Which Are The Best Area To Live & Work In Phuket Thailand?
Have you decided to move to Thailand for a fresh start? Well, you’re not alone, we get asked all the time about where the best places to live and work in Phuket are. For those who’ve never been to Phuket and think “Thai island”, they probably don’t realize quite how big Phuket actually is, it’s pretty close to the size of Singapore! We have lived here in Phuket for nearly 7 years now and we’ve started to write about that experience and what we’ve learned about living, investing and working here, and the process of moving to Thailand. Phuket is a great location for executives who have the ability to work remotely but still need to commute back to the office once in a while, it’s equally a great spot for digital nomads, families and retirees. From beaches and jungle to malls and coffee shops, Phuket has something for everyone, surfers and cityfolk alike so let’s take a look at which are the best places to live and work in Phuket – Thailand.
Below is a list of questions that we are frequently asked.
If you wish to go directly to a specific question, you can simply click on the link and you’ll be taken directly to the answer.
- Why Phuket Thailand & What It Has To Offer?
- Best Place To Live In Phuket
- What Are Health & Wellness Facilities Like In Phuket?
- Thai Visa for Living and Working in Phuket
- What’s The Food Like In Phuket?
- What Is The Education System Like? And Are There Any International Schools In Phuket?
- Is There Any City Vibe In Phuket?
- What’s The Island Vibe Like?
Phuket is Thailand’s Largest Island And It Has A Lot To Offer
Phuket is quite unique in that, despite being an island, it has the convenience of excellent modern transport links, modern medical and wellness facilities, first-rate international schools, and a wide range of leisure activities. Combine that with the beauty of being a tropical island paradise, it’s an idyllic place to be. The beaches here in Phuket are world class and have all manner of watersport activities for you to try out, and when you’re done there’s an excellent dining and cafe culture.
Phuket has been a well known destination for quite some time
Both for traveling and working, and so the shopping facilities cater very well for the international market, from food to clothes to household goods and furnishings, you can buy pretty much anything you’ll need here. As you can imagine, this makes Phuket a great place to settle down in, whether that’s for good or just as an experience for a year or two, whatever your interests are.
While it can be a daunting prospect to go and live in a foreign country, there are many things to consider from the legal visa requirements, the best medical facilities, to simple things like just how to get about once you’re there. We’ll look at those issues for you here in this article.
The Best Place To Live In Phuket Really Depends On You
Whether you’re here for a week, a year, or the foreseeable future, with such a lot on offer, the best place to live in Phuket very much depends on what you’re looking for. Obviously, the rest of Phuket is here to be enjoyed and explored once you’ve arrived but choosing where you wish to base yourself will have a big impact on your experience living here in Thailand. As with anywhere else in the world, different areas have different vibes and rest assured, what you’re looking for is here… somewhere. So let’s take a look at a few different options.
1. First up, we have the Laguna/Cherngtalay Area.
With a lot of recent investment and a great location on the island, this upwardly mobile area is a big draw for the mid to high end clientele who are after a high class of accommodation, chic bistros and shops, beautiful beaches which are all just a short hop to the airport.
2. The Chalong/Rawai area
Is great for expat families and retirees, as it already boasts a good community of such people. Being based right at the bottom of the island, you’re furthest from the airport, although even here, it’s really not that far. There’s a more relaxed feel here, with bars, restaurants and beaches, as well as good international schools within an easy commute.
3. Kamala Is A Good Base For The Digital Nomad
A very chilled out area with some nice accommodation, a great beach with restaurants, bars and cafes, including Cafe Del Mar. If you’re looking for somewhere quiet but still with just enough nightlife, Kamala’s for you.
4. Phuket City Is The Small But Perfectly Formed Capital Of The Province.
It boasts a population of around 80,000 people and is a good base for families, offering a good range of accommodation choices, schools and shops. The old town and Chinatown are great places to visit too.
Phuket’s Location – Perfect Connection Between The Rest Of The Major Cities / Countries
Jutting out, as it does, on the west coast of Thailand, Phuket is very well placed within Southeast Asia. With an international airport, it’s just a short flight to hub cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong and of course Thailand’s capital Bangkok, to which it also has good road links. In addition to being well served with very good flight connections, there are also excellent maritime links through the Andaman sea and the Bay of Bengal as well as south to Indonesia and the whole of the west coast of Thailand, including popular destinations such as Krabi, Koh Lanta and Koh Lipe and further south, the tax free island of Lankawi is a gateway to Malaysia and beyond.
As Phuket has been an important tourist destination for many, many years, traveling to and from the island is very straightforward. The infrastructure here is robust and well equipped to deal with both domestic and international movement.
What Are the Health and Wellness Facilities Like in Phuket?
Whether you’re traveling to Phuket for a short time or looking to live here, it’s good to know about what medical and wellness facilities are available here. Well, for a number of years now Phuket has been a shining light in the medical tourism industry, and so it boasts a very high caliber of choice and quality. The largest hospital, Bangkok Hospital, offers excellent modern facilities with specialists in orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, dentistry, and many, many other aspects of healthcare. Even for a quick check up, you can pop in and make an appointment or visit Phuket Siriroj Hospital or any of the other hospitals or general practitioners on the island.
As a tourist area, provision is made to overcome any language issues which may arise and most of the international hospitals have interpreters. In addition, the island has a plethora of wellness and well-being alternatives, there’s also a huge choice of gyms and spas, yoga studios and Thai massage centers, and many apartment buildings and villas house their own pools and gyms. There’s pretty much everything you might need to lead a healthy life-style.
The Island Vibe and Plentiful Water Sport Activities.
Being an island, you’re never far from the sea in Phuket, perfect as it is for simply lying on the soft, white sand or snorkeling in the crystal clear sea; and where there’s water, there’s water sports. The wet and dry seasons offer very different opportunities for this. During the dry season, flat-calm seas along the west coast offer some spectacular diving and snorkeling sites, with great reefs at the likes of Kata, Ao Sane and further north at Naiyang. There are many dive schools offering tuition for beginners and further courses for experienced divers, and of course there are quality dive shops to buy your kit. Free diving is also quite popular, with several schools available.
During the wet season, Phuket becomes a surfer’s paradise, there are surf schools dotted all along the west coast of the island; it’s hard to believe it’s the same sea! All year round you can hire jet-skis on many of the beaches and when the weather’s good you can try parasailing, kiteboarding, wakeboarding, water skiing; if you can do it on or in the water, you can try it in Phuket. Despite having all of the paraphernalia of modern life, you can still spend your entire time in flip-flops and shorts, if that’s what floats your boat.
The City Vibes & Entertainment
The island of Phuket differs from all of the other Thai islands in that it has a city. It’s what singles it out from other destinations such as Samui, Lanta and Koh Phangan and gives you the choice of laid back, chilled island life or the faster pace of city life. Although Phuket city is not vast, it does still have that city vibe. There are districts, such as the old town, popular with tourists, and Chinatown which has a long history.
The old town is a good place to go for an evening out, with great bistros and bars, music and entertainment in beautifully restored and maintained old style Thai townhouses. During the day, it’s also a delightful place to be with some great shops and cafes, and on a Sunday there’s a classy walking market.
On the outskirts of town there’s Phuket Central Floresta, a modern shopping mall with all you’d be likely to expect: great choices in shops, a food hall, a multi screen cinema, a supermarket and plenty of parking.
From the old, traditional parts of the city to the new, modern malls, retail spaces and offices, Phuket has pretty much everything you might be looking for. Having the luxury of being in the city but with a tropical paradise right on your doorstep is what makes Phuket unique.
Are There Any International Schools in Phuket? What Is the Education System Like?
For so many years, Phuket have had a large expat community, it was one of the first areas in Thailand to embrace tourism. For this reason the quantity and quality of international schools is very high compared to similar sized areas elsewhere in Thailand. To date there are 14 international schools on Phuket, of varying ages, sizes and locations, and although they are mainly located on the eastern side of the island, most have good road access east to west. The student intake ages range from 12 months to 18 years depending on the school, and the curriculums vary from British and American to the Finish and Waldorf program.
The education standards are high, the teaching staff at the schools are well qualified and experienced, and as with any international school, they offer globally recognised qualifications.
Food Glorious Food
If there’s one thing that Thai people and expats share a passion for, it’s food. And the choice and variety of where and what to eat is mouth watering. Whether you want authentic Thai street food or high end dining, both can be found in abundance here, that and pretty much anything else in between. If your passion is cooking, you are also well served, you can buy ingredients from all over the world at one of the international supermarkets or fresh from the trees down the road at a local farmer’s market, plus there are some excellent Thai cookery schools. You’re never far from a shop selling food, whether it’s a 7-11, a Big-C or a Tesco (now Lotus). It’s a way of life here to eat out and unlike quite a lot of the rest of Thailand,
you can choose from many different nationalities to dine in, a good Italian pizza one day, an authentic Indian curry the next, or there’s German, Greek, Russian. If you’re feeling that little bit homesick, nothing hits the spot like food from home, and you can pretty much guarantee your home is here, represented.
Thai Visa for Living and Working in Phuket
As with any country, you can’t just turn up and stay indefinitely. If you’re here for a short break, you can get an automatic visa exemption on entry which lets you stay for 30 days, depending upon your nationality. If you wish to stay for 60 days, you should get a visa in your country before you arrive. In most cases, both of these can be extended for an additional 30 days, this can be done at either Immigration offices, there is one in Phuket city and one in Patong. All you need for your extension is a passport sized photograph, your return ticket and copies of your travel documents, there is also a fee of 1,900 baht. You are not permitted to work on a tourist visa.
Long Term Stay In Phuket Thailand
If you wish to stay for longer, or to enter the job market, you must apply for a Non-immigrant O visa. Allowing you to work here for 90 days, in addition you will need to apply for a work permit. This is supplied by your employer and is non-portable, i.e. if you change jobs, you must get another work permit from your new employer. Once you have all of this in place, you are also expected to report to the immigration office at 90 day intervals to keep your visa valid. If you need to find out more about your visa options as a foreigner living and working in Thailand << – click there.
Our Whistle stop tour of Phuket Is Over
Well, there we have our whistle stop tour of Phuket. Hopefully you found it helpful, hopefully you’ll be a little bit more clued up before you arrive. We all know that the best way to get to know somewhere is to visit. Have a look around, kick a few tires, and see what and where suits you best. But I warn you, once you’re here, you’re not going to want to leave. If you’ve already come to that conclusion and are interested in buying a property rather than renting one, then check out this blog about buying properties in Phuket.