A year from now, we should be heading for Thailand for a new life in a new country. Why Chiangmai, Thailand, some friends have asked. Some think we have gone over the deep end even thinking about not returning to Canada; others are bordering on jealousy and would love to be doing the same thing themselves. Most of our friends here in China think it is a great idea! But anyone who has moved to China to live and work is probably not the most normal crayon in the box.
Many boomers are selling out of the North American rat race and heading for pastures that seem to be greener and a hell of a lot cheaper. Tack on a little more sun, no snow, and a lot of people are easily sold on the idea of picking up shop and heading out on an adventure. Thailand is only one of several destinations that many are heading for. Central America is a biggie and other countries in Asia such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines are jumping on the bandwagon to attract retirees. All have a few things in common; warm weather, a pleasant welcome to retirees, and a very cheap cost of living. Many have retirement visas available for anyone that fits the criteria; usually a guaranteed monthly pension and an age requirement.
I will write about all of the places I have been looking at eventually, but today I am going to concentrate on Chiangmai. This city has been near the top of many lists as the ideal place to retire for many years. Because of the recent violent protests and bit of political instability, it has lost a little ground as an ideal retirement haven, but it is still in the top group of most lists as a wonderful place to spend a few months, years or even to retire. Currently, there are over 30,000 foreigners living in the city.
So why do people like this place? The top reasons are pretty straight-forward…Thailand is known for its very friendly people and its wonderful food. As someone who has traveled extensively in the country a couple of times and knows others who have made it their second home, I can vouch for both these observations. People will go out of their way to help you and you cannot beat the incredible Thai food. Not only is it delicious, it is amazingly cheap. As many say, it is almost not worth cooking when you live in this country.
As with all the other places I have been looking at, the cost of living is VERY cheap. It is easy to live on an income of $1500 per month or less. It is possible to rent a nice little house for well under $500 per month or a two bedroom condo for $450 to 550 per month. Real estate prices are also very reasonable if you actually want to buy a place of your own. You can buy a condo outright but houses can only be purchased on a 30-year lease. Check out some of the local Chiangmai prices here
Add to the list above a year-round warm climate, a low crime rate, great medical services, convenient public transport, lots of activities, and plenty of cultural events. Finally, the shopping is really good, ranging from modern supermarkets and malls to huge night bazaars and street markets.
Chiangmai is definitely still very high on the list for those with a limited disposal income who are in search of a warm climate. And as I wrote above, it is only one of many places in the world that are attracting seniors away from the expensive cost of living in the western world. The numbers of Americans, Canadians and Brits moving abroad is increasing annually. It is not a flood but many are fed up with the governments, taxes and prices in these first-world countries. Thailand is only one place in the world where you can live cheaply and still have money left over to travel at the end of the day. I have been reading countless stories of people doing just that; both seniors and younger folks. We certainly have not looked back since we left Canada five years ago and cannot picture ever returning full-time after seeing what other countries have to offer at this point in our lives.
Retire in Chiangmai – a website for those considering retiring to Chiangmai
Retire on 550 per Month – a well-known site on retiring to Chiangmai, has since started sites on retiring to Cambodia and the Philippines
Never Ending Voyage –love this site about a couple of “Digital Nomads” who spent several months in Chiangmai. They have several articles about the city…this one talks about the the cost of living in the city.
6 Affordable Places to Retire – Chiangmai is at the top of this list.
I proudly present
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and make me happy!
After teaching in Canada for many years, I packed my bags and moved to Wuhan, China, four years ago. Now my life is a great balance of teaching and traveling!