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An Expat Talks about Retiring in Nonthaburi, Thailand

Apr 04, 2016

Waterfront in Nonthaburi Thailand

An expat who retired to Thailand offers a cautionary tale about living in the Asian nation. More than anything else, he advises to live there for a period before committing to retirement there... don't just dive in!

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?


Why did you choose to retire abroad?

We had family in Thailand and the money was going to go so much further. We thought we would be able to save enough money to be able to travel. We did not know that there was zero enforcement of laws in Thailand, people can get away with murder and just walk away.

This is no longer a place we chose to live in. We are looking elsewhere for a safe retirement haven. Spain is going to be are next adventure.

Are you retired abroad all year or part of the year?

All Year

Why did you choose the country you retired to?

We have family members in Thailand.

Did you ever live abroad before you retired abroad?

Yes I live in Europe when I was in my 20's

How long have you lived abroad since you retired abroad?

3 years

How many countries (other than your home country) have you lived in as a retiree?


What have been the most challenging aspects of being retired abroad?

Cultual Shock, Language skill problems, Lack of law enforcement. Smog, unfriendly people, always getting ripped off by the taxi drivers, having to pay a different price [than] the Thai's. Freedom of Speech.

What have been the most rewarding aspects of being retired abroad?

No stress with money.

What would you do differently if you were just starting the retire abroad process?

I would rent for a year to see how I liked it.

What is life like for a retiree in your city and its surroundings? (Is there an active expat community? Cultural Attractions? Recreation? Nightlife?)

There is not a active retirement community, not even your local Starbucks. Impact Arena Has some live Musicial's but they are not cheap, there are a few parks but not close by. And there is some nightlife but it is not safe.

What residency documents or visas did you need to obtain to retire in your host country? How difficult was this process? (Please describe)

You have to jump though a lot of Hoops and it is not cheap, between the US Embassy and the Thai Embassy they will nickel and dime you all the way to the Bank.

You have to prove you have enough money to live here, you have to prove you are married, you have to show a birth certificate from your own country, and you have to do this process every year, and every 3 months you have to check into immigration, so they can see where you have been traveling and pay another 3-5 thousand baht.

Did you buy a home or apartment, or rent one? Is this a difficult process? (Please describe)

We bought a condo, but it is in are family name, then we went and bought another condo and put this in my wife's name - she is Thai. We had to pay cash for the condo, because you cannot even get a short term loan in Thailand.

Even if you make 80% more than most Thai people coming in every month, the only way to get a loan is to be working even if you only may 10,000 baht a week, it's better than 200,000 baht in the bank.

Financially, has living abroad in your host country met your expectations? Exceeded them?

We are able to do pretty much anything we want, travel, go out to dinner every night, help the family. Lots of freedom we never could afford before.

What are the most important financial considerations for retiring to your host country?

You need to have enough money to enjoy life and some extra for savings.

How much can a retiree live on comfortably in your host country?

It depends on your life style, I know people who live on 50,000 baht a month, we spend about 100,00 baht a little more, a little less, depending on what we are doing.

Do you have access to quality medical care? (Please describe - is it close? Expensive?)

We purchased medical insurance, called Thai Life, we have hospital stays only, as we are both healthy don't take any kind of meds. And we feel that it is very cheap for doctor visit, teeth cleaning, etc. We can pay out of pocket.

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Is there a lot of crime where you live? (Please describe)

No, very little crime, but you have to keep a eye out for the motor bike taxi's. You should not carry a wallet, but instead carry a bag over your shoulder and make sure it is hanging in front of you. Keep your cell phone inside this bag also. Don't make it easy for the anyone to steal from you. Only use ATM'S at the inside of banks, not out on the street.

Describe available transportation where you live. Do you need a car? Is there access to safe public transportation?

The bus works well if you know where you are going. You must be careful with Taxi's, they will take advantage of you, by taking the long way to get to your hotel or airport. Not much you can do about this. It's better to just pay, some Taxi drivers can get very violent - it's not worth a few dollars for your life..remember there are no enforcement of laws in this country.

Is there high-speed internet access where you live?

Yes, but not what you are use to in other countries - sometimes it works, sometimes not, and the signal can be very weak.

Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share about retiring abroad?

Just be careful and do a lot of research and try it out before you come. Spend at least 6 months or a year before you make your decision.

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Comments about this Report

May 24, 2016 18:09

Very sound advice

Jun 2, 2016 16:57

I have lived in Thailand ten years this October and this report is spot on. Thailand is definitely NOT for everybody and the "try before you buy" approach is highly recommended!

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