Known for its perfect beaches, low prices, and excellent scuba diving, Southeast Asia usually conjures up images of young globe-trotting backpackers and sultry nights spent at a beach bar.
Many expats are drawn to the idea of retiring in Europe, but can be thrown off by the high prices of its most famous destinations. But while big cities such as Paris and Madrid may hit hard on the wallet, there are still many alternatives for those seeking the romance of Europe, but at an affordable cost.
Central America is a popular choice for retirement for many North Americans. This is not surprising when you consider the great qualities the region has to offer. First off there are the practical aspects, such as its proximity to North America, and its similar range of time zones.
We started our cruising life in our early 40s. My husband, Jim, dreamed of sailing to exotic places in search of the perfect retirement spot. But we lived in Colorado, a tad landlocked for ocean adventures. So we learned to sail small boats on mountain lakes. When we grew tired of doing figure eights, we began researching online for blue-water cruising boats, and formulated a plan.
Warm, clear blue-green sea lapping long, sandy beaches… Families eating and laughing together over slow, relaxed dinners with lashings of good food and even better wine… Markets packed full of fresh-caught fish, locally made cheeses, and a rainbow of delicious produce… When you live by the beach in Europe, life is simpler, happier, and healthier.
It’s evening on the Cais da Ribeira, the waterfront quay. The lights from the many cafés cast a golden glow into the night. Lights gleam golden, too, across the broad expanse of the bridge spanning the Douro River, whose waters, black in the darkness, flow just past the Cais to the sea.
Food is cheap—and very tasty. Rents are affordable even for those on super-low budgets—$200 to $400 gets you a nice place in a great neighborhood. The climate is comfortable…the people friendly…there are modern services…and the vibrant mix of music, festivals, indigenous culture, and colonial history is evident everywhere you turn. It should be an option for anyone considering a retirement in Latin America.
With a low cost of living, picture-perfect white-sand beaches, friendly locals and fascinating culture, Southeast Asia are so much more than exotic vacation spots. Enticing expats and retirees from around the globe, they still beckon with the promise and rewards of an exciting life overseas. Imagine never having to buy a new coat or pay for home heating ever again. Untouched by our idea of “winter”, each of the countries in Southeast Asia delivers warm, tropical weather and the chance for beach-side relaxation all year round. For many expats, it’s paradise found.
An Irish passport is a good thing to have. If either parent was an Irish citizen at the time of your birth, then no matter where you were born, you’re entitled to Irish citizenship. Even if both you and your parents were born outside of Ireland, but one of your grandparents was born there, then claiming citizenship is simple.
Cambodia’s second-largest city (home to around 250,000 people) doesn’t feel at all like the capital, Phnom Penh; in fact, wandering around Battambang, I felt as if I had traveled back to the early 20th century. While most of Southeast Asia is developing at breakneck speed, Battambang gives the impression that it’s quite content to have settled into an earlier, simpler time.