What Nationalities Are Most Expat Retirees in Thailand?

When contemplating retirement in Thailand, it’s natural to have a multitude of thoughts and considerations. Understanding the social landscape and finding a sense of familiarity in a new country play a significant role in this decision-making process. In this article, we explore the nationalities of expat retirees in Thailand, shedding light on the communities from various countries, their contributions, and the locations across Thailand where retirees have chosen to settle. From British and American retirees to Europeans, Chinese, Indians, and individuals from Australia and New Zealand, we delve into the diverse tapestry of expat retirees, laying the groundwork for those considering making Thailand their retirement home.

Retiring in Thailand: Embracing a New Home

When people think of stunning tropical beaches, Thailand is often the first country they think of. But Thailand is about more than just beaches, offering all you could need to be happy and comfortable during your stay. As such, many people have emigrated to make Thailand their home, including retirees from across the world who want to settle down in the land of smiles.

Lipe Beach in Thailand
Lipe Beach in Thailand

Relocating to Thailand: A Transformative Journey

If you’re thinking of retiring in Thailand yourself, then you will no doubt have a lot going through your mind. Moving to a new country can be daunting, with concerns such as how you will fit in socially. People tend to find it easier to settle in when around people from the same country and similar cultures, so here we look at some of the most common nationalities of expat retirees in Thailand.

British Retirees

Britain is a small island nation and has a climate that’s not appealing to most people. As such, it’s no wonder the British people are among the world’s most prolific travelers. Many Brits have made Thailand their home, and Brits accounted for the majority of new retirement visas in 2018. This is great news for others considering choosing Thailand as their retirement home.

Visitors to Thailand will find British restaurants, pubs, and other establishments that appeal to British expats, although all are welcome. Here you will find food just as it is back home, including Sunday roast dinners.

American Retirees

Many Americans have also chosen to settle down in Thailand in their later years. In many cases, these retirees are military vets who stayed in Thailand for R&R during the Vietnam war. Regardless of what brought them to Thailand, American retirees have made a valuable contribution to the ex-pat and wider Thai communities in Thailand.

As with the British, you will also find America-themed restaurants and bars, serving all types of American cuisine. Plus, of course, there are plenty of American fast-food restaurants to choose from.

European Retirees

Thailand is also a popular retirement destination for many people from European countries, including Germany, France, and the Netherlands. These countries have a temperate climate and are often cold and wet through much of the year, making hot countries like Thailand more appealing.

Many Europeans can also speak English reasonably well, which will help them socialize with other expats, and Thais. Plus, of course, Thailand has plenty of European restaurants to choose from, often owned and managed by leading European chefs.

Our Experience Settling in Thailand

At Thai Visa Expert, we have extensive experience helping retirees from different nationalities settle in Thailand. From our perspective, we’ve witnessed how the welcoming atmosphere, diverse expat communities, and familiarity of home comforts have made the transition to retirement in Thailand smoother for many.

Chinese Retirees

Thailand has long held very close ties with China. This much is clear to see thanks to Chinese architecture, while you will also encounter the language frequently when in the country. Many Chinese people have family staying in Thailand, and many will choose Thailand as their retirement location.

While there are many Chinese retirees living in Thailand, many westerners are unlikely to get to meet them. This is because different cultures mean you’re less likely to socialize with each other. Yet, visitors in Thailand will still often get to experience Chinese culture because of the close links between the two countries.

Indian Retirees

Many Indians have also made Thailand their home. And in some cases, their families originally arrived generations ago. The influence of Indian immigrants is also clear to see throughout Thailand, and many companies have adapted their services and marketing to appeal to Indian tourists.

As such, many Indians have chosen to retire in Thailand, whether to stay with family or simply because they feel it’s the best place for them.

Australians and New Zealanders

Retirement in Thailand

Thailand is a popular retirement destination for Australians and New Zealanders. Many visitors notice the influence from foreigners of these nationalities, who often own businesses such as pubs and restaurants. This creates an environment where Westerners are likely to socialize with people from Australia and New Zealand due to the familiarity of their cultures.

Expat community socializing.
Expat community socializing.

Retirement Locations

Retirees and expatriates can be found living all over Thailand. Many choose to reside in the country’s rural regions to enjoy the low cost of living and a leisurely pace of life. However, the majority of foreign retirees tend to settle in locations that cater to people from around the world.


Bangkok, a large city with millions of residents, including hundreds of thousands of expatriates, offers nightlife, entertainment zones, and all the amenities that foreigners may need. The city’s outstanding medical facilities and essential services make it an attractive choice for many expats looking to retire.


Pattaya, a well-known Thai coastal city, is approximately 15 km east of Bangkok and is popular among expats and short-term tourists. The city offers various amenities, including a beach, and is in close proximity to stunning islands, making it an appealing destination for retirees.


Phuket, an island located in the south of Thailand, is a premier tourist destination that attracts millions of visitors from around the world each year. The island offers a main tourist destination in Patong, known for its large, beautiful beach, as well as quieter coastal and inland destinations where foreign retirees have chosen to reside.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, situated in the country’s north, offers a different experience from the aforementioned locations. While it lacks beaches, it boasts a stunning mountainous backdrop and a serene pace of life. With its low cost of living and rich history, Chiang Mai is a popular retirement destination for foreigners.


Thailand warmly welcomes individuals from all over the world, offering numerous benefits that attract expatriates. With its diverse offerings, Thailand is an excellent location for retirees seeking comfort and relaxation, along with the opportunity to form long-term friendships with fellow expats.

Conclusion: Understanding the diverse array of nationalities of expat retirees in Thailand showcases the country’s universal appeal. Whether you’re from Britain, America, Europe, China, India, Australia, or New Zealand, Thailand offers a welcoming environment and numerous benefits for a comfortable retirement. With various cultural influences and communities established all over the country, Thailand provides an excellent opportunity for retirees to relax in a diverse and inclusive setting, forming lasting connections with fellow expats.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The most common nationalities of expat retirees in Thailand include British, American, European (including German, French, and Dutch), Chinese, Indian, Australian, and New Zealander.

Expats and retirees can be found living all over Thailand, with popular locations including Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, and Chiang Mai.

Thailand is popular among retirees due to its welcoming environment, the famous Thai hospitality, appealing climate, low cost of living, modern amenities, and the opportunity to socialize and form friendships with other expats.

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