Thailand has been a dream retirement destination for many people – and for a good reason! Beside magnificent scenery, rich culture, and delicious cuisine; the cost of living in Thailand is much more affordable in comparison to most of the western countries. In other words, your hard-earned pension can go a longer way. Hot and sunny weather, friendly people and plenty of white-sandy beaches to relax on; sounds interesting? If yes, continue reading this article and find out what it takes to retire in Hua Hin , Thailand!
What is the average monthly cost of living in Hua Hin, Thailand?
In general, it is estimated that cost of living in Thailand is between 30 – 40 % more affordable in comparison to U.S or majority of the European countries. In terms of monthly budget, the 50,000 THB (1,500 USD) would be enough for living reasonably, while 65,000 THB (2,000 USD) would allow you to live more comfortably. Those who could afford to live on a budget of 4,000 USD to 5,000 USD (130,000 THB – 160,000 THB), would be able to afford quite a luxurious lifestyle.
A one-bedroom apartment close to or in Hua Hin centre averages around $370 – 460$ (12,000 – 15,000 THB) per month for rent, while two-three bedroom would cost between $470 – $780. (16,000 – 25,000 THB), depending on location and facilities. Houses can range from 600 USD (20,000 THB) up to 1,500 USD (50,000 THB) per month, depending on location, size, and features such as private swimming pool etc.
Follow this link to view a more detailed breakdown of living cost in Hua Hin, Thailand: Cost of Living in Hua Hin Thailand
What is a better option for expat retirees: To rent or To buy?
If you plan to retiree in Thailand for long-term, you will need a place to stay. It is not difficult to find a suitable property due to a large choice of condominiums, houses, townhouses, or pool villas. However, the most important step in finding your new ‘home away from home’ is to answer a fundamental question; are you going to rent or buy? That decision has both financial and lifestyle implications. Read our article below on whether to rent to or to buy a property in Hua Hin, as well as Pros and Cons of both: Buying vs Renting a Property in Hua Hin
Getting an Initial Retirement Visa for Thailand
In order to retire in Thailand, you will need to get a retirement visa, also known as a Non-Immigrant Long Stay Visa. This can be done in Thailand or at an Embassy in your home country, and the process is fairly simple. People who are eligible for a retirement visa have to be at least 50 years old, have a valid passport that doesn’t expire for at least one year and lastly, fulfil one of the financial requirements:
a) Open a Thai bank account with at least 800,000 baht (about $24,500)
b) Or have a monthly income or pension of at least 65,000 baht (about $2,000)
c) Or combination of the previous options, if they bring your total funds to at least 800,000 baht ($24,500)
For the first option a), you will need to have the money in the account for at least 2 months prior to applying for a visa and provide a letter from the bank showing the proof of deposit.
After getting the retirement visa, it is valid of one year, however you will still need to report every 90 days to the immigration office, otherwise the visa may become invalid. The retirement visa also does not allow you to work, and not even volunteer, as special permits are required for labor.
When leaving or re-entering the country, you will also need a Re-entry visa before your departure. One way would be to get immediately a multiple entry visa when applying or extending your yearly retirement visa, or you can visit the immigration office and get a single re-entry visa for each individual trip. The process is very simple and requires an application form, recent photo as well as a 1,000 THB fee.
Once the retirement visa comes close to expiration, you will need to apply for an extension. The process is very similar to the initial application with additional requirements such as proof of address, copies of bank statements and copies of passports.
Healthcare in Thailand
Healthcare in Thailand is excellent and much more affordable than in western countries, however it should be factored into your budgeting. There is no public health care insurance for expats in Thailand, therefore you need to have your own health insurance.