Laidback and Freewheelin’ for $2,000 a Month

I was recently chatting with friends back in Canada who were trying to shrug off the last remnants of a long, snowy winter…while I was relaxing on my ninth-floor balcony soaking up the Chiang Mai sunshine.

I don’t have to wait until spring to feel it…it’s hot here pretty much year-round.

My wife, Nancy, and I retired to Thailand a couple of years ago—having spent a few years in China and traveling throughout Southeast Asia. We settled in the northern city of Chiang Mai and haven’t looked back.

It’s an amazing place, situated on the banks of the Ping River, home to a university, and full of musicians and artists. The architecture is striking and the food is delicious.

A few hours north, along winding roads and spectacular scenery, our 150cc Honda scooter takes us to Chiang Rai, a smaller, even more laidback version of Chiang Mai.

If we turn off along the way and detour east through the mountains, we can arrive in the small lakeside town of Phayao in time for dinner and a beautiful sunset over the water.

Within an hour of our home, there are several national parks with hiking trails, cascading waterfalls, and colorful hilltribe villages.

For less than $40, we can hop on a plane and be in the bustling hub of Bangkok in an hour. Staying a few days in Bangkok is always exciting…but sometimes we continue on by train to Hua Hin, one of our favorite seaside destinations. The train ride costs less than $5 and we love the breezy beaches that stretch up and down the coast from this popular resort town.

Thailand lets you live on a very reasonable budget. A couple can easily dine out for less than $20, including drinks. And a delicious Thai meal from an outdoor food stall will cost less than a couple of bucks. You can get a massage for $10 to $15 and locally grown fresh fruits and veggies are available for a fraction of North American prices.

We’re not the only expats loving it here…

Rik Fulsher retired in 2008 following a long career in real estate and property management in Denver, Colorado. He spent the next four years traveling around the world looking for his dream retirement location.

After three trips to Thailand, he decided it was the best choice and moved to Chiang Mai almost two years ago. He and his wife, Kathy, are renting a 300-square-foot, furnished condo in the heart of the city for less than $400 per month. They reckon a couple can easily have a quality lifestyle in Chiang Mai for $2,000 per month or less.

“Going out to eat is so inexpensive that we don’t really bother doing much of our own cooking,” says Rik. “We really love the fact that there are so many open-air places here where you can dine outside while enjoying the wonderful climate.”
Now the Fulshers are looking at setting up a business here…perhaps a B&B.

As for me, I started blogging a few years ago about our day-to-day adventures and what started as a personal blog, and guest articles for other sites, has now led to my new “career” as a freelance writer.

How much extra monthly income it provides is totally dependent on how many hours I am willing to work each day. It’s fun and it provides a little extra each month for all the fun stuff.

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