The Best Place in the World to Retire (Southeast Asia Edition)

A report from the New York Times estimated that about 100,000 people retired to Asia from other countries in 2010. What draws westerners to Southeast Asian countries for their retirement choices vary from low cost of living to lush, tropical rain-forests and bustling mega cities. In any of the countries in Southeast Asia, a retiree will conservatively spend one third to one quarter of the amount paid in western countries for most goods, services and entertainment. A retiree’s monthly pension will surely go a lot further spent in Asia than in their country of origin.

retirement in Asia -- retirement visa lawyer Phuket


Asian countries happen to offer a cultural experience that is second to none. Hence, a lot of retirees are discovering that the best way to spend the fruits of their hard work is if they retire in an Asian country.

And depending on one’s personal criteria, some of the Asian countries considered by many retirees as the perfect place they can call their second home are:

Thailand retirement -- Retirement Visa Thailand

  • Thailand. The country has first class medical and dental facilities, stunning beaches, good road networks and airports, and delectable cuisine. The capital city Bangkok offers metropolitan lifestyle with its world class facilities and infrastructures while Phuket offers one of the best beach destinations in the world. Thailand offers one year renewable visa for qualified retirees aged 50 or older. Read more about retirement visa in Thailand here.
  • Malaysia. This country has excellent infrastructure, a large expat community and a great social scene. Malaysia has a government program offered to expats who want to call Malaysia their home –  MM2H or Malaysia My Second Home, which provides a renewable 10-year long social visit visa to eligible applicants.
  • Indonesia. Expatriates are slowly discovering the beauty of other cities aside from Bali. They have amazing restaurants, bars and clubs that make the country pulsate with energy and enthusiasm for retirees choosing Indonesia to be their home in Asia.
  • Cambodia. Phnom Penh is slowly becoming a favorite among retirees looking for great restaurants, bars and French colonial architecture.
  • Philippines. The country has a large expat community enjoying the country’s natural beauty. It is home to breathtaking beaches, coral reefs, islands and mountain ranges and a large English speaking population. Foreigners are allowed to buy properties upon satisfying certain ownership conditions.

Any of these countries can qualify as a retiree’s second home. Some of the criteria that have to be considered when choosing which of these countries will provide for a best retirement place, include:

Retirement in The Philippines -- retirement visa Phuket

  • Language barrier. Generally, all countries speak the English language although some have very limited usage and would require learning the country’s native language.
  • Length of visa. Some countries offer longer or extended visa validity while others are a bit restrictive.
  • Ease of banking. While most of these countries have access to international banks, processing for some countries may require longer periods than normal.
  • Medical options. Most of the Southeast Asian countries boast of world-class medical facilities and services. And the best part is, they cost a fraction of what it would normally costs in western countries.
  • Ease of renting or buying properties. Each country has a different set of requirements and qualifications especially with respect to property ownership. Not all countries allow land ownership under the foreigner’s name.

If you finally decide on which of the above mentioned Southeast Asian country you desire to retire, then you would be needing the help of a retirement visa lawyer to know the full details of the requirements and possible workarounds available for foreign nationals.

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