Why and How Should You Retire in Phuket?

Phuket Lifestyle

Nov 3, 2021

Living in Phuket can be a breeze especially if you are planning to retire here. Bestowed with stunning landscapes and modern infrastructure, and affordable pool villas in Phuket, this beautiful island has welcomed tourists and expat retirees for decades now. Offering a slice of cosmopolitan living by tranquil tropical beaches, Phuket has everything you need to have a fulfilling life after retirement.

Accessibility and Demographics

Easily accessible by direct flights from major international destinations, it takes only one-and-a-half-hour to reach Phuket from Bangkok by flight. Inhabited with a population of about 600,000 and 115000 expats from across the globe who have made it their permanent home, Phuket is Thailand’s largest island. 

The island stretches across 220 miles, making it easy to drive around. Be prepared to delightfully discover untouched beaches and quiet places when you veer away from the main road. And if you prefer a livelier scene, head to one of the many popular beaches to mingle with interesting people over cocktails and great food. The thing about Phuket is that it is large enough to explore a lot many things yet serene enough to lie back and relax, away from the maddening chaos of big cities. 

Cost of Living

Phuket gives you the freedom to decide on a low or high budget for living, depending on what you choose. If you blend in with the local way of living, there are plenty of affordable restaurants and fresh produce markets that you can visit. However, if you enjoy high-end options, there are plenty of fine dining restaurants, indulgent leisure activities, and international supermarkets to cater to your needs. 

A budget of $2800 a month for a couple can afford them a good life anywhere on the island. Due to the low cost of living, you can afford other luxuries that are unaffordable in other countries such as a full-time helper who can clean and cook for you for about $350 a month. 

Luxury pool villas in Phuket close to the beach are much more affordable than any other popular beach destination outside Thailand, such as the Maldives or the Capri islands.

Quality and Affordable Healthcare

Healthcare in Phuket is affordable yet of high quality. There are a number of international hospitals that offer world-class treatment and facilities. Most doctors and medical staff speak English and also have several translators to make sure of a smooth visit to the hospital. Thailand is known for its medical tourism for the excellent healthcare it offers.

Bangkok Hospital is a network of world-renowned, JCI accredited hospitals, and there is a branch in Phuket Town. Other noteworthy hospitals are Phuket International Hospital and Mission Hospital. The island is also scattered with plenty of local clinics with English-speaking doctors who are equally competent.

Warm Climate Year-Round

Phuket’s tropical climate is surely inviting for those looking to retire here, especially for people from cold countries with a harsh climate. Most of the year is warm and sunny. The seas are calm and the skies are clear. The wet season despite the monsoon rains is pleasant and green.

Variety of Leisure Activities

There’s more to Phuket than just the sea and sand. The island offers plenty of choices for recreation. There are several yoga studios, wellness retreats, world-class golf courses, besides yachting and other adventurous water activities.

The island has modern movie theaters showing the latest blockbusters, massive cosmopolitan malls with big brands, as well as plenty of local boutiques and quirky street markets to keep you engaged for hours together. If you enjoy wildlife, there are several national parks that you could visit, especially the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project where you can even volunteer your time to work for those adorable animals. Phuket has over 10 golf courses, some of them are award-winning while some have spectacular beachfront courses suitable for every level of golfer.

Expat Community and Local Culture

Phuket has an extremely large expat community. You will be able to meet people from many countries and backgrounds. There are plenty of expat groups and events that allow you to network and meet like-minded people fostering a sense of community.

Thai locals are friendly and hospitable. Their culture is rich and interesting, and the local language can be learned if you so desire. The island has 80% Buddhists and 20% Muslims, and a small number of people from other religions too.

Visa Requirements for Retiring in Thailand

Initial Retirement Visa 

Citizens from many countries such as the U.S. and most of Europe do not need a visa to visit Thailand. All they require is a valid passport and a return trip planned before entering Thailand.

If you plan to retire in Thailand, you need to get a retirement visa, also known as a Non-Immigrant Long Stay Visa. You can do this in Thailand or at a consulate in your home country. To procure the visa you have to be at least 50 years old and should pass a criminal background check. You should also have a valid passport that doesn’t expire for at least one year. Over and above this, you need to meet certain financial requirements. 

Financial Requirements for Retirement Visa

-You need to have a Thai bank account with at least 800,000 baht (about $24,500).
-You should have a monthly income or pension of at least 65,000 baht (about $2,000).
-Have a combination of the previous two options, so that they bring your total funds to at least 800,000 baht ($24,500).

If you decide to go with the first option, you need to have the money in the Thai account for at least two months before your visa application and provide a letter from the bank showing proof of deposits.

Visa Extension and Reapplication

Your retirement visa is valid for one year; however, you will still need to report to immigration every 90 days, failing which your visa may become void. You are not allowed to work on the island with a retirement visa. 

The retirement visa also does not let you leave and re-enter the country without a re-entry permit which can be applied through a simple process. As your retirement visa nears expiration, you will need to apply for a visa extension which is similar to the initial application with some additional requirements such as proof of address, copies of bank statements, and copies of all the pages of your passport.

If you are a resident of the US or some of the other countries that qualify, you might be obtaining a five-year retirement visa although the threshold for funds for this is much higher. You might need to show at least 3 million baht in a Thai bank account at least 12 months before application.

In Conclusion

Retiring in Phuket has many benefits apart from having an exotic tropical life. Life on the island is easy with the availability of major modern amenities that you might require for modern living minus any cultural shocks. It’s no wonder why so many expats have been moving to Phuket for decades now to claim a slice of the dream lifestyle on this gorgeous island at affordable prices.

If you are interested in Phuket pool villa investment opportunities, contact our team at SKHAI to learn about some amazing deals on spectacular beachside properties on this marvelous island.