Thailand is safe, beautiful and cheap. From the misty mountains to the beaches. From luxury hotels and resorts to modest accommodation.   There are several huge expat communities in the country you can join. In major cities, there are enough people who understand English and able to communicate with you, so you can enjoy your stay.

In remote areas where people don’t speak English, you may have to learn a few words of basic Thai. But don’t worry, Thai people are great at trying to make communication. They will try many ways like body language, Karaoke Language or anything that makes you understand what they’re trying to say.

Santiburi Golf course in Chiang Rai

In terms of life style, there are plenty of entertainment centers, golf courses, spas, massages, good medical and dental care.  Thailand also has superb hotel services everyone will love.

What more can you ask for? There is a saying among expats recently, it is something like “Thailand is arguably the cheapest place on Earth to live well”.

If you’re thinking of retiring overseas, Thailand is one of the best choices.


Intersection at Chiang Rai Clock Tower

So why Retire in Chiang Rai?
Now I come to the question why retire in Chiang Rai? I don’t know. Why did you pick Chiang Rai in the first place? If you did, I guess you feel something good about Chiang Rai, and you like it. Yes, Chiang Rai is a great place to retire.

In case you don’t know, Chiang Rai is one of the cheapest cities in Thailand. If Thailand is one of the cheapest countries on Earth, Chiang Rai would be one of the cheapest cities.

The best thing about Chiang Rai is the price. The city is unbelievably cheap. Beyond that, the food is good, the weather is lovely and the people are nice. There is a much lower chance of being scammed in Chiang Rai than Bangkok.


 What else is the best in Chiang Rai?

Let’s check them one by one.

Thai food is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. I didn’t make that up. This has been mentioned in various media. Thailand is one of a few countries that produce their own natural resources. We have rice, livestock, and all the vegetables required for any menu. It is also very easy to get all types of food in the main markets in Chiang Rai.

Thai people are polite and friendly. Nine out of ten people you ask for help will help you sincerely. Thai people don’t speak English in their home town. They will not come to you and offer help. if you need something, just ask people around you. Asking doesn’t hurt anybody. If they don’t understand or don’t want to help, they will just walk away. Keep asking. There will be someone to assist you.If you are running into trouble, what you have to do is to ask help from anyone around you. I would say that nine out of ten will be willing to help you.

Chiang Rai has some of the best national hospitals for example Overbrook and Kasemrad Sriburin Hospital. The quality and standard are the same level as in Bangkok and Phuket. You don’t need to go to these 2 hospitals to get good treatment. Medical clinics are almost on every corner in the city. The cost of a health check is around 400-500 Baht. When you get ill such as fever, influenza, headache, etc it will normally cost less than 500 Baht. If you’re a Thai citizen, you can get treatment from public hospitals almost free but service will not be as good as you expected. If you decide to go to Overbrook or Kasemrad Sriburin Hospital which are the two best hospitals in the province, the admission will cost you a lot of money which is around 5,000 to 12,000 Baht per night depending on medication and treatment.

Dentistry could be one of the most expensive health care needs, but not in Chiang Rai. In the city, there are plenty of excellent dentists and dental implants that are nearly two third of the price of Bangkok, and it make one fourth of the  western countries.

Exchange Rate
At of current date, the exchange rate is ONE US dollar equals to 30 Thai Baht. This is a huge advantage for foreigners because you will have a lot of money in Chiang Rai. Breakfast and Lunch will cost around 50 Baht, or less than $1.50. If you want to have a fancy meal, it might cost between 200 Baht to 300 Baht, which are between $6 and $10. Remember, that is for a fancy meal. If you want traditional one-dish Thai style menu, it will not cost more than 50 or 80 Baht.

Places to stay
Accommodation in Chiang Rai is very cheap if you choose it wisely. You can rent a 1 bedroom apartment in Chiang Rai for as little as 4,000 baht per month (approximately $120). If you want a nice apartment with a kitchen and lounge, it could be around 10,000  Baht per month ($300) which is considered luxury in Chiang Rai living.  If you spend 30,000 Baht per month ($1,000) on accommodation in Chiang Rai, you will live like a king. Then you should consider to buy a piece of land and a house here. Basically, 5,000 – 10,000 Baht on accommodation is more than enough.

Thailand is hot, but Chiang Rai is considered to be the coolest city in the country. Still its average temperature is around 28 degree Celsius during spring and it might go up to 33 degrees in Summer and drop to 22 degrees in winter.   More often than not, it rains for only an hour and usually in the afternoon in rainy season. If you prefer cooler weather, Chiang Rai is the best choice. But if you prefer hotter weather, Chiang Rai also has that for you in summer from Mar to May.

I won’t lie, transportation in Chiang rai is the worst thing you can possibly encounter. The public transport system here is really really poor. It’s doesn’t mean you can’t go anywhere without public transportation. It just means you can’t really rely on the public transport system alone. In fact, don’t rely on public transportation. It is not reliable and not flexible. One time you may wait 5 minutes for a bus, and the next one could be another 2 hours. Nobody can really guarantee anything about the public transportation.

Chiang Rai has taxi services similar to Bangkok, but the quality of the service is far better than the ones in Bangkok. The fare rate starts from 30 Baht ($1) with additional of 10 Baht ($0.3) per kilometer. It may appear expensive for local people but this is still cheap compare to the current economy. Taxis are a very flexible means of transportation.

If you don’t like public transportation, you can also rent a car or a motorcycle. A motorcycle will cost somewhere between $5 and $10 per day. Of course, renting everyday might not be the best option. You can buy a motorcycle for 35,000++ Baht or $1,200 (this price is for cash payment term). As for a car, the price is relatively expensive in Thailand. A saloon car normally start from 600,000 Baht and the price can go up to 1,000,000 Baht for the top models. Owning a vehicle is a really good choice for long term stay.

No. Like in other cities in the world, there are always dangerous things we need to avoid. In case you don’t know, Chiang Rai is the biggest port of drug in Thailand. Each year millions of millions pill of amphetamine, so called “Ya Ba” (Ya = medicine Ba = crazy) is smuggled to Thailand through Chiang Rai from the Myanmar border. As long as you stay away from Ya Ba, you will be ok.