TROPICAL ISLAND LIVING – Have you ever thought about selling up, packing just a suitcase and running away to a tropical island? While the idea of living on an island may not appeal to some there are many thousands of people who search online each month for the perfect idyllic lifestyle. A place where transportation consists of just your legs and sidewalks are replaced by coconut tree lined, powder white sands.
Every year millions of people spend their vacations in a tropical location, in order to regenerate their body and soul and many of those dream of a lifestyle like it all year round. For the majority of people the dream remains just that, while for a few, their minds can no longer take what the heart desires most and so simply pack up and head out in pursuit of the tropical lifestyle.
If you have ever pondered over hundreds of pictures of Private Tropical Islands for sale then you probably have that yearning to own one and what stops most people from doing so are the practicalities of making such a huge investment and change in lifestyle.
When it comes to buying a Private Island there’s a lot to consider, for instance:
- How much is it going to cost. It is possible to acquire an island for under $100,000 but as with all things in life, the more you spend the more you get.
- Is there an existing dwelling on the island or will you have to start from scratch and build your own home – not a bad idea if you can afford it and you want something that is truly unique to your new lifestyle.
- Is there fresh water on the island and does it have power? Just because you have chosen the ‘Robinson Crusoe’ style of living doesn’t mean you have to forego the luxury of having energy efficient appliances, internet connection and other mod-cons. In fact a computer with internet access could be a vital life-line if needed and will of course allow you to keep in touch with all your friends and family.
- Could you really leave it all behind? Not being around your family and friends can be extremely difficult. Remember a private island is just that, private, and will you need company or can you really live the hermit lifestyle?
Not all islands are completely private, some consist of communities and this in itself is not a bad thing. Certainly living in a very small community makes for a much safer and secure lifestyle due to most such communities having zero crime.
One of the biggest benefits of the tropical island lifestyle has to be the views. It will be irrelevant if you buy an island with an existing home as you can guarantee the home will have incredible and uninterrupted views of the beach and ocean. Just ponder the photograph above and I am sure you will agree that nothing could compare to the tropical scenery that a private island affords the owners.
Apart from the considerations of actually living on a private island, as discussed above, there is the issue of Land Ownership. Buying a private island can be extremely complex and this will depend on the country that the island sits in. There are many countries around the world that will allow foreigners to reside but do not allow them land ownership.
Just over 7 years ago I decided to pack my bags and head out. While I really loved the idea of a private island I simply could not afford one but I did want the tropical island lifestyle, so I opted for Phuket, Thailand. This is one such country that does not allow foreigners to own land – you can own the building, but you cannot own the actual land and this has, and continues, to cause many problems for the foreigners living here. In the 7 years I have lived here I have heard and experienced first-hand countless dozens of foreigners losing everything due to the Thais ripping off the foreigners through land and home deals.
When it comes to buying property in a foreign country you MUST make absolutely sure what the laws are on foreign ownership and if I had once piece of advice it would be… If you cannot own the land in your own name move on – find a country that does allow 100% foreign ownership.
Quick note on Thailand – for anyone thinking of buying property here – DO NOT! If you must live in Thailand then RENT. Thais have a habit of ripping off foreigners (it’s well documented) and just because you might see a nice villa for sale with great views does not mean you’ll always have them. With almost zero planning regulations there is nothing stopping a Thai from building a condo right in front of your property that will not only block the views but plunge your entire home in darkness and there is nothing, as a foreigner, you can do about it.
While I don’t like living in Thailand (and I’ll move as soon as this business allows me to), I will say that the tropical lifestyle is far more agreeable to one’s health. When I wake up in the mornings I don’t feel the aches and pains I did while living in the UK. The warm and humid climate just seems to lift the spirit and makes you feel happier. There is nothing like sunshine to brighten the day. You do, however, have to be careful regarding how much exposure to the sun you get. You will need an ample supply of high factor sun-block. Not to put doom and gloom on the tropical living lifestyle but there are other health considerations, such as having access to a medical facility. Note that the tropics do have issues such as Mosquitoes which carry Malaria and Dengue. I can assure you that you don’t want to contract either and Dengue is a particularly nasty virus.
The Island above is almost perfect, in my eyes. It is obviously a community island and from the bottom left it would appear that the mainland is within easy reach, which affords easy access to medical and provision facilities.
Wherever you live or decide to live you will need access to provisions. While it might appear a great idea, at first, living off the sea, you can get really tired of eating fish, lobster and crab for dinner everyday.
It’s funny living in a foreign country sometimes as you often find it’s the little things that you miss. Obviously I have access to a computer and internet, which allows me to run Hometipster.com and keep in touch with all my friends and family back home. However, I miss silly things – mainly comfort food items that you either can’t get here or they are massively expensive. Thailand has a whooping minimum import tax of 300% so buying foreign goods, even simple things like cookies, is outrageously expensive.
If you are seriously thinking about moving abroad, private island or not, then look into the cost of goods. Here’s a eye-opener for you… a Range Rover Evo in the U.S will cost about $45,000. The same vehicle in Thailand will cost you nearly $150,000 – and I believe, at the time of writing this, that the import tax for a foreign car is approximately 338%.
The point here is that you’ll need to make sure you can afford to live the lifestyle you want or heavily compromise on what you buy.
One thing you do have to seriously consider, when living in a tropical climate, is the weather. As I mentioned above, you will need lots of sun-cream, however you need to be aware of how the climate changes, for your chosen location, over the seasons. Monsoons are often a real problem as a good monsoon can flood everything in a matter of minutes. It’s a good idea to ensure that the property you intend to buy has extremely good drainage otherwise you’ll end up with a rather nasty indoor pool.
I personally don’t mind the monsoon rains. In fact they are sometimes a very refreshing change. I know here on Phuket that the authorities fear the annual rains as they cause a massive amount of damage due to landslides and flooding of roadways. I hate to be negative but the Thai Authorities only have themselves to blame – in just 20 years they have taken a stunning island and turned it into a most unpleasant concrete jungle with little thought for the environment and mother nature now plagues the islands infrastructure due to the lack of planning and care. In just the 7 years I’ve been here I have seen vast tracks of tropical jungle stripped to feed the greed of the developers and as corruption is rife here there are thousands of acres of protected national mangroves and forests that have been built on. It’s a very sad tale and one I hope to leave behind in the near future.
The Island above is obviously a resort and while the building does take up a far amount of the land, you can see that careful consideration has been given to the eco-system, by making sure it is well planted. If you must have an island you will need to seriously consider its eco-system and wildlife. The whole point in living in a tropical destination is to keep it tropical and help sustain its eco-system.
I can tell you it’s a complete joy to see Gecko’s running up and down my walls. Yes, they can leave a mess – looks almost like Hamster droppings, but its not that difficult to clean. Over the years I’ve had everything from a Tropical Green Tree Frog, that used to live under my sofa, to Cobras in the garden. It might seen a little frightening to have Cobras but nearly all snakes will avoid you like the plague and while I spot maybe 10 cobras in the garden each year I have never once been attacked or bitten – they see me and run for it – well slither for it.
From the photograph above you can see that the home really does blend in with the jungle behind and this is because the owners have been considerate to the surroundings. I am sure they experience a lot of contact with the wildlife.
Last year I took a trip to Langkawi Island in Malaysia – it was an exploratory trip to map out my next potential move. I have to say Langkawi is a stunning tropical island and I am hoping to make it home within the next couple of years.
The trip was interesting as I sat with a cocktail one late afternoon and watched the monkeys playing on the roof tops and the surrounding trees of the resort. The thing that really broke my heart was the fact that Langkawi is only a 40 minute flight from Phuket, Thailand and yet Phuket has very little left of wildlife. Years ago Phuket had a thriving Gibbon population, but in true Thai style the Thais figured out they could catch them, teach them to smoke and do other tricks and then shove them in bars to entertain the customers. Yeah, it almost brings me to tears but that’s how the Thais are – nothing matters other than money and that’s why I’ll be happiest when I finally get out.
Wouldn’t you like to live in a home like the photograph above? I’m a diver so I would really love to spend my days on the reef with all the aquatic life. Note the swimming pool – many people wonder why you would have a pool when you are surrounded by such crystal blue waters. The truth is that the salt water can be a little hard on your skin and it’s always nice at night to have a dip in the pool to relax.
Well I’ve talked about the practicalities, the benefits and the issues of a tropical lifestyle and even given you an insight to my personal experiences of living in a tropical location. I can say that a tropical lifestyle is not for everyone and when it comes to owning a private island many would find the isolation simply too much to bear.
I am sure there are not many people who would look through this article and be in awe of the photographs and ponder the idea of going tropical. I can tell you this… for me it is far more agreeable. I don’t mind the monsoons and I love the sun. It is a far more relaxed way of living and as I write this the sun is shining through the coconut trees and I can hear the ocean and beach calling me to come and play.
I really hope you have enjoyed my article and that it has inspired you and enlightened you. If you have any questions please leave them below in the comments form and I’ll help with any answers I can give. Please share this article with your friends. Thanks everyone.