Islander Update and My New Digs In Phuket

As the story goes, I seem to like the islands the most. I’ve been to and stayed at a few of them; and since Jan 1, 2021, live on one. What is it that’s so nice about them? Pretty much most things important in a tropical paradise.

  1. You have to get to them across water, by boat or ferry. The one I live on, Phuket, is one of the few with an international airport. Also, a bridge. One the other hand, I live at the southern tip. It’s an hour drive to the airport, tack on another 15 to get to the bridge. Kind of an island on the island.
  2. Because they are relatively small and surrounded by water, they enjoy a more profound effect from the natural ocean currents, so the beaches, corals, and fish life tend to be better than off the mainland.
  3. They tend to have their own character, I suppose that applies anywhere. But it’s an island character or culture. Difficult to explain. You know it when you see it.
  4. #1 tends to give them a sort of remoteness or exclusivity. They don’t seem boring when not much is really “going on.” Rather, it’s often preferable.

The only real downside is that they tend to be more expensive, and the added expense is proportional to the added transportation cost of goods. Here’s the islands I’ve visited since arriving in Thailand mid-Jan 2020.

Samet was nostalgic, as I visited twice previously: 1989 and 1990. No power to the island, no vehicles, no paved roads—only beach bungalows, little restaurants, and bars. They ran on generator until 10pm, then beach bars had fully charged car batteries for their light strings. But even now, it’s still pretty quaint and I liked it a lot.

I’ve been to Koh Chang twice, different beaches both times and the 2nd time is what got me thinking of moving away from the Pattaya area—even though I lived in the far tamer Jomtien Beach neighborhood. I’ve also been to Koh Larn a couple of times. It’s a perfect 2-day weekend gig, 30 minute ferry ride from the pier at Pattaya.

Koh Lipe was the most exotic experience. 70 kilometers off the mainland, it’s an hour and 15 minute speed boat ride. And it’s sure expensive comparatively. Probably 50%, on average. There’s no pier for larger boats. Everything by speedboat. But, the snorkeling and SCUBA is unmatched. I snorkeled at six spots and dove at two, to 17 meters. Each one was vastly different from the other owning to currents, sunlight, and geography. It would be my choice for living but for its remoteness and expense. But then again, them’s the tradeoffs, eh? No having your cake and eating it, too.

Phi Phi is just one of those must-do because of its fame, partly because of the DiCaprio film, The Beach, filmed in that cove on Phi Phi Le. Since it’s about an hour speedboat ride from Phuket, easy choice for a weekend. Most expats never go there anymore because prior to Covid it became hyper overcrowded. They’re taking the opportunity now, though, because it’s fucking dead, laughably so. Some say the water and beaches are the cleanest they’ve seen in 16 years.

And then there’s my home, Phuket. I live at the souther tip. Rawai, Ya Nui, and Nai Harn beaches area.

The West Coast: Karon, Kata, and Kata Noi Beaches
Nai Harn Beach. Three Minutes Away

So Part-2 of the story is that I secured a really good deal on living arrangements at a small resort, about 30 rooms, surrounding a pool, and I’ve been there since New Year’s Day, 2021. Four and a half months.

Cost was about $400 per month, including once weekly housekeeping/linen change. Also Internet and water. I was supposed to pay metered electric but the meter wasn’t working properly, so we settled on $30.

So the thing is, being on the ground floor of a mini-resort and 5 steps to the pool is great in a lot of ways. Plus, they have a restaurant on site, so getting food and drink is effortless and the food was good and reasonably priced—especially the Thai food. While there are some long termers like me and we get to know each other and most are quite pleasant, you also get the regular influx of nightly and weekend guests.

I don’t want to imply that such an experience got annoying, more like it got to where it felt more like a perpetual festive vacation than actual living in a place that feels like home with higher sense of purposeful actions and habits that go along with that. Plus, being on the ground floor diminishes privacy somewhat. It’s not an issue for most folks when there for a short stay—you want to chat up the passers by and be chatted up yourself. But sometimes you end up craving peace, quiet, and privacy. So, I decided it was time to look around. And I found.

It’s a little private villas gig, about $100 more per month, so $500. It includes weekly housekeeping and everything else but electric. It even has my own private little pool, maintained twice weekly.

It’s completely fenced, so it’s refreshingly quiet and private. I can do my work for hours on end with zero interruption. Just what I need right now as I’m still largely planning and developing this membership site. Going well so far.

Next up on this topic, I’ll be showing what I’m doing here in terms of exercise, at home. With all this Covid nonsense—where all the moronic authorities all over the planet think the best thing to do is stay out of the sun and away from the weight room—what’s a guy to do?

I’ll show you what I do and it’s getting quite cool. A game changer for me.

Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. The cost of two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance the travel to write, photo, and film from interesting places and share the experiences with you.


  1. Christina M. on May 13, 2021 at 22:41

    Nice. Looking forward to hearing about your exercise regime. When you were hauling sacks of concrete, I was thinking of that as I hauled stacks of shingles onto the roof. Now that the roof is done, I’m preparing to master the art of the scythe.

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