Phuket: Easy Island Living With Home Comforts for $2,200 a Month

Turquoise waters lap the white-sand beach fringed with casuarina trees. There are no jet skis or banana boats here—just a few stand-up paddle boarders and a kayak or two. A few ubiquitous long-tail motor boats that sound like loud lawn mowers are scattered in the water, but you can still hear the birds singing away in the trees.

On Phuket you’ll find everything a tropical paradise is supposed to offer—diving, fishing, glorious white-sand beaches. It’s also big enough to boast five hospitals, dozens of seaside towns, and over 25 beaches, ranging from the secluded to those packed with tourists. It’s exotic island living with all the familiar conveniences of home—which makes for an easy transition if you decide to retire here.

Roaring waterfalls that tumble down jagged rocks…national parks that are a nature lover’s paradise… colorful local markets…award-winning golf courses (only $74 for 18 holes)…postcard-worthy lookout points…Phuket is everything a dream retirement is made of. You’ll never be bored here.

The best part is that everything is ridiculously affordable even if you’re on a small budget—couples report living well on around $2,200 a month, all in. A brand new, fully furnished, two-story, two-bedroom townhouse, a 10-minute drive from the beach can be found for as little as $575 a month. Or choose a fully furnished, two-bedroom bungalow with two ensuite bathrooms, a garden, and a terrace for $780.

Phuket is the kind of place where you can play golf all day, have sundown cocktails on the beach, and then eat dinner with the locals at a food market (there are fresh seafood markets scattered about, where you can pick the local daily catch and have them grill it right there).

Food is cheap, delicious, and there are plenty of international options. You can find pork chops ($8), steaks ($10), authentic homemade Italian pizza ($6.70) and pasta ($5), or even get a half Tandoori chicken dinner for $5. It’s perfect if you want the comforts of home, at a fraction of the cost.

Or if you just want a cold beer with fellow English speakers, you can find a varied, changing crowd, from young party types passing through to older expats who live here full time.

The island has something of a party reputation, and you can certainly find that here. But this is a pretty big place—220 square miles. Getting away from it all is easy; pull off the road toward the ocean, and you can explore some small deserted cove. There are areas where there isn’t much to do other than lie under a tree, get a massage, and listen to the ocean. If you are the read-a-book-and-listen-to-the-waves kind of person, you’ll love it here too.

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