Asked on 25 Feb 2020
What would be the rough costs of doing this?
I'd say it is. But here're a couple of things you might want to think about.
I've personally worked and stayed in Thailand, Pathum Thani (about 40mins drive north of Mochit aka where JJ Market is) specifically for 6 months, and I have thought of retiring there too.
The climate is pretty similar, but they do have slightly colder winters if you live up north.
Food-wise, it's pretty agreeable because you're still in South East Asia (I'm presuming you're Singaporean). And if you're happy with street food or the small Mom & Pop, hole-in-a-wall eateries you can find almost everywhere, they're cheap and decent too. A meal (rice with meat and some veggies) will probably cost you SGD$2 to SGD$3, or even less - depends on which province you're in, big cities will charge more.
I can't say much about healthcare, but you might want to check if foreigners have to pay more if they seek treatment at clinics or the A&E. This is extremely important as you'll be retiring there in your golden years, and the last thing you want is to (touch wood) go to a hospital after you fall in your bathroom and be charged a ridiculous amount of money for an X-ray and a plaster cast.
If you're planning to have children, the best university there is probably Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. But the more affluent locals (mostly Thai-Chinese) usually send their kids overseas. At least that's what I noticed since most of my Thai colleagues have degrees from all over the world, while local grads are far and few - in case you're wondering, I was working in the National Science and Technology Development Agency (like an A*STAR of sorts for Thailand).
So that means that you'll need to factor additional costs to send your kid to local, international schools in preparation for higher education. Or be prepared to send them overseas for their education from the get-go, which also means you'll need to take care of their tuition fees, boarding, and lodging (read: not cheap).
Local transportation is cheap if you travel by bus, tuk-tuk, MRT, boat, motorcycle. And it's not too bad either if you decide to buy and own a car. Most of my colleagues still take public transportation because traffic is usually bad - yes, even in the small towns because some of the roads aren't as wide as SG - and are the worst in big cities.
Finally, since you're looking at retiring, you'll probably want to learn more about Thailand's retirement visa.
In a nutshell, you'll be applying for the Non-Immigrant O-A Visa (Long Stay/Retirement) visa which is renewable every year.
But the catch here is that you'll have to be 50 years or older to apply for this visa.
Here are some other conditions you'll need to meet:
A minimum of THB800,000 in a Thai bank account for 2 months prior to visa application
A minimum of THB65,000 monthly income (can combine with assets in Thai bank account to meet that min THB800,000 requirement)
Oh, and you'll need to report to Immigration every 90 days to verify your current address. Yes, I know. It's a hassle, but those are the rules if you wanna retire there.
If you're thinking about retiring overseas, I've written an article on Retirement Visas to other places around the world. Feel free to check it out if you'd like to keep your options open!
Good luck with your retirement dreams and start planning now if it's your ultimate goal!
I guess this has always been an option for some Singaporeans. I do have some friends who retire in Thailand due to the low cost of living and they are enjoy their life.
Yes of course. There r more ppl looking to retire at LCOL area nowadays. Thailand, Malaysia, and even Vietnam are some of the choices for geographical arbitrage. But my favourite place for retirement is still Taiwan.