Retiring in Thailand – Expat Advice

Thailand, bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos, with a total area of approximately 513,000 km2, is a popular destination for expats worldwide. According to the World Tourism Organization, Thailand was the most visited country in Southeast Asia in 2013. Bangkok is one of the most popular areas for expats, mainly because of its historical, cultural and natural sights. Other cities such as Chiang Mai and Pattaya also have many expats living there. Thailand is one of the best places for expats to retire in.

Why to retire in Thailand?

There many reasons why expats choose to move to Thailand. It has beautiful white sand beaches, mountainous jungles, diving sites, and more. The climate in Thailand is tropical, with warm weather all year round. The cost of living in Thailand is generally lower than in many western countries. Thai food is also popular for many of the expats. For those who are not used to Thai cuisine, foreign restaurants are available in Thailand if you need a taste of home. There is also a large expat community in Thailand, but it is recommended that you visit the nation a few times before choosing to retire there.

Safety for People Retiring in Thailand

According to the Canadian government, there is no nationwide advisory for Thailand as of July 2016, but there has been government and related political tensions in recent years that have spawned violent protests that expats should avoid. There was also the 2014 coup d’état and there are no immediate signs of regular democracy returning soon. There was also a serious terrorist attack in Bangkok in 2015. Global Affairs Canada advised against travel to some far southern provinces.

It makes sense to check your own government’s foreign affairs warnings. Crime can be a serious issue for expats in Thailand and you should definitely exercise caution in crowded areas and make sure you secure your home and belongings. Also be aware of the cultural differences in the country. Finally, road accidents are more common in the country, especially with the widespread use of alcohol, so you should be quite careful on the roads.

How much do you Need to Retire in Thailand?

It has been reported that in order to qualify for a retirement visa, you will need at least 65,000 baht per month (Approx $2K USD) or $25K USD in a Thailand bank account. One would think you will need at least this amount or much more to enjoy a long-term retirement in Thailand. In fact, for a more comfortable retirement, you should have at least $5K USD of income per month, especially if you require a more lavish apartment in a major city of tourist region.

Healthcare in Thailand 

The healthcare system in Thailand is generally of good quality. Many doctors and medical staff speak English. Both public hospitals and private hospitals are available in major cities. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office rates many private hospitals in Thailand equivalent to western standards; however, local hospitals vary by location and medical facilities. In the event of a medical emergency, it is recommended to have emergency evacuation coverage just in case. Therefore, expats should obtain global health insurance plan if wishing to retire in Thailand.

Housing in Thailand

The cost of living is much lower than in the western countries. It’s possible to buy a one-bedroom home in Chiang Mai for around $50,000. Expats can pay around $500 per month to rent a home in Chiang Mai. As you would expect, the costs are much higher in Bangkok if you want to live in a good area.

Cost of Living

Eating out in major cities with a typical Thai lunch available from only $1. International Living Magazine ranked Thailand as one of the cheapest to live. Retirees can live well with around $1,500 a month for total living expenses. We recommend having at least $2K per month of income to live in Thailand as an expat.

International Health Insurance in Thailand

If you are retiring in Thailand, most expatriates will want to obtain an international health insurance plan that will not only cover your medical treatment in Thailand, but also globally. If you are an American, you will want to include coverage for the United States. Expats should make sure that their plan includes medical evacuation and repatriation coverageExpat Financial can source international health insurance for expatriates in Thailand from large and respected international insurance companies. Please contact us today for a quote and to discuss your  expatriate insurance requirements for Thailand.