Chiang Mai Retirement Services
Short Term Accommodation
Rent or Buy Property
Moving and Storage
Beginnings of a Social Life
Chiang Mai, Thailand Retirement Services
At Chiang Mai Buddy we have a host of individual services that, combined together, make retiring in Chiang Mai Thailand easy and stress-free. All you really need to do is buy your plane ticket, come and visit (we can provide you with a short term place to stay) and if you decide you love Chiang Mai and want to make this your new home… We can help you with most of the steps to settle in.
N.B. The documentation required for applying for a Retirement Visa from your home country before you come to Thailand is different from what you need when applying from Thailand. We are unable to help or advise you if you are attempting to get your retirement Visa before you come to Thailand (each Country and Embassy may have differing requirements – check the Thai Embassy website in your country of origin).
This page is a list of our services that relate to a person interested in retiring in Chiang Mai. It is, in essence, a “sales page” of how we can help you. If you are looking for information, check out the articles listed on the right sidebar (right-hand side of the screen if you are using a computer) or at the bottom of this page.
How Chiang Mai Buddy can Help you Retire
Short Term Accommodation
If you are thinking about moving to a new city the last thing you want to do (unless, maybe, if you already have friends here) is to make a long-term lease agreement (especially from online without ever having seen the place). Your best action plan is to find a monthly Apartment or Hotel and stay for a month or two, then discover your new city and find out firsthand where you want to settle down longer term.
Even then, International websites like Agoda or Airbnb charge you on a daily rate! You can get one month by booking into one of the monthly apartments on offer at Chiang Mai Buddy for the same price as 10-14 days from the International booking sites charging a daily rate. Yes, it is cheaper to live in Thailand – but we locals know how to make the dollar go further – use our local expertise.
Browse our selection of Monthly Apartments to Lease
We also have weekly bookings available, but as you will see, you can often stay for a month for just a few dollars more.
USD $ 83.70
USD $ 145.08
USD $ 153.45
USD $ 153.45
USD $ 167.40
USD $ 167.40
USD $ 173.82
USD $ 181.35
USD $ 209.25
USD $ 279.00
USD $ 290.16
USD $ 304.11
USD $ 348.75
USD $ 362.70
USD $ 390.60
USD $ 502.20
When you book accommodation with us, our Arrival Service is available (1,500 baht) which includes Airport Pickup, Phone SIM card, and, of course, we pre-book your room (at 50-75% less than you would pay on other websites) saving you the 20-30 minute check-in time.
If you have somewhere to stay or want to book accommodations on your own, we have an Airport Pickup service that can collect you and your bags and take you to your new home. Again, living and serving the local area means we are cheaper. Our Airport Pickup from Chiang Mai Airport is 650 baht. Other companies’ fees are up to 1,000-1,700 baht.
Let us remove the stress and worry of arriving at an airport and not knowing what to do or where to go.
In just 4 short hours our staff can take you on a quick and gritty tour of where to grocery shop, obtain medications, how to shop at the markets, locations of Shopping Malls, and some of the more common hotspots to find other people who have also retired in Chiang Mai.
The Tour Includes:
1 Day and 1 Night Market
2 Shopping Malls
Sim Card and Phone Plan
Clubs & Bars frequented by Expats
Some Thai Language
Learn to Haggle Prices
Massage at Conclusion (Optional)
For full details of what you will discover you can go here.
The Expat/Retirement Familiarization Tour Chiang Mai
USD $ 69.75
Over 4 hours you will be taken on a mini tour to familiarize yourself with the businesses, services and social events that are going to make your retirement here in Chiang Mai as relaxed or as active as you want it to be.
You will visit some of the more common Expats bars, and social venues, and be shown when the Chiang Mai Expat Club meets on regular occasions. This tour will introduce you immediately to new friends and an active social life. Start your new life off the right way
If you are going to retire in Thailand then you will need a Retirement Visa. There are two basic options:
1) Obtain your Visa before you Arrive: We can not really help or advise you on this as each Country and Embassy have different rules and requirements. We suggest you read the article How to get a Retirement Visa in Thailand. This article includes the requirements and forms that are typical. You can then go to the Thai Embassy website of your country and see if anything is different for the application. An abbreviation of requirements is below.
2) Obtain your Visa after you Arrive:
a) If You are fully qualified and have all of the required paperwork, the fee to process the Retirement Visa is 5,000 Baht. Bring your documentation into our office and we will pass it on to our Visa agent. The agent will go to Immigration at 6:00 a.m. and obtain your queue number. Then we will pick you up and take you in to process your Visa. We can help and advise you as to where to go for each piece of information. This fee includes the government fees at Immigration.
b) If You do not have the financial resources to prove that you can afford to live here, there are agents who will provide bank account details on your behalf for 35,000 Baht (if you do not have an existing Non O visa) or 25,000 Baht (if you have an existing Non O Visa). Your Passport and 2 passport photos are required. A Visa agent who specializes in this sort of application will arrange for all the documentation and get your Visa processed for you within a week.
N.B. This second way of having your Visa processed is not something to be taken lightly. If you were to require emergency medical treatment and claim that you cannot afford this treatment – not only will the Hospital NOT treat you, Immigration will be called in to find out what happened to your bank funds. If you look at this option, you had better ensure that at the very least you have Comprehensive Medical Insurance.
Requirements for a Non Immigrant Visa ‘O-A” (Retirement)
- Passport (must have at least 12 months (18 months preferred) remaining until it expires).
- The holder of this type of visa is allowed to stay in Thailand for 1 year.
- Proof of Financial status with a letter from Bank showing proof of deposits.
- Employment of any kind is strictly prohibited (including volunteer work).
Eligibility for Retirement Visa
- Applicant must be aged 50 years or over (on the day of submitting the application).
- Applicant is not prohibited from entering the Kingdom as provided by the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979).
- Applicant has no criminal record in Thailand or in the country of his/her nationality, or in the country of his/her residence.
- Applicant has no prohibited diseases ( Leprosy, Tuberculosis, drug addiction, Elephantiasis, the third phase of Syphilis) as indicated in the Ministerial Regulation No 14 B.E. 2535.
Documents Required for your 1st Visa
If applying from outside Thailand you may need 4 copies. If applying from inside Thailand you may only need 1 or 2 copies.
A – Application For VISA form TM 7 (original + 4 copies).
B – Photos – (Passport-type photo, 2” x 2”, color, front-view, taken within 6 months, and write your name and last name on the back of each photo). They almost never check the photo for signature, but it is the law.
C – Copies of your Passport (every page). Sign every page.
E – Copies of Bank statement. Deposit verification letter from your bank (if already here) stating the balance of your savings account (800,000 Baht). Normal cost is about 100 to 200 baht. This letter must not be older than 7 days.
A Notarized Affidavit of Income from your Embassy, with a monthly salary of no less than 65,000 Baht (USA Embassy cost: $50) US Form download form. This form can not be older than 6 months
Combination of Bank Account and Income over 12 months = 800,000 Baht
If you are married to a Thai National you need an Income Certificate with a monthly salary of no less than 40,000 Baht. A Thai Bank account showing a reasonable amount is also required.
If you are applying using 800,000 Baht+ to meet financial resources:
a. First (Initial) Application – Needs to show funds have been on deposit for at least 2 months before applying.
b. Subsequent (renewal) Application – Needs to show funds have been on deposit for at least 3 months before applying.
F – 4 copies of Police Clearance (must be notarized) stating the applicant has no criminal record (issued by the authority concerned of his/her nationality or residence). The verification must be no older than 3 months. This Police Clearance applies only when applying from outside of Thailand and is not required when applying from here.
G – 4 copies of a Medical Certificate. When issued from the country where the application is submitted, showing no prohibitive diseases as indicated in the Ministerial Regulation No. 14 (B.E. 2535) (Leprosy, Tuberculosis [T.B], Elephantiasis, drug addiction, Alcoholism, 3rd phase of syphilis) with the name and address of the doctor. The certificate must be no older than 3 months.
Medical, Health & Property Insurance
Everything is cheaper in Thailand including Insurance. The reality is that you are not truly living in Thailand until you have come off your motorbike at least once. And a quirk of living here is that it is always the Westerner’s fault – no matter what happens or who is really in the wrong – it is the Westerner who pays.
We have spent a while looking and found an Insurance agent that speaks English, has both Thai and International insurance policies available, and works within the customer’s budget. By this, we mean the agent insures many Burmese workers here in Thailand and the usual rate of pay for a Burmese National is 200-300 baht a day. If they can find insurance for them – they can find it for you. 🙂
When you are here in Chiang Mai, we will arrange for the agent to come and visit you (or you may go to their office). In the meantime, to get an understanding of how much a policy will cost (and why you should have one) you can read the following article:
How to Find Cheap Insurance in Thailand
Learn about the different types of Insurance Policies in Thailand. Travel Insurance, Health Insurance and Life Insurance with an estimation of how much it is likely to cost you. Home and Content Insurance, Medical and Accident Insurance and much more is also available.
Longer Term Accommodation
Once you have found an area you want to live in, there are plenty of cheap condos and houses available to rent or to buy. By far the easiest way to do this is with a Real Estate Agent who will find you a place to live at no cost (their commission is paid by the owner). The problem with this is that many Thai agents not only have no concept of what a Westerner wants – they fail to grasp and adapt what they show to you. For example, you can say you want a Western kitchen and tell them each time they show you a place without a kitchen: “No, I WANT a BIG kitchen” – and move on to the next place on the list (without a kitchen). This is not to say all Thai agents are like this – but enough are to waste a lot of your time. We have an American agent who provides amazing properties and condos (above the 13,000 baht a month scale).
If you want something a little cheaper and are prepared to do the grunt work (that means sitting on your computer and looking) – we at Chiang Mai Buddy can assist in the lease negotiations. Often the price to rent a property is more if you do not sound like you are a Thai person.
When it comes to buying a condo or house – this is firmly in the realm of the Real Estate Agent and we at Chiang Mai Buddy are happy to connect you with the ones we have found to provide amazing service for our customers.
Where to Live in Chiang Mai
There are 3 areas in Chiang Mai where the majority of new arrivals tend to populate, depending on their specific requirements, but mostly because of the number of other expats living in the local community. Obviously, there are Expats spread around the city, many choosing to live in the more remote areas (because they like solitary living or have moved in with a Thai person, and sometimes because they want the peace and quiet).
The Nimman area is located to the West of the Old City, and is a thriving and more upmarket area of town. This is the prime location chosen by the Digital Nomad community and has many better-quality condos occupied by expats. Close to everything, including 3 shopping malls and many supermarkets, the Nimmanhemin (Nimman) area and it’s surroundings has an inner-city type vibe. It’s mostly condos in this part of town, many new developments finishing each month, waiting and ready for lease or purchase.
Hang Dong Area
The Hang Dong area is located just a 10-minute drive from the Old City and the Nimman area. This area is popular with retiring expats because of the many Moo Baans (gated community developments) and rural vibe. Beautiful housing developments with lakes, club houses and gyms are located here, along with many large home improvement stores.
Chang Klan Area
The Chang Klan area is located close to the Ping River, which has long been a favorite location for Western-styled restaurants and night life. It is also close to the red light district, and the tourist-oriented Night Bazaar market. This area of town is populated by many single men, and has a much larger local population that speaks English.
How to Lease a Condo or Rent a House
Step by Step Instructions with Checklists and Suggestions
Have a detailed look at the types of places you can live in and how much it will cost, along with a checklist of things you may not have thought about – but are important.
Moving and Storage
Ok, now you ‘re here! But you need to get that lifetime of memories over the pond(s). At Chiang Mai Buddy we have spent considerable time sourcing reliable businesses to refer our customers to. In Chiang Mai we have an Expat who has spent his entire life organizing International Moving. He came here to retire, but got bored not working and started a company for helping people move their property and belongings to Chiang Mai.
If you need this, (some people like to start fresh and do not), then this Moving Business is one of hundreds in our database. We can put you in contact or make the arrangements on your behalf – it all depends on what you want to do.
Getting a Driving License
This is actually a pretty simple time-consuming process. If you have your current driving license then it is just a matter of filling in the forms and spending half-day watching in amazement how slow the Driving License Government agency is.
At Chiang Mai Buddy we make the process easier by getting your residency certificate for you. This saves you from going out to another Immigration office, getting confused in the hustle and bustle of hundreds of Burmese people (who also go to this particular office) and having to go back the next day to pick it up.
We can accompany you to the hospital to get your medical certificate (if you want us to) and to the actual Driving License Office and sit with you and explain what is going on. Sadly, we can not speed up this process, but having a Chiang Mai Buddy staff member with you helps you to feel more comfortable and they can communicate in Thai (because not many of the staff speak English) if any problems arise. You can, of course, do all of this yourself. Forums and FaceBook groups have plenty of posts by people who did it all easily in just a few hours and just as many who were sent away to come back the next day for reasons they never understand.
You can read more and find out about the process in the article below
How to get your Thai Driving License
Step by Step Instructions
Get your Driving License in Chiang Mai in 3 easy steps. This article deals specifically with the process of getting a driving license in Chiang Mai, however the same procedures and forms will be more or less the same throughout Thailand.
Beginning a Social Life
No place, not even Chiang Mai is a happy experience unless you have an active social life. At Chiang Mai Buddy we are here to hold your hand, and get you started in your retirement until you feel as if you do not need us anymore. One of the quickest ways to do this is to quickly obtain your own social life and groups of friends.
We will introduce (in the Familiarization Tour) you to the number one Expat club in Chiang Mai. Here you will find a wealth of information and people just like you. The Chiang Mai Expat group holds regular meetings and events, social outings and informal meals for people to get together and find new friends.
In addition, Chiang Mai Buddy holds an occasional dinner event, where we invite our customers to get together, eat, drink and exchange contact details. We do our best to make sure that you are not alone when you come here.
Maid Cleaning Service
No… you are retired – why spend time and energy cleaning your place (unless you enjoy it of course)? At Chiang Mai Buddy we can arrange for regular cleaning of your Condo or House for next to nothing.
The cleaning activities include:
Living Room & Bed Room
Vacuum or Sweep and mop floor
Dust & clean all furniture, tabletops and appliances
Clean & wipe cabinets, external surfaces & doors
Dust & tidy tables and chairs
Empty dustbin, wash dishes
Wipe glass windows and mirrors
Wash & wipe floor and wall tiles
Wash and disinfect sink, wash basin, toilet bowl and bathtub
Degrease cooking stove & hob, if any
Dust & wipe exterior of kitchen appliances
Regular Maid Service
NB: This works out at about 5 baht per minute
So much More ….
We have various other services that might be of interest to many people. Call-Out Massage by a Spa qualified therapist (at half the Spa Price), Luggage Storage if you are leaving town for a few weeks and decide to rent your condo out on our Airbnb management service, and much, much more. And, of course, any problem big or small, we have the Thai-speaking staff to help. We can talk to repairmen and tell them what you want done, explain your phone bill and what plans to get, we can call and connect your cable TV… because when you have a Chiang Mai Buddy – you’re never alone.