Looking online for the best places to retire in 2019?
Inevitably, Thailand will pop up in your search.
Maybe you’ve been before or maybe you’re looking to check the place out with a view to staying longer.
I know I did.
I did a lot of Google searches before emigrating to Thailand.
What often comes up is a rather generic blend of reasons that are somewhat bland, to say the least.
Weather, Beaches, Landscapes, Culture, etc, etc.
The problem is; they are not MY reasons for retiring in Thailand.
The South of Spain has lovely weather and beaches, and Italy is just positively brimming with culture.
As is Egypt.
So why am I not there?
Or in Cambodia?
Or in Vietnam?
Or living under the ever watchful gods next to a Balinese volcano?
Don’t get me wrong, Thai beaches are some of the most spectacular you will see anywhere, and I love visiting them.
It’s just that living there, visiting a bar everyday sipping gin and tonic is my idea of hell.
Mainly because gin is the devil.
I’m one of those people that don’t like having anything to do.
Despite most people’s desire to sit on a beach, after a while I’d find it boring.
In short, I need activity. I need something to do, even if it’s leisurely.
This is where the lovely blend of the coffee shops, the old city vibes and Thailand’s best features come in.
So, let me tell you my story. Hopefully, it will resonate with you.
How I Retired in Thailand
It starts with me being a bit of an ‘economic nerd’.
I’m that guy. The one that knows the interest rate in Japan, the foreign trade deficits of most European nations and can name the Federal Reserve chairman going back to the late 70s.
I know what you’re thinking.
Wow, I bet that makes you a hit with the ladies.
After all, nothing spells ‘let’s go on a second date’ than the man who can quote current quantitative easing measures and the effect on geopolitical trade.
I can’t begin to tell you how many women I have to fight off knowing all that stuff.
That said, it did land me a content editing position at a respectable blog which produces a small income from which I can currently live on out here in Thailand.
So in my mid-40s, I decided that I wanted to live somewhere else and went looking.
The online job only takes a few hours a day which is perfect and gives me an income to live wherever I want.
Retiring in Thailand The Pros and Cons
Like almost everyone, I suspect there are both ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors when making these decisions.
I mean, I lived in an area of the UK that rivalled the South Atlantic some mornings but my main ‘push’ fear is that the West, in general, is declining in its overall standard of living.
There are (I believe) very real and financial reasons for this.
I won’t bore you to tears with it but every time I go back I start to see a much more of a fractured society.
The cultural and economic powerhouses of the last few centuries seem to have gone insane.
Endless reasons for war and government overreach have made me feel somewhat of a stranger in my own land and in a nutshell, I think modern Western politicians have started to think like they own you.
I for one, am up for resisting.
Which naturally leads to where to?
For me, it’s a country that is becoming more and more prosperous by the day.
Why Retire in Thailand?
There are many reasons why someone would choose Thailand but here are mine.
Yes, the weather is fabulous, the beaches are only a $30 flight away from my home in Chiang Mai, it’s easy to get around and the place is just brimming with culture
A Sense of Freedom
The Thai way of life is much more laid back than most.
They’re on the whole a happy people and there’s very little crime in Thailand that I’m aware of or that I encounter.
I watched some very awkward parking at a busy intersection the other day.
The guy driving quickly got out and nipped off to a drink stand to get a coffee (this was in plain sight of a couple of police officers).
No shouting, no “you can’t do that here”, no penalties and fines for obstruction and lectures about points or permits.
In fact, nothing happened at all.
He got back in the car (despite having caused a small obstruction for a while) and drove off to get on with his day.
I can’t speak for you, but I like that. I’m even smiling slightly as I remember it.
A Lower Cost of Living
You also can’t mention Thailand without bringing up the ridiculously low cost of living compared to a Western City.
It’s almost funny thinking about all the stuff I don’t have to pay for.
Vehicles taxes, council taxes, sales taxes. You could go on and on.
I live in a large Thai style house in the backend of Chiang Mai.
The cost to me is around $160 per month and when you add in water and electricity it brings it up to around $200 per month all in.
A simple meal out in a Thai style restaurant, which is basically open air with plastic chairs most of the time is around $2.
Generic pharmaceuticals are cheap as well.
I can get a taxi right across the city of Chiang Mai for around $3.
It’s like Living in the 1950’s and 60’s
Another plus to Thailand is the low cost of simple things.
Take the movie theatre, for example.
At the time of writing this I read that the average cost of a ticket to see a blockbuster movie is $8.73.
I’m old enough to recall a time when you could take the whole family for that price.
In Thailand, it sometimes feels like time has frozen.
A taxi from my house to the cineplex, a movie ticket, popcorn and a taxi back will set me back just $12.
Spur of the moment and the same price as a cup of coffee in London.
It’s hard to put a price on the low cost of things. Things that make your income go that much further.
I no longer even remotely spend what I bring in per month and for the first time in decades, I’m left with a surplus.
Moving to Thailand, even as a retiree with a pension, could double or even triple your income.
For me, that feels pretty liberating.
It means I don’t really have to mind what I do day-to-day and I feel a lot less trapped.
I live a much higher quality of life, and if I decided to take up a new hobby such as golf or hiking in the dozens of national parks across Thailand, I could do just that.
In short, I am finding a long-awaited and much-desired freedom.
Dating in Thailand
One of the absolute best things about visiting Thailand is by far the Thai women.
If you’ve never been to Thailand before, you may be in for a bit of a shock.
Here there seems to be a completely different relationship structure between men and women and finding love is easier than you might think.
If you’re the kind of guy that walks into a bar and can sit there all night without chatting to any women, then this might just be the place for you.
The VERY first night I went out to a bar in the happening part of town and sat down for a beer. Within minutes I had some stunning Thai company.
Being a single guy (at any age) Thailand is a bit like finding paradise.
Thailand really does have all the features and interests to attract almost anybody who might want to retire here.
Including the more dull reasons that you can read about in other articles.
There’s good infrastructure for electricity and wifi which is important for keeping in contact with people back home. The warm weather encourages t-shirts and shorts year-round, the people are some of the friendliest on earth, and the streets are safe, even late at night.
I can walk anywhere in Chiang Mai, day or night and I feel completely safe.
I don’t just feel like that in Chiang Mai, I feel like that almost everywhere I go in Thailand.
Ask yourself if you live somewhere like that?
They seem non-important reasons and never make a ‘Why people retire to Thailand’ list, but to me, it’s an invaluable addition to why I love it here and why millions are searching for retirement in Thailand.
My time is my own, I feel free at last and I wouldn’t be anywhere else.