3 Surprising Risks You Need To Consider When You’re Living In Thailand

I’m sure you’ve read all about the benefits of retiring in Thailand. You can choose from a big city like Bangkok, the tourist-friendly beaches of Phuket, or the charming small towns in Chiang Mai Province. In fact, there are so many things to love about this amazing country that it’s easy to forget that there are some risks to living here as well. Here are three unexpected health concerns you need to think about before making your move:

Road Accidents

Thailand has one of the highest road accident rates in the world. In fact, Thailand has a higher rate of road accidents than any other country in the world. The country also has the highest rate of road accidents per capita and per vehicle, making it an obvious place to start when you’re trying to avoid getting into a car accident.

To give you some perspective: Thailand’s motorway system is currently only half-built; this means that many drivers on the roads do not know how to drive safely or defensively. Driving conditions can be very unpredictable due to reckless driving habits (such as tailgating), lack of seatbelts, limited visibility due to rain storms, and poor lighting conditions at night time…

You might think that living in Thailand is automatically safe from all of the above. But don’t get too comfortable. The weather and other environmental factors can be unpredictable, catastrophic, and life-threatening on occasion. And when disaster strikes, it’s not just your house that’s at risk—it’s your finances, too.

The 2014 floods cost roughly $30 million in damages to Thailand’s economy and caused an estimated $2 billion worth of losses worldwide—and those were just minor floods compared to what could happen if a major cyclone hits your area (more on that below). These costs aren’t only short-term; they also impact your health long-term by increasing stress levels (which can lead to depression) as well as increasing the risk for pneumonia or other respiratory illnesses because of mold contamination later down the line.

Water and Food-Borne Illnesses

Food-borne illnesses are one of the most common illnesses in Thailand, but they’re also one of the easiest to prevent and treat.

Food-borne illnesses are caused by harmful bacteria growing in the food that you eat. Sometimes these bacteria can be killed off by cooking your food properly, but even if they’re cooked thoroughly enough that they don’t end up giving you an illness, they might still give you a stomachache or make it hard for you to digest anything else during your trip because their “leftovers” will remain in your body until cleared out.

Preventing foodborne illnesses is as simple as washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly (especially if you’re buying them from street vendors), avoiding raw meat products unless absolutely necessary (like buying meat from a butcher shop), and making sure that any meat served at restaurants is fully cooked before eating it (to ensure that all bacteria has been killed).

These unexpected health concerns can derail your retirement dreams in Thailand.

Unforeseen health concerns can derail your retirement dreams. It’s important to have a plan in place for unexpected health risks and accidents, but there are many different types of insurance that you’ll need to consider. You also don’t want to find yourself uninsured after an accident, so it’s important to know what your options are.

  • Considerations when choosing an insurance plan:
  • What kind of coverage do you need?
  • What is the best way for me to pay for it?
  • How often should I review my policy?


Thailand is a safe and peaceful place to retire. But you need to be careful of the unexpected risks that can derail your dreams of living in the country. Plan ahead, take precautions, and follow the advice above, and you’ll have no problem enjoying an amazing retirement in Thailand!

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About Jill Nelson

Jill first came to Thailand 20 years ago as a medical tourist to receive treatment for breast cancer. After four more visits, she decided to make Thailand her home and now enjoys reading and occasionally writing blogs during her retirement with her husband in Chiang Mai.

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