Samet village is the main destination if you are looking for cheap street food and Thai-style eateries. Prices are a bit higher here than on the mainland but for THB50-70 you still can grab your usual khao pat or kuai tiao (a bowl of rice noodles).
One of the most popular budget food options on Koh Samet is to enjoy some barbecue food, as barbecue stands start to appear along the beaches and in the busier resorts in the evening. As with all street style food try to pick somewhere that looks clean and is busy to minimise your risks of getting sick, although this tends to be fairly unlikely here compared to other destinations. For just a few dollars you can pick up plenty of barbecue food to fill you up, and most stalls with sell similar sort of things.
Another popular street food on the island are the roti/ pancake stands that also pop up as the day progresses and sell many different delicious flavour combinations - these are usually between THB50 and THB100 so definitely budget friendly although perhaps not that healthy!
Mid range restaurants on the island include the popular K’jeat’s Kitchen at Ao Noi Na which offers Thai food as well as European options. In this area you’ll also find German food at Ban Pra Kai Kaew and plenty of hole in the wall style places and small eateries offering simple dishes at fair prices. Further into Samet Village, other mid range options include Red Ginger, whilst you can pick up a pizza at Perfect Dough.
Haad Sai Kaew has many more expensive tourist oriented restaurants, but decent choices for Thai food are Buddie’s and Ploy Talay. Jep’s is very popular in Ao Hin Khok with a great beachside terrace and a relaxed and friendly atmosphere (our top choice!), whilst the Baywatch Bar in Ao Wong Duean has a similar vibe and is good if you’re not in a rush and want to lounge and enjoy your meal.
Bars & cafes
There are plenty of options, so follow your nose and try lots of different things for the best Koh Samet foodie experience. There are also some popular bars and places to grab a drink on the island, and whilst prices are more expensive than mainland Thailand, there’s still cheap beer on offer and happy hour cocktails to enjoy. The most popular bars along Hat Sai Keaw include Old-Amsterdam bar, Island bar and Lima bar, whilst Ploy bar is a good spot if you’re looking for something a little more lively.
Further along down Ao Hin Hok and Ao Phai are Gecko bar and Naga bar. Some people also choose to sit and enjoy a few drinks on the beach itself, for a more relaxed and cheaper night – but in this case you either have to stock up on beers in the 7/11 located in Samet village or to pay the bar price for beers at your resort restaurant what actually makes no sense this way.
The party doesn’t tend to go on till late on Koh Samet, and it’s a more laid back place to enjoy some tasty food and a few drinks rather than the crazy party atmosphere found on some of the other Thai islands.