Living in Koh Samui
Koh Samui´s enduring appeal as one of the world´s top holiday destinations has inspired many people to relocate to the island, either choosing to make it their permanent home or spending extended amounts of time living what those in less blessed locations would understandably consider an idyllic lifestyle.
In the last ten years, the island has developed into a full service destination and the range of facilities, amenities and services has therefore expanded considerably, making Samui one of very few places in the world where you can literally choose your preferences, both in terms of the way you pass your days and nights and also the amount of money you want to spend.
Although the island´s tourist and residential worlds often collide, they can also be very distinctive. But in terms of choice, both groups benefit from the island´s incredibly diverse and eclectic offerings, whether in terms of accommodation, retail, dining, entertainment, health or adventure. As a long term resident on Samui, if you stop to consider the sheer extent of comfort and convenience on offer around the island today it´s sometimes difficult to remember that you are living on a small island in the Gulf of Thailand. As soon as you leave the beach you are spoilt for choice – shopping malls such as Tesco Lotus and Big C stock all the daily necessities and more, specialist outlets like Tops Supermarket and Villa in Lamai offer indulgent imported goods, while 7Elevens, Family Mart outlets and local shops make impulse buying a an easy option, even at 4 in the morning. A selection of fresh food markets also cater to an ever growing Thai community with everything from rice by the kilo to fresh Tiger Prawns sold by the kilo at what are very reasonable prices when compared to the deli counters of most western supermarkets.
For those who prefer to dine out, Samui has developed a deserved reputation a s gourmet paradise with an enviable choice of restaurants, their menus often created by chef’s of international repute and wine lists that rival those in some of the world’s top city bistros. Excellent Thai food is also readily enjoyed, either roadside at one of the island’s many affordable local eateries or in more opulent surroundings accompanied by five star service and stylised, cultural designs and entertainment.
The Samui party scene has also developed in leaps and bounds in the last few years, sophisticated Beach Clubs like Beach republic and Nikki Beach serve top class food and beverage choices in chic poolside surroundings. They also host regular parties with international DJs and performers. Western style pubs and nightclubs line the popular tourist strips, with sports bars like The Islander and Bondi in Chaweng showing live international sporting events.
Those in search of a more healthy, green lifestyle on Samui can easily avoid the tourist bustle. The quiet beaches on the island´s south coast still feel relatively untouched by development and many small residential communities have emerged in places like Baan taling Ngam and Lip Noi, where the pace of life is slow and the tropical landscape still untroubled by crowds and commerce. Spas and wellness centres offer a wide range of treatments and therapies to rejuvenate tired souls, while yoga, meditation and other more spiritually inspired activities can be studied and practiced at various centres around the island.
Families are increasingly well catered for on Samui and the island now boasts its very own International School (ISS), as well as several other learning institutions catering to to both Thai and expatriate students. The island´s clubs and organisations often organise family friendly gatherings, regular Walking Streets offer festival style outings and there are also several restaurants that cater for children´s parties.
With so much on offer to residents, Samui has now become as much a place to live as it is a place to visit. It is now a multi-faceted residential island with an enviable range of services and facilities to choose from, all of which combine to offer permanent and long stay “Samuians” one of the most appealing and diverse tropical lifestyle experiences on the planet.