If you're interested in a low-cost retirement near the beach, I recommend you take a look at Hua Hin, Thailand. This Thai town you’ve probably never heard of offers everything the would-be retiree with a modest retirement nest egg is shopping for. You and your significant other could settle in here comfortably on a budget of as little as $1,000 a month.
Southeast Asia is full of low-cost beach options, but the reality is that few of them meet the requirements of a retirement haven. Many of these places have developed into party towns attracting young backpackers looking for a wild time—a very different agenda from that of the typical retiree. Hua Hin, on the other hand, is evolving into a full-fledged expat retirement community. The city has a population of 70,000, 15,000 of whom are foreigners, and many of them have retired here.
Hua Hin is easily accessible from Bangkok, which is less than three hours north. It’s also right on the beach, which has clean soft sand, warm water, and many nearly deserted stretches. The beach is the main draw, but nearby are mountains, wetlands, waterfalls, caves, and national parks. There are also 12 nearby golf courses and three more under construction. The Banyan Golf Club was named the best golf course in the Asia Pacific region by Asian Golf in 2009.
The town itself has hotels, resorts, private homes, and condominiums on the beach. There’s also a new shopping mall, two big grocery stores, a cinema, and good restaurants from budget to five-star, offering both local specialties and Western-style fare. An internationally accredited hospital, Bangkok Hospital, Hua Hin, opened in May. Expatriate Wendy Justice visited recently and found the facility spotlessly clean and modern. Justice has been living and traveling in this region for eight years with her husband. “David and I were also impressed by the quality of the roads,” she says. “Things can get busy in town where there are only two traffic signals, but as soon as you get outside the city you find wide lanes, good pavement, and well-behaved drivers.”
Perhaps the most compelling reason to consider this exotic option for retirement is the cost-of-living. In few places in the world could a couple with a retirement budget of as little as $1,000 a month afford to retire to a beach as beautiful as this one.
Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter. Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.