Choices for Your Retirement Paradise
By J.P. Boyd
As a visitor to Chiang Mai and an ex-patriot from
Southern California, now living in Sicily, Italy, I am delighted by the
interest people have in a comparison of Chiang Mai, Thailand to Sicily.
Interestingly, given the recent civil unrest in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, many
ex-pats who have chosen Thailand as their retirement home are now asking, if
the civil unrest continues, “Where do we go from here?” Alternatively, the
more time I spend here, the more I want to include Chiang Mai as part of my
life for part of every year. Is Sicily in your future? As Wayne Dyer says,
“Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.”
The author takes a songthaews in Chiang Mai
The large pool of ex-pats I have spoken to have no
intention of returning to America, or their given homeland. The reasons
cited: expenses, a dislike for the politics of their region and taxes. Those
reasons and a visit with friends in Sicily resulted in my decision to stay.
Abraham Maslow developed a pyramid of chronological needs
that every person has to satisfy to reach “self-actualization”. There are
five levels on the pyramid, and when an international move is scrutinized
within the boundaries of those five levels, self actualization really can
occur. This three part series of articles addresses those levels whether you
want to live in Sicily, Thailand, or both.
The first levels of needs are physiological needs; basic
survival elements: shelter, food, water and air. Shelter is affordable in
both countries. Three weeks after arriving in Sicily, I signed a one year
lease for a part of a villa (now 700 E/ $854.00) with a view of the sea and
a garden. It now costs me an equivalent of $1500.00 or 1230 E for monthly
lease payments, utilities (water, trash, and electricity) and cable
television (SKY). Cable T.V. provides stations in English that include news,
movies, arts, fashion as well as Italian news, etc. (See www.xe.com to
convert to baht).
As a visitor to Chiang Mai, I am renting a studio 1/3rd
the size of my villa at the Riverside Condo for less than $375.00 monthly (around
12000 baht). It includes a microwave, refrigerator, air conditioning and a
T.V. Most ex-pats don’t cook at home. Instead, “Meals on Wheels” will
deliver food from any restaurant for 70 baht (www. mealsonwheels4U.com) and
street vendors do most of the cooking for the locals. In Italy, cooking is a
household art and equipped kitchens are the rule.
With the strength of the dollar, contemplate renting a
second home in another country. Sicily is prone to African deluge rain from
November to March when the weather in Chaing Mai is at its best. March
through May is balmy in Sicily, as is August through November, bad weather
months in Thailand. The cost of shelter is comparable in both countries.
Next week I will talk about food, security and
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the United
Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and Kenan Institute Asia (KIAsia) held a
seminar at the DusitD2 Hotel on sustainable tourism development for local
Mr. Akkapol Prueksawan of the Tourism Authority of
Thailand discusses sustainable tourism development and the importance of
improving Thailand’s image overseas.
The seminar was aimed at providing information to
executives and owners of hotel and accommodation businesses about the
concept of “Envirotel” as a tool to help develop sustainable tourism
development, which was introduced by the UNEP, as a main guideline in
solving the problems of energy management, water, waste, and work plans for
construction project in tourism.
Mr. Akkapol Prueksawan of the TAT on opening the seminar
said that the seminar was being held to help local accommodation providers
benefit from better energy management and other green methods of operating
their hotels with an aim of preserving the environment and yet still earning
a profit. He added that while tourism was beginning to improve across the
country after the recent political turmoil, there are still sensitive areas
which concern authorities and require the extension of the Emergency Decree.
He noted that many foreign tourists are returning to more
Southern areas which had not seen political turmoil faster than they are in
“As many foreign visitors understand more about the Thai
political situation, particularly those from Asian countries, we expect they
will return to Thailand in increasing numbers, “he added.
He also noted that during the high tourist season for
later this year, more reservations are predicted from European visitors,
“But one of most important things is that the Thais create a good
understanding and image among visitors worldwide. It’s key that they get the
facts and understand that Thailand is back to normal.”
“In fact, Thailand is now ready to welcome them back for
international seminars and events. Travel agencies, media in the travel
industry and VIPs should be invited to explore Thailand. “To create a good
reputation and image for Thailand is now the most important thing, as well
as looking for the new tourist markets,” he concluded.