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Thailand is, in several respects, the perfect destination for older adults to find a new phase in their lives. A relaxed, fun and economical alternative for settling down is the tropical holiday destination. In the Land of Smiles, welcoming citizens, pleasant weather all year round, plenty of sightseeing opportunities, and every modern convenience await you.
There are plenty of specifics to organise before planning for such a significant step, including beyond the fundamental issues about selecting a particular place and form of accommodation. Is finding retirement in Thailand practical? Is it secure, and is there adequate medical care? Are there activities with which to participate and other retired ex-pats to mingle?
If you retire to Koh Phangan, you'll never grow up, and the island is the ideal spot for living out those golden years. As it is a fantasy when you are young, it is also a dream to go and live on a lovely tropical island when you are older. The atmosphere and the slow, smoother speed of life are one of the critical advantages of retirement on Koh Phangan or the rest of Thailand. It couldn't be more beautiful, so come and enjoy island living, swim in the water, lie down and chill, make friends with the lovely locals and walk casually along the shore.
Here is your guide to help organise your retirement on Koh Phangan.
One of the most critical aspects for retirees would be ensuring adequate and affordable healthcare on the island. With its development over the years, Koh Phangan now has around four primary hospitals, one of which is Government, the rest private. You will also find many doctors' surgeries and pharmacies. You should have insurance which will help cover any costs should you need to use the hospital or have treatment. Staff at the hospitals and clinics speak good English; some have Western staff to help with translation and insurance.
Healthcare and treatment are very affordable in Thailand; if you need treatment which cannot be done on Koh Phangan itself, then it is a quick trip to Koh Samui’s hospitals or Surat Thani.
Read more here about the Hospitals on Koh Phangan.
Many people imagine retirement in Thailand since living happily here costs very little. Thailand's cost of living figures usually suggests that it is between 30% to 40% cheaper than living in the U.S.
The average cost of living in Thailand is around 35% lower than the average cost of living in the U.S., according to Numbeo, a platform that gathers cost of living data from across the globe. Rents are, on average, 56 per cent smaller.
You can intend on a budget of at least $1,500 per month to survive in Thailand, with a more realistic benchmark being $2,000. This will encourage you, without breaking the bank, to live comfortably. You would be able to survive with as little as $1,000 a month, but you'd still have a rough time. You should expect a very comfortable life if you can survive off a budget of $5,000 per month.
Your visa is the most important thing, to be able to live in the country legally. You will want a retirement visa, also known as a Non-Immigrant Long Stay Visa. This can be accomplished in Thailand or your home country at a consulate. The process of obtaining a retirement visa is relatively easy. Still, depending on how precisely you choose to invest your retirement (more on that in the next section), it may also become very lengthy.
You have to be at least 50 years old and undergo a felony record examination to receive such a visa. You will require a current visa that does not last for at least one year. Finally, you may need to follow some financial standards. There are a few approaches to address these demands:
Have a Thai bank account (about $24,500) of at least 800,000 baht
Have at least 65,000 baht (about $2,000) monthly salary or pension
If they raise your general funds to at least 800,000 baht ($24,500), provide a blend of the previous choices.
Notice that you must have the money in the Thai account for at least two months before your visa application if you go with the first choice in the list above. A letter from the bank indicating evidence of deposits needs to be given.
Several situations would require you to get extra permits or separate visas to be issued.
Your retirement visa is suitable for a year, but every 90 days, you need to return to immigration. Your visa will become invalid if you fail to do this. Also, the retirement visa does not allow you to work in the country. For that, you'll need a work visa. Whether you're going to operate or even volunteer on only a retirement visa, your visa may be revoked.
Nor does the retirement visa encourage you to exit and re-enter the country; you may need to apply for a re-entry visa at some point in your first year of residency. The procedure for a permit is reasonably straightforward. You should have a photo of yourself and separate passport sections in addition to the application form.
You may need to request a visa extension until the retirement visa approaches expiration. With certain extra specifications, this application is close to the original application. You would need proof of address, versions of a bank balance and photographs of each page of your passport, for instance.
Koh Phangan has varied accommodations, ranging from budget bungalows to luxurious villas. Many people also choose to build their own homes or buy one. It's far more economical than in the west, and it will make your family a beautiful home to come and linger in while they visit you; and if you want to call Phangan home, you know they can surely see you here!
When it comes to areas, Thong Nai Pan and the North are commonplace for older people and families. This is completely removed from the traffic and crowds on the other side of the island. Other places such as Chaloklum, Sri Thanu and areas of central Thong Sala such as Maduwan are just as beautiful in their offerings.
We presume you will want more than a shanty bungalow for your home. Many concrete houses are available, ranging from one upwards bedroom with modern facilities. Luxurious contemporary villas are also for rent and sale. If renting, it is worth getting a long contract with the owner so you know you can stay for a while.
There are people from all over the planet who now make Koh Phangan their permanent home, from young adults who want some stable pillars for their futures to invest in companies or set up their own to older aged men and women who want to spend their days in a better atmosphere with a more comfortable living expense.
It is straightforward to make friends here because everyone is pleasant and helpful; from partaking in activities such as yoga classes or even eating in restaurants, you will get to know the community well. Koh Phangan is a very caring island; thethe ex-pat and Thai community all look after and look out for each other.
Famed for its spirituality and yoga schools, the island is a perfect place to wind down with a selection of classes in this area. There are also watersports such as kite surfing for adrenaline junkies and more chilled activities such as pool teams and tournaments, swimming pools and tennis.
There are charitable organisations which always need help if you wish to give your time and support, such as Phangan Animal Care, Island Aid and Phangan Community Garden. You will never be bored if you want to relax on the beach, with a drink in the bar or get fully stuck in.
Koh Phangan's food costs vary from 30 to 40 baht for a Thai soup or a local dish from a street food stand to 500 baht and up to a fine restaurant to taste tasty meals. The best place for cheap eating on Koh Phangan is Thong Sala, the island's main town, where many food carts are situated. In specific, Chinese Street. You'll notice a regular food market in Thong Sala where you can try a large selection of meals for just 40 baht while it's lined with chicken and rice food outlets.
The restaurants and dining scenes of Koh Phangan provide a place for all tastes, and you can enjoy beachside dining with cool breezes, sand between the toes and stars twinkling overhead, whether it's native, Italian, Mexican, or even halal.
The Thai love of food is irresistible, and paired with smiling hospitality, dining out in Phangan is a unique high point of a retiree's life experience here. However, you should remember that if you're fussy about excellent service, this is Thailand, not London.
For cooking at home, the island has a few fresh fruit and vegetable markets where you can buy products, supermarkets with some international products, cleaning products, and the like.
It is well known that living in a warmer atmosphere will help alleviate the discomfort of common diseases such as arthritis, and the comfort of the Thai style would be appreciated by everyone, young or old, not getting wrapped up in the busy city or hurried way of life back in the Western world. Koh Phangan, as a retirement spot, is hard to top. Plus you can visit and travel the rest of Thailand, a beautiful country.
Retirement in this Southeast Asian nation is a beautiful way to reward yourself after a long and fruitful career, relaxed, entertaining and with an always-positive environment. And with comprehensive medical treatment to keep you safe and in good humour, you'll have little to think about when you head out and appreciate what the nation has to give.