Table of Contents Hide
are you planning to retire, and you are unsure of where to live or move to yet? Asia should prevail
the top destination on your list. It has some of the best destinations you would be dying to see if only you knew them. This article is about the 10 best places to live and retire in Asia. We can guarantee you would already choose a destination by the time you are at the end of the article.
Asia as a continent boasts of the most cost-friendly best places to live and retire in. It has a good number of world-historic places, as well as home wonders of the world with a beautiful diversity of culture alongside ancient towns. Living on this side of the planet, you’d also have access to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Your life would be bursting in the midst of unusual, surprising and adventuresome.
As we go further, you will find out the best places to live and retire in Asia as an ex-pat or an investor. After deciding to retire overseas, the big decision as to which country to choose comes into play. The criteria used to analyse each country are classified under these groupings: obtaining of visas, cost of living, Social amenities, climate, healthcare, healthy lifestyle, renting abilities, residency, assimilation, buying and investing potential, benefits and senior discounts, and entertainment and level of country development, opportunity & governance.
10 Best Places to Live and Retire in Asia
The 10 best places to live and retire in Asia that will be shown to you here are considered the best lifestyle options to pick from in Asia in 2021 if you ever think about living in one of the best places in Asia.
Live in Asia 1: MALAYSIA
According to ex-pat financial, Malaysia is one of the top Asian countries to retire as an expatriate. It is located in the south of Thailand and known for its vast and beautiful beaches. Also, for its immaculate rainforests and surroundings of its multitude of beautiful islands.
Malaysia is a multicultural country with Islam as a dominant religion. Although the country’s official language is Malay, English has become an unofficial second language in the country. It is widely spoken, which will indeed facilitate retirees in their relocation.
This country attracted visitors and immigrants over the years for its uniqueness and economic stability.
Malaysia should also be a top priority for retirees looking for some adventure. The country is relatively large, with a wide variety of terrain and adventures to explore. Also, due to its location, you will have most of Asia at your fingertips. Travelling between countries is extremely easy, allowing you to explore the full potential of Asia.
Employment opportunities are plenty, and the cost of living in Malaysia is relatively low. Expats here are generally happy with the affordability of life in the country and find it easy to settle in. It’s also the most popular retirement haven in Southeast Asia. It holds many natural treasures for people to explore during their stay.
It may also interest you to know that Malaysia has one of the world’s most tax-friendly jurisdictions. As residents of this country, you are taxed only on income derived from within the country. This means that even income you remit to Malaysia is not taxed as long as it was earned somewhere else.
The above paragraph calls for jubilation, right?
So, let’s take a look at places in Malaysia; there are places in Malaysia you should know about:
George Town, Malaysia
This is a town, an outpost of the former British Empire. Combining all that’s appealing about George Town, the island and city life, the “gem of Malaysia” is a distinct place of Malaysia’s most livable destinations. Low costs are a big part of the appeal. Health care is superb, foreigners are welcome, and the country is safe and stable. And in addition, it has diverse people, especially foreigners.
The populace is a melting pan of Malay, Thai, Chinese, Indonesian, Burmese, Arab, and Indian. Thanks to its colonial past, English is the language that holds the ethnic populace jointly.
Living in George Town here is conventional of a long-established tradition and 21st century, exciting and relaxed. Aside from the high-rise residential apartment, modern George Town is one of the best-conserved and preserved old cities in Asia.
And on the city’s doorstep are stylish seaside settlements with palm-fringed sandy beaches and a lush rainforest backdrop.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, in the core of the Malaysian peninsula, is a city of distinction. The shining stainless steel Petronas Towers, two of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, anchor a signature skyline. Their malls sell everything from handcrafted batik clothing to Tiffany jewellery and every other thing you might not think of.
In the gloom of this unconventional scenery, which is less than a 20-minute stroll from the urban axis, life in the old Malay community of Kampung Baru holds on.
Local Roosters wander without restraint, and monkeys move back and forth swinging on or after tree to tree.
The British are gone but left their mark in British-colonial architecture and driving on the left. English is the language of commerce, required learning for all Malaysian children. This makes foreigners feel genuinely welcomed and the primary spoken language for many Malaysians.
Health care is first-rate. Also, Kuala Lumpur’s public transportation is high-tech; e would say, state-of-the-art and efficient, and the tap water is safe to drink too.
Kuala Lumpur’s stunning beaches are a few minutes drive or flight away. Also, their incredible mountain retreats can be reached in about an hour. Kuala Lumpur is ethnically and racially diverse; the population of Kuala Lumpur is 38% Malay and indigenous, 43% Chinese, 10% Indian, and 9% foreign, according to liveandinvestoverseas.com.
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysian Borneo
Kota Kinabalu is one of the world’s most desirable livable places with beach cities. It is civilised, safe, clean, peaceful, and organised and among the best places to live and retire in Asia.
Kota Kinabalu, also KK, as it’s known, with a population of 800,000, is lively, vibrant, and modern. It has every up to date facility, food diversity, and entertainment preference to choose from, if you could want.
You won’t find orangutans swinging from trees. Also, o one walks around with bones protruding from pierced nostrils because of its unconventional state.
Kota Kinabalu’s most significant practical advantages are the low cost of living and high standard (and low cost) of health care. However, it is small in size and walkable, less than 2 miles from back to back. Life in KK revolves just around the water and is lived out-of-doors.
Living here in Kota Kinabalu, you’d fill your day’s boating, snorkelling, diving, and ferry-hopping from the city centre to neighbouring islands. We have. ; assure you, it’s an experience worth sharing after each trip.
Live in Asia 2: THAILAND
A close follow-up to Malaysia is Thailand. As Malaysia’s northern neighbour, there is no surprise that Thailand has landed in second as a desirable location for expatriates to retire.
The country’s low cost of living, warm-water coastlines, tropical climates, a tax-free system for income coming abroad for ex-pats, a rich and untouched culture, and relatively standardised hospital care. Known as “The Land of Smiles’ ‘, Thailand has much to offer regarding retirees’ desires.
Thailand also offers easily accessible yearly visa renewals for expatriates who have chosen to retire in Thailand. This allows Thailand to be a long-term retiring destination in cities like:
Chiang Mai, Thailand
The heart of this city founded in 1296 lies within its old city walls. It is where ancient and modern Buddhist temples coexist with residential and commercial neighbourhoods. This makes it one of the best places to live and retire in Asia.
Since the 1800s, the Thai city of Chiang Mai has been luring ex-pats from the West with its uber-low cost of living. Also, with its great weather (especially compared with elsewhere in Thailand), rich history, and distinct culture.
Modern Chiang Mai has grown speedily beyond the ancient walls. Also, it offers mega-malls, multinational grocery and department stores, and other trappings of 21st-century living.
The biggest advantage to life in Chiang Mai is its cost in general and of health care in particular. Basically, a couple can live here comfortably on as little as US$1 to US$200 per month. You can see an English-speaking doctor for US$20, too, depending on your ailment.
The biggest downside can be air pollution during the annual burning season, mid-February through mid-April, when local farmers burn their fields. Many ex-pats travel outside the country during these months.
Hua Hin, Thailand
Hua Hin is such an inviting place that, since the 1920s, it has been the summer home of much of Thailand’s royal family. It is stretched along with a sheltered beach on the west coast of the Gulf of Thailand, with good year-round weather and a large foreign community, which is an important exception.
Few places in Southeast Asia meet these requirements of a “developed” retirement haven which Hua Hin has met. Popular seaside towns in the region can be crowded with young backpackers looking for the next party.
Also, in Hua Hin, a retiree can afford a high standard of living. This includes days on the greens (the city is home to nine golf courses) and regular dinners out at first-class restaurants—on a modest budget.
Housing options include modern condos, beachfront homes, and secure, modern gated communities. The big foreign community connects through reading clubs, festivals, cycling clubs, soccer leagues, wine tastings, and darts tournaments.
The standard of local medical care is good, and you’re less than three hours from Bangkok, which boasts some of the region’s top hospitals.
Live in Asia 3: VIETNAM
Vietnam is also considered one of the best places to live and retire in Asia. As the day goes by, it has become increasingly popular to become an ex-pat destination in recent years. Also, it is now recognised as a safe place for foreigners to live and work.
While on the hunt for new experiences, a change in scenery while staying within your retiree budget, Vietnam should be well at the top of your list. Because of its comparatively low cost of living, expatriates can live a very comfortable life here with a moderate expenditure.
Vietnam is placed on the top list considering its beautiful weather, lively culture and steady improvements in Vietnam’s infrastructure. In the big cities, you can find jobs in teaching English, IT, business, finance, engineering, construction, and agriculture.
Similar to its neighbouring countries, Vietnam is known for its exquisite scenery. Also, for its warm climate but also offers a variety of healthy and delicious foods.
Although one reason why Vietnam is lower on the list than its neighbouring Asian countries is that they don’t have a government placed retirement visa scheme. This may complicate long-term stay in the country. You can extend your visa while in the country, which greatly facilitates the renewal process. However, while visiting Vietnam, you can make your way into these cities in Vietnam.
Da Nang, Vietnam
For many, Vietnam conjures up images of a backward communist country, top-heavy with red-tape, clogged with inefficiencies. This stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth in the country’s third-largest city Da Nang, which manages to be forward-thinking and provincial all at once.
The roads and architecture are contemporary, with a fast-moving city of skyscrapers, bridges, and malls with a palpable entrepreneurial spirit, energy, and enthusiasm which most of the businesses are still family-run, with almost no big international brand names, fast-food joints, or coffee shop chains to be found.
You will see women ride sidesaddle on the backs of motorbikes, legs dangling over the side, chauffeured by their colleagues or family. Some do the traditional Vietnamese ao dai, the colourful two-piece outfit with the top extending to the ankles, a long slit down one side, long white pants underneath; others wear elbow-length gloves to add a bit of class protecting against the elements. It can feel like an old movie is playing out in front of you.
Da Lat, Vietnam
Da Lat was discovered by 19th-century French colonists seeking respite from the heat and humidity of city life in Vietnam. Perched at 1,500 meters in the Lang Biang Plateau, Da Lat is abundantly green with lake views reminiscent of an Alpine ski town. The atmosphere is tranquil and contemplative.
French bourgeois architecture was imported in the form of grand hotels. Also, in the form of villas, rose gardens, and churches to create a city that became known as Le Petit Paris, complete with its own miniature Eiffel Tower.
Today Da Lat is popular among Vietnamese tourists, especially newlyweds; this is the honeymoon capital of Vietnam. The city’s most excellent appeal can be its eternal spring climate; temperatures average 62 degrees year-round. Vietnam is the world’s second-largest producer of coffee, and much of this comes from the Central Highlands around Da Lat.
Live in Asia 4: CAMBODIA
One significant benefit of retiring in Cambodia is the ability and ease to obtain long-term visas. Many Asian countries may require a stringent income requirement. This is for a long-term visa to be approved, whereas Cambodia does not require these.
Cambodia is believed to be one of the best places to live and retire in Asia. This is because it been on the rise for one of the most desired countries to retire. As the country continues to expand, Cambodia offers the benefit of beautiful scenery. Also, it offers a warm climate and the ease and comfort of a sizable international connection.
Cambodian Retirement Visa Now Available
Cambodia has recently launched a dedicated Retirement Visa (known as the ER visa) available upon arrival at the airport. The main criteria you need to satisfy are being aged 55 years or older. Also, hold a valid passport (preferably from a developed nation). Immigration Officials will usually issue a one-month ER visa. This can then be extended through a travel agent or visa broker for up to 12 months with multiple entry costs of only $275.
In Cambodia, all you need to do is purchase a visa-on-arrival at the airport by filling out a short form. You provide two passport photos, and paying $35 for a “business” or “ordinary” visa, which will be valid for one month.
You can see progress happening before your eyes when you come to Cambodia. Phnom Penh, the capital city of this small, sparsely populated country, is alive with new Chinese-financed high-rise buildings. Also, its first JCI-accredited hospital, and an improved standard of living among her people. Once one of the world’s poorest countries, it’s now considered to have a lower-middle-income status.
Though the country is advancing, the cost of living is still meagre compared to the U.S. You can go to a restaurant and have a three-course dinner without breaking the bank. Your beer costs practically the same as a big bottle of water.
“One of the best values, if you’re living in Cambodia, is the low cost of your rent,” says Wendy Justice, IL Southeast Asia Correspondent. “Prices for apartments with Western amenities in the heart of cosmopolitan Phnom Penh start at less than $300 per month; spend around $600, and you’ll be living in a comfortable, middle-class area with all the conveniences you need and maybe a few extras, too.
Phnom Penh is the largest city in the country. It offers a diverse mix of historic cultural landmarks, French colonial buildings and grand boulevards, traditional markets, pagodas, and palaces.
“One of the most enjoyable activities in this city is taking a stroll along the boardwalk at Sisowath Quay; pull up a chair at one of the many bars and restaurants, and cool down with a cold Angkor beer for $1. The incredible ornate Royal Palace and the chaotic night market are just down the street, too.”
Kampot has about 50,000 inhabitants and is up to three hours southwest of Phnom Penh near the Gulf of Thailand.
“This is another place with lovely French-colonial architecture. It is surrounded by pepper plantations and some of the friendliest people around,” says Wendy. “The cost of living here is reasonable by any measure. Imagine having a comfortable place in the centre of town for $300—an area that’s popular with the ex-pat community and minutes away from the beach and Bokor National Park—a must-see if you’re in the area.”
So, while the cost of living in Cambodia may be one of the lowest in the world, the quality and standard of living remain incredibly high. This leads to more retirees and ex-pats choosing to make this country their home each year.
Live in Asia 5: SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka is the fifth on our list of best places to live and retire in Asia. The country offers a “Dream Home Visa Programme”. It allows retirees over the age of 55 who meet the country’s financial minimum for ex-pats a 2-year visa with the potential to renew.
If you are looking for an affordable destination rich in culture and diverse in its offering, then look no further—Sri Lanka is fast becoming a popular choice for many ex-pats. Located just below India, with Africa to the west, Europe to its north,. Also, with Southeast Asia to its east, the “pearl of the Indian Ocean” is a gem that’s yet to be discovered by many.
Although Sri Lanka is no different from several other Asian countries regarding the beautiful and steady climate, it also offers a steady and homogenous temperature year-round. It is also known as a multicultural country which allows ex-pats to explore and diverge in a variety of cultures.
“If you have to fix your eyes on an affordable lifestyle close to the city, the greater city locations such as Dehiwala, Nugegoda, Moratuwa, and Ja-Ela offer more bang for your buck,” says IL contributor Sharmila Perera. “You can find rentals here from $500 a month. It is close enough to get to the city for a night out but just far enough to be affordable. Taxis are plentiful and very affordable.”
After exploring Sri Lanka, it is still vital as an expatriate moving abroad for retirement to obtain Global Health Insurance before departure.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Colombo is Sri Lanka’s capital city. It has 5-star hotels, clubs, theatres, museums, shopping malls, and restaurants to cater to your every taste. However, living in the city can be expensive, and it’s not the best option for budget-minded ex-pats.
Other parts of Sri Lanka you could explore
If city life is not your ‘cup of tea’, there are many more options up in the hills and down by the beach. Living up high on the hills, among luscious tea plantations, forests, wildlife, hundreds of waterfalls, and beautiful scenery can be affordable and peaceful. It’s possible to find three-bedroom houses to rent here for less than $500 a month.
For beach lovers, the choices are numerous. For surfers and other water sport enthusiasts, you’ll be drawn to the south of the country. Mostly to locations like Arugambe, Beruwala, Bentota, Matara, Tangalla, and Mirissa.
“These areas attract a lot of tourists. Also, you’ll find lots of cafes, beach restaurants, and vibrant ex-pat communities of retirees interested in an active lifestyle,” says Sharmila. “It can be a little more expensive than the hills; a three-bedroom house here could be rented for between $400 to $700 a month.”
A more serene beach lifestyle can be found towards the northeast. It is mostly in cities between Trincomalee and Ampara or the west between Negombo and Kalpitiya.
Retire in Asia 6: INDONESIA
The best places to retire in Indonesia are some of the best places to retire in Asia. As a result, Indonesia is perhaps the most iconic retirement destination in Asia. For a start, there are the beaches. Miles and miles of unspoiled white-sand beaches, perfect for a new life overseas.
The best places to retire in Indonesia are some of the best places to retire in Asia. As a result, Indonesia is perhaps the most iconic retirement destination in Asia. For a start, there are the beaches. Miles and miles of unspoiled white-sand beaches, perfect for a new life overseas. Most people come here to enjoy an outdoor retirement. Indonesia has some spectacular countryside ranging from jungles to mountains, beaches and tiny hidden islands. City life and infrastructure is growing all the time. You can find places with plenty of amenities should you choose.
Seminyak is popular with Australian tourists, and lots of the locals speak English with an Australian accent. There are enough ex-pats and tourists here that you won’t have to travel far before you hear someone speaking English. The local language is Bahasa Indonesian.
Seminyak is generally very safe. Aside from the usual problems of pickpockets, there are few dangers to beware of. Perhaps stay away from the main tourist bars at night as these can get rowdy. Counterfeit alcohol has become a growing concern in recent years. Avoid drinking anywhere where the prices are ridiculously cheap. Don’t let your credit card out of sight. Cloning cards happen here in some places.
Seminyak doesn’t have any hospitals, but it does have plenty of 24-hour medical clinics. The nearest hospitals are in Kuta, which is only a 15-minute drive. The BIMC hospitals in Kuta are among the best in Bali. Make sure you have medical insurance. You will need private insurance to get treatment here.
Seminyak is a popular place to buy real estate, and the rental market is strong. However, there is limited liquidity, meaning that any purchase here should be part of a long term plan. You will have no trouble finding English-speaking estate agents. Raja Villa is a reputable agent with lots of properties in Seminyak.
Bali enjoys a well-deserved reputation as one of the most beautiful tropical islands in the world. The jungle is lush, volcanoes rise into the clouds, and terraced rice fields cascade down the valleys. Multitier Balinese temples adorn even the smallest villages.
The coastline is a picture postcard, and the ocean, never far away, offers world-class diving, surfing, snorkelling, parasailing, and all other water sports.
In the city are bars, dancing, discotheques, and dining options from excellent street food for a pittance to white-glove and five-star.
On the southwest side of Bali is the small town of Sanur, an unpretentious suburb of the larger city of Denpasar. Quiet and laid-back, Sanur feels far removed from the crowds of tourists who flock to Bali for vacations and honeymoons. Sanur can be a top choice for indulging in a five-star, luxury lifestyle on a three-star budget.
Retire in Asia 7: TAIWAN
The Republic of Taiwan is an attractive place to live due to its island setting and metropolitan feel. This island nation is known for having the highest concentration of mountains globally, and the food in Taiwan has made its way around the world. For example, bubble milk tea has become an international delight. If you are considering international retirement, there are several factors to consider, so it’s wise to work with a financial advisor. They will help you navigate the intricacies involved with moving abroad. Also, the cost of living in Taiwan is relatively low, according to Numbeo. It is 12% lower than in the US, excluding housing.
Taiwan’s capital city is a hyper-efficient and high-tech Asian metropolisbuilding a reputation for innovation in everything from its award-winning Mass Rapid Transit and light rail systems to the touch-less technology found throughout its public spaces and its approaches to tackling environmental issues.
At the8 same time, remnants of the past are everywhere. Architectural and cultural landmarks scattered around the city remind you of the island’s many phases of history. The best way to experience Taipei’s culture, though, is through its cuisine. From night markets bustling with food stalls to high-end eateries, Taipei is a culinary wonderland that impresses even the most pretentious foodie.
This safe, clean, well-organized, and exciting city has all the appeal, infrastructure, amenities, and comforts of the region’s A-list destinations like Singapore and Hong Kong—with one big difference. The cost of living in Taipei is within reach of most retirees’ budgets.
India is self-proclaimed as the best place to live and retire in Asia. It is known for its vibrant culture, with food, architecture and colourful festivals contributing to a cultural smorgasbord with a millennia-old history. Whether you’re a city dweller, a mountain climber, or a beach bum, India has something for you. All these options, paired with a low cost of living compared to the United States, make India a potentially appealing option for those seeing to retire overseas. Here’s what you need to know before you retire in India.
Udagamandalam (Ooty), India
When John Sullivan, agent of the East India Company and founder of Ootacamund, stumbled upon what is now popularly known as Ooty, he described it as more like Switzerland than any country in Europe.
Cool-weather, wooded hills, and plenty of freshwaters prompted the establishment of a hill station, which served British officials as a summer resort during India’s colonial period.
Today, Ooty’s natural beauty continues to draw visitors. Perched at 6,000 feet above sea level, the average temperature here is 58 degrees—a refreshing contrast to the rest of steamy southern India. The town is endowed with botanical and rose gardens, parks, lakes, a golf course, and several historic buildings dating to the early 1800s.
The best way to get the lay of the land is to take a ride on the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), which slices through the surrounding hills and offers a glimpse of terraced tea estates and the “English fruit” (strawberry, plum, and peach) cultivation the area is famous for. Ooty is a compelling option for a quiet hill-country retirement on a small budget.
Retire in Asia 9: JAPAN
Japan is among the best places to live and retire in Asia, an archipelago of 6,852 islands in East Asia between the Pacific Oceana of Japan. Of the nearly 7,000 islands, only about 430 are inhabited, and four are considered the primary islands: Hokkaido, the northernmost island, home to the island’s capital city of Sapporo; Honshu, Japan’s largest island (and the seventh-largest island in the world), home to Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto; and the islands of Shikoku and Kyushu in the south.
Japan has long been popular with tourists who want to experience its scenic beauty, natural hot springs (onsen), artistic cuisine, traditional culture, and 18 World Heritage Sites, including Fujisan (Mount Fuji) Himeji-jo Castle, and the historic monuments of ancient Kyoto.
Foreign residents are not entitled to welfare in Japan, although local authorities have discretion and can choose to pay it anyway. Personally, I wouldn’t want to rely on the kindness of bureaucrats in old age, would you?
Investing can seem daunting due to the language barrier and the fact that relatively few individuals here invest, which may be a hangover from the bubble bursting in the 90s. Nevertheless, Japan is a pretty good place to invest, and recent competition between brokers has seen fees come down and the range of products increase.
Despite these challenges, many ex-pats worldwide are drawn to this beautiful, vibrant, and culturally rich island nation and wouldn’t consider retiring anywhere else. More on that later, you will get to know five of the best Japanese cities to retire, which include Fukuoka, Kyoto, Sapporo, Tokyo, and Yokohama.
These cities, such as Kyoto and Fukuoka, have made it to many international magazines’ “Best Cities to Live In” or “Best Cities in the World” lists.
Fukuoka is on the island of Kyushu and is that island’s—and one of Japan’s—most populated cities. Because of Fukuoka’s proximity to the Asian mainland, it has been an important harbour city for centuries and was the landing point of the Mongol invasion forces in the 13th century.
Mountains surround the city on three sides and Hakata Bay on the fourth. Its accolades have remained constant; Fukuoka was named one of Newsweek’s “10 Most Dynamic Cities” in 2006 and one of the “Top 25 Livable Cities” by lifestyle magazine Monocle in 2015, 2016, and 2017.
The city offers shrines and temples, chic boutiques, a diverse dining scene, nearby beaches, parks, biking and walking paths, and lots of green space. It’s also a leading centre of business start-ups, causing the BBC to deem it “Japan’s Most Innovative City.
Located on Honshu, Japan’s largest island, Kyoto was the capital of Japan for centuries. It was also the seat of imperial power for more than 1,000 years until 1869, when Meiji the Great, the 122nd emperor of Japan, moved his residence to Tokyo.
It is considered one of the most beautiful places in all of Japan, quite a tribute in a country already famous for its natural beauty. Kyoto is also considered Japan’s go-to place for experiencing the maximum amount of architectural beauty, culture, and history in a short amount of time.
Kyoto voted the fourth top city in the world in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2020 survey, are home to about 2,000 temples and shrines and dozens of museums and botanical gardens. Gion is Kyoto’s famous geisha district filled with shops and restaurants, as well as teahouses (ochaya) where geisha and their apprentices entertain visitors by performing traditional music and dance.
Sapporo, the fourth most populous city in Japan, is located on the country’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido. Being a northern city, Sapporo is a popular destination for winter enthusiasts, and tourists and residents alike enjoy the area’s numerous ski resorts, including the Sapporo Bankei Ski Area and Sapporo Teine, a venue in the 1972 Winter Olympic Games.
Historic buildings, museums, galleries, shopping malls, parks—and the Sapporo Beer Museum—are popular attractions. The Sapporo Symphony Orchestra performs regularly at the Sapporo Concert Hall, also known as “Kitara.” Numerous festivals take place each year, including the well-known Yuki Matsuri, the Sapporo Snow Festival, which each February attracts more than two million tourists from around the world. Sapporo is also home to several popular spots for cherry blossom viewing (hanami), which peaks in late April to early May each year.
Japan’s capital city is Tokyo, located in the Kanto region of Honshu. The Greater Tokyo Area is the world’s most populous metropolitan area, with more than 37 million people living inside the metro region and its surrounding suburbs. In 2020, it was voted the 15th top city in the world in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards.
Tokyo is overwhelmingly huge and crowded, but if you are comfortable with the hustle and bustle, you will never run out of things to do. According to the Japan National Tourist Organization, seven of the 10 most-visited attractions in Japan are in Tokyo, including the #1 attraction, Shinjuku, a crowded skyscraper district brimming with shopping and nightlife. For everyday entertainment, Tokyo offers art galleries, museums, and extensive live music scenes, and world-renowned shopping.
Roughly 19 miles from Tokyo is Yokohama, Japan’s second-largest city. Nicknamed the city of cultures, Yokohama is home to numerous museums, galleries, traditional Japanese gardens, parks, and the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, which holds dozens of shops, restaurants, art galleries and a 300-seat performance centre.
Right in the centre of Yokohama is its Chinatown, the largest Chinatown in Japan (and one of the largest in the world); famous for its brightly coloured temples and gates, its many restaurants and food stand, and the various festivals held here each year.
- Bottom Line
Japan is a stunning destination and highly sought after by Americans who want to retire abroad. It is tough to gain residency in Japan, but if you do, it can be a great place to retire. The healthcare system is one of the best in the world.
Singapore is a tiny country yet among the best places to live and retire in Asia; it comprises 64 islands clustered around the end of the Malay Peninsula. Most of its population of nearly 6 million lives in Singapore City. Many locals speak English, and it is home to many human-made wonders, including a massive artificial waterfall, iconic skyscrapers and what is generally regarded as the world’s best international airport. If you are considering the Lion City, as Singapore is sometimes called, as your retirement destination, then it is wise to partner with a financial planner to help make your dream of retiring in Singapore a reality.
The city-state of Singapore has long been Asia’s most modern city. It is an economic superpower in the southeast and, as such, features a cosmopolitan culture, where you’ll find a mix of people from all over the world. Roughly one-quarter of its population comprises ex-pats or foreign workers, and it’s a technology hub. Take those Western traits and combine them with the calm of the tropics, and you’ve got a very rounded place to call home.
Most everyone lives in new, upscale apartments, yet somehow, the developed areas with the skyrise buildings don’t interfere with the tropical paradise feel of the island. These are only a few of the reasons why people are retiring in Singapore. However, it’s not as straightforward a process as you may hope.