(This article was last updated on April 19, 2023.)
This article is meant for those wondering is Thailand still a good place to retire? We will walk you through the requirements to retire in the country, the pros and cons of living in it, what you need to know before you move, and the best places to live in, among other things.
Thailand has long been a popular destination for retirees, offering a low cost of living, tropical weather, and friendly locals. In recent years, however, the country has become increasingly popular with tourists and digital nomads, leading to concerns about whether it is still a viable option for those looking to retire there.
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There are still many reasons why Thailand remains a good place to retire. The cost of living is still relatively low, with monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the country’s capital Bangkok costing roughly 10,632 baht to 22,329 baht (or 309 US dollars to 650 USD) depending on the area, according to Numbeo.
Besides, the locals are still friendly and welcoming, making it easy to get by without speaking Thai.
However, it is important to be aware of the increased living costs in certain areas, as well as the increased competition for jobs and rental properties. Despite the challenges, many retirees still find Thailand a great place to live.
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What are the requirements to retire in Thailand as an expat?
Thailand is a popular destination for retirees. The country has a lot to offer, including great weather, affordable healthcare, and a laid-back lifestyle. If you’re thinking about retiring in Thailand, there are a few things you’ll need to take into account.
Here are the requirements to retire in Thailand as an expat:
You’ll need to be age 50 or older
To retire in Thailand as an expat, you’ll need to be at least 50 years old. This is because the Thai government offers special retirement visas for people over 50. If you’re not yet 50, you can still retire in Thailand, but you’ll need to apply for a different type of visa.
You’ll need to have a retirement fund
In order to retire in Thailand, you’ll need to have a retirement fund. This can be in a pension, annuity, or investment account. The amount you’ll need will depend on your lifestyle and spending habits. However, most experts recommend having a fund that will cover at least two years of your living expenses.
You’ll need to have proof of income
If you want to retire in Thailand, you’ll need to show proof of income. This can be in the form of a pension statement, annuity contract, or investment account statement. You’ll also need to show that you have enough money to support yourself during your retirement.
You’ll need to get a retirement visa
If you want to retire in Thailand, you’ll need to get a retirement visa. This is a special type of visa that’s specifically for retirees. In order to get a retirement visa, you’ll need to meet certain requirements, such as being over the age of 50 and having a retirement fund.
You’ll need to speak Thai
In order to retire in Thailand, you’ll need to be able to speak Thai. This is because the majority of Thais don’t speak English. You can find many who speak English at tourist spot locations, but if you go outside of it, it will be better to at least have some basics with you.
If you don’t know how to speak Thai, you can take classes at one of the many language schools in Thailand.
Prepare for a different lifestyle
Thailand is very different country from the United States. If you’re not prepared for the change, you may struggle to adjust. Be prepared for a slower-paced lifestyle, spicy food, and humidity.
You’ll need to have a plan
Retirement in Thailand is a big decision. You’ll need to have a solid plan before you make a move. This includes figuring out where you’re going to live, how you’re going to support yourself, and what you will do with your time.
Also, be sure to research all of the different aspects of life in Thailand so you know what to expect.
Pass a criminal background check
As with any other country, to retire in Thailand, you will have to pass a criminal background check. This ensures that you have no bad record and are not associated with any illegal activities.
Thinking about retiring in Thailand? Well, you may need to outweigh the pros and cons before making a decision. Thailand is a great place to retire, with its low cost of living, beautiful beaches, and relaxed lifestyle.
What are the pros of retiring in Thailand?
For some, retiring in a foreign country is an attractive option. And for a good reason – to retire in Thailand has many benefits, including:
Friendly People and a Rich Culture
This is probably the number one reason retirees choose to move to Thailand. The people are incredibly friendly and welcoming even to foreigners. In fact, it’s often said that the Thai people are some of the friendliest in the world.
There’s also a rich culture to explore, from the food and temples to the music and dance.
Thai food is a mix of spicy and sweet flavors, with lots of fresh vegetables and fragrant herbs. Restaurants are serving Thai food in every town and city in Thailand, so you’ll never run out of options. Besides, it’s cheap to eat out in Thailand.
Stunning Natural Beauty
From the beaches to the jungle, Thailand is a country with incredible natural beauty. And it’s not just the famous spots like Phuket and Phi Phi Island that are worth seeing. There are gorgeous islands and coastal towns all up and down the country. Also, the inland is full of lush jungle, waterfalls, and rice paddies.
Thailand is a nature lover’s paradise. Meanwhile, the cities are filled with colorful temples and lively markets.
Warm Weather All Year Round
If you’re looking to escape the cold winters, Thailand is the place for you. The temperature averages 24-33 degrees Celsius, making it a perfect retirement destination. Moreover, there’s no hurricane season or other extreme weather.
This is ideal for retirees who want to spend their days outdoors. The beaches are stunning, and there are plenty of activities to keep you busy, from swimming and diving to hiking and golfing.
One of the main concerns people have about retiring abroad is healthcare. But Thailand has some of the best healthcare in Southeast Asia, and it’s very affordable. The cost of medical care is a fraction of what you would pay in developed countries like the United States or Canada.
In addition, there are plenty of hospitals and clinics that cater to foreigners. That’s why Thailand is a popular destination for retirement medical tourism.
That being said, it’s still always a good idea to have travel insurance in case of an emergency.
It’s safe to go to and live in Thailand. Of course, there are always safety issues whenever you go.
In addition, political upheaval and occasional violence impact several regions of Thailand. Travelers and expats should take care and stay away from any big meetings or protests in the southern regions of the nation, where these locations tend to be concentrated.
Thailand has a low violent crime rate, but visitors in popular destinations like Bangkok and Phuket should be aware of the increased risk of petty theft and frauds. Pickpockets are common in busy places and on public transit, so tourists and expats should be on the lookout at all times.
A Relaxed Lifestyle
For many retirees, one of the main goals is to find a place with a relaxed lifestyle. And that’s exactly what you’ll find in Thailand. From the laid-back attitude of the locals to the easy-going lifestyle, Thailand is a great place to relax and unwind. Plus, there’s never a shortage of things to do, whether exploring the culture, relaxing on the beach, or partying in the nightlife districts.
The pace of life in Thailand is much slower than in developed countries, which can be a pro or a con, depending on your personal preferences.
Cost of Living
One of the biggest pros of retiring in Thailand is the low cost of living.
You can live quite comfortably on a budget of 1,500 USD per month. This includes rent, food, transportation, and other expenses. In fact, Thailand is often touted as one of the most affordable places to retire in the world.
A meal can be as low as 80 baht or 2 USD. Without taking into account the money reserved for rent, a single person can live off 19,207 baht or 561 USD in the country, while a family of four needs 68,255 baht or 1,995 USD.
What are the cons if you retire in Thailand?
Expats living in Thailand for a while will agree that learning Thai can be a difficult task. The language barrier can often be a frustrating experience, especially if you are not used to it. While some expats choose to learn the basics of the language, others may find that they struggle with communication, which can be a hindrance when it comes to daily life.
Thailand is known for its tropical climate, which can be quite hot and humid, especially during the summer months. This can be a tough adjustment for those coming from cooler climates, and it can be difficult to stay cool and comfortable. Additionally, the rainy season (typically June-October) can bring heavy rains and flooding, disrupting travel and daily life.
Thailand has a limited healthcare system, which can be difficult to access and is often lower quality than what expats may be used to. In addition, the cost of healthcare can be quite high compared to other countries in the region. This can be a major downside for those considering retiring in Thailand.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Thailand is relatively high compared to other countries in Southeast Asia, such as Vietnam or the Philippines. This is due in part to the high cost of rent, food, and transportation in Thailand. Additionally, many goods and services are subject to a 7% VAT (value-added tax), making everyday expenses quite expensive.
According to PwC, both Thai citizens and foreigners who work in the country are subject to income tax, which is imposed regardless of where the income is paid.
Meanwhile, for a resident who generates income outside of Thailand, a tax is due in the calendar year in which it is received in the country.
Things Expats Need to Know Before Retiring in Thailand
As of today, retiring in Thailand is a great option for retirees from all over the world. The country has much to offer, including a rich culture, delicious food, and affordable living expenses.
However, before deciding to retire in Thailand, there are several things expats should know:
1. Learn the Language
If you plan to retire in Thailand, you must learn at least some basic Thai. Not only will this make everyday life much easier, but it will also help you feel more connected to your new community. There are plenty of resources available to help you learn Thai, so there’s no excuse not to get started!
2. Familiarize Yourself with the Culture
Thailand is a fascinating country with a rich culture worth getting to know. Be sure to do some research before making a move, so you can better understand the customs and traditions of Thai people. This will help you feel more comfortable in your new home and avoid cultural misunderstandings.
3. Get Your Finances in Order
Retiring in Thailand is a great way to stretch your retirement savings, but it’s still important to make sure you have everything in order before making a move. Make sure you understand how your pension or other retirement income will be taxed, and research the cost of living in Thailand to budget accordingly.
4. Find the Right Place to Live
One of the best things about retiring in Thailand is the many wonderful places to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a bustling city or a quiet beach town, you’ll find somewhere that’s perfect for you. Do your research and take your time to find the perfect place to call home.
5. Stay Healthy and Active
Retiring in Thailand is the perfect opportunity to focus on your health and wellness. There are plenty of great options for staying active, from hiking and biking to swimming and yoga. And with its delicious and healthy food, Thailand is a great place to eat well and get in shape.
6. Make Friends and Connections
One of the best things about retiring in Thailand is meeting new people from all over the world. Get involved in your local community, attend social events, and join clubs and groups that interest you. You’ll soon have a network of friends to help make your retirement even more enjoyable.
7. Enjoy the Good Life
Thailand is a beautiful country with a relaxed and welcoming culture. It’s the perfect place to enjoy your retirement years in style. However, it’s important to remember that things can sometimes be different than what you’re used to, so it’s important to be prepared for anything. With a little planning and research, you can have the retirement of your dreams in Thailand.
Is Thailand Still a Good Place to Retire?
The COVID-19 pandemic has led many people to rethink their retirement plans. For some, that means staying put in their home country. But for others, it’s an opportunity to relocate to a place with a lower cost of living and better weather.
Thailand has long been a popular destination for retirees. According to the pros and cons above, it seems like Thailand is still a great place to retire, especially if you’re healthy and willing to take some precautions.
So, if you’re on the fence about whether to retire in Thailand, go ahead and give it a try! Just remember to take all necessary measures to keep yourself safe and healthy. And if things don’t work out, don’t worry – there are plenty of other great retirement destinations.
What are the best places to retire in Thailand?
Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and it’s no wonder why. With its beautiful beaches, delicious food, and friendly people, it’s a great place to visit. But what about living there? Is Thailand still a good place to retire?
The answer is yes – Thailand is an excellent choice for retirement. Here are the five of the best retirement locations/communities in Thailand.
As the capital city of Thailand, Bangkok is a great place to retire. It’s a cosmopolitan city with plenty to do. There are plenty of apartments and condos available for rent, and the public transportation is excellent. Additionally, Bangkok has a large expat community, so you’ll never feel alone.
A family of four needs 78,776 baht or 2,303 USD to afford to live in the city. That cost is still exclusive of rent that can go between 10,614 baht and 22,269 baht (310 USD to 651 USD), depending on whether it’s located inside or outside the main city.
If you’re retiring in Bangkok alone, you must have at least 22,023 baht or 644 USD to afford monthly living expenses. This cost is exclusive of rent.
If you’re looking for a more laid-back retirement, then Chiang Mai might be the place for you. It’s a smaller city located in the mountains of northern Thailand. The weather is cooler than in Bangkok, and the cost of living is lower. Chiang Mai is a great place for retirees who want to enjoy the outdoors, as there are plenty of hiking trails and other activities nearby.
A family of four must have 61,856 baht or 1,808 USD to afford to live in the city. That cost does not include rent that can go between 7,867 baht and 12,062.5 baht (230 USD to 352.5 USD), depending on whether it’s located inside or outside the main city.
If you plan to retire in Chiang Mai on your own, you need at least 17,485 baht or 511 USD to afford monthly living expenses. This cost is exclusive of rent.
Hua Hin is a beach town located on the Gulf of Thailand. It’s a popular spot for expats and retirees, as the weather is hot year-round and there are low living costs. Hua Hin has a wide variety of restaurants and bars, as well as plenty of activities to keep you busy. It’s also a great place to retire if you want to learn how to cook Thai food – there are cooking classes available for all levels.
A family of four needs 58,358 baht or 1,707 USD to afford to live in the city. That cost is still exclusive of rent that can go between 8,100 baht and 12,250 baht (237 USD to 358 USD), depending on whether it’s located inside or outside the main city.
If you’re retiring in Hua Hin alone, you must have at least 16,582 baht or 485 USD to afford monthly living expenses. This cost is exclusive of rent.
Phuket is another beach town, and it’s one of the most popular places in Thailand to retire. The weather is hot year-round, and the cost of living is high. However, Phuket has plenty to offer retirees, including a wide variety of restaurants and bars, as well as many activities to keep you busy. Additionally, there are many hospitals and clinics available if you need medical care.
An apartment in Phuket with just one bedroom can cost between 16,534 baht and 17,889 baht (483 USD to 523 USD), depending on where it’s located. A meal can cost almost 30 USD.
Koh Samui is an island located off the east coast of Thailand. It’s a popular spot for retirees, as the weather is warm year-round and has low living costs. Koh Samui has many beaches and a wide variety of restaurants and bars. Additionally, many activities keep you busy, including golf, tennis, and scuba diving.
A meal in Koh Samui can cost up to 24 USD. An apartment with just one bedroom can cost between 12,104 baht and 22,667 baht (354 USD to 662.5 USD), depending on where it’s located.
Pattaya is a beach town located on the east coast of Thailand. It’s a popular spot for retirees, as the weather is warm year-round and has low living costs. Pattaya has many beaches and a wide variety of restaurants and bars. Additionally, many activities keep you busy, including golf, tennis, and scuba diving.
A family of four must have 67,837 baht or 1,984 USD to afford to live in this town. That cost does not include rent that can go between 8,635 baht and 14,884 baht (252.5 USD to 435 USD), depending on whether it’s located inside or outside the main city.
If you plan to retire in Pattaya on your own, you need at least 19,184 baht or 561 USD to afford monthly living expenses. This cost is exclusive of rent.
Krabi is a town located on the west coast of Thailand. It’s a popular spot for retirees, as the weather is warm year-round and living costs are low. Krabi has many beaches and a wide variety of restaurants and bars. Additionally, many activities keep you busy, including golf, tennis, and scuba diving.
An apartment in Krabi with just one bedroom can cost between 10,667 baht and 14,000 baht (312 USD to 409 USD), depending on where it’s located. A meal can cost up to about 22 USD.
Is Thailand Still a Good Place to Retire: Bottom Line
There’s no doubt that Thailand is a hugely popular destination not only for retirees. It’s got great weather, beautiful beaches, friendly locals and a relatively low cost of living.
Overall, Thailand is still a good place to retire, but it is important to do your research before moving. With a little planning, you can still enjoy all that the country offers at a fraction of the cost of living in Western countries.
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