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Staying in a resort, hostel or hotel is perfect if you’re coming to Koh Phangan for a couple of weeks. But if like many other travellers you like to stay for more than a month then it’s better value for money and more comfortable for you to find a monthly rental on the island.
This will give you your own space, peace and quiet and can be your true ‘home’ for the duration of your stay. Most house rentals come with kitchens too so you can make your own food rather than eating out all the time.
It can be a little daunting to look for long-term rentals on Koh Phangan, partly because of the number of social media groups and pages, such as posts advertising houses for rent.
Of course, these ads don't all come from brokers, some 'home for rent by owner' is advertised, but it can be confusing to sift through all of these and realize you're going to get a good deal.
On Koh Phangan, there are some trustworthy agents and these individuals or companies will help you negotiate with the landlord and bag your ideal house quickly and without any complications or hick-ups.
There are many different styles of a long-term rental house on Koh Phangan, what you want will depend on your budget, lifestyle, taste and area. Here’s a breakdown of some of the more common types of houses and ‘bungalows’ as they are called here.
Does what it says on the tin! Many old-timers will remember these well. This is what you think of when you think of a traditional bungalow in Thailand. However, even these can come in many shapes and sizes with different insides. These wooden bungalows generally will be the cheapest form of monthly rental and some can be very comfortable yet some can be very basic but depending on your lifestyle they can be perfect especially if you don’t spend much time at home.
Similar to the traditional style but more like a proper house yet still made from wood in a Thai fashion. Upscaling a bit and going for a larger wooden bungalow might mean you can have a kitchen or even air conditioning in the bedroom. These larger houses might even give you a separate living, kitchen and bedroom whereas the smaller versions probably will share sleeping and living space. Large wooden houses are great for the hot weather as they are ‘breathable’
If you prefer concrete solid houses then this would be a choice for you. Concrete houses usually are built on stilts with the upper floor being the home area and then space underneath for parking or outdoor activities, some people make gyms, studios or even play areas. These houses usually have less creepy crawlies as insects such as spiders can’t find their way in as easily and most have air conditioning. They come in lots of different sizes and specifications from very small and compact to very large with multiple rooms.
These types of accommodation are usually more high-end or luxury houses. Villas are distinct in that they connote a sense of exclusivity and class, while they can still be classified as houses. Villas are typically situated on a separate plot of their own, sometimes in a gated compound, whereas houses are not. Villas on Koh Phangan are modern with up to date facilities and some luxurious (for Thailand) extras such as private swimming pools, jacuzzis, walk-in wardrobes, western standard kitchens, exquisite furnishings and multiple rooms for any type of use.
If you are into health and well-being then the centre for this would be Sri Tranu, along with Hin Kong, Had Yao and Haad Salad, on the island's West Coast. The saturation of yoga schools and vegan eateries can be found here and these areas are perfect for those seeking to involve themselves in this lifestyle and the community. Zen beach is almost famous for its regular sunset sessions, full of families, yogis, musicians and all sorts, enjoying the mystical energy of these gatherings with each other. It's a wonderful place to meet other like-minded people.
Renting a home on the West Coast will give you easy access to spiritual activities, along with a very family-friendly environment especially on one of the most beautiful beaches in Phangan, such as Haad Yao and Haad Salad. The saturation of wellness lifestyle choices in this hub also profits from the hustle of the middle of the island.
If you need to work during your stay or are a digital nomad then Koh Phangan now boasts several co-working spaces, such as La Casa Tropicana, Baan Jai Dee and Dots. The bulk of these are found in Baan Tai, Hin Kong and Thong Sala. To help you get work done, they boast clean, transparent working areas along with beautiful sea views. If you need to do some work to help your travelling family, then it is worth searching in these areas for your long-term family home.
It is worth noting that Thong Sala/Baan Tai is home to most international schools and kindergartens, which could be important for you if you have family here for a long stay. If you intend to enrol your child in school or kindergarten, then you will want it to be close to your Koh Phangan family home.
The middle of the island is better also if you like to take part in sport. There are many sporting events taking place in areas such as Baan Tai, such as football, tennis and also kite surfing and water sports.
If you are searching for a quieter home retreat then you have a big choice. The island is still very underdeveloped, once you're off the main roads. In most locations on Koh Phangan, many quiet monthly rentals can be found down small roads in coconut groves.
The North of the island is the village of Chaloklum, a marvellous place that has maintained its Thai charm in the north of the island. In this village, as long as you don't mind being a 15-minute drive from the centre of Thong Sala, you can join other long-termers and a down to earth crowd. Many ex-pat families choose to live in Chaloklum because, while enjoying the charm of the family-friendly village and its laid back beach lifestyle, you can find a long-term family house slightly cheaper than in other places. This community has restaurants with play areas for youngsters, events for other families to enjoy, a number of diving schools and snorkelling spots and two of the most beautiful beaches, Malibu and Haad Khom.
You can read more here about the different budgets for these areas as it does differ from place to place around the island.
If you choose to not use an agent or third party, when you encounter the landlord of your chosen home it is most important to be kind and nice. Of course, for the rental, they will have a fixed price in mind, but you will find that most landlords are very open to negotiating a good deal. It is extremely common for them to offer a discount for rentals of 3 months and generally more discounts for rentals of 6 months and longer. The longer you can promise to stay, the more you can negotiate the price. Thai culture is gentle and sweet, and people don't want to lose face, so be conscious of it. It's best to be respectful, make sure the landlord cares about the house because that's vital to them. Do not be too pushy when negotiating a fair price for the rent.
When you and the landlord are satisfied with the price you have settled on, you should ask for a lease agreement to be signed. This way, you know that for the duration of rental you have already committed, you will have the correct rent price. Even if it’s just one piece of paper with the price, time, any deposit that has been taken and your signatures on it, at least you have written documentation and are covered.
It is the usual practice here on Koh Phangan for landlords to take a deposit from you. This is to cover any damage, loss or payment situation. Deposits can range from very little to one whole month's rent (or more). Deposits are more than often returned as long as you have paid all rent and there is no damage to the property or any of its contents.
If you know a bit about the kind of rental you want and would rather not go through the running around and hassle of finding it yourself then you may want to use an agent or company to do this for you. There are many reputable people doing this on Phangan, most working directly with the landlords. Of course, you may have to pay a one-off fee or fees of some sort but it’s most affordable and saves you a lot of time so it is worth it.
Be wary of foreigners advertising houses for sublet, this is against Thai Law though in some cases it might be in their contract but usually not. You wouldn’t want to rent a house on Koh Phangan and then be asked to leave or more extremely be forced to leave. It’s best to go about it in the right way and rent directly through the landlord.
When renting a house on Koh Phangan for a period of a few months to years it will not be just the rental price you’ll need to consider. Like renting back in your home country there are bills and utilities that need to be paid.
In some circumstances, you may find a place where costs such as electricity, water or internet are inclusive of the monthly rent. These properties are usually the smaller kind without air conditioning but it really depends on the type of rental and the landlord/owner. Quite possibly some luxury villa rentals might include such things.
Electric - This is the main one and will strongly depend on air conditioning use and if you have a swimming pool. If you use AC then this might get your monthly electric bill up into the thousands each month. By using it less frequently or even using fans instead this can help keep costs down. Swimming pools also use a lot of power for the pump, this alone could be 4000 Baht. Electric can vary for each property from 500 Baht per month up to 10,000 Baht or more.
Water - This bill will depend on whether your house has its own well, supplying your water, or if it’s government water. If you have a well then water is usually free, with government water you will get a bill but it’s not much. Depending on your usage it can be from a few hundred Baht to 1000 on average.
Internet/WIFI - Some landlords will include wifi in the monthly rent as they will have one or two routers serving an area comprising a number of properties. If you have your own router for your particular house though, you will need to pay for this, plus you’ll be getting a better internet. The average monthly cost for wifi at a property is between 700 - 1500 Baht, depending on the speed and provider.
Gas - Gas bottles are the most common way that you can cook here. Your rental will usually come with one already, whether it’s full or slightly full. But, you will be expected to pay for a new one when it runs out. Depending on whether you have a small or large this will cost between 150 - 500 Baht each time it needs refilling which is about every 2 or 3 months depending on how often you use it.
Some properties on the island will come fully furnished, especially high-end villas. These might include a built-in kitchen, sofas, beds, table and chairs and all kitchen and cooking equipment. Most properties, however, will only be partially furnished, generally, you can expect a bed and some furniture including a wardrobe, chairs (unlikely you will get a western-style sofa), table and usually a gas bottle and cooking hob is provided along with maybe some basic eating equipment. Be aware that other long-term rentals will be completely unfurnished but these are usually the types of properties that have the same tenants for years and so will bring their own furniture anyway.
If you need some kitchen equipment or furnishings whilst here then it is easy to get some for any budget! Even the 20 Baht shops sell kitchen utensils if you don’t want to spend a lot of money and then you have Limpingpong selling more investment, high-quality tools for the kitchen and of course you can order things online.
Furniture is available at Homemart if you want something particular and more western style, also there are many Thai shops selling furniture and home pieces around the island if you look about. It is easy to get creative and make a house your own.
Once you have stayed in your long-term rental for the duration of the contract or time agreed and are ready to move on it’s time to move out. As long as you have kept to the agreement, paid your rent and been a nice tenant this should be an easy hassle-free process.
Leave the property how you found it, if not in an even better way! Have a deep clean, if you don’t want to do it yourself you can employ a local cleaner to help. Remove your belongings and any furniture or leave some for the next guests if it’s ok with your landlord, or sell them on.
Next, your landlord will check the property and most often than not you will get your deposit refunded. If there is any damage, maybe you will be honest and show them, they might take some out of the deposit to cover the cost of replacement or work. Be aware that this is normal.
Once you’ve gone through this, received back your deposit and say thanks and goodbye to your landlord it’s time to move on, wherever that might be?!
Although it is a bit different renting a house on Koh Phangan than you might be used to, the general rules are still the same. You should treat landlords and agents with respect and not try to wriggle out of any mistakes. This is their livelihood and business and so you should treat them how you would in your home country. Renting a house here is a safe and easy process and as long as you are a decent tenant should be an enjoyable one too!