If there is one country digital nomads are flocking to this year, it is Thailand, a tropical Southeast Asian gem famous for its gorgeous beaches, paradisaical archipelagos, laid-back lifestyle, and indigenous tradition.
The reasons for that are widely known and have been listed on Travel Off Path a number of times before: people are friendly, the weather is nice and warm year-round, the cultural wealth is a huge plus, and overall, it's a steal of a deal.
Yeah, yeah, we all get it.
Nonetheless, there is one island in particular that has gone above and beyond to ensure nomads feel welcome and that, unlike other Asian hotspots, is not adding visa hurdles that make it impossible for them to stay longer: quite the contrary.
In 2024, trendy Phuket is racing towards becoming the continent's top ‘workcation' destination, openly challenging Bali's decade-long rule, and if we were you, we wouldn't be sitting this one out:
Clubber-Packed Phuket Has More To Offer Than You May Think
Over the years, Phuket may have developed a reputation for being Thailand's party capital and a weekend getaway owing to its riotous nightlife and lively social scene, but it has so much more to offer to long-term visitors than nightclubs and hostel-hosted parties.
For starters, it is not only an island – and Thailand's largest one at that – but a whole province comprising the main landmass and 32 smaller islands: it has everything from overdeveloped tourist zones to off-path spots and untouched nature, and it doesn't get nearly enough credit for how diverse it is.
Are you the sociable type who likes to surround yourself with like-minded individuals, staying within short walking distance of shops and work-friendly cafes, and with plenty of options to entertain yourself after sundown? Phuket City is where you should be based:
The province's multicultural capital city, home to a significant Chinese minority and a growing community of Western expats, it is best known for having an abundance of coworking spots and its picturesque Old Town, characterized by Portuguese-inspired buildings.
Looking to beat the tourist crowds instead? Kata, a laid-back beach town bounded by lush vegetation, or perhaps, Koh Yao Yai, a lesser-known island a short 20-minute boat ride from Phuket, hosting a limited number of hotels and guesthouses, are top recommendations.
Of course, Phuket's majestic nature is a huge draw for big-city escapees: whether it's the white-sand beaches in Phi Phi, or the hiking footpaths leading deep into the heart of the Khao Phra Teaw jungle, nomads have plenty of attractions to keep them busy during a prolonged stay.
Other than boasting a diverse tourist offer, Phuket ticks nearly every box on the Nomad List checklist.
Phuket Is A Top Destination On Nomad List
According to previous visitors who carried out remote work from the island, it is budget-friendly, with an average $1,874 per month required, considerably more expensive than other destinations in Thailand, such as remarkably affordable Chiang Mai, but still lower than median Western prices.
Nomads have also reported Phuket guests enjoy fast internet, more specifically, 59 Mbps, though that may vary depending on where in the province they are staying. Service seems to be more stable and reliable in larger settlements like Phuket City, Chalong, or Patong Town.
Phuket is good ‘fun', too, with its numerous bar districts and varied adult entertainment, not to mention the level of urban safety, rated ‘good' by nomads: violent crime is essentially non-existent, and other than occasional pickpocketing, foreigners are not overly worried about security.
The temperature is another huge bonus: with the exception of the monsoon season, which results in heavy precipitation between July and October, you are likely to be met with long hours of sunshine every day ‘workcationing' in Phuket.
Right now, it's a ‘perfect' 84.2°F, making Phuket the ideal temporary homebase over winter. This leads us to our third point, and probably the most relevant one yet.
Phuket Wants You To Stay Longer
Phuket officials want you to stay longer and take your time in exploring the sunny island, and instead of empty promises, they have announced an online visa extension program targeted at visitors who wish to remain in the province for longer than 30 days.
Currently, U.S. passport holders are granted only a single month in Phuket, as well as the whole of Thailand, when traveling as tourists.
Thailand does have a Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) in place nomads can apply for when deciding to reside in the country in the long term, but the truth is a majority of them are country hoppers at heart and are unlikely to stay put in a single destination for more than three months at a time.
Even then, 30 days is hardly enough time to explore all that the main island has to offer, let alone all the gorgeous paradisaical islets and unspoiled archipelagos offshore.
And let's be honest: DNVs can be incredibly complicated for first-time applicants, and the strict financial requirements will typically render them ineligible anyway.
Fellow nomads, the ancient Thai deities (also known as สำนักงานตรวจคนเข้าเมือง) have heard our prayers, and now it is possible to apply for tourist visa extension online when staying in Phuket, without bureaucracy-filled visits to the nearest immigration office.
Called ‘E-Extension‘, the platform enables nomads, or any visitor interested in staying longer, to submit their documents and schedule appointments online, from the comfort of their Airbnb or hostel, and only present themselves before authorities when it's time to receive the visa extension stamp.
An extension will normally grant you an additional 30 days to stay in Thailand, for a total of 60 days.
Learn more about Phuket – and why it's stealing the hearts of nomads – here.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.