Retirement in Thailand for Expatriates

Living Expenses

One of the biggest appeals of retirement in Thailand is the standard of living. The cost of living here is extremely low in comparison to many western countries and it therefore offers retirees a destination within which they can afford much more for their money. At present, Thailand currently scores 0.319 on the International cost of living index in comparison to 1.00 for the USA. This therefore means that living in Thailand costs approximately 1/3 of the amount of living in the USA.

Healthcare for Expats in Thailand

As a result of the growth in Healthcare in Thailand, there is a high standard of health care facilities available in most areas. Many hospitals in the country now have formal accreditation and are capable of delivering complex medical procedures.

Foreigners living in Thailand will require private healthcare insurance in order to access health care services.

Thailand is now requiring the expatriates and other foreigners living there need to have health insurance coverage. The Allianz global health insurance policy for expatriates planning to live in Thailand if you are under age 70.


There is a wide range of housing choices available throughout Thailand. Retirees who have access to funds in the region of $2,000 USD per month will be able to afford brand new villas in extremely luxurious surroundings. For people who are seeking a more basic lifestyle during their retirement in Thailand, there are plenty of affordable housing options on offer and it is possible to live on less than $1000 USD per month including all food, bills and miscellaneous living costs. The basic rule is that the more like the locals you are prepared to live, the less you will need to pay.

Social and Political Climate

Thailand has a constitutional monarchy and, up until recent months, has been a very stable country. There is, however, a very strong divide between the rich and the poor and this can occasionally be the source of tension. On the most part the country is stable and safe for retirees. There has also been a lot of political tension and unrest in recent years in Thailand.

Thailand has a homicide rate of 2.6 homicides per 100,000 people. The biggest risk for expatriates is the high number of road accidents in Thailand.


The majority of Thailand’s cities are now well developed and they offer good levels of communication and transportation infrastructure. Internet is readily available as too are international television programming and good mobile and landline phone networks. In more remote areas of Thailand the infrastructure is much less developed and these areas will only be suitable for retirees who are looking to escape the developed world and live life like a true local.

Retirement in Thailand: Visa Requirements

The following are the visa requirements for retirement in Thailand:

  • A foreign national is aged 50 or above.
  • No previous refusal to enter the Kingdom under the Immigration Act B.E 2522.
  • In possession of money amounting to at least 800,000 Baht or a monthly income of 65,000 Baht, or saving and annual income combined to be a minimum of 800,000 Baht. All monies are required to be transferred into a Thai bank account.
  • No previous criminal record
  • Adequate health insurance coverage

Visas will be issued with a right to stay for one year upon arrival in Thailand. Upon expiry of the initial visa, the period can be renewed one year at a time providing that all previous requirements are met.

Applicants can submit their application at the Thai consular missions abroad and at the Office of the Immigration Bureau in Thailand.

For full details about the latest visa requirements for retirement in Thailand please see our expat city guides. These contain full and up to date details of the visa requirements and application process.

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