Phuket City Guide

by Jose Marc Castro on August 19, 2008

thailandFLAG200Phuket is the largest island in Thailand, located on the western coast of the southern section of the country. Drawing its name from the Malay word for “mountain”–bukit– Phuket is primarily a tourist town, an industry from which it draws most of its income. The island is approximately the size of Singapore and is connected to mainland Thailand by a bridge on the Andaman Sea.

It is in fact known worldwide for its many beautiful natural features that support this industry, and Phuket attracts thousands of people to its gorgeous beaches and stunning mountain vistas every year. Comprised of a heady blend of different nationalities, including Thais, Chinese, Malays and Chao Leh sea gypsies, Phuket’s residents are as colorful and distinctive as its surroundings.

The beauty of the beaches have been described in a post at the Thailand Expat Forum last November 11, 2008:

There are about nine major beaches along the west coast of the island

While I LOVE the island and intend to live the rest of my life here, I wouldn’t recommend that you move your family anywhere in the world without first visiting the place. Or I am hoping at least that you have some experience in Thailand – that would help you understand what living here is/can be like.

Phuket is/can be a truly delightful place to be if you purposely avoid the whining expats who complain constantly. Avoid them just as you would in any other country.

Residential Places in Phuket

The laidback and peaceful lifestyle is one of the primary reasons for Phuket’s popularity among expatriates, many of whom have chosen to take up residence in the city. One short holiday visit is usually all it takes before new visitors are convinced of the suitability of the city for long-term residence and retirement. At present, over 12,000 expats have made their home in Phuket, and the number is steadily on the rise. While on the island, you can choose to stay in either Mueang Phuket, where the city is, or in Kathu or Thalang.

Residents of other countries can normally buy, rent and lease property in Phuket and all over Thailand, although some restrictions do apply. You would do well to discuss all the possible ramifications of such a move before plunking down your money.

Prices tend to vary widely dependent on where you are in Phuket, so you should check out some reputable real estate websites first. Generally, real estate prices in Phuket town tend to be cheaper than in heavily tourist-oriented areas such as Patong Beach. To give you an idea of rental prices, a single bedroom unit will typically cost you around 3,500 Baht a month, while a 2-storey apartment unit will cost you up to 18,000 Baht a month. Houses rental rates will obviously be higher, with a range of 10,000 to 40,000 Baht a month being the normal range.

There is a downside though to residing in the city, as shared in a post at the Thailand Expat Forum last October 7, 2009:

Amongst the expats , Pucket is known as the armpit of Thailand although it has its good merits also , it tends to be dirty with polluted beaches because the Thai tend to throw their garbage all over the beach and it is mostly only Farang who cares about cleaning it up .

Hospitals and Universities of Phuket

Thailand has been known all over the world for a number of years now as a center for reconstructive and enhancement surgery. The quality of their services, their extremely reasonable rates, and the expertise of their doctors–many of whom have been trained in the finest medical institutions abroad–have contributed largely to this stellar reputation. This excellence in medical care extends to Phuket, where there are a host of public and private hospitals, as well as smaller specialized health care facilities to choose form.

The most prestigious hospital in Phuket by far is the Phuket International Hospital. The largest and most modern medical facility in the region, it is also one of the best private hospitals in the country. Phuket International Hospital offers both local residents and visitors from all over the world excellent diagnostic and therapeutic care in a wide variety of fields.

Their excellence in service and the quality of facilities is belied by their very reasonable rates. You can find them at 44 Chalermprakiat Ror 9 Rd, Phuket 83000, Thailand, or you can call them at + 66 76 249 400 and fax them at +66 76 210 936. You can also email them at [email protected], or visit their website at www.phuket-international-hospital.com for more information.

Some other hospitals that you can find in Phuket are the Mission Hospital Phuket, Bangkok Phuket Hospital, Phuket Ruampaet Hospital, and Vachira Hospital. One of the hospitals you should avoid is the Andaman Medical Center in Patong Beach as it is overpriced by at least ten times compared to other services offered by hospitals.

There are a number of world-class educational establishments in Phuket, among them Phuket Technical College, Phuket Thalang Technical College, Phuket Community College, Prince of Songkla University, and Rajabhat Institute Phuket.

Commercial Places in Phuket

Aside from being known for its remarkable natural features, Phuket is also known worldwide as an ideal shopping destination. Anything you can imagine, from internationally famous designer brands and haute couture to traditional Thai silks and local handicrafts can be found in the city. Phuket is also one of the foremost places for cultured pearls, nielloware, pewterware, ornaments and dried seafood. These shops are found on Ratsada, Phang-nga, Montri, Yaowarat and Tilok-U-thit roads on Phuket town.

Gold in all its forms is also a particularly good buy in Phuket, the prices of this precious metal being much cheaper in Thailand than anywhere else in the world. Patong is the main shopping district for tourists and it is definitely worth a visit.

The giant shopping malls in the area are Central Festival at Phuket Town and Jungceylon in Patong. But if you want to get a bit more adventurous and hunt for better bargains, you should definitely try exploring the smaller shops in Karon, Kata and downtown Phuket town.

Service Establishments of Phuket

Electricity in Thailand is primarily provided by the state run company, Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand or EGAT, and they sell electricity to both the Metropolitan Electricity Authority or MEA and the Provincial Electricity Authority or PEA. The Metropolitan Electricity Authority supplies electricity to the Bangkok metropolitan area while the Provincial Electricity Authority supplies electricity to the rest of the country including Phuket.

EGAT can be reached through their website at www.egat.com, and the Provincial Electricity Authority can be reached at 200 Ngam Wong Wan Road, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900 Thailand. PEA’s telephone number is (+66) 0-2589-0100-1 and you can also reach them through their call center by simply dialing 1129. You can also fax them at (+66) 0-2589-4850-1. On the Internet you can find them at www.pea.co.th or you can email them at [email protected].

There are two main landline telephone providers in Phuket: TOT and TT&T. It will normally take a week to get your telephone installed and you can pay your bill at the post office or any 7-11 branch.

Embassies in Phuket

In Thailand, diplomatic concerns of all British expatriates are handled by the British Embassy in Bangkok. You can find them at 14 Wireless Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330. You can also call them at the main embassy line at +66 (0) 2 305 8333, and at (66) (2) 305 8229 for consular information and (66) (2) 305 8333 press 2 for Visa information.

You can also fax them at the following numbers: (66) (2) 305 8372 for chancery, (66) (2) 255 8619 for commercial inquiries and general information, (66) (2) 255 9278 for management, (66) (2) 255 6051 for consular, and (66) (2) 254 9579 for Visa concerns. Their email address is [email protected].

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