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How to retire in Thailand

21 Apr 2021 - Category: Blog /
Retire in Thailand

Do you want to trade the grey skies of England for the sunny beaches of Thailand? Are you looking for a serene place to retire?

Thailand has enchanted many foreigners. The amazing climate and easy way of life has caused many people close to retirement to think about spending their twilight years in Thai paradise.

Look no further. In this post we’ll give you all the information you need on how to move to Thailand so you can enjoy pad thais and retire in style.

Obtaining a retirement visa

There are quite a few things to consider before you’re able to put your feet up and enjoy the beaches. If you’re planning on retiring in Thailand you’ll need to obtain a retirement visa.

Most European and U.S. visits don’t need to apply for a visa just to visit Thailand for holiday. But the prolonged retirement stay requires a bit more paperwork. The retirement visa is also called the Non-Immigrant Long Stay Visa and while the process is quite simple, as with most visa applications, it can take some time to complete.

To be eligible for a retirement visa you must be over 50 years old, have a passport, pass a criminal background check and have proof of funds. The financial requirements for this kind of visa mean you must “have a pension of at least 65,000 baht (£1,648) or at least 800,000 baht (£20,700) on deposit with a Thai bank or a combined pension and Thai bank account of at least 800,000 baht (£20,700)” (Ship).

As you can see, the formal requirements to retire in Thailand are not too difficult to meet. Before too long you’ll be relaxing in the sun and enjoying some great Thai cuisine in the comfort of your retirement home by the beach.

How much does it cost to retire in Thailand?

One of the most important things to consider before you make your move is your financial situation. The cost to retire in Thailand is not prohibitive but you will need to make a financial plan. This will help you get through those first few months while you’re adapting to your new life.

On top of meeting the financial requirements for the retirement visa you will need to think about the day-to-day cost of living in Thailand. Of course, this will differ depending on whether you choose to live in Phuket or Chiang Mai or Hua Hin.

You should think about your monthly spend and also your savings cushion. A retired couple can live comfortably in Thailand on around “£1,600 a month and a savings cushion of £20,000” (Ship). If you and your partner want to live the high life then around £3,500 to £4000 a month should do it.

The cost of food, utilities and insurance will vary from region to region in Thailand. For example, in Bangkok you can get a nice one-bedroom flat for about 10,000 -15,000 baht a month, which is currently equivalent to between £230 - £350. Local food shouldn’t set you back more than 1000 baht a day. And utilities including water, electricity and internet will usually be about 2,500 - 4,000 baht per month.

All in all, as long as you plan in advance you will be able to afford a comfortable life in most cities in Thailand. Major tourism spots like Phuket will cost more. But ultimately you’ll get what you pay for. If you want to retire in a tropical paradise and enjoy the Phuket beaches your wallet will feel a little lighter.

Where are the best places to retire in Thailand?

If you are thinking of retiring in Thailand you’ve probably visited the country before and you may even already have some favourite places to stay.

But retirement is different from a brief holiday. Here are a few ideas that may help you decide where you want to retire in Thailand.

  • Phuket

Thailand’s largest island is one of the most popular retirement spots for folk who love sun, sea and sipping cocktails. The gorgeous blue sea and beautiful white beaches make it one of the most picturesque places to retire in Thailand. There are plenty of restaurants, bars and spas to enjoy too.

  • Pattaya

In Pattaya you’re only ever a couple of hours drive away from Bangkok and only a couple of minutes away from an exquisite dreamy beach view. It is an ideal retirement spot for those who want a bit of beach life and a bit of city life too. The cost of living is reasonable and the food is great!

  • Chiang Mai

If you are tired of beaches and want to retire in one of Thailand’s cultural hubs then maybe Chiang Mai is the destination for you. It is a sprawling city full of interesting things to see and do around every corner.

You can explore hundreds of golden temples, eat in some of the best restaurants in the country or go shopping in wonderful markets and modern malls.

Are there any problems with retiring in Thailand?

So a place in Thailand has caught your eye. And you’re all ready to pack your bags and make the trip. But are you forgetting anything? What kind of issues do you think you’ll have to prepare for when moving to Thailand?

Thankfully, there aren't many problems with retiring in Thailand. The main obstacle that people from the UK and other English-speaking countries may have in Thailand is the language barrier.

If you are completely resistant to learning any Thai then you might struggle to get what you need when you’re travelling around rural locations in Thailand. However, in most of the major cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mia this shouldn't be that big of a problem.

If you’ve never spent time in Thailand then you may experience a bit of culture shock when you retire. Despite the vibrant culture, beautiful landscape and relaxing atmosphere you may naturally be struck from time to time by homesick feelings.

Hopefully, if you’ve been planning to retire in Thailand this probably means you’ve had enough of the grey British skies. So this shouldn't be too much of an issue.

Small World can help you

Small World’s money transfer service can help make your retirement plan a simple and seamless process. We provide money transfer services to Thailand and many other countries all over the world.

You may want to support your loved ones who might already live in Thailand, or receive money yourself once you’ve arrived. Either way you can use Small World to ensure that your money is transferred and stored safely and easily. We hope you enjoy the pad thais, luscious beaches and years of rest and relaxation!


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