Top Eight Reasons Why People Retire in Thailand
Mountains in Northern Thailand
Thailand as a Retirement Home
Increasing numbers of Westerners are retiring in Thailand every year. Ease in getting a retirement visa, extremely friendly local people, and a good quality of life make Thailand a worthy place to consider for retirement.
For almost nine years, I have been living as an active retiree in Thailand. I have enjoyed all of my retired life here due to living and working with very hospitable people and also having a good quality of life. Countless Westerners have retired to various spots all over Thailand, and in this article eight reasons are listed why people retire in Thailand.
Aerial View of Bangkok from Lumphini Park
Retire in Thailand
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Thailand Retirement Visa
Top Eight Reasons to Retire in Thailand
If you are over 50 and looking for an alternative retirement haven unlike traditional people from the West, it would be a good idea to start considering what Thailand has to offer. There are many reasons to consider retirement in Thailand; however, I feel the following eight reasons are most impelling:
1. Extremely Friendly People:
Thai people are some of the most friendly and helpful people in the world. Known as residents of the Land of Smiles, most Thais genuinely like foreigners and will do all they can to assist the expat or weary traveler, whether he be at the airport or trying to take a bus around Bangkok. I experienced this hospitality on my third trip to Thailand in 1998. Having just spent a night at the Bangkok Airport hotel, it was early in the morning and I had no idea how to get to the domestic airline terminal from the hotel. After noticing my disoriented manner, a young Thai man led me about 200 yards to the terminal, instead of ignoring me or just pointing in the general direction of the terminal.
2. English Is An Unofficial Second Language:
Although many travelers have learned some Thai before coming to Thailand, the majority of tourists have studied none and can't even say "hello" or "thank you" in the local language. This doesn't really matter, because all young people have learned many years of English in school, and all people in the tourist industry including policemen, public servants, hotel and restaurant workers, and persons in the entertainment industries can speak passable survival English. It isn't even necessary to know how to read Thai, because most signs are in both Thai and English.
3. Ease In Getting A Retirement Visa:
To be eligible for a retirement visa, a foreigner must be at least 50 years of age. The major requirement is that a person show evidence of income as a means of financial support while living in Thailand. This is because a non-Thai citizen is prohibited from working while holding a retirement visa. The proof of income can be in the form of showing a deposit of 800,000 Thai baht (about $22,000 U.S. dollars) in a Thai bank which has been sitting in the bank for at least three months. If one does not have all of this money to deposit into a Thai bank, the retiree must show evidence that a combination of his or her savings and monthly pension of approximately $2,000 U.S. dollars equal $22,000. Other requirements include a medical check for AIDS, police clearance from ones home country, and a passport which is still valid for one year.
4. Good, Affordable Health Care:
Thailand has some of the best affordable international hospitals in the world. Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok is well-known in Southeast Asia, and every year people come to this hospital for various surgeries and medical procedures. As a matter of fact, Bumrungrad with most of its physicians and surgeons trained in foreign countries, was named one of the top 10 medical destinations by Newsweek Magazine. There are other excellent hospitals of international stature in the provinces which provide medical care at a fraction of what you would pay in America. I have used the services of Bumrungrad for a recent kidney operation, and my bills were paid by my Blue Cross - Blue Shield medical insurance carrier.
5. Good Weather:
It's true that Thailand has a rainy season for five to six months of the year, but this does not mean it is raining continuously every day. On many of the days there will usually only be one shower a day late in the afternoon which lasts for about an hour. Although there can occasionally be flooding, there is never any danger from typhoons or any kind of windstorm. The temperature in Bangkok will never fall below 60 degrees in the winter, and in the countryside it will never get below 50 although temperatures close to 32 have been recorded in the northern mountains.
6. Affordable Food and Housing:
An abundance of reasonably priced pork, chicken, fruit, and vegetables can be found in outdoor markets and also in many supermarkets throughout Thailand. Rents are reasonable, and $300-400 U.S. dollars per month can get you a fairly good 1-2 bedroom furnished apartment in Bangkok. Westerners can purchase condos running from 33K and up depending on location; however, they may not purchase land in their name.
7. Inexpensive Convenient Transportation:
It is not really necessary to own a personal vehicle in Thailand, because transportation is quite inexpensive and convenient. There is an abundance of taxis which can be hailed down on the street. Another nice thing about taxis is that the meter starts out at less than $1.20 for the first two kilometers and then increases $0.16 for each kilometer after. Bangkok has a subway and expanding elevated light rail as well as air-conditioned buses which will whisk you to any place in the city or country.
8. Recreation and Travel:
Finally, in Thailand there are numerous venues of recreation such as parks, historical sites, temples, floating markets, beaches, mountains, and golf courses to satisfy most interests. Due to its key location in Southeast Asia, travel to China, Japan, Indonesia, and Australia is convenient, fast, and reasonably priced. A flight from Bangkok to Tokyo will take 5-6 hours while the quickest flight to Sydney will take 9 hours. You are also only 3-4 hours from Taipei and Hong Kong.
To be sure, people retire in Thailand for other reasons which I have not covered. I think it is safe to say, though, that most people retire in Thailand for the eight reasons I have detailed. Don't delay. Come to Thailand and find out today!
© 2011 Paul Richard Kuehn
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