Renting Property in Phuket
Many people come to Phuket for long-term stays. Some people come to relax for the 6-months of the high-season before returning home to make money again ready to fund their next trip. Others come with the intention of staying for years or even permanently. The expense and complications of purchasing a property in Phuket means that even for many of the long-stayers, the rental property market is the more attractive option.
The rental market in Phuket is very competitive and in many ways, offers better value for money than purchasing. There are plenty of rental properties around, either furnished or unfurnished and catering to most budgets.
Most rentals expect a minimum stay of 6-months. You can find short-term rental apartments around the back of some of the tourist resorts such as along Nanai Road in Patong where you can find furnished apartments available on monthly terms. Away from the tourist resorts in the more residential areas, you are mostly looking at 6-month or 1-year rental contracts.
Generally, you will be expected to pay a deposit of somewhere between 1-month to 3-months rent. Your chances of reclaiming this deposit will greatly depend on your relationship with your landlord as much as how you maintain the property.
The majority of property rentals are private but there are also property developers that rent units directly to the public.
Rental prices for unfurnished, single-room apartments can start from as low as 2,000 baht a month but these are very basic units with concrete floors and a wardrobe-sized bathroom. They mostly aim at the Thai market.
You can find small, comfortable, western-style bungalows from as little as 6,000 baht a month. More commonly, you can find 2-3 bedroom houses from 10,000 to 20,000 baht a month. At the higher end of the market, rentals with pool or beach location can cost well in excess of 50,000 baht a month.
How to Find Rental Properties
It comes as a surprise to many newcomers to the Thai property market that the most commonly accepted method to find a rental is to get out on the road and look. First, you need to decide where on the island you want to live. See our descriptions of the main residential areas of Phuket below.
Once you have selected your preferred area, you get in your car or on your bike and drive around looking for properties with 'for rent' signs. When you see a property you like, you phone the number on the sign and start negotiating with the owner. It might help to bring a Thai friend, as the property owner may not speak English.
Another option is to check in the Phuket Gazette classifieds for rental properties but there is a limited selection.
Some people like to use an agent. Of course, agents charge fees for their service so you may end up paying over the going rate. If you want to use an agent then www.houseinphuket.com have a good reputation. You could also check this new site www.phuketrenthouse.com which allows free listing of rental properties.
Residential Areas in Phuket
This is not really a residential area. It is the major tourist resort in Phuket. However, plenty of people want to be where the action is and therefore there are plenty of residential properties around the back of town. There are nice houses on the lower slopes of the hills and plenty of condos in town. You will pay a bit of a premium for the pleasure of living in the tourism center but prices are not prohibitive. It is the most hectic area of Phuket.
Karon and Kata
This area is a good compromise for those who want to be in a tourism center but who want somewhere a bit more laid back than Patong. The area still has the amenities you would expect of a tourist center. There are lots of restaurants and bars and three nice beaches.
Rawai / Nai Harn
This is probably the most popular residential area for foreign residents. There are plenty of well-priced house rentals. There are also lots of restaurants and bars including many that serve western food. Nai Harn is a lovely beach and Rawai is known for its fresh seafood and as a set-off point for boat trips to the nearby islands. The area is a little remote from amenities such as major shopping outlets. The recent opening of a Tesco Metro store in nearby Chalong has eased this inconvenience. The area has also suffered from a recent spate of late night muggings.
There is a small ex-pat community in Chalong. The pier is the main set-off point for diving, fishing and cruise trips. There are some good restaurants and it is only a short drive to Kata or Karon. The local beaches are no good for swimming but they are picturesque. There is a Tesco Metro.
Phuket Town has plenty of character and history. There are many points of interest and you will never run out of new places to eat. There are not many foreign residents in town and it is an area where you need to integrate with the locals to fully enjoy its attractions.
This is a good central location to be close to most things. You do not have a local beach although Patong is only a 15-minute drive over the hill. It is the area with most of the major shopping malls. It is a quiet area with a few bars and restaurants dotted around. There are two golf courses. There are loads of house rentals and quite a few condo blocks. There is a significant ex-pat population spread around the area.
This is the next beach resort north of Patong. The local population is mostly Muslim so the area tends to be very quiet. There are a few tourist bars and restaurants and the beach is very nice. There is not much in the way of local amenities but Patong is only a winding 15-minute drive over the hills. There are quite a few house rentals at the back of town and a good sprinkling of ex-pat residents.
Surin / Bang Tao / Cherng Talay
The property developers have been marketing this area as Phuket's up-market residential location. They have developed many residential estates including some high-end developments. You can still find reasonably priced house rentals. It is a quiet area with few amenities although a Tesco Metro has recently opened. There are some very nice restaurants around and the local beaches are lovely. There is a golf course.
This little town in the center of Phuket was once the island's capital. It is still a well-populated area but has few attractions for foreign residents other than the cheap rental prices and the opportunity for peace and quiet. It is a 20-minute drive to the nearest beaches and a similar drive to the nearest major shopping malls. There is a small ex-pat population in this area.
The north of the island is still mostly undeveloped and very beautiful. The
airport is here but is not as intrusive as you might expect. There are some
lovely beaches and great scenery. There is only a small ex-pat population.
This is mostly because of the distance from the island's main amenities,
which are in the south of Phuket. There are a few residential developments
dotted around the area and rental prices are very reasonable. There are two
golf courses in the area and a boat marina.
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