If you love Thailand and are set on it as a place to retire have you thought about retiring to Hua Hin on the beach. This lesser travelled destination in Thailand is well worth a visit before you decide on where you want to retire.
Yes, Hua Hin is a great place to retire with a smaller population and less tourists as well as long stretches of beaches and all the shopping and dining you could want. If you want to avoid the Pattaya or Patong Beach tourist trap areas in a place that has all those amenities and a lower cost of living then Hau Hin is for you.
Here are some of the common questions retirees ask about Hua Hin:
- How much do I need to retire in Hua Hin?
- How many foreigners live in Hua Hin?
- What are the requirements for a retirement visa in Thailand?
- Is buying property in Hua Hin a good investment?
- Is Hua Hin a safe place to retire?
- What food can I expect in Hua Hin?
- How do you get around Hua Hin?
How much do I need to retire in Hua Hin?
To retire in Hua Hin you will only need $430 USD for all your normal monthly expenses living in a studio apartment. This does not include all of your one off purchases and if you want more space a 2 bed unit or house including expenses will cost you around $570 USD per month.
Prices will rise the closer to the beach you are and if you want western or are happy with Thai style living accommodations. The main differences being a large fridge and an oven which are not as common in Thai style houses. The finishings are also better in a western style apartment or house but the link below in the property section will show you properties of both styles.
Two of the options are available in the table below:
|Rent (Studio)||$150 USD|
|Rent (2 bed)||$290 USD|
|Utilities (Electricity / Water)||$50 USD (4 Baht per KW and 7% tax)|
|Groceries (Including Bottled Water)||$100 USD|
|Dining Out (2 people X 8 times)||$60 USD|
|Internet||$20 USD (20Mbps Down / 10Mbps Up)|
|Transport (MRT the Metro or Subway)||$40 USD|
|Total (Studio)||$430 USD|
|Total (2 Bed)||$570 USD|
How many foreigners live in Hua Hin?
There are over 4000 expats living in Thailand and of those most are living along the beach so there are plenty to choose from for making new friends there. The locals are also very welcoming and you will undoubtedly make some friends amongst them as well. There is a small swell in expats during tourist seasons that mix things up as well.
What are the requirements for a retirement visa in Thailand?
Thailand has an easy Visa of type “O” or “OA” for retirees that are over 50yo and have $2k USD in monthly income or $24k in a Thailand bank account. The visa renews yearly and you just need to prove that you still meet the requirements above.
The “O” visa is one you apply for inside the country and the “OA” is the one you apply for from your home country. The Thailand official embassy website for each country has specific conditions that may apply for your country and you can find the country by country rules by clicking on the link below.
Is buying property in Hua Hin a good investment?
Yes, the town is only growing and even though it had a slow down in 2019 and 2020 due to COVID this year in 2022 it has now started to warm up again with an expected 5% yearly growth in property prices. With high demand and the slow down of construction with limited workers and resources like steel in shorter supply during COVID this will only add to the property growth.
A single bed unit starts at around $30k USD and depending on your proximity to the beach and amenities the prices will go up from there. For a two bed house or unit the prices start at about $44k USD and climb up from there so great for people with low amounts of money to invest in their retirement or vacation property.
Here is a website that has a lot of property in Hua Hin with an interactive map and also the ability to change to most currencies. You will find both properties to rent and buy.
LINK: FazWaz Property Hua Hin
PRO TIP: Always make sure you get legal advice before buying property and remember in Thailand you can only own the apartment or condo and not the land it sits on.
Is Hua Hin a safe place to retire?
With a population of 50k people it is a relatively small town so there is very little crime and next to no violent crime. The most you will see is some petty crime and pickpocketing. The slower pace of life and its safety are two of the key reasons people retire there. There is always a good police presence and they are always happy to help expats.
To keep up with Hau Hin news and see how little crime is there check out the local paper:
LINK: Hua Hin Today Newspaper
What food can I expect in Hua Hin?
There are all your local Thai favourites in Hua Hin like Pad Thai but you can also get Japanese, Korean, Western and heaps of Vegan choices of food. There are two major shopping centres with food courts and plenty of restaurants as well as the restaurants along the beach and in the city centre and two major food markets.
The underground level of the Bluport Resort Mall and the Market Village have great food courts depending on what you are looking for. Blueport is slightly more up market and the prices are a little more but they have more western food choices and more restaurants.
The Market Village is my favourite as I like eating like a local when in a country as it is one of the big reasons why I travel. The prices are also less and the quality at both shopping centres is great. Both have supermarkets with heaps of western foods but the one in Bluport has the bigger selection. Meals are between 50 to 100 baht so it is a very cheap meal.
The two main food markets are Fathers House which is a big open air eating market with live music and alcohol so it is always good for a night out with a lot of Thai style food choices. The Hua Hin Night Market is the other larger food choice but aimed at tourists generally so it has heaps of seafood choices and two story restaurants.
If you love seafood then definitely take a look and to be warned it is vibrant and everyone is trying to sell you on their restaurant. There are plenty of food choices here as well for those just wanting a quick snack on their way back from the beach. At both markets you will be paying less than 100 baht for a meal until you get your high end seafood but even then it is a quarter of the cost you would expect in the USA or UK.
Finally you have an array of restaurants over the water that are great for a view while you are eating and most of them are seafood places that get their food fresh every day. There are chicken and pork options as well but only a few with the focus being fresh seafood.
7-11 is still kind of your go to and Family Mart as they have everything you need for daily life at the same or cheaper prices then the supermarkets. Keep an eye on their deals and you need a local Thai ID to sign up for their points systems which means you need a permanent residence or citizenship. Then you get even more value from them.
So if you like fresh seafood at great prices and love it cooked for you then definitely put Hua Hin on the list.
How do you get around Hua Hin?
The nice thing about Hua Hin is that it is just a stretch along the beach and a few streets back so transportation is quite easy. The red buses run up and down the main street all day and night and you can just hail them down and pay them 20 baht a ride from one end of town to the city centre.
They are literally all you need but you can also download the Grab App that is the app that works all over Thailand for tuk tuks, motor bikes and car transportation. You can also barter with one at one of the many stops if you are wanting to go somewhere specific but I prefer to use the Grab app for set pricing or just hail one as it goes by. Make sure you download the Grab app when in Thailand as you need the one for that country.
PRO TIP: When setting up your Grab app make sure you have the payment method as cash or you may not be picked up. They don’t like paying the credit card fees so cash is king. Keep small money for transport and 7-11’s and supermarkets are always a good place to break big notes.