• Gerald Hogg Author


Sawadee Kab. The coronavirus has obviously had a huge impact on Thailand as it has for the rest of the world. With the confirmed cases of the coronavirus being reported here being relatively low at 24,471 cases reported and 80 deaths, compared to many other countries around the world. As a retiree I feel a lot safer here than I would be in my home country of England, with the UK's latest COVID-19 figures being four million cases and 112,000 deaths, confirmed deaths from the virus.

I retired to Thailand four years ago and apart from the first six months when I was trying to work through the Thai government's obsession with paperwork and their propensity to make expats jump through hoops to get a retirement visa, living here has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience. When I retired, I realised that I had probably lived at least two thirds of my life already. Even though my life up until then had been thankfully free from any major medical problems there was no guarantee that it would always continue to be so. If I stayed in Australia the financial side of healthcare wouldn’t have mattered because of my private medical insurance and the mostly free health care supplied by the Australian government in their public hospitals. It was important for me when making the decision of where I was going to spend the rest of my life, that I could afford medical and dental treatment when needed. Thailand for me was the obvious choice with its low cost hospitals and dentists and their professional medical practitioners. I have first-hand knowledge of the Thailand Government hospitals. A few months after I arrived in Thailand to retire I was badly injured in a road accident. I was unconscious and taken by ambulance to a private hospital. Because I was unconscious and could not tell them if I had medical insurance they shunted me off to the government run Vachira Hospital in Phuket. I was admitted to the hospital and I was in there for three days. I had a brain scan for my head wound, and yes before you ask they did find a brain, albeit a small one, they performed X-Rays on my legs, and my wounds were cleaned and stitched. The care I received was first rate although the hospital was crowded and a bit rundown, but I could not fault the doctors and nurses and the care I received in that hospital was no different from the care I would have received if the accident had happened in the UK or Australia.

Thailand in 2019 was among the top 10 medical tourism destinations in the world, although that has obviously been curtailed since January of 2000 because of tourists being unable to travel outside of their home countries due to the coronavirus endemic. It was estimated that over three million people from overseas came to Thailand in 2019 for medical procedures, so they must be doing something right. I am presently living in Hua Hin which is a fairly small coastal city about two and a half hours drive south of Bangkok. The city has an estimated population of 80,000 residents but even with it being such a small city Hua Hin boasts three hospitals, two private and one government (public hospital). As a retiree it’s reassuring for me to know that help is at hand should I fall ill or have an accident while living here. There are many other countries around the world that welcome expat retirees to live in their countries that have lots to offer as far as the climate, life style, cost of living and entertainment are concerned, but some of those countries are sadly lacking when it comes to medical facilities should the need ever arise. If you’re thinking of retiring to a country where your pension dollar stretches further than your own country, keep in mind that one of the main priorities of any retirement destination is good affordable health care.

Please contact me via my contact page if I can help you in your decision to retire to Thailand.