Cheap places to retire in Southeast Asia

photo by CC user fischerfotos on Flickr

Nearing the age where you should be hanging up your hat from your chosen career, but don’t have near enough cash to stop where you live?

There are countless cheap places to retire in Southeast Asia that will give your golden years the sheen that mutual fund planners had always promised you.

How much can it hurt for you to open your mind to the possibilities that await you in the following countries…

1) Thailand

Featuring some of the world’s finest beaches, friendliest people and some of its most delicious food, Thailand is a well-rounded package that sounds too good to be true, especially given its status as one of the cheapest places to reside on the planet.

However, this nation is one of those rare exceptions to the rule, as all the above listed advantages are as true as they were generations ago.

This nation’s government has long recognized its attractiveness to westerners, and has made strides in recent years to attract boomers searching for the gold in the last leg of their lives.

Thailand offers a one year renewable visa for retirees that will allow you to reside in the Land of Smiles long term, and the law now permits foreigners to own 100% of a condo unit (you will still need a Thai majority stakeholder to buy a house), making the dream of residing in this gorgeous tropical nation a realistic dream for most.

2) Malaysia

Intimidated by the lack of English speaking proficiency within the Thai civil service? Malaysia, its neighbour to the south, counts this language as one of several that its public service can speak, thanks to its long history of strong ties with the British Empire.

It also has a number of mesmerizing beaches, and its mix of Indian, Chinese and Malay food arguably makes it a better destination for foodies.

While prices are higher than Thailand, costs of everyday essentials are still markedly lower compared to what you would pay in the West (except for alcohol, which is highly taxed – except in some duty free islands such as Langkawi).

Malaysia also has a special retirement visa program for retirees that streamlines the process in a simple to understand manner.

3) Philippines

Attracted to Asia by its affordability, but not so much its exoticism? While this nation certainly has its quirks, those seeking reminders of life back in the West will find plenty to love about the Philippines.

Christian churches, fast food restaurants, and a very active mall culture will be a comfort to those that seek these qualities in a retirement destination, yet if you have a desire to seek out adventure on occasion, world class beaches, stunning volcanoes, and Spanish colonial architecture are within a quick bus or plane ride from urban hubs like Manila or Cebu.

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