Top 10 Cities In Thailand For Expat Retirees


Top 10 Cities In Thailand For Expat Retirees

Want to live in Thailand with a Thai retirement visa? Well, first you should figure out which city you want to settle down in Thailand!

Thailand is possibly one of the most interesting and affordable places for you to retire in the world. Known for its foreigner-friendly infrastructure and welcoming culture, many expats from around the world have chosen the Land of Smiles as the paradise where they can enjoy their golden years. The first thing you have to consider before making an application for a retirement visa in Thailand is which part of the country you want to live in. Here’s a list of 10 Thai cities that are loved by expats:


Bangkok is Thailand’s capital city and it is the most populous one in the country. It’s a buzzing cosmopolitan destination that comprises of many tall buildings, bustling markets, glittering nightclubs, ancient temples, magnificent palaces as well as street-side vendors that sell tantalising foods. Apart from being coined as a concrete jungle, it possesses natural beauty which you can see from flowering tropical plants, green spaces and swirling canals. Although the car traffic can be a nightmare at times, expat retirees who favour a bustling cityscape and want diverse lifestyle experiences should make Bangkok their preferred city to live in.


Pattaya is a great holiday destination and a popular retirement destination for many western expats. It is possibly the most enigmatic city in Thailand and a beach paradise to many. The city offers many facilities and amenities such as long stretches of beaches, excellent sports clubs, full-scale golf courses and plenty opportunities for social activities. Serviced apartments, villas and condominiums are easily available in the city, and they are great for anyone who seeks the fine balance between beachside living and city living.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is located near the foothills of northern Thailand, and can be reached by air travel from the capital city of Bangkok. The city is renowned for those who seek a tranquil lifestyle or a more temperate climate. Chiang Mai is also home to many Buddhist temples with rich history that dates back to over 7 centuries ago. Tranquil doesn’t mean that you do not get to have fun! Here, you will find movie theatres that offer first-run films, shopping malls and delectable dining options so modern conveniences are within close reach. A substantial amount of expats live near Chiang Mai’s city centre in highly affordable condominium developments so why not join them today?


Phuket houses one of Thailand’s famed beach destinations and it offers the best of worlds: spending fun-filled nights in the area’s nightclubs and spending peaceful days on idyllic sandy beaches. Because of the large influx of expats over the years, Phuket has no lack of international cuisine offerings in top notch restaurants. Of course, if you want to go local, you can also enjoy some of the best Thai-style seafood here. The real estate market in Phuket is a bustling one, and whether you buy a luxury pool villa or rent a cosy condo, you can be sure that there’s no lack of options for you to choose from.

Mae Hong Son

Previously known as Mae Rong Son, this province is located on Thailand’s western border. The name of the province means “The City of Three Mists” and can be reached by bus or car from Chiang Mai besides being serviced by the Mae Hong Son Airport. This place is also a popular starting point for many local tours that visit caves and even the hill tribe villages. Just outside the city, you will also be able to find beautiful hot springs and magnificent waterfalls.
One of the reasons why Mae Hong Son makes this list is because of one of its town named Pai. Pai is a relatively small town in Mae Hong Son and connects the province with Chiang Mai. The town has a relaxing atmosphere that will suit those expat retirees who like nature and love green spaces. Pai is notable for its Wednesday Market that attracts large and vibrant crowds of tribal people, local Thais and foreign tourists.


The Krabi town is known as one of the most beautiful locations in Thailand for a retirement. Cosy cafes and inexpensive restaurants are a common find in Krabi and it also boasts a low crime rate. What’s more, Krabi plays host to many visiting tourists during peak seasons for travel, so if you like to enjoy the company of tourists and want to share your life story with them over a few drinks in a laid-back bar, Krabi makes the perfect destination for your retirement. All in all, if exotic marine life, sea caves, nature and a close knitted community are factors that interest you, make your move to Krabi today!

Nakhon Ratchasima

Commonly known as Korat, Nakhon Ratchasima is one of the “Big 4 of Issan”. The city is known for its incredible food variety, bazaars, the Korat Zoo, Wat Sala Loi and the Thao Suranaree Monument. Interestingly, many expat retirees who have married Thai wives often reside in this city. It is no secret that many westerners prefer Thai women with darker skin, and most of these ladies originate from Nakhon Ratchasima. Because of the large number of expat retirees here, many modern facilities have been built in here which include shopping malls, condos, and schools.

Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is located in the northernmost part of Thailand and it serves as the main commercial hub of the Golden Triangle (Thailand, Laos and Myanmar). If you do not like city living, the rural atmosphere of Chiang Rai will help you spend your days in a carefree and peaceful manner. For those expats who want to get the most bang for their baht, Chiang Mai is a winner because it is one of the cheapest cities to live in the whole country. Despite being surrounded by forests, mountains and rice fields, expat retirees still have access to decent amenities such as a hospital, shopping mall and a variety of restaurants.


Kanchanaburi is located in the western part of Thailand and is widely recognised for its lovely scenery and easy accessibility to waterfalls and national parks. Just outside of Kanchanaburi, you will be able to find more national parks with the likes of Srinakarind and Erawan. The city is also best known for the bridge that’s located over the River Kwai that has a history of being the Death Railway to Burma (involving thousands of POWs and Asian labourers from the Japanese Occupation). A decent number of expats have settled here and that explains the mushrooming of bars, restaurants and bookstores that cater to the expat community.

Phang Nga

Phang Nga boasts of scenic islands and lush green forests as well as offers unrivalled natural beauty, both underwater and onshore. Phang Nga features many festivals or special holidays as many Thai Buddhist, Thai-Islamic and Thai-Chinese traditions are celebrated here. There are plenty of attractions you can explore during your days here which include the Somdet Phra Srinagarindra Park and Sanong Manora waterfall. There is also a surge of community-based tourism here which opens up villages for one-day tours and overnight home stays here, so if you want to manage a small home-stay business during your retirement, you might have just found the perfect destination.

With so many fantastic cities to choose from, expat retirees can certainly look forward to enjoying their best days of their lives in Thailand. Which city will you choose? Do share with us!

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