Mini guide to expat life in Phuket
Phuket has long been one of the preferred Thai destinations for digital nomads, expats, and tourists. It has a reputation for gorgeous beaches amongst shades of blue and green waters of the Andaman Sea. The island is also covered with lush green forests, mountains, scenic viewpoints, and other tropical marvels.
There is also more to Phuket than meets the eye. It’s just the beaches that make Phuket so alluring. The island is also alive with a vibrant mix of culture and heritage, brilliantly juxtaposed with modern experiences.
Temples and mosques seamlessly sit beside a bustling scene of restaurants and restaurants. Religious festivals occur while thriving nightlife continue. Every town and neighborhood have its own vibe and atmosphere.
When it comes to accommodation, there is probably no other place that has so much variety – from low-budget hostels to exclusive high-end resorts and literally everything in between.
It is no wonder Phuket draws so many to come live and work here.
If you are unsure about Phuket and need some help to decide where to live, things to do and see, then this top 5 mini guide to expat life in Phuket should be a good start.
Where to live - top 5 neighborhoods
Phuket is divided into 3 main districts – Thalang in the north, Kathu to the west and Muang Phuket that covers a massive part in the south. These districts are then further divided into 17 subdistricts or areas.
Depending on what you are looking, whether it is a quiet neighborhood, a lively city or something in between, Phuket literally has it all.
When it comes to looking for a tranquil and serene environment for a work-base, there is probably none better than Bang Tao.
It has one of the longest beaches in Phuket, spanning about6km in length but only accessible if you stay at the private resorts or condos that line up the beach. Bang Tao beach itself is quite a sight to see as it is less crowded than most other Phuket beaches and kept in pristine condition, especially further up north where it is less developed.
There are also a couple of stylish beach clubs on Bang Tao beach such as Xana Beach Club and Catch Beach Club that are perfect for your days off or for a refreshing break.
Best known for water sports, golf courses, beach clubs, markets, restaurants, cafes, restaurants, and luxurious living, Bang Tao is a terrific neighborhood to live.
Phuket old town is an extremely vibrant area to live but you won’t find any beaches anywhere close by. You will be, however, surrounded by beautiful Sino-Portuguese and Chinese-influence architecture. There is a lot of history and heritage here and if that is something you enjoy, then Phuket town is for you.
Phuket town is quite charming, filled with cafes, art galleries, night markets, restored shophouses turned boutique hotels or restaurants and is even home to a bustling nightlife that is quite different from the one experienced in Patong.
If you are ok with staying far from the beaches of Phuket(about 20-25 minutes away), which is the main reason you probably considered living in Phuket, then Phuket town is a great bet. It’s cute, thriving and standard of living is a lot less expensive than living beachside.
Patong is probably the most famous and infamous neighborhood of Phuket. Some love it while others hate it but it still draws thousands and thousands of people. It is a highly touristic and commercial area which has made its name through its beach, a huge variety of restaurants, bars and eccentric nightlife.
Everything here is convenient such as 7/11s, international food, fast food, malls, gyms and much more. You might not experience an authentic side of Thai culture here but if that isn’t what you are looking for, then Patong is just for you. If you are a work-hard, party-hard(er) type of person, then Patong is just the right place to be.
Accommodations: Patong is quite developed. You won’t find much problem finding a place that matches your budget or style. BYD Lofts might be a good starting point. Other options might be Diamond Condominium Patong and the Unity Patong.
Karon / Kata
Kata and Karon known for incredible beaches, snorkeling, and coral reefs. They are two of the most popular beach areas other than Patong, but the good thing is that they don’t feel as crowed or busy.
They offer a great balance between leisure, recreation, and plenty of family-friendly activities. For many it is the perfect neighborhood and if you ever get bored, getting to other areas in southern Phuket such as Patong, Chalong, and Rawai is quite easy.
If you are looking for luxury living, then check out The View, which is equipped 2–3-bedroomvillas/penthouse, gym, sauna, infinity pools, laundry service, and a shuttlebus for convenience.
Nai Harn / Rawai / Chalong
Nai Harn, Rawai and Chalong have similar vibes in that they are relatively the sleepy neighborhoods of Phuket. Getting from one area to another does not take a long time with just 10 minutes between Nai Harn and Rawai and another 8 minutes to Chalong.
Nai Harn has the nicest beach from the three but that means it also sees more crowds. Rawai and Chalong have a very lovely laid-back local vibe, which attracts many expats.
The only drawback is that there is not much here when it comes to shopping, entertainment, or nightlife. So, if you prefer to be as far away from touristic areas, then Rawai or Chalong are just the right community areas for you.
Living accommodations are easy to find here and are quite reasonable compared to western beachfront properties of Phuket.
When looking for long-term stay in Phuket, hotels or hostels might not be suitable, so it is a good idea to look through a rental portal or an agency that will help you. Hipflat, Fazwaz, and Phuket.net are a good starting point. Try using the map view instead of just listings if location is important to you.
Alternatively, you can get more personalized information through Facebook groups such as Phuket-Buy/Sell/Rent that are dedicated to Phuket property rentals or sale. There are many more out there so you might need to do a bit more research if these resources don’t pan out.
Top 5 Beaches
Phuket has over 30 beaches around the island, each having their distinct beauty and vibe. It is hard to say which ones are the best because that can be highly subjective, so we have picked 1 or 2 beaches from each district that are worth visiting.
Nai Thon Beach
Kata Noi and Kata Yai
However, if you are planning to stay long-term in Phuket, we recommend exploring all 30+ beaches and deciding for yourself.
Coworking spaces & Cafes in Phuket
As an expat of digital nomad, it is not practical to be working at home every day. You will want to work outside either at a coworking space or a café. Luckily Phuket has plenty of options.
Bayaco – equipped with co-working space, office rental and meeting rooms, Bayaco has a very comfortable environment for working or setting up your business.
Grindtime – they promote a good work-life balance environment. When not working in their dedicated rooms there is also a fun room to take the stress off. Located in Chalong, the east coast of Phuket
Let’s work Phuket- a modern workspace environment located in Rawai with a beautiful sea view. Let’s work offers a wide range of packages for daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly users. They also have extra services such as helping digital nomads and sandbox tourists with accommodations, rentals, and visa services.
Cocoville Phuket – located in Soi Ta-iad, Chalong. It has passes at200/day or 1,300/week that allows you access to space, highspeed Wi-Fi, printer and scanner and coffee/tea.
Cafes in Phuket that are work-friendly include:
Hopefully now you are that much closer to deciding where you want to stay in Phuket and what each area has to offer.
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