Why I Chose the Tropics to Retire – By Alex Pagan Thailand

Firstly, as a quick introduction, I’m Alex and I run and Manage the Alex Pagan Thailand reddit community. I thought I would write some of the reasons why I chose Bangkok and Thailand in general as my retirement destination. I hope you will find it useful.

With a climate that’s hot all year round and a lower cost of living compared to most places in Western Europe and the US, it’s not hard to see why retirees are attracted to Thailand. I recently made my choice to retire here so here is my 2 cents on why I chose this great place to call home.

My Options

Towards the latter stages of my career, I knew I wanted to move away from the states for at least half of the year, so I set aside a little time to research several places. You can find more information on my choices of retirement location on the Alex Pagan Thailand blog. In my younger years I was quite well travelled so I chose some of my favorite spots and looked deeper into what it would be like to retire there. My initial list was:

  • Thailand
  • Australia
  • Spain
  • South Africa
  • Puerto Rico

After running the numbers, looking at visas, healthcare and travel options I decided on to choose Thailand as my retirement destination!

The Visa

As Thailand has a dedicated retirement visa then this was an area that was quite easy to navigate. Rather than choose to arrange this myself, I contacted an agency with experienced who managed this form me. I ended up with a 1-year retirement visa which can be renewed every year. Perfect!

Location and Accommodation

Rather than put all my eggs in one basket, I decided to keep my main property in the US and rent it out. I can then use the rental income gained from this to pay for my housing in Thailand. As I didn’t know where I wanted to permanently live yet this was ideal as I could trial a few locations like Samui, Phuket, Bangkok and Pattaya before settling on a longer-term contract.

This is where the fun really began. As you can imagine, property prices in Thailand are far cheaper in Miami so my options were essentially limitless. Just to give you a price insight, you can rent a fully furnished pool villa in Thailand close the beach for under $1000 a month. This meant I could use the rest for extra spending money, travel, or even an additional property in another location!

Health Care

The healthcare in Thailand is private for expats and retirees unless you are working for a company, so you will need strong insurance cover. Once you have that the healthcare here is superb. There are new modern international hospitals all over Thailand so as long as you are not in the middle of nowhere, great quality health care is just around the corner.


I adore Thai food, so my food costs are substantially lower in Thailand than what I was paying in Miami. However, if you would like to keep your western diet then you won’t be disappointed. There are western restaurants all over Thailand and they are priced the same or cheaper than at home. One thing I did notice was that for good quality western food using imported ingredients its often cheaper to eat out rather than buy what you need to cook at home.

I could go into far more detail here, but I think these were the most important points I took into consideration when making my decision to choose Thailand. I’m considering posting a YouTube video to expand on this topic on the Alex Pagan Thailand YouTube channel, so check back in a few weeks and I’ll also have the video up.

In the meantime, if you would like to keep up with me, in particular my cycling adventures around Bangkok and Thailand in general you can check out my twitter page.

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