You’ve spent decades slogging away at your desk, socking away savings and dreaming about what you’d do with it all once you were free. Instead of an all-too-brief annual holiday, let’s talk about the expanse of time ahead of you. What will you do now that you no longer have that 9-to-5 ball and chain? To save you time and effort, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 places to retire around the world. We considered every angle – low rates of crime, affordable living expenses, access to quality produce and top-notch amenities. And perhaps most importantly – places where you can live your dream and be truly free.
While the island paradise may have changed drastically over the past decades, Bali is still a haven for expatriates looking for an affordable tropical retirement. A south Bali villa close to good beaches, quality restaurants and amenities can still be found for under US$150,000. What’s more, recent infrastructure upgrades mean Internet speed and healthcare facilities are now approaching world-class standards. Best of all, it’s just two hours away from Singapore!
With its “no worries, mate” lifestyle, Australia is perfect for retirees. Perth, with its picture-perfect Cottesloe beach, Margaret River wine region and countless world-class golf courses just down the coast, promises all that and more, just hours away.
Mild winters and a sizeable Asian population make Vancouver a top choice for many retirees looking to escape the tropical heat while minimising culture shock. Residents love to spend their time enjoying the outdoors, in every possible way – the region is surrounded by breath-taking national parks and award-winning ski resorts. And if you get home-sick, just pop down to Richmond, a suburb that boasts even better dim sum than Hong Kong.
There are 101 reasons why the Dalmatian coast should be on your radar – sheltered coves, turquoise seas and timeless fishing villages being the top three. Jacques Cousteau even described the waters off the Dalmatian coast as the cleanest and clearest in the world. And Game of Thrones fans take note – King’s Landing is actually Dubrovnik, and the city is infinitely more spectacular in real life.
Auckland, New Zealand
The country came in tops for “expat experience” in an HSBC poll and it’s easy to see why. Gorgeous scenery, world-class wineries and a wonderfully relaxed pace of life make New Zealand popular with retirees. The government introduced a special ‘retiree’ visa in 2010, so it’s easier than ever to cash in your CPF and load up on Sauvignon Blanc. Cheers!
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Stay clear of the heat and humidity of Bangkok and head for the cool hills instead. The ancient city of Chiang Mai – which ironically means “New City” – has long been a popular retirement destination for Europeans, so residents enjoy a wide range of modern amenities just like home. It is also a spa heaven, with literally hundreds of spas, making it an excellent choice for those who need a little healing in their later years.
Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
Famed for its broad beaches and adrenalin-pumping surfing breaks, the Riviera Nayarit along the picturesque Bay of Banderas is a popular destination for snowbird retirees who prefer spending winters with nothing colder than a margarita. Most choose the bustling city of Puerto Vallarta, with its cobblestone streets and colonial architecture, but the cool surfing town of Sayulita is also gaining popularity.
Some might call it the Singapore of Europe – after all, it’s sunny, safe and just a little island in the Mediterranean. Like Singapore, it’s also a former British colony, which means English is spoken widely. Enjoy the quiet, rustic charm of Victoria on Gozo, the second largest island in Malta, which boasts two opera houses, delicious wines and abundant seafood, all for a fraction of mainland Europe costs.
No.1 on Forbes’ list of retirement hotspots, the Algarve boasts great weather, a welcoming community of English-speaking expats, and a new retiree residency programme. Additional perks include fantastically fresh seafood, low crime rates and a very high standard of healthcare – the region is fast becoming a popular destination for medical tourism.
Many who visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Georgetown, Penang’s historic capital, say it’s just like Singapore from decades ago, but with much better food and a much lower cost of living. Enjoy a beautifully restored shophouse at a fraction of its cost in Singapore and spend the difference stuffing your face with prawn noodles, char kway teow and rojak. So shiok!