The Kingdom of Thailand is one of the top destinations in the world for tourists and expats alike as it has almost everything you can want and more: friendly locals, lots of fellow expats, good weather all year round, and an overall exciting vibe that’s hard to find anywhere else.
If you’re planning on moving to Phuket, here are a few things about the island you may already know:
- It’s Thailand’s largest island.
- It has a population of almost 600,000.
- You won’t find a shortage of expats as they number close to 115,000. So if you’re looking for friends who speak the same language as you do, it’s highly likely that you’ll bump into at least one when you’re there.
If you’ve finished all the necessary paperwork needed before moving to Thailand, congratulations are in order! Fixing visas and related paperwork can be tiresome, but it’s part and parcel of living as an expat in Thailand.
If you haven’t already, there are many helpful Facebook groups and other online forums where you can post more specific questions about moving to Phuket. But before you do that, here are a few things that could still help before moving to this amazing island:
When figuring out which items to pack, don’t make the mistake of bringing too many items with you. Although Thailand is labelled as a developing nation, the majority of the luxuries you were used to can be easily bought and are readily available on the island online and offline.
However, there are still some things that you will definitely not find, or be ready to pay a premium price for, like your favourite wine and cheese that’s readily available at a nearby Trader Joe’s or good quality bed sheets that aren’t overpriced.
As for gadgets or other tech-related stuff, you need not worry about those as these are readily available and priced fairly.
If you’ve been used to getting around in your hometown using public transport, you’ll find that the easiest way to move around the island is through something else: a motorbike.
If you’d rather move around using a car and have no qualms about spending more on car rentals, then you should know that you can drive in Thailand with your existing domestic driving licence. However, this is only valid for people who’ll stay for less than 6 months. So it’s still best to get an International Driving Permit (IDP).
A lot of people bypass rules and ride around in their motorbikes or rent cars without the proper documents. However, driving rules and etiquette in Thailand is very different and it’s always best to be prepared in case of accidents. For those who got into accidents without the right documents, it’s impossible to get covered if it comes to light that you didn’t secure a valid license.
A lot of people are surprised when restaurants or services offer different prices to locals than to tourists. This can be frustrating but at the end of the day, the cost of living in Phuket is still extremely low. Learning a few Thai words, a nice smile, and a friendly attitude can prevent pricing disparities. Locals, particularly those who live in Phuket, are usually warm, welcoming and kind. So being open and friendly can really go a long way, in general.
The predominant religion in Thailand, as well as Phuket, is Buddhism. Although there are no official public holidays for festivals like Christmas and Easter, you’ll get days off during the Thai New Year, King’s birthday, and so much more. At the same time, about 20% of locals are Muslim. so if you’re interested in learning about the local religions, it’s best to read up on both.
Other Daily Necessities
If you work remotely, you’ll be pleased to know that Phuket has internet services that are cheap, fast, and reliable. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you’ll be happy to know that Phuket has a lot of vegetarian food options. If you’re craving for something specific, international groceries and stores usually offer what you’re looking for.