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Where To Retire In Southeast Asia?

Editor: Cheyenne Hollis
Pages 22 – 23, Dot Property Magazine ISSUE 027 Q2 2019

Regardless of if your retirement is happening this year or remains decades away, it’s always a good idea to start thinking about it. There is perhaps no larger decision than where. Many people choose to retire in Southeast Asia thanks to the low cost of living, outstanding weather, and a chance to see a different part of the world. Those wanting to retire in Southeast Asia have no shortage of options. From stunning beaches where you can watch the sunset every evening to majestic mountain retreats, you are sure to find a place in the region that offers what you’re looking for. Want to know where to retire in Southeast Asia? Here are the three top countries based on several factors including cost of living, ease of buying property, retirement visa policies, and ex-pat support. 3. PHILIPPINESLanguage: EnglishCost of living: Est. USD1,100 per month popular retirement spots: Cebu, Laguna, ClarkRetirement visa: Indefinite (If requirements met) There are a lot of reasons ex-pats opt to retire in the Philippines including the widespread use of English. Additionally, The Special Resident Retiree’s Visa issued by the Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration is among the best in Southeast Asia. Privileges include multiple-entry access with the right to stay indefinitely in the Philippines. The cost of living is also low, but not at the levels of Cambodia or Thailand. Foreign property ownership is straightforward as well and many ex-pats find property prices in the Philippines to be extremely attractive. Cebu has become a popular choice for Japanese and South Korean retirees while Laguna and Clarktend to be the preferred destination for Australians and Americans. you’ll also find a number of Nordic and German retirees spread throughout the archipelago. 2. MALAYSIALanguage: Malay (English and Chinese spoke)Cost of living: Est. USD1,400 per month popular retirement spots: Penang, Kuala LumpurRetirement visa: 10 years, multiple entries via MM2HMalaysia has been a popular place to retire in Southeast Asia thanks to the introduction of Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program. People who purchase a property and can prove they are able to support themselves without seeking employment are able to obtain a 10-year, multiple-entry visa. Family members are also eligible for the visa. The cost of living in Malaysia is higher than almost all countries in the region apart from Singapore, however, it is still well below the US and Europe. Healthcare is also much cheaper in Malaysia than in the home countries of most retirees. Georgetown is a popular retirement spot for US ex-pats due to its multicultural vibe, food scene, beaches, and green areas. Kuala Lumpur has seen an influx of Hong Kong and Singaporean retirees in recent years while Melaka is now firmly on the retirement radar these days.1. THAILANDLanguage: Thai (Some English spoken)Cost of living: Est. USD900 per month popular retirement spots: Phuket, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Chiang MaiRetirement visa: 1 year, renewableThailand is the most popular choice for people wanting to retire in Southeast Asia, but the process to do so isn’t always easy. Let’s start with why people are so eager to spend their retirement in Thailand. For starters, there is a low cost of living and a popular food scene. Additionally, there is a high standard for healthcare that is extremely affordable. The diverse locations and ease of domestic travel are also big draws. Finally, it is straightforward for foreigners to buy property in Thailand. There is a but, however. In order to obtain the retirement visa, you’ll need to either deposit THB800,000 into a Thai bank account or prove you have a monthly income/pension of THB65,000 or more. The visa is only good for one year, but you can renew it annually as long as you still meet the financial requirements. However, a Google search of ‘Thailand retirement visa’ will turn up no shortage of horror stories about the process. There is also a 10-year retirement visa, but the financial requirements are even higher. Retirees in Thailand can be found up and down the country. Those wanting to relax by the beach prefer Phuket or Pattaya while Chiang Mai is a trendy choice for those wanting to enjoy the lush forests of the north. Hua Hin offers a bit of both with a beach and green mountains within reach.

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