The Best Place to Retire in Asia

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International Living, a newsletter started 30 years ago to offer advice to Americans on the many places to work or retire overseas, has recently ranked Malaysia as the best place to retire in Asia. International Living devote their website and e-newsletter to sharing insider’s information about the countries they like.Their annual retirement index is highly respected, and Malaysia has been slowly creeping up the list as a preferred place to live.

Much of International Living’s focus is on Latin America because of its proximity to the United States, so it is perhaps not surprising that countries in Latin America topped the list. Malaysia ranked fourth in the world, behind Ecuador, Panama, and Mexico (see table).

As with most of the global surveys on places to live, Malaysia scores badly with International Living on climate. Nearly all these surveys are conducted by people living in cooler climates who regard the relatively high, year-round temperatures and higher humidity levels in Malaysia as a negative. Interestingly, surveys run by The Expat Group on expats actually living in Malaysia show that climate is one of the major reasons people like living here. Another of the major reasons expats like life here is the Malaysian people, who are warm and friendly, and are of an interesting cultural mix.

The Malaysia My Second Home programme has enabled many foreigners to retire here. The ten-year, renewable MM2H visa is longer than those offered by any similar programme in other countries, but is focused on more affluent retirees, as applicants have to show they have a reasonably-high monthly income: over RM10,000 (USD3,100).

Country Real Estate Special Benefits Cost of Living Inte. E&A Health Infras. Climate Final Scores
Ecuador 97 98 100 95 90 85 80 83 91.1
Panama 95 100 95 96 96 91 82 68 90.4
Mexico 94 91 88 96 96 88 75 89 89.4
Malaysia 94 79 95 96 96 87 91 66 87.7

You can find out more about the programme at, where there is a free help desk.

Source: Senses of Malaysia July-Augt 2012
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