Thailand has long been attracting visitors. With annual numbers of just under 40 million in 2019, it is one of the top 10 international tourism destinations and Asia’s second most visited country.
People are also attracted to the country longer-term. Be it skilled foreign nationals in their chosen career, digital nomads, snowbirds escaping their home country’s dark, cold winters, or retirees looking to spend their golden years in the “Land of Smiles.” Government sources suggest that some three million foreigners live here long-term, and several hundred thousand of those are on long-stay ‘retirement’ visas.
So, what is retirement living like here? And why Thailand?
The pluses for why Thailand, include the excellent year-round tropical climate and welcoming nature of its people. The availability of a suitable visa for over 50’s plus, the much-loved Thai cuisine and a cost of living up to 25-35% less than many western countries.
Add the diversity of locations to settle, from the hustle and bustle of the capital Bangkok, well-developed northern cities like Chiang Mai, coastal living in Pattaya or Hua Hin, island life on Koh Samui or Phuket, or more low-key locations like Khao Lak and Krabi in Thailand’s south. All with good infrastructure, various recreational facilities and well-established expat communities.
A superb international standard healthcare system is another essential plus. In fact, 62 of Thailand’s large private hospitals and specialist clinics are JCI-Accredited, the international gold standard for hospital accreditation. Thailand is also in the top 10 global destinations for medical tourism and number one in Asia. As well as the enviable quality, the affordability of this healthcare is significantly less than most first world countries.
Housing affordability is another plus for those looking to stay long term in Thailand. Whether that be renting or purchase of a condo (apartment) or home in Thailand. For those wanting to spend only part of their year here, buying a condo that can be locked up or added into the rental pool of that complex is an attractive option.
If staying for the majority of the year and longer, then a detached house or pool villa in a Moo Baan is a choice many make. Moo Baan is a housing estate or gated housing community that comes in varying shapes, sizes, and ages. Some of these communities have communal recreational facilities like a swimming pool, park or playground. Most, if not nearly all of them, have some form of on-site security.
‘Lifestyle’ developments that offer comfortable or even luxury living for the active retiree are now being presented to the market. For example, Sansara in coastal Hua Hin sits beside the international competition standard Black Mountain Golf Course. All Sansara villa and apartment owners receive two rounds of golf per week as part of their property purchase.
GOLF in HUA HIN
In Phuket, Kamala Senior Living is one of Asia’s first master-plan luxury retirement communities. It offers independent senior residents an active and exclusive lifestyle in high-quality, secure and private development. Kamala Senior Living is located within the expansive mixed-use MontAzure Phuket community. A luxury resort and residential development (where Twinpalms Residences MontAzure is located) stretching over 450 rai (72 hectares) of prime beachfront to hillside land on the central west coast at Kamala beach.
Kamala Beach Sunset from MontAzure
Those wanting the certainty of on-call on-site medical care as their golden year’s progress may find developments like Mandara Serviced Residence in Pattaya, Aspen Tree residence at Forestias Bangkok or Sunshine International in Hua Hin and Cha-Am worthy options. All three offer rental, leasehold or to-buy retirement living. A couple will even assist with visa and similar resettlement services. Some shrewd investors have purchased within Sunshine International, receiving rental income now while having an option for their own longer-term retirement needs.
Villa design from Sunshine Hua Hin
If a retirees health diminishes, there is no need to return to their home country as quality Aged Care and Assisted Living providers can easily be found, and at a significant saving compared to many western countries. All are embedded with the renowned Thai hospitality and inbuilt care for elders.
So, as you can see, Thailand offers many pluses when considering retirement living in South East Asia.
Lazudi Guest Contributor