As the old cliché goes – property is all about location, location, location.

So here is your guide to what each area of Phuket, Thailand can offer you.

To keep it simple I’ve split Phuket into 4 zones:

North West Phuket (North of Patong)
South West Phuket (Patong and South of Patong)
North East Phuket (North of Phuket Town)
South East Phuket (Phuket Town and South of Phuket Town)

Part 1 – North West Phuket (North of Patong)

Kamala Beach

Kamala is a good option for a rental property as it is close to Patong and popular with tourists.

Its long stretch of beach is flanked on the left by a headland known as ‘Millionaires Mile’. Here you will find huge ocean-front villas with prices from US$3,000,000 upwards.

Nearer to the town you can find a good range of reasonably priced properties starting at around 3,500,000 Baht (US$ 113,839) for a studio and 6,000,000 Baht (US$ 195,153) for a two bedroom apartment.

Surin Beach

When Phuket was first developing as a tourist destination in the late 1980’s, Amanpuri built their resort villas on the headland next to Surin Beach. They chose the location for its privacy and natural beauty.

But it wasn’t until the late 1990′s that private villas and apartments started to be built here.

The first high-end estates, such as Ayara Surin and Baan Thai Surin Hill sold for prices over US$ 1,000,000 back in 2000, due to their location and ocean views.

And today these villas sell for prices in excess of US$ 2,500,000. But in many you will have to pick up the cost of refurbishments.

Surin Beach is one of the most expensive places to buy property in Phuket. But you are likely to see the best return on your investment due to limited supply and high demand.

You won’t find any new ocean-view villa developments in Surin as there is little buildable hillside land available.

Bangtao Beach

Just north of Surin, Bangtao Beach is an impressive 8km stretch of sand – one of the longest in Phuket.

In the 1980’s, when Amanpuri were building their resort in Surin, Laguna were building a resort complex of what’s now six, 5-star hotels next to Bangtao Beach.

Property at the northern end of Bangtao Beach is usually more expensive than in the south. This is because the north is close to Laguna Resorts and has the best beaches. The south is a harbour where long tail fishing boats are moored.

Many expats live in the Bangtao area as it’s quiet and not over-developed. You also have conveniences like Tesco’s, MacDonald’s and plenty of shops, bars and restaurants on your doorstep.

Prices in Bangtao start at around 8,000,000 Baht (US$ 260,171) for a two bedroom apartment, with villas from 16,000,000 Baht (US$ 520,342).

Layan Beach

Just north of Bangtao Beach you’ll find Layan Beach – one of my favourite spots.

The reason I like it? It’s one of the quietest places on the west coast of Phuket; with calm seas and a gently sloping beach.

But there aren’t many property developments in Layan because it borders the Sirinath National Park. This means most of the land in the area can’t be built on.

As a result, you can get very good rental yields in the area. In fact I know one owner who is making over 16% on his one bedroom apartment.

Naithon Beach

Naithon is a quiet town which almost shuts down in the low season (April to October). It’s also next to the Sirinath National Park.

And because it’s so peaceful and green, you’ll find several high-end villa developments here such as Malaiwana.

Malaiwana has a good location, right on the ocean front and its own beach club.

The villas are very high quality, perhaps the best you’ll find on Phuket.

And what’s more, the prices are low enough for you to make a very big capital gain when you sell.

There has been talk of Naithon being the ‘new Surin’. In my opinion that’s a way off. But I am convinced that property prices are on the way up in the area.

Naiyang Beach

Naiyang is close to the airport.

And it’s perhaps for this reason it seems to be forgotten – although there’s little airport noise.

The town is rural but has several good hotels and guesthouses.

Naiyang is convenient for the Blue Canyon Golf Course but it’s around thirty minutes to the nearest large supermarket.

There are a few property developments in the area. But it’s unlikely your rental returns and capital appreciation will be high.

Mai Khao Beach

Next to the airport you’ll find Mai Khao Beach – Phuket’s longest stretch of white sand, which goes all the way to the northern tip of the Island.

Apart from the huge resort development of West Sands, the JW Marriott hotel and Mai Khao Dreams Villa Resort and Spa, you won’t find much more in this area and it’s a long way from town.

The North-West coast of Phuket does have a lot to offer.

And although prices in this area north of Patong can be some of the highest in Phuket, it does produce some of the best rental yields and capital appreciation in Thailand.

Capital growth in this area is typically between 10% and 25% per year. But it can be as high as 50% per annum for properties with a good ocean view in Surin.

Places to watch out for are Naithon and Layan which remain relatively undeveloped due to the Sirinath National Park.

Part 2 – South West Phuket (Patong & South of Patong)

Patong Beach

If you are looking for a reasonably priced, entry level apartment then Patong is one of the best places to buy.

As you probably know, its central location on the west coast means it’s convenient for the airport (around 35 minutes). And its lively nightlife, bars and restaurants make it one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Island.

Patong is most popular with singles and couples on short breaks. Many prefer to stay in an apartment rather than a hotel, so rental returns tend to be good as occupancy rates are high.

You’ll find a good range of smaller studios (around 30m2) and one bedroom apartments (about 60m2) for prices from 2,500,000 Baht (US$83,000) to around 6,000,000 Baht (US$199,000) – depending on location, size and quality.

You won’t find many larger two bedroom apartments unless you buy off plan.

Sea view apartments are in short supply in Patong as most development is at sea level. But you can find a few on the northern edge of the town and further up the coast in Kalim.

Tri-Trang

Tri-Trang was off most people’s radar until recently.

This small sandy beach is just 3km south of Patong.

The good thing about Tri-Trang is it’s just a five minute drive from central Patong but has a peaceful, natural environment.

You should be able make some good capital gains if you buy the right property in this area.

Karon

Karon is an established seaside town with hotels such as The Hilton and Movenpick.

It wouldn’t be at the top of my list for investment property, but it is ideal for a holiday home.

Most of the available apartments are set back from the beach by about 500 metres in high-rise blocks.

If you want an ocean view you need to be on the higher floors (obviously) and your view won’t be great; a panoramic view of the town with a slither of ocean at the top.

Kata

Just south of Karon, Kata is a bustling seaside town which gets a little congested in the high season due to its narrow streets.

Many people find it quite charming, all the same.

Its two beaches, Kata Noi and the main Kata Beach, are regarded as amongst the best in Phuket. Of the two, Kata Noi is usually quieter.

Property development on the hillsides surrounding Kata started in the 1990′s and land is now scarce.

So today it’s hard to find new property launches in the area and villas are in short supply.

Kata is more expensive than Patong and Karon. But rental yields are good with high occupancy rates all year round.

Naiharn

Naiharn is the most south-westerly town in Phuket.

It’s located in the centre of a national park so land near the beach is protected.

Many regard Naiharn as Phuket’s prettiest beach; it has a wide bay with tropical rainforest on either side.

The area is quiet and popular with expats.

If you are looking for a retirement home or you intend to stay in Phuket for longer periods, Naiharn is worth considering.

You’ll find plenty of foreign owned businesses; restaurants, bars, bakeries and shops. In fact, some people think Naiharn is a little too Westernised for them.

Property in Naiharn is mainly limited to villas and prices are reasonable.

You won’t find any ocean view properties in Naiharn due to the national park, but you will find plenty of choice.

The downside to Naiharn has to be the distance from the airport; it will take you a minimum of one and a half hours to get there.

In summary, if you’re looking for a reasonably priced investment property you should consider Patong and my top tip, Tri-Trang.

If you prefer something a little more upmarket, with good rental yields, look at Kata but be prepared to pay higher prices.

If you are considering longer stays or a permanent move, Naiharn is the place to be on the South West Coast. But, remember, it’s a long way from the airport and some consider it too Westernised.

Part 3 – North East Phuket (North of Phuket Town)

let’s take a closer look at property on the North East Coast of Phuket, Thailand; north of Phuket Town.

You will discover why it’s not as popular as the West. Why it is ideal if you enjoy boating. And what you need to look out for when you buy.

The truth about the North East Coast

The North East of Phuket is largely un-developed and there is a good reason for this:

There are no real beaches.

You will come across one or two but these are man-made beaches (i.e. sand was brought in) and they need constant maintenance as the sand washes away.

The reason for this is that the East Coast is tidal, whereas the West is not. At low tide on the East Coast the water goes out a long way and reveals large areas of mud.

This is ok if you enjoy beachcombing. But if you prefer to lie on the beach, swim in the sea and feel the sand between your toes, the East Coast is probably not for you.

So, if a developer or agent recommends you see some East Coast properties at a certain time of day, be wary. They have probably checked the tide tables and you will be seeing the coastline at its best – high tide.

You should insist on viewing properties at low tide also. Then you can make your own mind up about the view – when it looks at its worst.

No beaches – but you’ll like the view

What the North East Coast lacks in beaches it more than makes up for with its views.

In fact, I think they are some of the best in Phuket.

Many properties have views of Phang Nga Bay’s limestone karsts and the islands of Koh Raet, Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi.

Perfect if you love boating

Phang Nga Bay just off the East Coast is one of my favourite places. It is a national park, full of incredible wildlife, caves and deserted beaches. If you own a boat you have all this on your doorstep.

Phuket’s marinas are all on the East Coast as the seas on the West Coast are too rough in the wet season. The oldest and furthest north is Yacht Haven, which opened in the late 1980’s.

Since then another three have been built; Boat Lagoon, Royal Phuket Marina and Ao Por Grand Marina.

Royal Phuket Marina and Boat Lagoon are the most developed with shops, bars and restaurants. Boat Lagoon also has full service facilities and a dry-dock.

Retail and residential areas are planned for Ao Por Grand Marina – but these could be a few years away.

North East infrastructure and amenities

Unless you live at Boat Lagoon or Royal Phuket Marina it’s unlikely you’ll find the North East very convenient.

Limited development means there is a shortage of amenities and you will have to drive to pick up anything you need, sometimes fairly long distances.

You won’t find any large supermarkets and the smaller mini-marts are limited and basic.

Restaurants are confined mainly to local roadside shacks and a small number of independent hotels.

What kind of property can you find here?

There isn’t a huge choice of property on the East Coast. Most is located around Ao Por, on Cape Yamu, or at Royal Phuket Marina and Boat Lagoon.

As land is less expensive, villas in the North East usually have larger plots than those on the West, particularly at the upper end of the market.

Most have good views of Phang Nga Bay and some have their own waterfront.

If you’d prefer an apartment, there are a number of small developments in Ao Por which are also worth considering.

You can also find property on some of the islands off the North East Coast.

Koh Yao Noi, for example, has some independent resorts and a few branded hotel developments.

Is the North East a good investment?

If you are buying for investment it is still far too early. Interest from property investors in the North East Coast of Phuket is limited.

Five years ago everyone was talking about the East Coast catching up with the West due to cheaper land prices and less tourists. But in truth, it has never happened.

Your capital appreciation will also be lower than on the West Coast and when you sell you’ll have far fewer interested buyers.

Yes, you will find property prices are less. But you’ll have difficulty renting your property unless it is linked to a good five-star hotel.

Even then, you need to do your homework. Ask to see details of occupancy rates. Look at the room rate per night compared to West Coast rivals. And calculate your nett return carefully.

You won’t find maintenance and common area charges any lower than at West Coast resorts – so you need to factor this into your decision too.

Should you buy on the North East Coast of Phuket?

In reality, you should only consider buying on the North East Coast if it suits your lifestyle.

It is unlikely you will see large gains in the value of your property and rentals will be harder to come by.

In my opinion, it will be at least five and probably more like ten years before the North East Coast starts to gain the same popularity as the West – if ever.

So if you buy here it should be because you enjoy peace and quiet, the lack of tourists and limited development.

If that is more important to you than the convenience of having things on your doorstep, the North East could be ideal for you.

Part 4 – South East Phuket (Phuket Town and South of Phuket Town)

let’s take a look at the South East Coast of Phuket, Thailand; Phuket Town and South.

You will discover why it is popular, the place in Phuket that’s applied for UNESCO World Heritage Status and why Cape Panwa is a bit different to the rest of the East Coast.

Just a few years ago property prices on the South East Coast were much lower than on the West.

It was simple supply and demand – less people buying property in the area meant lower prices.

Today property prices in the South East are still lower but they are starting to catch up.

Like the North East Coast you won’t find many five-star hotels here. It’s most suitable for boat lovers and retirees. The exception is Cape Panwa – but more about that in a moment.

Rawai

If you are considering a more permanent move to Phuket, Rawai is worth a look.

You’ll pay less for your property because it’s not really a tourist town. And that means it’s popular with expats.

There are many foreign-owned restaurants and bars on the seafront. You may even find it a little too Westernised.

But the town has retained some of its original charm – especially near the harbour as fishing is still a primary source of income for many locals.

This means Rawai has an excellent fresh fish market. Here you can buy live lobsters, live prawns, live crabs and many types of fish.

Most property is located within a few kilometres of the ocean but you won’t find many apartments in the area.

If you are buying your property as an investment I wouldn’t recommend Rawai: It’s unlikely you will get good rental yields and capital appreciation is not as high as in other areas of Phuket.

But if you intend to spend longer periods in Phuket it might interest you.

Chalong

Like Rawai, Chalong is not a tourist town. So I wouldn’t recommend you buy here for investment.

Again, you’ll find prices lower than on the West Coast. But you may have difficulty renting your property at a good price. And it will be harder to sell as there is less demand.

A new marina is being built and this may have some positive impact on prices, but it is unlikely to be significant in my opinion.

On the plus side, you have good supermarkets such as Villa Market on your doorstep. And there are plenty of DIY shops, furniture stores and restaurants close by.

Phuket Town

If you have visited Phuket Town you will probably be surprised to hear it’s just applied for UNESCO World Heritage Status.

Most of Phuket Town is pretty basic and lacks any charm at all – except for the areas around Thalang, Krabi and Dibuk Roads.

Over the last few years the local government has spent lots of money restoring shops and houses along Thalang Road to their original condition. They have also buried the ugly electricity cables.

For me, it is all a bit too well done. The houses look as though they have just been built, rather than renovated, and they are painted in some very bright colours.

You won’t find much high-quality property on sale in Phuket Town as it’s mainly a Thai area, but it does have some good restaurants with reasonable prices.

Koh Siray

If you don’t already know Koh Siray – it’s a small island just off the East Coast of Phuket, connected via a road bridge.

Koh Siray has a Sea Gypsy settlement and is where the ferry leaves for some island tours.

There are a small number of property developments – many of which have struggled to sell, as the area is not popular with tourists.

So I recommend you use caution if you are considering buying property there.

Cape Panwa

The area around Cape Panwa is unspoilt and naturally beautiful. You will even find a few beaches in the area, like the one at the Cape Panwa Hotel.

It’s a bit of a trek from the airport – a good 90 minute drive. But if you want privacy and to avoid tourist crowds one resort may be exactly what you’re looking for – Sri Panwa.

Sri Panwa breaks a few rules when it comes to buying property on the East Coast.

In fact, it is one of the few places with a real beach and it’s run as a five-star resort.

The properties were built around the trees and the developer maintained as much of the natural rainforest as possible.

The downside – there isn’t much property still for sale. Prices start at 50,000,000 Baht (US$1,625,832) for a two bed ocean view villa.

Oh, and the views are really something too.

There are some other developments in the area such as Bel Air Panwa. But they are struggling to sell after over five years on the market. So I wouldn’t recommend them as a good investment.

Should you buy on the South East Coast?

In reality, you should only consider buying in this area if it suits your lifestyle and you will be spending longer periods in Phuket.

Buy in the South East because you like to be away from tourist areas but still have contact with expats.

It is unlikely you’ll see large gains in the value of your property and rentals will be harder to come by.

If you are buying for investment, I recommend you concentrate on the North West and South West of Phuket.

Source:RebeccaJK


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