Although Koh Samui isn't as famous as the likes of Bangkok or Phuket, it's still a great destination overall. And not just for tourists too! Sure, the beaches, temples, nature trails, and the like make it such a great place for travelers, but Koh Samui remains a convenient and complete city where people can easily live in. Because of its paradisical vibe and tropical nature, it's become a popular place for many to relocate to. But actually doing it takes a lot of hard work. This guide will show you what it's all about.
With a current population of around 50,000 residents, Koh Samui is far from what you'd call a 'major' city. It is, however, as famous as one. Koh Samui welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors each year (at least, pre-pandemic) and remains one of the top tourist destinations in the country. It helps that the place enjoys a tropical climate with only two seasons: wet and dry. The dry months range from January to August and the wet months are from September to December. And even when it's the rainy season, most of the days here in Koh Samui remain sunny and bright anyways.
Though Koh Samui is a tropical paradise, it's far from a remote island off the middle of nowhere. In fact, it's pretty urban in some areas and has all the modern-day conveniences you'll need for a comfortable stay. Not the least of which is its public transport
. From taxis and Songthaews to ferries and boats, there are a ton of ways to get around Koh Samui. It's even common to rent your own vehicles here too. And when you're in a pinch and get a ride, you can always use a transportation app
here as well.
Where to Live
Before anything else, you'll need to choose which neighborhood in Koh Samui
you'll want to call your new hometown. Don't think that just because the beaches and bays are what make the island famous that they're the only noteworthy areas here. As already mentioned, Koh Samui is a pretty complete city with urban districts, residential areas, and the like. It's up to you to choose which one will fit your specific lifestyle best. For instance, if you're more into nightlife, then a home near Bangrak Beach is your best bet. But if you want a more chill and quiet life in Koh Samui, you ought to choose the Lamai neighborhood instead.
are notorious for being expensive cities, Koh Samui isn't exactly on the same level as them. This isn't to say that the resort island is a cheap place to live in—far from it!—but at the same time, the living costs here
aren't as high as those more-famous destinations. For instance, rent in Koh Samui commonly costs around ฿6,000.00 to ฿42,000.00 per month. Compare that to Phuket's ฿7,000.00 to ฿50,000.00 a month or in Bangkok, which can go up to a whopping ฿100,000.00 a month. After seeing such figures, you won't find renting in Koh Samui all that expensive anymore!
While Thailand currently enjoys a low unemployment rate at 2.25%, that doesn't exactly mean that you, as someone relocating to Koh Samui, will find it easy to find a job here
. Although Koh Samui is relatively popular and urban in a lot of ways, it remains a resort island through and through. In places like these, there aren't exactly as many job opportunities, particularly for foreigners, around. Sure, the Thai job market
is stable, but you'll feel its stability more in Bangkok than in Koh Samui. Nevertheless, you can still either do remote work from the island or start a new business here. It's your call!
Despite employment concerns, more and more people are choosing to relocate to Koh Samui. So much so that the international schools here
welcome a lot of new students each year (at least, pre-pandemic!). Your own kids, if you're ever planning to bring your family here with you, can also study in these amazing institutions once you've settled down here. The likes of the International School of Samui
and Panyadee, The British International School
of Samui have certainly proven themselves to be fine schools worth noting. And rest assured, your kids will be well taken care of here!
Now, let's talk about healthcare. Surely, you're not thinking that Koh Samui lacks any efficient hospitals that will take care of you if ever something happens, right? Because that is completely false! In truth, some of Koh Samui's hospitals
are actually some of the finest in the country! The Bangkok Samui Hospital
and the Samui International Hospital
are just some you need to know about before getting here. Not only are they world-renowned, but they've certainly contributed to Thailand's reputation as a top medical tourist destination
. It also helps that the Thai healthcare system
itself is pretty straightforward too.
The sad reality about places like Koh Samui—and of Southeast Asia, in general!—is that the crime rates here
are usually pretty high. This isn't to say they're dangerous destinations you're better off not going to, but you do have to stay aware of your surroundings here at all times. For Koh Samui, in particular, the island's general crime rate is 38.89% which, for now, is considered low. However, its rate for increasing crimes is 62.50%, a lot higher than what most would want. Its safety rates, on the other hand, are 91.67% during the day and 55.56% at night.
Koh Samui may be the ultimate paradise but don't forget that relocating here means you'll also have to pay taxes too. And if you're not familiar with at least the basics of the Thai tax system
then you're in trouble! For instance, even before becoming a legal resident here, if you're already a tax resident of Thailand, you should've already been contributing your fair share. A tax resident is one that stays and works in the country for around 180 days per year (approximately is months in total). As for your income tax, your rate will depend on how much you earn annually.
And finally, some last-minute relocation tips! For starters, learn a bit of Thai
before going here. It will help you a lot more than you realize in the long run! Don't forget to set up your local bank account
here too! It's a surefire way to keep your money safe and secure while you're on the island. Lastly, join a local mobile network
as well. You'll need a local SIM card in order to stay connected and in contact with your new friends here and your family back in your previous hometown/country!
Living in Koh Samui is the ultimate dream for a lot of people out there. However, before that dream can come true, you'll need to exert as much effort as you can to make it a reality. This guide will tell you all about it.