International Living has run the rule over the world’s best destinations for retirees and has come up with 25 of the best – including five in Asia.
“Whether you’re looking for a friendly, good-value city, a tropical beach, a cool, highland retreat, a historic colonial enclave or a quiet lakeside getaway, this index can help point you to your best options on the planet today,” says the magazine’s editor, Jennifer Stevens.
Destinations are judged on 10 categories, including cost of living, housing, healthcare and retiree benefits.
Malaysia is the pick of destinations in Asia, coming in at number seven on the global list.
The magazine cites Malaysia’s “cities with a buzz, idyllic beaches, islands that seduce the senses, and some of the most pristine ancient rainforests in South-east Asia”.
“And it has some of the region’s best street food, great restaurants, bars, shopping malls, and movie theatres.”
Vietnam comes in on the 10th spot globally, with expats and retirees happy that the country “hasn’t sold its soul”.
The magazine praises Vietnam’s ancient traditions, “like the burning of offerings on the full moon and exotic ceremonies honouring the Mother Goddess”, as well as ornate mansions left behind by the French, parks and streets lined with century-old shade trees, elegant restaurants alongside street food stalls selling spring rolls and chicken soup.
International Living suggests those looking to retire to Vietnam should check out Dalat, Hoi An, Nha Trang and capital city Hanoi.
Other Asian countries in International Living’s top 25 are Bali (16), Sri Lanka (17) and Thailand (18).
Top spot globally goes to Costa Rica, dubbed the “Switzerland of Central America”. Costa Rica abolished its army in 1948 and pledged that budget to education and healthcare, resulting in a well-educated population and medical access for all citizens and legal residents.