Life in Phuket, Thailand can be pretty easy. Overall, it’s a well-trodden island that has been welcoming tourists 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, with 115,000 expats from around the globe having made it their home. It is in the clear waters of the Andaman Sea and only a one-and-a-half-hour flight from Bangkok, if you are itching for a weekend in the big city. Since Phuket has an international airport, traveling to any of the nearby countries is a breeze. There are even a few direct flights to far-flung places like Germany and Australia.
It’s easy to drive around the island, with 220 square miles to explore. From tip to tip it’s around 30 miles in length and 13 miles wide, making day trips around the island 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 having cocktails and making new friends. It’s the kind of island that is big enough to explore and get off the beaten path, while living in an area with all the major amenities you need.
A couple can live well on $2,800 a month pretty much anywhere on Phuket, although it’s easy to spend more if you only shop at the international grocery stores and buy imported goods. Shop at the daily farmers’ markets and you’ll save money by buying local produce and the freshest ingredients. You’ll likely have to shop at the grocery stores to get your imported cheeses and Serrano ham, but for daily life, 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 the U.S. A full-time helper who will clean and cook costs $350 a month, or if you just need someone hourly, it costs $4.75. A general doctor’s visit is usually under $10, and a dental cleaning is $12, which leaves plenty of money for a traditional Thai massage ($8), 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 movie theaters showing the latest blockbusters for $3.50, and massive cosmopolitan malls with big brand names as well as local boutiques. Or if wildlife is more your thing, the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project is where you can visit and even volunteer your time to work with the little furry primates. Take a stroll through any number of the national parks on the island and see spectacular waterfalls or turtles being hatched. There are also over 10 golf courses, ranging from the award winning, to the beachfront courses, to those suitable for every level of golfer.
For any health issues, you won’t have to leave the island; Bangkok Hospital is a network of internationally recognized, JCI accredited hospitals, and there is a branch in Phuket Town. Many of the doctors speak English so communicating won’t be a problem.
One of the many benefits of moving to Phuket is that while it’s tropical and exotic, it’s an easy life. There is a reason why expats have been moving there 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.