retire thailand

Retiring to Thailand



poverty pensioner accompany
ability bank (3) seek/sought
share confront Alzheimer’s disease
risk vegetate patty field
decent private chauffeur
rude contrary take care of
orchid respect quite the contrary
regret confident adventure



Video: Retiring in Thailand



For the past three years, we’ve been accompanying German pensioners in search of happiness in Thailand.

One of them was Ute Schultz from Buxtehude, who sought to escape old-age poverty.

And we met Reinhardt Effing from Neumunster in the seaside resort of Pataya. He’s banking on his Thai partner, Sontjay to look after him in old age.

Reinhardt: “The Thais are know for their ability to care for people. As you saw, my lady put cream on me, and gave me kisses . . .

. . . which I like, of course.

You don’t get that in a German nursing-home.”

Now we’re meeting them again to see how they are both confronting some of life’s big questions.

We’re also visiting the Alzheimer patients of the Thai village of “Forgetting”.

We’ll see Elizabeth of Switzerland again.

Elizabeth: “Everyone in my family is grown-up and independent. They don’t need me.”

Ute Schultz has rented a house in the patty field. She’s hoping for a better life — but she’s taking a big risk.

Ute Schultz: “If I’m only scared all the time and think about what could happen, then I wouldn’t have come. I’d have stayed sitting in my tiny flat in Buxtehude and vegetated in my own four walls till the end.

That is no way to live.

You need to take risks if you want to live.”

Now Ute is surprising us again.

She wants to start a house-share for pensioners, starting over in her mid-60s.

Can that work?

After three years in northern Thailand, Ute Schultz has gotten her own private chauffeur.

She takes us to the town of Chang Mai.

Nemai, the tuk-tuk driver is 75, but has to earn money.

He’s Ute’s only real link to the Thai population.

He said he’s more than just a driver.

What else is he?

Ute Schultz: “He calls himself ‘my bother’, my friend, my bodyguard.

He’s a very honest, decent person.

And it’s natural for him to take care of me.

I can call him in the night, if I needed a doctor for example.

And he’d take me to the hospital. He’d take me wherever I needed to go.”

Ute Schultz is on her way to buy some flowers.

Shopping here is more fun here than in Germany: four orchids for five euros.

Almost everything is cheaper and friendlier.

Ute Schultz: “I know more people here than I do in Germany. I’ve never noticed the Thais to be unfriendly or rude. Quite the contrary.”

They’ve always been respectful.

Nobody’s going to hit you on the head to take your five euros from you.”

Ute Schultz has never once regretted her move to Thailand. She describes it as an escape from old-age poverty.

Even though she sometimes gets quite lonely in her 200 meter square room, that too is about to change.

The back section of her flat has already been cleared for her new flatmate.

So far, Ute only knows Josefina from the internet.

It’s only another 85 days before Josephina finally moves to Thailand. She excited to finally make the change and happy to have someone else from home living with her.

The climates and orchids appeal to Josephina. It’s going to be a very different life. They know that living together will be an adventure.

Ute is confident they will be getting along swimmingly.

Josefina is equally confident.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


1. Who is the German man? Describe the German man.

2. Do you think the Swiss have close or weak family ties?

3. Describe Ute Schultz’s way of life and situation in Germany. Was she a victim of crime?

4. How does she describe Thai people and culture?

5. She lives like a rich person in Thailand. Yes or no?

6. Are there any disadvantages to living in Thailand?

7. Is Ute Schultz’s life going to change? What is going to happen next?


A. Some (retired) people from my city move (abroad). True or false? If yes, what are some popular destinations? Why do they move?

B. Do foreigners move to your place? Why do they come?

C. Is this a good thing?

D. What do you think will happen in the future?


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