Is Expat Life in Phuket Right for You? Unveiling the Paradise Reality
Considering Expat Life in Phuket?

Life on a tropical island is often portrayed in idyllic terms with the focus almost exclusively being on the positive aspects. Many expats who take up residence in Phuket have visited or spent considerable time here before committing to relocating. Those who’ve done so usually carry out some form of due diligence whether that’s simply making friends with long-time expats, or more in-depth research regarding work, visas, where to live, etc. 

There are several online forums with a variety of discussions about the expat experience in Phuket. Surprisingly, there are many people from all over the world who make plans to move to Phuket without ever having visited. Why it might be wise to spend some time here first goes back to what is previously mentioned regarding a somewhat rose-colored-glasses characterization of the island in the media. Especially for those who’ve never experienced life outside of their home country, and may be coming from a Western culture, the realities of everyday life here can sometimes be difficult or overwhelming. In some ways, living a full and rewarding life here is best suited to certain types of people. One must be willing to accept the culture and the way things are done here and avoid making the all-too-common mistake of trying to impose your will. While the vast majority of expats who’ve spent years here love it and have assimilated themselves into the culture to some extent, there are those who struggle to accept the differences in what they are used to.

Of the many other considerations surrounding making the expat plunge, patience plays a big role. Sometimes simple tasks come across as unnecessarily complicated due to bureaucratic hurdles or issues with the language barrier. Getting visibly angry or frustrated most often makes it worse as these types of outbursts or losing your cool are frowned upon in Thai society. If you’re coming from a highly developed Western country, it’s important to keep in mind that things often operate at a slower pace here with a lesser sense of urgency. 

Another aspect of life in Phuket that some struggle with is the tropical environment. The weather is often hot and humid with the midday sun being especially oppressive. The monsoon season takes up at least half the year and there can be torrential downpours and flooding. Along with the tropical climate comes the tropical critters. Residents in Phuket are likely to encounter a wide range of the island’s original inhabitants like mosquitos, monitor lizards, house geckos, many types of snakes, and many types of insects from scorpions to centipedes. Many find the island’s wildlife fascinating and are happy to coexist with, learn about, and conserve it. 

One last consideration of note is the fact that becoming an expat anywhere, and Phuket is no exception, requires one to deal with the bureaucratic process of actually being allowed to reside legally in the country. The details can vary depending on one’s specific situation, but may include acquiring and renewing visas, work permits, 90-day check-ins, and a long list of accompanying forms and paperwork. 

Explore the reality of expat life in Phuket. From cultural assimilation, the tropical climate, and bureaucracy, discover if you're suited for the lifestyle of this paradise island.

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