Chiang Rai Chosen Top Place to Live for $1,000 Per Month
Many people believe that in order to retire abroad, you must be wealthy. To retire in the United States, you must be wealthy, but not in Chiang Rai, Thailand. The United States has the world’s tenth highest cost of living.
It varies by state, but even in lower-cost states like Mississippi, a healthy annual budget is required to go beyond basic needs and live comfortably.
Many places around the world have much lower prices for goods and services than the United States, allowing you to reduce your monthly expenses. Currency advantages can boost savings even more if you relocate to a country where the US dollar is strong against the local currency.
Moving to a lower-cost country does not imply sacrificing your quality of life. In some areas, the quality of medical care, infrastructure, and other important considerations can be on par with, if not better than, that of the United States.
Here are eight places chosen by Wtop, where you can enjoy a high standard of living while living an adventure-filled life on as little as $1,000 per month.
1. Chiang Rai, Thailand.
2. Corozal, Belize.
3. Cuenca, Ecuador.
4. Granada, Nicaragua.
5. Medellín, Colombia.
6. Tagaytay, The Philippines.
7. Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus.
8. Chitré, Panama.
Chiang Rai Thailand
Southeast Asia is one of the world’s cheapest places to live well on a low budget, and Thailand is one of the region’s best and most popular destinations. Thailand is home to between 3 and 4 million foreigners. Many of those in this group are retirees drawn to the country by its breathtaking natural beauty, excellent health care, delectable local cuisines, and low cost of living.
Chiang Rai, in northern Thailand, has a population of around 200,000 people. Because it is a smaller city, it faces fewer population pressures than larger cities such as Chiang Mai and Bangkok. This helps to keep costs low, and housing, health care, and entertainment are all reasonably priced.
A two-bedroom apartment or house can be rented for less than $500 per month. A healthy and delicious Thai meal costs about $2 per meal. Thailand is known for its excellent private medical care, and international standard hospitals are only minutes from the city centre of Chiang Rai.
Chiang Rai is located in the foothills of Thailand’s highest mountain range. The area is rich in exploration and recreation opportunities, surrounded by dense forests and spliced with streams and waterfalls. It has distinct seasons and pleasant weather all year.
Florida is the most popular retirement state in the United States. If you’re willing to travel a little further south, you’ll find Belize, a tiny Caribbean-front Central American country. It has many of the same attractions as Florida, such as warm, sunny weather all year and plenty of palm-fringed beachfront, but the cost of living is much lower.
Belize is popular among North American expats due to its favourable tax policies (all foreign-sourced income is tax-free) and simple retiree residency program. While most tourists and expats are drawn to Ambergris Caye and the other islands of Belize, the mainland offers the best low-cost living opportunities.
Corozal is a town and district in northern Belize, approximately 10 miles from the Mexican border and the city of Chetumal. Because of this proximity, Corozal residents can have the best of both worlds: they can live a relaxed, low-cost lifestyle in Corozal while still having easy access to city amenities and shopping in Chetumal.
Corozal’s infrastructure is still underdeveloped, and modern amenities are scarce. The sleepy, back-to-basics way of life is part of what draws people here. Rent and overall living costs may be very low if you live like a local and settle in a village. You could rent a two-bedroom apartment or house for as little as $400 per month, plus $400 for food and transportation.
Ecuador has the lowest prices in Latin America, which explains why it has seen successive waves of expat immigration in recent decades. Ecuador’s popularity stems in part from the fact that its currency is the US dollar, which eliminates any currency exchange risk.
Ecuador has a long-established population of North American retirees who have built a large, active community with a variety of activities to make newcomers feel welcome. Cuenca, a city of about 500,000 people in southern Ecuador, is one of the most popular places for expats to settle.
Cuenca, located in the Andes Mountains’ foothills at about 8,400 feet above sea level, has year-round stable, springlike temperatures. Because there is no need for air conditioning or home heating, utility bills are reduced. Because of Cuenca’s efficient public transportation network, monthly transportation bills remain low as well. Monthly transportation costs approximately $50.
Cuenca offers high-quality health care at a fraction of the cost of comparable care in the US. This former Inca stronghold is a UNESCO World Heritage site with one of the best-preserved historic centres in the Americas.
Granada is a city in western Nicaragua with a population of around 100,000 people. It’s a vibrant city, with red-clay tiled roofs and powder-blue church steeples. It was founded by Spanish conquistadors in 1524 and was embellished with Old World architecture, resulting in a wealth of historical charm in today’s context.
Freshwater Lake Nicaragua is within walking distance of Granada’s center, and its beaches and small islands provide recreation and an escape from the midday heat. Nicaragua has two long coastlines and two large lakes, as well as volcanoes, highlands, rain forests, and rivers.
The main draw is the low cost of living. US dollars are almost everywhere accepted and go a long way. A comfortable two-bedroom apartment costs around $500 per month to rent. Property ownership is also affordable. For as little as $75,000, you could own one of the city’s grand old Spanish colonial haciendas.
Nicaragua provides simple retiree residency options with low financial requirements. You can qualify with as little as $600 per month in income. The country has good connections to the United States, with a flight time of about 212 hours to Miami.
Medelln offers a Euro-chic, cosmopolitan lifestyle on a shoestring budget. Medelln, Colombia’s second-largest city, has a population of 2.5 million people and is vibrant and energetic. Festivals, gastronomy, orchestra, theater, and museums are just a few of the sophisticated cultural scene’s components.
This city is well-known for its efficient and reasonably priced public transportation system, which eliminates the need for a car. This translates into significant savings. For Americans 65 and older, transportation is the second-highest expense. The average fare on the Medelln Metro is around 60 cents, so a monthly transportation budget of $60 is sufficient.
Medelln, like Cuenca, has mild weather all year, which helps you save money on utility bills. You won’t need heating or cooling here. Colombia also has excellent, low-cost health care. The World Health Organization ranks its health-care system 22nd. (The U.S. system is ranked 37th for comparison.)
The cost of living in Medelln begins low, but savings are boosted by the current currency advantage. The US dollar is at historic highs against the Colombian peso, which means that every dollar goes further than it would normally.
Tagaytay Island, Philippines
Another well-known low-cost Southeast Asian country is the Philippines. Tagaytay, a small mountain resort town about an hour from Manila, is a popular retirement destination in the Philippines.
Because Manila is so close, high-quality health care and a wide range of shopping options are readily available. Despite its proximity to the capital, Tagaytay is far from urban.
It is located on a mountain ridge at 2,100 feet above sea level, with stunning views of Taal Lake and Volcano, as well as a mild climate due to its elevation. Local activities include outdoor dining, golf, hiking, and gardening, making this an ideal choice for retirees who enjoy the great outdoors.
Because of its attractive retirement visa, the Philippines is a top choice for retirement in Asia. One of the ways to qualify is to deposit $20,000 in a local bank account. This allows you to stay in the Philippines indefinitely and bring in $7,000 in household goods tax-free, among other advantages.
Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus
Northern Cyprus is located on the Mediterranean’s far eastern edge. It has all of the allure of the Mediterranean lifestyles of the French Riviera or the Spanish coasts at a fraction of the price.
Kyrenia is the territory’s fifth-largest city and a major tourism hub, with casinos, spas, and beach resorts. It’s famous for its old harbour and seafront castle, which give it a historic feel and make it one of the region’s most charming destinations.
Kyrenia is located between the Kyrenia Mountains and the warm Mediterranean waters. Kyrenia’s long stretches of sandy beach lend themselves well to an active lifestyle filled with water sports as well as land-based diversions such as hiking and golf.
A monthly budget of $1,000 allows for a luxurious lifestyle in Kyrenia. A two-bedroom apartment costs around $650 per month to rent. A hearty meal with a beverage costs around $10. A doctor’s appointment at a private clinic can cost as little as $15 in this burgeoning medical tourism destination.
Northern Cyprus uses the Turkish lira as its currency, which provides a significant currency advantage to US dollar holders.
Chitré is a town on the Pacific Coast’s Azuero Peninsula, approximately four hours west of Panama City. It distinguishes itself by having more conveniences and amenities than the average Panamanian small town. Chitré is a regional commerce and transportation hub, so retirees have access to high-quality hospitals, diverse shopping options, hardware stores, restaurants, and more.
Because it is little-known outside of Panama, life in Chitré is inexpensive. A couple could live on $600 per month by living a minimalist lifestyle that includes taking public transportation instead of driving a car. A monthly budget of $1,000 is sufficient for a more comfortable lifestyle.
Chitré is well-known for its friendly locals and vibrant regional culture. It is a stronghold of local folklore, as evidenced by the numerous festivals held here throughout the year. The town centre is clean and well-kept, as is the beautiful Spanish-colonial architecture that surrounds it.
Panama has a favourable tax environment (it only taxes income earned locally) and the gold standard of retirement visas, which you can qualify for by demonstrating monthly pension income of $1,000.