Paul first visited Thailand in 1996 and has been retired in Siam since 2007. He has a beautiful and loving Thai wife and can speak Thai.
Sunset over the Mountains in Thailand
Thailand as a Retirement Home
Increasing numbers of Westerners are retiring in Thailand every year. Ease of getting a retirement visa, extremely friendly local people, and good quality of life make Thailand a worthy place to consider for retirement.
Since 2007, 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.
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 ex-pat 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 Don Mueang 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 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 of 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 shows 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 $26,500 U.S. dollars) in a Thai bank that 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 a monthly pension of approximately $2,000 U.S. dollars equal $26,500. Other requirements include a medical check for AIDS and covid-19, police clearance from one's 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. 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:
Thailand indeed 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 $400-500 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 necessary to own a personal vehicle in Thailand because transportation is quite inexpensive and convenient. There is an abundance of taxis that can be hailed down on the street. Another nice thing about taxis is that the meter starts 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 five or six hours while the quickest flight to Sydney will take nine hours. You are also only three 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!
The Sea of Red Lotuses in Udonthani Province, Thailand
Retire in Thailand
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 Paul Richard Kuehn
Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on May 21, 2014:
Thelma, Thanks for commenting! Yes, there is a lot of corruption in Thailand which people have to live with.
Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on May 21, 2014:
It sounds like the same reasons why foreigners love to retire in the Philippines. I wonder if you have corruptions in Thailand. Thanks for sharing this informations, Paul. Good Night!
Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on September 15, 2012:
Thank you very much for reading my hub and your great comments. I first came to Thailand on a government trip in 1996, but have been here permanently since 2007. I love the people and style of life here, and that is why I have retired here.
Dancing Water on September 15, 2012:
Having lived in Thailand from 1976-1996, I can say that I completely agree with you. However, during the economic boom in the early 90's it was not so easy to find affordable housing. Thailand is a most amicable place for foreigners. Great hub, Paul! I have many friends who have retired in Pratate Thai. Though my former husband has encouraged me on countless occasions to return, I am too sentimental and sad to ever go back. But with those who have no emotional baggage connecting them to Thailand, it is an ideal spot for retirement!
Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on August 21, 2012:
Thanks once again for reading and your comments. I have lived in Thailand for over eight years and find it quite safe compared to the U.S.. Bangkok like big cities in the States has some areas that you want to avoid, but generally speaking you don't have to be afraid walking the streets alone before 9:00 P.M. I live now in the suburbs of Bangkok where I have noticed very little crime other than a few thefts. You can walk on the streets in my area late at night and don't have to worry about being mugged. Good luck with your future plans of coming here to teach. There are quite a few Western women from the States, Britain and Australia who are teaching here.
Brittany from Buffalo, NY on August 20, 2012:
Thank you for sharing! I am not close to retirement yet, but I would love to visit Thailand in the near future. Your Hub has gotten me thinking, though: I would love to live an active life during my retirement, living and teaching English abroad.
I hate to ask this question (I always do), but how safe do you find living in Thailand? I'm not asking for the typical reason—young girl traveling alone—but more because I'm interested in the reality versus the stereotypical notion that anywhere outside the U.S. is unsafe.
Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on July 17, 2012:
Thanks for reading, sharing, and your comments. Are you interested in visiting Thailand some day?
Micheal from United Kingdom on July 17, 2012:
really useful and interesting information. Just the kind of info one would need to know.
A friend of mine retired there many years ago and loves it.
Voted up and sharing
Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on July 07, 2012:
Thank you very much for reading and your comment.
chamilj from Sri Lanka on July 07, 2012:
Great information for foreigners about Thailand.
Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on July 02, 2012:
There are some crime problems in Bangkok and other big cities just like in the West, however, I feel safer here walking the streets than back in the States. I have yet to hear a police siren in my neighborhood which is in the suburbs of Bangkok. Thanks for reading.
Michelle Dee from Charlotte, NC on July 01, 2012:
Are there any crime problems in Thailand? Is it relatively safe?
Paul Richard Kuehn (author) from Udorn City, Thailand on June 19, 2012:
Thanks for reading and commenting on the Thailand retirement hub. I appreciate you sharing the article.
Joan Veronica Robertson from Concepcion, Chile on June 19, 2012:
I found this article provides very important information I had never heard about! Well written. Voted Up, useful and interesting. Also sharing, because you shared another Hubber's article.
Steve LePoidevin from Thailand on December 17, 2011:
Hi. These are all the reasons I am planning to retire in Thailand. Good list of information.
Prisana Nuechterlein from Thailand and Colorado on September 23, 2011:
I think Thailand is indeed the best place in the world to retire. Excellent list that you provided.
PETER LUMETTA from KENAI, ALAKSA on July 09, 2011:
Hi Paul, I can second all those reason. I am also retired in Thailand and your right there are a whole lot more reasons not mentioned. The best way to find out is to come here and find out for yourself. Good Hub,