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I am considering various countries for retirement. Thailand is one of them. The last time I was in Thailand was in 1975 and I'm sure things have changed. I would like to learn as much as I can about it. Things like can I own property, what are the visa/immigration requirements, what is the cost of living like now, where is the best place to live etc.? Is there anyone out there who can help?
 

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The last time that I was in Thailand was in 1995 and I suspect that it has changed abit since then. I was staying in a very ropey beach resort in Phuket. I enjoyed the time but I wouldn't want to stay in that particular part for any more than a week. Other parts of Phuket are beautiful and the surrounding countryside, waterways and islands are fantastic.
 

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The regulations concerning visas has changed recently. Check the Thai consulate website for your home country for the latest information. But basically, it used to be possible to come to Thailand on a 30-day entry stamp, take a bus to the nearest border on the day the stamp expired, leave, get stamped in and out of the other country, and walk right back into Thailand, because they would give you another ninety days. Some people had been doing this for seven years. Now you can only get a total of ninety days in a 180 day period, so you have to go to a Thai consulate in another country and apply for a visitors visa.

You can't own property, although you can buy a condominium. Many men buy property in their Thai wife's name, but when they break up, she gets to keep everything because it is in her name. It's the only reasonably fair thing in Thai marriage law.
 

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I remember having a huge number of visas from just a one-month stay in South East Asia. I went in to Malaysia, getting an entry visa, left for Singapore twice getting exits followed by entries for Singapore, who also gave me exit visas, likewise Thailand. I was completely genuine in my travelling and it looked great on my passport. Others were doing it to extend business contracts without legitimate business visas.
 

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Tips on eating and traveling in Thailand

Living in Thailand is great, especially for expats. Many westerners take a long stay after their retirement, or even live here forever. The cost of living is quite small. For you, even having dinner in good restaurants may not cost much, like 1000 baht a menu, but eating street vendor food even cost much smaller, only like 25 baht for noodle or 30 baht for rice with curry. Drinking costs you 10 baht for a bottle of water. I do not know much about owning a property. But if you want to travel around Thailand during your retirement stay here, try Exotissimo Travel. It is a reliable travel company based in Bangkok (and also in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Yangon, Vientiane and Luang Prabang)

And I believe that a retiree like you love to travel on private or a little more exclusive. Exotissimo Travel also has tailor-made luxury tours and hotels option for you. Just visit Exotissimo Luxury Travel Collection and contact any staff of each country.
 

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You can only own condos as an expat, unless you are American. Apparently we have a treaty with Thailand stemming from the Viet Name era that allows us to buy land.

As far as services go, medical care is good to excellent (major medical tourism destination), electricity is pretty reliable, long distance bus service is good, there are a lot of budget airlinges, and there is high speed internet everywhere except the smaller islands.

The Muslim south has a separatist movement that is setting off bombs quite frequently. The group has announced that it is especially targetting, among other things, schools.
 

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I am considering various countries for retirement. Thailand is one of them. The last time I was in Thailand was in 1975 and I'm sure things have changed. I would like to learn as much as I can about it. Things like can I own property, what are the visa/immigration requirements, what is the cost of living like now, where is the best place to live etc.? Is there anyone out there who can help?


You will love Thailand.... The island of smiles they call it... and indeed it is!!!
Probably my all time favorite place, it just doesn't get much better :)
Like one of the guys said, Phucket has some beautiful surrounding areas and is a great base to explore some of the islands that are just a quick (and cheap) boat ride away....The likes of Phi Phi etc.
The people are beautiful, their beliefs and ideology is spot on, the food is
great, the scenery takes your breath away.... Simply Awesome!!
However, buying houses...... forget it. Starting companies...... you need Thai partners to come into business with you which is easier said then done. And I tell you what... I totally agree with their policies!
Go and take a month's holiday there and see what you think? Go in the summer to make sure you can handle the heat....... gets incredible hot and humid which does not bother me but does others!!
I'm going again next year to hunt elephants........lol.... only joking... Elephant's rock!!
 

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The wife and I have been retired in Thailand for 4 years and love it. If you are planning on Thailand the first thing too due is go to the nearest Thai embassey and apply for a retirement visa (OA) this grants you a one year stay which is renewable after one year. It is much easier to get this type of visa in your home country to start with and you will not need too as they say here border hop for visa's every 30-90 days.
 
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My experience in Amazing Thailand has not been to great. In fact, I'm miserable here. I don't find the people at all nice. Outwardly, yes, but deep down, no. Before I came here I was talking to someone about my intention of moving here. He said Thailand... violence with a smile. I was deeply offended then, now I can see what he meant. I'm thinking seriously about moving onward, it's difficult, because I brought everything from the US, and now I have to find another place and go through all the hassle again. If you look at some of the statistics at a site called nationmaster they will tell you weird stuff like that LOS (Land of Smiles) Thailand has the 3rd largest # of gun homicides in the world - after S.Africa and Colombia. A good source for information is the thaivisa website. You will hear a bit more negativity there maybe because it's got a lot of long-time expat posters. Good luck whatever you decide. See my other 2 posts (I just joined so I can look for info from expats from other countries as a prelude to getting out of here). I think the most successful people here find a good girlfriend who helps act as an interface to the society, and those that can learn this really really difficult language. Just one man's opinion - Buzzer
 

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A couple of people have told me that the smiles are meaningless, that someone would smile while telling you they are having an affair with your husband and he is going to leave you. And that you would be expected to smile back.
 
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In the kind of smile you mention, how sincere can that be? Your heart's been trampled and you're expected to smile? What's the real message being delivered here? It's amazing what can hide behind a well practiced smile. A smile can often be a lie. The biggest problem I have here is with lying. Lying is so deeply imbedded in the culture. I think there are a several reasons for this. I know of a couple. 1. In its genesis, I think that it started out as saving face. Saving face for yourself, and not wanting others to loose face. So, if you ask a mechanic if he can work on your car, he'll say yes, because to say no he would loose face. So you take your car to him and say, "Is tomorrow OK? Again the answer is yes. A week later your car hasn't been touched. Several reasons will be given. The Thai's will keep hitting you with lie after lie, searching for the one that makes you feel best.
2. They will rarely do anything to provoke anger in someone, so, because the truth can hurt, they lie.

It's easy to find people to smile at you. It's a way of life here. But, if, in the final outcome nothing gets done, what good is it?

In heavy tourist areas like Pattaya and Ko Samui, I see less smiles. I feel that the foreigner (Falang) is resented because he comes in with buying power driving up the prices on houses and everything else. Most people are poor here, and I can see the injustice, but I hate to be the target of discrimination.
 

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I traveled in Thailand a lot in the early 90's, and when I went back this year I noticed there were hardly any smiles, yet the people were much more prosperous. In Chiang Mai, there are lots of motorcycles, but fifteen years ago there were very few. There are lots of cars. There are nice shopping malls for the local people. And most of the tourists are Thai.

Most statements by Thais are the equivalent of "let's do lunch" in the US. No one really believes that you are going to have lunch some day. Everyone understands it's just a sort of polite gesture. Or real estate ads where 'cozy' means very, very, very tiny. Thais understand when another Thai is saying 'yes' and means 'no'. It is rude to say 'no', so Thais never ask yes/no questions.

Thais know that the smile means nothing. But we interpret it in a western way, and that causes problems. The smile is not intended to be sincere, any more than the smile we give a hated boss at work is intended to be sincere. It's a common thing all over Asia. In Japan, 'Hai!' means not 'yes' but "I acknowledge that you are making noises with your mouth", sort of like the "yeah.....yeah.....yeah" we say when listening to a long tale from someone. But Americans go in and interpret it as agreement, and can't understand what went wrong when things don't go the way they expected.

Thailand has a horrible level of corruption that everyone accepts as a fact of life. People have drivers licenses, but they paid a bribe to get them and never took the driving test. Everyone in Chiang Mai who rides a motorcycle carries a hundred baht note with them at all times, in case they get stopped for a traffic violation. I've read it's the second most corrupt country in SE Asia, after the Philippines.

It's not the place to be if you can't accept all of this and let it slide by you. I don't think I can, so I left. The difference is that I was just visiting, and wasn't invested in the place.
 

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I guess you have run into the latest visa 'Updates' for married people and everybody else for that matter , changing almost daily so you could be in for a shock on your next application , A BIG SHOCK ., check it out now and prevent the heart-attack later !!!!! Colin
 
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Buzzer

I read what you said and have had similar views, so you are not alone on that thread mate. However, I have come to the point that I always had these types of views regardless off what country I lived in and I have lived in quite a few. I reckon its all down to the three monkey syndrome. See no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil......some of us see things for what they are and it can cloud our way....so I try to tune into the the three monkeys. If I don't I am a miserable whiney ******* and everything around me sucks donkey ====. I put it all down to seeing to much in life and not understanding what it is I've been seeing. Anyway I'm digressing, what I do now is when the funk comes on is tune it out...easy said than done...anyway mate know what you are saying. martin
 

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Where do you live Buzzer - which province?

Thai smiles have many meanings: Hi, Happy to see you, I'm embarrassed, sorry I just dented your bumper, I can't remember your name, I can't speak farang and you can't speak Thai so we can't comunicate past this smile, etc, etc...It's all about context. Don't translate this as a western facial expression because it isn't - Thai expressionbs seem to be much more subtle - my wife used to take a frown as or consternation as rage and turning my nose up slightly as 'how dare you offer me that crap!'. Its cultural, just as difficult as the language, but even moreimportant to unerstand and 'speak' if you're going to live in LoS.

I think the corruption charges are fairly pot on, but then its much better to hand over an on-the-spot-fine (purple persuader - AKA 500 Baht note) than get arrested for speeding/not wearing a crash helmet on crashhelmet check Wednesday. This works out quite well kind-of. Police are incredably low paid, so this helps them out; the courts are not so crammed full of petty cases; the guilty are inconvenienced without being screwed royally.

I think where ever you are, you cn either fit in or not. If you can, then you will enjoy life, otherwise you'll be miserable. This all assumes you have the cash to live comfortably too I guess.
 

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:)
I am considering various countries for retirement. Thailand is one of them. The last time I was in Thailand was in 1975 and I'm sure things have changed. I would like to learn as much as I can about it. Things like can I own property, what are the visa/immigration requirements, what is the cost of living like now, where is the best place to live etc.? Is there anyone out there who can help?
:eek:you can own a condo, also a house but not the land it is standing on.Anyway, there is a way of leasing the land for 30 years. I think if you are alone, a long time renting would be the best thing for you. A town house in Chiang Mai, Pattaya or Hua Hin will cost between 5000 and 15000 baht per month. The prices for foodstuff and many other things went up a lot during the last 3 months. But is still much cheaper than in Europe or North America.
Many expats live in Bangkok (for business), the retired one mostly in Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Hua Hin or on Phuket. Staying in Bangkok or Phuket is somewhat more expensive.
If you can prove a monthly income of 65000 baht(about 2000 USD) or more and are over 50 years, its possible to get a 1year visa. This visa is valid for 1 year. Nevertheless you have to cross border every 3 months to get a new stamp in your passport.
I dont know your nationality. The aforementioned suits mostly EC country citizens and from USA/Canada.
 

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The best way to reduce the monthly rent is to commit to a time period and pay in advance. I met someone who got a nice condo reduced from 9000 to 7000 baht by offering to pay three months in advance. It worked for me at a guest house, too.
 

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Hi,

I have lived in Thailand for nearly four years. I am still with the first girl I met and we're getting married next week (24/93/08).
We lived in Pattaya for a year or so and, afer frequent visisits to her village in Uttaradit, we moved up there. Then we lived with her mother for a year or so during which time we bought a piece of land and started building a house. We have been in our own house for a year and a half now and I love it.
Everyone has been so helpful from day one. It can get lonesome sometimes as my girlfriend is the only one here who can speak English and the nearest ExPats are, well, there are 4 or 5 within a 30 km radius and I don't have a car. We usually meet up for a drink etc on Tuesdays (market day) in Phichai, which is 13 km from me. There is one bus a week to go to market at 7:30 AM returning at 10:30 AM
But, I have a satellite Internet conection - a window on the world. I have started writing a book and, after learning some basic HTML editing, now have 30 websites. And I'm trying to learn to read, write and speak Thai.
One thing is for sure: if your going to live here, especially in a remote place, you HAVE to have something to do, Reading books all day just is not enough.
One of my newest websites is called:
*What It's Like To Be ...", where there's an article about my earlier days in northern Thailand, if you're interested.

All the best,
Owen.
 

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There is an instrument called a USUFRUCT. This is a very old law (originating from the Romans), that Thailand adopted from the west. It is pretty useful and works like this:

The owner of the land can sign over the land using the USUFRUCT. It is still owned by the original owner, but the USUFRUCTEE has full rights (except the ability to sell it) over the land. They can build, own the buildings, own any produce from said lad (Mangos etc) and treat it as their own land pretty much. The USUFRUCT can only be cancelled by both parties under agreement (they are registerd with the courts, so are legally binding) or by the death of the USUFRUCTEE - they are not inheritable, but children can also be added. This can bne betwelen man and wife etc.
This can be done free without any taxes etc if the USUFRUCT is not charged for (if the owner is a business, there is expectation of a charge for the USUFRUCT to inhibbit fraud - tax is payable then - though its low). There is real need for lawyers as it needs to be registered etc. There are companies (PM me and I'll give you the name of the person I am using - for more details) that do everything for you - the land registry dept always want to talk you into renting/leasing the property insead. Why? Because it generates tax and is revokable - your lawyer/agent will push all that aside as they know the law and your rights etc. The Agency costs between 10k and 20k on average - depending where in the country you are. Out of town areas and the boonies often do not have land regisrty offices or the land is not title deeded etc, this costs more as the travelling ibetween offices may be greater (may well be in different towns!) - this is why the price variance.

By the way - as the USUFRUCTEE, you can not be turned off the land (other than by the government - compulsory buying etc) - and can even kick the land owner off. It lasts until the last USUFRUCTEE dies. The owner can sell it, but the USUFRUCT goes with the purchase, so no change tot the USUFRUCTEE (and nobody wants to buy land with an open USUFRUCT on it - so if you do want to sell at some point, make the USUFRUCT cancellation a point of the sale).
 
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