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Thailand Ranked No. 1 Retirement Destination in Asia

No 1. retirement destination in Asia. By 2023 Annual Global Retirement Index

Thailand Ranked No. 1 Destination in Asia

“International Living” recently announced its Annual Global Retirement Index (2022 Edition) and Thailand was recognized as the number 1 retirement destination in Asia!

The assessment looks at quality of life in a country for expatriate retirees, getting information from literally hundreds of local sources around the world.

It’s now 2023 and the desire to live in Thailand has increased more than ever. Here are some reasons why Thailand was named the preferred retirement destination in Asia.


Thailand’s Popularity

Housing: it’s size, cost, and location.  A large 1-bedroom apartment, part of a relatively new building, in a central area of Bangkok, can be compared to similar properties in the main countries from which retirees are coming: the U.K., Western Europe, Australia, the U.S. India and more.  Bangkok averages one third to one tenth of the cost of these other cities; even less in popular, provincial cities.


Facilities-related benefits

The typical Bangkok apartment, in an average price range, has serviced facilities such as a reception, 24-hour security, a swimming pool, and a good gym/ club house area.    A central, upmarket area will be near shopping malls and supermarkets, with literally a hundred restaurants within a 10-minute walk, a good number of them western.   Lastly, these areas are safe, even late at night.    Water, electricity, sewerage, internet, and other infrastructure are reliable and readily accessible.


Cost of living

Food and personal care are often significantly cheaper than “at home” –for example 60% less compared to the United Kingdom or United States.   Similarly, other purchases, such as clothing or household goods are often far less expensive.  Thailand is also famous for its many small local restaurants and delicious street food, which will give you a great meal for just USD 1 or 2.


Transport Hub

Bangkok traffic is infamous.   However, there are well-connected public transport routes through city buses, BTS sky train, and MRT underground train.   The train systems in Bangkok are widespread, fast, reliable, immaculately clean and cost only USD 1 to 2.   Nationally, there is an excellent air network to 30 or 40 provincial centres and resorts, plus inexpensive bus services, but otherwise travel requires a car or affordable private limousines.   Bangkok has two international airports and is centrally placed in South-East Asia, so quick trips abroad are easy and inexpensive.



Thailand’s healthcare rates highly, with several large, western hospitals equipped with English speaking staff and overseas trained specialists.  It also comes at a cost a quarter to a tenth of that in a country such as the U.S.A.



Most expatriates speak little Thai, but in the main cities, many locals can speak and understand some English. There are large expatriate communities for retirees from all over the world, providing friendly advice and a point of reference.  Beyond the city’s concrete jungle, there’s a host of outdoor recreation activities including water sports, private golf clubs, and much more. For entertainment, there are plush theatres with all the latest original soundtrack movies, relaxing cafes & trendy restaurants, among a host of options.


Stay in Thailand long-term.
With a Privilege Entry Visa
that is valid from
5 years up to 20 years.

No. 1 Destination in Asia retirement visa in Thailand


Are you considering exploring Thailand as your retirement option?

There are two pathways to retire to Thailand.  The first is a conventional retirement visa.  You must be over 50 years of age, in good health (enough to be covered by a private medical insurance) and meet requirements for income or assets in a Thai bank account.  The validity is for 1 year, with annual renewals, but the application must be in person at the immigration office, with the requisite paperwork.  Non-Thai residents must also check in person with immigration once every 3 months.

The second option is called the Thailand Elite Visa Program. Thailand Elite is a long-term residency visa given to Thailand Elite membership. The Thailand Elite Privilege Card members are authorized by a ‘Privilege Entry PE’ Visa, allowing the applicant residency in Thailand from 5 to 20 years, with membership costing from USD 15,700 to USD 52,270, depending on the type of membership chosen. The Thailand Elite Visa offers very significant advantages.


  • Thailand Elite Visa is valid for 5 to 20 years and the visa is automatically renewed annually.  There is no need to exit the country and the member can stay 20 years continuously in the country if they wish.
  • The 90-day immigration check is streamlined and need not be in person, unlike the standard visa.
  • As a Thailand Elite Card Holder, Thai Elite personnel will meet you at the airport to fast-track your immigration queue, as well as receiving other conveniences.
  • A complimentary VIP limousine is offered throughout the year for pick up-drop off between your destination and the airport.
  • There are membership options for individuals, couples, and families to live in Thailand comfortably.
  • There are also other benefits – from discounts at various golf clubs, shops and spas, to a concierge to help with any government or administrative applications
  • Thailand Elite members also have special access to open a Thai bank account and obtain a driver’s license.
  • The best part – saving your time and having a stress-free stay in the Kingdom.


How to Apply for Thailand elite visa?

Applying for a Thailand Elite Visa is usually fast, approximately four weeks. Compared to the retirement visa, this process is simpler, requiring only a passport, completed application form and a photograph. You can even apply for it online here!

Chat with us now on www.thaielite-express.com for more information on the membership and other Thai Elite promotions. Thaielite-express can further assist you in other expat visa requirements.

Thaielite Express has been an authorized General Sales and Services Agent since 2013. We hope that with our guide, you can comprehend Thai Elite Visa costs and benefits better and find your most suitable option. Should you have any questions, however, please do not hesitate to visit our website for more details on Thailand Elite Visa and Membership, or send your questions directly to us via email: bastien@thaielite-express.com. We support English, French, German, Japanese, and Chinese languages. We will reply within 24 hours.

Stay in Thailand long-term.
With a Privilege Entry Visa
that is valid from
5 years up to 20 years.

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Thailand Elite Visa

Frequently asked questions

Who is eligible for Thai elite visa?

The applicant/the Member must have and maintain to have the following qualifications: Being allowed to stay in Thailand in accordance with the immigration laws or any related law of Thailand.(no overstay record) Holding foreign passport. Not having been sentenced by a judgment to imprisonment in any countries except for an offense committed through negligence. Not having been adjudicated bankrupt. Not having been declared as a person of unsound mind incompetence, or quasi incompetent.

How long can I stay in Thailand with Elite Visa?

Thailand Elite offer a 5,10 or 20 years membership and ensure the renewal of your visa during the validity of the membership. Each time a member goes through the Thai immigration, he/she will automatically get a one-year visa stamp in his/her passport until expiration of the membership. If the member happens to stay for more than 1-year consecutively in Thailand, then a simple renewal at the immigration office will grant another 1-year visa stamp.

Is Thailand Elite a scam?

The Thailand Elite Visa is a program initiated and approved by the Royal Thai government in 2003. The Thailand Privilege Card Co., Ltd, which runs the Elite Visa program is a fully owned subsidiary of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, under the Ministry of Tourism and Sport. ThaiElite-Express empowered by HLG Law Firm is an authorized sale agent.

Can I work with Thailand Elite?

After becoming an Elite member and obtaining your Thailand Elite Visa, you can apply anytime to a non-immigrant business visa and a work permit allowing you to work in Thailand. You also have the option of applying to the Elite Flexible Plus, invest at least 1 million USD in Thailand either in real estate, a limited or public company, or in stock exchange, and be granted a work permit.

How do I pay for Thailand Elite?

The payment is required only after submission of your application, the immigration background check by the Thai immigration, and receipt of the Approval Letter by email. Applicants could then choose to proceed to their membership fee by local or overseas bank transfer, credit card or depositing money to Thailand Elite bank account directly.

Is the Thailand Elite visa for Digital Nomads?

The Thailand Elite Visa is perfectly suitable for Digital Nomads. As business or retirement visas are not necessary a good match for digital nomads, the Elite Visa answers to all nomads with numerous privileges to cater members’ needs. With very little documentation needed, as well as the flexibility of applying from anywhere, regardless abroad, on arrival, or within Thailand. The process is seamless and fast. Moreover, from a study by The Instant Group, Bangkok has recently been voted as the world’s second-best city to work in as a digital nomad (best city in Asia). This is down to the innumerable benefits in which Bangkok brings, which are but not limited to; Internet broadband speed, culture, scenery, transportation, weather, affordability, cuisine, and more. Having already welcomed 35 million digital nomads from all over the world, in 2021, it’s forecasted that there would be more arrivals to the Land of Smiles with constant technological and infrastructure improvements.

What is the long term visa available in Thailand?

Applying to a Thailand Elite program is a viable and easy solution to stay and live for a long period of time in Thailand. Only Thailand Elite can offer a 5,10 or 20 years membership and ensure the renewal of the visa during the validity of the applicant membership. As of today, all other non-immigrant visa options are limited to a validity period of 1 or 2 years.

Thailand elite vs Retirement Visa

To retire in Thailand, the Elite Visa is a worry-free option compared to the Retirement Visa from the application, during holding period to the renewable. At the application time, for an Elite, the documentation is minimal, and no medical insurance nor proof of funds is required for instance. During the holding period, Elite members enjoy numerous privileges such as an assistance for their 90 days report, a fast track at the airport immigration, the lounge access and airport limousine, assistance in opening a bank account in local or foreign currency, a 24/7 call center and much more. The Elite Visa offers you an easy renewable of the Privilege Entry Visa for the duration of your membership.

What is the long term visa available in Thailand?

Applying to a Thailand Elite program is a viable and easy solution to stay and live for a long period of time in Thailand. Only Thailand Elite can offer a 5,10 or 20 years membership and ensure the renewal of the visa during the validity of the applicant membership. As of today, all other non-immigrant visa options are limited to a validity period of 1 or 2 years.

Is the Thailand Elite Visa legit?

The Thailand Elite Visa is a legal and legit program under Thai law to stay long-term in Thailand. The “Thailand Elite” is operated by Thailand Privilege Card Co., Ltd. It has been initiated in 2003 by the Royal Thai Government itself. The company is fully owned subsidiary of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, under the Ministry of Tourism and Sport.

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