Thailand

  Koh Samui, Thailand  

From the golden beaches to the fabulous food and friendly people, it's easy to see why Thailand is known as the Land of Smiles

 

For years, its warm climate, relatively inexpensive cost of living and laidback lifestyle have attracted tourists and expats from around the world for both short-term and long-term stays.

Some of the world's most beautiful beaches are located in the south of the country. From the bustling seaside resorts of Koh Samui and Pattaya, to the more tranquil islands of Phi Phi and Lanta, there is something for everyone who dreams of retirement in the tropics. Some expats prefer to live in the smaller villages that dot the coastlines on both sides of the country, where accommodation costs are much less expensive and life is slower paced. It is still possible to find furnished townhouse and condo rentals within five minutes of the beach for less than $500 per month.

Bangkok is the center of the country, both geographically and financially. From a small trading post in the 15th century to a metropolitan area with a population of over 14 million, this massive city dwarfs Thailand's other urban centers. Some foreign retirees have chosen to live in this populous capital and enjoy the hubbub atmosphere of the city. The colorful markets, modern shopping malls, numerous entertainment venues and efficient transit system are just a few of its inherent benefits.

Other expats prefer the serenity and inexpensive lifestyle of Chiang Mai in the northern part of the country. The "old city," now the center of a sprawling metropolis, is surrounded by a deep moat and remnants of a wall that once offered protection against the armies of the Mongol Empire. This Lanna cultural center of Thailand boasts over 300 colorful Buddhist temples, and several universities and technical colleges. Chiang Mai appeals to many expats because it has managed to retain its local traditions and culture while providing all the modern amenities that are sought after by its newest residents.

Although lacking in beaches, the northern part of Thailand is dotted with several large national parks. Here you will find Doi Inthanon National Park, where the highest mountain peak in the country is located. Those who enjoy the outdoors flock to this area of the country to partake in mountain biking, hiking, camping and touring the local mountain roads to visit the many interesting hillside tribe villages.

As with most other Southeast Asian countries, Thailand is alive with festivals throughout the year. During the Loi Krathong festival, thousands of people throughout the country assemble floating banana-leaf containers decorated with incense sticks, flowers and a candle, and float them on local waterways. This coincides with the Yi Peng festival in northern Thailand where thousands of glowing rice paper lanterns are released into the sky to produce a spectacular sight. The annual Chiang Mai flower festival showcases the flora and fauna of the region. The highlight of this celebration is the flower festival parade that draws thousands of tourists each year to the city.

Thailand is a great place to live—full- or part-time. After spending time in the country, many expats are told by their friends that they look 10 years younger. With the wonderful weather, great food, inexpensive healthcare and friendly local residents, it is not difficult to understand why many choose to call Thailand their second home.

 

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Fast Facts About Thailand

Thailand
  • Population: 67,091,089
  • Capital City: Bangkok
  • Climate: Tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); southern isthmus always hot and humid
  • Time Zone: UTC+07
  • Language: Thai
  • Country Code: +66

Archives

Isla-Mujeres

Dreaming of Tropical Islands in the Sun…

My wife, Suzan Haskins, and I do a lot of traveling. So we often find ourselves on the way to places. We find ourselves in airports. In taxis and shuttles. In planes and buses. In snow-bound cities and towns for holidays and family functions.

Mt.-Fuji-

10 of The Most Beautiful Places in Asia

Asia covers a lot of land area and encompasses hundreds of natural scenic wonders. Towering mountains, white-sand beaches, and virgin rainforest parks make up some of the most beautiful natural attractions in Asia. Below are 10 worth your consideration.

Hua-Hin

Rent by the Beach in Thailand from $500 a Month

It’s difficult to beat the beauty of Thailand’s white-sand beaches, often with a backdrop of jungle-topped mountains in the distance. Living on, or near, the expansive coast of this tropical paradise could be your dream retirement. Although more expensive than living in less well-traveled areas, the cost of living can still be surprisingly inexpensive for a life of year-round warm weather and spectacular scenery.

Chiang-Mai-Thailand

$266 a Month Rent in a City Where Splurging is Easy

The last couple of years have been the most adventuresome of my life. Inspired by my wife, Bonnie, we’ve been pursuing our dream of seeing the world for the last two years. But a number of months ago, we decided it would be nice to settle down for a while…and found the perfect place in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Japan-Stocks-chart

Big Returns on Video Games, China’s Stock Market and Much More…

The chart shows the price returns on Japan’s TOPIX Stock Price Index for each month of the year (in Japan’s currency, the yen)… Two other trends quickly pop out at you when you look at the chart: How poorly Japanese stocks do in the summer and fall, and how well they do early in the year. The returns from May to November look pretty darn bad. And the returns from January through April look pretty darn good.

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An Affordable, Sustainable Lifestyle in Thailand

When most people think of retiring to Thailand, they think of relaxing on white, sandy beaches or enjoying the spectacular sunsets from their beachside condos in Phuket, Koh Samui, or one of the many tropical islands that dot the Kingdom’s coastlines. Not so Carl Barrow, who has found his own personal-retirement Shangri-La on a farm in Isaan province.

Thailand

The Tropical Island of Koh Samui

Koh Samui, a 88-square-mile gem in the Gulf of Thailand is situated about 400 miles south of Bangkok and is a tropical island that offers just about everything an expat could need. It’s warm and balmy 12 months a year. English is widely understood everywhere. There’s a thriving expat community. The hospitals and healthcare options are of high-quality. And it’s still a big-time bargain when compared to other well-developed tropical islands worldwide.

Thailand

Thailand: The Land of Festivals

Thailand really is the land of festivals. There seems to be a different major holiday every month. And Chiang Mai is the place to celebrate most of them. For some reason, tourists gravitate to this part of the country by the thousands to partake in everything from Songkran to the Lantern Festival. Like the rest of the world, Thailand celebrates New Years Eve and New Years Day with parties, fireworks and everything else that goes along with this crazy part of the year on December 31 and January 1.

best places to retire

The World’s Best Places to Retire in 2016

Retiring abroad is easier and more affordable than ever before. These days it really is possible to spend your days relaxing beneath palm fronds on a Caribbean beach, enjoying farm-fresh produce in a mountain haven with year-round spring weather, or wandering the storied streets of a historic and cultured European city…or all of the above. But with so many choices available, finding the right one can seem daunting.

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Swimming Pigs and Evicted Mummies

Somoto Canyon is one of the oldest rock formations in Central America, and Northern Nicaragua’s most-impressive natural attraction. But it went undiscovered until 2004, when a team of Czech and Nicaraguan scientists stumbled upon this colossal natural wonder.

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The World’s Top Retirement Havens for 2016

Retiring abroad is easier and more affordable than ever before. These days it really is possible to spend your days relaxing beneath palm fronds on a Caribbean beach, enjoying farm-fresh produce in a mountain haven with year-round spring weather, or wandering the storied streets of a historic and cultured European city…or all of the above. But with so many choices available, finding the right one can seem daunting.

Bangkok

Explore Bangkok’s Vast Weekend Market

Thai handicrafts, jewelry, handmade paper, ceramics, a plethora of textiles and handbags galore…you can find it all and more at Bangkok’s Weekend Market, known as Chatuchak or “JJ” for short. No trip to the Thai capital is complete without a visit to this massive 35-acre market located north of the city, where you can get your shopping fix as well as a big dose of Thai culture. Just don’t forget to bargain!

Hua-Hin

My Favorite Beach Town in Thailand

The famous white powdery sands that stretch around the islands of Phuket and Kho Phi Phi in southern Thailand have attracted international tourists for decades. But on the Gulf coast, just four hours from Bangkok is where you’ll find my favorite Thai beach town…Hua Hin.

Chiang-Mai

Chiang Mai

Still an Expat Favorite It’s no secret that Chiang Mai has been a popular destination for several generations of tourists and expats. With its hundreds of golden temples, wide variety of international restaurants, stunning surrounding countryside and large choice of outdoor activities, this northern Thailand city has something to offer everyone.  And the year-round tropical […]

Thailand-lifestyle

Lifestyle in Thailand

Life is Good in the Land of Smiles Thailand continues to be one of the most popular destinations for tourists and retirees in Southeast Asia. Whether you are living in the steamy, urban capital of Bangkok, the northern Lanna city of Chiang Mai, or near one of the many spectacular beaches that have made the […]

Thailand-climate

Climate in Thailand

For the most part, Thailand has two climates…hot and hotter! However, there are three distinct seasons—the hot season from March to May, the rainy season from about June to October and the “cool” season from November to February. When living in a tropical country such as Thailand, the idea of cooler weather takes on a new meaning.

Thailand-temple

Your Perfect Retirement in Southeast Asia

Here you can have the adventure of a lifetime…and the comforts of a truly pampered lifestyle for pennies on the dollar. You can get in on one of the world’s most attractive retirement programs (it’s easy to qualify) and enjoy money-saving tax breaks…obtain a long-term visa…and live on an island with world-class beaches and a great culinary and arts scene…where you can rent an ultra-modern, two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo for as little as $220 a month.

Chiang-Mai

Retire to This Low-Cost Thailand Haven For $1,500 a Month

“Every day is a new experience,” says Kate Dixon. “We live a 10-minute walk from one of the best food streets. For less than $10, we can both have a delicious Thai meal with a couple of beers. We rarely cook at home anymore, and go out on average once a week to a Western restaurant. Even then, we rarely pay more than $15 for the two of us.

Thailand

Exploring the East for Profitable Art and Craft Imports

Importing crafts and folk art is a great way to fund your travels or create an income living overseas. You get to bridge the gap between an artisan producer in an emerging country and a market back home that can afford to pay top prices for unique, high-quality products. In the process, you can mark-up the goods to create an income for yourself.

6-9-COVER-STORY-Nomads-1-(E

Performing Your Way to a Paycheck Overseas

Your voice could be your passport to an income overseas…and we’re not just talking about singing. Sure, if you can carry a tune, you can take that talent with you. Many expats make their money, or at least a supplementary income, from singing. Some even discover that carving out a singing career is easier overseas.

Southeast Asia

The Inside Scoop on Southeast Asia’s Best Festivals

One of the most diverse regions on Earth, Southeast Asia is home to a myriad of different religions and cultures, many of which trace back thousands of years. And every year, the unique cultures of the Far East manifest themselves in a variety of colorful festivals, all free of charge, the likes of which you will find nowhere else on the planet. Add to this some of the world’s best beaches and street food, and you have every reason to stop by this neck of the woods.

Social-Security-Infographic-test

More Retirees Than Ever Drawing Their Social Security Benefits Overseas

According to the latest figures from the U.S. Social Security Administration, U.S. retirees overseas received more than $3 billion in Social Security benefit payments in 2013—an increase of $160 million year-on-year, when compared to 2012. American retirees can receive Social Security benefit checks in almost every country in the world. Statistics reveal that Europe is home to the most U.S. retirees drawing their benefits abroad (154,238), followed by Canada and Mexico (95,767), and Asia (70,586).

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Tour Phang Nga Bay like Bond and Picnic with Sun Bears

When 007’s speedboat cut through the waters of Phang Nga Bay in 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun, he was zipping past some of the most breathtaking natural wonders in the world. Today you can tour this southern Thailand gem yourself. But with dramatic rock formations, turquoise lagoons, floating villages, and a vast array of exotic wildlife to view, you’ll need the whole day to fully appreciate it and a speedboat to see it all.

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Low-Cost Homes in Thailand’s Royal Beach Town

Blessed with some of the country’s best beaches—as well as great golfing—Hua Hin has been a Thai holiday hot-spot for almost 100 years. More recently, foreigners have also discovered everything this town of 80,000 people has to offer. New condo complexes and housing developments are springing up within a 10-mile radius, hand-in-hand with a burgeoning infrastructure of new malls, international restaurants, and tourist attractions that were much more difficult to find just a few years ago.

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The Five Best Day Trips From Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai, in the heart of northern Thailand, has become popular among expats like me for its low cost of living and many attractions. An ancient city with over 300 exquisite temples, it’s culturally rich, vibrant, and offers a wide variety of things to do. But don’t limit yourself to the city. While Chiang Mai proper can keep you busy with its many cafés, cultural events, bookshops, and expat hangouts, some of the best discoveries lie in the foothills beyond the historic city center…

IL_KoSamui_-Tropical-Island

Paradise Awaits You in the East

Don’t let Southeast Asia’s “exotic” reputation fool you. Yes, this part of the world is rich with color and unfamiliar culture. But what you may not realize is that Southeast Asia is also one of the easiest places for English-speaking expats to get “set up” and start living very, very well…for a small fraction of what a comparable lifestyle would cost at home.

Thailand

Living Overseas…the Best Education of All

You must be really desperate to want to move to China!” said my 80-yearold mother as I broke the news of my new job. Actually, no; I wasn’t. At that time—almost 10 years ago—I had a great teaching position in rural British Columbia, with the end of my long career in sight. I was the kingpin in a small storefront school teaching all the local misfits, no boss looking over my shoulder, a decent salary, and enough regular holidays to keep me rejuvenated. So why did I decide to move?

Thailand

Make $1,000 a Month and Live With Little Luxuries

In 2012, Dani Leis quit her job and left Portland, Oregon for Thailand with nothing but a single duffel bag and a dream to start a new life. She fell in love with the northern city of Chiang Mai. “The people here are friendly, kind, and open-hearted,” says Dani “They enjoy a culture centered on sanuk, meaning to take pleasure in what you are doing.

roatan-sunset

Sail the World on Your Social Security

The place they now call home is a Cape Cod-style cottage on the hillside of a popular neighborhood. But this is a relatively recent development. For nearly two decades, they’ve been sailing around the world together. Years ago, they discovered that a sailing retirement was a lot easier (and cheaper) than they ever could have realized. And they didn’t need a vast amount of knowledge to get started.

hua-hin

Rent in Thailand’s Royal Resort Town for $500 a month

“The main attraction is the beach. People don’t come here to do stuff, they come here to relax,” says Canadian Robert Stanley, owner of Bobby’s Bar & Restaurant, a popular expat gathering place at the south end of the Thai beach town of Hua Hin. With a population of around 90,000 people, Hua Hin (pronounced “Wha Hin”) is around a three-hours’ drive south of Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand’s west coast. The country’s royal beach resort for almost 100 years, Hua Hin is also home to a community of between 3,000 and 5,000 expats.

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Excellent, Affordable Healthcare in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Along with being a low-cost and tropical retirement haven, Thailand has long been an international destination for medical tourism. Why? Because healthcare is low cost and excellent quality. I should know. I’m a retired Canadian schoolteacher living in the northern city of Chiang Mai, with personal experience of two hospitals here—one public and one private. In both I felt welcomed and unrushed. And in general I’ve found the health professionals in this city maintain a high quality of empathy and caring for all their patients.

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Golf, Great Food, and R&R in Thailand’s Royal Resort Town

“The main attraction is the beach. People don’t come here to do stuff, they come here to relax,” says Canadian Robert Stanley, owner of Bobby’s Bar & Restaurant, a popular expat gathering place at the south end of the Thai beach town of Hua Hin.

Social-Security-Infographic-test

Infographic—Your Social Security Payments Overseas

According to the latest figures from the U.S. Social Security Administration, U.S. retirees overseas received more than $3 billion in social security payments in 2013. That number shows an increase of $160 million since 2012—and has nearly doubled since 2013. In total, 373,224 U.S. retirees received their social security payments as residents of a foreign country in 2013. Europe is home to the most U.S. retirees drawing their social security payments abroad (154,238), followed by Canada and Mexico (95,767), and Asia (70,586).

Chaing-Mai

Getting Paid to Deliver Dinner— No Cooking Required

The concept of having food delivered to your home is something many of us take for granted. But when you move overseas, you may find it’s not part of the culture. And it’s a convenience expats miss. Mike Sharma certainly missed it when he went to live in northern Thailand.

golfer

Great Golf Spots Around the World

For millions of folks, golf satisfies something in the soul: hitting that one pure shot…breathing fresh air…and walking an immaculate course…the fast friendships forged on the fairway (and in the clubhouse bar). The game we know today has its origins in Scotland in the 15th century. popularized by British royalty, it soon spread throughout Europe and beyond.

Thailand

Rent in Thailand’s “Rose of the North” For $500 a Month

Sipping my locally grown coffee on the sun-drenched balcony of my house in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I sometimes have to pinch myself. It’s a far cry from the numbing cold myself and my wife Nancy endured during our many winters in the interior of British Columbia. Chopping firewood, shoveling snow, and piling on four layers of clothing…I don’t miss any of it.

satay

Popular Chiang Mai Street Food

Something that we have grown to love after more than eight years of living in Asia is wide variety of street food that is always readily available in this part of the world. Whether strolling the chaotic back alleys of Chinese cities or browsing the numerous markets of Chiang Mai, we have always been able to find an infinite number of inexpensive dishes prepared and served within minutes by friendly street vendors. Each country and city has its own specialties that cater to the locals as well as more adventuresome tourists that are looking for new taste sensations.

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The Five Best University Towns in the World for Retirees

The narrow lane spills onto a magnificent square. A group of young musicians fills the twilight with melodies. All around you are stunning buildings dating back centuries. And yet the people relaxing here and walking through these ancient streets are very much 21st century: students with books and laptops in hand. Folks from all over are enjoying evening drinks or dining on café terraces. Talk is of the art expo the town is putting on…an upcoming concert…or the latest news or trends…

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In Pictures: Hua Hin, Thailand

The picturesque seaside town of Hua Hin, Thailand is known for its stunning beaches, burgeoning restaurant scene, and small-town feel. It’s famous as a royal resort, yet the sea breeze and stunning views come cheap in Hua Hin. You’ll find a low cost of living and good-value real estate.

Koh-Samui

The 5 Best Places for Expats to live in Thailand

Thailand is one of the world’s most popular locales for good living abroad. And there are lots of reasons why. For pennies on the dollar you get a year-round tropical climate and access to modern comforts and conveniences, including affordable, high quality medical care.

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