A good starting point to budget a Thai lifestyle is $32,000 or around $1,000 per month. That’s what the Thai government requires of expatriates who seek a retirement visa. While that amount won’t buy all-out luxury in Bangkok, where upmarket condos might require a budget closer to $5,000 per month, it will allow for a very comfortable lifestyle in smaller cities. Some expatriate favorites are the northern cultural capital of Chiang Mai and its smaller cousin Chaing Rai, and the beach paradises of Phuket and Koh Samui. Many expatriates avoid the traffic, pollution, and noise of Bangkok unless they need medical care, where there are hundreds of Ivy League-educated doctors. Combine the great weather, amazing cuisine, and friendly, English-speaking people and Thailand garners our top spot.