Savouring a Richer, Better Life Overseas

Azure waters kiss the white-sand beach fringed with casuarina trees. A few kayakers and paddle boarders bob about in the sparkling waters. On the sand, there’s not a beach lounger in sight and the only sounds are gently breaking waves and exotic birds singing in nearby trees…

It’s not hard to understand why Thailand is such a perennial favourite among Aussie baby boomers…or why it scored so highly right across the board in the inaugural International Living Australia Global Retirement Rankings and took second place overall.

It’s close to home…in some spots you’re as likely to hear an Australian accent as you are a local…and as it’s such a long-loved destination for Aussies you’ll find settling in and making friends a cinch. Whether you’re after a laidback beach lifestyle or a home in the heart of a thriving university town, there’s something for everyone in this overseas haven.

When Robyn Lynch, 52, and Frank Rizzo, 57, were looking for their ideal retirement spot in Thailand, they first set their sights on the country’s biggest island, Phuket, which offers everything a tropical island is supposed to…diving, fishing, glorious beaches…but then a twist of fate led them to the royal resort town of Hua Hin where they discovered a whole new set of options for a life of luxury, fun and adventure…

The couple bought a villa with a swimming pool in a plush development, hire a maid and gardener—for less than $200 a month—and are members of a state-of-the-art gym. But they’ve found it’s the simple pleasures that bring them the most joy here.

“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 warm sea breeze,” says Robyn.

Thailand scored near-perfect marks in our Retirement Rankings for fitting in and for Robyn and Frank, that rings true. “We found the local expat community to be 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,” says Robyn.

“Once you get involved in one activity, others just snowball from there. 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,” says Robyn. “We’ve also 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!”

Expat Leo Ellis made the move to Thailand in 2012, at the age of 87, and hasn’t looked back a day since. He chose to settle in the vibrant, university town of Chiang Mai. “It’s a good location, has an excellent cost of living and the local people are very friendly. There are some very good restaurants and I can have pleasant meal, with a glass of wine, for around $18. Back home, I’d be paying at least $60 for a similar quality meal,” says Leo.

When asked if he’s any regrets about making the overseas move, Leo says, “Yes…I should have come 20 years ago!”

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Each week in these postcards you’ll learn about the best places to retire, travel, buy real estate and enjoy life overseas.