6 Years ago Eben and I visited Koh Samui, Thailand as a romantic getaway. We immediately fell in love with this island with all its friendly people, busy nightlife and the lazy days on the beach filled with adventurous parasailing and jet ski rides. We explored this beautiful island by renting two wheels … in the back of my head I was always so grateful that we decided to make this a romantic getaway and not bring the kids with…
When we started our tour around the world we narrowed our starting point down to Thailand (being affordable and we are familiar with the culture, therefore knowing what to expect….yes, it is our 3rd time in Thailand now – just love this place). Phuket…too busy, Krabi…not a lot to do for 30 days with kids…Koh Samui…lots to do, not overcrowded…but will it be child friendly? We decided to take on this challenge….
We found it to be much cheaper to rent a house through AirBnB instead of staying in a hotel. It did have it’s pro’s and con’s.
- Pro’s – being able to cook and save more money and also being able to prepare more western type of foods for the children – which are extremely expensive at restaurants…and off course the beloved cereals could be served at home. We had our own space and the kids had space to run around, not disturbing young honeymoon couples 🙂
- Con’s – we were a bit far away from the beach (still within walking distance), no swimming pool for the kids and also a stretch to travel to buy groceries. Also, we had to take into account the cost of airconditioning…fans did the job. Our house for 30 days worked out at 24 000 THB / R 9200 ZAR and it included free high speed internet.
In Koh Samui there are 7 modes of transport.
- Rent a car – expensive
- Rent a scooter – 200 THB plus
- Songthaews – Samui’s bus system -> converted pick-up truck – cheapest option, but only available by the hour at our location and paying per person which works out more expensive for families – but you need to negotiate.
- Navigo – similar to Uber, we have not tried this…
- Taxis – expensive and unpredictable
- Scooter taxis – not an option for families
- Foot – for free, but would not recommend this with kids as the side walks are sometimes non-existent and used by scooters – not safe for kids!!
In order for us to be more independent, we made use of a scooter, Honda PCX150. It has more seating space and more power to carry 4 people…. Our whole family fitted on the scooter and the kids loved the adventure. Please note, I will only recommend this mode of transport if the driver has years of experience with motorbikes. Luckily, Eben has been on motorcycles since the age of 16 and has owned a BMW GS motorbike (how we miss her…). According to our host there are a lot of scooter accidents in Samui, but luckily we have never encountered any. The road users are very reckless and unpredictable. Extra care needs to be taken and you have to be extremely awake at all times. Please wear well fitted helmets, not negotiable! Scooter rental per day – we negotiated the price – 200 THB/day.
We mostly prepared food at home. We stayed close to a fresh produce market and bought a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables and fish from this market.Best to go at 10am when the market opens and everything is still fresh. For the emergency milk and bread, there is the very reliable 7 eleven (7am-11pm) and Family Marts (24hrs) – these are everywhere to be found and the aircons are a great escape!! The prices are pretty much the same as the Makro.
To stock up we also bought from the Makro, (6am-10pm). This was an amazing experience to see the variety of local veggies, fruits and fish and also the very freaky butchery section where the pig heads and full chickens (only the feathers are plucked) were displayed in such a presentable way. Unfortunately, no photographs allowed. You will have to go and experience this for yourself!
- Swimming pools – a lot of hotels offer free swimming pools!! But, nothing in life is free…mommy and daddy need to eat/drink something at a more expensive price than the food court, but at the end of the day… happy children = happy mommy and daddy. 100THB per swimmer or 90THB for a small Chang and everyone can swim for free….mmmmhhh, you do the maths… What a dad won’t do to keep his children happy!
- Beach – always a winner! In Chaweng there is a designated swimming area – very safe zone for kids to swim. South beaches are not as clean and the water is murky.
- Muay Thai – at Chaweng the prices are crazy, but I guess it is the more experienced fighters. At Lamai we got away with free seats, but ….again, nothing in life is for free… we had to buy a cold drink or drink (beer) – starting at 100 THB per person (kids sat on our laps…they were very happy with this arrangement).
- Food courts and restaurants – a lot of food courts serving great local dishes and the best … Nutella pancakes!! Read more on our next blog about kid friendly restaurants and foods for kids in Koh Samui – coming soon!
- Travel around the island – watch our video
- Things we did not do…. elephant trekking, monkey shows (unfortunately we can not comment on this, but not big supporters of this type of entertainment). Jet Ski rides and parasailing – we have done this prior to Samui, so maybe a next time 🙂
So, is Samui a family friendly island? For sure! How did we not realise this earlier? It just seems when you are not in mommy/daddy mode your subconscious mind tends to overlook family friendly places 🙂
Be sure to read our blogs on kid friendly restaurants and foods…
Watch our vlog!