With year-round sunshine, a dazzling array of gorgeous beaches and lots of modern amenities, Koh Samui makes a great destination for anyone looking for a dream retirement by the sea.
About Steve LePoidevin
“The last time I went exploring by motorbike through the jungle, I saw an elephant just walking down the road. An elephant!” says Michael Brown, 53, who lives in the Thai resort city of Hua Hin.
Living in the tropics is a dream for many and Chiang Mai, Thailand, is still a popular destination for those seeking a year-round hot climate, along with a low cost of living. Although far from any white sandy beaches, Chiang Mai still has plenty of activities to keep you busy, both in the city and the surrounding countryside. Here are a few of the popular activities that you can enjoy while living in this tropical paradise.
Thailand really is the land of festivals. There seems to be a different major holiday every month. And Chiang Mai is the place to celebrate most of them. For some reason, tourists gravitate to this part of the country by the thousands to partake in everything from Songkran to the Lantern Festival.
Retiring overseas could be the best thing you ever do…but it’s a big step. So if you’re not quite ready to make the move abroad on a permanent basis, the next best thing might be to go for a trial run and test the waters in one of your dream destinations.
Dozens of white sandy beaches, spectacular smooth granite rock formations, thick jungles and coconut groves line the 51-kilometre highway that rings the bulk of Koh Samui. On my recent trip here from my home in Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, I rented a scooter and spent a couple of days driving around the countryside.
When we first stepped into Doi Ping Mansion, one of the smaller condo complexes in Chiang Mai, we felt right at home. Our wonderful one-bedroom apartment, near the famous Night Bazaar, costs us less than $600 a month. And we are a five-minute walk from the banks of the Ping River, which lazily winds its way through the city.
An inexpensive cost of living, tropical sunshine, white sandy beaches and friendly people…everyone has their reasons for moving to Thailand. For my wife Nancy and I, retiring here a couple of years ago was a no-brainer. I had just finished off my teaching career with a six-year stint at a large international school in China. Southeast Asia was a lot closer, hotter and less expensive than Canada, my home country. But the largest draw for us was the high-quality urban lifestyle available at low prices.
New condo complexes and housing developments are springing up within a 16-kilometre radius, hand-in-hand with a burgeoning infrastructure of new malls, international restaurants and tourist attractions, which were much more difficult to find just a few years ago. Because it is a bustling seaside town, seafood is affordable and plentiful, and public transport is cheap.
It was Paul who encouraged his wife to return to her homeland of Thailand to retire. “Chiang Mai is very easy-going,” says Paul. “Other things that make it a great place to live are the good road system and relatively inexpensive cost of living. You can go to Chiang Rai, Phayao, Lampang…there’s just so many places that are easy to get to for short visits or overnight trips. It’s also a cheap flight to Bangkok (about $70 one-way) or a nice train trip that we have done a few times.”