If you are looking at retirement in Thailand and understand the retirement visa for Thailand then the next question you will have is how much does it cost to live in Thailand. Thai immigration in 2012 boasted that the applications for retirement in Thailand has grown fast and that they have never had a year such as 1012 with the amount of retirement visas which they had processed. Ever wonder why?


Lets look at the cost of retirement when we compare countries together and not only Thailand but Chiang Mai in Thailand. The table lists the most common retirement locations in the world and the cost of living in this places.

City Accomm. (/mth) Dinner (avg for 2) Beer (660ml)
Sydney $1733 $30-50 $4.00
Montreal $867 $30-50 $2.50
Cusco $433 $7-10 $1.00
Buenos Aires $800 $15-30 $1.20
Bangalore $600 $7-12 $1.40
Chiang Mai $150 $2-4 $1.60

You notice that the cost of living in Chiang Mai is cheaper even than Bangalore yet Chiang Mai has far more to offer a retired person than what Bangalore and its pollution and traffic jams will ever be able to achieve. Also notice the cost of food. Now most expats in Thailand tend to buy food off the streets which is clean and cheap. As an example on average you dinner is going to cost you the same as a Thai national. This is about 40Thai Baht for a meal. Let put that in other way -USD 4 for you dinner each night excluding beer. Your beer in Thailand you can buy at the corner store such as 7-11 and the cost for local beer is cheap. The imported beers are about twice the price. The price of USD1.60 is for a locally produced beer and the quality if good.

Depending on your taste the accommodation would be a studio apartment at that price. The main cost in Chiang Mai tends to be electricity as in the summer the air-con would be running 24/7. For an apartment that size the cost is not that high if you buy the portable 800Watt air-con units at the local store. Your air-con on a small unit would be about USD 100 per month – worst case scenario.  You could if you really wanted to get away by living on about USD1,000 per month if you don’t drink much or spend to much time in the entertainment areas.

Healthcare with Bupa Blue Cross is about 20,000 THB per year and a visit to the hospital depends on where you go. The top end in Chiang Mai is Chiang Mai Ram Hospital. The lower end of the healthcare market is Lanna where a visit could set you back 200THB. Dental Care in Thailand is good quality and the cost is low. Tooth extraction is about 500THB per tooth and tooth fillings are about 200 THB each.

If you wish to know more then ask around the Thai forums or see the Cost of Living in Thailand here.


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