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Old 04-23-2013, 02:45 AM   #41
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I have lived in Thailand for the past 7 years and enjoy life there, I am from the UK and work in Asia so it has been my base. I spend 5 weeks there +/- and 5 weeks at work also in Asia.
I have spent a lot of time in Pattaya as it was the first place I visited and I go diving there, I keep a rental apartment there for that purpose. I now own a new place in Chiang Mai, It is a fantastic City without the craziness and heat of Bangkok. It has to be one of the best places in the Country.
My next and maybe last project will be working in Thailand near Pattaya after which I may retire but it will be to Chiang Mai.
Retirement visa is easy but you need to be 50, weather, food, people all good - not a difficult place to enjoy life.
Does the air quality get really bad in the summers? I've looked at the data and it says the air quality index is poor in the summers when the farmers flash burn grub.
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Old 04-23-2013, 03:02 AM   #42
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Does the air quality get really bad in the summers? I've looked at the data and it says the air quality index is poor in the summers when the farmers flash burn grub.
No, my understanding is that the air quality is great in Chiang Mai except for that period of burning. One can probably first notice it in January and it peaks in early April. The air quality during this time varies by year.

In the summer, the rains come. The very beginning of the rainy season is Mid-April although there is maybe not so much until May. The farmers have burned their crops in anticipation of the rainy season.

You can google sites that measure air quality daily in all parts of the country. There is a historical database on line. If I recall, Chiang Mai had above average air quality (for Thailand) if you removed the months of March and April.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:56 PM   #43
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I live in Chiang Mai. This year the air quality started getting bad in February and continued into April. It just started improving about a week ago. During that time, only an occasional rain would clear the air wonderfully for a short time. We try to get away at least during March.
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:08 AM   #44
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Does the air quality get really bad in the summers? I've looked at the data and it says the air quality index is poor in the summers when the farmers flash burn grub.
FYI, 'summer' and the 3 other season names most middle latitude dwellers use are not used here. Thailand has 3 seasons: wet, dry, high (or tourist). Farmers burn at the end of dry season. That's when the air is the worst. As others have posted, it's generally Feb to March, +/- 1 month. It depends on the year and one's personal tolerance for smoke in the air.

To get first hand opinions of how bad and when it happens, Google: burning season chiang mai.
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Old 05-30-2013, 06:38 AM   #45
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Planning our first Thailand or Malaysia stay. We prefer to rent for 1-2 months. In this case we would like a beach house (not a high rise condo) with access to restaurants and are evaluating areas . Not BK, KL or other large city. Any recommended areas?
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Old 05-30-2013, 08:02 AM   #46
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Phuket in the south if you like the beach. Many types of lodging. There is a wealth of information on line. Also, Chaing Mai in the north. No beaches and a little bit cooler. There is also Pattaya southeast of Bangkok. It has beaches but not nearly as clean as Phuket.
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Old 05-30-2013, 09:07 AM   #47
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Any recommended areas?
Before making recommendations about Thailand I usually ask people:
- What sort of lifestyle do you want: most or all of the comforts / amenities found in a rich nation, or a mix of some / limited western amenities and thai style.
- Some towns are year around travel destinations for sexpats. One can live in these towns and rarely or never encounter those districts and men. Would you live in such a town?
- Do you want a substantial expat presence? One that includes a significant percentage of those from your home country?
- How does your budget fall on the scale from 1 (pensioner) to 5 (I golf 3 times a week)?
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Old 05-30-2013, 12:03 PM   #48
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My favorite beachy area of Thailand is Krabi.
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Old 05-31-2013, 09:00 AM   #49
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Before making recommendations about Thailand I usually ask people:
- What sort of lifestyle do you want: most or all of the comforts / amenities found in a rich nation, or a mix of some / limited western amenities and thai style.
- Some towns are year around travel destinations for sexpats. One can live in these towns and rarely or never encounter those districts and men. Would you live in such a town?
- Do you want a substantial expat presence? One that includes a significant percentage of those from your home country?
- How does your budget fall on the scale from 1 (pensioner) to 5 (I golf 3 times a week)?

We don't need all the comforts of the West, however we would like a walkable area with clean beaches and good restaurants. Being able to take a long run on the beach a plus. Being around a large number of rowdy Western tourists or dive bars a negative. No need for large expat presence. We would like a nice private house, so I guess we are at the '4' level. We have lived for years outside of the U.S., but not Asia. Like to settle in for a long stay and get to know the local businesses. Open to either Thailand or Malaysia.
Appreciate the advice. Perhaps there are specific forums for this type of Thailand experience?

M
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Old 06-01-2013, 02:04 AM   #50
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We don't need all the comforts of the West, however we would like a walkable area with clean beaches and good restaurants. Being able to take a long run on the beach a plus. Being around a large number of rowdy Western tourists or dive bars a negative. No need for large expat presence. We would like a nice private house, so I guess we are at the '4' level. We have lived for years outside of the U.S., but not Asia. Like to settle in for a long stay and get to know the local businesses. Open to either Thailand or Malaysia.
Appreciate the advice. Perhaps there are specific forums for this type of Thailand experience?

M
By 'good restaurants' do you mean western/european? In my experiance, any non-trivial amount of western comforts will come with an expat presence some would call 'large'. Others define 'large' differently.

The forum to be avoided for this sort of advice is thaivisa.com. Or just about any advice about Thailand not involving visas. I'd start with ESL teacher forums. Can't recommend any, it's been too long since I researched Thailand as a place to live.
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Old 06-02-2013, 12:15 AM   #51
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Good restaurants means local but where you are not eating from Hawker stalls always. Not adverse to employing a cook a few days a week either.

Thanks for the warning about the visa forums.

Don't mind areas with long term expats but loads of Waikiki style tourists as I imagine to be routine in Phuket not preferred. Krabi looks interesting at first pass.
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Old 06-02-2013, 01:22 PM   #52
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Before making recommendations about Thailand I usually ask people:
- What sort of lifestyle do you want: most or all of the comforts / amenities found in a rich nation, or a mix of some / limited western amenities and thai style.
- Some towns are year around travel destinations for sexpats. One can live in these towns and rarely or never encounter those districts and men. Would you live in such a town?
- Do you want a substantial expat presence? One that includes a significant percentage of those from your home country?
- How does your budget fall on the scale from 1 (pensioner) to 5 (I golf 3 times a week)?
Good questions to ask ItDontmeanathing.

I've visited twice recently and a few tips I give folks are to brush up on basic Thai language. I did not and it sure would have helped having those basic words nailed down. Initially asking where the nearest restaurant or pub was became a challenge by me not knowing the language. Most Thai folks try hard with English but it's not like the Philippines where English is taught in schools.

2nd is "are you used to high humidity?" I'm a NW Washington native and we really don't have those hot and sticky days. 90 degrees and 90 percent humidity in April is common in Thailand. Cheers.
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Old 06-02-2013, 01:32 PM   #53
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Bangkok Is the World's Top Tourist Destination | TIME.com
Thailand tourism: New record set in 2012 | Bangkok Post: learning

Talking to a friend of mine who has a vacation villa in Pattaya, the increased popularity of Thailand as a tourist destination and the weaker dollar make Thailand much less of a bargain these days.
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Old 06-02-2013, 04:13 PM   #54
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I've visited twice recently and a few tips I give folks are to brush up on basic Thai language. I did not and it sure would have helped having those basic words nailed down.
In my experience, visiting places where little English is spoken is doable. I can't imagine living there without committed study of the language or a Thai wife / GF. Not knowing the language means either having a high tolerance for confusion and not getting what you want or living somewhere with a expat base and a high season tourist population.

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2nd is "are you used to high humidity?" I'm a NW Washington native and we really don't have those hot and sticky days. 90 degrees and 90 percent humidity in April is common in Thailand. Cheers.
Most get used to it. Come at the beginning of high season, then heat up as the tourists leave. Using Air Con at home only to sleep and not camping out in air conditioned places during the day makes for more rapid acclimation. I've been here 3 years, use AC only for sleeping (at 28 C / 82 F) or when I'm sick.
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:52 PM   #55
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The requirement for the Thai retirement visa are somewhat less onerous these days. You do have to be over 50, however. The 90 day reporting requirement can be met by mailing in a form 15 days before your due date. I have never gone in personally to do the 90 day report myself. Exiting and reentering the country counts as a 90 day report and starts the day count ticking for the next one. The Thai gov't requires for a renewal of the retirement visa that you show a Thai bank balance of at least 800,000 baht ($27,327) for 60 days before renewal. After the renewal is approved you can do what you want with the money until the next renewal time comes up. Some other countries, like Malaysia and Ecuador, require that you maintain a minimum balance all year round. Most countries, like India and the US, don't have any retirement visa option at all.

With a retirement visa and a multiple re-entry permit, you can come and go as you like. I am on a marriage visa which has slightly different requirements from the retirement visa, but the process is the same. I go once to immigration once a year for a morning to apply and then come back a month later to pick up the visa. So, the Thai retiremement visa seems pretty easy to manage to me.

The Phillipine visa looks to be the gold standard for easy visa requirements. However, there are other disadvantages to the Phillipines, such as crime.
Is not the bank balance requirement waived if you have a monthly income statement showing over 65,000 baht? I would prefer not to have a local bank account with any significant balance.
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:22 PM   #56
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As an aside, a visiting friend told me that when he applied for the Thai Retirement Visa (for the first time) this past Fall while he was in Thailand they did not require the home country Police Report even though it is technically a requirement. He knew from reading the forums that they do not usually ask for it. My Canadian friend who applies in Toronto each year definitely has to supply it each time.
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:43 PM   #57
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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.
I found KL to be pretty bland and just another large Asian city with lots of concrete and tall buildings but no color or soul.
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:45 PM   #58
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Is not the bank balance requirement waived if you have a monthly income statement showing over 65,000 baht? I would prefer not to have a local bank account with any significant balance.
Yes, it's true you can qualify based on income, but there are stories that for those who use income the Thai immigration authorities may start asking for arbitrary and more extensive documentation. By contrast using the bank deposit method is pretty standard--you give them a bank statement that shows the balance for each of the previous 60 days. And that's it. The significant balance is only a few months' worth of living expenses that you would be bringing in in the near future anyway. A local bank account is the easiest way to pay bills like electicity and rent since people don't use checks here. Also a local bank account provides an ATM/debit card that can be used with any local bank for withdrawals without a fee. A withdrawal using your US bank ATM card is likely to cost $5, although some folks manage to get around that. If you plan on transferring money from a US bank regularly the best local bank is Bangkok Bank.
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Old 06-03-2013, 02:35 AM   #59
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As an aside, a visiting friend told me that when he applied for the Thai Retirement Visa (for the first time) this past Fall while he was in Thailand they did not require the home country Police Report even though it is technically a requirement. He knew from reading the forums that they do not usually ask for it. My Canadian friend who applies in Toronto each year definitely has to supply it each time.
When discussing retirement visas, it's essential to note the type of non-immigrant visa: type "O-A" or type "O". The requirements are different
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:48 AM   #60
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When discussing retirement visas, it's essential to note the type of non-immigrant visa: type "O-A" or type "O". The requirements are different
Type O-A. So one does not have to leave for a year (no border run required) although you have to "check in" every 90 days.

Fulfilling the requirements for the police clearance can be difficult if you are abroad. For instance, in the past they have enforced that the clearance must be 90 days old or newer and there can be verification requirements for the document.
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