The fast growing community of Expats continues to grow on Koh Samui, with all kinds of people moving here to escape from normal stressed lifestyles in Europe and beyond. Thailand is becoming known as one of the most relaxing places to live, but the difference is that it retains all the tropical lifestyle elements that make it most appealing.
For this reason numbers continue to grow despite the difficulties and problematic system of visas and other requirements to remain resident here for the long term. To this end their are solutions and now many companies advertise services to make the transition easier for would be home buyers and long term renters. Especially on locations such as Koh Samui, there are an abundance of legal and other services for the Expatriate to choose from.
Living in Koh Samui is easier than many imagine, and that is why people return time after time. The Island now offers a range of excellent shops, including 2 large supermarkets, Tescos and Big C. There are superstores in Lamai and Chaweng, and also a Tesco Lotus smaller supermarket in Nathon, the administrative centre of Koh Samui. It is really easy to forget that you are in Thailand. There is also a TOPS supermarket in Chaweng. 7 Elevens are dotted around the ring road, the major artery around Koh Samui. There is never a shortage of convenience stores where ever you look.
In the future, it is very easy to imagine a branch of Central Group, or some other shopping centre coming to the Island. Right now there is already a multiscreen cinema and a bowling alley. All the major Thai banks have branches on Koh Samui, and there are many ATM machines, either located at the banks themselves, or normally at the local convenience stores.
For those that enjoy niche foods and wines, there are now a number of wine shops, grocery stores specialising in a vast array of foods. Residents of Koh Samui, no wonder have little to complain about. For those that long for a particular food, it can ordinarily be found with a little investigation.
As for a cuisine, and eating out, normally although the Sunset dinner cruise koh samui many luxury villas have a complete European kitchen. There are so many choice for eating out from French cooking to fast food McDonald's and Burger King. Subway can also be located in Cheweng. The chain stores seem at the moment to be centered around Chaweng. There is a Pizza Hut, and also many of your favourite ice cream stores. Drinking and socialising can be found almost anywhere, for a heady nightlife go to Chaweng with its full range of Pubs and Disco's, easy lounges and bars. Many of the bars serve the branded beverages, as well as a selection of local beers. There are also many places to sit and watch live TV, football, rugby, and all the other sports you can imagine.
For those that decide that Thailand is the place for them, it it also the friendliness of the locals that makes people enjoy living on the Island. Local Thais and foreigners mix happily, and many earn good incomes from supporting the local economy. There has of course been a large influx of major brand hotels and resorts in the past 5 to 10 years, and this has brought with it a thriving local economy. This has eventually meant that the communications and infrastructure on the Island has started to improve. The road has been tarmac for the first time from Bophut through to Lamai, and there are plans to complete the whole ring road.