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  SEARCHING FOR THE PERFECT    PLACE TO RETIRE IN THAILAND

There is a saying in Thailand: “Same same but different.” I asked a Thai lady once what the meaning was and she answered “You and me the same, but different”, which I think sums it up. It has become quite a catchphrase here in Thailand, and it is seen on tee shirts, coffee mugs and heard all of the time, wherever you go. You might ask a local what’s the best beer in Thailand, Chang, Leo or Singha?  And the answer would generally be “Same same but different”, or what’s the difference between Thai red curry and Thai green curry? “Same same but different”. So when I am asked what's it like retiring to and living in Thailand compared to Australia, England or the USA?  My usual answer is, “Same same but different”, very different, very cheap and very enjoyable. Thailand is a magical place and I feel blessed that I can live here. Thailand is within easy reach of many other Southeast Asian countries by aeroplane, car or bus, and I travel to these areas and try to have new experiences whenever I can. Being a retiree I have to look after my money to make sure that it doesn't run out before I do, so I always travel within my means, on a budget, and with a plan.

It has been eighteen eventful months since I first arrived in Thailand to start my retirement. The time I have spent here has been full of highs and lows (mainly highs), and I know now that I made the right decision to make Thailand my new home. It hasn't been easy, in fact, if you have already read my first book, The Retire in Thailand Handbook (The first six months) you would

have seen that it was quite difficult to establish myself here and sometimes very frustrating and time-consuming. That was then and this is now. After the first six months, everything seemed to fall in to place. I moved from Phuket to Koh Samui and rented a nice villa on the beach. I met and fell in love with a beautiful Thai lady, who is now my partner. This book starts where the last one left off, in Phuket and will take you on an exciting journey through Thailand, stopping off at many of the cities and towns ex-pat retirees now call home. I decided to take the road trip to find the ideal town in Thailand to eventually settle down and call home. Thailand has so many beautiful places to choose from, tropical Islands, beach resorts, rural towns, farming towns, large bustling cities, and fishing villages. The choice of where you may want to live depends on your outlook on life and how you want to enjoy spending your new life once you have retired. As Thailand is 95% Buddhist a lot of the attractions around Thailand’s rural and inland areas revolve around Buddhist temples, markets and national parks are also a big feature in rural Thailand. Bangkok, the coastal areas and the beautiful islands offer more entertainment, amusements, and nightlife, but if you want to see the real Thailand, not just the Thailand that the tourist see you should head to the heartland, to places like Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Udon Thani, and Khon Kaen.

Being on a pension, it was important for me to live within my means and within my budget, but I still wanted to be able to travel when I want to, and live my life to the fullest. To be able to do this and get the best deals you have to shop around. I am amazed at the people I have spoken to on my travels who have just booked their trip with a local travel agent, and not checked prices elsewhere. Though we may have travelled on the same aeroplane, gone on the same tour or be staying in the same hotel, the price I paid was sometimes half of what they had paid. This book will give you some great ideas on how you can save money when you travel, as well as an insight into great retirement areas within Thailand.

The way I look at it, the more you save the more you can travel and enjoy your life and your retirement.