Retire In Philippines Vs Thailand Pros and cons: So you are thinking about retiring, but you’re unsure whether to retire in the Philippines or Thailand. If this sounds familiar, this article will address some of the biggest questions you have and give you some additional information so that you can make the right choice based on your circumstances.
Additionally, aside from looking at retiring in the Philippines vs Thailand, we will also be going over the pros and cons, investigating how much money you need to retire in the Philippines or Thailand, and finally, summarise which option is best for retirees.
Retire In Philippines Vs Thailand Pros and Cons
The Pros Of Retiring In The Philippines:
High Level Of Spoken English
Arguably one of the best things about retiring in the Philippines as a foreigner is the high degree of spoken English across the country. Statistically speaking, the percentage of fluent English speaking in the Philippines reaches the high 90s. This is one reason you may find so many Filipino teachers in other countries, including Thailand.
The official name for the retirement visa in the Philippines is the Special Resident Retire Visa (SRRV). Technically a retirement visa can be obtained from 35 years old with a time deposit, but most retirement visas can be obtained with a pension if you are over 50 years old. The time deposit is currently at 10,000 U.S. dollars plus a monthly pension limit of at least $800 per month.
Beautiful Islands And Tours
Without a doubt, the Philippines is one of the most beautiful countries in Asia. In fact, on top of the countless awards this country has won for its scenery, it is well known worldwide as the Maldives of Asia. If you are looking to retire in the Philippines vs Thailand, then the scenery is an important area to consider.
Overall Better Quality Of Life
Depending on the country you are from, where you live right now, the Philippines can be a great, fantastic new life and serves as a rich quality of life for many foreigners. One reason that the quality of life is better in the Philippines is that the Philippines is one of the cheapest destinations in Asia, meaning that your retirement money can go further.
Investment And Business Opportunities
I also run a blog and YouTube channel under the name Filipino Wealth. Across the channel, I speak about local and foreign investments in the Philippines, so I’m very experienced on this topic. As an investor myself, I can confirm there is a wealth of opportunity for investment and business in the Philippines.
Being Able To Help The Community
When looking at retiring in the Philippines or Thailand, one thing to consider is how you would like to spend your time when you are retired. One activity retirees in the Philippines enjoy doing is helping those in need. As the Philippines is still a developing country in many parts, there are many different opportunities to help the community.
Similar Weston Beliefs
There is a great deal of history about the Philippines involving Spain, and in recent decades, the US… because of this, there is a mixture of cultures across the Philippines. Many modern Filipinos have a large mixture of Weston culture. Another country with heavy influence in the Philippines is Korea, making the Philippines a unique retirement destination.
Low Cost Of Living
As we will discuss below, living in the Philippines is considerably lower than in Western countries. Compared to Southeast Asian countries, you may be surprised to know that the Philippines is not the cheapest country; however, there are certain perks that the Philippines has, such as the thousands of beautiful islands across the country, which makes retiring in the Philippines worth the extra Pesos.
Filipinos are well known to be welcoming and open with foreigners. In my own experience, I found that South Filipinos tend to be more friendly only slightly as foreigners were a rare occurrence compared to cities such as Manila. Nonetheless, the friendliness of the locals is another critical area when deciding where to retire between Thailand or the Philippines.
The Distance To Other Southeast Asian Countries
Lastly, if you are thinking of retiring in the Philippines or Thailand, then the great news is that you do not need to stay in the Philippines for an extended period. Many retirees decide to travel around Asia, and this is made possible if your base is in the Philippines due to the easy access to other southeast Asian countries.
The Cons Of Retiring In The Philippines:
One very noticeable thing, especially if you live in Manila or Cebu, is the heavy traffic. If you want to travel during peak times, which tends to be in the mornings, or when everybody finishes work (5 pm-7 pm), you may have a tough time traveling. A short 15-minute journey can quickly turn into an hour and a half traveling time.
Depending on your location, blackouts can be widespread in the Philippines, which is also very important when looking at whether you should retire in Thailand or the Philippines, as this can impact your lifestyle. Reports have suggested that electrical blackouts have decreased as the years have progressed; however, many parts of the Philippines (especially outside of the cities) are still developing.
Scams Targeting Foreigners
Many scams are targeting Filipinos. In fact, over the last few years living in the Philippines, I had been a victim of several scams. There are indeed many scams that also target locals. Still, many scammers find it much easier to target foreigners, and sadly, many have lost money, so it’s essential to be very careful, especially in terms of romance, investing, etc.
Thanks to the Internet providers and government changes, the Wi-Fi coverage in the Philippines is slowly increasing; however, it remains one of the slowest in the world. If you wish to video call, you should be able to do that with no problem, but there may be some interference. Downloading a song that would typically take 15 minutes may take up to an hour.
There has been a great deal of change in terms of government control across the Philippines. One area that has seen significant change over the last few years is Davao city; however, some disagree with the leadership and management of the country, and the war on drugs and other activities can be questionable.
Filipino food is highly accessible and can be very inexpensive in most parts of the Philippines. Still, if you wonder whether to retire in the Philippines vs Thailand, then one thing to consider is food. The Philippines has a mixture of western and local foods; however, they’re often fried and very unhealthy.
Overcharging is very common in Asia, especially in tourist areas; however, overcharging can be very common in many parts of the Philippines, especially when a price is not visible and negotiable. You will often find overcharging for certain activities such as tours, but overcharging can happen anytime, even when visiting a grocery store.
When I stayed in Davao City in the South of the Philippines, I first experienced an actual earthquake. I was in a mall and realized that as I was eating some delicious food, the lights above me started to shake, and people outside started to scream. It was one of the most significant earthquakes in the last ten years, and even though most natural disasters are not life-threatening, unfortunately, some retiree havens are in high-risk areas.
You will notice just how much poverty the city has, especially in the Metropolitan area of Manila. One thing that saddened me is when I witnessed a family who was not asking for money. They were sleeping next to the bins, but in the man’s hands was a baby that could only have been 2 – 3 months old. It isn’t easy to witness, and support from the government is not always present, so it’s something to consider, especially if you are deciding to live in Manila.
The Pros Of Retiring In Thailand:
Low Cost Of Living (Especially In The North)
In our most recent article, we spoke about the overall cost of living in Chiang Mai and just how much a foreigner will need each month to live comfortably in the North of Thailand. The North is perhaps one of the cheapest regions in Thailand, and it is cheaper than a similar area in the Philippines.
One positive about retiring in Thailand as a foreigner is that most retirees have easy access to high-speed fiber Internet. Additionally, the Internet costs are meager. A simple fiber connection can cost approximately 800 Thai Baht a month, but this depends on the service provider. Also, Wi-Fi pockets are standard in the Philippines, making Internet connection easily accessible.
A Comfortable And Straightforward Way Of Life
One big category when looking at retirement in the Philippines vs Thailand is the overall way of life. A comfortable and straightforward way of life is one of the many benefits Thailand has to offer. The people, in general, are very kind-hearted and open, and as long as you play your part, there will always be a home for you in Thailand.
One benefit, especially for all those retirees looking to travel around the diverse countryside of Thailand. The North of Thailand is famous for its mountains and friendly locals. The South is well known for its luxury villas and stunning beaches. Finally, areas such as Bangkok are known for their bustling nightlife and investment opportunities.
Safe And Secure Country
As a whole, Thailand is a very safe and secure country. Over the last ten years, certain events have changed foreigners’ views of Thailand, but Thailand remains a very safe and secure place for the majority. But like with every country, there will always be bad areas and places to avoid.
Mixed Culture Country
One benefit of living in Thailand as a retiree is that it is a diverse cultural country. This is great for retirees looking for friendship and network opportunities. Many different meetups are organized, which are generally advertised on Facebook or through applications.
A significant factor when you are retiring and comparing whether to retire in the Philippines or Thailand is the general health service of the country. Thailand has an excellent health care facility service in the majority of the cities around the country. Additionally, Thailand is also a cosmetic surgery hotspot for many treatments such as hair transplant, dental tourism, and much more.
Ease Of Access
Lastly, one benefit of retiring in Thailand is that it has overall ease of access to many facilities, venues, and social groups, making life in Thailand very easy and enjoyable for retirees. If you speak Thai or are willing to learn, then life in Thailand becomes much more manageable as communication barriers are broken down.
The Cons Of Retiring In Thailand:
Visa Age Requirement
Currently, the visa age requirement is 50 years of age; however, many of those looking to retire in Thailand are under this age. If you are older than 50 years of age, then this is no concern, but if you are younger, there are options available, but this can be pretty costly. However, things are looking to change post covid.
It’s prevalent in Thailand that you will suffer some price discrimination as a foreigner. This is seen as an everyday practice across Thailand. It is so regular that even places where you expect no discrimination to be, such as tourist temples, can sometimes charge a higher amount for foreign entry. But having said this, the costs are relatively low compared to the overall living costs for retirees in Thailand.
Quickly Changeable Weather
Depending on the season, the weather can quickly change in Thailand, and this can alter lifestyle, especially if you are planning to spend your days outside. Admittedly, this is not a significant restriction for most people; however, there may be unexpected changes, especially during the rainy season, producing some quickly changing weather.
Low-Mid English Level
Unlike the Philippines, if you are looking to retire in Thailand, it would be best to learn the Thai language as most Thais have a low to middle level of English, and of course, there is a large percentage of the population of do not speak English at all.
Uncertain Future / Government Change
You may have heard in the news that there have been specific protests and disagreements with how the country is being run. At this moment in time, there is a slight uncertainty about the future in Thailand, which may or may not affect retirees looking to live in Thailand full time.
Thai Baht Is Strong (currently)
Compared to 5 – 10 years ago, the Thai Baht is much stronger. This is not so much a big thing for those looking to retire and who have never lived in Thailand, but if you have visited Thailand or lived here previously, you may find the prices slightly higher than they once were. The currency’s strength can also be felt when purchasing something expensive, such as a car or condominium.
Thailand has some of the most dangerous roads in Asia, and as someone who has been driving in Thailand for many years, I can confirm that the traffic rules are broken countless times daily. You will see very young children on motorcycles, people not wearing helmets, drivers talking while driving, and many other unique experiences, making the road dangerous for other travelers.
How Much Do You Need To Retire In The Philippines?
One of the great things about the Philippines is that the overall retirement cost in the Philippines is considerably low compared to Western countries. However, the cost you will need to retire in the Philippines depends upon your lifestyle and location. Areas such as Metro Manila are some of the highest areas in the country, while other islands such as the South offer lower costs of living.
It is recommended to budget at least 50,000 Filipino Pesos for ex-pats looking to retire in the Philippines. This includes slightly more than the cost of living to cover any unexpected emergencies; however, if you were to include large emergencies and/or luxuries, then a budget of 75,000 Filipino Pesos or more would be recommended.
However, if you are in good health and have an overall low cost of living, then you can live comfortably in the Philippines as a retiree for much less. Additionally, if you are situated in a province or a smaller city, then many household costs other expenses will also be lower. It is not uncommon for foreign retirees to live in the Philippines on less than 40,000 Pesos per month.
How Much Do You Need To Retire In Thailand?
In my own experience, I have found Thailand to be cheaper compared to a similar lifestyle. I mean….. if I were to continue the same lifestyle I have in Thailand, but in the Philippines, I would need to spend more money.
The amount of money you will need to retire in Thailand is often much less than in the Philippines, as many household expenses and other living expenses are slightly cheaper, especially if you are retiring in the North of Thailand as this is where costs are much lower compared to Bangkok or the tourist islands.
A budget of 35,000 Thai baht is recommended for retiring in Thailand. as mentioned, if you are retiring in the North or you have a lower cost of living, then it is possible to live on less than 35,000 Thai Baht; however, it’s always essential to have some extra for any visa requirements, emergency travel expenses or any other unplanned costs.
However, if you are on a strict budget, it is possible to live on much less than 35,000 Thai Baht a month. After all, some Thai residents only get paid a few hundred dollars each month from their full-time job. However, they’re still able to afford a lovely apartment and essentials, making a living in Thailand enjoyable.
Which Is Best For Retirees, The Philippines Or Thailand?
From looking at the pros and cons of retiring in Thailand vs the Philippines, it’s clear that the best destination depends on your lifestyle and what you are looking to achieve as a retiree.
In other words, if you are looking for a lower cost of living and an easy lifestyle, then you may choose to retire in Thailand. However, if you are looking to give back to the community and visit the Maldives of Asia, then retiring in the Philippines may be best.
However… the great thing about retiring in Asia is that you do not have to decide. Many retirees I have met have a base somewhere where they spend that time but travel and stay in other countries. The great thing about retiring in Thailand or the Philippines is that you have complete freedom.
If you are unsure, I would strongly recommend taking several weeks and exploring both countries. As they are different in many ways, you will find that one country appeals to you more than the other, and as previously mentioned, this decision does not have to be permanent.
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