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10 reasons you will want to retire in Phuket

Beach chairs
Retiring in Phuket

Usually inexpensive, but depends on you

It’s relatively inexpensive to live in Phuket, as long as you mostly avoid the ‘touristy’ west coast (Patong, Kata, Karon, Surin, Bang Tao, Mai Khao, Kamala, Nai Harn) to live. There are large expat communities in Rawai, Chalong, Koh Kaew and Kathu. Even in the tourist magnet areas there is still cheaper long-term accomodation to be found and, depending on where you eat, you can still live affordably along the west coast.

Internet, electricity, laundry and health costs are all quite low, compared to western counterparts. The motto is, to live cheaply, “live like a local”.

No matter where you live in Phuket, you are never more than 30 minutes away from a stunning, tropical beach.

Great weather, at least it’s always warm

Phuket is hot all year around, with a defined wet and dry season. The weather conversations in Phuket can be quite boring, not a lot changes. There may some localised thunderstorms and flooding during the wet season, but there are no typhoons, it never gets over 35 degrees or below 20 degrees. 

You can wake up in Phuket every day and know that you will be, at least, warm all day.

Weather Phuket

Temperatures in Phuket

Affordable choices for accommodation

There are many levels of affordable accommodation all over the island, from 8,000 baht+ for a small house in Phuket Town with air conditioning. You’d find a 2 bedroom pool villa in the south of the island for 20 – 25,000 baht per month.

There are certainly many websites that cater for foreign tourists that will advertise peak costs for monthly rentals. Do lots of homework before renting a house, condo (apartment) or villa in Phuket. 

Of course you should check the lease before signing anything. If it is in Thai language you MUST get it checked by a Thai lawyer. There are laws in Thailand which control the amount of bond you are required to pay before moving in.

Plenty of local, fresh food

There’s quite a lot of fresh produce grown on the island and fresh food markets everywhere, probably within 5 minutes of where you live. There are also western-style supermarkets and shopping centres which give you more of a western-style food shopping experience – you will pay more for fruit and vegetables in these establishments.

Apart from all the local fresh seafood, fruit and vegetables available in Phuket, you can also get many of your favourites from home. Villa Market, for example, is a supermarket (there are Villa Markets in Chalong, Koh Kaew and Cherngtalay) that stock international favourites from many countries.

Big C, Lotus and Tops are the most popular supermarkets and there is a 7-11 or Family Mart on just about every corner for the emergencies.

Busy expat life

There are around 30,000 expats living in Phuket with all sorts of international and local associations, clubs and groups. 

So many flight options out of Phuket Airport

The international airport has daily flights which will take you to every continent and many big cities around the world. Also plenty of cheap, discount flights to get around Thailand and the region.

You are spoiled for choice with domestic airlines flying an extensive network around Thailand – Bangkok Airways, Thai Smile (the domestic arm of Thai Airways), Not Air, Thai Viet Jet, Thai Lion Air and Thai Air Asia.

Beaches, more beaches and offshore beaches

The island has 30 beautiful beaches, some which are more touristy and accessible than others. And many pristine islands within 20 minutes to an hour from the main island. Most of the departure points are along the east coast, in Chalong, Boat Lagoon, Royal Phuket Marina, Rassada Pier and Ao Por.

Paperwork is easy, but…

There are two immigration offices on the island and a number of registered agents to help you with your ‘paperwork’. Keeping your visa up to date is a prime responsibility of a foreigner visiting or living in Thailand. 

Retirement visas (O and O-A visas) are available for foreigners over the age of 50 and has a minimum bank balance and monthly income requirement. There are also Elite Visas available which cover you for stays of 5, 10 or 20 years – not cheap but eliminate just about all the hassles of maintaining a visa. There are also 10 year visas available for skilled or high-income individuals which may fit your requirements. A few hours on the internet or a meeting with a reliable visa agent will help you decide what is best for you.

Excellent healthcare options

There are world standard private hospitals, as well as public hospitals, and lots of international schools scattered around the island. All Thai people, and foreigners on a Thai Work Permit, can use Thailand’s universal health care system. Otherwise you would be well advised to ensure you have private health insurance that covers you whilst in Thailand.

For retirees, it is even more important to maintain your health insurance and is usually a requirement when renewing your ‘retirement visa’ annually.

Exotic adventures on your doorstep

Bangkok is an hour away, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam about 2 hours away by air. India, Hong Kong, Philippines, Japan and southern China within a 5 hour flight. So many choices for exciting travel adventures within hours of Thailand.

Languages

As a bonus reason, being primarily a tourist location, Phuket is one area in Thailand where many locals speak more than one language. Certainly English is a relatively popular second language in tourist zones and international hotels. Many of the up-market hotels will have staff members that will also speak French, Russian or Chinese. Of course, there’s also Google Translate 🙂 There are also many language schools around Phuket if you want to fast-track your learning of the Thai language.

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