Thailand is not only one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, it is also a premier retirement haven, largely thanks to the great climate and low-cost of living, and if you have your heart set on retiring in the Land of Smiles, this article was written with you in mind.
Where do we start?
Thai Retirement Visa
The best place would be visa options, and if you are 50 years old or over, you can apply for an annual 12-month retirement visa, which requires that you deposit a specific amount of money into a Thai bank account, prior to the visa application. This requirement ensures Thai immigration that you have adequate funds to support yourself while living in the Kingdom and if you prefer, you can show evidence of a pension that exceeds their minimum monthly amount.
Of course, it would be crazy to come to a foreign country with no health insurance and Thai Immigration wish to see evidence of special Thai visa insurance from Pacific Cross, who are government approved to offer foreigner’s health insurance that meets their requirements. At the time of writing this article, there is talk of foreign visitors being required to take out special Covid-19 insurance, so don’t be surprised if you are asked to show a Covid-19 insurance policy.
Real Estate Ownership in Thailand
It is important to know that as a foreigner, you are prohibited from owning land in the Kingdom of Thailand, although you are allowed to purchase a condo unit, providing that the development is at least 51% owned by Thais. If you do wish to build your dream house in Thailand, the only way to do that is to lease a plot of land for 30 years, with the option of extending for a further 30 years. This is known as the 30×30 land lease and strange as it might seem, you are allowed to own a house, just not the land on which it sits. There is one other way that you can own your own home and that is if you become a minority shareholder of a Thai company, as the property would be owned by the company, but there is a risk involved. Should the Thai government feel that the company is not trading and was formed with the sole intention of acquiring the real estate, they can confiscate the asset.
The Thais have long had a reputation for being very warm and friendly and prior to moving to the Kingdom, search online for resources to help you gain a deeper understanding of Thai culture and customs. Thailand has a constitutional monarchy and the Thai Royal Family are highly revered and you should take extra care when talking about any King-related topics, as there are serious penalties for those who do speak negatively about the Royal Family. If you are having difficulty sleeping, here are a few tips.
You are advised to make every effort to learn some Thai, which makes life a lot more convenient and the local people warm to foreigners that try to speak Thai. If you are not shy and try to engage the locals in a conversation, this will help you to develop essential vocabulary and the more you can speak, the better your relationships will be with Thai people. For English people, Thai can be very problematic, as it is a tonal language and getting the tone right is not easy, but as with other languages, the more you immerse yourself in the language, the quicker competency will come.
Choosing a Location
The majority of working expats are based in Bangkok, but if you are retired, there’s no reason to subject yourself to the pollution and stress that comes with urban living. Many retirees turn their attention to the South of Thailand, where the premier retirement destinations can be found; Phuket, Samui Island and Hua Hin are all popular with foreign retirees, while the northern city of Chiang Mai is the gateway to the unspoilt natural beauty of Mae Hong Son and other attractions.
One of the hidden treasures of Thailand is the 147 National Parks that can be found across the nation and you can book luxury accommodation via their website and with a small admission fee, you can enjoy the wonders of a tropical rainforest filled with diverse wildlife.
Start by taking an extended holiday in Thailand, which gives you the opportunity to get the feel of this colourful culture and set about looking for the ideal accommodation.
If you want to leave the harsh western climate behind, come to Thailand, a tropical paradise with low cost of living, and you can join the many expats who have chosen Thailand as their retirement destination.