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7 Great Retirement Cities Outside Australia—

September 15, 2018 Lifestyle News No Comments Email Email

A growing number of Australians are retiring overseas to big cities that offer plenty of conveniences, great dining choices and an arts-rich lifestyle. In a new report, the editors at point to seven great retirement cities overseas.


 #1 Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh City—also known as Saigon—is oozing with energy and enthusiasm for life and its bustling economy. But behind the vibrant exterior lies a gentler, more sophisticated side with exceptional cuisine, a rich history and a thriving arts and music scene.

Foodies will delight in the abundance and variety of great eats on offer in Ho Chi Minh City. And to top it off, there are thousands of coffee shops dotted around the city to meet the enormous demand—the people of Ho Chi Minh City love their coffee.

The arts scene in Ho Chi Minh City is also full of life. A range of museums and historical sites around town provide an insight into Vietnam’s fascinating history and most only cost a dollar or two for entry.

#2 Chiang Mai, Thailand.

As the largest city in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is an exciting place to live, offering top-class dining, a culture-rich lifestyle and famous festivals throughout the year.

Surrounded by mountains and lush countryside, Chiang Mai’s cooler climate makes it a favourite amongst expats. The Thai people are warm and welcoming, but the low costs are a huge advantage of this beautiful city. A couple could live comfortably on a monthly budget of between $2,470 to $3,100.

#3 Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Once famed as “the Pearl of Asia,” the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, has lots to offer expats—a stunningly low cost of living, lively markets and a thriving food scene, set to a backdrop of colonial French architecture and Buddhist temples.

Phnom Penh’s beauty and its people’s warmth attracts retirees and for the avid golfer, Cambodia has a number of extraordinarily attractive courses—some even enlisted help from famous names in golf including Sir Nick Faldo, IMG and Nicklaus Design. Not only is the weather great for a round of golf throughout the year but the courses are set to idyllic backdrops.

Living here, retirees can afford luxuries beyond reach back home. The total cost of living for a single person living well in one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Phnom Penh is about $1,500 a month. A couple could spend around $2,000.

#4 Hanoi, Vietnam.

Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, is known for its French colonial architecture and rich culture with Southeast Asian, Chinese and French influences. A beautiful place of parks and lakes, Hanoi has maintained its traditional culture and charm while still being a modern city.

For every glitzy shopping centre, there’s an incense-filled temple nearby and cultural influences of the past are still part of the modern-day fabric of life here, from revered Confucian monuments to trendy French restaurants.

It’s the political hub of the country, as well as the cultural and historical centre. Plus, Hanoi has one of the lowest costs of living of any major city in Southeast Asia.

Wendy Justice, International Living’s Vietnam correspondent, and her husband David, live in the Ba Dinh District—also known as the French Quarter—with its wide, tree-lined streets, French colonial architecture and lush, verdant parks. Their typical monthly budget averages around $1,500 and rarely reaches $2,000—but that includes travel in the region and little luxuries like fine wine or evenings out.

#5 George Town, Penang, Malaysia

George Town is the capital of Penang, a tropical island off the west coast of peninsular Malaysia.

Despite Penang being a small island, there is no shortage of arts and culture; from the International Film festival to the month-long George Town festival that celebrates the arts in every form imaginable. With its UNESCO World Heritage Site listing, the must-see sights are best explored by foot.

As a former British colony, English is widely spoken, making it easy to make friends. And with a mix of cultures and cuisines, it’s a must-visit for foodies. On $3,300 a month, a couple can live in luxury here.

#6 Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Known as Cambodia’s “temple town”, Siem Reap, in north-western Cambodia, is surrounded by the ruins of the ancient temple city, from which the Khmer Empire ruled much of Southeast Asia from the 9th to the 15th century.

Developing rapidly, the changes of the last 10 years in Siem Reap may have brought more tourists, but they have also raised standards. The artsy-retreat is now filled with beautiful hotels, excellent yet affordable food, art galleries and shops stocked with fine artisan offerings.

The famous ruins of Angkor Wat are 10 minutes outside of town. This is one of the world’s largest religious monuments, a grand complex which encompasses about 500-acres bursting with extraordinary stone temples.

Siem Reap is a place where expats report living on a modest budget—Melbourne native Bill Parker says, “I spend less than $1,500 in an average month on everything from food to medical care.”

#7 Da Nang, Vietnam.

Da Nang, central Vietnam’s biggest city, lies on the coast of the Eastern Sea; and is considered by many, expats and locals alike, to be the most liveable city in Vietnam.

A river runs through the heart of the city, necessitating a number of bridges that connect the city to the white sand beaches. One of them, shaped like a dragon and illuminated by thousands of lights, changes colour at night and blows fire from its “mouth” in a spectacular display.

The beach is a hub of activity around dawn and dusk, with locals swimming, playing volleyball and football or simply strolling on the sand with a local beer or fresh coconut in hand. And the jungle-clad Son Tra peninsula, just to the north of the city, makes for a wonderful day trip.

Here, you get serious bang for your buck. Two people could live comfortably in Da Nang on a budget of around $1,325 per month, including rent, utilities, food, frequent meals out and incidentals.

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