Thailand, with a total area of about 513,000 square kilometres, is located in the heart of Southeast Asia. During the past decade, it has become a very popular retirement destination for British expats.
The Bangkok area is the destination of choice of many expats due to its natural, cultural and historical attractions as well as its excellent public transportation system. The coastal town of Phuket and the budget-friendly northern city of Chiang Mai also have sizable communities of expats from the UK. If your State Pension is the main source of your retirement income, Thailand is one of the places to become an expat.
There are many reasons why expats decide to retire in Thailand. It has a tropical climate with warm weather throughout the year. The country features beautiful white sand beaches, diving sites, mountainous jungles, exquisite Buddhist temples and much more.
The cost of living there is much lower than in the UK, especially if you enjoy eating mainly Thai cuisine, and the country’s large British expat retirement community will help your transition into your new home.
Here is a brief guide to help you decide if retiring to Thailand is right for you. If you’re planning to make the move and are in need of a professional international removals company to ship your belongings from the UK to Thailand, visit 1st Move International.
How Much Money do you Need to Retire in Thailand?
There are two baseline numbers you need to keep in mind about the affordability of retiring in Thailand.
A retired couple can live quite comfortably on £1,600 a month and a savings cushion of £20,000. Even though many people retire in Thailand because it’s inexpensive, it’s still wise to have some savings to cover surprise expenses. In addition, your State Pension will no longer be indexed when you move to Thailand, so it will remain frozen at the rate you receive when you first become an expat. Having a savings cushion will ensure that living in Thailand will remain affordable as the cost of living inevitably increases over time.
If you have other sources of retirement income besides your State Pension, a retired couple can live a luxurious lifestyle for about £4,000 a month. That amount of monthly income would allow you to live in a premium location by the beach in Phuket or in the most desirable area of Bangkok and still have enough money to hire a cook and a maid. If you plan to purchase property in Thailand, this budget would allow you to buy a spacious condominium.
What is the Healthcare System Like in Thailand?
Healthcare services in Thailand are excellent and relatively inexpensive, and its high quality has made Thailand very popular as a medical tourist destination. The county’s private hospitals provide world-class medical care, and Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok is ranked among the ten best hospitals in the world. Many of the country’s private hospitals, including Bumrungrad International, have special private wings for foreigners and have English-speaking doctors and staff.
However, Thailand and the UK do not have reciprocal healthcare agreements, so you will need to buy comprehensive medical insurance. The cost will vary depending on your age, the deductible and co-insurance levels you desire and whether you prefer to purchase local insurance that only covers medical services in Thailand or international health insurance. Most local and international policies cover emergency medical evacuation services, but many policies don’t cover pre-existing conditions, so check the coverage limits carefully before purchasing a policy.
What are the Requirements to Obtain a Retirement Visa?
It is very straightforward to obtain a retirement visa. You must be at least 50 years old to qualify and have a pension of at least 65,000 baht (£1,648) or at least 800,000 baht (£20,700) on deposit with a Thai bank or a combined pension and Thai bank account of at least 800,000 baht (£20,700).
A retirement visa is valid for one year but is renewable. After you have a retirement visa for three consecutive years, you can apply for permanent residency.
If your sites are set on moving to or retiring in Thailand, get in touch with 1st Move International for a free international removals quote to Thailand.