Well, each to his own, I guess. *With repsect to your belief that Phuket is far to "touristy," I have to disagree. *Perhaps Patong Beach is that way, but there's more to Phuket than Patong. *It's a fairly large island.
Phuket is one of the richest place in Thailand. However, it's still dirt cheap compared to anywhere (anywhere I'd want to live) in the U.S.
Food: $2-$3 a day if you eat out every meal.
Housing: $250/month rents you a very nice house in Phuket Town. Slightly more for beach rentals.
Golf, paintball, diving, and the beach are all available.
The only down side? There is no such thing as high-speed internet there. Then again, if you live in paradise, do you really want to be tied to a computer every day.