Olga and her husband spend the second winter in Thailand on the island of Koh Samui. Olga shared her experience of wintering in this country: how to book accommodation profitably, how much it costs to spend the winter in Thailand, whether you need insurance, and how to extend your visa, as well as a lot of other useful information.
Let’s get acquainted 🙂
My name is Olga Drogomiretskaya. I live in Ukraine.
How many months do you spend the winter in Thailand?
The first time my husband and I spent the winter in 2019 for 3 months. In 2020, we decided to repeat the experience again, and now we have been living in Thailand for 3 months from January 17. However, due to the current situation, we will stay for an unknown period.
Why did you choose the island of Koh Samui in Thailand for wintering?
This is a small, calm island, with a well-developed infrastructure and entertainment to your liking. I also like the climate here. In winter, due to the sea breeze, it is not hot and there is no strong humidity. Also, there are not many dangerous animals on the island.
How long does it take to buy a cheap air ticket to Thailand? How much does the flight cost?
The sooner the better. This time we bought a ticket for six months at very favorable prices from Turkish Airlines. A round-trip ticket Odessa-Istanbul-Bangkok cost 550 $ per person.
And then you directly need to get to the island of Koh Samui. The most budgetary option is a night train, then about an hour by bus and 1.5-2 hours by ferry. It costs $ 50 per person. True, in time you lose a day on the way, but it turns out 5-6 times cheaper than an airplane. It is worth noting that there is a direct flight to Koh Samui, but tickets are quite expensive.
Where to look for housing in Thailand for wintering? Book immediately for a long time or already on the spot look?
Since we have been living in Thailand for the second year now, we know that there is no point in looking for accommodation on the island through Booking or other services. There are very few objects and prices are too high several times. Thais do not advertise their homes on websites. We are looking with the help of Russian agents on the island. They help us find accommodation for a small commission according to our goals and budget. Housing cost us $ 500 per month.
The fact is that winter is considered a high season and it is not so easy to find accommodation, because a lot of accommodation has already been booked. Therefore, it is necessary to book accommodation for the winter in Thailand from the summer. Driving and looking for housing locally is a big risk.
It is profitable to rent immediately for a long period, moreover, some objects are leased for at least 3 months. And please note that you must make a deposit of at least $ 300, which will be returned to you upon check-out.
When choosing housing in Thailand, we started from the area. We like the Mai Nam area, where we have been living for the second winter. It is calm, there are large markets where you can buy fresh fruit, good free sandy beaches and the sea is good for swimming, the tide is not felt like in other parts of the island.
A visa is required for a long stay in the country. Where and how to extend a visa in Thailand?
Yes, you need a visa. We made ourselves a single entry tourist visa in advance. It is issued for a period of 3 months with a stay in the country for up to 60 days. Consular fee – USD40.00
We are from Ukraine, so in Kiev we made a single entry visa for a period of 90 days. Upon arrival in Thailand at the border, the officer puts a stamp with the duration of stay on this visa. Typically 59 days.
You can extend your stay on this visa at the migration office on the island of Koh Samui, or in another city, the island of Thailand for 30 days. The total is 90 days for a single entry tourist visa. For the subsequent extension of the visa, it will already be necessary to leave the country for some neighboring country.
What are the prices in Thailand?
- There is rental housing for every taste and budget. Housing prices in Thailand range from $ 300 to $ 200,000 or more per month. Keep in mind that during the hot season (that is, in winter), housing on the island is more expensive.
- Transport rental: bike – $ 100-200 / month (depending on the model), car – $ 500-600 / month, jeep $ 800-1,000 / month.
- Seasonal local products are cheap, but there are also imported products in large supermarkets that have high prices. We mainly eat local, seasonal fruits.
- Approximate prices for fruits in Thailand for 2020: 1 kg of mango, watermelon, pineapple, bunch of bananas – $ 1, passion fruit – $ 2.
- There are also cafes for all tastes: from Thai cafes to fashionable restaurants.
- For example, in a Thai cafe you can eat for $ 3.
- There are also many good European cafes where the average check is $ 10-20.
- Delighting in delicious cuisine in an expensive restaurant will cost $ 50-70.
How do you travel around Koh Samui?
We like riding a bike, it’s a special romance and you can go high into the mountains, where a car with a low ground clearance will not reach.
Just pay attention to the bike, take a new one or with a small mileage. There are, alas, a lot of old bikes that won’t go far. And of course, be extremely careful. We took care of this in advance and also booked a new bike a couple of months in advance.
Do you need insurance in Thailand? What is the price?
We took out regular insurance with a trusted insurance company, which we previously contacted, and they did not let us down. The price of insurance for two is $ 100 for 3 months. Accidents on the bike are not covered by regular insurance.
But you can take out insurance, which includes water sports and a bike, then the price will already be more expensive.
How much does it cost to spend the winter in Thailand?
It certainly depends on your lifestyle.
Our average monthly life on the island costs $ 1,500-2,000 for two.
This cost includes:
- 500 $ – accommodation
- 100 $ – bike
- 500 $ – products
- 100 $ – miscellaneous expenses
- 200 $ – massage
- 100 $ – personal care
- 200 $ – lunch in a cafe.
What are the pros and cons of wintering in Thailand?
There is only one drawback – you miss your family and friends. In general, there are some pluses – sun, warmth, sea, birdsong, aromas of flowers, delicious natural fruits, beautiful sunsets and sunrises, stunning landscapes. There are also many interesting Russian-speaking people living on the island. We already have so many friends on the island. There is also a variety of leisure activities.
Your life hacks about wintering in Thailand)
The most important thing is to think over everything in advance. This time I brought my favorite board game to the island – the Cash Flow financial literacy simulator. And once a week I arranged game evenings. And do not take a lot of things to the island, here you can buy everything for ridiculous money. And here’s a special piece of advice to girls, you definitely won’t need high-heeled shoes.
Interviewed by Olga Avrakh
Photo by Olga Drogomiretskaya