Cambodia: The Best-Value Retirement Destination in Southeast Asia

Cambodia is becoming known for its competitive affordability and low expat living costs. It is because of this that the country has ranked as the most affordable retirement destination in the world, two years running, in International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index.

Cambodia has low-cost annual visa extensions—available for just $285—and a great range of rental properties are on offer throughout the country for $200 to $300 per month. Dining out at superb local restaurants costs $10 to $20 per head.

But what about more specific costs that are important to people of retirement age, such as healthcare and fitness?

Well, Cambodia has plenty to offer in the way of affordable, high standard services that are especially relevant for retirees.

Healthcare is extremely important and somewhere you can make significant savings, especially when compared to costs for the same services back in the U.S.

For example, a visit to an international expat doctor for a consultation with physical assessment at one of Phnom Penh’s leading clinics will cost between $35 to $50—and that includes visits to specialists.

More importantly, being prescribed a course of medicine here isn’t going to be a financial burden either. Brand name medications and quality generics can be priced at as little as 10% of the inflated costs in the U.S.

Virtually every major pharmaceutical company has a presence in Cambodia, including GlaxoSmithKline, Roche, Pfizer, Abbot Laboratories, and Sanofi, as well as high quality providers of generic medications, allowing the country’s private hospitals and clinics direct access to a wide range medicines at prices many times cheaper than in the West. It is quite normal for expats to pay less than $50 for medications which had previously cost them up to $1,000 in the States. At these prices healthcare no longer has to be a source of constant financial worry, so you can focus your energies on maintaining good health rather than feeling the need to avoid the doctor because of money concerns.

Dental treatment is another area where Cambodia excels, due to its large number of internationally trained dentists and their expanding state-of-the-art dental clinics. All types of dental treatments are available; from standard services like cleaning, fillings, and root canals, to the most modern cosmetic services such as teeth whitening, straightening, alignment, and custom implants.

Most initial consultations are free-of-charge, while a cleaning and polishing service with personalized treatment plan costs just $25. More advanced treatments and surgeries are available in the country’s best clinics, at as much as 30% of the cost of the U.S.

A trip to the opticians is also good value. Virtually every optician here will provide an automated eye test—using the latest equipment—free-of-charge. Also, depending on the frames you choose, a new pair of glasses can be as little as $40 or $50.

Staying fit is increasingly important as you enter into retirement age, and Cambodia’s top destinations have many gyms, spas, and sport facilities. Hotels offer the best mix of fitness features and also provide good value membership deals. A great example of this is the Hotel Cambodiana, one of Phnom Penh’s leading hotels, which has a modern gym, luxury spa, tennis courts, swimming pool, and a special riverside beach area for relaxation and catching the sun. For $600 you can buy an annual all access membership. Similar membership deals with the same range of features can cost up to 20 times more at top hotels in Western capital cities.

And if gyms, tennis, swimming, and spas are not your thing, then you can also consider keeping fit by getting involved with the local golfing scene. Phnom Penh has five international standard golf courses, with a mix of ranges available for golfers of any experience. These won’t set you back financially either, with a round of golf at City Golf Cambodia costing between $15 and $20.

After carefully looking at the living costs and health expenses for expats, I can say with confidence Cambodia is a retirement destination that offers some of the best value in Southeast Asia. With costs this affordable, you have no excuse not to take great care of yourself!

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