Thailand is a country that has always found itself amongst the top-rated in which to retire. It is undoubtedly due to its warm climate, inexpensive cost of living, beautiful scenery, top-notch healthcare, and of course, low-cost housing.
To the north, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai offer attractive rural settings that have long been a popular destination for the older community. There are even specialist care homes catering to the elderly and those with special needs, such as Alzheimer’s or physical infirmity. For the more active, Bangkok can be the place with all the arts, fashion, and entertainment facilities you would expect from a capital. However, naturally, it is more expensive than the rest of the country. However, with the project of high-speed train links from Bangkok coming soon, Pattaya will be the perfect option for something right in the middle of the two. Also, those who dream of living near the sea, there’s affordable housing where you can watch the waves from your balcony or stroll along the beachfront and enjoy the sea breeze. Not as hectic as Bangkok, there is still plenty of entertainment with many clubs and societies to join. So even a “newbie” arriving in the vicinity can quickly make friends and enjoy a varied social life here.
From Pattaya, it is relatively easy to explore the rest of the country. From there on Thailand is ideally placed should you wish to visit then its neighbouring Southeast Asian countries, once all the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Talking of the COVID-19 virus, why has Pattaya become even more of an appealing destination for retirees since the pandemic? Well, after the first wave of deaths in hospitals, it then became apparent that many of the deaths were happening in care homes across Europe and especially in the UK. Once the media spotlight shone on these homes, horrific tales of elderly patients being neglected and left in awful conditions, even though they are living in costly facilities.
Many people now consider how they wish to spend their twilight years or how loved ones need looking after. Being adequately cared for there should be courtesy and respect for those of us in our twilight years. One of Thailand’s Thailand’s significant advantages is a substantial contributing factor; namely the Thai people themselves.
Famous for its name “The Land of Smiles”, Thailand gained this moniker through its reputation of offering genuine and hospitable warmth from its people. About 95% of the population is Buddhist, with ethics of goodwill, compassion, and very importantly, a high level of respect for older people. Most ex-pats report feeling safer and less neglected or overlooked than in their own countries.
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A better quality of life
In Pattaya, ex-pats are organized through Facebook groups with common interests. There are two highly active ex-pat clubs as well as two ladies’ ladies’ clubs, and it is easy to make new friends even for those who may travel here alone. Sporting activities are prolific. For golfers, there is a whole host of first-class courses around Pattaya as well as cycling tracks, tennis courts, swimming pools, gymnasiums, and fitness centres. Many retirees also enjoy fishing, football, lawn bowls, yoga, dancing, walking, as well as snorkelling, scuba diving, and sailing.
The Low Cost of Living
Rentals in Pattaya are outstanding value with many available bargains at this time. The reasonable cost of utilities, eating out, and buying groceries has enabled many people to start their retirement much earlier than they once thought possible. Also, while it may take some time to acclimatize to living in the tropics, there are great benefits. Generally, the dress is casual with shorts and shirts or dresses, and open toed-shoes the norm. You won’t need to purchase coats, boots, scarves, and gloves ever again.
Quality Healthcare in Thailand
Pattaya has world-class healthcare with several international hospitals to choose from, as well as many medical and dental clinics where there are generally no waiting times. Most doctors and specialists speak English and have often completed an additional qualification in the US or other countries. Ex-pats are not able to access the free Thai public hospital system, however, and so are advised to take out medical insurance.
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For those not able to look after themselves at home, there is the option to hire a private nurse or live-in maid. This might have once seemed an unimaginable expense, but here in Pattaya, a full-time carer will cost a fraction of what you would have to pay in your home country. Therefore affording some level of dignity and sense of independence for those not wishing to be ignored and neglected in a care home can be a reality. While for those of us lucky enough to be able to retire while extraordinarily fit and active, Pattaya is the perfect place to keep us occupied.
Coping with the virus
Many people are considering moving to Thailand, and in particular, Pattaya has been the way the country has coped with the COVID-19 virus. While the death toll around the world has shown frightening figures from the start of the pandemic the culture of wearing masks, then using hand sanitizer, temperature checking, and now tracking and tracing has stood Thailand in good stead.
Pattaya was on strict lockdown with barriers stopping even visitors from other parts of the country coming in until it was deemed safe. Also, the re-opening of businesses and facilities gradually and cautiously has meant that inhabitants of Pattaya feel safe and are not hearing of the fatalities that are so prevalent elsewhere in the world.
People have been impressed with the way the authorities have kept the virus at bay, especially when compared to their own home countries. It has made them look again at the safest place to spend their final years – and with the uncertainty of whether this virus that has been so fatal for the old and infirm will continue to inflict years to come, this has to be a serious consideration.