Living in Thailand – Perfect Expat Retirement Destination?

Walking on Beach - Thailand

There have been some changes with immigration recently and a whole lot of expats living in Thailand on Tourist Visas are screaming about it. Nobody ever thought it would happen, but Thailand is getting tough on back to back visa runs. I don’t expect it to last long at all, certainly not a year, but still it is causing heaps of grief for all sorts of people. Oh, and overstay? Wow, overstay without the proper visa and you’re going to be blacklisted from Thailand for some amount of time… years. It probably is best to clear up those overstays as fast as possible. I think there still might be time if you head over to the airport and book a flight out, then book one right back in. I could be wrong. It may already be too late.

Is Thailand the perfect expat destination for retirement or long-term living?

I don’t know anymore. I guess I never really accepted that it was ideal in any way. There are good points and bad points about living in the country. As an expat that has lived here for 10 years, I’m starting to feel like, to believe that, it just isn’t ideal for me and my situation. If I was a single guy it would be a whole lot better. I’ve been with the same girl for ten years now, I just don’t need to have girls available to me everywhere I go. I shave my head monthly so I don’t have to deal with girls much. Apparently I am not attractive at all without hair. That works for me. If you’re married, you might do the same. Who needs the aggravation?

Driving around the country flat-out sucks. The danger, I’m talking about. Driving and being driven in the country is the most dangerous activity you can do. It isn’t your wife or girlfriend or her spouse that will kill you, it’s driving to 7-11. I’m surprised I don’t have nightmares about it. Here in our small town we’ve had deaths every day for the past 3 days – 3 people the first day on the highway in front of Makro, one young girl the second day in town, and a guy on a motorbike yesterday – also in front of Makro. Roads are wide enough here. People are really unstressed. I don’t know what the problem is, but some people drive like 1. There’s no fucking tomorrow. 2. Like they never knew how to drive in the first place.

I think mostly it’s the latter.

Thailand has been, in the past, a relaxing and rather care-free sort of environment for most expats living outside the craziness of Pattaya, Bangkok, and Phuket.

To some degree, it still is. There are things coming up… unavoidable events, that will change the face of the country dramatically I believe. In the states they have a saying, “When shit hits the fan.” (SHTF) Well it will hit the fan in a short time in Thailand. It’s just a matter of time ticking away on the clock. Some of you will know what I’m referring to because I don’t want to flat-out say it. People are going to jail for mentioning the subject, and saying the wrong thing. I am not sure I will say the right thing, so I’ll just allude to the big change that will take place in the next few years, months, or days. Hell, some say it has already occurred. What do I know though?

Is Thailand’s military strong enough to keep the calm in the country once this event occurs? I don’t know.

Do we want to be here for it when it happens?

Probably not.

We’ll be getting our stuff in order so we can get out for a year, couple years, whatever is necessary.

People always ask me if I’m going to buy a house in the country. Not on your life. Nothing is that stable here. Thailand could turn upside down in a month. Own property I couldn’t sell? Nope, not interested. Own property in which the laws change and people that used to own property don’t any longer? Nope, not me.

I think there are other options for retirement, even having a Thai wife and our child, there are other places we could go that would be acceptable. Thailand isn’t looking as sweet as it once did, and as time goes on it looks less and less desirable to continue to stay. It is comfortable, but it feels like we’re comfortable in our ignorance of what is on the horizon. I think there are some horrible times coming up – especially in Bangkok. In the outer areas, they could also revert to fighting and madness, but it will probably be focused around Bangkok as usual.

As an expat you need to go to Bangkok sometimes. Flights, shopping, embassy visits, etc. That’s all a giant pain in the ass when there is fighting in the capital. Imagine if there was flooding at the same time!

Where are some alternatives to living in Thailand?

  • Malaysia – if you’re making good money, have pension, or have needed job skills
  • Cambodia – if you’re single and don’t mind it
  • Laos – if you can stand it
  • Mexico – dangerous?
  • Peru
  • Uruguay
  • Argentina
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • Singapore – super crowded.
  • Hong Kong – ditto above
  • Taiwan – ditto that

There are many places that might work well for a retirement destination. Personally, I think if you can swing it, Australia is one of the best alternatives. New Zealand too – if you like the cold.

Lately I’ve been wondering about some other possibilities… more exotic locales:

  • Tahiti
  • Fiji
  • Samoa
  • Guam
  • Christmas Islands
  • Puerto Rico

Anybody reading this ever lived in one of these locations? Did you like it? Could you email me so I can ask you some questions?

Have any other ideas for alternatives when living in Thailand becomes unbearable?

 

 

Author: Vern

I’m an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at ThailandeBooks.com. There are many photographs of Thailand here – feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page).

All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.

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