Happily settled in the growing expat hub of Hua Hin on Thailand’s Royal Coast, Robyn Lynch, 52, and Frank Rizzo, 57, avail of luxuries they could never have considered back in Sydney. “We have a maid come to clean the house for four hours a week for less than $20,” says Robyn. “And we have some garden guys that come for four hours once a fortnight at a cost of $60 a visit.
“We budget $380 per week to cover food, petrol and entertainment. Our utilities—water and electricity—are $130 per month, which includes running a swimming pool. And we joined a well-appointed gym with annual membership of $2,040 for the two of us,” says Robyn.
Robyn, a teacher, first fell in love with Thailand while working in Bangkok. She experienced first-hand the culture of the country and spent her spare time exploring the region.
When her teaching contract in Thailand was up, it was back to Sydney for Robyn. But seven years in Australia did not dull the draw of the expat lifestyle. “Our family frequently returned to Thailand for holidays,” says Robyn. “In fact, we chose to take our yearly physical examinations at Bangkok’s Bumrungrad Hospital as we really liked the level of care and service they provided. This also allowed us to enjoy extended summer breaks unwinding in the southern island of Phuket.
“We had thought we would retire to Phuket but, following an accommodation mix up and inspired by a friend’s Facebook posts about her holiday there, we decided to investigate Hua Hin,” says Robyn.
“We were pleasantly surprised by the accommodation costs—around 65% of the price of renting a pool villa in Phuket. We soon found that most other things were cheaper too…restaurants…car hire…massages…food shopping…
“Hua Hin is a comfortable drive from Bangkok and has a choice of three major hospitals,” says Robyn. “There’s also an abundance of restaurants offering excellent cuisine catering to every taste and budget. All the amenities we wanted were just so close: the beach was a five-minute drive, the local market just down the road, plus numerous restaurants and five-star hotels were dotted all over.
“The local expat community was exceptionally welcoming. Each time we sat at a restaurant or bar, someone would be willing to have a chat and to share their insider knowledge about the best places to eat and things to do and see.
“One of our favourite experiences happens daily—our morning walk along the beach with our dog. It’s a spectacular way to start each day and one which we are thankful for each time our feet hit the sand and we feel the breeze off the Gulf of Thailand.
“There’s also an extensive range of activities on offer in Hua Hin, most of which can be uncovered via Facebook groups. We found that once you get involved in one activity, others just snowball from there,” says Robyn. “Frank has just started to play golf. There are a number of first-class golf courses in the area and it’s another great way to meet people. We have met people at the gym, we play Pickle Ball, barefoot lawn bowls and belong to a ‘Cook Book Club’. There are so many things to do that Frank frequently tells me that I cannot say ‘yes’ to any other activities as we’re kept so busy!
“Our advice to anyone moving to Thailand is to rent first,” says Robyn. “This gives you the opportunity to learn more about the different communities and which area best meets your needs. Renting also gives you time to become familiar with the real estate market and to learn how purchasing property works in Thailand. We found that renting gave us the time to wait for a villa to become available in the development we had always wanted and to take advantage of an excellent buy in the second hand market.”
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