Thailand is consistently ranked amongst the best places in the world to retire. And for good reasons. Costs of living in western countries are high. Retirees find it ever harder to live the lifestyle that they planned all their lives for. It is no wonder that many are looking abroad for ways to make their retirement funds stretch to provide the lifestyle they dreamt of. Read this article to discover the best reasons to retire in Thailand.
1. People and Culture
Local attitudes to older people in society can have a big impact. Older people are still highly respected in Thai culture. Children are taught to respect their elders. Manners are still a major part of Thai culture. You will find that children will always greet elders with a Wai. They will not interrupt them and will use polite, formal language. When an older person visits their homes, Thais will go to extra levels of hospitality. They will look to provide a comfortable chair, some delicious snacks and drinks and generally try to make you feel welcome. Some westerners find it a bit annoying to be treated in this formal sort of way but the benefits are a feeling of worth and relevance.
Thais are fun loving and usually smiling. How uplifting to be amongst people that are generally happy. There are two major no-nos in Thai culture; never lose face and never cause others to lose face. These two general rules mean that you rarely see open arguing, harassment or fighting. Of course, Thais face the same disappointments, pain and frustrations as any other people. It is just a matter of how they deal with it that makes them a delight to me amongst.
A good insight into Thai culture is to understand the traditional Thai greeting – Kin khao rue yang. This basically translates as “Did you eat yet?” Eating is a major part of the culture. Thais love nothing better than getting together for a good feast with plenty of conversation and fun.
And, although there is crime as in any society, Thailand is generally a safe place to live. There are regular stories of people having their wallets returned to them. Car crime is very rare, petty theft and burglary is very low compared to western countries.
2. Food and Drink
This brings us to another great reason to retire in Thailand – the food. In many western societies you will pay a good price to eat in a Thai restaurant. Not in Thailand. Food is literally everywhere. From roadside kiosks to exotically decorated restaurants you will never tire of eating out in Thailand. And at prices you can only dream of. You can eat a tasty, nourishing meal for as little at 100 baht ($3). Even in more upscale dine-in eateries you will find full menus at around $10 per person.
Fresh produce is available from both small and large markets. Nearly every little village or area in the city has a daily market. You can buy fresh fruit and vegetables as well as seafood, many types of fresh meat and everything you need to cook up a feast.
Thais drink water a lot. Drinking water is often provided free of charge and drunk with ice. Other drinks include freshly made fruit drinks, coconut juice (often served inside the actual coconut), and a variety of milk-based drinks.
local alcoholic drinks include a variety of locally produced bottled beers. Some are internationally recognized brands such as Singha and Chang. There are many other internationally marketed brands such as Heineken. Watch out for locally produced spirits. Lao Khao is a rice whisky produced in every village. National brands of rum and whisky are extremely affordable and potent.
Western Food & Drink
Western food and drinks are also available but do come with a premium price. However, the upmarket supermarkets and wineries can supply nearly every beverage available in the west. Likewise, there are plenty of restaurants serving every style of western food. Pizzas and burgers are everywhere with most international brands well represented. If you crave other western foods the cities and even smaller towns have French, Italian, German and other culinary styles.
Readily available and affordable delicious food and drink is certainly one very good reason to retire in Thailand.
3. Health & Wellness Reasons to Retire in Thailand
When was the last time you had a remedial massage or just a long relaxing session? In Thailand massage and spa treatments are a part of everyday good health. Young children learn massage in the home at a very early age. Some go on and specialize in massage and spa treatments. And the best part – they are so affordable that they will not make a big hole in your weekly budget.
- Traditional Thai massage which involves a rhythmic stretching and tissue massage.
- Herbal aroma oil massages – Your masseuse applies a variety of herbal oils to your body and uses slow relaxing motions to ease muscles and joints
- Steam herb massages – A selection of herbs is held in cloth bags. This is then steam heated and applied to various acupuncture points. Great for stiff joints and injured muscles.
- Herbal steam baths – great for respiratory function and the release of toxins.
- Neck and shoulder massages to ease the tension around the neck and shoulders.
- Foot massages work on the pressure points in the foot to increase the flow of energy. The addition of cool herbal massage stimulates the senses and enhances the feeling of total relaxation
- Manicure and pedicure – So much pleasure keeping your nails in good shape.
Many of these therapies are offered by the roadside for just a few dollars. Others, in spa settings ranging from quite primitive to extraordinary luxury.
Meditation is also a part of everyday life in Thailand. You can find Yoga retreats and detox programs. All at affordable prices.
Being amongst a caring and happy society, eating well and enjoying natural wellness treatments are certainly among the top reasons to retire in Thailand.
4. Western Medicine and Healthcare
Thailand has world class hospitals, dental clinics, and eye clinics. Thais enjoy a virtually free healthcare system, but the private hospitals offer procedures at a fraction of the costs in the west. There are hardly any waiting times either. It is estimated that private healthcare is around 30 – 40% cheaper than the west. Indeed, Thailand has developed an ever-increasing medical tourism. People fed up with waiting for an operation back home can come and get them done here at an affordable cost and without delay. We hear of people virtually having a free holiday when combining with dental or medical treatments.
The big hospitals and clinics recognize many international health insurance schemes.
In short, if you need expert western medical treatment, you won’t be disappointed in Thailand.
You can rent a small downtown apartment in the center of Bangkok for around $700 per month. Outside the capital that will drop to around $350 per month. A small village house might cost as little as $200 a month. At the same time, you can rent a 5 bedroom villa with swimming pool for under $1000 a month in some parts of Thailand.
If you prefer to combine your accommodation with some care you can hire caregivers at various levels of care. A house maid might cost as little as $200 a month. Full care by a registered nurse would cost around $600 a month.
Better still, enjoy luxury living at a retirement resort combining the care level you need with onsite luxury spa treatments.
Accommodation at any level will seem incredibly good value to you if you are used to western prices.