The sand is between my toes and the warmth of the sun is on my back. I’m relaxed looking at ocean views surrounded by joyous locals who are eager for me to try some of their local foods. I smell the aromas of the different Thai curries and it makes me fall in love with this place. The land of smiles and I’m enjoying the fact that I am in a destination where things seem to be a bit more carefree.
This is the life that I have always wanted. And now that I’m able to experience this, I get many more people ask me the same thing as well. I’m not rich and I didn’t win the lotto. I am an ordinary guy from an ordinary background that just wanted to achieve his dream of living a resort lifestyle while I still have my youth. The great thing is that if you want this kind of lifestyle as well, you can get it if you have the willpower, determination and if you are prepared to make the necessary changes to allow you to live, work and travel in the same way that I have.
Society tells us to retire before we can enjoy our life.
Work until you are in your sixties or seventies and you will have the chance to retire and live out your life doing whatever it is you want to do. It sounds good in theory until you account for things such as how much of a pension you will receive in your later years, will you have the health to travel or will you even be alive. I’m the kind of person that believes you should live your life in the present doing whatever it is you feel that you should be doing in your life. For me, one of my dreams was to live in Koh Samui, which I was able to achieve in May 2016. I wish I had stayed longer, but the initial month was fantastic.
Financing the stay.
The way I approach things is that there is always a financial cost threshold for your lifestyle costs. Even if you had all of the money in the world, you would still find it difficult to spend all of that money in a given time. You need to identify your ideal lifestyle cost threshold and create an income stream that will allow you to finance the cost.
Some things to keep in mind.
Purchasing things for the long-term is always much cheaper.
This is the key to hacking the lifestyle that you want. The longer you can stay in one place, the cheaper it will be in the long-term.
Travelling to Koh Samui.
Once you are in Asia, travelling around is fairly inexpensive as long as you purchase your tickets in advance. Depending on the country that you are travelling from, you can get to another country from as little as $40 Australian dollars. I’ve signed up to sites like Air Asia, Jetstar, Vietjet and SkyScanner to get alerts so I can take advantage of any good travel deals if I want to travel by air. Although, if you want to travel by sea, bus or train, then you can also find the best places to buy the tickets.
Getting to Koh Samui is pretty easy. It’s more about the budget and comfort that you want to have while travelling there.
The quickest way and most comfortable way to get to Koh Samui is by plane, athough, it is the most expensive. If you are entering Asia for the first time, it’d be wise to get a ticket directly to Koh Samui. The flight time from Bangkok is just over 1h.
If you want a much cheaper option, you can opt for the bus and ferry option. The train will go to Surath Thani station and from there you will need to catch a bus to take you to the port.
Once you are at the port, you can catch the ferry to the Port at Koh Samui and you will need to either get the local taxi or Tuk Tuk to your accommodation. Taxis on the island are very expensive. A trip can easily cost you 400 Baht. Instead, try to flag down a Tuk Tuk which should cost 20 Baht.
The train journey will be at least 11h and then the commute to Koh Samui’s main centre will be at least another 3h.
Similar deal to trains, although they have the longest journey, they are also the cheapest. But expect to have the least amount of comfort as you are squeezed onto a bus with several other travellers.
For a more extensive guide on travelling around Thailand and South East Asia, read the guides on Seat 61.
Get long-stay visas.
There are several countries that provide long-stay visas that you can have for free or for a cost. When my wife and I decided to enter the Kingdom of Thailand, we applied for a visa that would allow us to stay for 60 days. We stayed 30 days in Koh Samui. The cost of the visa was $45 Australian Dollars per person. Thailand also provides a tourist free visa for people that want to stay in the country for up to 30 days. (Check the visa information for your country).
There is also a 6 month visa that they have made available and cost over $200.
There are many digital nomads that like to do visa runs and re-enter Thailand on a 30 day holiday visa. However, it is advised that you obtain the proper visa for entering the Kingdom.
Getting around in Koh Samui.
Using taxis in Koh Samui is very expensive. So the best value for money is hiring a vehicle such as a scooter or a car to get around. Alternatively, you could even buy a vehicle and then sell it upon leaving the country to further minimise your costs.
Hiring a scooter cost me 5000 Baht for one month and I had to provide a 5000 Baht deposit which I received after returning the vehicle. The other thing to consider is your insurance cover. Check with your travel insurance provider to make sure that you are fully covered.
Where to stay.
There are resort strips and then there’s accommodation in more suburban areas and then you have accommodation in more rural areas. The type of place where you will stay really depends on your lifestyle preferences. I opted for a new condominium that had a pool, gym, lounge area, basketball court and tennis court. The place was a nice studio apartment with fast internet and the hosts cleaned the flat twice per week. It cost about $1,000 a month inclusive of electricity and water bills.
The great thing about staying in a condominium was the all-inclusive factor, so we never really had to leave the flat and there were a few small beaches within a couple minute’s drive of the complex.
If you are a backpacker, it will cost a lot less to rent a bed in a shared room. And obviously, the more you want to spend, the better quality place you should get.
Another thing was we had our own kitchen, so we cooked most of the time, which allowed us to cut back on the cost of eating out. We could easily spend $60 a week to get all of the food that we needed for the week. We opted to shop for fruits and vegetables at the local market and we went to shopping centres like Big C.
Exploring the island.
Exploring the island is much cheaper if you do it yourself. There are several things to see and do on the island, however the most enjoyable experience is going to the beach. If you use your own transportation, you can go to travel around only for the cost of petrol, parking and entry fees.
Rave at the full-moon party.
Koh Phangan is just around the corner and is the host to the full-moon party. You can easily stay on the island or you can commute from Koh Samui on their ferry service. For 1000 Baht ($40 Australian Dollars) per person, you will get entry to the Full moon party and ferried to and from Koh Phangan. Once inside, you can purchase mixer buckets from 250 Baht and enjoy parties on the beach or in the clubs.
How to finance your travel in Koh Samui.
You can earn an income legally by applying for the right working visa to gain employment in the country. From there, you could apply to work in the hospitality sector as hotel or restaurant staff.
If you are a retiree that receives an income from a pension then it will be able to get by as long as your costs are lower than your living expenses.
For others that need another source of income, you can earn an income online. By making around 3000 Australian Dollars each month, you will be able to live and work comfortably in Koh Samui.
Work in your home country and then travel until the money runs out.
This is a viable plan, however your time travelling will be limited to the savings that you have. Once it has run out, you will have to go back to the lifestyle that you wanted to get away from.
What are some jobs that can be done online?
There are several jobs that you can do as a virtual assistant. There’s data entry jobs, design, marketing, writing, video editing, podcasting and more. The thing is you need to develop your approach to earning an income as a business. If you want to earn a passive income, you can develop products that can be sold, such as information products or books. Alternatively, you could develop sites that sell advertising space or affiliate products.
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