The best cheap local Thai restaurants in Samui will allow you to satiate yourself with the most popular Thai dishes at very affordable rates. Food prices are generally reasonable in Thailand, though the development of tourism has led to an increase of the prices in the prime resort towns of Samui and other major tourist destinations around southern Thailand. Fortunately, it is still possible to find places where locals like to eat, even in places like Chaweng, Lamai and Bophut. At such restaurants, you can get a real taste of Thailand without paying inflated prices.
We’ve listed the best restaurants serving delicious genuine Thai food at fair rates in Samui. Check them out so you could feast without breaking the bank during your holiday in the Gulf of Thailand.
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Specialised in Thai seafood at affordable prices, Green Bird is an unpretentious little restaurant located just off the main road in the centre of Chaweng. In spite of a very simple appearance, it is extremely clean and always gets excellent reviews posted on the walls of the restaurant. The very friendly service is expressly mentioned in much of the feedback. It is especially popular with tourists on a budget, and favourite dishes include fried basil and chili with seafood (80 baht) and fried rice with seafood (80 baht). Read More...
- Opening Hours: 11:00 – 22:00
- Location: 157/17 Moo 2, Chaweng Beach Road, Chaweng
- Tel: +66 (0)86 906 4638
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/Pu.greenbird
The name says it all, though not as much as the tagline on their sign by the side of Route 4169, which boasts that they serve “The Best Noodle Soup in Town”. It must be good, though, because the place is popular with the local Thais and there are a number of trophies on display in this unpretentious little restaurant. Most of the menu is written up on chalkboards entirely in Thai because this is a really “local” sort of place, but the few scraps of English text reveal that the pork noodle soup cost just 50 baht and beef is 60 baht.
- Opening Hours: Lunch and dinner
- Location: Route 4169, Bophut
Located right by the entrance to Wat Lamai Folklore Museum, DARA Kitchen is a spotless simple restaurant that brings a modern touch to the rustic wooden building it’s settled in. Situated on the Samui Ring Road, pretty far from the beach, it nevertheless attracts tourists as well as plenty of locals – always a good sign in a Thai restaurant. The menu is rather short, but is packed with local favourites including pineapple fried rice, mixed seafood and pork noodle soup. Dishes are priced according to the meat, so all pork and chicken dishes cost 70 baht, shrimp is 90 baht and seafood is 100 baht. The mixed noodle soup is a great deal at just 80 baht.
- Opening Hours: 07:00 – 19:00
- Location: Near Wat Lamai Folklore Museum, Route 4169, Lamai
- Tel: +66 (0)94 626 2694
Found right across the Ring Road from Bangkok Hospital Samui, Trang Samui Pochana serves all the popular favourites of Thai cuisine, including fried rice, noodle soup, pad Thai and pad krapao, among others. The prices are exceptionally low, starting around 50 baht and very rarely entering triple figures, even when duck (usually an expensive meat) is the main ingredient. The restaurant is a bit simple – essentially a garage with a few tables and chairs set up inside – but is clean and colourful.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 11:00
- Location: Opposite Bangkok Hospital Samui, Route 4169, Chaweng
Ko Pan may look a little rough around the edges, being essentially just a corrugated metal roof with no walls, but the unobstructed view out to sea gives it a fantastic panoramic view. It has a short menu of extremely affordable Thai dishes, making it very popular with locals. Top dishes include pad Thai and green curry, with prices starting from 50 baht and getting little higher than 100 baht per dish.
- Opening Hours: Lunch and dinner
- Location: Route 4171, Bophut
- Tel: +66 (0)81 539 1157
An extremely small and simple eatery located down one of the small and unremarkable side roads off Bophut Beach Road, in the heart of Fisherman’s Village, this restaurant consists of just a handful of tables with simple plastic seats. However, its affordability makes it attractive for locals and those travelling on a shoestring. The menu consists largely of simple Thai favourites such as som tam (80 baht), noodle soup (50 baht) and fried rice (60 baht). Despite its rough appearance, the owners are welcoming and the food is generally good.
- Location: Off Bophut Beach Road, Fisherman’s Village, Bophut
Surat Restaurant is a tiny little Thai eatery on Chaweng’s famous Soi Green Mango. Not much more than a little shop-house establishment, it is located around the corner past the majority of the bars and clubs, at the more dimly-lit extremes of the street. Despite being right next to such a tourist-oriented location, the prices are what you would expect of a local Thai restaurant, with pad krapao for 70 baht and fried clams with chili sauce for 120 baht.
- Opening Hours: Lunch and dinner
- Location: Soi Green Mango, Chaweng
Nana Tam Restaurant is found at the quieter end of the main road which passes through the centre of Lamai and, being away from the tourist hotspots, is naturally cheaper and attracts more locals. The setting is very simple, being housed under a corrugated metal roof, but the food is highly thought of. Most of the top picks are the typical Thai favourites such as som tam (60 baht), pad Thai (70 baht) and chicken massaman curry (100 baht), but the preparation is good and the service is friendly.
- Opening Hours: 11:00 – 23:00
- Location: 130/3 Lamai Beach Road, Lamai
- Tel: +66 (0)85 644 5252, +66 (0)86 275 7064
A very typical Thai restaurant by the side of the main ring road around Koh Samui, Isaan Tam Thai has a simple corrugated metal roof, barbecues made from half an oil drum, wooden furnishings and modest, polite staff. They’re not that used to dealing with English-speaking customers, so ordering becomes a bit of a challenge, but pointing and hand gestures will usually get you a filling meal, with the average cost around just 60 baht. Somewhat unusual for such a place is the row of thatch-roofed bamboo cabana-style dining tables along one side.
- Opening Hours: 09:30 – 23:00
- Location: Route 4169, Chaweng
Located alongside the main ring road which circles the whole island (and skirts around the centre of Lamai), Phen Restaurant is one of the smarter places around the town, with traditional Thai touches under a colonial-style wooden roof. The menu reflects the patronage, with a small selection of international options while the signature Thai dishes are written only in Thai. There are plenty of traditional local favourites with impressively low prices, including curried seafood in a sweet peanut sauce for 150 baht or noodle soup from just 50 baht.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 22:00
- Location: Route 4169, Lamai
- Tel: +66 (0)81 892 1787