Thailand Retirement Locations – The Pros & the Cons


Thailand offers many wonderful retirement locations and advantages compared to other countries. Retirees should consider not only a selection of stunning coastal locations but also places like Bangkok and Chiang Mai, which earns top ranking in tourism and lifestyle surveys.


Popular Thailand Retirement Locations include:

  • Phuket
  • Pattaya
  • Bangkok
  • Hua Hin
  • Chang Mai


Thailand Retirement Locations – Phuket

Phuket is known as the Pearl of the South and is Thailand’s largest island. Phuket is one of the most sought after retirement, travel and honeymoon destination in all of Asia. Phuket Thailand has many beautiful beaches; Patong, Karon, Kata, KamalaBang Tao and the picture postcard islands make Phuket a retiree’s paradise.


Thailand Retirement Locations

Stunning nearby islands to explore


Advantages to Retiring in Phuket

  • Many beautiful beaches with all the corresponding activities that go along with them.
  • Beautiful well-preserved secluded islands, beautiful undulating hills.
  • Numerous scenic spots, national parks, limestone caves, beautiful offshore islands and waterfalls.
  • Phuket is an excellent location for diving and snorkeling
  • Enjoy some of the best sailing, yachting and fishing in Southeast Asia
  • Phuket has superb seafood at bargain prices.

Disadvantages to Retiring in Phuket

  • Phuket is one of the most popular Thailand retirement locations with more than a million tourists a month during the high-season.
  • Booming Phuket property market means real estate prices are constantly on the rise.
  • Expat residents often get mistaken for tourists because of the large number of Phuket travelers.
  • Expect a two-tiered price system for locals and tourists for some goods and services.

Things to do in Phuket

  • Schedule a day trips to the blue-water beaches at Rawai, Chalong, Nai Harn, Karon, Kata, Bang Tao and Nai Yang.
  • Plenty of water sports to include scuba diving, jet-skiing, surfing, kite boarding, sailing, yachting, snorkeling and deep sea fishing.
  • Visit some of the best ocean views and coral reefs in Thailand.
  • Island hopping and cruises to world famous Similan and Phi Phi Islands.
  • Beautiful rain forest national parts located in a short distance away in Phang Nga
  • Excellent seaside dining at restaurants, five-star resorts and many romantic settings to enjoy.
  • Tons of clubs and societies to join and have fun.
  • Plenty of Phuket nightlife locations.


Thailand Retirement Locations – Pattaya

Pattaya is located in the Chonburi province and is about 150 kilometres southeast of Bangkok.  Pattaya is probably the most popular destination in Thailand for both retirees and tourists alike. This beautiful resort city boasts three beaches; Pattaya, Jomtien and Naklua. Pattaya has many five-star resorts, and an exciting nightlife with hundreds of bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

Pattaya has one of the largest expat communities, with American and Brits topping the list, there is also a large population of assorted Australians and Europeans as well. This resort city has two expat clubs that organize a host of activities for its expat community and there are tons of activities going on in Pattaya every day make this one of the top Thailand retirement locations .


Thailand Retirement Locations Pattaya Thailand

Looking down on Pattaya from the Viewpoint


Advantages to Retiring in Pattaya

  • Pattaya is easy access to Bangkok and all of its attractions.
  • Three beautiful beaches that offer numerous water sports for the active resident.
  • Entertainment capital of Thailand with hundreds of beer bars, go-go bars and nightclubs that are open around the clock. Watch the “Maneaters on Walking Street” video to see why Pattaya is the entertainment capitol of Thailand.
  • Excellent array of restaurants, great seafood and International cuisines and five-star resorts for great dining and entertainment.
  • Enjoy some of the best sailing and yachting in the country, also one of the best locations for big-game fishing.
  • Plenty of golf courses in Pattaya (at least 20 in the Pattaya area) making Pattaya one of the best Thailand Retirement Locations for golfers.
  • Plenty of business centers to take care of your financial and real estate needs.

Disadvantages to Retiring in Pattaya

  • Close to 1 million tourists during the November – March high season.
  • Beaches can be somewhat overcrowded.
  • Inflated prices for foreigners and Pattaya tourists.
  • Beaches are sometimes polluted due to the high tourist influx.
  • The crime rate is on the rise.
  • Pattaya is viewed as a city of sin and sex.


Thailand Retirement Locations – Bangkok

Bangkok is the capital and largest city in the country and has over 10 million inhabitants and is bisected by the Chao Phraya River. Bangkok boasts a lively nightlife, excellent International cuisine, hundreds of clubs and organizations to belong to, and some of the best shopping in the world, with some of the most incredible markets and malls.

One thing about Bangkok if you can’t find what you are looking for, you are very unlikely to find it anywhere in the region. One of the best things you can do is pick up a map of the city and explore neighborhood by neighborhood to see which part of the city you really like for living and entertainment.


Retire in Bangkok

Bangkok is one city that never sleeps


Advantages to Retiring in Bangkok

  • Bangkok never sleeps; it’s where all the action is.
  • Bangkok is the cultural Mecca of Thailand; some notable events include International Jazz Festival, International film festivals, and many big-name international performers book their shows and concerts here.
  • Beautiful exotic Buddhist temples.
  • Beautiful green parks at Lumpini, Sanam Luang and Benjasiri.
  • Numerous transportation options link Bangkok with almost every other city and town in Thailand.
  • Plenty of exciting nightlife, Thai and International cuisine and unlimited nightlife options for just about every party goers.
  • Unlimited accommodation options from the very cheap to unimaginably luxurious. Whatever budget living style you choose you’re sure to find it in Bangkok.

Disadvantages to Retiring in Bangkok

  • Bangkok is very congested. Just trying to walk in a straight line anywhere with broken pavement and street vendors blocking the sidewalk becomes a real annoyance.
  • The noise pollution is overwhelming, especially in the streets and shopping malls.
  • Air pollution can get pretty bad along with the heat and humidity can really make the hot season unbearable.
  • During rush-hour it can be very difficult to get a taxi.
  • During the rainy season Bangkok often has problems with flooding.


Thailand Retirement Locations – Hua Hin

Popular Thailand Retirement Locations Hua Hin

Hua Hin

Hua Hin is roughly a three hour car or train trip south of Bangkok on the Gulf coast and boasts 5klms of beaches. Hua Hin has a population of more than 125,000 with plenty of hotels, restaurants and high-rise condominiums.

Hua Hin attracts expats that prefer a more sedate life of leisure, sports, far away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok and Pattaya. Because of its royal connection; the king visits from time to time, the town retains a more well-mannered atmosphere. There is no ritzy nightlife scene, but if you really want to see the action, you’re only a few hours by car or train from Bangkok.

Hua Hin city boasts some of the best golf courses in Thailand and local expat group based in town enjoys year-round tournaments and golf trips around Thailand. British and Scandinavian make up the two biggest groups among the expat community that live here.

Advantages to Retiring in Hua Hin

  • Reasonable travel time to Bangkok.
  • Beautiful stretches of beach within walking distant of town.
  • Royal connection means the security is very good and the crime rate is low.
  • Hua Hin retains some great old-world charm.
  • Excellent location for golfers.
  • Good selection of international hotels and restaurants to choose from.
  • Beautiful ocean views from the hillside Wat Khao Lao temple.

Disadvantages to Retiring in Hua Hin

  • Hua Hin has no international hospital for serious medical cases and the ambulance service is quite average.
  • Rising real estate prices.
  • Tough to get golf tee times during the high season.
  • Higher prices for food and public transportation.


Thailand Retirement Locations – Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is the largest city in the North of Thailand and has a metropolitan population of around 970,000. The city sits in a beautiful tropical valley surrounded by mountains that have historically protected the city from outside distractions. The climate between July and March is very nice, when the air is cool and hills are green, the hot season lasts from April through June, the winter months November through February bring a brisk chill at night.

Advantages to Retiring in Chiang Mai

  • Much slower pace of life, but still offers most city services.
  • Ancient temples, old houses, local markets give the city a homey atmosphere.
  • Beautiful surrounding countryside.
  • Pleasant weather which means it’s generally cool year-round.
  • Very few beggars and homeless people.
  • Excellent communications infrastructure the phones and Internet are very good.
  • Friendly honest people compared to other places in Thailand.
  • Excellent Thai northern cuisine; tons of flavors and excellent vegetarian choices.
  • Not overwhelmed with tourists like Bangkok, makes Chiang Mai very livable.

Disadvantages to Retiring in Chiang Mai

  • Visa runs to the border Mai Sai is a four hour ride which can be a ongoing inconvenience.
  • Air pollution can be high during the March/April burn-offs and many expats move away from Chiang Mai during the burn-offs.
  • The Thai language can be difficult to learn for some, especially the northern dialect.
  • Rush hour traffic can be very frustrating especially during events like annual Flower Festival, Songkran and Loy Kratong.

Chiang Mai has been rated among the top ten most livable cities in Asia because of its laid-back atmosphere, mild climate, and one of the most affordable places to live. One thing about Chiang Mai, it has a well established network of services which is aimed specifically at foreigners and the already established expat community making Chiang Mai one of the popular Thailand retirement locations.

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Updated: October 15, 2011 by admin

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