Thailand is on many lists as a good place to retire due to the following:
- Warm weather: are you tired of shoveling snow 3–5 months of the year? This is a place where local people actually go on tours to see frozen dew during the coldest months and only at 1 or 2 spots in the country at the highest elevations. In short: In the south there are 2 seasons… hot/dry (sort of) and hot/wet. It can be almost oppressively hot at times but for many that’s preferable to possibly freezing to death while you look for your house keys. In the north, in Chiang Rai, we have 3 seasons… somewhat hot/dry, somewhat hot/wet and somewhat cool/dry.
- Great food. Thai cruisine has been somewhere on the ‘greatest cruisine’ list since it started proliferating in the west 30 or so years ago. Here it’s just the local food…available everywhere, cheaply and as good or better than anything you’ve tasted at your favorite Thai restaurant
- World class medical: Thailand has become a medical tourism destination – and not just for boob jobs and the like. My buddy had a quadruple bypass done at one of Thailand premier medical facilities by a board certified cardiac surgeon, educated in the USA for less than $30,000 USD total, he had no insurance. That’s like 1/5th the USA price or less. I’ve heard the $250,000 USD number mentioned for USA cost
- Cost of living: you can live comfortably here for $25,000 USD/year or even less. Yeah, you can spend lots more but essentially, in the south, $2,000 USD a month will get you by pretty easily and in Chiang Rai, $1,500 USD will do.
- Visa: a Thailand retirement visa is not difficult to get.
- People: the people are friendly and helpful. It’s not called the Land of Smiles for nothing
Now there are the flip side points to ponder…
- English is not universally spoken. The further you get from Central Bangkok or anywhere lots of foreigners live, the less English is spoken. The obvious solution is to learn a little Thai (Retire In Thailand can help you with that). Or get a good translator loaded on your phone and go forth with a sense of adventure
- Things don’t work the same: banking, utilities, shopping don’t work quite the same. It can be frustrating and I’ve heard complaints like “why doesn’t it work the same as at home”. And the answer is… “because you’re not at home, you’re somewhere else”. So, relax and enjoy the experience or go back to shoveling your front walk for 1/2 the year
Actually, that brings up the last point…Thailand isn’t for everyone and that’s not a criticism. I wouldn’t enjoy having to live in America, Australia or England in my golden years. I have advised anyone considering the move that they should come live in Thailand for a few months, rent an apartment or condo as a base… no room service or desk attendants to do everything for you. Come see how it works for you. Then make the move if you still love the place.
My husband lived in the USA for 25 years, Australia for 30 years and England/Europe for 8 years. He has been here 10 years and says he will never leave.