Phuket Opinion: Casting aside modern conveniences for an island dream

PHUKET: With the seemingly endless parade of new condo developments springing up like mushrooms all over the island, it’s clear that quite soon, the majority of Phuket’s residents will be living in high density housing.

When I first moved here, I too found it convenient to move into a modest, reasonably priced apartment block. I considered it a stop-gap measure. The rather dark, sparsely furnished place was just off a main road and certainly didn’t fit my imagined ideal of tropical island living – there were no palm trees swaying in the breeze in the foreground of a magnificent ocean view.

I had the vague notion that once I had settled in I could hunt for my dream island home. But, as is often the case, time got away from me and I had all but forgotten that I didn’t fly halfway around the world to an island paradise to live in a shoebox apartment.

Then, one day as I was flicking through this very publication, through sheer serendipity, I came across a small advertisement in the classified section offering a basic house at a ridiculously cheap rent. I couldn’t resist the urge to check it out. I met the landlord at the house and was bowled over that such a place could be so cheap – it had a huge garden, filled with mango, banana and papaya trees and a large balcony overlooking the water. True, my sea view was blocked by mangrove trees, but this didn’t faze me, I was still only 100 meters from the waters of Phang Nga Bay. Smitten, I asked the landlord about the two things I thought essential to a civilized lifestyle in the tropics: does it have aircon and WiFi? Nope.

I was shattered… as nice as it was, how could I possibly live without these two necessities of modern life? Sure the rent was cheap, but no aircon and no Wifi? I used the two mod cons every day in my current apartment and couldn’t possibly imagine life without them. As I slunk back home dejected, I mulled over the decision facing me: could I forsake the trappings of modern urban living and move into my island dream house? After several days, I had made up my mind… I could, and I would.

And now, as I watch my mangoes and bananas slowly turn ever deeper shades of golden yellow, listen to the local rooster crowing and the gentle sound of the ocean lapping the shore in the distance, I know I made the right decision.

— Mark Knowles

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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