Saturday, 30 October 2010

Koh Samui Expat on a Shoestring

So you want to live on the tropical island of Koh Samui, but you are no millionaire? Don’t worry; although Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s most expensive tourist areas, it is still possible to live on a modest budget of around 30,000 Baht per month if you know what you are doing. Below are some quick tips to make this possible.

* Eat Thai food – Not the kind of Thai food you find in air-conditioned restaurants overlooking the beach, the kind of Thai food which Thai people eat. This means seeking out the best Thai kitchens and food stalls, where a filling meal can be had for as little as 30 Baht. Finding a good one is easy, just look for the busiest, these are always the best.

* Cut down your alcohol consumption – Alcohol in Thailand is not cheap. Although it is slightly cheaper than the western world, a small bottle of beer will still cost more than a meal in a Thai kitchen. I know many expats in Thailand who spend something like 60% of their monthly budget on Beer. If you want to live cheaply then cut your consumption.

* Give up the aircon – If you can learn to live with a simple electric fan, instead of running aircon 24/7, you will make considerable savings on you electricity bill.

* Rent privately – Forgot those beachfront condos and serviced apartments. Find yourself a locally owned property, and you will cut your rent by some 75%. You will also save on utility bills, as serviced apartments resell electricity to tenants at up to three times the cost of buying it in.

* Jump on the bus – When it’s time to go on a visa run, don’t book an expensive visa run service down to Malaysia. Instead, hop on a government bus at a fraction of the cost.

* Stay out of Big C – And Tesco, Makro or any other large supermarket chain. Shop for produce in local markets, where seasonal foodstuffs are always a fraction of the price.

* Travel home off season – If you need to visit your homeland, then do it during offseason, so any time between March and the end of November. Flights are much cheaper during this period.

There we have it, just a handful of ideas to cut down your spending whilst you are living on Koh Samui. Having lived in Thailand for five years now, I can tell you honestly, that if you are wise, you can live a very comfortable life on as little as 30,000 Baht per month, even upon Koh Samui.


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