MANY people consider Phuket as the ultimate tourist destination, and for good reasons: good restaurants, great resorts and hotels, plenty of activities to do, whether it is raining or the sun is shining, and some of the most beautiful beaches there are in South-East Asia. All the ingredients to spend fantastic holidays are there.
But what is it like to actually live in paradise? How easy is it to find a job on this small island that is Phuket? Can people make a decent living relying on mainly the tourism industry? Let’s have a look at some of these questions by using the best examples I could find: myself!
I was born in Phuket in 1989 and grew up in a family of 6: mum and dad, my two aunties, my younger brother and myself. I attended the Satree Phuket School, then furthered my studies in Bangkok at the Thammasat University. Once I graduated in Mass Communications, I came back to Phuket and searched for a job where my skills would be useful, only to end up working for a hotel. Yes, a hotel.
Hospitality jobs are the easiest to get on an island which relies primarily on tourism. Hotels and resorts are consistently looking for Food & Beverage, Engineers, Operations and Front Office people; I ended up in the latter. While there is a lot of upside working in hospitality, this isn’t really what I was looking for, and finally moved to something closer to my heart; journalism!
Since then, I have worked for some of the biggest newspapers and magazines in both Bangkok and Phuket, until I decided to freelance for some publications at the end of 2016.
So, can one make a decent living in Phuket? If you compare it financially to Western standards, certainly not; but let’s not forget that the cost of living in Phuket is much cheaper than its European counterpart. Phuket has some of the best hospitals in South-East Asia, useful when you get sick, great schooling options (public, private and international schools are all available) and the road infrastructure is not that bad, should you own a car or a bike, as public transportation isn’t a forte of the island.
Housing is on the more affordable side than Bangkok (you can rent a house in Phuket for the same price as a One-Bedroom Condo in Bangkok) and the food is usually diverse, both in taste and in price. I find people to be genuinely friendlier that in other regions, mostly coming from the fact that Phuket being small, a stronger sense of community can be felt from one village to another.
All in all, I would strongly recommend to anyone to give it try; come on the island for a few months, see how it goes for you here, and decide for yourself. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am heading to the beautiful Nai Harn Beach to get some sun tan, but I’ll be back next week with an exciting story to be shared about Phuket.
Top: A romantic sunset in Phuket.
First inset: Working in Phuket has its plus points.
Second inset: A deliciously cooked Phuket fish.
Third inset: A sunny day on one of Phuket’s white-sand beaches.
By Nattha Thepbamrung