Every year, thousands of foreign nationals choose to relocate to Koh Samui. Should you choose, you can live in an area free of expats, and completely immerse yourself in Thai people and culture.
Indeed one of Thailand’s biggest draws is the welcoming nature of their citizens. Showing them even a nominal amount of warmth and hospitality will be returned to you tenfold.
However, should you want to ease into Thailand and its culture, or just get plain homesick, Koh Samui offers many expat friendly attributes too.
Shops and restaurants
Koh Samui possesses a handful of international retail brands. There are several Tesco supermarkets on the island, and indeed they are the largest and most frequented, by both expat and locals alike. International clothing brands such as Uniqlo and Levi’s are steadily appearing as well.
For anyone missing their fast food fix, Koh Samui offers several popular options, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, and KFC. Other popular brands like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, and Auntie Ann’s Pretzels can all be found on the island as well.
One thing that Koh Samui is certainly not lacking is convenience stores. Convenience store giant 7-Eleven has a strong presence in Koh Samui, as does its primary rival, Family Mart. At both, you can find all sorts of expat brands such as Lays, Kit Kat, and Häagen Dazs.
Those coming from countries where Sunday roasts are traditional, fear not – Sunday roasts are an institution on Koh Samui. Many restaurants and pubs across the island offer their own version of Sunday roast. They are perfect for getting comfortable, ordering a pint of cider, and watching the Sunday Premiere League matches while enjoying some hearty comfort food. Along a similar vein, many restaurants offer a belly-busting full English breakfast.
Established expat community
Koh Samui has expats from many different parts of the world. Should you need some information or assistance from one of those groups, they are typically happy to help. Or, if you sometimes wish to discuss English football or French politics, visit your local French bakery or English pub and you will not be disappointed.
In addition, many expats in Koh Samui are linked and easily accessed via social media. There exist several expat run Facebook groups for discussion of many different niche topics. Additionally, each month there are networking events, such as professional luncheons or coworking space socials, which aim to connect like-minded professionals.
In Koh Samui, fitness is something valued by a lot of residents, locals and expat alike. The island offers a variety of options for getting and staying in shape, including traditional gyms, Muay Thai/MMA training gyms, and gyms specialising in CrossFit. And of course, yoga is widely practiced all over the island, as it is throughout Thailand. The centrally located Lake Chaweng has several free fitness options; in addition to the wide running area along the lakeshore, it also offers free-to-use fitness machines, as well as free-to-attend evening yoga and aerobics classes.