Beside the big variety of jobs, the minimum wage here is the highest in Thailand, so finding your dream job in Phuket isn’t a big challenge.
Before actually taking the step and moving to the island, let us introduce you to what it’s like living in Phuket.
Where to live in Phuket
Ask five people what’s the best area to live in Phuket, you will probably get five different answers.
Rather than asking others which one is the best to live in, read about the pros and cons of all those main areas, then you’ll know what to expect. The ideal way will be to explore yourself once you are there.
Being the biggest island in Thailand, finding a place for your taste won’t be a challenge. Phuket offers everything from crazy and load party zones loaded with tourists to hippy, family-friendly and even quiet beaches.
Located on the middle of Phuket’s west coast, Patong will be the most ‘’touristy” part of the island. It is one of those places you absolutely love or hate. Being the center of Phuket’s nightlife, loaded with bars and nightclubs. A lot of different restaurants and shopping zones, like the Jungceylon mall.
It isn’t the best beaches on the island, but still got a big stretch of sand . The water is mostly nice, but keep in mind there are many jet-skis around there. So if you’re looking for a relaxing experience, you might want to pick another spot.
Patong will be the perfect pick for those who likes to party.
Located on the south of Patong on the west coast, will be a great choice for those who wish to live in a beach area with mixed restaurants and bars, but aren’t looking to party hard like those in Patong.
If you like to surf, you will be happy to know that from April to September (the rainy season), Kata Beach provide some decent waves.
The east side of Phuket, it’s probably the least touristy area. A good pick for those who looking for more authentic, hipster city vibe.
Got some modern shopping places such as Central Festival mall. You will also find there tons of dining options available from American fast-food, Japanese, breakfasts and Thai fine-dining.
The prices around this part of the island tends to be lower compared to other areas. The downside is, the beach will be 20 minutes drive from you.
On the southeast end of Phuket. Where the main boat harbor is and almost all the dive companies. If you’re a fan of scuba diving, then you might like this area.
Beside diving, most of the Muay Thai gyms are over there. So if you’re into learning new type of sport or just want to stay in shape, Chalong is a great pick. With many beaches around like Kata, Karon, Rawai or Nai Harn.
The center of the island, located exactly in the middle. Accommodation cost are drooping in Kathu.
10 minute drive from Phuket Town and Central Festival shopping mall. 15 minutes to Patong. There aren’t any tourists and that’s probably what the expats choosing Kathu enjoy from the most. If golf is your passion, you’d be happy to hear that there are many golf courses in Kathu. If you are a Tea lover, you can get your high quality supply at a local and tea store.
How much it cost to Live in Phuket
It all comes down to your lifestyle. The two biggest expenses are accommodation and food. The minimum wage is the highest here due to the fact it’s the most expensive province in Thailand. Your cost of living still going to be dramatically lower than cities like London, New York, Sydney, or Paris.
USD $1000 (about 31,000 baht) per month are easily enough for normal lifestyle. Rent can move from 8,000-13,000 baht on a studio apartment (depending on the area), and around 2,500 baht for water, electricity, mobile phone bill, internet connection, and scooter’s fuel.
Means you will have a daily budget of about 600 baht for entertainment and food. It will be enough if you mainly eat Thai food and don’t get drunk often.
If your monthly budget is higher, let’s say USD $2000–3000 (about 60k-95k baht), then you can live like a king. Live in a modern condo or a private house, eat international food often, and enjoy all kinds of activities like diving, learning Muay Thai, playing golf, going to the cinema and so on.
How to move around the island
If you live anywhere outside Bangkok, the best will be to get your own vehicle. The cheapest option will be to rent or rent a motorbike.
A new scooter will cost you around 50,000 baht (about USD $1600). Second hand for half price or lower. Monthly renting will cost you about 4000 baht (USD $130). Motorbike means freedom and flexibility, you can go anywhere at any time, also simple to park. If you have a problem to drive in rain, you might want to go for a car.
Forget about tuk-tuks or taxis over here. All kinds of rides here cost about 300–700 baht on the island.
When it comes to cheap local transportation you have the local pickup trucks called song-thaew. They go to few certain destinations and stop working at 6pm, you also will need to wait a while for one to come. It is pretty limiting and not very convenient option.
If you have an idea which area would you like to stay, you can ride slowly around with the bike and explore some options.
You can also narrow down your search by using Facebook groups or big players in the market like FazWaz.
The rent options in Phuket are very wide. A low one can be 7000–8000 baht monthly (USD $200–250) in Kathu for a furnished studio in a condo.
Middle-range will be fancier condos which can cost about 15,000–30,000+ baht. Better locations and probably great view. As the closer you get to the beach, the price will go up. For 14,000–15,000 baht monthly (USD $450–480) you can get a 2-bedroom house in Rawai.
Higher option is 3 or 4-bedroom pool villas in Kathu, Chalong or Rawai starting from 40,000 baht monthly (USD $1,280).
When you first arrive, we recommend to try the area for a few days before getting a long-term contract.
As the second main living expenses, you should know that the cost depends on three things — the type of food, the restaurant, and the location.
Touristy restaurants and locations will generally be more pricey. For normal Thai meal like Pad Thai or fried rice you are likely to pay more in Patong, Karon, and Kata. Though in Phuket Town, the majority of the restaurants being visited by locals, offer lower prices.
A Thai dish at a local restaurant or market will cost about 40-60 baht (USD less than $2). In a touristy area, the same dish can cost 100-150 baht (USD $4.7). If you fancy for dinner with another person, including a couple of beers be ready to spend around 800–1200 baht (USD $26–38) based on what you’re ordering.
Tropical monsoon climate. March is normally the hottest month, an average high temperature of 34 °C. In September-January, which are the cooler months, you can expect average highs of 31–32 °C and average lows of 24 °C.
April to November are usually the rainy season. September and October are the wettest months. The air quality index appear in the healthy range all year.
Ready to move to the biggest island in Thailand?
You can find your dream job in Phuket here.