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The cheapest places in the world to live – Is Thailand on the list?



PHOTO: Sam Kittner

Compared to what you’re paying in the west, in some countries you can have a palatial house, a maid, personal chef, good health care and a driver for the same cost of a struggling life in your home country. Thailand has long been seen as a retirement haven with its low cost of living, great food and high quality foreign hospitals. But the gap has certainly closed in recent years with the cost of living increasing and the Thai baht remaining strong against many other western currencies. lessening the differences in costs compared to, say, a decade ago.

But when it comes to getting the best bang-for-your-buck, the best value destinations are still probably overseas – for living or retiring.

At the top of the list isn’t Thailand but you’re not far away. Malaysia. Formerly a British colony, you’ll get by with English as your spoken language and the cost of living is a lot lower and the weather warm and tropical.

“A couple can live in Penang comfortably for $1,450 a month, including rent.

Second on the list, and on the other side of the world, and the equator, is Mexico.

“Here, goods and services cost less than in the US… you can afford the kinds of luxuries that only the well-off have the pleasure of back home.”

Third on the list is another country very close to Thailand, Vietnam.

“We go out for dinner, we go to the movies, we go to the gym, we run the air conditioner – we don’t try to scrimp and save, but we usually only spend about $850 a month for everything.”

Read the whole list of the top seven places to retire or live the cheapest. Whilst Thailand has slipped off the list in recent years there are still plenty of savings for a life in Thailand. Locals still know where to go to get the 50 baht pad thai and 50 baht latte.

Read the entire list HERE.


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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2011. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 42 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,950 in Thailand alone, hosted 1050 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.

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