A while back a couple of Pattaya expat business men approached me with an idea of creating an elderly care village here in Pattaya, their target market is pensioners in the West.
“As a pensioner why would you sit indoors 90% of the time in a lonely old flat looking out the window at the rain and grey skies on dark cold winter nights, wondering if anyone will ever come and visit you, and worrying incessantly over the rising knife crime and whether you can pay the heating bills every month, let alone afford car insurance for any kind of freedom and be able to fill up the motor once in a while.
When you can be a part of a safe thriving community of likeminded people who are well cared for by qualified Asian medical staff in your own private luxury apartment then stroll down to the pool to have breakfast with other expats, get the daily bus to town provided by the village and visit all the best European and Thai food you can eat, shop till you drop at the markets and all in average 28 degrees and the most blue skies you could ever wish for.
Well for what you pay for in the west for basically ‘old age lonely misery’ you can get luxury care, more funshine and new friendships here in Pattaya”
They went on about how they could provide everything the residents would ever need or want in the village and make the whole journey seamless in their finances.
“And the residents would actually have cash left over for frivolities, and no lights out at ten here!” they winked!
“Best of all your family will make it a trip once or twice a year to come and stay with you as it’s an awesome holiday for them too.
Then they will get used to your Thai partner who just happens to be 30 years younger and see the massive smile on your face, and won’t be shocked when you get her a visa to visit them with you in Europe or the USA.
“Our villages will be a resorts with massive gardens with established trees it is a fantastic place to walk and relax. Inside we have a guest areas where we organise a variety of activities.
We will have physical activities including; Pilates, Tai Chi, Yoga, and Aqua -aerobics We will also run many excursions for shopping, religious services, sightseeing and understanding the local community, and we will even have complimentary Thai lessons so they can learn to speak the language, as well as other ‘new learning’ classes, we must not let their brain go to waste whilst their body is improving!’
We aim to have a city dwelling closer to town, for the expat who likes the busier lifestyle and we will have a more rural resort for the ones who prefer the sound of waves and birdsong.”
I for one, can’t wait to see if they get their investment in this excellent idea, and then I will have to wait for a few more years to get in the club!
For now though, my UK friends always ask me ‘should I book a package tour before I come to Thailand?’ and I tell them no need, it is not that expensive to book when you get here, I always say book the first night in Bangkok to sleep off your jetlag, then get yourself to Pattaya like 1.5 hours in a private taxi for around 30 quid, or 2-3hours on the air con bus for like 3 quid, then there is so much choice in Pattaya for Hotels and rooms, you can see a few rooms before you decide.
I would say the vast majority of my friends who have visited me here on a holiday went through all the crap to end up living here. One of my friends, on their second trip, actually said to me as an aside when his wife was at the markets: “Okay this is just paradise, compared to my life in UK, I am going to stay, now just to leave the wife!”
Before you think how shallow this was, his wife was plotting the same with her friends at the markets too.
That particular expat couple got divorced and now both live here with their Thai partners, and are at the least, civil when they bump into each other at bars, awkward!
The biggest challenge living here for the middle aged expats in Thailand is immigration, If you have like 40,000 quid cash spare, before you even buy a condo, you can live here no hassles on an Elite Visa, but the 98% of us have to get Married Visas or open up a company, and I can point out the company owners in the bars for their wrinkles and stressed demeanor, however if you are over 50 you can get a retirement visa, but you can’t work officially, but you can sell stuff online to people outside the country, it’s a grey area.