Top 10 Retirement Destinations in Asia for 2017

Andrew Leeson


10 top retirement destinations

What makes a great overseas retirement destination?

The answer is of course that it very much depends on the individual, but there are some consistent themes that we’ve seen over many years living and working in the region. These themes include the cost of living, access to quality healthcare, good transport and telecommunications services, and a community in which you feel comfortable. It’s these criteria which form the base on which we’ve compiled our list of ‘Top 10 Retirement Destinations in Asia for 2017’ together with the number of enquiries we’ve received for each location. So here’s the countdown from 10 to number 1.


Phuket has grown enormously in popularity over the past 10 to 15 years. It has daily direct flights to Australia and offers a wide range of cuisine and entertainment options, in addition to good quality healthcare. The relaxing beach lifestyle sits very comfortably with Australians, who tell us that they find the island one of the easiest to settle into when considering an overseas retirement home.


The Philippines offer a very attractive retirement visa and are a wonderful value for money. Dumaguete, the ‘City of Gentle People’ is home to around 135,000 residents and was recently voted by Forbes Magazine as one of the best retirement locations in the World. The City offers a great variety of food and entertainment options, has the best healthcare facilities in the country (outside of Metro Manila) and has its own airport (Sibulan) offering regular services to Manila and Cebu, from which you can then fly to Australia. It’s also is a major port providing daily ferry connections to the islands of Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor and Mindanao.


This is the province which sits just to the south of Bangkok, and encompasses the highly popular seaside resort city of Pattaya (and its surrounds such as Jomtien, Naklua and Wong Amat). As covered in previous blogs, the district has a huge range of activities and cuisine, and has access to superb healthcare and transport links. A large and active expat community makes settling in as easy as it gets.
Pattaya City Thailand


Da Nang, Vietnams third largest city (with around 1 million residents), and its neighbour Hoi An offer a wonderful retirement lifestyle at a very affordable price. Da Nang sits upon the mouth of the Han River, and is one of the country’s most important ports. The city is within easy distance of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (such as the City of Hue and the My Son Ruins). Tourism drives an active social and entertainment lifestyle, with excellent cuisine available. There is a growing range of healthcare alternatives and strong transport links, both through its International Airport, and via good road and rail options North and South from the City.
Retire to Da Nang


We return again to the Philippines, and the country’s second largest city (with a population of about 1 million). It has a vast array of lifestyle options on its doorstep, with close proximity to stunning islands, beaches, resorts, diving, heritage sites and excellent food and shopping. The city has good Public and Private healthcare options and great transport links through its International Airport, which is home to Cebu Pacific (a regular cost effective airline flying to Australia).
10 top retirement destinations


It’s no surprise that Bali makes the list of top destinations, and although the book/movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ may have driven up property prices in this delightful part of Bali, the cost of living is still highly attractive and Ubud remains a wonderful escape from the somewhat hectic Southern area of the Island. Healthcare is still developing, but transport links via Denpasar are superb, with a number of cost effective flights to Australia on a daily basis. Food, entertainment and a relaxing lifestyle, together with active expat community make this a perennial favourite.
Ubud Bali


One of the country’s most visited tourist locations, this beautiful town offers breath taking scenery and a cooler climate due to its high altitude. Whilst the town itself has approximately 65,000 residents, it is merely 59 kms away via the Aguinaldo Highway to the vast metropolis of Manila, which offers the retiree, excellent shopping and entertainment, global transport links, and the country’s top healthcare. It really is a great combination of small town living, but near enough to access all that a big city has to offer.
Tagaytay Philippines


Thailand’s ‘Royal Resort’ city of Hua Hin comes in at number 3, sitting beside 8kms of wonderful beaches, the city gives the retiree access to a highly relaxing tropical lifestyle. Shopping, great food, entertainment and activities are in plentiful supply, and there is a growing expat community to help you settle in. There is excellent healthcare available and a good mix of highly affordable accommodation. Hua Hin is around 200 kms south of Bangkok, which provides the retiree with superb transport links to anywhere your heart desires.


Always a strong favourite, retirees continue to flock to the wonderful island of Penang, with its incredible food, glorious beaches, vibrant shopping, quality healthcare and easy, highly accessible transport links. The cost of living is second to none, and whilst entertainment is perhaps a little less ‘colourful’ than Thailand, for many this is exactly what they want. English is widely spoken, the retirement visa is the most ‘expat friendly’ in the region and the community is as welcoming and warm as a delicious Penang Curry.


There’s no hiding the fact that Thailand is incredibly popular with Australian’s and for those looking to retire to the Country, Chiang Mai often tops their list. Maybe it’s the more temperate climate, the fantastic value for money, or perhaps the friendliness of the Northern Thai people that seals it. Whatever it is, Chiang Mai has it all. The food, entertainment, activities and general café culture make it a ‘global retirement hotspot’. Healthcare is regarded as the best outside of Bangkok, and transport is cheap and plentiful, with an International Airport only 15 minutes from the city centre providing easy connections to host of cities throughout the region.

And so much more…

This list is far from exhaustive, and we receive many enquiries about other incredible locations within the region, many of which we suspect will grow rapidly in popularity over coming years, some honourable mentions include; Udon Thani (Thailand), Sihanoukville (Cambodia), Lombok (Indonesia) and Johor Bahru (Malaysia)

If you’d like more information or have any questions, please feel free to call 1800-961-377 or email in**@re**********.au and let the team at Retire to Asia help make your dream lifestyle a reality.

Andrew Leeson

Andrew Leeson

Over 20 years of experience helping people live a better life in SE Asia. Having worked in financial services in Asia I understand the challenges when moving to and living in a new country. I have travelled extensively throughout the region and experienced what SE Asia has to offer to retirees.

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