Retiring To Thailand-My Introduction And Questions
49 replies to this topic
Posted 2012-07-09 05:01:02
I'm about 60 days from retiring and my initial plan is to move to Chiang Mai. I'm not wed to any particular city as yet and I have researched a number of countries including; Argentina, Bali, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Cambodia. But, Chiang Mai sounds like a really good place to start. The variables I considered most important were; Culture-am I attracted to it and do I want to learn more and be willing to assimilate? Cost-can I live decently (1 or 2 bedroom condo or house in a good neighborhood) for $2500-$3500/month as a single man? BTW, I don't drink or at least it's better if I don't but I am single and I gather a lot of socializing happens in bars. Is the location convenient for regional travel? Are the people welcoming and, positive-does the place have a good vibe? When the culture shock hits (and I'm certain it will) is there a good support group that I can utilise? While I have done due diligence on these issues I certain your perspective is broader and I welcome any and all input.
My reading list has included 6 or so books; Thai history, books on Thai retirement, the Thai versus Western value system and just general reading about the activities/things to do in various cities. I have also gotten pretty deep into a number of blogs on Thailand. I welcome any/all suggestions for further reading material or particular threads/forum groups.
I'm very open-minded usually and typically embrace change. One of the things I want to begin is to reach out to others and maybe establish a few new acquaintances online prior to my move. This is my first attempt at doing that.
Thank for your time.
Posted 2012-07-09 05:45:40
Have you ever been to Thailand? If not why are you considering spending the rest of your life there?
Posted 2012-07-09 07:52:34
I've been to Thailand probably 10-12 times beginning in the '70's. I've spent a cumulative of 3-4 months and only in the southern part of the country. I have always enjoyed my stays immensley and felt more comfortable there than in the other countries I have visited either on business or holiday.
While I'm not Budhist I have leanings towards it and definately like the idea of living in a country where it plays a big part of everyday life.
Posted 2012-07-09 07:56:45
$2500-$3500 a month for accommodation?
That's 70,000-100,000bht !!!!!!
A nice house will cost you 5,000-10,000bht a month ($150-$300)
But yeh, CM is great, I visit it almost every month.
Edited by TommoPhysicist, 2012-07-09 07:58:12.
Posted 2012-07-09 08:07:38
Chiang Mai in many ways is a good choice in Thailand. It has a large expat population, so there are plenty of western restaurants and English language films in the cinema. However, there are two obvious drawbacks: the air pollution at certain times of year, and the traffic in central Chiang Mai.
When you talk about "socializing", do you mean finding a partner? If so, the Gaydar website is probably a better alternative. I would think that the vast majority of gay Thai men don't go to gay bars.
As a transport hub, Chiang Mai doesn't have many international destinations, but flying via Bangkok is always possible. And you can go by coach to virtually anywhere within Thailand.
Moving to live in another country is a big step. I'd recommend moving to Chiang Mai and living there for six months. If you like it, fine, stay. And if not, move on to another destination for further six months. Rinse and repeat as necessary.
Posted 2012-07-09 08:09:32
I'd just like to add that Gaydar is seen in many countries as a way to get a quick shag. It can be used like that in Thailand, but there are a lot of men on the site that are looking for a committed relationship.
Posted 2012-07-09 08:09:40
My total budget is in the range of $2500-3500/month but I get your point. Why do you like CM so much, if you don't mind me asking?
Posted 2012-07-09 08:16:51
The nightlife, live music everywhere, everynight.
The international feel of the city, many English speaking people, many types of food available.
It's really easy to meet people and make friends.
Reasonable prices for food, drinks and accommodation.
Mountains and lakes wherever you look.
Good internet access, English bookshops, loads of really great (non-chain) coffee bars
Good personal safety, you have to try really hard to put yourself at risk.
If the gay scene is your thing, many gay bars, laydboys, really easy to meet gay people.
(I'm not gay, but meet loads all over the city)
Edited by TommoPhysicist, 2012-07-09 08:18:46.
Posted 2012-07-09 08:42:43
My total budget is $2500-3500, I should have been more specific. I do get your point though.
Mind my asking why you like CM so much?
Posted 2012-07-09 08:48:12
I should have been more specific. My avg. total budget is $2500-3500 but I get your point.
If you don't mind me asking, why do you like CM so much?
Posted 2012-07-09 09:17:51
My total avg. budget is $2500-3500...I should have been more specific. I get your point though.
So you like CM a lot it appears. Mind if I ask why?
Posted 2012-07-09 09:38:54
Posted 2012-07-09 09:42:48
Wow! That's great to hear. Thanks.
Posted 2012-07-09 20:32:28
I have lived in CM for 5 years and been a frequent visitor for two decades before that. and I cannot imagine living anywhere else. My background is the UK followed by South Africa and working in global businesses so a lot of international travel and holidays over many decades.
CM is a small city but big enough to have a wide variety of restaurants, bars and shops to make anyone who wants most of the first world quality of life in a local context. Yes the international travel links are few but BKK is only an hour away and from SUV you can reach pretty much anywhere. So you will not feel isolated from the rest of the world.
However there are many things to take into consideration when living here or in any other country for that matter.
If you do not change your ways of thinking & behaviour to fit into the local ways you will be forever banging your head against a brick wall. This country has never been colonised and is therefore going to demand that you do it the Thai way, which is not difficult so long as you accept the fact that you are an alien and must always remember that.
If you do not have a Thai friend who you trust & who will help you it will be a lot more testing to get through life, especially when dealing with 'the system'. No matter how long you are here and become localised and speak the language you are always a farang. Once you can get that into your mind you will find this a wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable country. But there are so many Thai ways of doing things that you need to learn about that you will be on a never ending learning curve. For example you had better get used to paying for everything in bars & restaurants, not particularly because you are a farang but more because as the senior person that is what you are expected to do. Anger management is crucial, the western way of letting it all hang out will get you nowhere, so you need to understand that quiet diplomatic discussion is much more productive. And be prepared to hear answers that are what the other person thinks are what you want to hear, not what you necessarily need to know.
Please understand that I am not in any way jaundiced, but as a resident you will need to be sensitive to the local ways to a degree that is different to the way that you can behave as a tourist.
Accommodation is plentiful. Apartments are much more expensive than houses & you need to consider renting for a period until you know the city, the shops etc and then can decide where you want to put down more permanent roots. But once again having a Thai person to help you is a bonus because Real Estate Agents here are not providing the kind of service you are used to.
As for the "gay thing' I really believe that it is so easy to carry the western idea of a gay-straight divide into your thinking here & that would be wrong. Being a man who likes men is not seen in the same light by the majority of locals. You do not have to be concerned about looking for so-called gay places to enjoy leisure time. Yes there are bars where the majority of customers are gay men, but you can meet gay men in any bar. So relax and find places where you enjoy the ambience and the rest will follow. Yes you will see the gay flag on places but that is for tourists and as a resident you can enjoy so many more places than these sad pick-up joints. Do not forget that you can be seen as an ATM/sugar daddy just as much as any straight tourist can, but also accept that not all guys you will meet are after your money.
Some people are fixated about the annual smoke haze, and yes it happens thanks to local farmers burning old vegetation, as well as lots of burning in Myanmar and even China. It all depends on the wind and the rains. And most locals forget that smoke haze is a problem all over South East Asia & not just CM. For a few weeks it can be smoky but at least it is not the chemical smog you find in so many other urban areas.
Traffic is a challenge in a small part of the city for a few months, especially when the local holidaymakers are in town. And it is not hard to avoid those areas, as long as you get to know the highways & bye-ways.
If you like mountains, history, local culture, food, friendly people, performing arts, coffee shops, food, all kinds of outdoor activities, food, hot weather & cooler winters, and food then CM is a great place to be.
I hope that you decide to try CM and have as positive an experience as I have had, without rose tinted spectacles.
Posted 2012-07-10 05:56:03
Thanks Tommo & Brommers & AyG
All of the information is helpful and pretty much confirms what I have read or already know. It is nice to get the first-hand confirmations though.
I have a new local contact, a farang & Thai wife, that have lived there for many years and they seem to be very in tune to the city and appear to be willing to help me around and get aclimated.
Posted 2012-07-10 08:25:04
Don't lend ANYONE money, Don't invest in ANY business.
Don't buy ANYTHING in somebody else's name.
NO matter how nice or honest they appear to be.
Posted 2012-07-10 10:12:14
Chiang Mai is a wonderful place to live! Big enough to have everything that you need and small enough for you to feel at home.
Good information on the gay scene here can be found in OUT in Thailand Magazine- http://www.out-in-th...-to/chiang-mai/
Best wishes for a happy retirement,
Posted 2012-07-10 23:06:25
I operate by the rule that a fool and his money are soon parted. Heck, I don't lend $$ to my family.
Posted 2012-07-11 21:25:45
James, "Good information" would be a link to pages like un-biased articles which offered a fair and balanced view of the Gay Scene in Chiang Mai and retirement here. "Bad information" would be a link to a page on a commercial website that only lists the advertisers in your magazine and gives a totally distorted view of gay life in Chiang Mai. Have you no shame ?
To the OP, try Googling "gay chiang mai retirement" or similar, you should find lot's of useful information. Just ignore the total Homophobe who's site claims you can retire for 550 USD, his view of Chiang Mai's gay scene is REALLY bad information, as well as being six years out of date.
Posted 2012-07-13 15:56:51
I operate by the rule that a fool and his money are soon parted. Heck, I don't lend $$ to my family.
CM is my home and it's great, loads of things to do, lots of great side trips to explore surrounding history and nature etc etc. City has a nice buzz about it, good Thai langauge schools if that's on your agenda.
Locals are pleasant, polite, and helpful, and it's not too dificult to find some English language help from locals when needed.Plenty of geat supermarkets, lots of foreign imported items, if that's what you need.
Be prepared for the culture shock (totally normal), there will be a few mild bumps but certainly not a great concern.
The one small downside of CM IMHO is public transport. Could be worth thinking about buying a car, maybe second hand to start with, or motorcycle, getting a Thai licence is not too difficult.
Edited by scorecard, 2012-07-13 16:02:16.
Posted 2012-07-14 00:02:28
I'm the adventerous type so it's great to hear that the surrounds of CM offer much to see. In thinking about my priorities I know near the top is learning the fundementals of the language and I'm encouraged that CM has fine schools.
I've been reading a lot in reference to the vast cultural differences, There are many but I certainly respect their attitudes towards The Royal Family and Bhuddism, in fact I admire it. The aspects of "face" and the fact that Thais might tell me what they think I want to hear opposed to their true feelings will be challenging and confusing. I plan on smiling a lot.
I'm glad you brought up the issue of cars. I was thinking about importing mine (if I apply for a retirement visa) but I've read a number of posts in TV that suggest it is a real hassle. Any thoughts?
Posted 2012-07-14 04:52:42
Hi, ND, welcome to the forum.
It depends on what you are looking for- to say the least- but you may wish to invest in some basic language classes as soon as possible to see if you have an 'ear' for Thai before making longer-term commitments.
Some people (even some who are very talented at other types of languages) just can't hear the tones, and it rather limits their options here. If Thai doesn't work for you, one of the countries with a non-'tonal' language might be a better fit.
Posted 2012-07-14 08:16:39
Plenty of retired persons in CM who don't speak a word of Thai and get on there very well.
Loads of Thais that speak English everywhere you go, Loads of English speaking foreigners.
You can certainly have a good time and still only speak English.
Posted 2012-07-14 14:14:22
Just be careful when you drive, either a Car or Motorbike, as ''Thailand'' as a Country, is mega mega Dangerous...
you have to keep your wits about you .. thats for sure...
as no doubt you will soon find out...
Posted 2012-07-14 21:29:13
Well I would suggest you actually come here, and suss it out on a tourist basis, before making any life-changing decisions. Believe me the blog they give on the internet forums bears little relation to reality. If you like it try living here for a year or so. Then you might be ready to make it a permanent home. At that stage you have 2 choices - either cut all connections with home, in which case you're on death ground, and you will succeed cos you hav to, or keep connections wiv home, then you'll probably go home eventually, cos life here isn't quite as sweet as people make out. The former learn how to speak Thai, the latter don't. The former live in the real Thailand, the latter live in some kind of ersatz copy. I live in the ersatz copy, but I do have contact with real Thai people every now and then, I'm still equivocating about whether I want to stay here or go home, and I've been here for 7 years. If I decide to stay here I will learn how to speak, read, and write Thai. The real Thailand is the same as every other country, just men and women trying to make their way in life, within the current social and economic structures. It's a great place if you have money and are trying to recapture, or even capture, things you had or missed in your youth. But for the more mature man Thailand has little to offer. You'll soon get bored wiv the girls and the boys. In fact, even wiv little money, you can enjoy a good life from a hedonistic point of view, But I don't know, it all gets a bit boring after a while. And when you've done it all, when you're surfeited wiv women and what hav U, where do you go? As a footnote I would say there are a lot of embittered, sarcastic, and unhappy Farang here. You need to take Thailand for what it is. I do worry about these guys who come here and think it's Utopia, and then end up jumping off some high rise hotel in Pattaya. Basically, problems travel wiv U, you may be able to subvert them for a while wiv booze, and women but they'll resurface.And don't I know it.So what I'm saying is don't come to Thailand as some kind of magic solution to your problems. Solve your problems, whatever they be, financial, emotional, or philosophical, at home, then come to Thailand free of baggage, you'll have the time of your life.
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