Thailand as a place to retire

In 2004, my close friends, William Chew, Richard Ng and Vincent Khoo got together regularly to talk about retiring in Thailand. That’s 10 years ago. We have been living in the region for more than 20 years. Today, Richard stayed on and worked in Bangkok. Vincent Khoo moved back recently to Singapore due to health reasons; he is eager to get back next year. William Chew stayed on in Myanmar, having lived there for almost 30 years. I have been living in Thailand for more than 20 years, and today, I am extending my plans to live in Thailand for an indefinate period of time.

There are many Singaporeans living in Thailand, enjoying their retirement. They can be found in Chiangmai, Phuket, Bangkok, Korat, Pattaya and HuaHin. Most have either a house Upcountry or an apartment in key cities. Many live on a modest lifestyle, enjoying the vastness of Thailand, the beautiful shores, the wide range of medical facilities, the modern supermarkets, the friendly culture, and importantly, the low cost of food, transportation, housing and travel.

Language is easy, most Singaporeans can pick up day to day communication within 3 months. I went to school for 6 months, Thai karaoke every week and speak Thai in my best with anybody around me.

Whether you are a man or a woman, you will find friends to help you make Thailand a place to stay, even for retirement, short term or long term. It’s for you to build the relationships.

There is a Singapore Club of Thailand (SCOT) and there is the Singapore-Thai Chamber of Commerce (STCC). I was the President of SCOT for two terms and a co-founder of STCC. The first is social and the latter is more business. Either one, you can join.

You may be able to get a job in Thailand, or you can start a small business with a local partner. Both of which are not complicated procedures. A small business can make your stay beneficial and worthwhile.

While Thailand has a growing middle class, many Thais are still very poor. They are mainly in agriculture. If your heart is to help the poor, you will find doing charity projects meaningful as our contributions to the less fortunate.

Here in Thailand, you can easily have a maid, a kitchen help or a driver. On a shared basis, among friends, you will find the cost of living in Thailand workable and within the means of a small calculator.

I shall lead this Post on Thailand covering issues on retirement living, including short term living. Each week, I shall cover an issue, and you are free to ask a question or make a comment.

Please stick strictly to Thailand and retiring in Thailand issues. For members who wish to join in on this topic, please feel free to join in.

Terence Seah


54 thoughts on “Thailand as a place to retire

  1. Hi Terence
    I welcome your effort to generate interest in retiring in Thailand. You know that I have been keen in exploring ways for Singaporeans to live in Thailand for short periods of between one to three months. I can safely conclude that there is very little interest, at least among SHC members, for retirement in Thailand. The issues and concerns are beyond language and costs; and now the political uncertainties cast a pall over any plans. Singaporeans are just not prepared to give up their comfortable life and leave family or friends in Singapore.

    I have just returned from Chiang Mai; this time my visit was also to view available choices of accommodation. Happily, the choices are many: from new condos to Lanna-style (northern Thai) boutique apartments. A small 40 sqm condo can rent for Baht 6.000 (S$240) or sell for B1 million (S$40,000).

    So, there are many opportunities for retirement living in Thailand…it’s just not become critical for us Singaporeans to make that first move.

  2. Hi Terence! Methink many Singaporeans have considered migrating, be they in their 30’s or 60’s at one time or another.

    Singapore has become an unaffordable place to live in for the average citizen and even more unaffordable for the aged with ailments. Healthcare costs have risen and we can expect increases in the forthcoming years. Medisave and Medishield might not be enough as not everyone holds a high paying job.

    For myself I am eying Batam. That little island is not really little and there are plenty of undeveloped land. There are signs of development – new condos and landed property offered. I have not gone into any serious enquiries of potential homes as yet as decisions will depend on my better half. He did check out the cost of a new car – S$70,000 for a 1.6l Japanese model.

    I choose Batam for its proximity to Singapore where my children reside and also for the non-racism of the Indonesians. Much has to be done before I pack up my bags and say Bye Bye Singapore!


  3. I am only keen on short term stay of 2-3 weeks each time but in the central part of Bangkok as it is very critical at our age to have immed. medical care & security nearby.

  4. Health-care in Singapore – something that is increasingly essential with each passing day – let me relate my latest encounter. I went for cataract operation at a Government Hospital recently. Both eyes in 2 months cost around S$2,000, which I paid by Medisave. It is the pre and post-operation checks that hurt, as they are not covered by Medisave. Before and after the Op, I have visited the eye clinic 10 times, each time costing between $32 and $120. Consultation fee is fixed at $32 and there is a charge for the various tests – even measuring blood pressure which I already have the gadget at home. A small bottle of eye-drop costs as much as $30. “GST absorbed”, the receipt proudly declared. Welcome to the “BEST” healthcare in the region.

    Back to the “land of a thousand smiles” – I am watching the political crisis over there every evening on CNA. People are smiling, dancing and eating ice-creams when the Government is dissolved and the Prime Minister forced into hiding. They have taken the law into their own hands, prompted by skilled orators. How can people in a civilised and democratic country behave such? Where are the respects for the law and for the legitimately elected Government of the day? If the Government, with its law enforcers, cannot protect itself, how can it protect the citizens, particularly migrants?

    There are places where it is enlightening and refreshing to visit once a while, but uprooting yourself to stay there is not as mesmerising as what the post cards and travelling agents would like us to believe.

    Singapore no doubt is an expensive place. Apart from health care, I guess it is still an affordable place to stay until Kingdom come, if we know how to budget. The money I have kept with the Government and in my kitty should be enough to see me till then. And the Government promised they will “relax” the use of Medisave. I shall accept what they promise. Otherwise, we can collectively try something different in 2016.

    I am quite happy to live in a place with no natural disaster, no senseless political upheaval, no racial/religion disharmony and no gun wielding lunatics. In the final analysis, if we have the money, everywhere is a paradise, and Singapore is the safest bet. If we don’t have the money it is not for us to decide where we want to retire. There is no place like HOME.

  5. I wrote this post on “Thailand – a place to retire” at probably an appropriate time. I refer to DanielC’s pointing out the political demonstrations and the rule of law in Thailand. I have lived here for more than 20 years, and still I don’t understand the thinking behind the protests. My reasons for my not understanding is probably my not being in their shoes, our differences in understanding what is democracy and that half the country is forced against the wall, with what is termed corruption.

    Each day and probably for a while longer, I will be seeing protests. People appear fed-up with corruption.

    But, it is still a nice country.

    Terence Seah

  6. Based on whatever knowledge I have on Thailand, I would like to present some perspectives on their social, economic and political structures.
    Thailand is fortunate to have a fairly large good land mass. When I travelled by coach from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, I saw endless stretch of flat land on both sides of the highway which underpins its great potential for agricultural and manufacturing developments. The land is fertile for rice farming and the country is a big exporter of good quality rice. The labour is also not too expensive. Toyota Motor manufactures many of its cars in Thailand.
    The country is also imbued with a medium-sized population.
    Its political structure is rather unique. It has a monarchy and elected government which together rule the country. The monarch is highly respected by the people but the administration is managed by the government which has the support of the military. The real power is with the military. At times they are the king makers. A few days ago in the midst of the turmoil, it maintained its neutrality thereby preventing a coup.
    As private individuals, the Thais are peaceful and hardworking. During my working life, we have employed a few Thais. That is how I come to know about them.
    During my travel in Thailand, I found generally the people are courteous
    and considerate.
    Of course we cannot find an utopia in an imperfect world.
    Robert Ong

  7. Hi Terence,
    There are too much of talking without action, so I suggest you plan a date where we can meet in Bangkok and Chiang Mai to view those reasonably priced Condo/Apartments. You just need to fix a date for each location with about one month notice and we will arrange our own Ticketing while you assist in the booking of Hotels. 5 to 7 days in each location should be sufficient. By this you will know the genuine interest of your members. Cheers, SS.

    • Hi SS,

      Noted your suggestion. Many members have been with me on trips to Bangkok, Chiangmai and other parts of Thailand. I haven’t in mind to do a properties trip, altho I might be personally interested.

      As already noticed by Kenneth Tan, not many Singaporeans in SHC are interested in retiring in Thailand. Only people like me who have worked and lived there may be interested.

      However, I have noticed that Singaporeans are one of the top properties investors during launches in Singapore. Many buy out of investment interests, rather than retirement interests. Perhaps, they see capital appreciation or rental opportunities.

      I am definitely going to spend most of my retirement time in Thailand, and i am looking for other kakis with similar interests. In fact, I mentioned this point many times before during the formation of SHC.

      I see benefits and reasons to use Thailand as a retirement place; so i wish to share my interests with fellow SHC members.

      Retirees have different ideas on how they plan to spend their time snd life. Sometime, in April, I plan to organise an overnight stay with Mr Sompho in Singburi. This is Thailand’s central plains where rice is grown. The plan is to enjoy rice planting, fishing on the river, a full day of eating and drinking Thai beer and thai food. Sompho comes from South Thailand and he will be teaching us how to prepare and cook Southern thai food. We will visit the fresh market, buy the fresh items and cook them ourselves under the eyes of Sompho. Essentially, we will enjoy thai style and its culture among the villagers. This experience will be in the form of a trip from Bangkok to Singburi, overnight and back. This trip is 95% confirmed.

      Terence Seah

  8. Hi Terence,
    In the past there were not many who were interested to retire in Thailand but given today’s situation, numbers could be significantly different. Back then, not many were complaining about cost of living, homes and healthcare cost but today such subjects are on every ones’ lips. To know the true figure, someone should organize a property investment cum holiday in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Property agents are easily contactable and more than willing to source and provide full information. Now is the time for action and not talks. Just as a guide line, the current market price is from 50k to 85k Bhats per sq.m depending on age and location or even new and fully fitted Condo. The better ones or upmarket could be as high as 150k per sqm. All these are in Bangkok City and many are around Sukhumvit. Those who intend to retire later could buy at this moment and rent it out for the time being. Average size: 1B-Room 45 sqm: 2B-Room 68 sqm. Cheers! SS

    • Hi SS, what u say about taking action makes sense. The possibility of retiring outside Singapore is very real. And it is possible. Each retiree has his own views. But for those who wishes to retire in Thailand, I shall try my best to help you open up this possibility.

      I am in Bangkok right now and shall be here until the 20 Jan. If you wish to fly up to Bangkok, as the weather is fantastic now, please do come. During part of January, if you come, we can see some properties in Bangkok and Pattaya. We shall get some agents to show us. You can come in a group of at least 3 persons. Check with me the dates just before buying your tickets and booking your hotels.

      Ok SS and anybody serious about seeing properties in Bangkok and Pattaya. I am not able to do Chiangmai now,but if you have a date in other months, let me know. Great, we move on.

      Terence Seah

      • Hi Kristy, and members,

        I like your question altho I would find it odd if anyone would retire based on when I retire. Hmm, I spent so much time in Bangkok that you can say I am almost retire here. I have a few places to stay. I am comfortable with the way of life, I read Thai and I have many Singaporean friends living here too.

        Importantly, I can live as a Thai, if I wish too.

        Come along, help yourself and I am sure you will find Thailand a great place to retire.

        Terence Seah

  9. We all know not anybody can simply choose to reside/retire in any country as a new citizen, despite harsh or even inhuman conditions in his/her motherland. I understand that most developed countries require settlers to have professional qualifications and a preferred profession. Others would want a tidy sum of money in their local bank, or in some way seen as contributing to their economic- developments. Having stayed in a country for a long time of course is a plus factor if one chooses to stay put for good.

    People intending to shift base suddenly should know the immigration procedures of the “adopting” country, with regards to age, marital status, educational qualifications and financial status etc.

    Perhaps Thailand is liberal in accepting outsiders to wild away their twilight years. Terence or anyone who knows – please give due advice to our disenchanted but hopeful fellow countrymen. It cannot be so simple, can it?

  10. Hi Daniel,

    You are right that emigrating, even for ‘temporary’ reasons is fraught with many decisions.
    Terence is not a good example for the average SHC member. He speaks Thai, has a Thai family, property and can even read Thai. He has spent many years travelling around the world and even longer in Thailand. Not to mention, he is very well-endowed, financially speaking , at least, unlike many of us.
    What about us, mere mortals? We can still have our links through the internet, for news, telecommunications, even video telecoms, banking, investments, hobbies friends etc. Budget travel also helps a lot, especially within a radius of 4 hour jet travel. It is easy to book, cheap, and frequent. With the number of new budget airlines coming on-stream, it will stay cheap. This is good news for us.
    Visas are also a boon as being an ASEAN country, we can have visa free, hassle free travel for 3 weeks to 3 months. Even then a loop to a border town to renew our visas is easily done. Many are already doing it.

    What are the downsides? Language, obviously, more so for some than others. I am the worst example as I am capable of handing only one language. But hand signals will provide.
    Unfortunately we may need to upkeep 2 houses, albeit a small, spartan one with a more comfortable abode here. Accommodation is a big ticket item and we are fortunate that our strong domestic currency helps. Short-term rental is a solution.
    Then we need transport. Public transport is cheap in Singapore compared to other countries, if you factor in the convenience, costs and time involved. As Singapore has the most expensive cars in the world, car ownership in any country is not a problem, if you are in the car-ownership class. Even upkeeping 2 cars will still be viable. But there is always the 2 wheeler alternative, green and not-so-green.

    But what is best in Terence’s proposal is we have a chance to try out our dream of moving abroad to experience a better lifestyle. We can go with the experts and grill them on CoL issues, private property laws, costs, safety and security issues, lifestyle living examples etc.

    Then we can be more prepared to take baby steps, like short term rental, leasing options for vehicles, language classes and other life style activities, like drinking, pub hopping, volunteerism, hobby groups etc. Who knows what the future brings? That’s why a sense of adventure is required, foremost.

  11. Hi Terence,
    I am ready to visit Bangkok for 4 to 5 days from 20th Jan.and must be back by 24th Jan. if you are still around in Bkk. Alternatively my wife and I are willing to visit Bangkok for 5 days and Chiang Mai for 7 days from 25th Feb. Terence I shall leave the rest of the planning to you. We will book our own tickets and we are flexible either from Bkk to CMai or Cmai to Bkk depending on your schedule as this will allows you to accommodate other SHC members if they are interested to join. Cheers! SS

    • Hi SS,

      Aiyah, i am leaving for Singapore on the morning of 21 Jan, just in time for the SHC gathering in the evening. Let’s have another occasion.

      Terence Seah

  12. Hi SS

    Looks like you may have company as a couple of people have expressed their desire to go. I just want to suggest that you combine both Bangkok and Chiang Mai in one trip; maybe 5 days in each location for January.

    AirAsia flies to Bangkok Don Mueung airport which is far more convenient to the city and cheaper than Suvarnabhumi. You can then fly on to Chiang Mai after five days in Bangkok, and return to Singapore transferring at Don Mueung.
    January would be a better time as Chiang Mai weather is still cool and it is before the Chinese New Year rush.

    To those who want to go: Suggest a few dates for our Thai leader!

  13. Hi Terence & Kenneth,
    Since Terence is not available in late Jan then perhaps we will make it in Feb but it must be two or three days after the 15th Day of Lunar New Year. I will certainly agree with Kenneth that we should include Chiang Mai in our travelling schedule. So can Kenneth co-ordinate with Terence on this. If there are others who can travel in January I don’t mind to join if Kenneth can co-ordinate one. Rgds, SS

  14. Hi SS
    Sorry to disappoint you, but I have no plans to go to Chiang Mai… so I will not be able to co-ordinate any travel there. What I can offer may be tips and suggestions on travel there; where to stay, eat and sightsee. I am a “cheap” traveller and strive for value and interesting experience.
    Also, for properties in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, you should get in touch with a reputable agent there.

  15. Hi,
    Thank you Kenneth, your assistance in the form of knowledge and connections will be much appreciated. I believe there are quite a number of SHC members are looking for an exciting retirement lifestyle without uprooting family ties in Singapore. With the introduction of Budget Airlines it makes our dreams closer to reality. The idea is to make it affordable for members to spend a couple of weeks/months each year in a few locations like Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Malaysia. They could travel in groups of 4 to 5 pax and play mah-jong, gin rummy, shopping and or eating out or in if cooking is available. This is only possible if two or three members like Terence, set up facilities with condo/apartment in such locations for rental to SHC members. Personally I think this idea is feasible and viable! Please give your suggestion and opinion!
    Cheers! SS
    Will appreciate if Kenneth will email direct to me with mobile numbers.

  16. Hi SS
    I don’t have connections, I only go to Thailand as a traveller not a tourist. I can give tips on where to stay, where to go and where to eat.
    I suggest you do a bit of Google and YouTube to check out places and recommendations on staying and retiring in Thailand. I just did a search on retiring in Chiang Mai and got lots of websites, videos and there’s an Ang Moh named JC with many examples of cheap condo rentals there.
    I’m a bit tired of the many talks and meetings we’ve had on the idea of retiring in Thailand…so you will forgive me if I seem jaded or unhelpful.
    But do get Terence for Bangkok, rope in a couple of interested friends and take the first step… I think you can make it possible!

  17. Hi Terence & Kenneth,
    Thanks Kenneth, I am planning to try out in Chiang Mai in March for one month and I need some information from you. Can you inform me what is the area name of the City Central where F&B outlets and amenities are within walking distance. If you know of any new condo’s name it would be helpful. To avoid breaking SHC rules is there a way that I can reach you either by email or mobile? Perhaps the moderator can relax on this!
    So I now depend on Terence to gather a group to visit Bangkok on any day from 16th February 2014.
    Cheers, SS.

  18. Wow, SS
    You have made me very envious: one month in Chiang Mai!
    First, if you’re staying in Chiang Mai and using it as a base to reach other parts of Thailand, you should stay in a service apartment or a hotel which has a long-term rate. I don’t know what your budget is… There are many choices.
    Chiang Mai city is small in area and you can practically walk to most sites; the Old City is bounded by a wall and is approximately 2 km square. If you wish to stay in the tourist area then the Night Bazaar and the area just east of the Old City would be a good choice.
    Yes, there’s nothing like talking directly to get your questions answered; I’ll be at the Smart Phone gathering if you wish to meet.

    • Hi SS and members interested in Thailand as a place to retire and also to look at properties in Bangkok and Pattaya,

      SS, I manage to find a slot in my diary.

      Fri 28 Feb: Participants can arrive Fri or earlier. We look at Bangkok properties on this date. Evening, we go disco.

      Sat 01 Mar: We go to Singburi in early morning , 1.5 hrs NW of Bkk. In a rural village, meet Sompho, spend the whole day cooking Thai dishes, eat the whole day, visit the farms, exotic food and see life in the province. Sompho will demonstrate 5 dishes.

      Sun 02 Mar: See the city of Singburi, and what life can be in the province. Back to Bangkok on Sunday night.

      Mon 03 Mar: We leave for Pattaya early morning after breakfast, see some of the properties and sights of Pattaya, hillview, Seaview and ground level view. Overnight night in Pattaya.

      Tue 04 Mar: Continue with looking at properties and sights. Back to Bangkok for the night.

      Wed 05 Mar: After breakfast, view Bangkok properties whole day. Sleep in Bangkok.

      Thu 06 Mar: After breakfast, continue viewing Bangkok Properties. At anytime, members may leave the group and return to Singapore.

      I an usually not in Bangkok during this period, but the moment 4-5 persons are confirmed, I shall also confirm my air tickets.

      If anyone has a property that you wish to visit, please let me know here.

      Please book own tickets and hotel. Food on our own. Transport shared.

      Terence Seah

      • e Retirement in Thailand, and buying properties, here are a few pointers:

        1. You cannot buy land or houses, in your name.
        2. You may buy a condo, for which a certain ratio can be sold to foreigners.
        3. To buy, you need a bank transfer slip, showing money is transferred from Singapore to a Thailand bank. Money earned or already in Thailand cannot be used.
        4. Once the above is fulfilled, the condo can be in your name.
        5. Many properties are freehold. Leasehold are available.

        Terence Seah

  19. Ok Terrence SS x 2 pax, my better half is coming with me. Then we will move on to Chiang Mai and try out living there for a while. I need your confirmation before booking my flights and room.
    Hi Kenneth, can we meet for coffee on 20th Jan at any place that is convenient to you. I am not 100% sure of my availability on 21st at this moment. I hope the moderator will allow me to post my mobile for this reason and if still not permitted please delete the following numbers for me : xxxxxxxx

  20. Hi Kenneth, sorry since you are joining the kopi fellowship on 9th Jan we need not meet on 20th again. Thanks and hope to see you soon!
    Moderator please delete my mobile asap, sorry and thanks.

  21. Hi-Kenneth good to hear from you again. Still remember me??
    Hi-SS having gone thru the various comments, I am fascinated by the persistance in your desire to acquire the information about Thailand.
    My wife and I had the opportunity to join Kenneth and his wife with some SHC members to Chiang Mai to visit the annual Flower Show. Due to Kenneth;s in-depth
    knowledge we had a wonderful time visiting the pasar-malam, and sampling the local food etc. We had a memorable trip.
    We know our purpose was to visit and enjoy Chiang Mai. Some of us may go back
    for another visit and Kenneth is one of them !!!!!!!
    But SS what is your purpose? You don’t have to answer on this post now because
    we can talk over the kopi fellowship on 9th Jan. which I am motivated to attend.
    By the way have you visited Thailand for an extended stay before.
    I support Kenneth’s recommendations that you use the web to get the information
    relevant to your need before the meeting and use it for further information.


  22. Hi Peter, it is nice of you to offer some history about your adventure to Thailand. I shall look forward to meet you and Kenneth whom I have yet to meet on 9th Jan – Kopi fellowship. As suggested I shall goggle for more information on Chiang Mai and I will leave the rest to Terence. Cheer! SS

  23. Hi Peter
    Saw your name registered for the coffee fellowship…look forward to see you again.
    Thanks for your kind comments on our last SHC group trip to Chiang Mai; I’m only good for smelling out cheap deals like our S$276 flight and five nights hotel including breakfast there. You can be sure if any such offer happens again I will be the first one on board!
    So see you, SS and the rest of you guys!

  24. I saw an article today which may be interesting to those with plans to retire in Thailand.

    1. You need to apply for a Non-immigrant Type O-A visa, also know as a retirement visa.

    2. Possession of a Thai bank account with a balance of 800,000 baht.

    3. There are a few other rules, but you would need to consult an immigration lawyer. Retiree must be at least 50 years, documents stating no criminal record, medical history. Visa allows you to stay for one year.

    Terence Seah

  25. Hi SS, and those interested to go around bangkok and Pattaya to look at buildings, houses and properties.

    I can confirm the following:

    Mon 03 Mar: We leave for Pattaya early morning after breakfast, see some of the properties and sights of Pattaya, hillview, Seaview and ground level view. Overnight night in Pattaya.

    Tue 04 Mar: Continue with looking at properties and sights. Back to Bangkok for the night.

    Wed 05 Mar: After breakfast, view Bangkok properties whole day. Sleep in Bangkok.

    Thu 06 Mar: After breakfast, continue viewing Bangkok Properties. At anytime, members may leave the group and return to Singapore.

    If the group is small, we will drive. Can you drive?
    If the group is large, we will take a coach.

    Trip is confirmed, whatever the numbers.
    The Singburi trip is postphone because there is a major SongKhran holiday in April. Date will be announced later.

    Terence Seah

  26. Hi Terence
    The Thai retirement visa not only requires a bank deposit account of Baht800,000 (S$32,000) but also a monthly income of Baht65,000 (S$2,600). The conditions for the visa have not changed since implementation, unlike Malaysia My Second Home retirement programme where the property value for foreign ownership has recently increased to RM1,000,000 plus higher property tax.
    I suggest that you have to carefully evaluate all options and conditions before making any such decisions to plant more permanent roots.

  27. Hi Kenneth,

    Yes, it is strange that Thailand has a long standing ruling requiring retirement visa holders to have a monthly income of $2,600 per month. Well, there are ways of meeting this ruling. And anyone who has already plans to stay in Thailand for retirement, let me know. Not available on this forum.

    Terence Seah

  28. This post is about Thailand as a place to retire. If you wish to lead a post on another country, and pretty well versed in retirement living there, please email me. I shall create a new post for you t lead.

    Meantime, let’s carry on with thailand. Although Thailand plays host to numerous Europeans as retirement communities, Asians are far fewer in numbers. One group goes to Singaporeans who live in Thailand usually have a thai spouse or they have a business running. They learn thai and have adjusted to thai ways and culture.

    The second group goes to Singaporeans who stay in a city in Thailand for short periods of 3 to 6 months a year. Again, this group has either a business running, a thai girlfriend or boyfriend or they have sn apartment or house somewhere in Thailand. They learn thai ways of moving around.

    The 3rd group are Singaporeans who visit Thailand on short holidays which i wont cover here. The travel agents and airlines take care of this segment.

    Singaporeans living in Thailand, just like the Koreans, the Japanese, the Europeans, the Malaysians, move around their lives privately. They have their own places to shop, not the big stores like Tops. They visit the local hospitals and pharmacies. They buy their own cars or travel around in buses. They go to the local fresh market, find the local soyo milk, yu tiao and Singaporea style char kway tiao, all for a fraction of what they would pay in Singapore.

    These group have their own friends, Singaporeans too. But many keep to themselves. You cannot tell that they are Singaporeans. Language of communication is important. But it is not difficult. It’s almost like what Tian Soo and Kenneth add.

    Many Singaporeans who are connected to Thai spouses are well linked but that’s only if you want a busy lifestyle and active career, even at 50 or 60.

    Retirement, short term or long term, is onky workable if you start to stay for at least 2 to 3 months. Anything shorter makes a good holiday. And for those looking at thai properties, it will just be an investment.

    Have a good weekend.

    Terence Seah

    • There are ways to establish a relation with Thailand as a place to retire.

      1. Establish a link with a group upcountry in a charity or social project. It could be a school where you can offer English language. You will enjoy thai style and the process of finding a suitable school will be just as enjoyable and knowledgeable. Thailand is huge and the country is learning. In the process, you may find a change in your retirement life.

      2. Establish a link with a village head to build a short stretch of road. During the raining season, many rural roads are muddy and not accessible by bicycles and vehicles. Finf out what it costs and takes, and you will be surprises what you can do.

      3. Rent a cheap piece of land and build a small cheap wooden house. Thai countryside has plenty. You can buy little chicks and have your own kampong chicken Tom Yam style after 6 months. Modern chickens take 45 days. I am sure this is good for relaxation. You get to know the villagers and you may get free mangoes or free local food. Only if you are a nice foreigner.

      3. Take a course. Short courses are available at various schools and universities. Languages too. Cooking too.

      Arh. Enough for a Sunday read. Time for me to have a bowl of noodles at the nearest roadside stall.

      Terence Seah

  29. Tomorrow Sunday is Thailand’s election day. Considering Thailand as a place to retire, even on short term, one has to consider its political climate. Thailand is one of the most democratic countries in the world.

    I have lived in Thailand more than 20 years, and will definitely make it my retirement destination. Many SHC members find time to catch up with me in Thailand, and most ask me about the stability of the country. Thais are nationalistic; they love their king and are a fun loving people. However over the years, they are more outspoken on corruption issues.

    Let’s watch how they go about their election tomorrow.

    Terence Seah

  30. To carry on my intention to share with you thoughts on spending retirement in Thailand, I was hesitant in the last few months, because of the political divide in the country. We may find Thailand politically unstable, and may not have the safety that we would expect in any country. Perhaps, we may never be able to understand why all these demonstrations are happening. We have to leave this to its citizens.

    However, despite all these, i plan to spend my retirement in Thailand. If I am still active and fit, I would consider short term 3 months stay, and travel around the country. If I am less fit, I would consider their one year renewable retirement program. As I do have a place to stay, I would make Bangkok my HQ residence, and move around the country. I hope to find fellow SHC members to join me.

    Many Singaporeans and foreigners have bought properties in Pattaya, Bangkok, HuaHin and Chiangmai. These are beautiful and relaxing places. From my conversations with those who have bought properties in Thailand, many do so for investment reasons. And when the time comes, they can stay in these properties, if they wish to retire here. So, for many, these are options, for the moment.

    Terence Seah

  31. Thailand as a place to retire. Nobody understands Thailand better than the Thais.

    The prime minister has now been forced to step down. What happens next is difficult to predict, but for sure, a new prime minister and government has to be formed. While the country has entered its next phase of politics and government, my plan is still to live in Thailand for the better part of retirement.

    3rd week of this month, I shall be going to Pattaya city, a coastal city. While most foreigners see Pattaya as a place for entertainment, it has been given a lot of attention by the tourism minister and the city council. Pattaya has one of the fastest development as a second home for thais and for many foeigners to settle down here. Next time, if you plan to go to Bangkok, consider taking a taxi ride to Pattaya, straight from the airport.

    Terence Seah

    • I love to tell stories. I arrived in Bangkok yesterday, went for a riverside cruise and had Thai dinner at a riverside restaurant while admiring the sunset.

      My friends and I ordered dinner, at around 6pm. Just around 6.30pm, I saw on the restaurant TV, someone from the Thai military announcing the military has taken over the country, and that a coup has taken place. My friends were frightened, and insisted on going home, as the train will stop operating at 9pm and the entire country goes into a curfew from 10pm to 5am.

      So, we took the ferry back, jump onto the train, and they got back to the hotel at 8pm. I took a taxi back, only to be overcharged and returning home in time at 10pm.

      This action by the military takes place after 6 mths of deomonstrations, loss of tourists and loss of trust and confidence in the country. Many Thais are happy action has been taken, even though the coup is not what they like to have.

      Well, I am here in Bangkok for the next 10 days. I believe there will be calm, although we have to see how this is to be achieved.

      Terence Seah

  32. I am back into Singapore now. Had been a teribbly busy 3 weeks travelling.

    The Thai weather station has reported that the cold season may be coming in earlier than usual. Place like Chiangmai, Changrai, NongKhai and the Golden triangle have reported temperature drop. The mountains will be looking green soon, and very soon, it will be comfortable to check into one of the many mountain resorts where you can do camping and breathe in some really good fresh air.

    This year-end and early next year, I am not planning to have a SHC trip to the cold north, as I will be preparing for the India Kerala triip.

    Chiangmai, Chiangrai has become sought after places for short-term retirement. Nok Air, the Thai domestic airline flies from Bangkok to these destinations from the old Don Muang airport daily. Prices are very good. Enjoy.

    Terence Seah

  33. To me, Thailand is one of the most suitable places to retire. The 3 month visa or the retirement one-year visa makes short term living in this country workable.

    One favourite reason for Thailand is its many national resorts, located in various parts of Thailand’s mountainous regions. The dry season is here, and to the Thais, Winter is coming. The rain has stopped for Northern and Central Thailand in Nov. We can wear jackets and jumpers, starting from Dec.

    This year, I am going with some Thai friends to the province of Pitsanuluk. This is central Thailand, mountain resorts. We plan to go camping, eating local food, cook our own food, buy food from the local fresh markets, have campfire, breathe mountain air, mix with the local citizens, wake up early to see sunrise, take pictures, and explore remote though not uninhabited areas and see how nice central Thailand is.

    There are major holidays in Thailand in Dec. I have confirmed to travel early morning of 5 Dec and return to Bangkok late on 7 Dec. We will rent a van, with driver, and if you come, you just share in the van and gas. Food-wise, we will cook, or buy locally. A share here too. Other than yourself, all others are thais.

    There is no hiking, but be prepared to walk 100 metres. Camping plus stay in a wooden bungalow, dom style. Plenty of cockroaches.

    If you are in bangkok before 5th Dec or plan to stay in Bangkok after 7th Dec, feel free to join me. Small group.

    You may ask me on Whatsapp or write here. Dates are not changeable, in view of holidays.

    Total relaxing. Do not expect shopping or french restaurants. Ta.

    Terence Seah

  34. The registration for the trip to Pitsanuluk (Thailand), somewhere between Chiangmai and Bangkok is now closed. This will be a short driving holiday, starting from Bangkok. 3 SHC members will join be joining me and some of my Thai friends.

    Thank you for your response and feedback. Apology to those who cannot make the same time schedule;.

    Terence Seah

  35. SilverHairsClub has organised many trip to Thailand during the cool months. We had been to Chiangmai, Chiangrai, Chongburi, Pattaya and NongKhai during the cooler months. We went Phuket and Samui. I am now thinking of where to go during Jan 2016. Do you know when is Chinese New Year?

    I am inclined to go up North again, likely in Jan which is offpeak for Thais. No school holidays and most people are at work. You keep thinking too. I may use one of your dates and interest places.

    Terence Seah

  36. Hi Terence

    Another trip to the Land of Smiles! I’m pleased that you’ve raised this issue again! But 2016 is a long way off…my timeline and my longterm view is only six months at most: just ask any insurance agent trying to sell me an endowment policy!

    Anyway Chinese New Year 2016 is February 8…the year of the Monkey!

    So what are you planning? Are we embarking on a journey with Wu Kong?

  37. For members with thoughts of staying longterm in Thailand, you may like to note that foreign citizens staying in Thailand are able to report their address every 90 days online via the Immigration Bureau’s website, effective from April.

    Usually, you get a tourist visa, on arrival for 30 days at the airport. This can subsequently be extended for another 30 days. The best way to get a 3 month visa is to apply at the Singapore Thai embassy for 2 months, and then extend the stay by another 1 month in Thailand.

    If you wish to stay for one year, you can contact me.

    Terence Seah

  38. Hi Julian,

    There are a few SHC members who know about Chiangmai and the retirement opportunities. Feel free to ask your questions, and I am sure some of us can answer them.

    Terence Seah

  39. We have 11 members currently, discussing Retirement in Chiangmai. The group does not focus on short holidays, but more on retirement and Chiangmai, in specific. Not suitable for working members, but if your plan is with the group, please join us.

    Simply whatsapp me +65 9489 4360 to join the group.

    Terence Seah

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