Try the street food
Yes, you do hear the odd dodgy belly horror story of people who have eaten street food in Asian countries, but generally speaking, you’ll actually be alright at the majority of them. But, you should consider a few things before you get your fingers dirty. Number one, you should check out if the locals are eating at that stall. If there’s line of locals outside it, you can bet that they’re not coming back to get sick for the third time. Secondly, check if the vendor is making the food fresh – you don’t want to eat stuff that’s been sitting out all day. Also, veggie food is generally speaking safer. And keep an eye out for the number of flies – lots of flies is not a great sign, obviously. Lastly, don’t forget to wash your hands before eating, in particular if you’re eating finger food – yep, you could have been the culprit after all.
The general rule of thumb is that the actual price you should get something for at a market is around 70% of the originally pitched price. Bartering is a way of life for lots of the vendors on Samui and they’ll expect you to do so. If you go in at just under 70% and work your way up, you’re on the right track. Don’t go too low though because not only do you risk pissing off the shop owner by insulting their stock, it’s also a dead giveaway that you have no idea how much that item should be sold for. It will bode well for you if you know how much other shops are selling similar items for, so shop around to get your bearings and then pitch them against one another. If a seller thinks you’ll take your business elsewhere because you’ve already got a lower price, they’ll likely price match as long as they’re still able to make a profit.
Check out the bars off the beaten track
Chat to some locals to find out where they drink. The main bars are great too, of course, but to get a more local experience (read – less drunken hoards of tourists), it’s worth doing a bit of research. In Samui, the suburbs less frequented are great places to find fantastic, more low-key spots – yes, the world is larger than Chaweng. Fisherman’s Village, Choeng Mon and Lamai are some good starting places to find a watering hole that you can call your local while in town.
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