THAILAND. PARADISE FOR PENSIONERS?
Thailand. Often touted as a holiday paradise with eternally smiling locals, golden temples, inexpensive cookshops, constant sunshine, Asian markets with everything your heart desires, and which are especially for us Europeans very inexpensive.
But what is it really like? Are these much heard attributes really true?
So I would like to try to reflect my impressions and experiences as I have experienced them myself during a whole year. Open, critical and without rose-colored glasses.
My wife died of cancer in May 2015 after 56 years of marriage. This was preceded by a painful 8-year period of suffering with operations, rehabilitation, hospital stays and care. I was very fortunate that my two daughters supported me energetically and with a lot of personal sacrifice during this time. Only with their help could my wife be spared the stay in a nursing home until her death.
Then life began as an 83-year-old widower. Everyday life with housekeeping, shopping etc. The evenings were worst, especially in autumn and in the months of November and December. I sat alone in the living room with my TV or I spent the time with Jassen and played on the computer. Friends had also become rare. Deceased, sick, busy with their grandchildren. By pure coincidence I saw a TV show about a retirement home in Thailand and since I already knew the country from various holidays, I decided to spend a trial month in one of the often described retirement homes
When I returned to Switzerland, the subject of Thailand was still on my mind. So I decided to emigrate definitely after a long time of consideration. The next destination was again a retirement home. But this time one of the upper class.
What did I learn in one year in Thailand?
The biggest obstacle is the Thai language. Word and writing are so foreign to us Europeans that we need years to learn them. Communication in English is a must for authorities, doctors, banks, certain shopping centres. Help from a European who speaks Thai is very valuable.
For a long-term stay I recommend living in two rooms with cooking facilities. A villa in the Ban Sabai Village is ideal, basement living with small kitchen and toilet, upstairs sleeping with bath,
A visa is required for the stay in Thailand. Ban Sabai Village can take care of all the organizational arrangements for the guest, there is a leaflet of the steps and what is needed to make this easier.
Now to the health care. For pensioners under 75 years it is possible to join a health insurance company. Similar to Switzerland, it is possible to insure yourself step by step.
For pensioners over 75 years there is no adequate insurance possibility. The family doctor we know does not exist in Thailand. One goes directly to the hospital. Dentists, on the other hand, are excellent and the costs are out of proportion to those in Europe.
Finally the dear money.
A rule of thumb says that the purchase ratio between Europe and Thailand is about 5:1. This means that in Thailand the expenses for food, clothing, medical care, dentist and rents are only a fifth of European prices. This may be true for many but not for all goods. Cars or even cigars are burdened with a high luxury tax. Alcohol is also not cheap by comparison.