living in the ‘Land of Smiles’

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai – 9 Top Havens for Expat Retirees

Via: U.S. News & World Report



Chiang Mai, Thailand

Estimated expat population: 20,000+

Chiang Mai has been luring expats from the West for years. The attraction is twofold–the low cost of living and housing and the weather.

The high quality health care and health-related services are other big pluses for foreign retirees in this part of the world.

The city boasts modern infrastructure and an abundance of Western amenities.



TrekEarth – Amit Raj Singh



Personal Note:

I retired nine-years ago, and have been living in Chiang Mai.

Good Gawd Almighty, I LOVE Chiang Mai!






September 1, 2014 Posted by | cost of living | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The hidden cost of retiring early: $51,000 in medical expenses – FALSE, at least for me!


Retiring early may sound really tempting. But leaving the workforce just a few years early can saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in additional medical costs.

If a couple chooses to retire at the age of 62 instead of 65, they will face $51,000 in additional medical expenses, according to a report released Thursday by Fidelity Investments.

The major cause: Medicare coverage doesn’t kick in until age 65. So without coverage from a former employer, which is an increasingly rare benefit, the couple would have to pay for private insurance.


Personal Story:

In 2005, I retired VERY EARLY, age 57.

I knew it would of been foolish to go without medical insurance, but my COBRA quote of $1,000 per month to turn my company insurance to private, was just too damn much!

NOTE: MY TOTAL EXPENSES: including medical, rent, food, transportation. etc, etc,  is +/- $1,250 per month.

So I retired to Chiang Mai, Thailand, where I have FULL (physician, hospital, and meds) PRIVATE INSURANCE, with NO deductibles.


COST: Less than my U.S. company insurance was in 2000!

MONTHLY PREMIUM INCREASE: This year was a typical increase. 190 baht / 32.5 = $5.85USD.   Yes I know, outrageous!

CLAIM DENIED – In eight-plus years, ZERO!

PAPERWORK: The hospital submits the bill to the insurance company directly, so ZERO!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Because I signed up with my company before I turned 60, I’m covered for LIFE!

SOCIAL SECURITY / MEDICARE: Because I don’t need medicare, my SS check is a little over $100 larger each month.


There are many hospitals to chose from, but I go to Chiang Mai Ram Hospital. (See Photo)


FINAL NOTE: There are many places to retire overseas, where the health care is very good, and the insurance costs are minimal. So, look around.



June 13, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thailand – Jamie Foxx Says He might retire to Chiang Mai

Via: City News – Chiang Mai


Thai television sensation Woody got the chance to interview the main stars of the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone) but his interview with Hollywood actor, musician, and stand-up comedian Jamie Foxx is by far the most entertaining, and also, relevant – Jamie expresses his love for Chiang Mai and reveals his plans to possibly retire there in the future.

Woody opens the interview with Jamie by teaching him how to say “Sawatdee Krap”, and then telling him Thailand says hello. Jamie responds positively by saying he loves Thailand and they begin discussing Jamie’s previous trip to Chiang Mai for a film project – we assume he means the 2005 film Stealth, which was partially shot in areas of Thailand, mainly Ko Phi Phi.

Jamie said, “When I get through with doing what I’m doing over here, I’m going to Chiang Mai and I’m gonna live forever. I just had a great time, I threw my cellphone away.” When Woody said Jamie must give him a call if he plans to retire to Thailand, Jamie responded by saying, “Yes, yes! I wanna retire there!”


VERY COOL, indeed!



April 23, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Chiang Mai – Selected as one of the most affordable places to retire (that’s right, AGAIN!)

Via: CBS Money Watch


Chiang Mai is a historic city located along the Ping River, nestled within some of Thailand’s tallest mountains, which are dotted with Buddhist temples. The city hosts several festivals, including Loi Krathong/Yi Peng (SEE gif), where residents launch decorative lanterns whose heat sends them skyward, and the Flower Festival, which takes place when the city’s tropical flowers are in full bloom.

Q: But really, how affordable is it?

A: Without trying, I’m under-running my Social Security by $500 to $600 every month. Try that in the States!

Q: What about affordable medical care?

A: I have full ‘private’ medical insurance. And when I say full, I mean FULL (physician, hospital, AND meds).

AND, I pay less than my co-payment in 2000!


Q: Do you think Chiang Mai is a good option for EVERYONE to retire to?


But, I tell ya what; most expats I’ve met here in the past eight LOVE the place, and can’t conceive of living ANYWHERE else!


September 6, 2013 Posted by | cost of living | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Having trouble streching your Social Security/Pension? Well hell, move to Chiang Mai!


Via: buy  ( or rent) in Chiang

Size : 30 sqm
Bedrooms : Studio
Bathrooms : 1
Furnished : Fully
Airconditioned : Fully
Floor :
Location : Chareon muang Rd. Soi 8 (Soi Kai Daeng)

12 month lease : 3,500 THB/month (@ 32 baht to the dollar = $109.38 per month)

6 month lease : 4,000 THB/month

Nice and well-designed studio room.

Very cozy fully furnished including flat screen TV, air-con, kitchenette with fridge, microwave and more!!

Located close to Train Station and Super Highway.



You Tube:

Chiang Mai – PP Condomium @ 4.000 baht per month

Note: There are hundreds. if not thousands, of condos to rent in Chiang Mai in addition to the PP Condomium.


Shoot, you’re probably spending more than $109.38 a MONTH to live in your Mom’s basement!



July 29, 2013 Posted by | accomodation, cost of living | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Chiang Mai, Thailand – Retire on $1,000


Via: Huffington Post / Live and Invest Overseas

Rent: $400
Basic groceries for a couple: $250
Electricity: $35
Water: $5
Gas: $5
Cable: $20
Internet: $20
Landline phone: $10
Entertainment: $250
Total: $1,000


personal thought:

I have a much different distribution than shown here, but the $1,000 is not unreasonable for the listed items.


However, my costs are several hundred MORE each month because I have FULL MEDICAL INSURANCE (physician, hospitpal, and meds).

More than a few old geezer expats feel they can ‘pay as you go’ for medical costs (physican, hospital, and meds).

Well fine, but do you have enough to pay, gawd forbid, for a hip replacement or a coronary bypass?

Many DO, but for those who DON’T are truly f’d if something catestrophic happens!


I think if you ‘plan for the worst, hope for the best’ you will love your retirement in the ‘Rose of the North’, Chiang Mai, Thailand.


June 20, 2013 Posted by | cost of living | , , , | 1 Comment

Chiang Mai – Voted As One of the Best Places in the World to Retire

Via: City News – Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, along with Vancouver, Valencia, Guam,Buenos Aires and Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, has been voted by Bankrate as one of the best places in the world to retire.

The financial services group, which has come to be one of America’s best known financial advice companies says life in Chiang Mai as a retiree should be sweet.

The site credits the Northern Rose as not just cheap – ‘“under 2,000 dollars I live like a king,”says Barry’ – but in terms of weather as affable as a cuddly toy.

Although the prices the site quotes are maybe a little on the low-cost-living side for some people, it isn’t far off the mark. Every expat knows that somtum and sticky rice at the back of Chiang Mai University is a whole different world to eating at 5 star French restaurants.

We can agree or disagree, but one thing is certain, Chiang Mai is one town that just can’t stop being the top of lists.


$2,000 a month????

I know many expats, including myself, who live VERY WELL on much less than $2,000 a month!

I eat somtum and sticky rice, but I mainly eat westen food, including French, American, Italian. Mexican, Japanese, >>>>

God Gawd Almighty, I love Chiang Mai!


photo by Cricri


August 17, 2012 Posted by | cost of living, restaurants, retirement | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I jus’ got my ‘geezer-veezer’ renewed – beginning YEAR EIGHT – Yippee!

Good Gawd Almighty – I LOVE Thailand!


August 8, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Chiang Mai – A Low-Cost Retirement Spot in Asia

Via: U.S. News & World Report

The Thai city of Chiang Mai has long lured expats from the West. As many as 40,000 foreigners currently call Chiang Mai home, at least part of the year. The primary draw is the cost of living and medical care. Both are a global bargain. In addition, Chiang Mai boasts a more temperate climate than much of the rest of this country, as well as modern infrastructure and an abundance of Western amenities.

Thailand has had its share of political unrest in recent years, but Chiang Mai has been largely unaffected. Politics aside, Thailand is the land of smiles. The gentle, unfailingly polite locals endear visitors and welcome foreign retirees.

Located about 435 miles north of Bangkok, Chiang Mai is nestled in a fertile river valley surrounded by mountains. It’s an area rich in history with a culture distinctly different from that in central and southern Thailand. With a population of about 250,000, the city dates back more than 700 years and was originally walled.

The Old City was an integral market and manufacturing center on the busy trade routes between Yunnan province in southern China and the port cities of Burma, where goods traveled to and from the trade centers of India and beyond. Many crafts and raw materials were made and traded here and then distributed throughout the region. Beautiful sculptures, pottery, woodcarvings, silver jewelry, and fabrics continue to be manufactured here. However, tourism has since replaced commercial trade as the major source of revenue.

The heart of Chiang Mai lies within its old city walls, where dozens of ancient and modern Buddhist temples coexist alongside public and international schools and residential and commercial neighborhoods. Street markets and festivals occur almost nightly, and there’s a great array of restaurants catering to all tastes. For these reasons, many expats choose to live in the center of the city, within the ancient walls, where they also enjoy affordable rentals and close proximity to all services.

Chiang Mai has grown beyond the ancient walls, and now extends for several miles in every direction. Large shopping complexes are located along a superhighway and a multi-lane, controlled-access ring road that circles the outskirts of the city. Mega-malls and big multinational grocery and department stores line the superhighway access roads, creating many shopping options for retirees.

Upscale neighborhoods include the area north of the Mae Ping River, which is popular among affluent foreigners. Another well-regarded area among expats is the neighborhood around Thanon Nimmanhemin and Thanon Huay Kaew, where you can find housing in all price ranges. Located a short taxi ride or a 20-minute walk west of the Old City, this area has dozens of popular restaurants and nightclubs, modern shopping malls, and excellent medical facilities.


The cost of living in Chiang Mai is reasonable, largely because the cost of housing can be a bargain. A retired couple could live here comfortably on a budget of as little as $1,000 to $1,200 per month. You could rent a furnished studio apartment in a nice area for as little as $300 per month. A bigger, better appointed place might rent for $500 per month.

Another important attraction to Thailand and especially Chiang Mai is the standard and cost of medical care. Thailand has become an important medical tourism destination. Medical tourists sometimes find it much less expensive to fly to Thailand and receive treatment than to have the same procedures performed in their home countries, even allowing for the cost of international travel. You can see an English-speaking doctor for as little as $20. More serious care also can cost a fraction of what it would in the U.S. A heart bypass, for example, that might cost more than $100,000 in the U.S., costs only $10,000 in Thailand. A total hip replacement in Thailand costs around $11,000, while the same procedure in the U.S. can cost seven times as much.

Retiree Paul Richard considered many options in Thailand, including Samui, Phuket, and Hua Hin. He chose Chiang Mai over those other places because of its climate and “the people seemed a lot friendlier and more helpful” than in other areas he visited. Richard also likes that Chiang Mai is home to such an established community of fellow foreign retirees. “Chiang Mai has every type of leisure activity you could want from golf, tennis, and bowling to plenty of good Western restaurants and the Chiang Mai Expats Club,” he says.

The Chiang Mai Expats Club, with 650 members, is one of the best ways to become acquainted with this city and to tap into the experience of retirees already living in the area. You could also meet new people at a Lions Club, a Scandinavian Club, an Alliance Française, a Writers Group, a Flying Club, a Radio Amateur Society, and a Rotary Club.


photo link:


May 23, 2012 Posted by | cost of living, retirement | , , , | 2 Comments

I jus’ got my retirement visa (geezer veezer) renewed; so I’m now beginning year seven

“Every day in every way; it’s getting better, and better, and better’

photo by md77 – via: TrekEarth


August 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment