Thailand continually makes the top ten lists for best countries to live and retire in. Here are some reasons why.
Food in Thailand
Thailand the Kitchen of the World
Thailand is an agricultural country that has major exports in rice, seafood and fruits. Part of Thailand’s global strategy is to be the ‘Kitchen of the World’. Over the years, Thai food has become a household name. However, the country contains a huge variety of ethnic cuisines, a lot brought over by its culturally diverse population, a lot of it to cater to it. For example, there is already a big integration of Halal foods because of Thailand’s large Muslim population. But there is also a huge selection of European, Western, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Latin that you can find in fancy restaurants and on standard menus.
Thailand has the best street food
Thailand is known for having the best street food in the world. It’s fresh and tasty for such a low price. On almost every busy road and corner you’ll spot a food stall that will ingratiate you with some freshly grilled meat, fruits or hot noodle soup. The best part is the food is really cheap ($1 for a bowl of noodles for example). The food is prepared with fresh ingredients right in front of you. Almost any kind of food is sold on street stalls and isn’t limited to the more common stir fried dishes, barbecued meat skewers, peeled and sliced fruit, iced coffee and sweet deserts.
Grocery shopping and fresh food markets
Thailand has lots of places to purchase your fresh foodstuffs and ingredients to cook a hearty meal at home. Fresh food farmers markets that have shaped Thai culture and its economy can be found in every community neighborhood. These fresh food markets sell local meats and produce at local prices. Available at the shopping malls and plazas are grocery supermarket stores that are very modern and carry all your imported non-perishables and food brands that you’re familiar with. Supermarkets in Thailand include: Big C, Foodland, Makro, Max Value, Tesco, Tops, Villa Market.
Fast food and Delivery service
What’s great is all of the international fast-food chains like McDonalds, KFC, Burger King and Pizza Hut are in Thailand and their home delivery services are very developed. Lots of family have caught on and deliver to your home as well. Delivery services are offered in English over the phone, online and is delivered quickly by a network of motorcycle delivery crews. There are also companies that give you a selection of restaurants and gourmet foods to choose from that they will deliver to your door. One company that does this is FoodPanda.
Traveling in Thailand
Getting around is easy
Getting around is easy; there are so many ways to travel around which makes integrating into Thailand on your own very easy. Private and public transportation service is a huge business that creates thousands of jobs and provides traveling services for everyone in so many ways. Those retiring in Thailand will quickly find that owning a car isn’t necessary to be able to travel independently, especially if you’re living in the city. And it doesn’t cost much either.
Modern rail transit system
Bangkok is home to one of the most modern sky train and subway systems in the world that rival the standards of any developed country. The skytrain (open in 2000) and subway (2004), together cover all the main districts of Bangkok city and is all you really need to get to commercially developed areas. They provide a fast and cool ride; and aren’t expensive at all. For instance, the fare from the Suvarnabhumi International Airport to downtown Bangkok by skytrain is less than $2. More information on Bangok’s skytrain system
The rail transit system drives development in Bangkok so living by one ensures you’ll be near to a cluster of modern amenities and futures one that are meant to support the area. Read more about how Bangkok’s subway system created the “Mid-town” Bangkok
Taxis are abundant and plenty cheap
There are no shortages of taxis in Thailand whatsoever whom are actually very friendly, do run on the meter and are extremely cheap by comparison. Starting flag fares in a taxi start at 35 baht. A 20 kilometer trip will cost you just around 130 baht which is about $5 dollars on average. That’s lower than starting fares in air-conditioned taxis in most countries!
A similar and more economical way of traveling for longer trips is by Thailand’s mini-van service. These mini-vans are comfortable touring vans that run just as frequent as taxis and pick up passengers that are headed to further distances around Bangkok by pooling passengers fares together. More about how mini-vans work in Thailand
Low cost airlines for provincial travel
Low-cost airlines have become a hit and very popular way to travel now. Presently, there are a group of low cost airlines (Air Asia, Bangkok Airways, Nok Air, Thai Lion) that are offering extremely competitive rates to provinces in Thailand for nearly the same prices that the tour buses and trains have been prevailing at for so long. Traveling on these low cost airlines to provinces that take 8 hours by road is achieved in less than an hour by these flights – at just the same cost!
Transnational travel in Asia
Thailand is in the middle of Southeast Asia so you’ll be living in a major hub which means quicker and more economical travel to other Asian countries. Thailand’s immediate neighbors are Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam which you can travel to on short notice. And Thailand is still centrally located for economic travel to more established tourist countries in Asia, like Singapore, China, Japan, Korea and Malaysia for example.
Diverse Foreigners and Expats Community
Thailand is multicultural
Thailand is a culturally diverse country. In 2013, 26.7 million visitors came to the country. It is estimated that there are anywhere between 300 – 400 thousand foreigners living in Thailand. Downtown Bangkok is a melting pot of cultures, languages and people that attracts a large expat and family community. Khaosan road is predominantly made up of foreigners aptly called the international hub for backpackers.
Thailand’s unofficial language is English
Thailand’s unofficial second language is considered to be English. Almost every school from kindergarten to university is scaling up their English curriculum for their students to be competitive, and for the growing number of students from other countries. As a result, the demand is always high for international teachers who can teach in English.
The increasing international workforce in Thailand
As of lately, emerging economies in Europe and Asia have brought in new types of tourist and business opportunities into Thailand that have created the need for people who can speak Chinese, Japanese, French, Spanish, Russian and German as well. And with the start of the Asian Economic Community, which opens up the borders more for travel and trade with Asian countries, only more people will visit Thailand presenting even greater opportunities for foreigners to join the work force.
Professional service to assist you
As it stands, most Thais working in the hospitality and service sectors speak English. In addition, there are a diverse range of niche shops and services catered to the various nationalities living in the country and their unique needs. Major businesses and corporations already hire Thai managers and senior employees who can all speak a high level of English. Multinational corporations expatriate a number of their executives from overseas to lend assistance and be the foreign representative to deal with complex issues.
Foreigners to meet everywhere
With all these people to meet, lots of tourists skip Bangkok all together, and travel directly to the islands like Phuket and Samui by direct international flights available there. So if your taking a break at the beach or want to live more permanently by the ocean, you’ll always have a chance to to meet someone and make new friends.
Thailand is a safe and friendly country
Thai culture and way of life
Thailand is famously known as the Land of Smiles. It’s a predominantly Buddhist culture which underpins Thai people’s famous reputation of tolerance and patience. Different cultures, religions and all walks-of-life can find their place in Thailand. A motto of Thai life is ‘sabai sabai’, which means ‘no rush’ and ‘all is well’. Another tenant of Thai custom is the expression ‘mai ben rai’, which means ‘no problem’ and ‘forget about it’. These outlooks permeate throughout every situation in Thai society and lend themselves to a very stress-free and relaxed way of life.
In addition to Buddhism, there is a significant Christian and Muslim population all over the country. It is not difficult at all to find a local church or mosque in your area.
Low crime rate in Thailand
The crime rate in Thailand is low compared to even the most developed countries. Many people will tell you that they feel safer walking on the streets late at night than they do back at home. A big reason for this is the incidences of unprovoked crimes are rare, and it’s also why so many foreigners feel safe to explore different city boroughs and towns on their own. The country’s criminal and drug laws are some of the harshest in the world which still carry the death penalty. Thai prisons are also internationally notorious for their very poor and inhumane conditions.
According to 2015 mid-year crime rates by Numbeo, Thailand(39.66) was ranked in a lower percentile than United States(49.79) and the United Kingdom(42.92), and in the same percentile as Canada(38.73) in terms of low crime rate.
Various Geographic Regions to explore in Thailand
Adding variety to your life
Thailand has a number of different geographic regions and features for you to discover. You could make it point to travel to each one and still not cover them all. Some places inside Thailand are so exotic you would never thought they would’ve existed. Being able to change your surroundings with various natural landscapes will have a good effect on your life.
Central Thailand and the capital city
The capital city of Bangkok happens to be in the center of Thailand. Bangkok is made up of many districts to form a Greater Bangkok, making its exact downtown center harder to pin down. A few areas constitute downtown Bangkok. Some of them are Asoke, Silom and Sathorn. These areas are a cosmopolitan of urban development, modern-day sky scrappers and world-class projects that keep pace with any major capital in the world. You can still find thousands of temples inside of Bangkok and its greater central area has for long been a bastion for rice farm paddies.
Northern Thailand and the mountains
Up north takes you to cooler climates and to higher altitudes. The northern provinces like Changmai and Changrai are known for possessing lots of mountains, hilly terrains with winding roads and large forests. The town centers there have your modern conveniences but the north is the place to get away from the big smoke and commotion of the city. Popular activities up north include camping, hiking, canoeing and biking in some serene backdrops.
Southern Thailand and the beaches
The south is where many of Thailand’s tropical beaches and islands are located popular with holidaymakers from all over the world. The most popular beaches are in the southern provinces of Krabi and Phuket which enjoy the clear waters of the Andaman Sea as well as some beautiful exotic crater and cave formations. Pick any weekend to join the rest of the holidaymakers in tropical paradise and go snorkeling in coral reefs, take a luxury yacht ride, or simply relax on white beaches.
Northeastern Thailand and the vast plain lands
The north east of Thailand is the largest region of Thailand and is a mixture of forest and plain lands. What’s liberating about this region is how far its open fields and the sky above stretch for as far as the eye can see. A large part of land utilization in northeastern Thailand is used on farming and for livestock to roam around freely. A great cultural experience exists in the Northeast, also known as ‘Essan’ which live on the land and form the countless community villages.
Technology and Entertainment in Thailand
Latest technology available
Thailand is the perfect blend of old world and new. As it relates to new, Thailand has all the conveniences and technology anyone modern person could ask for. The latest electronics often arrive in Thailand before being available in the west. Similarly, new technologies such as green technologies are often more quickly adopted and more readily accessible in the market.
Hospitals and medical technology
Hospitals and healthcare in Thailand benefit from this open technology and open market mindset. Many of the hospitals and medical care services in Bangkok have adopted a big business approach and resemble 5-star hotels with full-range hospitality services, cutting-edge equipment and alternative treatments. Medicines are available at pharmacies without prescription and at much more cheaper prices. Thailand has invested a lot in its medical infrastructure and is quickly reaching its goals for, one of them being the Medical Tourism hub of Asia.
High-speed internet connectivity
You will not have any problems getting high speed internet at your home or on your mobile device. Internet service is available everywhere and offered at low prices from a number providers to choose from. A monthly unlimited internet plan can cost you just $20 that is very stable and speedy enough to zip through your streaming and Youtube sessions. 3G is also very developed in Thailand with excellent coverage in the city and surprisingly good connections in the further and more remote parts up country.
Shopping and movie theaters
Thailand has lots and lots of mixed-used and lifestyle shopping malls that most of the time dwarf your local shopping malls back home. These malls are mostly multilevel mega malls that carry all the international fashion labels and consumer products you’re accustom to. Thailand movie theaters that come standard in these malls offer perhaps the best movie watching experience in the world. The hotel-like movie lounge, seat reservation system which is standard, various classes of theaters and seats types, and digital and IMAX audio visual – are very high quality. Tickets cost as low as $7 on daily showings and international blockbusters are always released in English soundtrack.
Watching sports in Thailand
Thai people love sports, anything that they can cheer for and make an outing of. Thailand’s national sports with professional leagues you can spectate live are Muay Thai and football. Or you can also always catch a match of European football, rugby and tennis (to name a few) as well as big pay-per-views, at the many Irish-style sports bars and outdoor Thai restaurants that display them on large projection screens while enjoying good food and drinks.
The beachside city of Pattaya under new government initiatives is transforming itself into a world-class sports destination. In fact, Pattaya already has a surprisingly large amount of sports facilities and existing infrastructure to successfully do so. Pattaya already hosts the ASEAN PGA Golf Tour as well as racing and water sports events.
Concerts and Plays in Thailand
Some of the biggest music stars never pass up Thailand when performing on their Asian concert tours. To name some contemporary classic’s, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Elton John and Bon Jovi have all performed live in Thailand, some with repeating performances. Theatre, orchestra and instrumentalists from around the globe also regularly perform in Thailand.
Low cost of living and quality of life
Your dollars will go further
The low cost of living and quality of life is extremely attractive for people retiring in Thailand. For the same dollars spent, the selection and quality for your basic necessities are far greater than more expensive countries. Food, transportation, healthcare, clothing and housing are all very affordable by comparison which frees up more money to treat yourself to some luxuries more often.
Clothes and Apparel
Clothes can also be bought for very cheap. Thailand also has aspirations of being “Asia’s Center of Fashion”. As such. Thailand enjoys a thriving fashion and apparel industry across all price ranges and quality of apparel. You will find nice clothes and accessories at any local boutique shop for local prices, and especially at the countless clothes vendors and street markets set up along busy streets and in parking lots. T-shirts can be bought for as little as $4-$6 at an acceptable quality and design.
Renting and housing
Your dollars will definitely go a lot further in the Thailand property market whether you buy or rent. Over recent years, Thailand has experienced a tremendous property boom of deluxe-quality and luxurious residential projects; houses, townhouses and condominium. The number of extra facilities and services that come included have become a standard and would be considered a luxury in other parts of the world. Property developers have taken this same concept and expanding into new and developing areas with even lower costs for some high value opportunities.
If you’re renting, $600 is a good starting point to put you in the mid-range market along the downtown borders for a respectable choice of properties that can come standard with swimming pool, steam room and fitness facilities. Taking that same budget further from downtown Bangkok and into other provinces will easily put you in a much higher price-to-value bracket.