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Chiang Mai Impressions


Why choose Boong?


Picture the scene if you can , two tired people off a long haul flight from Jhb via Bangkok sitting outside CM airport ( would have been inside waiting for Boong in the airconditioned arrivals hall but wife needed a cigarette) so we are outside in the hot sun looking around when suddenly from around the corner rushes a 1.5m tall bundle of energy with beautiful raven black hair streaming behind her shouting, “Saywadee, Khun Gerry and Khun Jackie”. This was our first personal introduction to Khun Boong Chanayee and what a pleasure it was!


Chiang Mai International Airport


Boong of course had been waiting for us in the meeting section of the arrivals hall which we had walked straight past due to aforementioned need for a smoke. From there it just got better and better! Boong took us to our hotel all the time chattering about Chiang Mai, which she clearly knows very well and loves very much, and made arrangements to collect us later from the hotel which she duly did. Boong has exceptionally good staff working for her and who all in different ways compliment her business. All those that we met were native Thai people, as is Boong, and their personal warmth and friendliness to us cannot be overstated.


Such good natured and good humoured people I have never come across before in over 40 years of commercial business. These people who work for Boong are NOT your everyday tour guides. ie They are not Thai speaking Westerners but English speaking Thai people who are young and enthusiastic about their jobs. In this way, and through them, we got to see what I would call the real Chiang Mai, not just the usual tourist traps. Although we did do this once or twice such as riding on the back of an elephant through natural reserves.


Boong and her staff are also very familiar with good Thai restaurants which serve up authentic Thai cuisine, which of course they are all familiar with, and explained to us in detail without any impatience whatsoever. In fact our every wish or whim was catered for and different or alternative options pointed out. The legendary welcoming friendliness of the Thai people is exemplified by Boong and her staff. Thank you Boong and Co for making our holiday such a wonderful experience and one that I am sure we will do again before too long and next time for longer than 10 days.


Should verification of this reference be required, I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, I can be contacted at email:


Why Thailand?


Tax Free Thailand


One of Thailand’s great attractions for many who are planning on retiring, or at least living in Thailand and not deriving an income locally, is that they can live there 100% tax-free – legitimately. According to the Thai Revenue Department: – “A resident of Thailand is liable to pay tax on income from sources in Thailand as well as on the portion of income from foreign sources that is brought into Thailand.” Therefore, even those expats who become permanent residents in Thailand by meeting their 180-day residency rule can retain all their wealth offshore and legitimately avoid paying any local taxes. Naturally enough this ensures any pension income, or any money derived from investments offshore or ‘back home’ such as a rental property for example, will go an awful lot further without the deduction of income tax.


As a example, if a Briton wants to move to live in Thailand and be considered a Thai resident for income tax purposes they must complete HMRC’s P85 form, and in so doing apply to the British Revenue to be considered non-resident and not ordinary resident for tax purposes.
The criteria they have to fulfil in order to be considered thus is defined by HMRC as:

– If you leave the UK…you are treated as not resident and not ordinarily resident if you meet all the following conditions;

– Your absence from the UK and your employment abroad both last for at least a whole tax year

– During your absence any visits you make to the UK total less than 183 days in any tax year, and average less than 91 days a tax year. (The average is taken over the period of absence up to a maximum of four years. Any days spent in the UK because of exceptional circumstances beyond your control, for example the illness of yourself or a member of your immediate family, are not normally counted for this purpose.)

– And according to the Thai Revenue Department, a permanent resident in Thailand is “any person residing in Thailand for a period or periods aggregating more than 180 days in any tax (calendar) year.”


Low Cost Thailand


Whilst the days of living in Thailand’s party towns for just a few hundred pounds or dollars a month are definitely gone, you can still live in Thailand for much less than you might pay for a comfortable retirement in many other countries. Look on a myriad of forums for arguments about the cost of living locally, and the one thing you will see most people agreeing on is that you have to live in Thailand for at least a year or two to get the lay of the land and to ensure you’re not overspending on services and goods!


You need to settle in and get to know the ‘right’ people and the ‘right’ places to shop or dine, drink or socialise before you can ensure you’re living on the least amount comfortably possible – but you can definitely find a more affordable cost of living in Thailand. You have to pick your location carefully of course, and perhaps resist the temptations to party that are really in your face 24/7 in some of the resorts, but if you’re careful and cautious, your western pension income can go a very long way.


You do need to factor in the likes of healthcare and the fact that odd costs can come along and blindside you occasionally! You also need to factor in the cost of a flight home occasionally and the fact that as a foreigner you will always be charged a bit more than local citizens…but with your eyes open and your head screwed on, you can live for much less in Thailand.


Decent Living Standards in Thailand


One of the other exceptional draws of Thailand for many who’re contemplating retirement or early retirement is that the standard of living can be fantastic. The climate and geography are conducive for outdoor living – the beaches are of course legendary, and the nightlife and social side of life in many of the main resorts and cities are excellent. It’s normal to have domestic help, and it can be very affordable too – and dining out on fantastic fresh, healthy local food is not only enjoyable, it’s also relatively affordable so that even the most cash strapped expats can indulge every once in a while.

Thailand is a nation that attracts expats from all nations and all walks of life. Yes, there are the bands of single males on the hunt for a beautiful wife, but there are plenty of western couples and families all living happily in Thailand too. It’s a friendly, welcoming country where red tape can be lived with, and where there are always plenty of people to help you settle in and make your new life everything you dreamed of.