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Old 03-24-2013, 09:32 PM   #21
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Let me know if this forum does not answer the questions you have regarding Visa, health care, etc. I have a friend ER'd at 45 and now lives in Thailand. He's very helpful with this kind of stuff and I'm sure would be willing to answer your questions via email. He's lived in Pattaya for about 7 years now.

I've visited him twice in the last three years and he also has many ex-pat friends with a variety of income and marital backgrounds. Most of them are single however and seem to be living very well on 1/3 of what that could in the U.S. Plus very cool golf courses. Cheers.
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:18 AM   #22
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Let me know if this forum does not answer the questions you have regarding Visa, health care, etc. I have a friend ER'd at 45 and now lives in Thailand. He's very helpful with this kind of stuff and I'm sure would be willing to answer your questions via email. He's lived in Pattaya for about 7 years now.

I've visited him twice in the last three years and he also has many ex-pat friends with a variety of income and marital backgrounds. Most of them are single however and seem to be living very well on 1/3 of what that could in the U.S. Plus very cool golf courses. Cheers.
Yes, I would be curious what kind of visa he is living with? I believe that the long term options for someone under 50 are an education visa to learn the Thai language or an investment visa that requires a 10 million baht investment in savings account, government bonds, or real estate (so limited options). 10 million Baht = around $340,000 US dollars.

Back when your friend first went to Thailand, the threshold for buying a condo and getting an investment visa was much lower but it was changed after that. And the last I checked, they grandfathered in that group. I have a friend similar to your friend, and he got lucky in that he bought the condo before they changed the rules and is grandfathered in. Hopefully, it will last until he is 50 and then he could go on the retirement visa each year.
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:44 PM   #23
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Let me know if this forum does not answer the questions you have regarding Visa, health care, etc. I have a friend ER'd at 45 and now lives in Thailand. He's very helpful with this kind of stuff and I'm sure would be willing to answer your questions via email. He's lived in Pattaya for about 7 years now.

I've visited him twice in the last three years and he also has many ex-pat friends with a variety of income and marital backgrounds. Most of them are single however and seem to be living very well on 1/3 of what that could in the U.S. Plus very cool golf courses. Cheers.
Pattaya? I heard it was trying to clean up its image. Spent some time there and am now left with mixed feelings. Still on my list of possible locations.
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:36 PM   #24
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Yes, I would be curious what kind of visa he is living with? I believe that the long term options for someone under 50 are an education visa to learn the Thai language or an investment visa that requires a 10 million baht investment in savings account, government bonds, or real estate (so limited options). 10 million Baht = around $340,000 US dollars.

Back when your friend first went to Thailand, the threshold for buying a condo and getting an investment visa was much lower but it was changed after that. And the last I checked, they grandfathered in that group. I have a friend similar to your friend, and he got lucky in that he bought the condo before they changed the rules and is grandfathered in. Hopefully, it will last until he is 50 and then he could go on the retirement visa each year.
_____

OK. I'll send Eric this link and see if he can join in or you two can connect. Cheers.
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:37 PM   #25
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Pattaya? I heard it was trying to clean up its image. Spent some time there and am now left with mixed feelings. Still on my list of possible locations.
I would say it's a full on adult playground (Pattaya) so not sure it's cleaned up or not but it might depend on your perspective. "Me love you long time" was the theme a year ago anyway
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:43 PM   #26
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I've visited him twice in the last three years and he also has many ex-pat friends with a variety of income and marital backgrounds. Most of them are single however and seem to be living very well on 1/3 of what that could in the U.S. .
LOL. Thailand, like the Philiphines is paradise for single older men. I was amazed at the number of expats I see on the streets with girls more than half their age.

Actually in some cases these girls are not really girls but "lady-boys"
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:51 PM   #27
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According to what I read, you can join a growing and active expat community in Chiang Mai and enjoy really low cost of housing and cost of living, whereas if you were in Bangkok, not quite as favorable. You have to connect through London or Paris to get to the US, if that's a concern. You'll probably want to rent housing, since you will not be able to own the land your house is on if you bought a house.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:11 PM   #28
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I fly BKK to Tokyo and then on to the US frequently, never tried routing west through London or Paris.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:07 PM   #29
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I used to live in Chiang Mai and really enjoyed it there. There is a lot to do and a big expat community. There are lots of good music venues. The cost of living is low. I would say the biggest negative is the major seasonal pollution there from farmers burning their crops. If you average over the year, air quality is fine in Chiang Mai.

But air quality becomes intolerable from about the beginning of March to the middle of April when the rains come (amount of pollution varies by year). I mean, we are not talking some general pollution, but it affects your ability to see on the golf driving range, etc. You can no longer see the landscapes outside of town and it is a health hazard, it is that bad. That is also the hottest time of year and North Thailand gets quite hot, with average high temps in March and April around 96 degrees. So that is the time to get out of town.

My mom visited me there and liked it so much she considered coming every year for a few months.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:15 PM   #30
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According to what I read, you can join a growing and active expat community in Chiang Mai and enjoy really low cost of housing and cost of living, whereas if you were in Bangkok, not quite as favorable. You have to connect through London or Paris to get to the US, if that's a concern. You'll probably want to rent housing, since you will not be able to own the land your house is on if you bought a house.
Any reasonable flight from most of the USA will go west through Asia to get to Thailand. The majority of flights even from the East Coast will route through Asia (Tokyo, etc.) although a few from there do go East instead.
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Old 03-26-2013, 01:47 PM   #31
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Yes, I would be curious what kind of visa he is living with? I believe that the long term options for someone under 50 are an education visa to learn the Thai language or an investment visa that requires a 10 million baht investment in savings account, government bonds, or real estate (so limited options). 10 million Baht = around $340,000 US dollars.

Back when your friend first went to Thailand, the threshold for buying a condo and getting an investment visa was much lower but it was changed after that. And the last I checked, they grandfathered in that group. I have a friend similar to your friend, and he got lucky in that he bought the condo before they changed the rules and is grandfathered in. Hopefully, it will last until he is 50 and then he could go on the retirement visa each year.
I did connect with my friend last night and pointed him to this thread. Hopefully he will chime in. Not sure if he has a "handle" yet but I gave him this link. Cheers.
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:17 PM   #32
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I fly BKK to Tokyo and then on to the US frequently, never tried routing west through London or Paris.
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Any reasonable flight from most of the USA will go west through Asia to get to Thailand. The majority of flights even from the East Coast will route through Asia (Tokyo, etc.) although a few from there do go East instead.

I'm just reading what's in a 2010 book : How to Retire Overseas (Peddicord). Your observations are better.
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:45 PM   #33
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It's always interesting to read about people's retirement experiences in SE Asia. I recently obtained my retirement visa in Malaysia. It's a 10 year easily renewable visa. The positives are that you can come and go as you wish. You do not have to live there to keep the visa. It allows me to come and go to Thailand at the border crossing as much as I desire. The cost of living is very low, similar to Thailand, and English is widely spoken. The only negative is that you need to maintain a bank account of close to US$50,000 (Fixed Deposit). However, I keep that amount in an international bank in Malaysia, and my interest is nearly 4%, so no complaints. That's a good investment. You can withdraw 1/3 of that after a year for housing or a car, and keep the balance in there as long as you have the visa.

I don't like the pressure one has to maintain the visa in Thailand. Malaysia allows me to call this country "home" even if I opt to stay there for short periods of time. I still like the idea of Thailand, but don't like to deal with the travel restrictions and showing up at immigration every three months.

My 2 cents worth.

Regards,
Rob
Hi Rob

Could you give us some color on why you chose Malaysia, where you are settling, are u renting or buying etc? Anything else about there that you like?

Thanks a lot

Brian
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Why Malaysia for me?
Old 03-28-2013, 03:15 AM   #34
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Why Malaysia for me?

Hi all-
In my own situation, I choose a retirement country only after I have a relationship with its people and culture and way of doing things. If I were in the States and had to decide where I want to retire overseas, in my case, it would be very difficult. I'd need to do a lot of research, and even then I'd need to spend a lot of time there as a tourist.

I have been a permanent resident in Singapore in Singapore for 24 years, and even when I was working in other countries, Singapore was always home. I'm 66, and I'm about to retire. Retiring in Singapore is not recommended, at least for me. When I first arrived in 1988 from Vermont, the population was a little more than 2 million. Now it's about 6 million. The cost of living has sky rocketed. I'm renting a 700 sq foot apartment in Singapore for the equivalent of US$2,100. It's the safest city (country) in the world by far, but the congestion and expenses make retirement here more difficult.

I go to Malaysia all the time. In Singapore, almost every one is 20 minutes from the border. The Malaysian people are very friendly, most speak English, and the cost of living is a fraction of what it is in Singapore. The same size apartment that I have in Singapore would be about US$400 in Malaysia, even in a very nice neighborhood. You can live very well on a small retirement income. Food is great, and the travel is very easy and fascinating.

Again, I already know Malaysia, so choosing this country as my retirement place was easy and presents no risks. The banks are excellent, as some of my expat friends there have no fear in putting money into them. When you research into any international retirement publications or polls, Malaysia is always in the top 5 as a retirement destination.

As mentioned earlier, I like the idea of only being there part of the year. I will rent, of course, and for me now, it would have to be near Singapore. The "state" of Johor is next to Singapore, and I would live there. This is a few months down the line, because although I now have the 10 year retirement visa, I'm still working in Singapore until the end of July. The visa does not require me to live there in order to keep it. Also, as a retiree there, I can work up to 20 hours per week.

I have US Medicare, of course, with all the additions that one could get (Part B, Supplementary, and Part D (Prescription Drugs). I cannot use it overseas, but I would be foolish not to be covered under Medicare. I can see myself in a few years spending part of the year in the States, and the other part in Malaysia.

Always a pleasure to read what others are doing.

Rob
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:10 PM   #35
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In the Peddicord book, she has a lot of good things to say about Kuala Lumpur. Based on just the star ratings across all the focus areas, it might even be the top pick in the book (no aspect less than 3 stars, and many 4 and 5's.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:55 PM   #36
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I found Kuala Lumpur more expensive than other areas of Malaysia, even considering that it is the capital. When I asked a couple of local friends there why this was so, they said there was a limitation of land for expansion of the city. The big cities of Malaysia were where I have found the most English speakers after Singapore and the Philippines, although my Malay experience is limited.

In Singapore itself, English seemed almost as widely spoken as in San Francisco, and I don't even think I am exaggerating. I saw some older non-English-speaking Chinese folks who went to restaurants and the staff had to fetch a Chinese speaking staff person to help them.
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Old 03-28-2013, 06:18 PM   #37
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I liked visiting KL but had no urge to live there. Langkawi is more my speed.
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:18 AM   #38
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Would welcome feedback on challenges faced during extended stays.
I just passed my 3 year mark, leaving the country only for travel. Guess that qualifies as an extended stay. Don't know what you mean by 'challenge', so I'll use my definition. As an expat I consider things to be challenges when they're: 1) An unrelenting discomfort, 2) Takes too much time and effort to deal with even with careful, optimized planning, or 3) Makes one question if the presence of absence of something is enough to make them live elsewhere.

No #3s yet.

No #2s. I have plenty of time, know that patience is required and if the system wants to bat me around like a ping pong ball just to make me howl, I smile and don't give them the satisfaction.

I see real estate and housing issues as other's big #2s because they didn't know or didn't follow the first rule of buying / leasing real estate in a corrupt country: Only spend the money you can walk away from. Foreigners are murdered in Thailand because they didn't have the common sense to walk away over a real estate deal gone bad. Oh sure, there are contracts, laws, lawyers and judges. But in the case of the most recent incident here, there are also people who learn your patterns and smack you in the face with a wooden beam as you ride by on your motorbike. Best lawyer in town doesn't help if you spend the last year of your life in a coma.

#1s The concept of 'too loud' doesn't exist. From conversations to public announcements to rolling trains of advertising sound trucks, the Thais have never met an intrusive sound (except at some Buddhist facilities) Hilltop wats are great places for quiet time when I let the noise get to me. I just purchased some 'musicians earplugs' that cut louder sounds but still allow normal conversation. I'll find out how they work when the package from the US arrives.

The second #1 for me was both hard and easy to let go. Hard because I want to go postal on the people involved. Easy because I know that would be a Very Bad Thing. Imagine what would happen in the US if you parked a vehicle in a narrow urban alley, blocking it to all but foot traffic for 10 minutes. Ruckus would be raised, threats would be hurled, anger would abound, one's parentage would be questioned, etc. Here ... such behavior just another day in Thailand.

When Thais encounter behavior that would have the actor labeled as a major a$$h*le in the US it doesn't raise an eyebrow here. One can't tell from the Thais that anything is amiss. They wait quietly or change their path, change their plans, anything but show intolerance of others who are putting there wants first.

The third #3 is the nature of the other expats. 'Odds and Sods' as one Brit put it, meaning a motley assortment of odds and ends. (Hey, I resemble that remark.) The larger expat communities have enough interest groups (weekly softball in Chiang Mai!) not centered around alcohol. In the smaller towns, especially ones not noted for many Americans, finding guys to hang out with can mean a significant lowering of one's standards and tests one's tolerance.

Others discussed retirement visa. There are two. The official one is a Non-immigrant type O-A. Can only be obtained in the country that issued your passport. Harder to get, easier to live with. The unofficial one is a Non-Immigrant type O. Most expats have the latter.

kramer said of Chiang Mai "air quality becomes intolerable from about the beginning of March". Different folks have different ideas of intolerable. I took an apartment in Chiang Mai this last high season, arriving in late October and intending to stay until the end of Jan or when the air got bad. By the second week in Jan my eyes had a slow burn 24/7, so I returned to Hua Hin.
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:05 PM   #39
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I found Kuala Lumpur more expensive than other areas of Malaysia, even considering that it is the capital. When I asked a couple of local friends there why this was so, they said there was a limitation of land for expansion of the city. The big cities of Malaysia were where I have found the most English speakers after Singapore and the Philippines, although my Malay experience is limited.

In Singapore itself, English seemed almost as widely spoken as in San Francisco, and I don't even think I am exaggerating. I saw some older non-English-speaking Chinese folks who went to restaurants and the staff had to fetch a Chinese speaking staff person to help them.
I think Peddicord puts a lot of weight on a world-class health facility nearby, so maybe that's why KL got on the list.

That story about seeking a Chinese speaker is telling! Peddicord says native languages are pretty much kept at home and it's English everywhere else.
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:17 AM   #40
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Malaysia has a burning season. Bad enough to sometimes force commercial port closures because of low visibility

My blog post
Postponed Singapore – Malaysia Trip | Four Letter Nerd

Asian eco-oriented blog post
Asian Footprint Watch: Sumatra open fires exacerbated by Global Warming choke Malaysia and Singapore while destroying Indonesian rain forest and biodiversity


Google 'burning season' malaysia
https://www.google.co.th/search?q=ma...w=1138&bih=534
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