Retire in Thailand

Many people have a dream to retire in Thailand, because it has a cheaper cost of living than the West and consequently any retirement income will last longer.

But not only that, Thailand also has a tropical to subtropical climate, which is more suited to an outdoor lifestyle and for those people currently living in a temperate climate zone, with cold winters there is the opportunity to spend the worst months in a place with a better climate.

Many people find that the warmer climate helps to reduce the pains associated with arthritis and just general aging.

retirement in thailand beachDreaming of warm waters lapping the sand in Thailand?

So, if you are on a limited income or even an unlimited income, then retiring to Thailand could be the option that is right for you, particularly if you are not averse to the high humidity.

A question many people have about retirement is, "how much do I need to retire in Thailand?"

So let's see how to answer this question below as there are more aspects to retiring in Thailand, than just having sufficient income.

Retire in Thailand and relax on a sandy beach

Prepare to Retire in Thailand

Primarily, in this discussion I will outline a number of different strategies that I considered when planning a successful retirement in Thailand and how to pre-prepare for this life change that retirement presents.

One of the key elements for a relaxing retirement in any country is to be able to generate sufficient income to have a comfortable lifestyle once you have stopped working; that is, the money should keep on rolling in, no matter what.

You don't want to be worrying about future bills or variations in the exchange rate and so early planning is necessary.

The second element for a successful retirement is to have something to keep your mind occupied and fill the days doing the things that you love.

Whether that be a hobby or interest, such as photography or golf or some other interest that you can devote time to.

So there are two parts when considering retirement.

  1. Pre-retirement
  2. Retirement

If you are currently of pre-retirement age and interested in creating sufficient wealth to be able to comfortably retire in Thailand then please keep reading.

There could be something here for you that elaborates on your own thinking or guides you to a decision about your future retirement needs.

To stay in Thailand long term you will require the appropriate visa  and then the permission to stay has to be renewed annually and for that you will require some proof of income or cash in the bank.

Early planning is key here.

Thailand Retirement Visa

A Thailand Retirement visa can be obtained in Australia or in Thailand and there are slightly different application costs and financial requirements that apply. 

Obtaining a Thai Retirement Visa in Australia

If you are an Australian National or Permanent Resident, then the process to obtain a Thai Retirement Visa whilst in Australia is explained here. 

There are three visas available from the Royal Thai Consulate. 

  • NON-IMMIGRANT VISA TYPE O Retirement - 90 days


  • NON-IMMIGRANT VISA TYPE O-X - 5 years + 5 years

Obtaining a Thai Retirement Visa in Thailand

It seems that the majority of applicants conduct the visa application process in Thailand and so that is what is explained further. 

To be able to stay in Thailand, it is necessary to establish that you have sufficient funds to do so as part of the visa application or renewal process.

The requirements for the Thailand Retirement Visa are:

  1. You must be 50 years or older
  2. You must meet the financial requirements
  3. You must hold a valid passport with at least 18 months remaining (from date of planned entry)
  4. You must not have any prohibited disease
  5. You must not have criminal history

A one-year retirement visa allows you to stay in Thailand for 12 months and thereafter you can apply for an extension of stay.

During this period you are not allowed to be employed in Thailand and you are required to report to the Immigration Office every 90 days.

Although generally referred to as a Retirement Visa, the correct title for this is:

  • Non-Immigrant Visa  “O-A” (1 Year Long Stay)

This is what most retirees seem to opt for, but be aware that there is also the:

  • Non-Immigrant Visa  “O-A” (5 Year Long Stay)

with higher financial requirements.

Retire in Thailand activities

Thailand Retirement Visa Requirements

Whilst the financial requirements seem straightforward, they can be interpreted in different ways by different immigration offices and so you should know what is required to obtain a retire in Thailand visa.

The Thailand Retirement Visa requirements are:

  • Must be 50 years old and above

  • Bank account showing THB 800,000, or
  • Monthly income of THB 65,000, or 
  • Combination of both (Bank account plus income = THB 800,000

The purpose of these requirements is to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds for your 12-month stay. 

Of course it only makes sense that the retiree has sufficient funds to support themselves and these numbers are definitely on the conservative side, as it is possible to live in Thailand on less then THB 65,000 per month.

When planning to retire in Thailand, a good source for all of the visa requirements is laid out in the official Thai Government website.

Once you have obtained your retirement visa there are certain conditions about reporting, about renewal and about leaving the country that all have to be considered, to ensure that your permission to stay does not lapse.

I am not going to explore these retirement visa details at this point, as they can be specific to your situation. Applying for a retirement visa in Thailand is not the only path. 

Plate of Thai food, Som Tam Papaya salad

What is important for the purpose of this discussion, is that the retiree needs to have THB 800,000 to start with and if this is being spent at the rate of THB 65,000 per month, a way to replace this money, either by capital growth or by draw down from your assets.

After one year, an extension of the retirement visa is obtained, once again being able to demonstrate, either THB 800,000 in the bank or monthly remittances of THB 65,000.

Using the exchange rate of September 2019, these are the approximate local currency equivalents.

  • THB 800,000 ~ USD 26,000 = $2170 per month
  • THB 800,000 ~ AUD 38,500 = $3200 per month
  • THB 800,000 ~ GBP 21,400 = £1780 per month

Using the exchange rate of September 2023, these are the approximate local currency equivalents.

  • THB 800,000 ~ USD 21,694 = $1808 per month 
  • THB 800,000 ~ AUD 32,164 = $2680 per month
  • THB 800,000 ~ GBP 18,941 = £1578 per month

If you wish to verify the current exchange rate for your country then use this exchange rate calculator.

Depending upon the currency, there has been an 11-20% move in the exchange rate over this period.

Retire in Thailand and laze the day away on Bangkok BeachesRetire with this window view

Cost of Thailand Retirement Visa

The cost of the Thailand Retirement Visa is:

  • 1-Year Thai Retirement Visa (Single-Entry): 2,000 Thai Baht
  • 1-Year Thai Retirement Visa (Multiple-Entry):  5,000 Thai Baht

Thailand Exchange Rate

One area to consider, is that if you are remitting foreign funds into a Thai bank each month then you are subject to an exchange rate variation risk.

This exchange rate variation can cause a problem for retirees on a fixed income, if there is an adverse exchange rate move. So it pays to have ample buffer in any retirement calculations.

As an example, the THB / AUD exchange rate has gone from 32 baht / dollar in 2012 to 21 baht / dollar in 2019 to 24 baht / dollar in 2024.

The long term average exchange rate though is 26 baht / Australian dollar, but one needs to be able to weather these extreme situations or your ability to retire in Thailand will be affected, as you will not be able to meet the financial requirements for the retirement visa for the coming year.

Using the foreign currency exchange rates above, a retiree with a pension of AUD 2,500 per month would have

$2,500 x 32 = THB 80,000 in 2012

and then this would only be

$2,500 x 21 = THB 52,500 in 2019.

In 2012 the pension was enough to meet the requirements and in 2019 the pension was not enough. 

This is not a good situation to be in, as you may have made other financial commitments to living in Thailand.

For example perhaps you purchased property, got married, had children. (there are lower financial requirements for the marriage visa compared to the retirement visa)

Even so, it can be the cause of extreme concern if you find yourself in the position where your income is no longer enough to meet the visa extension requirements.

Any financial planning has to take account of this type of currency fluctuation and it is important to allow sufficient income buffer to be able to manage future Thai baht exchange rate changes.

Of the currencies discussed there has been an 11-20% variation, so allowing a buffer is a wise choice when planning for retirement in Thailand.

How Much Money Do You Need to Retire in Thailand

To be able to estimate how much money is needed to retire in Thailand and produce an income of 800,000 THB per year, some assumptions have to be made.

Let's assume the future exchange rate is 25 baht / AUD and that the return on invested capital is a conservative 5%.

800,000 THB / 25 = $32,000 AUD

$32,000 AUD / 5% = $640,000 AUD

To produce an income of 800,000 THB then retirement capital of $640,000 is required based on the given assumptions.

That number is a little bit daunting to say the least and I would be fairly confident that many retirees coming to Thailand would not have access to that amount of capital.

The above example assumes that all the 800,000 THB is spent and the total amount has to be replenished, either monthly or at the end of the year, so obviously living more cheaply is one option.

Rather than relying upon dividend income, what are the other options available to create an income stream of 800,000 THB per year.

Thailand Retirement Income Options

In time these topics will be expanded, but for now a brief explanation is provided.

These ideas may give cause for more consideration, depending upon whether you are saving for retirement or are already retired and need something to do, plus a little side income.

I will add Pros and Cons to each topic as I build out the concepts.

Let's consider some possible income streams.

  1. Property rental income
  2. Website income
  3. YouTube channel income
  4. Stockmarket investment / speculation
  5. Forex / Bitcoin speculation
  6. Affiliate Marketing
  7. Online Services
  8. Australian Government Pension

Property Rental Income

Renting out property is one way of creating an income stream.

Residential or commercial property can both provide attractive yields depending upon when the property was purchased in the investment cycle.

As an alternative to owning physical property, there are Real Estate Investment Trusts that operate as listed entities on the various stock exchanges.

Website Income

Creating and running your own website is one way to earn additional income when planning your retirement in Thailand. It is not as complicated as it may seem.

The start up costs can be very low and you don't need a lot of computer skills to get started.

Basically you learn skills as you go.

When I started the bangkok-travel-ideas website back in 2007 with SoloBuildIt (SBI), I had very little computer skills, other than being able to type and I knew nothing about internet marketing.

The secret to being successful though, is in creating a website topic that people are interested in enough to come and visit.

So long as you have a passion for the subject, then you will stay interested enough to create new content for your audience and if enough people start to visit your website, then monetising some aspect of the topic, either by mailing lists, advertising or selling a product, can create an income stream in retirement.

For anyone planning to retire to Thailand, this type of passive income is an ideal supplement to your Government or Industry pension.

I have to advise that I am an affiliate for SBI and earn commissions from any sales, so if this sounds interesting, then make the choice to Learn More and get started with your own SoloBuildIt or WordPress website today.

Solo Build It link

The SBI process really helped me and perhaps it can assist you to make your retirement more comfortable, whilst providing an interesting activity to keep the mind active.

The one thing that is not obvious in SBI, is that all of the tools needed to create a high performing website are included in the subscription costs.

Not only are all the tools provided, but there is an extensive training program included in the package.

According to SBI there are 80 modules of add-ons and integrations that are all included. It is not necessary to be purchasing additional subscriptions.

Solo Build It link

Learn More today and make your next step towards a creating a fulfilling retirement.

YouTube Channel

The aim of a YouTube Channel is to increase your exposure and gain an audience that follows your journey. The videos can be monetised and the audience can purchase your merchandise.

It is quite a slow path to gain notice on YouTube and it can take a couple of years of steady content creation before getting substantial visibility.

This subscriber is challenging himself with a Rubik's Cube and sharing his progress.

Be sure to give him a Thumbs Up for encouragement and you can even join his Patreon account, to help him on his way.

Not a lot of equipment is required to get started with this method of content creation, other than to upload the video from the iPhone.

Over the past few years there has been an increase in the number of Thailand travel creators sharing their experiences of moving to Thailand and travelling around.

These travel topics are more complex to create, as obviously cameras, microphones and video editing software is required.

But if you have an interest in photography and travel, then you are doing what you love anyway.

Online Services

Perhaps you are good at Marketing and can teach others or you may have a great Excel spreadsheet skill or even learned amazing Photoshop techniques. 

Most people coming upto retirement age have a lifetime of skill and knowledge and whilst it may seem mundane information to you, there are many younger people that could benefit from your years' experience.

No matter what skill you have, so long as you just know a little more than the person learning, then that skill can be monetized. 

Creating a simple course, selling your knowledge or even providing translation or graphics arts services can bring some additional cash.

Currently I offer three online services for small businesses:

These tasks are things I am doing already and now I can get paid for providing the same services.

Consulting to clients outside of Thailand or providing some sort of website timeless content is not likely to cause visa renewal issues.

There is a special visa category though for Digital Entrepreneurs that caters for younger Digital Nomads.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is when you sell someone elses product and take a percentage of sales.

The good news is that all the messy work of order fulfillment,  cancellations and customer complaints is not your problem to deal with.

For travel websites, some of the most common affiliate programs are those run by Hotel booking aggregators, such as or Agoda.

This bangkok-travel-ideas website uses Agoda, that pays around 5% in commission.

Sites which rely upon subscriptions for ongoing services, may pay out up to 50% of the first years subscription.

This income can add up quite quickly, if you have a blog that has visitors interested in signing up.

It is more likely that businesses in the early growth stage will pay higher commissions.

Typically, once a business becomes established, then the affiliate  commission structure is reduced and the task is then handled more by company employees, rather than by affiliates.

Amazon is another well know affiliate program, paying a commission to those that advertise its products, but it no longer pays high commissions.

The big downside to affiliate marketing is that you don't own the product and you are building someone elses business and not your own.

At any time they can cut the commission rate as low as they want and your business can be swept away overnight.

Diversifying the range of affiliate programs is one way to mitigate this risk.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket, as they say.

The positives of affiliate marketing, is that your focus just needs to be on generating leads for the company and the downside is that these leads are not owned by you and so they cannot be monetised further.

Australian Government Pension

So one source of income for retirees living in Thailand is from the Australian Government Pension.

There are a few restrictions that people need to know about as part of the financial planning exercise, as the rights to a Government Pension depend upon certain factors and forward planning is necessary.

There are some rules to be eligible to recieve the Australian Government pension if you intend to live overseas.

Let's explore the complications.

  • There is a minimum age to be eligible
  • The pension is means tested, so your assets have to be below a certain threshold
  • You should be in Australia when you apply
  • There can be portability restrictions
  • The Australian pension was designed to be paid to Australians living in Australia and so the benefits paid to expats may be reduced or depend upon your taxation status.

Best Place to Retire in Thailand

Well, this is completely out there as what is best for one person is not best for another.

What do you think is the best place to retire in Thailand?

Do you like the beach, do you like the mountains, do you like the city life?

When I used to visit Thailand for my work, I would be asked in casual conversation by the office staff, "do you like the city or do you like the country"? 

At the time I did not understand the point of the question.

But over time I realised that what I was being asked was, "am I a family man" or "am I a playboy"?  

Thailand can accommodate both types of people, but you should know what category you fall into as that will influence where you choose to stay.

If you don't mind country life, going to bed at 20:00 hours and getting up at 05:00 hours then maybe the country is for you, but if you want to party until 03:00 hours and sleep in until midday the there will be a city for you also.

Whether that city is Ubon Ratchathani for the country or Bangkok / Pattaya / Phuket for the party life you can find a town in Thailand that suits your life stage.

Most importantly, checking out all the options first, before making any substantial financial commitment is essential.

Learning about an area by taking a short-term rental first, is a good way to gain knowledge of the environment before making a bigger commitment.

Planning to retire in Thailand is a big move and it is wise to make early preparations and not to lock yourself into anything before properly evaluation.

Hopefully this pages has given you some ideas for planning your Thailand retirement years.

Revised 21-February-2024

People also ask:

How much to retire in Thailand?

Meet the financial requirements of 800,000 THB deposited into a Thai bank account or a 65,000 THB minimum monthly income. A combination of the two can also be accepted.

What is the best place to retire in Thailand?

The best place to retire is the one in which you are most comfortable and has the facilities that you require.

If you have never been to Thailand before, try renting a few months in a number of different places to get a feel for what you need.

Narrow your choices beforehand by considering, seasons and climate, beachside, large town or countryside environments.

Try a number of different places before making a final decision.

How to retire in Thailand?

If you are 50 years or older and meet the financial requirements apply for a Retirement visa.

The permission of stay can then be extended annually, so long as you continue to meet the minimum financial requirements.

Application for a Retirement visa can either be completed once you are in Thailand or before you arrive, by application to your local Thai Embassy.

Retire In Thailand Conclusion

This page provides information about retiring in Thailand and serves as a guide for individuals considering Thailand as a retirement destination, offering insights into the benefits, requirements, and lifestyle aspects of retiring in the country.

The article begins by highlighting the allure of retiring in Thailand, showcasing its tropical climate, beautiful landscapes, rich culture, and affordable cost of living.

It emphasizes the welcoming nature of the Thai people and the availability of quality healthcare facilities, making it an attractive option for retirees.

The information provides an overview of the requirements and processes involved in retiring in Thailand.

It explains the Thai Retirement Visa, also known as the Non-Immigrant O-A Visa, which allows foreigners aged 50 and above to stay in Thailand for an extended period.

The page details the necessary documents, financial criteria, and application procedures for obtaining the visa.

Furthermore, the page offers insights into the lifestyle and activities retirees can enjoy in Thailand.

It highlights the diverse range of leisure opportunities, including exploring cultural sites, engaging in outdoor activities, and participating in community events.

It also mentions the availability of retirement communities and services tailored to the needs of retirees.

Additionally, the website provides practical information on healthcare, cost of living, transportation, and safety considerations for retirees in Thailand and advises on important aspects such as health insurance, local transportation options, and general safety precautions.

In conclusion, the website serves as a valuable resource for individuals considering retirement in Thailand.

It provides an overview of the benefits, requirements, and lifestyle aspects associated with retiring in the country.

By offering comprehensive information, the website assists individuals in making informed decisions and planning for a fulfilling retirement experience in Thailand.

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