What We’ve Been Up to So far…
It’s hard to believe but as of yesterday (Oct 2nd) we have just completed our first month in Thailand. Here’s what we have been up to so far:
- Sept 02, 2019 – Arrived in Bangkok, Thailand
- Sept 02-06, 2019 – Hotel [Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok]
- Sept 04, 2019 – Setup Thai Bank Account
- Sept 05, 2019 – Setup Thai Cell Phone
- Sept 05-09, 2019 – Took several days to transfer required funds for Retirement Visa
- Sept 06-11, 2019 – Hotel [Chatrium Hotel Riverside]
- Sept 11, 2019 – Moved into The Metropolis Condominium Complex
- Sept 12, 2019 – Visited Thai Immigration Office to submit TM-28 Form (Notification of Home Residence Address)
- Sept 12-24, 2019 – Settling into our condo (setting up internet service, etc.), completed various items related to my retirement visa and learning / venturing around our surrounding area
- Sept 17, 2019 – Setup internet for condo
- Sept 25-30, 2019 – Traveled to Kanchanaburi (by train), visited Kanchana’s family
So, as you can see, our first month has been practically spent setting up our home base and taken care of my retirement visa (which is still ongoing). We have not had a lot of time to venture out much into the city (and biggest reason I haven’t posted anything new on the website).
As many of you already know, we have spent the last three years preparing for our move to Thailand. Getting rid of all our possessions, selling our home, retiring from work, etc. It took every spare moment of these three years to just to get our mental and physical selves to Thailand.
Because of this, it did not leave a lot of time for us to plan our future. This part would have to come after we arrive to Thailand. Sure, we had a basic plan once we got here, as stated here from a previous post…
“We do not plan to buy or own any property in Thailand. This will allow us to take advantage of the low-cost rental apartments and condos. We’ll probably start out living in Bangkok for the first year or so – it has so much to see and do on its own. After this we’ll play it by ear and see how it goes. At some point we’ll probably be moving around a lot between different destinations – trying not to stay in the same place for more than 6 months or so. Doing this will give us the opportunity to stay in other parts of the country. We also plan to take numerous trips around Southeast Asia (such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.). At some point down the road (few years) we also plan to visit Portugal (low cost of living) which we plan to use like a home-base while we travel in and around Europe.”
So, so far so good – everything has been going along as planned. Now that we are situated in our new condo, we can venture out more into the city. Of course, we still have our upcoming trip to Bhutan (Nov 07-19th, 2019) which we are really looking forward to.
and Planning Our Future – Portugal…
One of our long-term travel goals has always been to plan a visit to Portugal (and possibly setup residency). Its low cost of living is very similar to Thailand and also known for its:
- Great Weather – average of 300 days of sun per year
- Good Infrastructure
- Safety – ranks as the 17th safest country in the world
- Good Health Care
- Great Beaches
- Affordable Cost of Living
- English Widely Spoken
- Healthy Living & Eating
Portugal is a member of the Schengen Agreement:
“The Schengen Area is an area comprising 26 European states that have officially abolished all passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders. The area mostly functions as a single jurisdiction for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. The area is named after the 1985 Schengen Agreement.”
Citizens of the United States with a valid US passport can travel to 26 European member countries of the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days (within 6 months) without having to apply or obtain a Schengen visa for short-term tourism or a business trip.
Taking this a step further, the Portuguese government has taken steps in recent years to make itself a welcoming place for tourists and expatriates. A U.S. citizen can apply for temporary residence permit. The permit is renewable every two years, and after five years can be converted to a permanent residency permit.
We have been seriously thinking about taking this approach to living in Portugal. Doing this would offer many benefits along with being a home base for traveling in and around Europe over the next several years.
What About Thailand?…
I would still maintain my retirement visa in Thailand as we would still be making trips sightseeing and visiting family. The main reason for moving to Thailand/Bangkok for our first year was to give us time to settle into our new retired life abroad. Getting a condo in the city (with a good transportation system– BTS) makes this an easy transition. It also gives me time to get my retirement visa in order and get established within Thai immigration.
During our first year we will use Bangkok as a home base to travel within Thailand along with taking other trips abroad (such as upcoming Portugal, Ladakh – India and Nepal). Time will tell on how all of this will go but for now this will be our plan of approach.
In the end, if the temporary Portugal residence doesn’t work out then we could always just take advantage of the 90 day Schengen rule (90 on / 90 off – twice a year) to visit Europe (and Portugal) – so we always have options!
What’s Next After Bhutan?
We’ll probably finish out the year in Bangkok (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve). We have several big trips planned for 2020:
Southern Thailand (February 2020) – Kanchana’s mom and step father are coming to Thailand during the month of February. During this time, we are planning to visit the most southern region of Thailand (Hat Yai, etc.). We are not sure of the details yet but we are looking to fly to this region then take a train back to Bangkok
Portugal (Spring 2020) – If all goes well, we hope to spend 3-4 weeks visiting Portugal. I’ll be posting more updates once we have all of the details.
Ladakh, India (July 14th – 27th, 2020) – Lonely Planet describes Ladakh as “…almost supernatural landscapes, spectacularly jagged, arid mountains enfold this magical Buddhist ex-kingdom. Picture-perfect gompas (Tibetan Buddhist monasteries) dramatically crown rocky outcrops next to fluttering prayer flags and whitewashed stupas, while prayer wheels spun clockwise release merit-making mantras. Gompa interiors are a riot of golden Buddhas and intricately colorful murals and home to red-robed monks. It’s a little corner of Tibet marooned in the furthest reaches of India.”
Nepal (November 31st – December 2nd, 2020) – Described as “with its constant backdrop of mountains – a trekkers’ paradise, Nepal combines Himalayan views, golden temples, charming hill villages and jungle wildlife watching to offer one of the world’s great travel destinations. (Lonely Planet)”
Well, its time to mosey…