The title of this section might be a little deceiving. I chose "Thailand on $10 a day" as my header because it was a little more appealing than "Thailand on Mom's Credit Card." You can definitely live on $10 (300 baht) a day if you want to sleep on the beach at night and drink water for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but I wouldn't recommend it. Thailand is known to rain every now and again and sleeping on the beach might prove uncomfortable.
$40 (about 1300 baht) is a more realistic amount of money to set aside for a daily budget. Aside from food, beverages and a beach chair, you may find yourself wanting a place to sleep at night. And if Phuket works its magic on you like it does so many other people, a month long holiday or more may be just what the doctor ordered. If that proves to be the case, then renting an apartment versus staying in a hotel is definitely the way to go.The metal bars make me feel at home
Unlike the U.S., where credit checks, references and security deposits are the norm, in Phuket cash is king. There are a few ways to find an apartment or house here. Yes, you are able to use the internet to to search for apartments in the area, but you'll only find a fraction of what is really available out there. To discover hidden gems, the best way I have found is either word of mouth or to hop on your motorbike and cruise around yourself looking for a new place to call home. What you are looking for is simple:a sign- get ready for it- that says "FOR RENT" with a phone number listed at the bottom. If the place interests you and it's location is appealing, then all you have to do is dial the number listed while you're at the house/apartment. If the apartment isn't run by a property management company, normally the owner will drop everything and come meet you right then and there allowing you to see the interior. If it is through a rental agency, then you may have to set up an appointment to view the digs. If driving around looking for "FOR RENT" signs isn't your cup of tea, then by all means contact a realtor. One particular real estate company in Phuket that far surpasses others is Phillips Realty (www.phillips-property.com/). Dealing with the sale AND rental of properties in Phuket, they have a huge portfolio of high end places in some of the best locations around the island. They are based on the main road in Kamala and agents Dawn or Brennan can be reached by phone @ +66 (0) 76 279 280/81. They know the island like the palm of their hands. And if you are flying into Phuket looking to rent or buy a really nice place, these two people are THE go to people to help find you a perfect place.
If you are dealing directly with the owner of the house and he tells you what the amount is for rent, DO NOT agree to it at first. 99% of the time, he's jacking the price on you and the initial price can be lowered simply by bartering. For instance, my apartment in Kamala was first offered to me for the sum of 15,000 baht (about $500) per month which included air conditioning. However, after some negotiation, I managed to reduce the rent to 13,000 ($440) baht during high season (Nov-Apr, when demand peaks). With the understanding that during low season (May-Oct) my rent would only be 10,000 baht ($330) a month including air conditioning. I've included a few pictures of the place I rent to give you a better idea of what 13,000 baht will get you. My place is two bedroom, about 3 minutes from the beach, and very spacious. Although the patio is encased by metal bars - which turned out to be ideal when PJ became mobile- it makes for a nice place to kick back, sip a beer and watch the sun set behind the mountains leading to Patong.
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