Thailand is in the ICT time zone, which stands for Indochina Time. ICT is 7+ hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). Thailand does not have daylight savings, the time remains the same all year round.
The international dialling code for Thailand is +66. Local landline and mobile numbers have the prefix (0) in front of the number. If you are dialling from an international phone connection, add the +66 and drop the 0.
Public telephone boxes are available around the island, mostly found outside 7-11s. Local coins, phone cards and credit cards can be used. The phone cards can be purchased from 7-11 stores.
For the mobile roaming option for visitors, most foreign mobile services have an agreement with Thai mobile service providers. Coverage is good in most areas of the island, particularly tourist and built up areas. Purchasing a local sim card on arrival is a better and cheaper option than paying for a roaming service. A local card will cost approximately 150 Baht with 50 Baht credit on the card. Within 2 hours your mobile device will be active.
Most hotels, resorts, guest houses have wifi Internet set up in rooms or in public areas of the hotel. You’ll find almost all pubs, cafes and restaurants offer free wifi for guests too. In Chaweng and Lamai there are Internet cafes along the high streets, but with the advent of smart phones, tablets and free wifi, they won’t be here much longer.
Electricity in Thailand is 220 Volts and power sockets are either 2 or 3 pronged. Both round and flat pronged electrical items can be inserted. If you are not sure you can purchase travel adapters at mini-marts around the island.
Consumption of local tap water is not recommended. It’s ok for taking showers, baths, shaving or cleaning your teeth. Bottled water is safe to drink and cheap to purchase at any local convenience stores, we'd recommend "Crystal" drinking water as the best. All ice-cubes in bars and restaurants are factory made.
Most resorts and hotels offer laundry services to guests, although the price is double that of independent services you find all over the island. Prices range from 30 to 50 Baht a kilo to wash. Sometimes expensive clothes will go amiss from small independent laundries and there isn’t much you can do about it. If you have expensive designer clothes, we’d recommend using your hotel service or the dry-cleaners found on the ring road in Chaweng.
The main postal office is located in Nathon, with branches in Chaweng, Lamai and Maenam. Opening hours are 9 am to 4pm Monday to Saturday. Airmail takes around 7 days to European destinations, parcels can be sent by sea, but will take 3 months. Postcards cost 14 Baht to send by air. Stamps can be purchased at local convenience stores and supermarkets.
Service charges and local tax are usually included in most business transactions on Koh Samui. However, tipping is very common while eating in restaurants and drinking in bars. It is also the norm to tip tour guides or masseuse therapist if they’ve done a good job. The standard is 10%.