Ricky Batten

Retiring in the Land of Smiles

I've been living here for three years and I have never regretted it.

After years of hard work, stress, and day-to-day tasks, those reaching the latter years of their lives deserve to retire in paradise. Thailand is that paradise for you, a country with year long summers, beautiful beaches, amazing food, and affordable living costs.

I've been living here for 3 years and I have never regretted it. How can you? When you are sitting overlooking the beach and having a meal with a drink for less than four dollars. The people are always nice, too; Thailand's not called the Land of Smiles for no reason. 

Today, I will highlight for you readers the things you need to consider before retiring to Thailand.

Things to consider when retiring to Thailand

Living cost

Living in Thailand is fairly cheap, and varies from place to place.The north is fairly cheap, the south is a bit more expensive while the central part of Thailand is the most expensive. The cost of living also differs in terms of what each region has to offer; the north is more of a mountainous region, the south is composed of islands, while the center is a central business district. 

The North

The North, including places like Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, is colder than the rest of Bangkok.  It is estimated that the cost of living in this area is around 20,000-30,000 baht a month. This is considered to be fairly cheap compared to the rest of Thailand. The North consists of colder weather and mountains, so those looking for that kind of an environment should settle in the north.

The South

The South, including places like Phuket and Krabi, have the warm weather. While this is indeed attractive, these places are a bit pricier than the North. The cost of living cost in these areas can vary from around 20000-30000 baht per month, however you may find restaurants to be more expensive as this region contains many tourist hotspots. 

Also, living in islands could make it difficult to get certain foods in certain restaurants as they sometimes run out of ingredients due to their seclusion, thus resulting in having to eat at hotels where a dish can cost from 60-200 baht. 

The capital in the center 

The capital city, Bangkok, has the highest cost of living among all the places listed. The cost of living there is estimated to be around 40,000-60,000 baht a month. However, it isn’t necessary that if you live there you will spend that much. If you are someone that watches your budget, you could live in Bangkok for around 30,000-40,000 baht a month. 

Living in Bangkok usually results in common visits to the shopping mall, as you can almost find one in every street. If you're looking to go on a shopping spree and enjoy exclusive bars, Bangkok is the place for you.


One of the most important things to consider when moving to Thailand is getting health insurance. This is due to a new law requiring every new long stay foreigner visa applicant to show evidence of having health insurance. So, if you already have a long stay visa, you will not need to secure mandatory health insurance unless you are here on extensions of stay, meaning you hold a long stay visa already but need to renew it for another 12 months.  

There are two main types of long-stay visas in Thailand, I have discussed this in depth in my previous article, however I will provide you with a brief summary below:

The O-A long stay visa:

No limitations on nationality

One year duration

Annual renewal

Financial Requirements

800,000 Baht in the bank

Or have an income certificate

Or property deed with an equivalent amount

The O-X long stay visa:

Only available to nationals and passport holders of the 14 following nations: France, Japan, the Netherlands, UK, USA, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy, Australia, and Norway

10-year duration

Renewal every 5 years

Financial requirements

Bank deposit of a minimum of 3 million baht

Or bank deposit of a minimum of 1.8 million baht and an annual income of at least 1.2 million baht

The deposit must be left in the bank for at least one year and a minimum of 1.5 million must always remain in the account

Free to leave and re-enter as many times as you want within the 5-year period

After taking these conditions into account it essential that you find the right health insurance for yourself. Those that already have international health insurance will still be able to use, but it must meet the quota set by the Thai government. It is hard for elders to find health insurance due to pre-existing conditions and having to pay high premiums. Therefore, I would recommend contacting one of our health insurance experts at Pacific Prime Thailand and they will be able to help you with some professional advice and a free quote for our retiree plans

Moving to Thailand could turn out to be your best decision, like it was for me, but you should be prepared and be sure of the lifestyle you want to live post-retirement. If you’re someone that likes to be high up in the mountains then retire up north; the south is for beach lovers, while the capital is for those that want the big city life. 

You can email me at ajarn@pacificprime.co.th


No doubt. You have been here for 3 years... I wouldn't be surprised to see you writing all the opposite in the next 3 years or so. Good luck and I admire the life you lead.

By Cync, Bangkok (4th July 2019)

This is nothing more than an advertisement for an insurance agent disguised as "information."

By Jack, The most expensive city in Thailand (26th June 2019)

The income certificate is a thing of the past. So is the O-A visa as London will no longer issue them. Eventually other places will probably do the same. The money in the bank earns a whopping 1% interest. Cost exceeds benefit. I will be relocating to a neighboring country later this year.

By Chet, Phuket (25th June 2019)

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