Retiring In Chiang Mai, Thailand On $1,000 Per Month

I have lived in Chiang Mai for the past ten years and will probably live here the rest of my life. My reason for residing here is quite simply: finance, cultural enrichment, physical beauty, and the need to communicate in English.

The requirements for obtaining a retirement visa are: one must be at least 50 years of age, have 800,000 baht ($25,806 US dollars) deposited in a Thai bank or 65,000 baht ($2,031 US dollars) monthly income or a combination of both. If one is bring a spouse, double that amount. One can use this deposit during the year, but must replenish the deposit three months in advance of your annual visa renewal. You will need a local police report saying that you have no felony criminal record, and a doctorís certificate stating that you are in reasonable health. Please check with your local Thai consulate before you make a commitment because the rules always change. Of course, you can use a 30 day tourist visa (free) to check out the country for yourself before making a commitment.


Take an elephant ride in Chiang Mai, Thailand! Image courtesy of

Throughout this article I will be mentioning Thai baht so the conversion is: 32 baht to the American dollar. My Social Security from America and Canada comes to about $1,000 per month. If I lived in San Francisco (my last residence in America) that $1,000 would barely cover the rent and nothing left over for food, clothing, and other essentials. Here in Thailand that $1,000 allows my wife and me to live very well.

I bought my condominium when I moved here in 2005 so I pay no rent. That was when the Thai baht was worth 41 Thai baht to the dollar. I paid 1,400,000 baht ($34,146 USD). The condominium is 45 sq. meters and was fully furnished. It has a covered 4 sq. meter balcony that has a spectacular view of the mountains and we use this as our kitchen and dining room. This is one of the first-class condominiums in Chiang Mai but 20 years old. In this condo there are two swimming pools, a huge gym, a small mom and pop essentials store, 24 hour security, 24 hour help desk, a laundry, massage parlor, a restaurant, and many services such as travel agents, lawyers, clothing stores, and free underground parking. As a side note, I should mention that foreigners cannot buy land in Thailand hence, most retirees buy condominiums. My UOB bank is right across the street, and there are at least 20 good restaurants within a four square block area. The Central Shopping Center is also four blocks from my abode. There is a new shopping center called Maya, two blocks from Hillside 4 Condotel.

Eating is my biggest expense. Since I had throat cancer I cannot eat most Thai food. One hot pepper in a dish would set my throat on fire. If one can eat Thai food, your food bill will be cut by more than 60%. Let me give you an example. Yesterday for breakfast, (we ate at home) my wife and I had fruit and cereal, coffee, tea, and toast. The cost came to about 100 baht ($3.13). For lunch we went to Pernís restaurant and had spaghetti with salmon in a light cream sauce, mushrooms done in a garlic-brown sauce, a large shrimp salad, and bottled water. This came to about 300 baht (about $10 for the both of us). For supper we cooked at home and had: mashed potatoes and gravy, grilled chicken wings and legs, a salad, pineapple, and two glasses of wine. We figured this came to about 250 baht. All in all, we spend about 600 baht per day. 600 times 31 equal 18,600 baht ($582.00) per month for food. Iím not sure, but I heard that Time magazine did a survey and found that Chiang Mai had the largest amount of foreign restaurants per capita in the world.

Some of the other monthly expenses are: 1,000 baht maintenance fee for the condo, 1,000 baht for electricity (mostly for A/C), 300 baht for cable TV (four English movie channels, five news channels in English), water 250 baht, high speed internet 900 baht, and about 2,000 baht for gasoline for the car. One does not need a car in Chiang Mai. The total comes to about 24,050 baht per month for everything. I get 32,000 baht every month. I love it. Some extras that I would like to include here are: two hour oil massage 300, haircut 100, and manicure and pedicure together 300 baht.
One can rent a modest, clean, and fully furnished room for Bht 5,000 per month plus utilities. The upper-end rentals can tax your imagination.

Getting away from money, now letís take on cultural enrichment. Thailand wasnít called the land of smiles for nothing. Most of the people you meet on the street will greet you with a big smile if you at least acknowledge them. There are dozens of art galleries throughout the city. We have a Philharmonic, ballet, four major universities, an American library, numerous Thai cultural events throughout the city, and many coffee shops where one can engage the Thai or foreign people in conversation. Many of the coffee shops have free Wi-Fi. There has to be at least a hundred temples within Chiang Mai. From my balcony on the ninth floor, I can view the Doi Suthep Temple atop the lush green mountain.

Many of the small towns outside of the large cities will present a huge communication problem. Phetchabun, where my wife comes from, is a medium-sized city but has very few foreigners living there. Consequently, if you donít speak Thai, you canít communicate. Most of the foreigners living here in Thailand have a Thai partner to help them in these situations. In Chiang Mai, this is not much of a problem. First of all, if Iím going to travel by public transportation, I go to the front desk and ask the clerk to write down the place where I want to go in Thai. I then give the information to the driver of the public transport. Most shop owners, in Chiang Mai, speak enough English for you to be understood.

Since I wrote this article, many people asked me about medical insurance. First, you cannot use Medicare here so let me share my medical story. Thailand has wonderful medical facilities. I had throat cancer while I was here and for 4 months I had chemotherapy and radiation. Even though I could have gone back to the States and used my Medicare, the co-payment, the hotel expense, and the round trip airfare was much more than the cost of having the procedure done here in Thailand. My doctor was trained in the USA and charged me about $4,000. I have been cancer free for 5 years now.

I was totally surprised at the response I got from this article. Many people called me when they got to Chiang Mai seeking more information, and some wanted a tour of the highlights of Chiang Mai. It got to be a little overwhelming. Dao and I are now charging for the tour at 2,000 baht per day (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) plus food and gas. A call for more information is still free. We have a relatively new car with a good air conditioner.

Written By Joseph Skinkis
Cell phone#: (Country code: 66) 086-114-7992
Skype name: joseph.skinkis

View Profile Of †Joseph Skinkis

Join Retire Worldwide To Connect With More Authors, It’s Free.

Bookmark the permalink.

Featured Posts Forums Retiring In Chiang Mai, Thailand On $1,000 Per Month

This topic contains 67 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  John S. Pletcher 2 months, 1 week ago.

  • Author
  • #9962

    John S. Pletcher


    I have been to Chiang Mai a number of times [Love it!] and my wife and I spent 2 weeks there in 1986. We’re both from Ohio — have travelled a great deal — and I’m retired from the Air Force. We’re currently living in an independent living complex in Bradenton, Florida.

    Last November, I attempted to permanently move to Chiang Mai, but was prevented from doing so by our oldest son. Reasons? Both of us are 85 — I have a pace maker — and my wife has reached the mid-stage of Alzheimer’s. The son brought a surprise action to gain guardianship of my wife — which he gained — without the judge ever reading the reaons I had [and still have]for wanting to go to Chiang Mai.

    It was interesting to read your comments, and I’m very glad you’re living where you are. It appears my only chance of getting there is for our son to have a change of heart, or my wife to die. Life, at times, can truly be a trial.

    Best wishes,

  • #9963


    hi joseph,do you have any information on rental properties for say 4/5 months

  • #9964

    Monte Crooks

    Financially speaking:

    How safe are Thai banks? Do they send all your banking info back to Washington, D.C.? Is there an upper limit on funds deposited in a Thai bank?

    Travel within Thailand:

    Is traveling “around” Thailand “safe?” I would imagine my wife and I would eventually learn at least conversational Thai, but it might take a little while. At 57 I’m not as quick as I once was, but I’m learning Spanish, so it is possible to learn Thai.

    Foreigner restrictions:

    What restrictions are placed upon us “Yanks” when living in Thailand? What freedoms and liberties could we expect to give up?

    Just some questions. We are looking into it.


  • #9965

    jose a. ortiz

    Sounds like living an adventure everyday.Was purchasing real estate an easy task or are there any restrictions for foreign nationals ? In Panama I bought a condo but the bank required health insurance from a local company which I could not secure due to my diabetes( which I control with medicine) and that was an obstacle in securing a mortgage,so I did not buy for said reason.

  • #9966

    Dana L Wiggins

    Joseph, my wife and I are handicapped. I am wheel chair bound and my wife has arthritus in her feet. What is the health care like and how is wheel mchair access in Chiang Mai and for that mater all of Thiland in the larger cities?

  • #9967
    Profile photo of Joseph Skinkis
    Joseph Skinkis

    Hi John,

    Sorry to hear of your situation. Yes life can be a trial.


  • #9968
    Profile photo of Joseph Skinkis
    Joseph Skinkis

    One can find a rental for 4 or 5 months from 3,000 to 40,000 baht per month.


  • #9969
    Profile photo of Joseph Skinkis
    Joseph Skinkis

    I think Thai banks are safe but are not insured like in the USA. There is no upper limit to placing funds in a Thai bank that I know of.

    The Thai language is difficult because it is tonal. If you say a word in Thai and you use the wrong tone it will be a different word.

    I think Thailand is safer than America.

    You cannot use your medicare here in Thailand


  • #9970
    Profile photo of Joseph Skinkis
    Joseph Skinkis

    Hi Jose,

    There is no medical requirement for purchasing property in Thailand.

    Foreigners are not permitted to buy land. A condo is permitted. There are ways around the land purchase but talk to a lawyer.


  • #9971
    Profile photo of Joseph Skinkis
    Joseph Skinkis

    Hi Dana,

    Wheelchair access will be hit & miss. The health care is excellent here in Chiang Mai. I had throat cancer and for 4 months of radiation and chemotherapy the bill came to $4,000. They do not honor medicare here.


  • #9972

    Larry Rowe

    I married a Panamanian Lady last April and I live here in Chiriqui, Chiriqui, Panama. we are only about 8 to 10 miles from the big city of David, Panama and about 60 miles from the Costa Rican Border, where I must say a lot of people go to buy things on the Border Cheaper. I love it here, I don’t feel any Danger or Stress. I live about 8 or 10 miles from the big City of David (pop. 125,000) 5 Casinos, 6 or 8 large Supermarkets, a KIA Dealer, Chevrolet Dealer, Ford Dealer, Toyota, KFC, TGI Fridays, PriceSmart (it like Sams), McDonalds … the list goes on and on.. I’m not leaving any time soon.

  • #9973


    Seems As though the British goverment has other ideas about tourist here

  • #9974


    The we site reference: http://www. Feo. Gov. Uk/ en/ travel- and- living-abroad/travel-and-advise- abroad/ Asia-Oceania/ thailand

  • #9975

    Richard Bowen

    Excellent article, Joseph. Thanks for all the information.
    As soon as I complete the sale of my home here in Florida, I plan to head off to Chiang Mai for full retirement. As an insulin-dependent diabetic, I am most interested in finding out the availability and cost of Insulin there in Chiang Mai.
    I do not expect you to take the time to call up a drugstore, but it would be reassuring to hear someone there locally tell me if I am likely to run into problems finding insulin (Humalog Mix 75/25, 100 unit vials).
    I expect to pattern my daily life somewhat like you appear to be doing. Absolutely no alcohol, low fat “heart healthy” and diabetic-friendly foods.
    Take care,

  • #9976


    What if you are a single woman? Is it safe to live there?

  • #9977
    Profile photo of Ellen

    I just found out that some Medicare Advantage policies here in the USA do cover emergency care abroad. You would need to 1) check to see if you have a Medicare Advantage policy rather than straight Medicare and 2) contact your carrier to see if they do cover you in an emergency abroad.
    The issue of health care abroad is a big one for many of us. I have read many times that the cost of a procedure is 1/5 to 1/10th of the cost in the USA, however, this can still be a lot of money depending on the procedure. For example, having knee surgery in the USA costs around $40,000 to $50,000. 1/10th of $40,000 is still $4,000 and if there’s a low cost health insurance policy available where you currently reside or an international policy is available, why not buy it?
    I also want to caution everyone that if medical care and medications is a big issue, check it out with many sources. Don’t just trust the big publications dedicated to expats. When I took my elderly parents to Panama five years ago my mother needed a prescription written by a Panamanian doctor that she had taken in the USA. I went to a few pharmacies in Panama City and found the cost to be a few dollars higher than the cost she would have to pay here in NYC without insurance. Her insurance paid a significant portion of the cost here, so if we went to live in PC, the cost of her meds and my father’s might have risen into the thousands per month. They were too old for Panamanian health insurance. I’ve been told by people who write for some expat publications that they only paid something like $5 for a prescription for antibiotics. I pointed out to them that younger, healthy expats might not be ill and require only medications, so their information was not accurate for many others. I spoke to many expats in Panama and they told me they ordered drugs online because it was too expensive for them in Panama.
    Long story short, when looking for a country to relocate to BUYER BEWARE.

  • #9978

    peter j mota

    hi,i undestand you can get around the finacial requirement by getting a one year visa doing a border run every 90 days than come back to the usa to repeat every year.any problems here,peter

  • #9979

    charlene mills

    In response to Ellenīs comment that medicare advantage covers one abroad. Please be careful of this. Three years ago I was told that it only covered for 6 months. After that, if you donīt return to the US, they cancel your policy. My experience was with Kaiser in the Northwest.

  • #9980
    Profile photo of Joseph Skinkis
    Joseph Skinkis

    Hi Peter,

    No problem. But I don’t think one can get a one year visa. Check with Thai immigration.


  • #9981


    There is a problem in Thailand with owning land. I mean a house and the land it is built on. Unless your a Thai national you can not do this. You may still buy a house and land but through a company which has a a Thai person as majority owner. I.e 51%. This arrangement usually has a lease of 25 years

    Buying a condo has no problems.

    The great unknown is what happens at the end of the lease. (typically 25 years?) Some unknowns. When the lease runs out can the Thai majority owner decide not to renew the lease. Can the property be Inherrited by your children? Too many unknowns.

    For me I will just buy a condo, or rent an entire house with some land for 12000 Thai Baht a month.

  • #9982

    Worasit Prommee

    Hello Members I’m Thai and found this webbard by study about diabetics on overseas.
    Welcome members to spend retire time here in Chengmai or any place in Thailand.
    For diabetics, you never know that Chengmai is origin place of local vegetable that tasty and can fight diabetes. This plant is Gymnema inodorum that Japanese imported for making tea to lower blood sugar. You can buy this plants in local name Pak Cheng-da. Pak mean vegetable in Thai. So, you can eat tasty vege that work as alternative medicine. Many diabetics use less insulin after take them for 3-4 weeks and blood sugar maintain at low. Search on Google then you’ll find more detail of ” Gymnema inodorum ” . I starting back yard garden to grow this vege for our memebrs.
    Hope sharing benefit of living in Chengmai for diabetics.
    I live near Bangkok if any enquiry plese feel free.
    Worasit Prommee:

  • #9983


    this is just a quick note on Chiang Mai….
    two things to consider … the falling value of your usd dollar in exchange ( when i write this.. it is at about 30 baht to 1 usd… and there seems to be no stopping this free fall..
    the political epicenter of opposition to the power of bangkok and current president.. is CM .. there will be major unrest when the king dies.. so be forewarned.
    good luck to all and hope this is of some value in making your decision…
    i would highly recommend visiting first … but keep in mind it is a fantastic city and country… i loves it i does … i know i know.. grammar!

  • #9984
    Profile photo of Joseph Skinkis
    Joseph Skinkis

    Your absolutely right Paul. Joseph

  • #9985
    Profile photo of Joseph Skinkis
    Joseph Skinkis


    I think the free-fall is over. Today it was 30.85 baht to the dollar. Joseph

  • #9986

    Dennis Berube

    I live in Arizona now so I like the Heat.At 58 yrs old I still have a lot of drive and would like to continue my work/hobby.I build electric cars and have many world records with them in the 1/4 mile.I could see converting 10 samlows to EV and having a green taxi co.
    I like Chaing Mai.
    visit youtube search current eliminator

  • #9987



    Did you just “pick up” Thai speaking skills as you went along or did you invest in classes or CD training? Also, how are you at reading the language?

    That is one of my biggest concerns – communication. I think I have an obligation to learn and respect the local culture and language as much as possible. I’ve taken French and Spanish lessons but Thai is an entirely different language.

  • #9988

    Peter Sutcliffe

    To those thinking of retiring in Chiang Mai and have or will have medical problems, one major consideration is that the cost of home care is much cheaper. One can afford a housekeeper for example. The big cost of ageing is care costs.
    Most of us what to live independently at home where possible, this is feasible – even if quite disabled – so long as you have someone to do a bit of shopping, cleaning and so on.

  • #9989

    Ed Grusch

    Joe…enjoyed the article. Enlightening for someone
    who’s considering moving to Thailand. A few less days dining out would allow those ‘extras’ to become part of the monthly routine. Were the manicure and pedicure for you or Dao?


  • #9990

    Ellen Schultz

    This is an update to the issue of Medicare advantage policies. I am only going to tell you what I found out about my mother’s policy. I spoke to a insurance agent two weeks ago and she called the company to verify my mother’s overseas coverage. They told her and it’s clearly written in her policy that she is covered for emergency medical care anywhere in the world with a co-pay of $65. They said she could be hospitalized until the doctor said she is well enough to travel back to the US for further treatment. The agent assured me, although obviously I haven’t verified it with all of the hospitals in places we’d be interested in going to, that the hospital would accept her insurance card prior to admission. I can’t imagine that every hospital in the world would do that, but the agent seemed convinced they would. I guess I’d have to contact hospitals in all of the localities we’re interested in to verify their acceptance.
    The last part of this is that this coverage is good for only nine months after leaving the US. So, once we’re living abroad for more than nine months, overseas coverage, emergency or not, is gone. However, as she still would be paying for it in the US, she would still have coverage in the US, at least that’s the way I understand it.

  • #9991

    Arrow ross

    Hi Joe, this Arrow, I am in India and may come you way, but I have lost your email and phone #

  • #9992

    Lawrence Yoon

    Chiang Mai is absolutely perfect for me and I am glad to call this place home for the last 6 years.

    To comment on the above, leaving any country for CM means making some compromises and finding lots in return. $1000 – $1500 is a great budget to live in CM considering many of my ex neighbors who are Thai survive on 1/5 of that.

    I will comment on a few thing mentioned here. I have lived in apartments that can be rented for $200 – $1000 as I have taken my time to get a feel of the city and I agree that the $500 is a sweet spot of the in betweens. $200-$300 gets you a very basic rental in a clean apartment although this means that lived in a cramper or darker areas, small balconies at that price range is feasible although many of the Thai styled apartments have very small balconies…most Thais use it as an extended kitchen or place to sun their clothes. No one in Thailand really understand why we enjoy sunning ourselves. At 500, you can get a 56sqm in some of the nicest condo that are new and westerner built. Check out Mountain Front, MOuntain View, Convetion Condo, Touch Hill Condo and the likes. I am currently staying at Mountain Front and it’s the quietest condo I have ever found. It’s a 15 min bike ride to vibe Nimman area or a quick 5 min taxi ride zip to town.

    This condo has a free shuttle twice a day to the shopping mall and the building mt gals are fantastic, they can arrange for basic cable, starts at $10 for True, free wifi and your laundry done at 8 baht a piece ($0.30) as you stay longer you can find cheaper options $1 for 1 kg of laundry is very common here in Thailand and done in a day. A helper gets by twice a week for about $100 a month of you are really too lazy to clean

    For food options, you can go many ways, $2-$5 is the general guideline per meal at a local restaurant and street food $1 can get you happy if you are a small eater. I eat twice a month at the Le Meriden Hotel Sunday Brunch costing……. a grand USD$16 ! hahahahahahh

    Once you find a good massage store, stick to it…most oil massages are about $5 an hour and twice a week is good enough !

    Golf, shooting, horse riding and the likes are very affordable here and I encourage everyone to try,

    Renting a motorbike is about $50 a month and I recommend getting one…a brand new vespa bike is USD$3000 or you can easy get Honda bikes with are more common here for about $500 brand new !

    For supermarkets, I recommend the following : buy your vegetables and fruits at he fresh markets where the Thais go, organic vegetables for USD$1 a heard me $1 a bunch ! It’s impossible to not stay healthy…fruits are extremely cheap here as well. For meats, I recommend going to Rjmping Supermarket where the butchers can steam, fry and marinate meats for free ! They have a good understanding of western needs and most cuts, bacon etc and imported good can be found. Tesco &Big C are the 2 local walmarts and great places ro stock up on water, drinks, and non-food items. You will find many international brand toiletries here at very low prices as it is govt subsidized.

    For the beach lovers, buy a business class ticket on Thai airways for $100 and fly to Phuket in the low season …stay a few nights and return here to the peace and charm of the north. fly economy class and you can get by with $40 one way hahahahah

    For entertainment, once you get the hang around here, you will find an open band, dance, jazz almost at every small town. You can relax Thai style with a bottle of whiskey (JW for USD$20) or just buy a pepsi and hot tea like me and sit the night away…the Thais welcome your presence

    As with any local country, stay polite. keep a cool head and smile as often as the Thais…you will be surprised when you act like one…how often many cases are just laughable and since we are retired…why do we need everything n the next 5 seconds…hahahahah slow down and learn to say “maipenrai” which in Thai means never mind…in many cases …it’s really that !

    enjoy your retirement..I have stayed in japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Laos, Vietnam and cambodia dn many parts of Thailand and am glad to have found Chiang Mai finally….

  • #9993


    I’m 62 yrs. young & just returned from my 2nd trip to Thailand & am now seriously considering moving to Chiang Mai early next year. I’m also a type 1 diabetic & am most concerned with how to go about making sure i get my supplies in a timely way, best place to obtain insulin & whether there is a preferred health care plan i should invest in.

    I would greatly appreciate anyone with some knowledge on this topic to drop me an email. Thanks :)

  • #9994


    regarding the 800k in the bank,is that per person or for a married couple.also how does that work i am 48 my wife 52 for retirement a retire visa much more beneficial than other visas.thanks if you have any idea,pete.

  • #9995


    I am considering retiring overseas and have been looking at Thailand. I am a woman on my own, aged almost 65 years, and am worried how I would fit in in Chaing Mai and if being a woman alone there would be a problem. Is there an established Expat community I could become involved in? What is the cost of a nice rental there? And also cost of buying a condo in a good area?

    My reasons are primarily financial as I did not get much super but would be seling my home to move there and would have my Australian pension of about 47,000 bht per month, and more than enough for the required bank balance. I was also considering Phuket??

    Probably the best option for me would be to come and stay for a month or so and check things out but would like to be able to contact an Expat club or something.

    Looking forward to all comments.


  • #9996

    george horstmyer

    for those that want to move to thailand check out [] it will tell curency exchange ,price to rent, to own, and for condos and homes. there are numerous hospitals in every big city ,but all the international ones have what ever u want ,the thi ones are ok for just common stuff but if u need a specialest u go international,,,i got cut of on my bike and went down [always wear helmit it is the law] and 4 exrays and 2 specalests and medacation was 27 dollers,just had a cancer physical and that was just shy of 90 dollars. i lived in pattaya and it isnt good and puket is just as or almost as bad with rip offs between the cops and when people see u u pay forign price while thi pay lowwer but here in chaing mai u dont see that ,this is the real thailand….most prices at markets are on products where pattaya they arn’t.
    my thi g/f smiles every time she goes to the markets because the prices are so cheap. 10 bt for bananas but pattaya they want 40 or 45 bt for the same thing.over fifty is retirement here i believe and u eather have to have 800 thousand in ur atm account or u need a letter from embasy stating u make enough to live here from pensions. if u move here and buy make sure u place wasnt in flood area that they just had last yr,also u can get medical coverage from a bank but have to be under 70 which i wasnt but i did get for my g/f and that just covers if she goes to hospital not if u are just sick,or fall down or something minor ,they might have full coverage but my g/f wasnt sure about it ,but her other insurance she got through a bank.
    im sure im taking up to much space so if some one wants questions answered email me and i have nothing but time so ill do my best to get answers..

  • #9997


    For Richard. I am a Bangladeshi and willing to relocate in Malaysia. But for medical reasons, I shall always come back to Dhaka. An insulin cost skyrocketed to 10 USD from about 4 a few years ago. The diabetic association in Bangladesh made it clear that they won’t allow any more price appreciation of the insulin. You can try them if you like. Look Bangladesh Diabetic Association in google.

    Wish you best.


  • #9998


    Hi there

    Can someone reply to my question about women retiring solo (over 65) in Chaing Mai, drawbacks if any and any associated problems with this. Would it be easy to fit in?

    Thanks in advance,

  • #10005
    Profile photo of Captain Picard
    Captain Picard

    Guest Comment: My husband and I plan to retire to Chiang Mai Thailand next year. We have searched the Internet for information
    on our Financial Responsibility to live in the country. Most places say 8000,000THB, or combination of bank account
    plus income equal 8000,000THB.

    The main question is, and we have heard it stated both ways, is that the amount for a couple; or does each
    person have to have that amount in the bank.
    And must the amount remain in the bank without using any of it. We planned to have these funds as a back up for
    extra money that may be needed.

    There is quite a difference in the information we are getting. I Would like to know for sure what the requirement.

    I hope you can give us the most recent right answer, as this may put a stop to our plans of retiring there.

    Thank you in advance for any information you can give up.

    Merle and Charlie

  • #10011

    Merle and Charlie

    My husband and I plan to retire to Chiang Mai Thailand next year. We have searched the Internet for information
    on our Financial Responsibility to live in the country. Most places say 8000,000THB, or combination of bank account
    plus income equal 8000,000THB.

    The main question is, and we have heard it stated both ways, is that the amount for a couple; or does each
    person have to have that amount in the bank.
    And must the amount remain in the bank without using any of it. We planned to have these funds as a back up for
    extra money that may be needed.

    There is quite a difference in the information we are getting. I Would like to know for sure what the requirement.

    I hope you can give us the most recent right answer, as this may put a stop to our plans of retiring there.

    Thank you in advance for any information you can give up.

    Merle and Charlie

  • #10018

    Rick Walker

    I am living on Social Security Disabilty income, with a little bump from the Veterans Administration. IS there any reason that would not continue if living in Thailand? Also please, can I access ordinary VA medical care benefits in Thailand? Thank you very much.

  • #10028


    This is the best most informative site I have come to for information on Tailand. I am planning to come this October to see for myself and start the process of looking for a place to live. Is there anyone out there that would be willing to meet with me for coffee and give me some pointers? I’m retired female 67, healthy.

  • #10033


    Jenny and Shari
    am enjoying a late night ice cream in Chiangmai…. you are both women so you may have same concerns…..I am a man of 63 but will think what you may worry about first.
    I have several older lady friends here in CM they enjoy it greatly and have lived here some time now, the oldest is 81 but full of life. (foreigners tend to look after each other here especially as they age).
    First….CM is a very safe place, one feels much safer than in US or UK. One can walk along a street at night, and theft is very rare. If people leave say flower pots atop a wall they will stay there undamaged for years……never in London, five minutes.
    Second….Chiangmai is far the most economical of the main cities, maybe half the living pric of BKK, Phuket, etc….and much more full of character. Some people live on 25,000 bt or less though more is better 47k should be quiite comfortable if not superluxurious.
    In any case your money will go further here
    Third….quality healthcare is available many people say it is much better than home because it is so quick and very fairly priced. I don’t even get insurance I self insure. When you really get on in years you will have lots of friends…..yes, you will make good friends easily….to keep an eye on you and you can have a daily helper for maybe 3000 to 8,000 per month….the Thais are very good with old people. After that there is the
    McCain Nursing Home and so on excellent I’m told and cheap.
    Home luxuries like food wine etc are all available nowadays.
    Rent maybe 10,000 up for a very pleasant studio apartment. 20,000 pretty damn swish…I actually rent out but usually full.
    Any more help I can be wckndn at put in the @ sign sure I’d have a coffee.
    Hope you join us!

  • #10040


    Merle and Charlie
    The 800,000 must be ithe bank for 3 months each year before the visa renewal, it was to stop people all lending each other the same 800k!
    Not sure about foreign man and wife if double deposit, suggest ou ask on Thaivisa.
    However you willget around both if from US just go to US embassy after arrival with non-immigrant visa hold up right hand and if you swear to your income they will automatically give you a letter stating whatever you say is your income from outside, in which case you don’t need 800k anyway!! Other nationalities need to be more inventive……
    See my other post to email any more questions….

  • #10041


    Hi Rick
    You ask “I am living on Social Security Disabilty income, with a little bump from the Veterans Administration. IS there any reason that would not continue if living in Thailand? Also please, can I access ordinary VA medical care benefits in Thailand? Thank you very much.”

    I have a friend receiving navy benefits and disability (glaucoma) here in CM, has been for some years.
    I beIieve regular Medicare will cover ou in Thailand for a limited time (a year or 9 months?) after leaving US. I have known someone to leave Thailand for a while to go to Phillipines a US base for free treatment, so I guess that’s another possibility.
    Once again, medical care here would astonish Americans with it’s low price. Here in CM you can get first class treatment for the ultimate in health quality go to Bumrungrad in BKK I had a loads of tests and thyroidectomy was happy to pay 3x CM prices for a serious matter ehich turned out better than I could have wished.
    wckndn at

  • #10042


    Hi Pete
    You ask
    “is a retire visa much more beneficial than other visas.thanks if you have any idea”

    It is not strictly a retirement visa Pete it is an extension to a non immigrant visa based on retirement. What people like is that once you’re in Thailand say Chiangmai you don’t have to leave just re-extend once a year (and fill in an address form every three months, easy)

    Hope that helps
    wckndn at

  • #10043

    Chris M

    John Pletcher,
    I hope you wrote your son completely out of your will. i live in Miami but have been to Chiang Mai ten times and constantly trying to figure ways to move there permanently.

  • #10044

    Tina Nguyen

    Hello Joseph,

    Thank you very much for your very helpful information.

    We’re a couple at early 60’s. We plan to enjoy our early retirement in Chiang Mai. We plan to visit CM in June 2013. If we realy like it, then we’ll move there.

    Do you know if there is a Vietnamese Community in Chiang Mai? Or any expats. Club? Please advise. Tks.

    We have a big question on how to get a retire visa (1 year) to stay in Thailand. Can we apply and get a Thai’s visa at the Thai’s Cosulation in Los Angeles, CA? Someone told us that, for the US citizen, we’ll be permited for 90 days per entry. As a result, Will we be able to extend this every 90 days.

    Could you please give us the telephone number and the address of the Mountain Front? We need a place to stay when we arrived and to put on the application.

    Thank you very much for your kind assistance in this matter. Your time and kindness are greatly appreciated.

    Best regards,

    Harvey & Tina Nguyen

  • #10045

    Ron MacAulay

    I am considering retirement in Chiang Mai. I am from North Carolina. Is it reasonable to think about owning/buying a small business like a coffee shop or pub geared towards expats? Any ideas will be appreciated.

  • #10046

    Alexander Duncan

    Dear Sir, Thank you very much for your article on retiring to Thailand. I am a 58 year old Canadian and have been researching the Thai retirement visa program. However, I am receiving conflicting information on how to retire to Thailand. I contacted a bank directly in Thailand and was told in no uncertain terms that the ONLY way to obtain a bank account in Thailand is if I have a work permit and am residing in the country. I cannot obtain a bank account if I am outside the country nor can I obtain one if my only visa is a visitor permit, even if I am in the country. However, the retirement visa program says that one must have 800,000 baht in a Thai bank account in order to qualify for a visa. So how can I qualify then unless I have a work permit. I am afraid to travel to Thailand only to discover that I do not qualify, nor do I know whether I can trust companies that offer to assist me for a fee or which ones I can trust. Can you provide me with advice on these matters? Ty.

  • #10047
    Profile photo of Joseph Skinkis
    Joseph Skinkis

    Dear Alexander Duncan,

    Opening a bank account in Thailand is not straight forward. First you must be aware that Canada will pose special problems. If you plan on retiring in Thailand, you must go back to Canada every six months or lose your old age pension.

    To open a bank account in Thailand you must contact Bangkok Bank and follow their instructions on how to open an account. Bangkok Bank is the only bank in Thailand that will be able to do this.

    The last problem for Canadians is that if you do send your retirement money to Thailand, Canada will withhold 25% as income tax. How do I know all this you may ask? I am an American, but I get a Canadian retirement pension because I worked in Canada for ten years. I had to have my Canada retirement sent to an American bank to avoid paying tax to Canada. Canada and America have a special agreement so that one only has to pay tax to one country. I then let it accumulate for about six months then have the funds wired to my bank in Thailand. Isn’t this fun so far?

    Please do not hire someone who claims that they can do all the legal work and get you into Thailand with a little or no income. There are so many horror stories about these scams. Your best bet is to contact Bangkok Bank to get direct information about opening an account, to contact Canada pension to inquire what is needed to move to another country, and to contact the Thai consulate that is nearest you to find out the steps you need to take to get a retirement visa.

    Good luck,
    Joseph Skinkis

  • #10048

    Victor Paul Scerri

    I am English married a Norwegian moved to Norway, got divorced but stayed in Norway where I met my partner from Japan. In 2001, I received a disability pension, and we moved to Spain where the disability pension is not taxed. I’m now sixty three and at sixty seven, I will receive my state pension and pay tax in Spain. How is it in Thighland? Meanwhile, my partner and I have come to a crossroad. I have traveled to Penang, Langkawi and Japan. and looking for somewhere to park my hiny and write.Japan, is too expensive and judging by your blog, I rather like to venture to where you are situated.

  • #10049
    Profile photo of Joseph Skinkis
    Joseph Skinkis

    Victor Paul Scerri:

    There are many English people living here in Chiang Mai. Come as a tourist for 30 days before you make a decision.

    Good luck,
    Joseph Skinkis

  • #10050

    Luc Andre

    Hello Joseph Skinkis,

    I am a retired Canadian, and, as far as I know, it is your medical coverage that you will lose if you do not return to Canada every six months. The old age pension is payable anywhe on he planet if you have lived, I believe, eighteen consecutive years in Canada. This is also the case for Quebec’s residents and their RPP ( Registered Pension Plan).

    I am contemplating Chang Mai as a retirement possibility. Being a vegetarian, I first thought of India, the most vegetarian country by far. But life can prove dfficult there! I was wondering just how vegetarian your Buddhist country of adoption is. I am afraid, not very much so…

    Thank you fr all the info on Thailand and Chang Mai.


    Luc Andre

  • #10051

    David T Pike

    I receive $1,038.00 a month from the VA for my disability. You say you can retire there on a grand a month but never mentioned I have to have 25Gs in the bank to be able to retire there until you have me all excited at going there. That’s not very nice of you. I live from paycheck to paycheck and it would take me a year just to buy plane tickets and moving money to get there. How in the world do you expect me to save 25 Gs ? I’ll be dead before that happens. Do you have any suggestions??? I have been checking out Gutemala and Ecuador in the past 2 years and Thailand is my last recon and I am already sold on Chiang Mai…

    Sincerely David T Pike USAF 1972-76

  • #10052
    Profile photo of Joseph Skinkis
    Joseph Skinkis

    Hi David T. Pike:

    In my article I did mention that you had to have $25,000 in a Thai bank.

    “The requirements for obtaining a retirement visa are: one must be at least 50 years of age, have Bht 800,000 ($25,825) deposited in a Thai bank or 65,000 baht monthly income or a combination of both.”

    Joseph Skinkis

  • #10053
    Profile photo of Joseph Skinkis
    Joseph Skinkis

    Hi Victor,

    The Thai baht is getting stronger since I posted this in January. It is now 29.4 to the dollar. Write to me at the email address I provided at the end of my article if you have any further questions.


  • #10054


    I have been living on Maui,HI for the last seven years . Although cost of living is expensive, most everybody loves it here.

    Lately,In have been feeling the urge to explore your side of the world.I am a healthy,actively engaged in living 67 years young retired professional who enjoys gardening; snorkeling,hiking among other activities.
    I am thinking of visiting Thailand and mostly Chiang-Mai as a tourist for three to four weeks. From your vantage point,when is the first and second best weather times for a first-time visitor to explore possible retirement relocation?

    Thanks in advance for your info.

  • #10055
    Profile photo of Tom

    David no-one is expecting you to do anything and it is certainly not anyone else’s responsibility in how you manage your monetary affairs. The story is complete in its entirety so yes he did mention the Thai governments requirement to have 25g’s in the bank.

    If you want to go and live there then you work out how you meet the criteria. Don’t blame the author for telling you how it is or the next thing you will blame him for not telling you about the cost of the taxi fare to the airport.

    If you have got to retirement age and live pay-check to pay-check, my suggestion is you stay where you are because you have left yourself no options (irrespective of why you now live pay to pay).

    Retirement planing and the funds required don’t start at retirement, they start from the first day you start working and every days delay see’s your options decrease. That’s just how the program works and speaking of medical requirements in the article, it is how your health works too.

    People cannot abuse their health for 50 years eating all the crap under the table and expect a healthy happy retirement with no medical issues. The status of your physical health and that of your bank account takes years in the planning and nourishment of so that you give yourself the choices that you want in retirement. If you have not done this then unfortunately there is no way to successfully wind back the clock.

  • #10056
    Profile photo of Joseph Skinkis
    Joseph Skinkis

    You are most welcomed to come to Chiang Mai. Give me a call when you get here. Cell phone # 086-114-7992

  • #10057
    Profile photo of Mal

    Hi Lu Andre

    Been coming to thailand last 25 years, married a thai girl 14 yrs ago. We are both Vegan and there is a mountain of places throughout Thailand to eat vegan/vegetarian food.

    Least of your concerns

    warm Regards – Mal

  • #10058
    Profile photo of Moss

    Joseph, your comment “you must go back to Canada every six months or lose your old age pension.” is incorrect, You will however be dropped off the Provincial health care list, but it will be reinstated 3 months after you return to Canada.

    Your Canadian pension will continue no matter how long you are out of the country.

  • #10059

    Hello Joseph ,
    I do enjoy reading your comments . It’s given me some ideas for my project.
    I may call you to get some advices in nearly future.
    Best regards,
    Raenu chaichanan (Toi)

  • #10060
    Profile photo of Joseph Skinkis
    Joseph Skinkis

    You can call me or email me any time that you want.

  • #9961
    Profile photo of Joseph Skinkis
    Joseph Skinkis

    I have lived in Chiang Mai for the past ten years and will probably live here the rest of my life. My reason for residing here is quite simply: financ
    [See the full post at:]

  • #10061
    Profile photo of Joseph Skinkis
    Joseph Skinkis

    You can call or write to me anytime you wish. Joseph

  • #10062
    Profile photo of Christoph Schwegler
    Christoph Schwegler

    Dear Joseph

    Thank you very much for your notes. Many people have said that Hua Hin is Chiang Mai by the sea. Have you visited & would you agree? Best regards, Christoph

  • #10063
    Profile photo of Joseph Skinkis
    Joseph Skinkis

    Call us any time. Joseph & Dao

  • #10064
    Profile photo of Joseph Skinkis
    Joseph Skinkis

    I have been to Hua Hin before but I don’t know it very well to comment.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.