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Retirement in Thailand
05-03-2010

 
Overview

Retirement is a time to relax and take it easy, so a country like Thailand could be ideal for retirees who want exactly that. Thailand is a laid-back country which offers a whole lot more, and so it is certainly a destination to contemplate for anyone who is thinking about retiring abroad.

1.Retirement in Thailand

Thailand as a magnet

Since Thailand has held its hand out to foreign retirees contemplating a life in the country, the amount of people retiring to Thailand has escalated. As of 2008, Thailand is now right up there in the footsteps of Singapore as one of the best ranked countries in Asia for expatriates. There are numerous reasons why retirees choose Thailand to settle down.

- For some they spend their days away from it all in some remote rural village, while others enjoy all the latest mods, cons and treats which the country has to offer.

- For others Thailand is bargain for money, a really affordable place to live the good times at only a fraction of the cost one would pay in a developed Western country.

- Some folk retire in Thailand and enjoy the simple Thai-Thai way of life, mingling only with the locals and dining on traditional Thai food and fruits. For others however, they prefer to continue in the company of fellow country men while just enjoying the courtesy and smiles of the Thais – immersing totally in a foreign culture, is of course, not everyone’s cup-of-tea.

Thailand Facts

Settling down in an exotic foreign country is definitely not for everyone, there are so many things to contemplate first. For some, moving abroad was the best thing they had ever done while for others it was the worst. What is highly important before anyone even thinks of choosing a country to retire is to read up on the place first.

Weather: Besides the southern region (which has only two) Thailand has only three relatively similar seasons. The first thing that one has to realize before they retire in Thailand is that most of the country is comparatively hot all year round. Thailand’s seasons are:

- Cool Season: November - February
- Hot Season: March - May
- Rainy Season: June - October

The hottest regions of Thailand are the central and north-eastern regions hitting temperatures of up to 40 degree Celsius in the midst of the hot season. Even in the cool season, temperatures seldom drop below 20degree Celsius. The mountainous north of Thailand is a favourite with the middle-class Bangkokians, who head there for the area’s crispy fresh mornings and where a thick sweater is often needed at night, and especially during the cool season. The south of Thailand gets the country’s most rain, showers are frequent but they usually don’t last for too long.

Culture & Traditions

Actual Thai culture originates from 1. Religion and 2. Monarchy; and Thai people hold both institutes with the highest respect. The Thai religion, Theravada Buddhism, has over history, lead to an assortment of traditions such as religious festivities, rites and beliefs, some even originating from the mother of Thai Buddhism – Hinduism. The Thai monarchy over the past couple of centuries, has certainly made a distinctive mark with an array of superb palaces. Not only a historical legacy, the Thai monarchy with all the traditions involved, are still, to this day, very much part of everyday modern life.

Other Thai traditions which have become synonymous with Thailand include; Songkran Festival (Thai New Year), Loy Krathong (River Festival), Thai Boxing, Thai Dancing, Traditional Thai music, Thai arts and crafts, Thai massage and Thai Vipassana Meditation.

Thai People

The Thais are a friendly, laid-back, non-aggressive and non-confrontational people who are known world wide for their impressive smiles – even to complete strangers.

Thailand is 90% Buddhist with most others made up of Muslims. It is the deep south of Thailand, with its Malay and Indonesian influence which is predominantly Islamic. The Thai-Chinese make up the majority of the country’s urban folk while the original Thai-Thais prefer their more traditional rural roots. The northern Thais are Lanna in origin and their ancient roots lie in Burma, Tibet and southern China. The north-east of Thailand has a close relationship with the neighbouring country of Laos and the ‘Isaan folk’ still cling to much of the original Thai-Lao way of life, and especially the Lao language.

Language

Standard Thai, the official language of Thailand, is the mother language of the majority of the Thai people, but it is also spoken and understood by every Thai from every region. Spoken Thai is a small headache for most foreigners due to its five tones and complexity of vowel and contestant sounds, some unheard of in say any Germanic language. Written Thai originates from ancient Khmer, and Thai Buddhism is immersed in ancient Bali. There is also Royal Thai which is a specific offshoot of Thai language. It is used only when speaking to or about the royal Thai monarchy.

Outside of the greater central region of Thailand, most of the people are grown up speaking their own dialect (Standard Thai is used in the Thai education system regardless of the area). The three main dialects are:

- Southern Thai dialect – this dialect is difficult for any other Thai to understand and it is spoken very quickly.
- Issan dialect – this dialect, spoken mostly in the north-east, is simply an offshoot of Laotian. There is however, no written ‘Isaan’.
- Northern dialect – this is a softly spoken dialect which is a favourite with many Thais because of its smooth rhythm. Some northerners however, will argue that ‘Northern’ is not a dialect as there was once a form of written ‘Northern language’ used in the temples.

Besides Standard Thai and the three main dialects, Thailand is also home to numerous other languages and dialects - dialects such as Yawi, Khorat, Neur, Galung and Nyaw. Many older Chinese still speak Taizhou. All the hill tribes of Thailand also have their own distinctive dialect. As for other languages, many rural areas bordering the Cambodian border speak an offshoot of Khmer. Vietnamese and Indian languages can also be heard, spoken by Thais as a mother language, in some parts of the country.
 
 


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