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Phuket: More than just a short stay...

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I`ve just come back from Phuket and fell in love with Thailand again after my second visit. I loved the interaction with the people, walks along the beach and the colour of the sea, the elephant trekking and so much more. I hadn`t felt so alive in years!

What is it like living in the area? Is it easy to get work? (I`m not interested in earning lots of money) I`m an English teacher and freelance photographer, and love nature and the outdoors.

I`d love to hear other experiences of the area. Also what websites could you recommend for people looking to live there?

Thanks in advance!

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    There are several international schools on Phuket: see http://www.phuket.com/schools.htm. They may be looking for teachers. There are also several websites run by or for people teaching English and other subjects in foreign schools around the world. Take a look at Overseas Digest (overseasdigest.com) which has a section on teaching overseas. www.overseasdigest.com/odsamples/ambrose.html The site has lots of information, links and contacts about teaching and living overseas.

    I see from your other posts that you have a TEFL background, and you may be able to find a contract job or part-time job teaching English; I am not sure there is a much demand for this in Phuket as they might be in Bangkok. The above link may offer info, or check websites.

    Puckett’s economy is mostly based on tourism, plus some agriculture and fishing. They don’t have a developed industrial, banking, or services sector, so other than teaching I don’t think it is that easy to get work in Phuket. In addition, you have several disadvantages to an employer, which will apply no matter where in Thailand you want to work: you need to be sponsored for a work permit/visa (which local employers would rather not do), you don’t speak Thai (I assume) and you probably would not want to work for the low local wages that a Thai would. Unless you have a particular professional skill, non-Thai companies with operations in Thailand will also most likely be reluctant to employ you. However, I would hope that your teaching qualifications would open employment doors.

    You can start your own business and provided you can show adequate funds/local links, you can get a residence visa. If you are over 50, you can get a “retirement” visa which allows you to stay for up to 2 years provided you don’t work. I don’t know if either is an option for you. You may want to look at the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Thailand see http://www.mfa.go.th, and see their visa page which describes the various types of visas and how you can qualify for them.

    You may be able to work on a semi-volunteer or paid basis with an NGO in Thailand, some places to start are below:
    United Nations Volunteer Program at http://www.unv.org/
    Oxfam International at http://www.oxfam.org/
    Habitat for Humanity http://www.habitat.org/
    Doctors Without Borders http://www.msf.org.hk/public/main2
    Operation Smile, not sure if they have a Hong Kong office, but see http://www.operationsmile.org/.

    Lonely Planet has an entire book devoted to volunteering (which in some cases can be paid or turn into paid employment), it is called “Volunteer: A Traveler's Guide to Making a Difference Around the World”.

    You might also try something like the American Women’s Club of Thailand, see http://awcthailand.org/

    As you know from living in Japan and elsewhere, visiting someplace and living there are two entirely different things. As you are a teacher and presumably have the summers off, I would strongly suggest you take 2-3 months and go to live in Phuket. You can get a feel for what daily living is like, and also establish contacts for possible employment. Your tourist visa is good for 90 days, so you could easily spend an entire summer there. (You may also find you prefer just to vacation, or possibly retire, in Thailand rather than working there. You can find cheap accommodation, try http://www.vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/asia/thailand/phuket and see what is on offer. Also try the Lonely Planet website.

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    Thank you so much Cicerone!

    I`ll go through all the links you suggested and try to spend some more time there. I guessed that perhaps Phuket was more of a place to retire than a place to work, but it seems there are lots of people there doing just that. Bangkok seemed like the best option for work but it`s not the kind of place I`d like to live.

    I felt a real pull to Phuket so I really appreciate your help!

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