Best Place To Retire Chiang Mai, Thailand
Monthly budget: US$1,100
Monthly rent: US$400
Thailand is arguably the cheapest place on earth to live well. Our friends Paul and Vicki, on-and-off residents of the country for more than two decades, have long been teasing and tempting us with tales of US$1 Pad Thai lunches and US$11-a-night hotels (including breakfast and free WiFi)…
Thailand has three very distinctive areas. The capital, Bangkok, located roughly in the center of the country, is the largest city. Fascinating in many ways, it‘s worth seeing at least once—if you‘re traveling to Thailand, you‘ll almost certainly have to pass through its airport. Farther south, extending for nearly 600 miles along a narrow peninsula, lay hundreds of idyllic beaches, dense vegetation, and tropical islands. Many foreigners choose to make central or southern Thailand their home, but probably more people end up settling around Thailand‘s “third country,” Chiang Mai.
Across Thailand, the standard of medical care is very high and costs are extremely reasonable. This has helped to make the country a popular destination for medical tourists, who find it much less expensive to fly to Thailand and receive treatment there, than it would be to have the same procedure done in their home country.
Exotic living on a budget—Chiang Mai
The city of Chiang Mai, with a current population of nearly 240,000, has existed for over 700 years. The heart of Chiang Mai lies within its old city walls. Here, dozens of ancient and modern Buddhist temples coexist with public and international schools, residential and commercial neighborhoods.
Street markets and festivals occur almost nightly, and a huge array of restaurants catering to all tastes can be found within walking distance of almost anywhere in the Old City.
Chiang Mai has grown beyond the ancient walls, though, and extends for several miles in every direction. Large shopping complexes are located along the superhighway, a multi-lane, controlled-access ring road that circles the outskirts of the city. Several “mega-malls” and huge multi-national grocery and department stores line the access roads to the Superhighway.
Chiang Mai is an inexpensive place to live by almost any standard. With housing prices so low, it’s no wonder so many expats have chosen to make Thailand their permanent home. Unlike some cities, foreigners here are more likely to integrate with the locals and live in any area in and around Chiang Mai. One popular area is the neighborhood near the trendy Nimminhemin Road. Upscale condominiums are conveniently located near excellent restaurants and a good foreigner infrastructure, close to English-speaking dentists, internationally accredited hospitals, and within a short walk of the Old City.
With an abundance of restaurants, offering a huge array of Thai, Oriental, and Western cuisines, you won‘t go hungry around Chiang Mai. Along the main streets of the Old City are rows of mainly inexpensive restaurants catering to Western palates. Everything from fine Italian food to Greek gyros, fresh sushi, vegetarian wraps, Indian food, German cuisine and English fish- and-chips are easily found, as well as excellent Thai and Chinese food. Along the banks of the Mae Ping River, not far from the Wororot Market and just across the Nawarat Bridge, are many higher-end restaurants with loyal expat followings. Scattered throughout the city and shopping areas are restaurants in all price ranges, many serving fine international cuisines.
You can buy a comfortable expat-standard house in Chiang Mai for as little as US$100,000; however, as a foreigner, you cannot hold title to the land, only to the construction. Alternatively, you can rent a furnished house in the city for around US$400 per month. If you own your place, the estimated monthly expenses you’ll incur will be of around US$650, and of US$940 if you rent.
For a long time, the Thai city of Chiang Mai has been luring expats from the West. Some come for the weather; others are attracted to the low cost of living. High-quality health care and health-related services are important draws for retirees. Housing prices are very affordable, and foreigners rarely have problems purchasing condominiums or, in some cases, real property. Whatever the reason, at least 17,000 foreigners have chosen Chiang Mai as their home. Could you be next?…