Offering everything from lush, tropical rainforests to bustling mega-cities, Asia is one of the world’s most varied and interesting places to retire. With an increasing number of Western retirees seeking an ‘escape’ from the fast-paced life that they are used to, and Asia offering a cultural experience that’s second-to-none, the number of retirees seeking peace, comfort, and financial security in Asia has continued to increase.
But it’s not just peace and quiet that retirees are searching for in Asia – it’s a fun and interesting life. While Western cities offer a great deal of economic opportunity, they can often feel somewhat stale and lacking in culture. In contrast, many of Asia’s top cities feel full of life and interesting opportunities to be found.
Likewise, Asia’s beach destinations, small towns, and rural settings can offer the perfect picturesque setting for a retiree. From beautiful scenery to truly stunning natural surroundings, many of Asia’s best locations are undiscovered secrets when compared to their counterparts back home.
These ten locations offer a great mix of modern conveniences, creature comforts, an affordable cost of living, and a unique look on life. From mega-cities to small towns, these top ten places to retire in Asia should be at the top of your list when you’re on the look for a great place to retire.
1. Phuket, Thailand
Known as Thailand’s capital of adventure, beach life, and summer sports fun, Phuket is a large island off the coast of Thailand’s Andaman Peninsula area. Connected with the mainland via a large road bridge and a bustling international airport, the island is easy to reach and well connected to the rest of the world.
While Phuket may be best known for the party hotspot of Patong, the rest of the island is warm, quiet, and remarkably peaceful. With a year-round tropical climate and some of the world’s most stunning beaches on its shores, this tropical island is a hotspot for retirees in Asia.
2. Penang, Malaysia
Malaysia’s northern cultural capital and foodie paradise, Penang is an interesting island for those seeking a more cosmopolitan beach experience. Home to some of the world’s best street food – including famous Laksa and Char KuayTeow – this bustling island is renowned as one of the world’s best places to eat out.
With some picturesque beaches of its own, Penang is no stranger to tourism and foreign retirement. Large condos line many of the island’s top beaches, while new shopping malls and commercial developments make this island a convenient place to live.
3. Singapore, Singapore
Singapore is one of Asia’s most livable large cities – an international community on a small island south of Malaysia. Home to a robust and powerful economy, a financial sector that’s ranks amongst the world’s biggest, and a variety of parks, natural areas, and gorgeous nature, this city of five-million is highly livable for retirees.
Despite its high cost of living, Singapore offers a great deal for those on a pension or fixed income. While real estate is expensive, food and drinks are very affordable and hired home help – maids, service people, and so on, are very inexpensive. Singapore is undoubtedly the perfect location for those seeking familiarity and comfort in Asia.
4. Sapporo, Japan
Japan’s cool northern city is one of the world’s best places for fans of winter. Home to some of the country’s best ski resorts and natural areas, this largely industrial city is one of Japan’s most affordable cities. The harsh winters, while off-putting for some guests, are a blessing for those seeking a cooler change of pace.
Well connected with the rest of Japan via air and rail, Sapporo is a unique city that’s worth the investment for those interested in learning more about Japan. With some of the country’s most inexpensive urban housing and a great deal to offer fans of winter sports, this city is undoubtedly Japan’s winter paradise.
5. Huahin, Thailand
While the Thai beach resorts of Phuket and Pattaya may have more in the ways of name recognition, it’s HuaHin that offers the most for retirees. Home to a large and clean beach that wraps around the city’s main commercial district, this coastal town has grown into a hotspot for retirees from Western countries and Thailand itself.
Home to one of the Thai Royal Family’s largest residences, HuaHin is a luxurious and peaceful beach town that’s focused on the higher end of Thai tourism. There are no sleazy beach bars or nasty nightlife here – only a relaxing, peaceful community that’s perfect for retirees, families, and holidaymakers.
6. Nhatrang, Vietnam
Vietnam’s primary beach resort destination, NhaTrang receives hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Despite its popularity, however, it’s maintained much of the charm that made it such a popular destination in the first place. A coastal city with some of the country’s best beaches, NhaTrang attracts retirees seeking a warm, peaceful place to stay in their later years.
With a beautiful beach of its own and air connections to the rest of Asia, NhaTrang is an easy city to access and a great ‘base’ for exploring the region. Inexpensive and peaceful, this beach resort is highly recommended for visitors to Vietnam seeking a fun, relaxing, and enjoyable experience.
7. Taipei, Taiwan
Taiwan’s capital and largest city is an economic hotspot for the region, and also a fantastic place to retire to. With a relatively inexpensive cost of living, particularly for a city of its development level, this affordable city is a great destination for those seeking an East Asian experience that’s less costly than that offered by Hong Kong.
With some of the world’s best dining opportunities, an orderly and peaceful society, and a fantastic public transportation network, Taipei is a great city for exploring the world of East Asia. Despite political issues with the People’s Republic of China, this destination remains a secure place to store your finances and other assets.
8. Sai Kung, Hong Kong
Think of Hong Kong and you’ll invariably picture huge high-rise buildings, bustling streets, and markets extending as far as the eye can see. However, while the city’s central districts may be some of the most dense in the world, its outer areas and small coastal towns offer a more relaxing lifestyle for those looking to retire.
Sai Kung is a small coastal town in Hong Kong close to the region’s border with China – a unique outpost in an otherwise bustling city. Quiet and easy to live in, retirees are drawn to Sai Kung for the lower cost of living and more peaceful way of life. Despite this, it’s only a half-hour from Hong Kong city by train and public bus.
9. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thailand’s ‘second city,’ Chiang Mai is a more relaxed alternative to the bustling capital of Bangkok. With a large range of businesses and restaurants catering to foreign expatriates, this city is an easily accessible destination for retirees that are interested in a more quiet, relaxed way of life.
Inexpensive and reasonably developed, Chiang Mai is home to international condo developments and many of the services that you can find in Western countries. The low cost of living, pleasant climate, and friendly atmosphere have made this city a top destination for retirees seeking a peaceful retirement location in Asia.
10. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malaysia’s capital city is significantly less bustling than many visitors expect. While the inner city is fast-paced and frantic, many of the city’s outer suburbs offer a great opportunity for retirees to enjoy peace, quiet, and tropical warmth. Inexpensive and convenient, this city is a great destination for those seeking to retire in Asia.
Backed by a fantastic transportation network and a strong international community, Malaysia is an underrated retirement destination in Asia. If you’re on a limited budget yet seek a combination of quiet relaxation and big city life, Kuala Lumpur may be the destination that you’ve been looking for.