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Koh Phangan, Thailand

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Sep 05, 2023

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees talk about what it is really like living in Koh Phangan, Thailand. They offer advice about meeting people, cost of living, finding a home and more.

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What do I need to know about living in Koh Phangan?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Koh Phangan, they said:

"Expats considering retirement in Koh Phangan, should be aware of several important factors. Firstly, they need to understand the visa requirements, which typically involve obtaining a retirement visa, also known as a Non-Immigrant Long Stay Visa. This visa requires a monthly income or a deposit in a Thai bank account. The cost of living in Koh Phangan is relatively low compared to Western countries, but it's important to budget for unexpected expenses. Healthcare is generally affordable and of good quality, but it's recommended to have health insurance to cover any major medical costs. The climate in Koh Phangan is tropical, with high temperatures and humidity year-round, and a rainy season from October to January. Expats should be prepared for this climate and consider how it might affect their health and lifestyle. The local culture is heavily influenced by Buddhism, and it's important to respect local customs and traditions. This includes dressing modestly, especially when visiting temples, and avoiding any actions that could be seen as disrespectful to the Thai royal family. The official language is Thai, and while English is commonly spoken in tourist areas, it's less common in rural areas. Learning some basic Thai phrases can be very helpful. Koh Phangan is known for its full moon parties, which attract a large number of tourists. However, the island also offers a quieter lifestyle with beautiful beaches, nature, and a strong expat community. The island has a good infrastructure with reliable internet, which is important for those who plan to work or stay connected with family and friends back home. However, power outages can occur, especially during the rainy season. Finally, it's important to understand the legal system in Thailand, which is different from Western countries. Property laws, in particular, can be complex, and it's recommended to seek legal advice before making any major investments," wrote one member in Koh Phangan.

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What do I need to know before moving to Koh Phangan?

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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