Why Our Family Is Traveling in Phuket, Thailand

Our first international trip together as a new couple eleven years ago was to Phuket, Thailand. Now we’re back.

But this time is different…We’ve brought our two kids with us.


Why did we come to Phuket with the kids?

  • Delicious, inexpensive food: From food carts to shopping malls, the food in Phuket is very cheap compared to American standards. So far, we’ve enjoyed things such as soups in bags, streetcar BBQ meat, spicy green papaya salads, a shabu-shabu buffet, and lunch at Sizzler.
  • Beautiful beaches: The water is warm and blue and white sandy beaches are plentiful. We like our beach time, especially when it’s in January.
  • Relaxed atmosphere: For the most part, Phuket is more low-key than the craziness and busyness of Bangkok and more developed than Chiang Mai in the north. Although Phuket is rapidly developing to cater to tourists, it still has an island feel to it that permeates through the way people interact with each other.
  • Friendly people: Thai people have such a gentle nature. It’s innate to their culture to be sensitive and mindful of others. And we have been the benefactors of their generosity and helpfulness along the way.


What don’t we like so much about Phuket?

  • Drunk, rowdy foreigners: We left the tourist-filled Patong area and now have settled nicely in the more residential, expat-friendly Chalong area.
  • The heat: It’s really hot out here, and it’s humid. Luckily, we have a nice pool to soak in at the condo we’ve rented for our stay here.
  • Lack of sidewalks: It’s not the most walker friendly of places, so we’ve been getting around by moped, which seats our family of four.


Phuket has undergone a considerable amount of change since we were last here in 2004. Plus, it got a major facelift after the tsunami hit the island on December 26, 2004. Since then, the entire island seems to have embraced the push towards development and tourism, as hotels and resorts are dotted almost everywhere on the island’s coasts. Phuket definitely has flourished and has become a desirable vacation, living, and/or retirement destination for many people all over the world.

As for our family, we’re trying to immerse ourselves in the culture and the area as much as possible. We have the kids enrolled in an international preschool in their fourth stint of “world schooling” and we’ve been blessed to rent a fully furnished condo right across from their school. It finally feels like we’re settling in, and we may even decide to stay here longer than a month.

Phuket is our new home—during this stage of our gap year—and we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, for now.

Cliff Hsia is a writer, husband, and father, who is determined to live a better than normal life by traveling the world, slowly and purposefully, with his wife and two young daughters. His writing has been featured on MSN, TODAY, The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, and other publications. He writes about travel, parenting, and lifestyle design.

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  • AJ Brustein

    world schooling – I like it!

    • Thanks, AJ. We’re just winging it, so we’ll see how it goes.

  • Angela Moy Young

    Sounds amazing. World schooling is the way to go! Can’t wait until we’re world schooling our kids.

    • Angela, Get out and do it. Perhaps a summer vacation abroad somewhere to start for your family?