IS Thailand one of the best places to live in? Maybe. It’s a difficult and quite subjective question. But according to several polls, studies or surveys by various agencies using various means of measurement, it probably is.
In its latest study, the World Economic Forum decided to use a different approach to measure the progress of nations apart from wealth.
It’s called the Happy Planet Index, which measures health and happiness not in isolation but against a crucial new gold standard for success: sustainability.
The formula takes the well-being and longevity of a population, measures how equally both are distributed, then sets the result against each country’s ecological footprint.
In this calculation, the most successful countries are those where people live long and happy lives at little cost to the environment.
And Thailand is among the top ten beating wealthy Western countries. The top 10 are Costa Rica, Mexico. Columbia, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Panama, Nicaragua, Bangladesh, Thailand and Ecuador. It says when it comes to people’s ability to live good lives within sustainable limits, Latin American and Asia Pacific countries are ahead of the crowd (140 countries).
In another survey last year, the country was listed as one of the world’s 25 best places to retire in by International Living, a North America-based magazine for retirees.
International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index released on January 1, 2015, listed Thailand at number 10. The report combined several real-world insights about buying and renting, benefits and discounts, cost of living, fitting in, entertainment and amenities, health care, infrastructure and climate of each of the 25 countries.
Another website, moneyunder30.com has listed Thailand among the 10 best counties for working abroad. Among the reasons supporting the choices are low cost of living, access to stunning scenery, and excellent food as well as a great place to teach English.
For years, scores of foreign business and industries have been expanded or relocated to Thailand both in the financial and real sectors, namely, automobile, chemical and banking to name but a few. Among foreign expats coming to work in Thailand are Japanese, Koreans and Westerners while lately the Chinese are the majority of tourists visiting Thailand.
We have heard time and again stories along this line from the Thai associates of the Japanese. After years of living in Thailand, most Japanese expats would be very upset or very sad if they are called back to Japan or posted elsewhere up to a point where they think that would be a punishment because living in Thailand as an executive is a luxurious and happy life for them compared to living in Japan.
In fact, there is a study as to why the Japanese love living or traveling to Thailand. The key is they like the Thai style, the sa-buy, sa-buy style, which they lack. While in Japan, a very competitive society, they have to be something like perfectionists in whatever they do to an extent that they become stressful. In Thailand, you can relax, living quite an easy life and also don’t have to worry about earthquake, volcano eruption or tsunami.
But of course, Thailand like other countries, has its own weaknesses as well. Traffic is bad, people sometime behave the way you don’t like or understand, it has double pricing to name but a few issues but overall, it’s not a bad place to live in.
Like what Marc Faber, a world famous Swiss investor, investment advisor and fund manager, writer of the famous report called Gloom Boom & Doom, who chooses to live in Chiang Mai, has said that he knew riding a motorbike in Thailand is quite risky but he has five motorcycles. So he added that he must be akin to a very optimistic guy, riding a motorbike in Thailand!
TOP: Flowing along with life on the Chao Phraya River in a very Thai sa-buy, sa-buy style: Photo: Reinhard Link
INSET: Life in this country is great even on Chiang Mai’s highlands particularly at Wat Phrathat temple which sits atop Doi Suthep mountain. Photo: Mith Huang
By Kowit Sanandang