Stress Free Retirement to Thailand

With one of the lowest costs of living in the world and high quality of life, Thailand has become one of the top retirement destinations overseas. There is a diverse expat community enjoying the country’s rich cultural experiences, stunning natural beauty, tropical climate, and Thai cuisine. Whether you’re looking at retiring to one of Thailand’s cosmopolitan areas, such as Bangkok, or a more adventurous area, like Chiang Mai, there are several things that should be taken into consideration.

Stress Free Retirement in Thailand
Stress Free Retirement in Thailand

What Does It Cost?

It’s important to know that the income requirement for retiring in Thailand is 65,000 THB per month, savings of 800,000 THB in a Thai bank account, or a combination of income and money in the bank that equals 800,000 THB. As of this writing, 65,000 THB = $1,849, and 800,000 THB = $22,756, a very good start for a comfortable retirement in Thailand.

Where Do I Start?

If you want to spend your retirement days in Thailand, enjoying Stress Free Retirement to Thailand, you will first need to apply for a non-immigrant visa. To qualify, you must be at least 50 years old, have a passport with at least one year remaining before expiration, hold the nationality or be a permanent resident of country of application, and have proof of the financial requirement.

The next step is obtaining a one year retirement visa. You must be at least 50 years old, have a passport with signed copies of each page, a non-immigrant visa, a departure card TM.6, proof of meeting financial requirements, a Thai bank book, a letter from your Thai bank, and three 4×5 cm photos with full face taken.

Be aware that employment of any kind (even volunteer work) is strictly prohibited.

How Do I Find a Place to Live?

Perhaps the biggest consideration in finding a place to live is deciding what type of lifestyle you want. That will play an important part in determining where in Thailand you should move. Among the many options, here are a few to get you started:

City Lifestyle

Bangkok is one of the largest cities in the world and offers a vibrant cosmopolitan atmosphere with plenty of shopping, nightlife, restaurants and entertainment venues. In addition, there are museums, temples, palaces and canals, and many public parks. Keep in mind that along with big city perks come big city headaches. Traffic in Bangkok can be a nightmare.

Outdoor Lifestyle

If you’re the outdoorsy type, Chiang Mai might be just the place for you. Located in the mountains about 400 miles north of Bangkok, this laid-back city offers an array of adventures, including white water rafting, jungle trekking, mountain biking, and kayaking.

Beach Lifestyle

If beautiful tropical beaches are your thing, Thailand has a plethora of choices. From the island of Phuket, to the eastern shores of Rayong, you can enjoy peaceful days exploring endless white sand beaches.

Peaceful Lifestyle

Krabi Town, on Thailand’s southern west coast, is located at the mouth of the Krabi River.  This riverside town offers an authentic Thai experience, with a weekend “Walking Street” night market popular with both tourists and locals. Easy access to Ao Nang and Klong Muang beaches (about half an hour by bus) also make Krabi Town an attractive option.

Finding Property

Foreigners are not allowed to buy property in Thailand, unless the property is purchased by a company in which a Thai citizen owns at least 51%, or in an apartment or condo building in which 51% of the units are owned by Thai citizens. In addition, transferring the property to someone outside of Thailand is a difficult process, so renting may be your best option.

It is strongly recommended that you start with a monthly rental until you’ve been in the area a few months before committing to a lease.

Can I Bring My Car?

Yes, you can take your car with you to Thailand. You’ll want to keep in mind that even though cars with the steering wheel on the left side are not illegal, people drive on the left side of the road in Thailand.

Make certain that you choose an auto transport company familiar with the procedures for importing a vehicle to Thailand. There are different rules depending on whether your vehicle is new or used. Shipping a used vehicle requires an import permit which must be obtained from the Ministry of Commerce. Failure to do so will result in your vehicle being seized and cost you dearly in fines.

What About Household Items?

You have a period of six months to bring your household items duty-free if you have a non-immigrant visa. Make sure that the shipping company ships your items door-to-door and not door-to-port. Also, you are typically only allowed to bring one of each item, meaning you’ll have to leave a few of those televisions behind. However, with a retirement visa and a letter from Thai immigration stating that Thailand is now your home country, you will be allowed to bring two of each item.

The Wrap Up

These are just a few things to consider when deciding if you want to make Thailand your retirement destination. Visit a few places and get a feel for the various lifestyles they offer before making your decision.  

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