If there is anything that these last couple of years have taught us, it is that change is constant. For many people, life is no longer what it used to be and it is impossible to know where will be and what we will be doing even a year from now.
For retirees that have come to the end of their work-life, this period represents an opportunity to take firmer control of their lives. They no longer have to be at the mercy of supervisors, customers, or the same family obligations. They get to decide their own destiny. And this includes where they get to spend their sunset years.
Those with a more adventurous spirit are inclined to test the waters of foreign lands and culture. For those that cast their gaze towards Asia, there is no better prospect than the kingdom of Thailand.
Thailand offers a special class of retirement visa that allows foreigners to live in the kingdom for up to a year before needing to renew their visas. This they can even do from within the kingdom, meaning no need to have to travel back home to apply afresh. For those on the fence about why this destination tops all others, here’s why.
Even with a healthy bank account, most retirees are aware that they are no longer working and will have to rely on their investments and savings to carry them through. With the Thailand retirement visa not permitting holders to work, this dependence on what they already have stirs a need to be thrifty.
Thailand is a very affordable place to live in, especially when compared to how much more you would spend in your native country. From food to housing, the cost of living means a single person can easily budget from just $1,000 a month and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. A little goes a long way here. You can also often find many commodities and brands from your native country in local stores at comparable prices.
Food lovers will be happy to know that Thailand is famed for its inexpensive but delicious food. From street food to Michelin star restaurants, there is a wide variety of options to cater to whatever preference of cuisine.
While you cannot buy a house, you can buy condos or opt to rent at really affordable rates. The range of housing options can vary, but what you would get here at the beachside is much different from anything back home for the same price. Utilities are also very affordable and most regions are well served with telecoms.
Thriving Expat Community
While relocating abroad can be exciting, many people do derive a certain level of comfort from being around people that share common experiences and speak the same language. Thailand has multiple ex-pat communities where foreigners can find their fellow countrymen living comfortably amongst local Thais.
With Bangkok being a bustling city, most retirees do prefer a more laidback lifestyle they can find in such thriving ex-pat communities in regions like Phuket, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, and islands like Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. Here you will often find property developments customised and targeted towards foreigners, with plenty of other affordable local options.
Even if you are single and a newcomer, you can easily connect with ex-pat groups who regularly host events to socialise and make new friends. Social media is a good place to start with many locals also being knowledgeable about how you can meet other foreigners.
Thai culture is warm and welcoming. The people are very hospitable and patient with foreigners. Many locals do speak some level of English and make an effort to try and ensure they understand what it is you want. They are also pleasantly surprised and encouraging when a foreigner tries to speak their language.
Not only does it mean you can more comfortably settle into your new living situation, but also get to better enjoy excursions to other parts of the kingdom. With all the many cultural and natural attractions Thailand is known for, you will certainly want to explore far beyond the local community you will live in.
This is a key concern, especially for seniors that are more prone to health problems and the prevailing global pandemic. Part of the requirements for acquiring a Thailand retirement visa is that you need to have health insurance coverage for both inpatient and outpatient treatments. The limits are sometimes subject to change but were most recently raised to THB 3 million, which should cover medical expenses and Covid-19 treatment.
This level of coverage should be reassuring to retirees as it can take care of just about most medical needs, even if you have chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. The quality of healthcare in Thailand is very good and comparable to most western nations. The kingdom is even one of the top medical tourism destinations in Asia, where many foreigners come to have elective surgeries carried out at a more affordable cost and the option to recuperate while on holiday.
Many local health insurance firms offer this coverage, but it is worth noting that the older you are, the more expensive your premiums are likely to be. Be sure to carry out comparison-shopping between approved local firms and those from your native country that qualify to extend cover here. Even if you opt to pay for some services out-of-pocket, the pricing is better here. Private nursing and assistance cost a fraction of what they would in the west.
The climate in Thailand is tropical and humid. This can sometimes mean you have to contend with bouts of extreme heat at certain times of the year, but rarely feel cold, even during monsoons. It can take a while to acclimatise, but it is well worth it to be able to spend the rest of your days in light casual wear and open shoes. There are many places to enjoy a swim and opportunities to indulge in your love for the great outdoors. If you want to spend your retirement in a sunny paradise, then Thailand is what you will want to call home.