The fantastic beaches, lush jungle landscape, warm hospitality, and bustling cities of Thailand all come together in making it one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. In more recent times, it has also grown to become a top retirement destination for many seniors. There are many reasons to want to make Thai your home in sunset years. Let’s look at some that may just sway your favour.
Thai people are known for being polite, welcoming and warm towards foreigners. They are happy to go out of their way to help and will make an effort to understand your need even if they do not speak your language. Thankfully enough of the population speaks English, making it easy to make yourself understood when you need to.
The culture is also particularly respectful of elders. They honour those that are older than them, which can be quite a welcoming experience for some foreigners. Seniors are never maligned or ignored. They are as much a part of everyday life as the very young and wonderfully accommodated in every way.
Idyllic Tropical Paradise
The older you get, the less inclined you become to have to contend with cold weather. Not only can it be physically demanding, but some conditions can also cause health conditions to flare up. For much of the year, the islands remain warm and humid. An ideal climate when you have to deal with age-related illnesses like arthritis.
The warm climate also makes for a more laid-back lifestyle. Casual wear becomes the norm with open shoes, hats and sunglasses to complete the ensemble. When it comes to exercise, being able to swim all year round makes for the best option for low-impact cardio.
The pristine beaches and lush vegetation also make for a peaceful and ideal backdrop for anyone looking to enjoy the end of their work-life and wanting to retire in paradise. The excellent infrastructure of the region also means that if want a change of scenery, you can easily get around whenever you want.
Cost of Living
This can be an important factor for those that will stop working and want to ensure they can stretch their savings longer. From housing to food, Thailand is quite an affordable place to live, with many variations to choose from. You will likely find more rural and northern regions to be more affordable than big cities like Bangkok.
But even in the capital, the cost will likely be determined by the kind of lifestyle you want to live. Luckily the region has easy and reliable transport links that make it unnecessary to have to buy a car. Though foreigners cannot directly own land, they can buy condos and take out long term leases on other ground properties. Medical care is affordable and utilities low cost.
The country also has numerous popular ex-pat communities. Here the cost of living may be higher, but it is appealing to those with a desire to live closer to those with a similar background. Chiang Mai and Pattaya are amongst the top choices with communities built around fun indoor and outdoor activities like dancing, golf, yoga, fishing, and swimming.
Thailand has an excellent healthcare system that is far more affordable than what you get in most western nations like the U.S. Some treatments come at less than half the cost quoted overseas and have very short waiting times. This means that as soon as you see the doctor, you can start arranging treatment immediately. A big help where you may be dealing with a particularly painful or acute condition.
The quality of medical care is also impressive. Thai hospitals have recruited highly qualified doctors, nurses and other medical staff with international experience and English fluency. They have also invested in state of the art technology and earned Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation.
So no matter what health conditions you may suffer, you are assured of easy access to the best medical care at an affordable price and the highest standard. While ex-pats do not have the same access to the public healthcare system, even private insurance cover is relatively inexpensive yet comprehensive.
Retirement Visa Process
Acquiring a retirement visa for Thailand is fairly straightforward. This visa allows a person to remain in Thailand for up to a year and is renewable. The basic requirements include:
- Being 50 years or older
- Having accumulated savings of no less than 800,000 Thai baht, 2 months before making an application and in a Thai bank account
- Or, having a monthly pension or other income of not less than 65,000 baht
You may also be required to support your application with police clearance and a medical certificate. The application may be made while in Thailand or from your country of residency. For those in Thailand, the process starts with applying for a 90-day non-immigrant visa and then making a non-immigrant O-Long stay visa application. Be sure to have completed a minimum stay of 60 days before applying for a retirement visa. Also, ensure you have proof of an address in the country. This can be evidenced by a utility bill or rental agreement that has your official name.
Those applying from their country of residency should first check with the local Thai embassy or consulate that they can facilitate a retirement visa application process. Not all Thai embassies or consulates can. If allowed, complete the non-immigrant OA-Long stay visa application and submit it alongside all other required documentation.