A growing trend in recent years is that western men are moving to Thailand for retirement and also find Thai wives or life partners.
Over the years large proportion older western men married to Thai women move with their wives to Thailand on retirement. We have seen this pattern in Thailand's Northeast particularly with Thai women married to German men. They have various reasons for doing so, although they generally to tend to be for a quiet life away from the rat race of the city, and also because their retirement money goes further in Thailand than in their own country.
Western men of all ages are moving to Thailand for what they consider to be an easier and better life. This was the case before the great recession in Europe and United States but it there has been marked increase in this traffic since then.
Although there are a lot of older western men seeking retirement who are already married to Thai wives, and fundamentally she is moving back to her homeland with her husband, this is not always the case. Many western men now move to Thailand and then meet their future wives.
Sand it has come to be that many Thai women do not just accept any western as a husband, and while Americans and Germans are popular, more tend to go for English men. Before considering why these nationalities are the most popular to be chosen by Thais as a husband, and why so many western men adopt Thailand as their home, let's first examine the attraction for such men to Thai women.
Thai women seek marriage with foreign men (farangs)
One of Thailand's English speaking national newspapers has reported that around 60% of Thai women living in the north-east Thailand are actively seeking a non-Thai husband. This is a growing national trend, where women of poorer areas in Thailand have an ambition to meet and marry a rich 'westerner' who will remove them from their current situation.
In many cases, the lucky Thai women are more than happy to display their new-found wealth and remain living in Thailand, and in fact in many cases, in their home town or village. Because men that marry Thais also help fund the finances of the extended family, these foreign men are usually made to feel very welcome. If it is a young Thai woman, she is not only securing her own financial future, but also that of her family in Thailand.
An increasing number of foreign men, or 'farangs' as they are known, are choosing to remain in Thailand after their wedding, or to return there with their Thai wife for a quieter life on retirement. Some just want a quiet life away from the stresses of the rat race; others may want to cut their links with their home and family in order to carve out a new life for themselves with a new wife. The low cost of living in Thailand is one of the key factors that emerges for all foreign men moving to Thailand.
Here is the story of two of these foreigners who have found a happy new life in Thailand: Malcolm from the USA and Norman from the UK.
Malcolm's Story - from Oregon, USA to the River Kwai, Thailand
Malcolm Burgess had been married to his Thai wife for nine years before moving from Salem, Oregon, to Thailand to live on his retirement. Malcolm's wife, Ciejay, is please to be back in her own village showing off her small gold bracelet that is worth around 23,000 baht. In Thailand, gold symbolizes financial security and Thai women love to wear such symbols on their person. Status is important to Thai women.
Malcolm and Ciejay had lived a happy and secure life in Salem, Oregon but once Malcolm retired he decided to live his Golden years in Thailand. His hope was to live in a peaceful village in the beautiful Thai countryside, free of stress and with no financial worries.
They now live in the village of Whang Po in the Kanchanaburi province, right on the banks of the River Kwai, made famous by the movie of the bridge constructed by prisoners of war. This is a very beautiful part of Thailand, and Malcolm and Ciejay are very happy living here. According to Malcolm: 'The quality of life is great; it's a peaceful, quite and safe place and I feel no stress.'
They moved here in 2004 and have a great retirement. When asked about the standard of accommodation, Malcolm responded: 'Our home was an old Thai house that had not been lived in for eight years. We bought it and when we moved here in 2004, took three months and remodeled it to fit our needs. Be it ever so humble, it suits us just fine, we love it!'
He commented that he gets along great with the locals who are mainly farmers or shop owners, and that all are related to each other in some way. There are only two expats in his area, and they all get along very well. It was very easy for him to make friends, though being married to a Thai woman likely had a bit to do with that.
Cost of living in Thailand for farangs
Many people might be interested in the cost of living in Thailand relative to their own country. According to Malcolm:
'Since we live in a small village, most items are less expensive than in the USA. We get a small social security payment that largely meets our needs and many of our wants. For the most part, it's depends on how you want to live. We are very happy with our small home, small village and our low-profile way of life.'
Malcolm was then asked about the work opportunities in Thailand. He says that being retired with a Thai wife, his visa permits him to remain in Thailand and support his wife however he can. The majority of people in Whang Po are farmers, and there is always plenty farming work to do. 'There is less stress and a slower pace of living. Work is on ones list here but is not a top priority.'
A man from Wales in Thailand - Norman's story
Normal Foxwell is a Welsh man who decided to retire to Thailand almost three years ago. He now lives with his Thai wife Sompong in Lalomtim village and occasionally in Chon Buri Pattaya. Sompong looks after the finances, including the important health insurance.
This appears to be a trait with foreign men (farang) in Thailand: the Thai woman tends to look after the financial side of the marriage, and gives her husband what he needs for personal expenses. In fact, it is not only with foreign men because Thai women in general are the treasurers in the home. Western men who are living in the UK or the USA with their Thai wives also experience this.
When asked if he had difficulties entering Thailand, Norman responded: 'No. Being married to a national is the easiest way into any country. I do have a stamp in my passport - NOT ALLOWED TO WORK - but I don't need to work anymore."
With regard to house purchase, Norman recommends avoiding the beach-front areas due to their high cost, but that otherwise a couple can 'live like a king and queen' on a modest income by UK standards. Norman cannot work, and neither does Sompong, but they do very well with his $700 US each month net income from his UK pension and disability allowance.
That is more than enough to live comfortably and happily, although he does say you will need $100,000 to buy a decent house for 2-3 people - a great deal less than most homes in the West!
The main advice offered by these two men who are living happily in Thailand with their beautiful Thai wives is to go with the Thai flow and not try to change or complain about their way of life. Live with it, and they will accept you into their communities. Thought it is not necessary to learn their language, it would be good to learn at least a few words - it is a difficult language for westerns to manage because the written word is not in normal western form.
Women from Isaan seek English men for marriage
In Isaan in northeast Thailand, 60% of women polled stated that they want to marry a farang. The major reasons given were financial (61%), because of their respect for women and faithfulness compared to Thai men (59%) and because they wanted to live abroad (16%).
When polled on nationality, the most popular farangs were Englishmen, who got 32% of the vote, Americans on 21% and Germans at 8%. However, men beware, because of those already married to foreign men, around 20% of their total income was spent on water and electricity due to the number of domestic appliances the Thai wives had purchased. Perhaps this is an exaggeration, since many places in Thailand have no or little electricity.
Another aspect of Thai life is that they have little conception of cost, and will purchase the best of what they can find, irrespective of price. The above comments on electricity cost could very well apply to Thai wives living in cities, or even in the UK and the USA! Most men take the view that a beautiful Thai wife is worth every penny she spends.