When I walk out my front door, the sweet humidity hits me. I love it because often I am jumping on my red bicycle and heading off to the pool. Nothing like a lazy, mid-morning swim. A delicious luxury.
My wife Vivien and I bought a beach-town home in Thailand’s Royal resort, Hua Hin. It had been a long-held dream to retire early overseas but purchasing our house wasn’t all plain sailing. So here's some lessons we learnt along the way…
“When I moved to Chiang Mai, I unearthed the rich and colourful life I thought was lost,” says Pam Manning of her new life in Thailand. Chiang Mai is famous for being a town of artisans and Lanna (Northern Thai) culture. It’s a place of flowers, temples, fruit, joyful festivals and colour is everywhere...velvety maroons, popping pinks…
People come from all over to live in Thailand's mountain city of Chiang Mai. Besides its own sizeable local population—numbering more than 350,000—expats are increasingly coming here. They come from all over—Australia, the U.S. and Europe. Recent estimates put the number of Western expats living in Chiang Mai at around 40,000. But it's not just Westerners who are coming. Asian retirees, particularly from Japan, South Korea and China are retiring to Chiang Mai's relaxing surroundings. And more are coming each year.
New condo complexes and housing developments are springing up within a 16-kilometre radius, hand-in-hand with a burgeoning infrastructure of new malls, international restaurants and tourist attractions, which were much more difficult to find just a few years ago. Because it is a bustling seaside town, seafood is affordable and plentiful, and public transport is cheap.
If you’re looking for a real estate market that’s set to soar, cast your eyes east to Thailand. Its northern city Chiang Mai is set to become a major regional commercial, educational and technology hub. Chiang Mai’s historic importance developed thanks to its location on the Ping River and on other major trading routes. These trading routes went quiet as wars and other disputes beset the region. But peace has settled here and that quiet is set to change.
My British wife lives there full-time, along with two dogs and other gentle creatures. I still ply my trade as a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press, and commute up as often as possible from my base in Bangkok. Both of us have no regrets so far. We love the place.