By: John M Campos
Life in Phuket varies based on interest and style you prefer. Island life for the most part is slower and more relaxed. There is certainly a beach culture here of which there are many beaches to choose from; Kamala, Surin, Bang Tao, Amanpuri, Laem Sing Beach, Patong, Kata, Karon, Nai Harn, to name a few. There is a sailing and boating culture, and of course yachts, of which Phuket probably has the most amount of boat moorings per square km in the world. There's the traditional side of downtown Phuket City, which just celebrated its 233rd Anniversary last year, is quite charming and historic little town.
Accommodations range from upscale areas to backpacking areas. If you're interested in bars and nightlife, there are plenty there in Patong.
The climate in Phuket reminds me a lot of Oahu, Hawaii; a little bit warmer at times but generally year-round your average temperature is between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. There is a rainy season that occurs from approximately June/July until October/November. The ideal weather months are between November and February, and hottest months between March and May. Tropical rain is normally warm and can be quite heavy at times. It is recommended to at least carry a portable umbrella while in Phuket as ocean squalls can come up suddenly. Many nicer establishments will have them for you to borrow.
There is literally something for everyone in Phuket Thailand depending on your preference. On top of the list are some of the most amazing beaches, pristine; even some secluded. Next on the list of fun would certainly be boating, with many boating excursions. Make sure to check TripAdvisor and check the reputation of the tour group that you're working with. There are some who shun safety for profit, unfortunately.
Music is very apparent and active in Phuket. There’s Timber Hut in Phuket Town, Kamala, and several in Patong at various bar establishments. Here is a good site for Phuket music and local entertainment. The culture is quite interesting in Phuket, be sure to visit Big Buddha located in Chalong. Another growing interest in Phuket is Ballroom Dancing, both Traditional and Latin. Motorbikes can be fun in Thailand, but please be sure to wear a helmet, always look before entering roadways, and never assume that people can see you. It goes without saying not to drink and drive, especially a motorbike. Golf is quite popular in Phuket with golf courses such as Phuket Country Club, Blue Canyon, Red Mountain, Mission Hills, Loch Palm, Laguna, to name a few. Golf is a bit expensive compared to other places, as it's a tourist destination. Snorkeling and scuba diving is also popular, as well as other water sports, jet skis, beach volleyball in Kata and Karon.
As one who has been living in Thailand for several years, I have found Phuket golf a bit more expensive than other areas of Thailand. This is mainly attributed to the speed key tourist destination and probably one of the most expensive areas in Thailand, though relatively inexpensive when compared two other destinations such as Hawaii. As a local I enjoy playing Loch Palm, Laguna. Other golf courses here are Blue Canyon, Red Mountain, Mission Hills, and Phuket Country Club. Green fees vary from 2500 THB on up to 6000 THB per round. It is customary to tip your caddy anywhere from 300 to 500 baht.
Caddies are very helpful and enjoyable as they can pretty much do everything for you including finding your lost ball. It's a good idea to carry one or two towels, make sure to hydrate with lots of water and try to refrain from alcohol especially on hot days. Definitely have a UV rated umbrella, which is amazingly cool and a great energy saver if you're walking. Most of the courses and amenities are up to par with other areas in the world. One key enjoyable benefit are the locker rooms are quite useful for a shower after a hot sweaty round.
Phuket has become quite an international attraction for not only its tourist attractions but some great food. If you're into authentic Thai and Indian food there is plenty of that. If you get a chance to chat with a local find out where they have local Isaan Food, which can be spicier but certainly more flavorful. Beer at most of the restaurant establishments on the side of the road is much more affordable then typical restaurant environments. There are many night markets that are very affordable and have plenty of great food as well. Here is a list of off the beaten path local restaurants to consider.
Year round Phuket Thailand weather is between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Light clothing, easy to pack, easy to wear, sandals, plenty of sunscreen, and your toiletries are about all you're going to need. The weather is great for drying clothes so you can bring less and watch them a few times hang them out your balcony and they dry quite easily. I personally like to find the poly-cotton blends dinner much lighter to pack. Bringing some walking shoes that are lightweight like New Balance work well. It's not a bad idea to bring a hat, as the sun can get quite strong here. Bring some handkerchiefs and some moisture wipes; many public restroom don’t have squat paper at times.
Visa and Phuket Thailand is normally visa on arrival for most countries. For most Americans visiting Thailand for the first time, your entry is free and good for 30 days, which is also renewable for another 30 days, however this must be done before your initial 30-day tourist visa expires. Another option is to apply for a 60-day Visa while back in the States or in your home country, and that again can be renewed an additional 30 days giving you potential 90day stay in Thailand. Other types of visas are retirement Visa, and which folks can enjoy from the age of 50 years old and on. Recent legislation changes have required either a deposit of funds, or ample proof of income from a retirement Source or other steady transferable income into Thailand. Other visas such as work visa, and a businessman Visa can be obtained online easily. There are several companies who provide services, I would not recommend paying anything that charges more than two to three times the normal Visa costs. They can be helpful and save you from waiting at immigration, but make sure what they are doing is legal, has the responsibility will fall upon you. Here is a list of Visa options from Thai Immigration.
No tourist attraction can escape people who dream and envision either living or investing in a key destination like Phuket Thailand. Be very wary and do research if you are interested in purchasing a condominium, which is an option for foreigners to own. Be extremely cautious with any land and house or Villa type of sale. There are creative options for acquiring land, houses, Villas in which our local RE/MAX Offices would be happy to guide you through. Phuket had gone through an economic downturn about 10 years ago around 2009. There has been an increase in interest in popularity in the area, and there are several plans available based on lifestyle and interests. There's also a considerable savings in some of the used inventory, as condos and other.
Mission Hills Phuket Golf Resort - A championship world-class 18 hole golf course created by the one and only Nicklaus Design; Mission Hills Phuket Resort is a golfer's dream situated on the paradise isle of Phuket. This Phuket Airport Hotel is located amongst mangroves with phenomenal ocean views, golfers play against a picture postcard backdrop featuring bunkers filled with white sand contrasting starkly against the lush green fairways and turquoise Andaman Sea.
This 18 hole golf course Ocean views and regular sea breezes do however come at a price at this Phuket Hotel, with water coming in to play at seven holes. Plus what time of day you choose to play in our 18 hole golf course can turn a following zephyr into a stiff headwind, luckily a Phuket golf lesson is readily available should you need advice