Thailand is well loved among people of all ages, and retirees don’t make an exemption to the rule. Quite the contrary; Thailand has become a favorite retirement place and winter destination for pensioners.
So where should a retiree travel in Thailand? There are some places that are especially popular with the 60+ years old travelers.
Also keep in mind, that your choice of travel destination might differ whether you are going for a short holiday or looking for a place to longer time.
Hua Hin and Cha-Am – Perfect Spots to Retire over the Winter Months
Hua Hin and Cha-Am are popular and well-loved beach destinations among the pensioners in Thailand. The two beach towns are located next to each other just a little over two hours drive away from Bangkok. They are both as good for short holidays and long-term stays even if they sport a totally different kind of atmosphere from each other.
Hua Hin is better known of the two neighboring seaside towns. In fact, Hua Hin became Thailand’s first beach destination when Thailand’s king built his summer palace and nobles followed suit with their mansions in the early 20th century. A lot of the old charm is still visible in Hua Hin in Thailand’s oldest beach hotel (Centara Grand Beach Resort) and wooden seaside villas that have been turned to atmospheric restaurants.
You can still get royally pampered in Hua Hin, too. The beach town excels in fantastic restaurants from the world over, great shopping opportunities, and some of the best spas in Asia. As it is, Hua Hin is known as the Spa Capital of Thailand.
Add to the mix an amazing range of great golf courses, and you won’t be surprised, why so many have chosen Hua Hin as their new home for retirement. As a favorite place for long-term stays, Hua Hin has a comprehensive offering of rental housing.
Also in Hua Hin you don’t need to be worried about medical care. There are a several first-class international standard hospitals nearby.
Where to stay in Hua Hin? Our recommendations for the 60+ travelers in Hua Hin are the historical Centara Grand Beach Resort and the charming Anantara Hua Hin Resort and Spa in the midst of a wonderful tropical garden and known for its excellent spa.
Cha-Am’s charm is of a totally different kind. While Hua Hin has a cosmopolitan feel, Cha-Am is like its unpretentious, down to earth countryside cousin. Here you don’t have to be fit and fabulous to feel at home. Cha-Am is also more affordable than many of Thailand’s other beach side destinations, and you can easily find a nice guesthouse on a budget. Staying in Cha-Am for the whole winter won’t cost you a fortune.
Another Cha-Am’s advantages is that in Cha-Am the life revolves around the sea. Almost all the hotels and restaurants are located right by the sea, which is not the case in the much more developed Hua Hin, where the town center has grown far inland.
Nightlife is very quiet in Cha-Am, but you will always find a place or two to have a drink with like-minded fellows.
Two great destinations, but which one suits you better? Read more: Hua Hin vs. Cha-Am
Gorgeous Coastline South of Hua Hin
Hua Hin is a busy destination for sure, but if you continue from there two hours further south, you will arrive to Prachuap Khiri Khan, located amidst a wonderful karst mountain scenery. The journey is especially picturesque when done by train.
This idyllic coastal town, bordered by long and quiet beaches, is especially alluring for those who want to enjoy local atmosphere. Living expenses in Prachuap Khiri Khan are even cheaper than in Cha-Am.
For a long-stay, Prachuap Khiri Khan may be too quiet, but it is perfect place to go from Hua Hin for a few days to soak the local small town atmosphere.
A good idea is to go for a several days road trip from Hua Hin and continue even further south. One hour south of Prachuap Khiri Khan lies Ban Krut, which has two long and very serene beaches. One hour further is Chumphon, another quiet and easy-going beach destination.
Many seniors have found their dream holiday destinations where they return over and over again from this beautiful and quiet coastline just South of Hua Hin.
Golfer’s Pattaya (Forget the Bad Rep)
Pattaya has a reputation of a party destination full of go-go bars and massage parlors, so it might come as a surprise that Pattaya is also a popular destination for retirees. And not all of them are looking for eternal youth with the help of Viagra.
Pattaya’s strengths are its close proximity to the capital Bangkok, affordable condos, good public transportation system (with local songthaews), a wide range of restaurants, and some 20 golf courses in a one-hour driving time.
Pattaya also tends to be quite a bit more affordable than its rival Hua Hin, another great golf destination, when it comes to transportation, restaurants and living costs.
Pattaya is at its best for longer stays when you learn to appreciate the wide range of services in this urban beach destination.
For a place to stay, you should opt for the neighboring and far quieter Jomtien Beach instead of the very busy Pattaya Beach proper.
Pattaya has lodging for all budgets. Check out the best hotel deals in Pattaya
Best Thai Islands for Retirees
If you want to spend your holidays on an island, a great place is Koh Samet. Its soft, shiny white beaches are some of Thailand’s most beautiful. Being close to Bangkok and Pattaya, Koh Samet is Thailand’s most easily accessible paradise island.
The accommodation on the island is far more expensive than in Hua Hin or Pattaya, hence Koh Samet is best for short visits.
The variety of restaurants is limited in Ko Samet, but never mind: on this island the restaurants set their tables night after night right on the beach under the stars.
Read more about Thailand’s Paradise Islands
Nature Lover’s Khao Lak
Khao Lak is a perfect destination for those pensioners who are looking for a beach close to nature. Khao Lak’s beaches are long and peaceful, and a handsome jungle rises up right behind them.
Khao Lak’s hotels are of an excellent standard, and the beaches have a fair amount of nice restaurants to satisfy everyone’s culinary needs.
Khao Lak is also a very convenient place to travel to. It is located only an hour’s taxi-ride away from Phuket International Airport.
What about Phuket for retirees?
If you appreciate stunning beaches and a wide range of services, a safe bet is Phuket, the most popular island in Thailand. Phuket’s beaches are many times finer than what you would find in Hua Hin, Cha-Am or Pattaya.
Travel is convenient through the Phuket International Airport with plenty of flights from Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore and Europe.
Phuket has dozens of beaches and they all have their own atmosphere so you can find anything between a very peaceful and an awfully crowded beach. Choose your beach wisely!
A safe choice is Kamala Beach, which has a laid-back but not too quiet feel. A good alternative is Karon Beach, where you have a great choice of wonderful hotels.
Phuket has almost a dozen world-class beaches, and all of them has a different atmosphere. Read our guide How to Choose Between Phuket’s Beaches?
And for last a word of advice: skip Ko Phi Phi and Koh Tao, two small islands that are overrun by youngsters preoccupied with endless beach parties. Arriving in these islands is like entering an eternal, tropical spring break (ok, to be fair, some diving is done too).
Outside these two islands you will feel at home almost anywhere else in Thailand.