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Retiring in Thailand -The Basics

Retire in Thailand and enjoy a fantastic lifestyle at a fraction of the cost of Europe or North America. No more cold winters - its summer all year round in Thailand. And for most Europeans and North Americans, you will be taxed at far lower rates if you retire overseas rather than at home.

Hua Hin, one of Thailand's most popular beach resort, is emerging as a major retirement destination for Europeans.

If you're intending to retire, or thinking of retiring in Hua Hin, here's our quick "how to" guide.

How can I stay in Thailand?

Thailand offers a special retirement visa for non-Thais aged 50 and over who want to live in the country on a long-term basis. The visa is issued for a 1 year period and then can be renewed every year thereafter.

Click here to find out more about Thailand's retirement visa.

What is the cost of living in Thailand?

Thailand is one of the lowest cost places in the world to live for foreign retirees. In a recent survey of living costs for foreign residents in 143 major cities in the world, Bangkok ranked 105, meaning it was one of the cheapest. Hua Hin was not included in the survey, but would be much less expensive than Bangkok because of the significantly lower cost of housing. The most expensive cities included London (3), Oslo (4) and Copenhagen (7).

Click here to find out more about cost of living in Thailand.

Do I have to pay income tax in Thailand?

Foreign retirees generally do not pay any income tax in Thailand. You are considered a resident of Thailand for taxation purposes if you reside in the country for 180 days or more in a calendar year. However, funds brought into Thailand from overseas are not taxable as long as they have not been derived from a salary in the current year. Therefore, you would not pay tax on savings or pension income.

What kind of social life can I expect in Thailand?

You can look forward to an active social life, with many friends from your home country. Hua Hin has become a major retirement destination, particularly for the Scandinavians and British. Therefore, there's always a lot going on for retirees. With 9 golf courses in and around Hua Hin, the golfing social scene is particularly active.

Is good health care available and how much does it cost?

Thailand is home to world-class hospitals and medical facilities available to foreign retirees at very affordable prices. Many foreign residents actually travel to Thailand just to have routine procedures done, such as hip and knee replacements. Unlike some European countries, there is no waiting time and the quality is very high.

What other advantages does retirement in Thailand offer me?

Climate - A perfect tropical climate. The best time of the year, when it's dry, sunny and not too hot (December - February), corresponds to the worst of the European winter.

Safe & Secure - Crime rates in Thailand are lower than in many western countries. Violent crime rates are particularly low. Hua Hin is particularly safe ,with one of the lowest crime rates in the country, because the Thai Royal Family's vacation home is here.

Thai Culture - Thailand has a rich and exotic culture. In Thai culture, the seniority and respect given to a person depends in large part on their age. For this reason, Thais are highly respectful of older people. Thais even address each other based on their relative ages - "nong" for a person younger than you and "pee" for a person older than you. Extended family members have different titles depending on their relative ages (e.g. "pa" for older aunt, "na" for younger aunt). Therefore, as a retiree, you will find the vast majority of Thais to be particularly respectful, polite and considerate.

Air Transport - It's very easy to get to/from Thailand and all major cities in Europe an North America. Bangkok's airport is the busiest in southeast Asia with frequent daily flights and lots of good fares to choose from.

Find out more - To find out more about retiring in Thailand, contact us today.