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7 excellent places to retire in Phuket

Retiring in Phuket
Retiring in Phuket

Phuket is a beautiful island in the Andaman Sea, unlike Samui, Koh Chang, Koh Pha Nga, Koh Tao or Koh Same… all located in the Gulf of Thailand.

There are several quite distinct locations around the island that can be great places to retire. We leave out some of the more obvious selections, like Patong, which is clearly pitched, and priced, for tourists, and not a place we’d recommend to ‘live’ although it will always be there for you to visit.

Here’s our selections…

Rawai

Rawai is a quiet area located on the southern tip of Phuket, and it is known for its proximity to beautiful beaches (although the actual beachfront along the Rawai promenade is not particularly memorable), seafood restaurants, quirky bars and burgeoning nightlife. The best residential areas are off the main sois and up into the hilly areas around the town.

It’s about 50 minutes from the airport (leave yourself an hour during peak traffic), 10 minutes from Nai Harn Beach and 20 minutes from Phuket Town.

Kata/Karon

Kata Beach is a popular tourist destination located on the southern west coast of Phuket, and it is known for its beautiful beaches and lively nightlife. Along with its companion beach just to the north, Karon, the two areas provide plenty of beach, natty daytime restaurants and touristy shopping. The two areas are wedged between some of the island’s best beaches and the hills behind the north/south roads that connect the towns with Patong, to the north, and Nai Harn, to the south.

The best living places are in the foothills behind the ‘back road’ which runs along the base of the hills. Price will be half what you’ll pay along the foreshore and, at worst, you’ll never be more than 5 minutes drive from a great beach.

It’s about 50 minutes from the airport, 10 minutes from Karon Beach, and 20 minutes from Patong Beach.

Chalong

Chalong is a peaceful area located on the southeast corner of Phuket, and it is known for its temples, views out to the south-east islands and many rental properties – from small pool villas to condos. For food, you’ll be spoiled for choice. On the downside, the traffic can be awful around sunset when the tourist buses ply the main road through Chalong on the way to and from the popular Cape Promthep sunset.

It’s about 45 minutes from the airport, 10 minutes from Rawai Beach, and 20 minutes from Phuket Town.

Kamala

Kamala is a quieter area located on the west coast of Phuket, nested between Patong (to the south) and Surin Beach (to the north). It is known for its beautiful beach and laid-back atmosphere. Notably, the area has become ‘split’ in half over the past decade with the gentrification of the north end of the town to more upscale beach clubs and hotels. But there’s still plenty of the older Kamala vibe between the main road and the hills behind the beach where you’ll be able to find reasonable prices for a rental property.

It’s about 40 minutes from the airport, 15 minutes from Patong Beach and 25 minutes from Phuket Town (add 10 minutes during peak traffic times).

Bang Tao

Bang Tao is becoming one of the ‘new wave’ locations for retirees, next door to Cherngtalay, just inland and one of the swishes areas on the island.  Bang Tao Beach is north of Surin Beach and south of Layan Beach. There are plenty of upscale resorts along the kilometres of excellent beach.

It’s about 30 minutes from the airport, 10 minutes from Laguna Phuket, and 25 minutes from Patong Beach.

Nai Yang

Nai Yang is a bit off the tourist map and has a lovely stretch of beach on the border of the Sirinat National Park.

Apart from the great beach and groovy little cafes and bars that have sprung up over the past decade, it’s also just 10 minutes to the airport. It’s also 40 minutes from Patong Beach or Phuket Town. You’ll find a combination of feet-in-the-sand bars and more upscale dining experiences in some of the 5 star resorts nestled in behind the main beach.

Koh Keaw

Sort of in the middle of the island – 30 minutes to Patong, 30 minutes to Chalong and 30 minutes to the airport. Koh Kaew is not on a beach but a small residential community, mostly sprung up around the British International School and all the families and staff that go there. Not very fashionable but with a growing number of cafes and restaurants. Also plenty of locals living around the area, so there’s lots of ‘cheap eats’ available as well. You’ll run into many foreign faces around this area, including families attending the international schools in the area.

Keep in mind that these are just some of the areas around Phuket that would be a good place to retire. We’d recommend coming to Phuket for a few weeks and driving around some of the listed areas to see what suits your needs.

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