Low costs, relaxed atmosphere and an incredible amount of sunny hours, to many people there are several good reasons to move to Hua Hin when retiring. But like most other medals this tempting retirement-option contains considerable backsides as well – like language difficulties, an entire new set of rules and the lack of network in the new location.
That’s where the Swedish club, Svenskföreningen, comes in to the picture. Since November 2008 the club has tried to gather the resident Swedes of Hua Hin with weekend trips, legal advises, social get-togethers, Thai courses and golf-tournaments, which is planned on the monthly meetings on the restaurant ‘3 girls’, often accompanied by specialities like pancakes, punch and ärtsoppa (pea soup), a traditional Swedish favourite, a short drive outside the city centre.
So who says you can’t have a cake – or ärtsoppa – and eat it too?
Part time Thais
“Even if you love Thailand, it is great to spend time with your fellow countrymen, and that has become much easier now, as the number of Swedes in this city is booming, particularly the elder who easily spends half, or even all, of the year in Thailand when they retire from their jobs in Sweden” says Lars Olof Fagerström, who serves as the secretary of the new club.
According to him there is a great need for a network for the Swedes in Hua Hin – especially among the elder, which often find it awfully complicated to keep track on the impressive piles of paperwork, which is an inevitable part of settling in the mew and tropical surroundings.
“A lot of our members are from the generation before it became common to lean to speak English in school, and therefore faces difficulties communicating with the authorities and locals, for instance when they buy homes, buying insurance or applying for residence-permit” he explains adding that the members personal experience actually is one of the greatest strength of Svenskföreningen in Hua Hin.
“Some of the board members of the club has lived in the city for decades, and have made a lot of mistakes in the confusing bureaucracy-jungle, that the Swedish newcomers can benefit from. We are not experts ourselves, but we have a lot of valuable experience to share – and we do know how to get in touch with the professional experts when it comes to information and legal advices”, Lars Olof Fagerström ads.
More than ärtsuppa
But the activities of the club contains more than numbers and legal sections, one of the main aim of the founding of the club is to establish a social network, for instance trough weekend trips to vineyards or resorts and golf-tournaments – a joint passion for most of the board members.
“There are several good golf courses around the city and the climate is very golf-friendly. Many of the Swedes of Hua Hin, both men and women, are passionate golf players. So why not arrange an all-Swedish tournament? ”, asks Margareta Olsson, who is in charge of Svenskföreningen’s social activities.
“In the next high-season we have ambitions of arranging courses in Thai, computer skills and local cooking as well as cultural executions and Christmas- and midsummer parties. The social dimension has been a little neglected until now, but that is about to change. The club is more than legal information and ärtsuppa”, she ads.