@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.
I agree with AlexKMG. I can't imagine any round trip ticket to Bangkok costing only 1200 RMB including taxes. If you can find something for around 2000 RMB then you are doing very well as THAI usually sells tickets for around 2400 RMB or above.
It might be a bit cheaper to fly with Lao Airlines to Vientiane and then connect via Udon Thani (70km away from Vientiane's Wattay Airport) on a domestic flight to Bangkok, but you're unlikely to save much if at all, so a direct flight for around 2000+ RMB is all you're going to find.
Sounds complicated just to send out one's own belongings as a former resident. Perhaps it might be an idea to send everything by truck via Hong Kong or Vietnam (Haiphong) and then by ship out to Australia? I can't see how that wouldn't work, although you might have to be prepared to pay for duties in Hong Kong or Vietnam in addition to possibly higher transport fees.
I have shopped at numerous Carrefours and they all accepted my VISA card issued abroad. For example, the store on Longquan road always accepts my VISA or when I use it, Mastercard. One of my Mastercard credit cards uses an in built chip system and I sometimes have to explain to the clerk that it needs to be inserted into the machine and not swiped in this case.
Unionpay and VISA are not the same thing. It wouldn't make sense that only a VISA card issued in one country could be accepted and not one from another country at a given business establishment.
Airlines, better hotels, some upper class restaurants, all Carrefour and Walmart stores, etc. all accept VISA cards. Unfortunately, not as many retailers as there should be accept credit cards in general in Kunming, but at least you can use them in a number of places.
Horrible tasteless, thick-crusted "cardboard" like pizzas that are a far cry from what they should be like. Way overpriced too. Wine may be good, but why bother when the nearby Prague Cafe makes much better pizza at a more reasonable price?
Good food and atmosphere. Sometimes takes a while to order, but all you need to do is shout Nihao! Fuyuan! And a waitress will come. Or you could just order at the bar or on the stairs, which is what I sometimes do.
Hate the stale cigarette smoke upstairs though, which is where i always sit because of the comfy sofas; that stuff makes my clothes smell almost as bad as a night out at Kundu, but anyway, this being China and especially Yunnan, means it might take a while before non-smoking restaurants become the norm.
Great Mexican food and ice cream, excellent Raspberry smoothies and an overall good atmosphere. Can't do much about the low ceilings on the second floor, but the early closing time could be adjusted, after all, the nearby French Cafe closes at 1am.