stay.
Split accommodation among friends.
Instead of getting individual rooms, you can get one private villa for rent, and just split the cost among the group. You can get reasonably priced rentals all over the island and if you do the math, you will realize that you can actually save more with these than an accommodation provided by a hotel or commercial resort. The plus is that most properties for rent on the island are fully furnished including cooking equipment, so you can prepare and cook your food, saving you more money. Your chances of getting great deals become higher for an extended stay, since some property owners are offering discounts for those who will rent the place for several weeks or more.
Wash your clothes.
Skip the laundry service and wash your own clothes if you found an accommodation that has a laundry area and a space where you can air dry your clothes. A pack of detergent that you can use multiple times costs a lot less than one trip to the laundry shop.
Try working out with a video.
For those who want to keep fit on vacation but don’t want to pay extra for the gym, you can still keep fit by exercising with workout videos or bringing your own portable exercise kit. Elastic workout bands are cheap and will fit easily in your bag. If you find workout videos cheesy and very 90’s, you can do bodyweight exercises like planks, push ups, wall sits, and lunges. You can do these anywhere. Also, they don’t need special equipment and a lot of space. You can also jog all around your resort or go on a hiking trip in one of Koh Samui’s nature parks.
Stay with a local.
If you are friends with a local who is willing to let you stay in his home on your holiday, take the offer. You will save a lot of money. Plus, you will really be able to immerse yourself in the day to day life of the locals. Pay for the gesture by doing trips to the fresh market, cooking for them, or bringing food once in awhile. You can also help with the household chores or give actual money as ‘rent’ if they will accept it.
Learn the art of haggling.
Except for convenience store goods, supermarket products, and cooked food, you can be normally negotiate prices in Koh Samui. During your first trip to the open markets, instead of buying on the spot, step back and watch how the locals buy their stuff. You can learn a thing or two from them. Of course, you can easily pick up the skill if you know a bit of Thai language. When you see something you like, offer a lower price then wait for the counter offer. You can take that price or continue negotiating til you hit the number that you and the seller are both happy with. Haggling is an art in Thailand and a charming attitude and a genuine smile can help you get the best bargains. This takes practice but is a lot of fun once but you get the hang of it.
Buy a refillable water bottle.
Water is still the cheapest way to stay hydrated and while you can find ready to drink bottled water at the groceries or food stalls, it is cheaper if you just buy a refillable water bottle and fill it from one of the island’s drinking water dispensers. The cost of refill is 1 baht per liter. All you need is a container. Another note on water, never drink water from the tap. It is not purified for human consumption and can only be used for cleaning and bathing.
Start with the free sights first.
If it is your first time in Koh Samui, don’t get carried away and book this tour and that tour or jump right ahead and see commercial attractions that will require you to pay 1000 baht or more for 10 minutes of ‘adventure’. Know that organized tours are expensive and are actually considered to be a luxury. If you want to save on your holiday, make it a habit to always start with the free or cheap attractions and activities first. There are the beaches of course, Wat Plai Laem, Chinese temple, evening fire shows, and Namuang Waterfalls to begin with. There’s also the Big Buddha Temple. The walking streets are free attractions too if you don’t buy anything. Well, even if you do, the goods and food are cheap so you can spend without worries.
Eliminate the need for public transport.
Getting from point A to point B or C means little travel expenses adding up over the entire duration of your stay. To avoid this, it is recommended that you get an accommodation that is near the places you want to see and visit. Like if you will be doing a lot of kitesurfing or say surfing, choose a hotel that is near the beach if you can’t get a beachfront location. Preferably, your accommodation should be just a short distance away from your points of interest. If you are planning to party a lot or would want to explore local nightlife, accommodation set at the Chaweng Beach is what you are looking for. This means that the need to ride a cab is already gone since the venues you want to see are there in close proximity.
Obey the laws.
Every foreign country has a set of laws and regulations that have to be respected. In Koh Samui, Thai laws apply. Don’t be the tourist who got fined because of littering or other crimes. By not doing anything unlawful, you prevent yourself from being penalized, thus saving you from unnecessary expenses.
Be your own tour guide.
A guided tour—you know the ones that have an itinerary and a professional tour guide—are pricey especially if your group is big and you are planning to do it often. Save your money, read travel articles about Samui, grab a map, and be your own tour guide. Exploring the island on your own is fun, especially if you are a group or a couple. It is also friendly on the budget.
Have a beach-centered holiday.
If you will only be on the island for a short while and you love the beach, then make your Koh Samui holiday all about it. Stay at a beachfront accommodation, sun bathe and swim all you want, read under a shady tree, watch the sunset on the shoreline, and take lots of pictures of the scenery.
Being at the beach is relaxing and eliminates the urge to spend and do activities that will cost you thousands of bahts.