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jkramer

Living and Expenses in Karon

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Hi everyone!

 

I visited Phuket back in 2017 and had a great time!  I was only there for 10 days and I now plan on taking a 1-2 month trip in the coming weeks.

I winged everything the last time I visited with zero pre-planning, and I'm looking to change my habits this time around.  I would love to live as cost efficient as possible, therefore, I'm looking for some advice.  For starters, I'm looking to stay in the Karon area.

 

1. Accommodation.  Just like my last visit, I used Airbnb.  It looks like I'm heading down there in high season, and I'm not seeing a lot of availability especially at a reasonable price.  I found some nice rentals on a couple of popular fb groups, but they may be long term rentals.  I'm going to try and talk them down to a month-month deal.  Other than airbnb, does anyone have any recommended sites to source fully furnished month to month rentals in Karon? 

2. Food - I tend to cook a lot as opposed to eating out often.  A couple years back, I shopped at a place called "Makro Food Service".  I found the prices were a little on the high end.  Does anyone have any recommendations for grocery stores?

3. Gym - Does anyone have any good recommended gyms in the area with a lot of machines and free weight?

4. Internet - The apartment I stayed in the last time was very slow, and spotty.  I will be doing a lot of work on my laptop and Internet is very important.  I'm wondering, is it normal to experience slow speeds and interruptions often? Any solutions for this issue, like high speed internet cards/usb sticks which can be used in case the rental unit has poor internet?

5. Visa - Coming from Canada, I'm good for 30 days.  Most likely, I will be down there for more than 30 days.  Do I apply for the tourist visa when I arrive at the airport in Phuket, or do I need to apply and received it in advance in my home town?

6. License to Drive - My last visit, I rented a motorbike without any issues.  I've read some mixed stories that you need a Thai license to operate and the police will give you a hard time if pulled over.  Is this true? Can a foreigner easily get a local Thai license?

7. Insurance - Does anyone recommend any specific Health insurance which can be purchased to cover medical bills? Is something like that purchased locally in Thailand? Does anyone have any recommended walk in clinics or doctors in or around Karon?

 

I think that's it for now:) Thanks!

Edited by jkramer

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12 hours ago, madmitch said:

I'm in the area so here goes.

 

1. Airbnb have reasonably priced options but they aren't the real cheapies. Many people stay a night or two in a guesthouse then look around to find something suitable.

2. Makro is by far the cheapest place for groceries in Karon/Kata.

3. Porkys or Smiths

4. Make sure you find a rental place with decent internet. Or get a portable router and buy a 4g Sim card.

5. If you want a tourist visa get it in your home country. Otherwise enter on a 30 day stamp and extend it at the Immigration Office for another 30 days. On rare occasions, howeever, you may be asked for proof of onward travel by Immigration upon entering the country or by your airline.

6. Get an International Driving Permit. Makes life much simpler.

7. Buy travel insurance in Canada. Don't forget to declare any pre-existing conditions (see the article in today's Thailand news section). Dr Chusak in Kata is fine for anythiing not too serious.

 

Hopee this helps.

Thanks so much.  There was a question I forgot to ask, where's the best spot to get a good quality 4G card?

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5. I don't know about Canada, In Denmark, we can get a 60 days visa at the embassy in Denmark. I would definitely choose that instead of 30 days and an extension. Without an outbound ticket within the period, your visa is good for, the airline may reject you in Canada.

6. The police is the least of your worries if you do not have a driver's license. If you are very unlucky they will stop you and give you a fine - it is a small amount. The biggest problem is that no insurance will cover you without a valid driver's license. An accident, even if it is not your fault, can be very expensive and ultimately cost you your life. If you have a driver's license for a motorbike in Canada, get an International Driving Permit. If you do not have a license in Canada and you want a Thai license, I believe you need a long term visa; I am not sure a 60 days visa is enough.

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5 hours ago, farang51 said:

5. I don't know about Canada, In Denmark, we can get a 60 days visa at the embassy in Denmark. I would definitely choose that instead of 30 days and an extension. Without an outbound ticket within the period, your visa is good for, the airline may reject you in Canada.

6. The police is the least of your worries if you do not have a driver's license. If you are very unlucky they will stop you and give you a fine - it is a small amount. The biggest problem is that no insurance will cover you without a valid driver's license. An accident, even if it is not your fault, can be very expensive and ultimately cost you your life. If you have a driver's license for a motorbike in Canada, get an International Driving Permit. If you do not have a license in Canada and you want a Thai license, I believe you need a long term visa; I am not sure a 60 days visa is enough.

Do you know if it's possible to get the tourist visa in the airport at Phuket? It's a bit of a pain here in Canada.  First, you have to take specialty photos.  Second, I have to go to the bank to have a draft created bc they don't accept any other payment methods.  Lastly, I have to go to the consulate and take an unpaid day off of work.

 

Good to know about the license, I will get the IDP.

 

Thanks

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38 minutes ago, jkramer said:

Do you know if it's possible to get the tourist visa in the airport at Phuket? It's a bit of a pain here in Canada.  First, you have to take specialty photos.  Second, I have to go to the bank to have a draft created bc they don't accept any other payment methods.  Lastly, I have to go to the consulate and take an unpaid day off of work.

 

Good to know about the license, I will get the IDP.

 

Thanks

As already pointed out to you, at airport only visa exempt entry. Tourist visa has to be arranged in advance via embassy or consulate.

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5 hours ago, farang51 said:

5. I don't know about Canada, In Denmark, we can get a 60 days visa at the embassy in Denmark. I would definitely choose that instead of 30 days and an extension. Without an outbound ticket within the period, your visa is good for, the airline may reject you in Canada.

6. The police is the least of your worries if you do not have a driver's license. If you are very unlucky they will stop you and give you a fine - it is a small amount. The biggest problem is that no insurance will cover you without a valid driver's license. An accident, even if it is not your fault, can be very expensive and ultimately cost you your life. If you have a driver's license for a motorbike in Canada, get an International Driving Permit. If you do not have a license in Canada and you want a Thai license, I believe you need a long term visa; I am not sure a 60 days visa is enough.

Long term visa not required.

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9 hours ago, jkramer said:

Thanks so much.  There was a question I forgot to ask, where's the best spot to get a good quality 4G card?

Plenty of places, from 7-Eleven to local minimarts and phone shops. Check online for the best provider for your needs.

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3 hours ago, jkramer said:

Do you know if it's possible to get the tourist visa in the airport at Phuket? It's a bit of a pain here in Canada.  First, you have to take specialty photos.  Second, I have to go to the bank to have a draft created bc they don't accept any other payment methods.  Lastly, I have to go to the consulate and take an unpaid day off of work.

 

Good to know about the license, I will get the IDP.

 

Thanks

You need to hold a motorbike license in your home country to ride one legally here. An IDP only covers existing licenses.

 

Many millions manage to navigate any problems associated with getting a visa to travel overseas. 

What did you do last time?

Are you sure you can afford to make the trip?

 

 

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8 hours ago, stevenl said:

Long term visa not required.

Can you get a driver's license with a visa exemption or do you need a visa from the embassy?

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47 minutes ago, farang51 said:

Can you get a driver's license with a visa exemption or do you need a visa from the embassy?

Yes, you can.

 

You will need a certificate of residence, and Phuket immigration does give these on visa exemption, as do embassies.

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The equivalent of 20,000 baht in cash is required when entering, and you have to have it on you (they won't let you go to a bank machine). There chances of being asked for it are low, but it's a long flight back.

 

As others have stated, you might also be asked to show proof of onward travel.

 

To explain some of the terminology folks are using, as a Canadian citizen (I'm assuming), you can arrive at the airport with no visa and get in. It's called a visa exempt entry. It's not a visa. You don't have to apply. You can extend it at immigration, later.

 

There is a visa people from some countries (not Canada) can apply for when they arrive. It's called a visa on arrival, and it's a different thing. If say you will get a visa when you come, people will think you mean a visa on arrival. If you use the term 'visa exempt' people will understand you.

 

As stated previously, it's much better to get an international driver's permit before you come. If you have one, you won't need to get a license here for the length of time you're staying. The caveat is that you must have a Canadian motorcycle license to get an IDP that qualifies for motorcycles here.

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Thanks a lot for all of the help.  I will be looking in to getting my IDP this week.  I have a motorcycle license also in my home country, so no worries there.

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On 12/11/2019 at 9:53 AM, stevenl said:

Long term visa not required.

Certificate of residence is. Good luck getting one fr immigration if you haven't already done a 90 day report. Canuck Embassy may issue one. Oz Embassy will no longer do this.

Edit: looks like Phuket is different and will issue COR on visa waiver according to a later post.

Edited by emptypockets

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