Live a Better Life - Live in Paradise - Live Work Retire in Thailand

Why did we choose to live in Thailand?

Thailand has it all

Thailand has everything: Year-round warm weather, great food, modern infrastructure, affordable healthcare, low crime, and friendly people.

The Thai people are very tolerant to westerners and other cultures. Thais are primarily Buddhists, but they embrace all religions. In fact, you’ll find people of all faiths in Thailand such as Christian, Catholic, Jewish and Hindu. No matter what your religion may be, you’ll have no problem finding a church, synagogue or temple.  And contrary to what many believe, there are very few mosques per capita, especially to the north, as the Islamic faith is an extremely low minority.

Many people don’t realize that Thailand is a sophisticated country. There are modern shopping malls,  3D cinemas that feature Hollywood movies, in English or Thai. There are roadside cafes and coffee shops reminiscent of Sicily or South of France. You’ll find open-air restaurants (with Wi-Fi), identical to Key West and other beach towns; featuring German, Italian, Mexican, American, Mediterranean, French, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Seafood and Vegetarian dishes. And of course amazing Thai food, which I consider the most delicious food in the world (and healthy, too).

You’ll also find authentic English and Irish pubs, serving fish and chips and Guinness beer. You’ll see many sports bars that show all the popular games from the US, UK and Europe. There are billiard halls, Karaoke bars and nightclubs.

You can exercise in modern fitness clubs or play golf on some of the most beautiful courses you’ll ever see – some designed by golf legend, Jack Nicklaus.

You’ll experience the most stunning beaches in the world as well as amazing mountain ranges and rain forests.

There’s the ever famous Thai massage, a type of “assisted yoga” that reduces stress and increases flexibility, while increasing your energy. There’s also oil massage, foot massage and hot stone massage options at most massage parlors. The cost for any of these massages? About $10…. for two hours!

There is a very large expat community of Americans, British, Canadians, Norwegians, Irish, Australians and others in Thailand. The reason the expat community is so large here, is because you can live on 1/3 the money that it cost to live in the US or other western countries. In other words, you can live in paradise for mere pennies on the dollar!

What are Thai people like?

Thai’s are very friendly and love westerners. There is no animosity towards Americans unlike what you’ll experience in most African, European and Latin countries. Thailand is known as “The Land of Smiles” and its people are considered the friendliest people on Earth.

Thais are very open-minded, and no matter what sexual lifestyle you choose, it’s ‘the norm’. Single, attractive women are abundant. Talking to strangers is natural because the society is not fear-based, unlike the US where most people are guarded because they fear the unknown.

Thais practice a thing called ‘Greng-Jai’ in everyday life-– where they are polite and make a point to not make anyone feel bad. This is from their Buddhists culture, which is very peaceful and non-confrontational.

If you accidentally cut someone off in traffic, spill your drink on someone at a pub or step on someone’s foot, you’re likely to hear people say: Mai Pen Rai! This is a mantra practiced by Thais that simply means, “It’s Okay. Don’t worry!”

When you come to Thailand, you may notice that it’s easier to connect with a Thai stranger that doesn’t speak English, than it is to connect with an American stranger that does. This is even more true when you’re away from the larger cities and tourists areas such as Bangkok, Pattaya, and Phuket.

Thailand is the place to be

Whether you want to become an expat and make a permanent move or become a snowbird and live in Thailand for three to six months out of the year, Thailand has more to offer retirees and travelers than any other country.

Thailand not only offers every lifestyle option available, it has an incredible good vibe about it that’s unique from other countries. You’ll immediately realize when you arrive that this beautiful country has more freedoms than western countries, as there aren’t the cumbersome regulations and frivolous lawsuits that are prominent in the U.S.

Thailand is not for everyone.

Arguably, several countries do have better weather (such as Columbia, Japan or New Zealand) or they speak English more widely (e.g. Ireland or New Zealand), or they are more developed with a 'western' culture (such as France or Ireland) or are simply closer to home - or western civilization - than Thailand (e.g. Panama or Ecuador or Nicaragua).

In many other countries, there is often also a wider choice of sophisticated arts, music, theatre, opera and art galleries and museums... and where more people enjoy intellectual activities. And although Western men are spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful, docile, loyal and loving Thai women, it's harder to find interesting, eligible straight men if you are a woman.

I've lived in other wonderful places in the world. I loved living in France... the food was cheap and delicious, baguettes, croissants, cheeses, wines, coffee, pizzas and salads... and it was quick and easy to go skiing in the Vosges or just a bit further in the Alps... One can live relatively cheaply and comfortably almost anywhere in France. The weather ranges from very hot to crispy cold and snowing.

I also loved living in Ireland, the cold weather in front of a fire, with meaty stews, a huge selection of beers, live music and friendly people everywhere... It's maybe a bit too wet and cold for most people, but I personally don't like hot weather. My best season is autum/fall, when the colors change and the weather is cool and mild and changable. Outside of Dublin, you can live cheaply and well in Ireland too.

Even Japan is a wonderful place to live. It's a super exotic yet sophisticated and highly-developed country that's really fun to live in, with every mod con and a cornucopia of culture and sports and physical activities, and clubs and people. If you know the language, and live more like a native than an expat, then you can live surprisingly cheaply in Japan also... The women are docile, loyal and sexy too... (For western women, I'm afraid to say that Japanese men are on the whole not particularly interesting! Japanese women tend to feel the same way.) 

In Japan, there's virtually no theft or violence and no vandalism; and people are on the whole scrupulously honest. But you have to get used to and accept the Japanese mentality! It's nothing like ours. When going out to eat and drink with friends and acquaintances, be prepared to pay for one or two people to get smashed (while everyone else drinks water to keep the overall cost down)... and be prepared for petty, stubborn pig-headed behavior and an almost total lack of imagination and drive, even amongst the most 'westernized' of Japanese people.

So why did I choose Thailand?

For me, there's a je-ne-sais-quoi  quality about Thailand... it's exotic and it's relatively calm and peaceful (in the spiritual sense). The people are genuinely friendly and helpful; and seldom bitter. There is no vandalism...

Thailand is safe for women especially. Yes, rapes and robberies and homicides do occur – mostly amongst the Thais themselves of course; but most importantly women are usually safe from being accosted or molested in Thailand, particularly in Chiang Mai. As a woman, you can live alone, go out alone - even in the dead of night – or travel alone. It’s mostly safe to do so.

An expensive helmet left on seat in shopping mall parking lot occasionaly get stolen and (especially in Bangkok and Pattaya) handbags get snatched (so one shouldn't get complacent), but on the whole, you can leave your car & house unlocked and not be too concerned that your belongings will go missing.

Above all, I find life exciting here, even when I've had to struggle... It's fun to explore and to meet new people and learn the language and to try to make sense of the culture.

And the girls are on the whole genuinely kind hearted and loving and loyal... Even the men, despite being mostly lazy or unreliable, are honest and friendly and helpful. Like anywhere there are exceptions to the norm, and we've able to find good, hardworking builders and craftsmen and made friends with farmers and business owners who are diligent and reliable.

There's also an amazing sense of freedom here. Virtually anything and everything is tolerated. You can truly be yourself, even drunk 'n disorderly, or totally debauched. You can be a cross-dresser, transsexual or gay. You can be old and fat and ugly and still letch after young, pretty girls. Other people might regard you with disdain or be embarrassed for you, but they will keep their opinions to themselves or joke with you good-naturedly. It's difficult to remain angry and bitter when crashing your emotions against an unmoving, disinterested cliff of Buddhist tolerance. You'll eventually spend yourself out and calm down and learn to accept and enjoy life as it comes.

Even the police will mostly ignore you. So long as you avoid drugs and keep your visas in order, they will tolerate lewd or drunken behavior, lapsed or missing driving licenses, speeding, etc. (up to a point of course). Mostly, you'll just get a small fine, especially if you're caught smoking in a prohibited area or running a red light or driving with an expired tax disc or without a helmet.

I was amazed to see a traffic cop, with wheel clamps piled on the back of his motorbike, spending several minutes asking around to find the owner of an illegally parked car before clamping it. He was just about to write out a ticket when the owner, a Thai woman, rushed out of a nearby grocery store. The cop immediately put away his book and removed the clamp, just like that! I don't know of any other country where that happens. In London, I've watched cars being ticketed, clamped or towed away at the drop of a hat. I was once ticketed for parking outside my house incorrectly at 7.30am on a Sunday morning...It may have been unwarranted but I had no choice but to pay the fine. It would have cost a lot more to try to defend myself in court.

When you visit or live in Thailand, you'll be surprised at how calm and orderly people (yes, even us foreigners) are. Thai people love to have fun, it seldom if ever turns violent (just don't get into any name-calling arguments and you'll be fine). There is no hooliganism, even amongst the expats. Thailand even has  areas specially zoned to allow us to indulge in our darker, deviant side: like Soi Cowboy & Patpong in Bangkok, Walking Street in Pattaya and Loykro in Chiang Mai. The Thais have their own (far more discreet) hot spots for their sexual outlets.

Don't get me wrong. Even though I've highlighted the more unpleasant, seamier aspects of foreign behavior, we all tend to adapt to the calm, polite and friendly way of life in Thailand. You may have heard of Thailand's reputation for sex and debauchery, but when you get here you'll be surprised at how 'proper' everybody behaves, and how little importance is attached to sex or suggestive behavior. People are respectful of each other and dress conservatively. Indeed, they wonder at our obsession with sex! They seldom discuss it. It's only in the red-light districts where women dress provocatively - although the fashion is starting to become popular amongst teenagers in downtown Bangkok. The majority of Thai women even abstain from sexual relations until they marry, although this is also changing so long as you are very discreet about it. And when Thais do have sex, it's never a big deal - a bit like playing tennis: clean and fun and sweaty. Thais regularly have a soapy shower before and after, and they expect you to do the same.

There are many things to complain about in Thailand - some people even make a sport out of it (e.g. on thaivisa.com). But, on the whole, Thailand has a remarkably sophisticated infrastructure that works fairly efficiently. Electricity, telephone and internet connections are fast and reliable (when occasional outages do occur, they get fixed usually within the hour). Flights and buses - as well as the skytrain and metro network in Bangkok - are usually cheap, efficient and on time. The intercity trains are a bit slow and often delayed, but there's usually no hurry anyway. There's talk of upgrading the very old and neglected rail network, but that's still many years away.

In other respects, Thailand seems chaotic and disorganized, but I've always been struck at how straight-forward and efficient most transactions are. There is ubiquitous ATM banking, and all the banks have internet banking. Hospitals, clinics and dentists have virtually no waiting times. You can go in to see a doctor at 10am, be seen by 11am and be out in time for lunch at 12. If you need an operation, it can be scheduled for the following day! At a dentist, your fillings will be done within the hour - and your teeth will be cleaned in the meantime (for around $20/£15). If you need a crown then there will usually be 2-3 half-hour sessions a week apart, total cost about $270/£160 per crown.

Utility and mobile phone bills can be conveniently paid at the local supermarket or 7/11.

Even the government services are quite straight forward. Some people complain of the mountain of paper work required, but so long as you provide all the necessary documentation and follow the procedures (usually a Thai secretary or representative will do all of that for you anyway) then you will have your visa, work permit, company papers or driving license same day.

Life in Thailand is fun, convenient, cheap, comfortable and safe. And - at the end of the day - it's who you have as your friends that really determines how much you enjoy life. The people who live here (Thais, Japanese, Chinese and Westerners) tend to be friendly and open. And if you're single (or separated) then it won't be long before you find a wonderful, loving partner to share your foxhole with.

These are the main reasons why you should seriously consider Thailand as your retirement paradise.

One Reason is Enough

After returning from my trip to Thailand, I’ve done a lot of contemplating. One thing I constantly thought about was “what was my favorite thing about this country?” Not one thing came to mind. There were many ‘favorite’ things about Thailand, and any one of these traits was reason enough to want to live there.

If you’re not sure about coming to Thailand, consider what it has to offer. Any one or two of the traits listed below is worth your serious consideration about visiting or living there.

FOOD

The food is absolutely delicious. Thailand is known as ‘Kitchen of the World’, as it’s a food lover’s paradise. The Thai food was nothing like I’ve had in the US. It was not only tastier, but more visually appealing (food experts say you eat with your eyes!). But even the non-Thai food was better. I had one of the best, juiciest hamburgers I’ve ever eaten in Thailand, and it was only $2.

The way I look at it, you have to eat three meals a day, every day — why settle for crap like McDonalds, Taco Bell, ham/bologna/tuna sandwiches, or any other filling but non-interesting meals that many of us eat without a thought. You can have delicious, healthy and inexpensive meals in Thailand. This is reason enough to come to Thailand.

SOCIAL

I’ve stated to my friends that the Thai people were friendlier than in the US. Most didn’t believe me. But it’s true; I had an easier time making friends with Thais than with Americans. And Thais I didn’t know would make eye contact and sincerely smile at me. Have you ever tried to do this with strangers in the west? Most of the time it’s an awkward experience (at least it is for me).

Most people think you want something and you have a hidden agenda. I felt a bit depressed after returning home from my trip, as I tried to continue to smile at strangers like I did in Thailand, but all I got was looks of suspicion. So after a couple of weeks I was back to the fear based society groove that we’re all conditioned to except. Oh, how I miss Thailand! I now know why it’s called the Land of Smiles. This is reason enough to come to Thailand.

HOUSING

Houses are much more affordable in Thailand than in the US or Europe. And it is very modern… it’s not thatch covered huts and dirt driveways and roads like some believe. Their housing and infrastructure is just as nice as it is here in America.

When I was in Chiang Mai last year, I looked at housing. I saw a house very similar to the one my wife and I live in now that had hardwood floors, tiled bathroom, and an indoor and an outdoor kitchen. The only difference is the house I saw in Thailand was 1/3 the cost of the one I’m living in now. And there are no property taxes in Thailand. Housing isn’t inexpensive in Thailand; it’s just that houses are overpriced here in America. You could own or rent a beautiful, modern house in Thailand for just pennies on the dollar. This is reason enough to come to Thailand.

PRIVACY

Big Brother government is not an issue in Thailand. I just hate being spied upon by the US government, thanks to the “Patriot Act”; phone tapping, email interceptions and internet traffic monitoring. Then there are the highway cameras and UAV drones that nearly watch our every move. It seems the US government is just waiting for its citizens to make one false move so it can fine or arrest them. The US has become, “One Nation Under Surveillance.” This is reason enough to come to Thailand.

PEOPLE

Pretty, single women are abundant. When I was told this before my trip, that most Thais are very attractive, I thought it was an exaggeration. But seeing is believing. Not only are there an abundance of attractive women, most of them are very thin and fit. Obesity is not an issue. Thai women would also dress feminine – skirts, dresses, heels – it was refreshing to see women dress like women. Another thing that got my attention is the young “cuties” were friendly to me. I’m a married man, but it makes me feel good when a cute 20-year-old innocently smiles at me and says, ‘hello’. This is reason enough to come to Thailand.

SHOPPING

Like most men, I despise shopping. But I was surprised how much I enjoyed the MBK Center in Bangkok, a modern 8-story mall with over 2000 stores selling everything under the sun. The vibe was energetic, not dull and predictable like the malls here. In Chiang Mai, there’s the high end Airport Plaza mall … just as nice as any mall in the US … but what’s really interesting are the night markets that open up daily around 8 PM. These are more or less open air swap meets, where you can buy clothing, music, movies, food, tools, art, even pets. It’s something everyone should experience because of the atmosphere, as well as the low prices on goods, even on name brand items. Thailand has fun and exciting shopping where it’s a big social event. This is reason enough to come to Thailand.

HEALTH CARE

The healthcare system in the US, as well as Canada and the UK is a wreck, and it's only going to get worse. Socialized “free” healthcare looks great on paper, but in reality it’s a nightmare. Many westerners have to wait weeks, months… sometimes even a year for major medical treatment.

In Thailand, you can walk right into the hospital and get treated the same day, or the next day if it’s major surgery. And the cost as low as 1/10 of what I pay here. For example, the cost to get your teeth cleaned in Thailand is between $15 and $30 (£10 to £20). And this is in a very clean, modern facility where the doctor cleans your teeth instead of a technician. Everyone needs healthcare; from minor checkups and tests to possibly major treatment down the road, such as treatment for (God forbid) cancer and heart disease. Affordable healthcare is attainable to everyone that comes to Thailand. This is reason enough to come to Thailand.

FREEDOM

America was made great by pioneering people from other lands who saw opportunity in freedom. Many of their descendants are now revitalizing that spirit and leaving America, as well as Canada and the U.K., for new lands. I feel that Thailand has more to offer than all other countries. It may not have all the amenities that we’re used to back home, such as strip malls on every corner, Wal-mart and Bob’s BBQ… there is one overriding attraction that is infinitely more valuable: freedom. Freedom is what every living man and woman seeks, either consciously or unconsciously. This is reason enough to come to Thailand.

Chiang Mai house Rimping Bakery Bangkok skyline House for rent Fortune Dental Clinic Fresh Fruit outside MacDonalds Irish Beer Chiang Mai Countryside Chiang Mai Countryside Chiang Mai Church
How gang members greet each other in the west.
How gang members greet each other in the west.
How Thai people greet each other, by smiling and wai-ing...
Thais will greet you by smiling and wai-ing.