Life in Phuket, Thailand, can be pretty easy. Overall, it’s a well-trodden island that has been welcoming expats for decades. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a quiet little slice of paradise to call your own. Phuket has all of the infrastructure needed to make moving there an easy transition.
It’s Thailand’s largest island, with a population of almost 600,000, 115,000 of whom are expats from around the globe who have made it their home. It sits in the clear waters of the Andaman Sea and is only a one-and-a-half-hour flight from Bangkok, if you’re itching for a weekend in the big city. Since Phuket has an international airport, travelling to any of the nearby countries is a breeze.
But there’s no need to take to the skies in search of adventure, there’s 570 square miles to explore here. From tip to tip the island’s around 50 kilometres in length and 20 kilometres wide, making day trips easy. Turn off the main road and you might find yourself in a small cove with a near-empty beach. On the other hand, pick one of the more popular beaches and you’ll find yourself sipping cocktails and making new friends. It’s the kind of island that’s big enough to let you get off the beaten path while still living in an area with all the amenities you could wish for.
A couple can live well on $3,650 a month pretty much anywhere on Phuket, although it’s easy to spend more if you choose to shop at the international grocery stores and buy imported goods. Opt for the daily farmers’ markets and you’ll save money by buying local produce and you’ll be getting the freshest of ingredients. You’ll likely have to shop at the grocery stores for items such as imported cheeses and meats, but for day-to-day essentials, the local markets are the best.
The low cost of living on the island allows for the added bonuses that aren’t so affordable in Australia. A full-time helper who will clean and cook costs $460 a month, or if you just need someone hourly, it costs around $6. A general doctor’s visit is usually under $15, and a dental cleaning is $15, which leaves plenty of money for a traditional Thai massage ($10), where they bend you into a pretzel.
Of course, there is more to do here that just go to the stunning beaches. There are modern cinemas showing the latest blockbusters for $5, and massive cosmopolitan shopping centres with big brand names as well as local boutiques.
Alternatively, if wildlife is more your thing, visit the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project and volunteer your time to work with the little furry primates. If that’s a little too hands-on, you can simply take a stroll through any number of the national parks on the island and see spectacular waterfalls or watch baby turtles being hatched. There are also over 10 golf courses with something suitable for every level of player.
For any health issues, you won’t have to leave the island; Bangkok Hospital is a network of internationally recognised, JCI accredited hospitals—and there is a branch in Phuket Town. Many of the doctors speak English so communicating shouldn’t pose a problem.
One of the many benefits of moving to Phuket is that although it’s tropical and exotic, it’s also an easy life. There is a reason why expats have been moving here for decades; there’s no serious culture shock and all the amenities you might need for modern living are at your doorstep. It is a dream lifestyle, on a beautiful island, at affordable prices. What more could you want?