Reasons To Retire To Thailand inc Medical, Living & Girls
If you think that Thailand is a 3rd World country not worthy of your time to retire to then think again.
The country has drawn many foreigners from all around the globe because it contains things your own country lacks.
From a poll taken from Reddit users, what's their favourite thing is about Thailand:-
- The most open of Asian cultures
- The food and the variety of it
- The Thai people themselves
- The health care and hospital system for ex-pats
- The weather, compared to most other countries
- The nonjudgmental lifestyle anyone can live
- Community feeling and friendship
- People are much happier, with much less
- and special mention is made of Thai ladyboys
You'll always hear the shrills from foreign naysayers how Thailand has changed for the worse, over the past decade or two. You'll get these people no matter where you live. They can't be happy, despite themselves.
For those foreigners looking to escape to another world truly, Thailand continues to offer a special place you can again call home. Providing you make allowances and trade-offs to fit a new environment.
Why would you travel to Thailand for medical care?
The Private hospital business in Thailand will have an average annual growth of 10-13% from 2019 to 2021. The three major hospitals in Bangkok care for 3.1 million foreign patients from over 190 countries annually. Hospital procedures cost less than 50% less than those in the USA. The roundtrip of a blood test is 2 hours from GP to testing back to the GP for your results.
Let's discuss this in more detail.
Medical Care for Retirement
Qualifications for medical staff in Thailand range from world-class to the lower end. Retirees must always stick to hospitals dedicated to foreigners. Don't cut corners for primary care at a clinic, despite that clinic's marketing and flashy exterior.
We will say that of most South-East Asian countries we've looked at that the health care and hospital system in Thailand is by far the best. Hence why so many retirees choose the country for their later living. Sure Vietnam, the Philippines or Indonesia are fantastic places for holidays. Still, their levels of health care are sub-standard for most foreigners.
The Private hospital business in Thailand will enjoy an average annual growth of 10-13% from 2019 to 2021. Growth is excellent news if you're looking to relocate to the country.
Bangkok is the home of some of the most renowned hospitals in South East Asia including:-
Bumrungrad International Hospital - Bumrungrad has one of the most prominent outpatient offices within SE Asia. Cutting edge facilities, leading medical practitioners and high-level English speaking staff make Bumrungrad a leading go-to hospital.
Bumrungrad Hospital was founded in 1980 and retained a Global Healthcare Accreditation with Excellence. It is one of the largest private hospitals in S/E Asia. It cares for over 1.1 million patients from more than 190 countries annually.
Like most hospitals catering to foreigners, nearly all doctors at Bumrungrad speak English. The hospital also employs more than 200 language interpreters so no matter which country you're from, you're in good hands.
Bangkok Hospital - Established in 1972, the Bangkok Hospital was one of the first private hospitals in the country. It has a 48-year track record in covering specialists procedures and facilities in cancer and cardiology.
This hospital caters to almost 1,000,000 annual patients, of which 230,000 come from patients from 160 countries - a well-respected hospital for retirees as well as medical tourists.
Also available is their 'Chivawattana MyHealth Membership Program' which offers a healthcare savings plan. You're able to use this membership for significant savings across 135 different hospitals in the Bangkok Hospital Group network. It is well worth checking out for retiring ex-pats.
Praram 9 Hospital - The efficiency of Praram 9 Hospital is genuinely extraordinary. The location is away from the usual Sukhumvit ex-pat area; and offers world-class care, service and accredited medical staff and doctors.
First opened in 1992, Praram 9 Hospital offers state of the art centres:-
- a Cardiovascular Institute
- an Infertility Center
- Prenatal Diagnosis Center
- an Orthopedic Center
- and a comprehensive general and specialised Dental Clinic.
Keep an eye on the monthly specialised medical packages to save even more money.
Other equally respected hospitals include Yanhee General Hospital, Samitivej Hospital, Bangkok Christian Hospital, Siriraj Hospital, Phyathai 2 Hospital, Focal General Hospital and Ramkhamhaeng Hospital.
Every country's hospital system has different processes and costs calculations.
From personal experience and those of current ex-pats, you can expect Thailand's hospital procedures to be at least half the cost or less than Western countries.
That's a massive saving for a retiree on a low income.
The Krungsri Bank of Thailand recently compiled the following overview which will help you though:
|Coronary Angioplasty||28200 $||5700 $||4200 $||13400 $|
|Heart Bypass||123000 $||7900 $||15000 $||17200 $|
|Hip Replacement||40364 $||7200 $||17000 $||13900 $|
|Gastric Bypass||25000 $||7000 $||16800 $||13700 $|
|Hysterectomy||15400 $||3200 $||3650 $||10400 $|
|Lasik (2 eyes)||4000 $||1000 $||2310 $||3800 $|
|Dental Implant||2500 $||900 $||1720 $||2700 $|
|Breast Implant||6400 $||3000 $||3500 $||8400 $|
As always, confirm any medical treatment costs. Many mentioned above, for Thailand, are also available in Packages as well as some procedures costs lower than stated above.
Basic Doctor Consultation
An ex-pat will have their first eye-opening moment on their initial doctor visit. The doctor or specialist gives you as much time to do the consultation as you need.
Let me explain what I mean by that.
Here's how it works visiting a General Practitioner in Australia:-
- Sit in their waiting room anywhere from 10 minutes to a few hours, depending on how loaded they've booked consults.
- You eventually get to see them and pay an extremely high premium for 10 minutes of their time
- You are their quick turn-around product
- The doctor might recommend a blood test. Well, you're on your own. You travel to get the test done with the results taking days to complete.
- Same for an X-Ray. It's a ridiculous and convoluted process. Travel, wait in line and wait an eternity for the results to go to your doctor again
- Need some Specialist opinion. Welcome to the Australian medical round-about and the stream of booking, waiting in line and high cost, low-interest treatment.
- Then make more reservations for your GP; wait a few more hours and come back a few times. He/she can get the right treatment since the first, second or third prescriptions wrong since he/she couldn't give a toss to listen for more than a few minutes, to you.
Seeing a GP in a Thai Hospital:-
- Front to the medical receptionist who'll take down your initial symptoms
- She'll assign a nurse to you
- The nurse will be appointed the doctor who is available to see you immediately
- The nurse will take you to the doctor's offices
- Your doctor will be introduced, with the nurse waiting
- You can spend as much time explaining your medical problem/s and relax with the doctor patiently listening. Take your sweet time, so things are crystal clear with the doctor
- If you need a blood test, the nurse takes you directly to their blood testing facility and gets it done then and there
- Same for an X-Ray, the nurse takes you there.
- The nurse will bring you back to the GP to check results
- Does the GP need a Specialists' opinion? No problem. Again the nurse takes you there and back
- Then the billing process and the medications.
- There's no hassle. The hospital experience in Thailand is well oiled, pleasant and inexpensive.
In Thailand, you do it all in the one appointment, you take your sweet time, the doctor is interested and, it's less than 1/2 the price.
Incidentally, in Thai hospitals, it's the nurses that keep a check on the doctors too.
Nurses are hospital staff. Doctors aren't.
The nurses monitor the doctors to ensure they're taking good care of the patients. A monitoring nurse is a compelling way for hospitals to maintain a high image of professionalism and always keeping doctors on the patient's side.
An important area for retirees to also consider is the staff's attitude towards you.
A positive feeling helps you both mentally and physically.
The staff members of most medical facilities in your home country tend to be bored with their job and the people they serve. And it shows in their nonplus attitude to patients. Non-smiling staff is not conducive to good health. Nor should it be tolerated but, sadly, this is the norm.
Thailand, on the other hand, is well known as the Land of Smiles. All staff (and I mean ALL) in Thai medical hospitals are the friendliest people I've known.
It is their pleasure to take care of you. You'll be greeted by smiles at every corner, including your doctor.
Your mental wellbeing is vital for your recovery.
Don't get stuck in the Western medical meat grinder.
Choose Thailand hospitals if you're looking to retire there.
Living in Thailand as a Retiree
Thailand has always been a country wanting foreigners to retire to their shores.
It's been this way for decades and provides the country with a steady inflow of foreign money.
Your first order of business should be to get your Visas in order. Thai people are sticklers for process, paperwork and procedure. Sorting your Retirement Visa needs to take precedence so you can kick back and enjoy your years here.
Understand the Immigration staff in Thailand speak the Thai language. If you're a first-timer, applying for a Non-Immigrant O-Long Stay Visa (Retirement Visa) at the office yourself will be a daunting task. You don't know the language which can easily lead you to frustration against the staff - doing so can result in not getting your visa. Never argue with Thai officials, ever.
In a nutshell, you need to be aged 50 years or older and require the following:-
- Have at least 800,000 Thai baht in a Thai Bank account which is in your name. This money must have been cleared in the account at least two months before making your application.
- Or, have a monthly income or pension of at least 65,000 Thai baht.
- Or, have an annual salary, retirement funds, and money in a Thai bank, which come to a combined total of at least 800,000 Thai Baht.
There are more requirements on the official Thai Immigration Page.
We recommend engaging a specialised Thai lawyer to walk you through all the steps needed.
Think of the lawyer as the cost of living in the country. Typically this service will set you back 25,000 baht once a year. They ensure all the paperwork is in order. They do all the talking, but you must be still present at the Immigration Office with them. They're well known and respected by Immigration staff and get preferential treatment.
The most significant change in your life will be re-adjusting to a new lifestyle.
And we mean you'll need to adjust it to be one for more relaxation, far less red tape and almost bypass living by rules. It can be daunting to some elderly folk until you start understanding how things work in the country.
Sabai Sabai (สบายๆ) is an expression to relax and enjoy the flow of your situation.
Most Thais tend to live in this way, as best they can.
Everything in Thailand seems to go at a slower pace than in other countries.
The traffic looks hectic, but it speeds along slower despite the official speed limits. Right of way is almost a give and take thing. Road rules are more like guidelines so watch yourself when you're approaching a crossing - motor vehicles are much more substantial than you :)
All in all, life in Thailand is just plain 'chill'.
Adapting will most certainly lead you to a longer and more peaceful life.
Where in Thailand Do You Want to Retire?
There are so many unique locations to settle in, in Thailand. You should take some time in finding yours.
You have the benefits of robust infrastructure to do your planning. Close shopping convenience and Bangkok, for example, provides a comprehensive public transport system.
Get settled into a smaller condo that is close to the BTS or MRT rail systems. 50 sq/m condos close to these range from 20000 baht to 30000 baht per month. Very affordable, well located and convenient.
So what are your interests?
If it's a party-time / drinking / relax kind of thing then Bangkok, Pattaya or Phuket will suit you more; as many older guys in the past in the past.
A more significant percentage of retiring foreigners are looking for something a lot different to occupy their time.
|Bangkok||Buriram||Chiang Mai||Chon Buri||Hua Hin||Khon Kaen||Koh Samui||Krabi||Nan||Pattaya||Phuket||Rayong||Surin||Yala|
|Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant||70.00 ฿||50.00 ฿||50.00 ฿||60.00 ฿||60.00 ฿||42.50 ฿||100.00 ฿||110.00 ฿||40.00 ฿||100.00 ฿||130.00 ฿||70.00 ฿||100.00 ฿||50.00 ฿|
|Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course||800.00 ฿||500.00 ฿||600.00 ฿||415.00 ฿||650.00 ฿||500.00 ฿||625.00 ฿||600.00 ฿||400.00 ฿||1,000.00 ฿||625.00 ฿||575.00 ฿||625.00 ฿||400.00 ฿|
|Cappuccino (regular)||76.67 ฿||58.75 ฿||58.88 ฿||48.33 ฿||48.33 ฿||53.33 ฿||76.25 ฿||66.25 ฿||40.00 ฿||69.05 ฿||76.25 ฿||55.00 ฿||76.25 ฿||60.80 ฿|
|Milk (regular), (1 liter)||52.55 ฿||45.67 ฿||56.80 ฿||60.00 ฿||38.67 ฿||45.67 ฿||60.50 ฿||40.00 ฿||46.00 ฿||52.70 ฿||61.98 ฿||51.51 ฿||60.50 ฿||64.87 ฿|
|Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)||36.12 ฿||38.00 ฿||41.58 ฿||40.00 ฿||40.00 ฿||35.27 ฿||48.50 ฿||38.33 ฿||36.00 ฿||36.43 ฿||48.50 ฿||41.32 ฿||48.50 ฿||40.83 ฿|
|Rice (white), (1kg)||38.46 ฿||35.00 ฿||32.04 ฿||28.33 ฿||28.33 ฿||35.00 ฿||34.00 ฿||35.00 ฿||30.00 ฿||43.47 ฿||34.00 ฿||45.00 ฿||34.00 ฿||31.25 ฿|
|Eggs (regular) (12)||56.06 ฿||50.00 ฿||48.05 ฿||40.33 ฿||62.67 ฿||40.00 ฿||50.00 ฿||47.67 ฿||35.60 ฿||50.20 ฿||50.00 ฿||51.50 ฿||50.00 ฿||53.00 ฿|
|Local Cheese (1kg)||676.15 ฿||550.00 ฿||644.44 ฿||333.33 ฿||333.33 ฿||640.00 ฿||300.00 ฿||1,500.00 ฿||600.00 ฿||590.00 ฿||658.33 ฿||947.82 ฿||300.00 ฿||650.00 ฿|
|Water (1.5 liter bottle)||17.14 ฿||14.50 ฿||19.13 ฿||10.50 ฿||23.25 ฿||37.50 ฿||15.44 ฿||30.33 ฿||19.13 ฿||19.20 ฿||15.44 ฿||17.50 ฿||15.44 ฿||47.50 ฿|
|Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)||61.05 ฿||51.67 ฿||53.96 ฿||54.02 ฿||54.51 ฿||51.67 ฿||50.00 ฿||56.33 ฿||53.96 ฿||53.49 ฿||55.51 ฿||68.33 ฿||50.00 ฿||52.38 ฿|
|Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)||125.55 ฿||105.00 ฿||98.90 ฿||75.00 ฿||91.25 ฿||105.00 ฿||77.80 ฿||71.67 ฿||75.00 ฿||88.33 ฿||77.80 ฿||120.00 ฿||77.80 ฿||70.00 ฿|
|Cigarettes 20 Pack (Marlboro)||150.00 ฿||132.50 ฿||145.00 ฿||132.50 ฿||132.50 ฿||132.50 ฿||120.00 ฿||102.50 ฿||130.00 ฿||142.50 ฿||120.00 ฿||145.00 ฿||120.00 ฿||71.95 ฿|
|Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)||35.00 ฿||35.00 ฿||55.00 ฿||35.00 ฿||67.50 ฿||40.00 ฿||35.00 ฿||100.00 ฿||55.00 ฿||35.00 ฿||35.00 ฿||40.00 ฿||35.00 ฿||20.00 ฿|
|Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment||3,155.71 ฿||1,500.00 ฿||2,102.86 ฿||2,065.62 ฿||2,755.08 ฿||2,100.00 ฿||2,111.67 ฿||1,400.00 ฿||2,102.86 ฿||2,887.64 ฿||2,660.68 ฿||1,248.15 ฿||2,111.67 ฿||3,023.04 ฿|
|Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)||688.63 ฿||594.00 ฿||685.31 ฿||639.67 ฿||662.60 ฿||677.00 ฿||729.39 ฿||700.00 ฿||685.31 ฿||799.93 ฿||729.39 ฿||828.25 ฿||729.39 ฿||697.73 ฿|
|Clothing And Shoes|
|1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar)||1,835.91 ฿||1,600.00 ฿||2,300.16 ฿||1,611.11 ฿||1,611.11 ฿||1,530.00 ฿||1,000.00 ฿||?||2,300.16 ฿||2,238.46 ฿||1,571.43 ฿||2,150.25 ฿||1,000.00 ฿||1,816.31 ฿|
|1 Pair of Men Leather Business Shoes||2,895.00 ฿||1,900.00 ฿||2,137.69 ฿||2,562.50 ฿||2,562.50 ฿||1,700.00 ฿||2,750.00 ฿||4,000.00 ฿||2,137.69 ฿||2,825.00 ฿||3,083.33 ฿||2,000.00 ฿||2,750.00 ฿||2,250.00 ฿|
|Rent Per Month|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre||21,253.97 ฿||5,100.00 ฿||12,085.33 ฿||16,125.00 ฿||17,777.78 ฿||10,000.00 ฿||14,000.00 ฿||15,500.00 ฿||16,063.75 ฿||16,560.00 ฿||13,333.33 ฿||6,250.00 ฿||?||?|
|Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre||10,607.69 ฿||3,750.00 ฿||9,149.59 ฿||6,833.33 ฿||11,318.18 ฿||5,166.67 ฿||10,500.00 ฿||10,000.00 ฿||?||9,846.15 ฿||9,250.53 ฿||3,650.00 ฿||?||?|
|Buy Apartment Price|
|Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre||182,545.45 ฿||45,000.00 ฿||70,352.44 ฿||64,333.33 ฿||63,750.00 ฿||55,000.00 ฿||35,000.00 ฿||?||345,817.53 ฿||70,454.55 ฿||68,333.33 ฿||?||?||?|
From our research above, across 14 popular Thai locations:-
- The highest cost of living include Koh Samui, Krabi, Pattaya, Phuket and Surin
- Mid-range living costs include Bangkok, Chon Buri, Hua Hin and Rayong
- The least outlay to live include Buriram, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Nan and Yala
I know a number of my friends are avid fishermen.
They chose a spread of locations such as Krabi, Chumphon and the Phuket areas to relocate. They've got an abundance of shallow and deeper sea spots to go out fishing and chill out their days, enjoying the hospitality of the local Thai fishermen; and their Thai girl.
As you move further away into smaller towns, the cost of living decreases too.
Reducing your monthly expenditure as a retired man makes good financial sense. The only other problem you do need to consider is transportation so you can get around. While public transport is available with buses, consider factoring in the purchase of a motorbike - cheap and easy to operate and convenient when you want it.
If mountains and greenery is your liking, Thailand is rich and plentiful.
Make a stop in Chiang Mai, as a start.
You'll love all the things surrounding this major Thai city. The highest mountain in Thailand is here. You'll still need transportation or get a package tour.
Chiang Mai has a unique mix of foods. The area is rich with fresh local produce, and if hiking is your thing, there are many hiking trails too.
Chiang Mai is popular with retiring foreigners too. Why not make some new friends?
Want to live everywhere?
When you're retiring, it's always a popular idea to relive and write about your life.
Do as many other guys do, and combine your Thai retirement adventures, record what you're doing, share with others AND make money during your retirement.
Start a YouTube channel.
It might be about your love of fishing, hiking or just travelling through Thailand.
You can combine your interests and live in multiple places, chronicling your adventures.
You'll be surprised how many other people are interested in precisely what you are.
As an example, choosing a location such as Krabi gives you a gateway to a large number of close-by places to explore and document. Krabi is very cost-effective for living day-to-day too.
Grab yourself a GoPro, spare memory cards and power packs and get outside and start filming - a waterproof action camera is ideal for adventure. Creating a YouTube channel is entirely free and provides an income stream once you get some videos added and generate some interest.
You can live and travel anywhere in Thailand, take your retirement to another new level and get paid along the way. Digital nomads are ideally suited to living wherever they want in Thailand.
Perfect Weather for Retirement
The weather across Thailand is ideal for healthy living.
It is tropical and humid for most of the year. Thailand is such a popular destination for tourists and retiring ex-pats. Perfect for chilling on a beach or exploring the many temples, caves or jungle areas.
Northern Thailand between November through to May is dry. February to May gets the higher temperatures. May back to November can be dominated by South-West monsoons when the rainfall in the North is the heaviest.
Southern Thailand is either wet or dry. The west coast receives a SouthWest monsoon from April to October which can bring rain and heavy storms. The east coast receives rainfall from September to December.
The southern areas of Thailand can average 2400 millimetres every year, whereas central and northern Thailand average 1400 millimetres.
All in all, the rain can be a welcome relief to the hotter periods and never seems to get in the way of activities.
Of all the foreigners I know living in Thailand, only a few have even bothered to buy an umbrella.
Thai Women for Retirement
Funny as this might sound, now that you've made the life decision to relocate to Thailand, finding a Thai girl to take care of you and to live with, will be the least of your worries.
You've now got time on your side.
You've now switched to be the hunted and not the hunter. Being a foreigner permanently residing in Thailand is precisely who Thai women want.
You can choose to find 1 Thai woman for your life or maybe multiple girls if you're planning on living in different places, depending on how you wish to travel. That choice is up to you. Many guys choose one or the other, and some choose both.
It's less confusion if you're retiring to find a constant Thai companion though.
Get signed up and start planning where to live and how you're going to support yourself. Remember any partner you choose will also need some financial support, at some stage. That's just how things are here.
Traditionally, a man takes care of his Thai lady when her money runs low. That can happen more than you want, at times.
Choosing the Right Thai Woman
Plan and map the woman you want.
List the qualities your Thai woman must possess.
- If you're retiring, does she need to be working?
- Can she easily travel with you? It's necessary to know, as many women care for children.
- Can she cook and does she like to cook? Some men prefer their Thai wives/girlfriends to have cooking skills, some don't
- What about English (or your native tongue) skills? You'll be spending a lot of time with her. Is conversation crucial for you?
- Has she had a foreign partner before? They also need to adjust to non-Thai ways.
- Body dimensions? Do you like slim, average or fat?
- Submissive, neutral or dominant? The majority of Thai woman are more submissive due to their cultural upbringing. Which is a big reason most ex-pats choose Thai girls as partners.
There are many qualities you must determine when starting.
We make this task a whole lot easier for you.
Besides the abundance of Thai woman, start using the rating system and secret notes field once you start searching and messaging. Both these allow you to promptly zero in on more applicable women, better suited to you up and coming life change.
A Partner for Travel
Retiring means a significant change for you.
More travel time to start enjoying the years you've got left, which we hope will be many.
Any potential Thai partner will be thrilled to start travelling with you. They don't get many opportunities except for short trip / short stay adventure. That's how the work system functions in Thailand.
You'll need to work with this system and make compromises if she's going to be with you fulltime.
You must also factor in added financial costs since you'll be footing the bill for her too.
In western countries, retiring can often mean a slow, sad demise to your wellbeing, health and love interests.
Rethinking your options to Thailand suddenly puts you in the drivers' seat to accelerate your life into areas you've only dreamed about before.
Picturesque beaches, intriguing jungle adventures, vibrant and bustling cities, friendly smiling local Thai people, mouth-watering Asian foods and desserts and young dark-skinned enthusiastic Thai women are now on your menu.
You only have to take the first step.
Join free today, add some quality profile photos when you're ready and get searching!
Where are the cheaper places in Thailand to retire?
- Chiang Mai
- Khon Kaen
Where are the most expensive places in Thailand to retire?
- Koh Samui
Where are the best mid-range places in Thailand to retire?
- Chon Buri
- Hua Hin
Where are the best foreigner-friendly hospitals in Bangkok?
- Bumrungrad International Hospital
- Bangkok Hospital
- Praram 9 Hospital
- Yanhee General Hospital
- Samitivej Hospital
- Bangkok Christian Hospital
- Siriraj Hospital
- Phyathai 2 Hospital
- Focal General Hospital
- Ramkhamhaeng Hospital
Hi, my name is Martin. I have many friends in and traveled throughout the Asia/Pacific regions for the past 17 years. I am passionate in helping others with my insight and past adventures.
I hope you enjoy the stories I write and take a little something away from them. I've contributed to over 160 posts on travel, dating, marriage and relationships.