It’s a big life decision to uproot your family and move abroad, and even more so if kids are part of the equation. There are many considerations to factor in such as safety, education, social opportunities, cultural integration, and so much more. Naturally, a decision like that can’t be based solely on a blog article such as this one, but these topics can be a good starting point to reflect upon.
Best-Family-Resorts-in-Phuket | Credit: Thavornplambeach.com
To be clear, we’re talking about safety in regard to bodily harm. Certainly this is top priority because if your kids aren’t safe, nothing else really matters. The short answer is yes, Phuket is quite safe in general. Violent crime in regards to random acts of theft, etc. are quite rare. Some crime does exist of course, but the vast majority are crimes of opportunity like break-ins, purse snatchings, ATM/credit fraud and the like. Violent crimes typically revolve around family disputes, crimes of passion, or drug deals gone wrong. Most expats agree that Phuket is as safe or safer than the place they moved here from.
Phuket Town | Credit: regularsteven.com
The one exception to the general safety of Phuket is the roads. Traffic laws are rarely enforced and some drivers, both expat and Thai, take advantage of this fact and drive far too fast, recklessly, and/or drunk. Driving in Phuket should be undertaken with extreme caution, especially if driving a motorcycle. To put it into perspective, as of the time of this writing, there have been 2,462 deaths attributed to the entirety of the Covid-19 pandemic, while there have been 7,702 deaths on Thailand’s roads in just the first 189 days of 2021.
Phuket offers quite a few options to educate your young ones among its many schools which range from free government and temple schools, to pricey international boarding schools. While parents will scrutinize schools by their own standards, generally Thai government schools offer a curriculum mostly in the Thai language and if they boast an “English program”, the standard is pretty low. Educating your kids by western standards will likely require you to enroll them in one of Phuket’s 14 international schools. Curriculums range from the independence-based Montessori program at Montessori House Phuket International School, to the traditional academics at British International School Phuket, and the Waldorf and Christian influences found at Lighthouse International.
British International School Phuket | Credit: bisphuket.ac.th
It’s safe to say there is a sufficient variety of curriculums and locations of schools across Phuket where the expectations of most parents can be met. Generally, prices range from about 120,000-400,000 baht per year, or more if your kid attends a boarding school.
Raising kids in a country and culture that is foreign to your own can be an appealing and exciting proposition to some, while others might have reservations. After all, there are two sides to every coin.
There are several aspects of raising kids in Phuket that many would consider to be positives such as learning a second language and being exposed to a wide range of people from different backgrounds. The people of Phuket are quite diverse in terms of ethnicity, religious beliefs, and cultural traditions and they all live and intermingle in harmony for the most part. Few countries are as accepting and non-judgmental to the LGBTQ community as Thailand.
Once again perfection is rare and Phuket is no exception. There are some facets of Thai culture and society that parents may find to be a disagreeable influence on their kids. There’s a thread of racism in Thai culture where darker skin is considered less beautiful with other stigmas attached, however, these attitudes are gradually shifting. Westerners can be unfairly targeted by police at times and the culture of corruption is prevalent and generally accepted which some parents may find troublesome.
While Phuket might not be the utopia parents might wish for, many expats relocate here and find a safe, supportive, and rewarding environment for them and their families.