Here are some of the more frequently asked questions we get about Thailand Retirement Helpers. This section is constantly being updated. Please review this FAQ before emailing us with questions, as you may find your answers here. If not, definitely email us: [email protected]!
How Much Does the Typical Concierge Service Cost?
The Concierge fee is 15,000 Baht.
Your visa fee will vary depending upon bells and whistles, but should not exceed 20,000 baht (about half the going rate) and you will pay that directly to the visa office.
A typical day involves getting a bank account for you, filing your visa application, finding your new home, visiting place for grocery shopping and the places to eat that suit your dietary needs, as well as a thorough orientation to Chiang Mai.
What makes Thailand Retirement Helpers special or unique?
Firstly, we are unique in Thailand. We’ve been doing these trips for three years now are fully committed to giving real value to our clients. We are committed to keeping the service accessible to folks on any budget but also don’t cut corners. It’s not about trying to be the cheapest or “best deal”, it’s about being committed to value. And yes, there is a significant difference.
What can I really get taken care of in just one day?
We will introduce you to the beautiful city of Chiang Mai, take care of your visas, open your Thai banking account, organize your transportation or own set of wheels, start getting you set up with long-term accommodation, introduce you to other expats and important local contacts, and enjoy a delicious lunch in a beautifully exotic setting. Throughout it all, we’ll sharing unique insight about Chiang Mai’s community and culture and, of course, have some fun!
What itinerary does Thailand Retirement Helpers typically follow on these trips?
Again, we schedule things depending on your priorities. Then we re-schedule them when you change your mind. It keeps us on our toes. Each client is entirely unique and the daily itinerary is dependent on several factors and priorities, some of which may change after you get here.
What time does the Concierge day usually start? When does it end?
Depending on what we need to accomplish, we usually pick you up at 9:30 a.m. and try to finish by 5:00 p.m.
Why don’t you have a standard order page?
When we started, we had a standard order page but it turned out that we didn’t have any standard clients. So we’ve grouped the activities into logical-seeming blocks, like the Health Day, and leave it up to you to piece together what you want to do based on your needs and interests.
I'm a single traveler, any problems using the services solo?
Absolutely not. We get single clients all the time. You will feel completely at home, no worries. Aimie Paradee, our Chief Concierge, picks up single women and chauffeurs them around – while giving them Thai lessons and the low down on life in Thailand.
Do I need a visa?
A visa is not required for most nationalities visiting Thailand as a tourist for up to 30 days. However, you must be in possession of a passport with a 6-month validity as well as a round trip airline ticket. Should you intend to stay longer than 30 days, you should obtain a visa from your nearest Royal Thai Consulate. For more information check this out.
If you arrive on the free 30-day tourist exemption but are planning to stay in Thailand, we can secure your proper retirement visa once you’re here.
What does it cost me to use the 24-hour number?
Nothing! You can call us even months after we’ve helped you get settled in the middle of the night and we’ll help take care of whatever your problem or question is right away.
How many people can join a group?
Most clients are couples or singles, but we did have a group of 12 Germans once (all from the same village) and that worked out surprisingly well.
Can we reserve your service so we can have only our party and no one else?
Definitely. That is usually our policy, unless you request otherwise.
Are all meals and beverages included while we’re with you?
Part of experiencing Thailand is wandering off to various food stalls and markets to discover. That being said, lunches are always included. We also include a welcome and departure meal in one of our epic restaurants. We also strive to introduce you to exceptional out of the way restaurants which you’d never find without our help.
What kind of food/meals can we expect while with Thailand Retirement Helpers?
We love to eat – both Amie and I are dedicated foodies. Meals include a diversity of options sure to fit any tastes – from streetside barbecue to gourmet vegan, if you wish. We encourage trying new Thai dishes but understand if people have diet restrictions, allergies, etc. Just let us know of any restrictions or concerns and we’ll make sure to provide meal options that fit your needs.
Do I need a phone? Will there be Internet?
We’ll send you a prepaid SIM card for your phone so, when you step off the plane, you’ll be in contact. If your current phone is locked to a plan, or uses a non-compatible operating system, another option is to purchase a cheap $20 phone here in Chiang Mai. As for internet, most locations have 3G signals and free WiFi.
What if we want to spend more time in Chiang Mai before or after our Concierge time? Can you help us arrange lodging and transportation?
Absolutely! It’s part of what we do.
Can we call you by phone?
The best way to communicate with us at the present time is via our website and email ([email protected]). You will almost always get a rapid response from us. Usually within 12 hours. But, once you’ve paid your deposit we’ll give you our U.S., Australian and U.K. numbers along with a 24-hour Thailand emergency number to call while you’re here.
We have a group and would like to do a custom visit. Is it possible?
Of course! Just let me know what you have in mind, and how many people in your group. Give as much detail as possible. Custom visits are what we do best. Contact us for more details.
Do you provide accommodation?
Accommodation is not included in our Concierge Service pricing but we’re happy to help arrange bookings and hotel transfers for your convenience.
How do you suggest we plan our onward travel plans after the holiday? Is it OK to book a flight out the same day the concierge service ends?
We’ve found that most people want to do a little exploring on their own or to go back and take another look at a house or condo that attracted them. For this reason, it’s not a good idea to schedule your travel plans too closely together. However, if you’re catching a night flight, no problem. We always tell people that it’s best you give yourself at least ONE DAY of flexibility after your ‘business’ is done in Chiang Mai. Do any traveling you’re planning on doing the NEXT DAY.
That way, you don’t have to panic if things don’t happen as efficiently as they’re supposed to. 90% of the time, everything works out fine. However, remember this is Thailand! That’s why having some flexible time really comes in handy. Do yourself and your trip a favor and heed this! Stay flexible. You’ll be glad you did, and you won’t feel rushed or any need to panic if something does go wrong.
RETIRING & LIVING IN CHIANG MAI
How do we get there?
An international flight to Bangkok then a direct domestic flight to Chiang Mai. For the adventurous, consider taking the train. Once you arrive in Chiang Mai, you’ll be picked up by a taxi which will take you right to your hotel.
What is the Chiang Mai retirement community like?
Chiang Mai is regularly listed one of the best places in the world to retire by outlets like Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, and International Living Magazine. There is a thriving retirement community for many reasons including the affordable cost of living, pleasant weather, beautiful scenery and world class medical care. You won’t be lonely here!
Is Chiang Mai safe?
Do you need to speak Thai?
No, though it’s always a good idea to try and learn the basics of the language. While you’ll be able to get around without speaking Thai, many people here from the bank tellers to even the workers at McDonald’s speak some degree of English, if you make an effort to learn and practice some Thai your life here will be even easier and richer.
Can you find Western food?
Yes. You can find any type of food or ingredients here that you may want – there are even several Mexican restaurants and a thriving cafe culture that will ensure you’re always well-caffeinated while enjoying charming atmospheres.
How hot is it?
Honestly, it’s pretty hot all year round, especially if you’re coming from a more northern country. Thailand has three seasons that sees varying degrees of hot, but there’s also air conditioning everywhere and you don’t have to be out in the heat if you don’t want to. Plus, you can’t beat seeing the sun everyday!
The best time to visit Thailand is between November and February, because it rains the least and it is not too hot. Although the rainy season (roughly July to October) gets a bad reputation, there are some bonuses: temperatures tend to be cooler, there are fewer tourists and the landscape is lush and green.
What’s included in the Health Day package?
We list everything about the Health Day here.
Can I purchase the health day package without using the regular Thailand Concierge Service?
Of course! You can choose, mix and match whatever services you’re most interested in.
Does the cost include all medical expenses?
The 27,000 THB fee includes transportation, medical and dental fees and excludes government and filing fees. It also includes a follow up consultation with specialists to whom you are referred by your examining physician.
I don’t want to do the comprehensive medical check up but am interested in learning more about alternative and Asian healing techniques. Do you offer a package for that?
Let us know what you’re interested in – whether it’s learning more about yoga and meditation practices, or wanting to try some acupuncture or Ayurveda treatments, and we’ll create a special day for you.
EXTRA & THEMED SERVICES
What’s included in your “Business” services?
If you’re thinking about starting a business while living in Chiang Mai, or are simply looking for some other ways to make extra money, we can guide you through the process introducing you to anyone you may need to know, such as lawyers and bankers, helping facilitate business licenses, visas and work permits, and sharing valuable advice and insight into doing business in Thailand – it’s not the same as at home!
What’s included in your “Relationship” services?
We help you connect with other locals and expats to grow and strengthen your social circle including finding special interest or hobby groups, dining with other retirees and simply getting a crash course on how to connect with others while in Chiang Mai. If it’s a romantic relationship you’re looking we for, we can help there too with expert advice and insight into the Thai dating world along with help from a renowned Chiang Mai matchmaker.
What’s included in your “Culture” services?
Throughout all our packages and services we try to highlight historical, social and cultural aspects about living in Chiang Mai and Thailand but for those wanting to dive deeper into Chiang Mai’s culture we can create a special day just for you. Whether you’re interested in started to learn Thai, want a tour of Chiang Mai’s traditional craft villages specializing in wood carving, umbrella making , silver jewelry, celadon pottery and more, or want to learn where to buy the best textiles and freshest flowers, we’ve got you covered.
How much does it cost?
The standard 1-day service of getting settled in Chiang Mai costs 15,000 THB plus standard government visa filing fees, etc. Additional days or one of our themed add-ons are each 15,000 THB. The comprehensive Health Day is 27,000 THB including all medical consultations, tests and follow up appointments.
What if it takes more than just one day to get settled?
Each day we work with you is 15,000 THB…but we can get a lot accomplished in just 24 hours – trust us!
For the Health Day, does the cost include all medical expenses?
Yes, the 27,000 THB fee covers transportation, medical and dental fees and excludes government and filing fees. It also includes a follow up consultation with specialists to whom you are referred by your examining physician.
If I need help and call the 24-hour emergency number, what do you charge?
Nothing! You can contact us anytime with questions or problems, were here to help!
Can you "hold" spots for us if we don't submit a deposit right away?
Reservations can only be confirmed with a paid deposit. With Paypal, it’s quick and easy to make a deposit from almost anywhere in the world using your bank account, credit card or debit card. We’ll gladly “hold” a reservation pending a deposit being received.
But please understand that if we get a reservation with a deposit for your requested dates before we receive yours, the reservation with the paid deposit will get the spot. In any case, we’ll do our best to work with you and get you booked for a time that works for you.
How can we make a deposit and pay for our trip?
To facilitate a secure and smooth experience the payment process, we accept payment with any type of credit card via PayPal, or via direct deposits into our US and Australian banks. We just ask that you submit your final balance no later than the day before you arrive. Thanks!
How are cancellations handled?
In the very rare event that we have to cancel a trip for any reason on our part, we will notify you as soon as possible and immediately refund your deposit, no worries. In the event of cancellation by the customer, regardless of the circumstances, the following refund fees, minus the deposit, apply. The deposit is non-refundable, as mentioned above:
- Cancellation 1 week or less before due arrival date, 0% refund
- Cancellation 2 weeks or more before due arrival date, 50% refund
If you have to cancel your trip, please let us know asap! So long as you give us a week’s notice we can issue an immediate refund or simply change the date to suit your needs. Any later than a week and we charge a 3,000 baht cancellation fee.