I haven't been to SE Asia, but I've read some threads mentionning Thailand as an attractive choice to live or retire, and have seen many online adverts qanout jobs offerings, including teaching European languages, and according to th threads here, preferable locations have lower cost of living.
This will be a simple queation, but why don't more expats living in Yunnan move there?
Also, for those who have been in non touristic areas of Thailand for at least three months, it would be nice to hear about your experience, opinions and thoughts about moving to Thailand, (or even to safe neighbouring states with easy intrnet access).
I have an American friend who lived in Thailand for a few years. He told me the reason he came to China is because it was getting unbearable for him to jump through all the hoops the visa office in Thailand was asking for. He is older and retired (0ver 70) and he had to maintain a certain amount of money in the bank. I am not sure about the amount but i am certain it was over $10,000 US.
@yankee00 there are already enough expats living in Thailand, so I don't think they need more encouragement to go there. Besides, Yunnan is nicer in many ways, there are fewer foreigners, the climate is comfortable, not too cold and not too warm and the infrastructure is rapidly becoming more and more like that of a developed country.
Thailand is OK because people there even in rural areas can usually speak at least a little English but yeah it's not easy to live there long term mainly due to visa issues. Otherwise, the lifestyle is OK, the people are generally quite friendly, but I don't really think quality of life is really a big plus there as the roads are becoming more and more choked with traffic, even in rural areas (usually consisting of a mixture of pickup trucks, sedans and small 100cc motorcycles), dual pricing is prevalent (i.e. officially sanctioned by the government) at all tourist attractions and really there's not that much to do there except chill out in an air-conditioned room to avoid the heat.
In order to establish why you would want to live in Thailand rather than Yunnan you'd better ask yourself what's wrong with living here (I personally don't see a lot of reasons). Personally I doubt Thailand is any better (I've spent many years there and 95% of the time away from the tourist areas) as Thailand still feels like more of a developing country than China.
@HFCAMPO, Thai retirement visas are issued 1-year at a time with a minimum bank balance of 400,000 Baht if you are married to a Thai (about US$13,000) and 800,000 Baht (about US$26,000) if you aren't that must be maintained yearly in order to receive a visa extension.
Visa is one thing.
Can't own property in Thailand is another. Only rent.
Thats is a very clear and detailed answer - Very good!
This forum is biased. Most people here seem to be long-time residents with nary a negative thing to say about China or Yunnan. It's ok to be patriotic about the place you're living I suppose. But to reduce Thailand to an "air-conditioned room with nothing to do" is a bit ridiculous and irresponsible advice for someone who has never been there.
Thailand is a great country with lots of stuff to offer. That's why it repeatedly makes "best places to retire" lists. (visa issues notwithstanding)
Is it better than Yunnan? I'm not sure this is the best forum to debate that.
If I were the OP, I would go on thailand forums to get a better idea and more balanced views of what's it's like to live there.
Both have their strengths and weaknesses. Neither place appears to make it easy to just turn up and live for an extended period, and that is fine (though I still think the 2008 Olympic visa changes should be relaxed! It's like getting blood out of a stone to get a visa to come visit a place you've lived for 10 years!). Cost-wise, with the changes in the Chinese internal economy and the exchange rate Thailand is definitely cheaper to go and live at the moment, though this was not the case in the past. Some other areas it excels over Yunnan are internationalism (particularly in Bangkok; and anyway this is a double-edged sword), cultural facilities (museums, libraries, music and art scene, events, etc.), internet speeds, international transport links, general lack of bureaucratic hassles, and access to beaches. Yunnan is cooler, has greater climatic variety, has beautiful mountains and great rivers, and thankfully avoids that (behind the scenes, frequent, Thai assumption that) 'all farang are walking ATMs and sex tourists' type attitude. Yunnanese people, particularly from smaller areas, are generally really open and honest, and didn't get up in the morning to take a chunk out of you-or-some-other-farang's wallet. Hehe.
@magnifico, Thailand is a great place for the most part, but I think the OP is being a bit naive by suggesting Yunnan expats should all move there. Also, I think Thailand has been done to death a bit, nearly everyone I know has been there, so there's definately nothing new or undiscovered about the place. Thailand is already full of expats and as voltaire has correctly suggested, there are both positive and negative aspects to that. Also, I was referring to living in the Thai countryside, which I like but as I know all too well, there isn't much to do there. Finally, the initial excitement one might get out of a 2-week vacation certainly melts away if you've been living there for a while. At the end of the day it just becomes like any other country you're living in.
One thing I disagree about voltaire is that Thai cultural facilities are better than Yunannese ones. For one thing, Thai museums are annoying because they will nearly always charge foreigners more just to enter so that makes one reluctant to even enter in the first place. Even if you do go, they aren't that great, nor very numerous certainly not compared to what I've seen in Yunnan. Temples are much more worth visiting and in any case, most museums in Thailand are located inside temples.