If you’re reading this, then you are already one step closer to making your dreams a reality. Of the millions of visitors that find their way to Phuket each year, many leave wishing they didn’t have to. And some never do. Lucky few are able to call Phuket home while others are fortunate enough to buy a house or condo and return as often as possible. While Phuket isn’t a huge island, it isn’t tiny, so where might one begin their search for an area to fall in love with?
Phuket view point. The view point of Kata beach, Karon beach and Patong beach in Phuket, Thailand | Credit: artapartment by Shutterstock
With 576km2 of land area, the “pearl of the Andaman” is blessed with a variety of mountains, beaches, coastline, villages, towns, and communities. It’s incredibly easy to get attached to one spot, however the rich variety is one of the most alluring attributes of Phuket. One can be snorkeling amongst vibrant reef life or watching troupes of monkeys swinging overheard, and within minutes be enjoying a new release at a movie theater or perusing a Gucci shop.
Undoubtedly one of the most favoured areas for vacationers and expats alike is Cherng Talay. This area is geographically blessed being west-central on the island near lovely Bang Tao, Surin, and Layan beaches as well as an easy 25 minute drive from Phuket International Airport. It’s also where the Laguna resort complex is located which boasts 1,000 acres of 5-star resorts, golf courses, restaurants, and other amenities. A plethora of necessities and conveniences are available from supermarkets with a wide range of international offerings, restaurants representing countless cuisines, family activities like the recently constructed Blue Tree water park, and international schools.
Laguna Phuket and the private sector host series of events to boost Phuket Tourism | Credit: Expatlifeinthailand.com
Just south is Kamala beach with a small, yet growing, predominantly European expat community. Kamala is more residential with fewer commercial options, but Surin and Cherng Talay are easily accessible to the north and Patong to the south.
As Phuket trundles along its path of development, the areas around the airport and north-northeast are generally some of the least developed…for now. Some lush forested areas can even be found and if nature and peace and quiet is more important than nightlife and shopping, this is the area to explore.
Nai Yang is directly south of the airport and is a small community bordering Sirinat National Park. It’s a lovely area with a forested beach and as convenient as it gets for those who need to travel often. A four-lane thoroughfare is nearby providing easy access to other areas of the island including the Phuket Town urban center. Other nearby areas are tiny Nai Thon beach nestled to the south, mellow Pa Klok to the east, and Mai Khao to the north with its long, empty beaches.
At the southern tip of Phuket is Rawai area. Home to a healthy population of long-term expats, this area has seen an uptick in development and bolstered infrastructure in recent years. Here you’ll find the cozy and scenic Nai Harn beach and neighboring lake, various hilltop viewpoints with stunning vistas of small islands dotting the coastline, and the breezy Rawai waterfront and pier. In general there are less offerings than can be found around Cherng Talay, but there’s just about everything one might need including restaurants and cafes, Makro supermarket, wine shops, fresh markets daily, and perhaps a more tightly woven community feel. Many beautiful villas and recent condominium projects can be found here. Chalong is just next door with even more dining, shopping, and schools as well as a large pier and harbor.
Nai Harn Beach | Credit: Suchart Boonyavech on Shutterstock
Phuket is one of only a handful of regions in Thailand where international communities can be found. In Phuket, most of these communities are clustered around the west coast beaches; however the entire island is reasonably accessible. Come explore for yourself and discover your own little piece of paradise.