Working in Ko Samui

Monthly Earnings 45,000

Q1. How is that income broken down? (full-time salary, private students, on-line teaching, extra work, etc)

Full time salary from employment at a college.

Q2. How much money can you save each month?

8,000 - 15,000 baht. For this past semester I have split my time between living on campus (free!) and renting out a house which greatly affects my ability to save.

Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?

I pay 9,000 baht a month for a decent small house not far from Lamai beach.

English teachers on Ko Samui can easily find a house or apartment in the 8,000 - 10,000 baht range. Some teachers, living in groups or couples, pool their money together to rent out full on private pool villas in the mountains or in the lush interior of the island for about 20 - 30k+ a month.

Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?


I rent a decent bike and pay a little more than most teachers living here. I pay 3.7k for a Yamaha Aerox and 400 - 600 baht a month on gas, sometimes more.

Utility bills

I have a good landlord who charges me the 5 baht per unit government rate for electricity which keeps my bill low and my AC on all night. The electric bill usually comes to about 9-1200 baht which is considered high but I know many of my co-workers usually only pay 500+ baht.

Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping

I eat out most nights and budget myself 7,000 baht. I also have access to free breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the college I work at which also helps to stretch my budget further. Maybe I spend another few thousand on snacks and supplementing my budget for meals that exceed my daily spend of 200 baht for food.

Small mom and pop Thai restaurants are generally still quite cheap here in Samui and there are night markets more or less every night of the week which provide plentiful options to choose from at fair prices.

Western food is abundant in Samui and prices range from affordable to exorbitant. Saying that, I eat Western food quite often as I've had time to explore the island and find the best spots. A European style breakfast at one of my favourite French style cafes (eggs, bacon, toast, fruit juice, sliced fruit, sausage, and a coffee) comes to just over 200 baht which I think is rather good value.

Nightlife and drinking

I'd say an average a night out can easily add up to 1,500+ baht. A bottle of Thai beer in Samui averages 80 - 120 baht. Cocktails vary between 80 to 250 baht.

I go out for drinks with friends 2-3 times a month on the weekends.

Books, computers

I was lucky enough to be provided a Mac at my college so no costs there, though I do buy a book from time to time, say 500+ baht a book.

Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?

Very comfortable and could be even more if I chose to save less.

Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?

Thai food. Lots of choices and very affordable.

Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?

At least 40,000 baht, that way you can still save a bit and sample what life on Samui is all about.

Phil's analysis and comment

Thanks for that Web. An interesting glimpse into the life of a teacher on Koh Samui and what stuff costs on a 'paradise island'.  45,000 a month sounds like a pretty decent salary for working on one of the big name Thai islands. 

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