Southeast Asian hubs for expat retirees

Southeast Asian hubs for expat retirees

Southeast Asian hubs for expat retirees

Formerly the chosen region for expats from Europe and the UK, Southeast Asia is now attracting its fair share of USA retirees.

The region itself has a great deal to attract would-be retirees, with its stunning ultra-modern cities contrasting with rural havens in spectacular countryside far away from the usual mass tourism trails.A number of destinations represent great value for money as well as the chance to experience a genuinely different and authentic culture and way of life along with occasional, affordable luxuries and conveniences costing a fraction of the price in the home country.

The small Thai city of Chiang Rai is set close by the border with Myanmar and is the real Thailand experienced by visitors decades ago, along with a few nods to the 21st century such as hypermarkets and home décor stores. It’s charming, quaint and set in peaceful countryside within easy reach of the Mekong River at Chiang Saen, the stunning limestone karst mountains and the forests once walked by the forest monks common to Buddhism in Thailand’s northern region. It’s a four hour trip to Chiang Mai, capital of the former Lanna kingdom, and lakes, rice fields and glittering temples are everywhere.

Vietnam’s Vung Tau town is spectacularly set on a peninsula overlooking the South China Sea some 60 miles from Ho Chi Minh City. Once a safe harbour for China traders as well as headquarters for Malay pirates, the town was also a retreat for the Vietnamese royal family and a popular hub for R&R retreats during the Vietnam War. There’s an established international expat community mostly active in the oil and gas sector, and it’s still a weekend retreat for townies from Ho Chi Minh City.

Another perfect location for expat retirees is the small town of Canggu set on Bali’s southern coastline. It’s something of a melting pot of expats, locals and tourists, but it’s still possible to get away from it all and live close by amongst lush countryside and rice paddies. The coastline is fringed with centuries-old lava stone temples, and the three main beaches are separated by rivers. Busy streets contrast with quiet residential lanes containing traditional homes, local eateries and coffee shops, and the food is vegetarian heaven complete with raw foods and healthy menus. For lovers of seafood, the fish here are a rare treat.

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