House hunting in Phuket

After our one week in Phuket Town was over, we decided to go on a mini vacation for an extended weekend in a neighbouring town (Patong) across the mountain hill range. More importantly, Graham really wanted a chance to hang out on a rooftop pool, and I had never been.

So, I finally experienced the awesomeness of a rooftop pool. Our Airbnb was far enough away from the hopping Bangla Road that we didn’t hear anything, thank goodness.

We walked around Patong Beach, but opted not to hang around this touristy area, as we had a nearly private pool (did I mention it was on the roof?).

After deciding to live in Phuket for a variety of reasons, our immediate priority was finding a house that we could call “home”. House hunting here in Phuket is very… disorganized. First off, we were told not to bother looking online. Realtors mark up the prices exorbitantly, it’s not even worth the time.

Phuket house-hunting pro tip #1: The best way to find a house is to drive around neighbourhoods, look for “to rent” signs, call the number and arrange for a viewing. Do this over and over and over until you find a house you like, then start negotiating (also known as bartering) over the rent. That’s right, you barter the rent like you do a cheap elephant souvenir. As soon as landlords see you’re white, they jack up the price about 30%. Sigh. Thai-style, right?

We have been so so so blessed with our church group in the three short weeks we’ve been here, I sometimes have to pinch myself to truly believe it’s real. David and his wife Joy (and their daughter Jazz) have been so unbelievably giving and kind to us, it really makes me want to cry somedays because I’m not sure what we did to deserve them in our lives. 

The family has taken hours and hours of their days to help us find a home. In fact, they even went to a home viewing for us WITHOUT us. What’s extra special about this family is that they speak Thai… being in Thailand for 29 years, I’m sure the language can rub off on you! In fact, we were told that, when Joy speaks Thai, she sounds like she’s from the north. This is AWESOME for us because I’m nearly positive we got a Thai price on our home (which we couldn’t have found without her!). 

Phuket house-hunting pro tip #2: Find someone who speaks Thai who can help you.

Pros of house-hunting in Phuket:

  • Depending on the home, they can be very well maintained. 
  • Housing is cheap. Here in Phuket you can find anything from a studio (no kitchen) from ~$300/month to 5 bedroom homes with private pools. I’ve seen houses going for around $2,000/month. 
  • Everything is negotiable. Literally, everything. Our home didn’t have a refrigerator, so we made it a stipulation. We also wanted the hot water heaters changed, so that was done. Can we have bowls and cutlery? Oh sure, I’ll bring those as soon as you sign the year-long contract. Ha.
  • Long term rentals (6 months +) allow for lower monthly rates. You can rent for as little or as long as you want. Like I said, it can all be arranged.

Cons of house-hunting in Phuket:

  • If you don’t know anyone who speaks Thai, house hunting can be the most frustrating process ever and you will more than likely get ripped off. I was Joy’s moral support when she was calling around. 
  • Some houses can be very… mangy. 
  • The pricing differs depending on the colour of your skin. More to come on dual pricing later.
  • The colours. Hoo boy do the Asians love their bright colours. Half of our master bedrooms walls are fuchsia. Half our house is a light pink. The outside of our house is orange. Nothing matches nor makes sense here (see purple house above).

Our home

 We moved into our house only FIVE DAYS after we decided to live in Phuket! 

I’m not sure of the square footage, but we have three bedrooms – two have king size beds and one has a bunk bed!, two bathrooms, a fairly large living room, a dining room, massive kitchen and carpark area, as well as access to the community pool. The place came fully furnished, so all we needed to do was buy “home essentials” (read: bedding, towels, kitchenware and appliances, food, and internet). We spent the better part of two weeks running around on our motorbike, making plenty of trips to Tesco. The Makro (a Costco-like bulk store) runs were saved for Joy and her vehicle – again, blessing! 

Just outside of our home we have a giant mango tree (!), a pomegranate tree and some sort of starfruit tree. 

All of this for half the price of our one bedroom apartment outside downtown Calgary, Alberta.

Of course, a house never feels like a home until a woman nests, right? This home doesn’t allow for much to be done, mostly because it’s temporary for us and partly because the walls have ridiculous paint colours and a funky wall trim. I did, however, find two great DIY craft ideas that I managed to make before our first guests arrived!

This rolled up book page wreath was quite fun to make.

On another wall, I made a few book page flowers and hung them around a different picture. If you take a look *really* closely, you can see the book is in Thai

Our house is starting to feel like a home and we’re ready for our next set of visitors! Who’s coming to visit?

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