In our opinion, the best place to retire in Thailand is the stunning city of Chiang Mai. The advantage of coming to Thailand is that you can decide at what level you choose to live, without peer pressure to beat ‘the Jones’.
The cheapest lifestyle is to live like a local, in the countryside. This is popular with Expats that marry a Thai.
The cities become more sophisticated and expensive, with Bangkok being the most expensive. Generally we have found Bangkok at least 50% more expensive than inland cities.
Most coastal and island cities cost much more than Chiang Mai, mainly due to the tourist trade.
You get much more bang for your buck living in Chiang Mai. Some basic guidelines to the amount that you require to live on, keeping in mind that lifestyles vary, and whether you are single or a couple (add 50% more per person).
Budget Lifestyle: Minimum $1000 per month – renting your apartment and scooter.
Average Lifestyle: Minimum $2000 per month -owning your apatment and a scooter.
Luxurious Lifestyle: Minimum $3000 per month – owning your apartment and a car.
Elite Lifestyle: Minimum $5000 per month – owning your penthouse or villa and a Mercedes sports car.
I have further broken down the basic monthly costs of living in Chiang Mai.