Thailand has always been a popular expat destination due the low costs of living and relatively Westernised standards for Southeast Asia. 800,000 Brits alone flood to the tropical paradise every year for the white sandy beaches, agreeable climate and friendly locals. Now, however, it seems that other countries are starting to catch on to the perks of Thailand as a travel destination.
According to a recently published book, while Australia may be known worldwide as one of the top expat destinations itself, it seems that an increasing number of Aussies are opting to leave their home country for foreign climes. Surprisingly, it seems that the Aussies know something about their country that the rest of us don’t.
Allegedly, one of the most critical factors impacting the decision of many Australians to emigrate is the high cost of living. In a country where water is scarce and many standard products and services have to be transported over such vast distances, these transportation costs can significantly increase the cost of living. As a result, even staples may cost much more than other Western nations; and many times that of less developed countries.
So where are Australians – arguably already living in one of the best climates in the world – choosing to move to? In many cases, Thailand is topping the list. This is made even easier by the way in which Thailand – as well as some of their neighbours – are now offering long term retirement visas to wealthy expats. These visas allow expats to settle for long periods without the worry of repeated visa renewals being required. In exchange, Thailand gains access to a new population of wealthy foreigners to help enrich their economy.
Even the recent political unrest – whilst eyed nervously by some nationalities – doesn’t seem to be putting off the Australians interested in retiring to Southeast Asia. By living in a country with a reasonable standard of living, yet one which costs considerably less than Australia, expats living there are able to make their hard-earned savings and pensions go much further.
However there is one ‘fly in the ointment’ that expats arriving in Thailand will notice; the rapidly increasing cost of healthcare in Thailand.
Whilst Thailand’s healthcare system is highly rated and generally offers excellent levels of care, visiting a medical practitioner is becoming ever more expensive. Bearing in mind the value-for-money offered by property and other living expenses in Thailand, expats now consider private health insurance
‘a necessity’ to help control the costs of Thai medical care.