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Traveller's Name Saipan the "World's Best Place to Retire"
Wednesday, May 03, 2017 - 10:40 PM

Elvis retired in the PHILIPPINES!!!

Traveller's rate the best places to retire

Many online polls rate the best beaches, places to live, vacation, and  the ultimate retirement locations, and one fact became clear quickly to travellerdane correspondents, it's some of the same places in all categories and it always has been. There were ten categories compared and affordability was a key because all things considered, retirees should want bang for their buck and a 1300. social security checks value is relative to where you live.  For a typical US SS allotment, you would starve in some regions and live in a 3 bedroom beach bungalow with a cook, gardener, and driver in others.

            New travel correspondent updates Bali in September 2015, & shown here at KUTA Beach


First we will put some myths to rest on overrated regions and then share the scoring rationale.  Well traveled retirees have long known the retirement Big 5 as Thailand, PI, Bali, S. Pacific, and Florida, but there is fierce competition for retiree dollars in much of the developing world, and clearly the fastest rising new kid on the block is Malaysia!  So in no particular order, the worlds best regions to retire, and likely vacation on the best and most remote beaches, golf, scuba dive, eat out, and just to live are still Thailand, the S. Pacific, Indonesia (especially Bali), the Philippines, Malaysia, and one warm spot in America, the great state of Florida. Below we will compare the Traveller's top picks and put some myths to rest about non-contenders!

Thailand elephants

A traveller visits Indo

Australia seems like a decent place if you haven’t been there. Aussies reside overwhelmingly in seven cities, so unless you want an ultra expensive urban environment, don’t try such an inhospitable land. They do have unlimited beaches though, if you trust swimming in cold water with no protective reef and too many deadly creatures to name; not to mention an interior dominated by three of world's largest deserts.

Africa and Central/South America are laughable options because between their wars, disease, violent crime, including shocking murder rates, filthy quality of life; the traveller loves those places anyway, but only recommends short well planned vacations to such troubled locales.  

Everyone loves Bali

No one considers retiring in the Middle East or India. 

China offers considerable opportunity to English speaking retirees that prefer to continue working and is extremely affordable, but most of that opportunity is in crowded polluted urban areas with unimaginable traffic.

Europe has a high quality of life in many places, but it is so expensive including exorbitant tax rates for ex-pats that US SS won't cover a meager existence and their brutal north would only be considered for summer vacations. 

Japan has a wonderful society and sea food, if you can afford it, but like Europe, their horrific weather rivals the Midwestern United States with bitter cold, snow, ice, rain, mixed with windless humidity in the summer, and figures best for an occasional ski trip. 

Malaysia has the seafood

Russia and Canada are endless, but again, only an option for a summer vacation.

Many Caribbean islands are nice to vacation in if you stay in protected areas of five star resorts, safe from the crime caused by poverty among the indigenous populace. 


Hawaii would win this title on an Internet poll due to their population, and that is also why they have a traffic standstill. The large and remote big island of Hawaii has attractions, but they have long fast drives on single lane roads and the ocean is not safe for a child to swim, even under close supervision due to the current and cold water. 

A young S Pacific resident

Young boy visits Borneo, Malaysia rain forest

Guam was fantastic when the Cormoran visited early in WWI, before millions of brown tree snakes eradicated the birds, and before thousands of sailors created the traffic nightmare that is Guam.  Guam's traffic figures to intensify from the military build-up anticipated to add 50% to the population by 2018. But it is still Guam, and that is beautiful with much economic opportunity that 1.2 million tourists visit annually and that number is expected to climb to 2 million soon


Everyone loves Thailand is a common comment among tourists and travelers; Thailand has it all is another.  It’s no surprise to anyone who has ever been there that it is the most popular destination in all of Asia, and the title is well deserved.

Dane poses in Chang Rai, Thailand

Everyone LOVES Thailand, and how could you not?  Whether you prefer the southern beaches, the mountainous north, the jungles of the west, the spices of Pattaya, or the energetic Bangkok nights, Thailand makes regional competitors in the tourism industry look like amateurs.  It’s a Mecca for golfers, a trip of a lifetime for water sport enthusiasts, the home of backpackers, hikers, and travelers, and the food alone is worth the ticket!  Your visiting grand kids will be in little boy heaven riding elephants, tuk-tuks, baht buses, and after taking a train ride across Thailand the traveller wanted to re-board and take it back!!  All love the wild life, fish, zoos, parks, trails, villages, markets, pools, and feeding those naughty elephants.

Dane with more Thailand bugs

Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand, or formerly known as Siam, is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Burma. Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast and Indonesia and India in the Andaman Sea to the southwest.

N Thailand traveller visits Karen tribe

Experienced travelers often choose Thailand as the starting and ending point of SE Asian trips.  And although Cambodia is a treasure, the friendly nature of Laotians is under-rated, Vietnam is developing, Malaysia is exploding rapidly in every area, and Singapore is a gourmets delight; but for first time SE Asia visitors, Thailand is a no brainer.  

Thailand’s experience as a tourism destination, the travel and price options, the span and number of unique activities and sites, and the diversity of landscape and culture doesn’t have many competitors on earth.  So whether you prefer remote tropical islands of the south, backpacking from town to town, shopping, golfing, or hiking the cool mountains of the north, Thailand truly has it all…and no offense to Paris, the lobster of Boston, or the cobblestone streets of Singapore, but Thai food is the world’s best, and Thailand’s food options are equally the best!!  

Just behind Bali & PI in the cost of living category, and known as the Land of Smiles,


Thailand is also the land of affordable living.

Thailand has a lot of living options. Some foreign retirees choose to live in the hubbub atmosphere of Bangkok. Some live in the north, where life is quiet, peaceful, and very inexpensive. Others choose the south for its beautiful beaches.

A one-bedroom condo in a modern building with all the expected amenities (plus some) will run $300 to $600 per month in many parts of the country. An “over-the-top,” luxury two-bedroom condo, with great views and 1,200 to 1,500 square feet, will rent for $1,000 to $1,200 per month.

A luxurious lifestyle for a couple is possible on $1,800 a month depending on your location, but you can do it far cheaper. For far less than you’d pay back home, you get a year-round tropical climate and access to modern comforts and conveniences, including affordable, high quality medical care.

Daddy in Bali near Ubud rice terraces

Motorbikes are a popular mode of transportation and cost about $800 for a new model. Taxis cost a buck for a three mile journey and air conditioned buses cost 50 cents or less.  The Thai baht is trading at about 30 to 1 US dollars

Where to next, Thailand

Retirement Rating of 5 stars = best

Cost of living                 4.5

Activities and options    5

Medical care                  5

Air quality/pollution        4

Taxes (for US citizens) 1.5

Food                              5

Housing affordability     4.5

Crime                            4.5(5 = none 1=Africa)

Traffic                            4

Weather                         4

Total                             43/50


Subic Bay, Philippines

In the Philippines, your dollar stretches (and stretches and stretches), and most expats live comfortably on $800 to $1,200 per month. This will fund a lot of luxuries, such as household help. In the provinces, the monthly salary for live-in maids is around $65. In a coastal town on Negros Island a haircut can cost as little as 50 cents and a one hour back massage with manicure, pedicure, and haircut for less than 5$. The PI peso trades at 40 to 45 to a US dollar

In many places the monthly rent for two-bedroom apartments and bungalows is $150 to $300. Private health care is inexpensive and the Philippines is a popular destination for medical tourism.  St Luke's, Asia Hospital, and Makati Medical Center are considered among the finest medical facilities in all of Asia.


We haven't the words to describe the unimaginable beauty found in the Philippines.  The pics below are from Hundred Islands, Boracay, and Palawan.

The Philippines also has a special retiree visa. If you’re over 50 years old and have a monthly pension of $1,000, you can obtain permanent residency. Pensions and annuities are tax-exempt. And there are “retirement” options for the over-35s too.

Hundreds of thousands of American ex-pats already reside in PI and Europeans are vacationing and retiring there in rapidly growing numbers as well.  English is spoken widely and taught in public schools.

The worst retirement factor against PI is the crime in urban areas, much like the US and Mexico, but most think that it isn't bad in the more remote or resort areas.

There are an enormous amount of options on where specifically to live, but some consider:  Subic Bay, Boracay, Cebu and the surrounding islands, Baguio if you like the cool mountains, Bicol, Leyte, Palawan with hundreds of miles of unspoiled beaches, Hundred Islands, Bohol, Puerto Gallara, Dumagette, Mindoro, many towns in Visayas and Mindanoa Tagaytay, and many more of the 7k plus islands.  The truth is, it's just MORE FUN in the PHILIPPINES!!!!

And if you are looking to retire, we can't disclose our five favorites, but you may want to check these out!

The Philippines has a rich and colorful culture. If you're creating a bucket list of Philippine cities to visit, here's a list of 20 or so cities (and towns) with a rich history, an abundance of built heritage, delicious food, and a colorful local culture, which you must see during your lifetime. 

If you can't find anything to do in PI, the following places are loaded with cultural, haretege, national, and internationally renown sites, google any of these places and check out the pictures Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. ,Iloilo City, Cebu City,  City of Manila,  Taal, Batangas,  Silay City, Negros Occidental,  Carcar City, Cebu (plus Sibonga, Argao, Dalaguete, Boljoon and Oslob),  Banaue, Ifugao (plus Mayoyao, Hungduan and Kiangan)

Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Norte,  Laoag City, Ilocos Norte (plus Sarrat),  Pila, Laguna,  Baguio City,  Lake Sebu, South Cotabato,  City of San Fernando, Pampanga (plus Bacolor, Guagua and Santa Rita),  Malolos City, Bulacan,  Angeles City, Pampanga,  Sabtang, Batanes (plus Mahatao and Uyugan),  Sariaya, Quezon (plus San Pablo City and Alaminos, Laguna),  Tayabas City, Quezon (plus Lucban and Lucena City),  Balayan, Batangas (plus Calaca),  Puerto Princesa, Palawan,  Bacolod City, Negros Occidental,  Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental (plus Bacong)

Oh Philippines!

The Banue Rice Terraces are located 5000 ft above sea level and cover 4000 square miles of mountainside fed by an ancient irrigation system from the rain forests above the terraces, still used today; it took 2k yrs to build; have been complete at least 2k yrs;and if the steps are put end to end it would encircle the globe and it took more man hours to build than the the Great Pyramid in Egypt and the entire Great wall combined. Filipinos refer to them as the "8th wonder of the world".

HOLD the PRESSES - The Philippines has just announced an aggressive approach to attracting retirees by naming 5 retiree hubs; Cebu, Subic Bay, Tagaytay, part of Metro Manila, and Dumaguete. They also have simple retiree visas for 50 and 35 year old persons.  Cebu and Dumaguete are a ferry ride apart and you could drive from Manila to Subic and Tagaytay in 3 or 4 hours.  

Retirement Rating of 5 stars = best

                                     Manila                    All other

Cost of living                 3.5                                5

Activities and options    4                                   5

Medical care                  5                                  3.5

Air quality/pollution       1                                   4.5

Taxes (for US citizens) 1.5                               1.5

Food                              4.5                               4

Housing affordability      3.5                               5

Crime                            1.5                                4

Traffic                           1.5                                 5

Weather                         4.5                              4.5

Total                             30.5/50                      42/50


 Bali, Indonesia


Bali is a land that seems to have a magnet at its very heart. It is a feeling that is difficult to understand unless experienced but once visited you are surely compelled to go back and you may even want to stay forever, such is its pull. Maybe it’s Bali’s beauty, maybe the friendly people, or maybe even the influence from spirits that certainly abide in this place.  Bali goes under many names. Some call it the ‘island of the gods’, others Shangri-La. The ‘last paradise’, the ‘dawning of the world’ and the ‘centre of the universe’ are yet more names for this truly beautiful tropical island inhabited by a remarkably artistic people who have created a dynamic society with unique arts and ceremonies.  

Bali is small, just 140 Km by 80 Km and lies between Java, the most highly populated and influential of all the islands, and Lombok, one of the quieter and moderately slower paced islands. Like many islands, Bali has developed a world of its own. It not only captures what is special about Indonesia but also has a uniqueness of its own.

Dane explores wonders in Indonesian rainforest

Bali, an Indonesian island, is one of the most famous resorts in Southeast Asia. Annually, 1.4 million tourists visit Bali. Bali is known as an island of faith and art, and there are many tourist attractions, such as beaches, temples, folk art, and traditional dances. The beautiful scenery, that includes the rice terraces, is also well known. Ubud, a city in the center of the island, is one of the main sightseeing areas, containing bungalows of high-grade hotels such as the Four Seasons Resort, located on the Ayung River. 

Newest and youngest staff in Bali

You may not be able to picture rice terraces in Bali. But in fact, the rice terraces of Bali became famous because of their beauty, which resembles that of miniature gardens. Many photographers and artists have introduced this gorgeous scenery to the world.  Rice terraces in Bali have a close relationship with the volcanic topography. The landscape with continuous waves of rice terraces is majestic.

There are more than 20,000 temples in Bali, which is an island of faith. These

temples also have a

close relationship with the sbak groups: each sbak holds rites whenever the transplantation of rice seedlings or harvesting is performed. There are shrines in the rice fields to worship the god of rice.  But whether you prefer to shop Ubud, scuba dive the Spice Islands of Lovina, or surf Kuta Beach, Bali is GREAT!  Much as Dane's parents like Bali though, the little traveler prefers the jungles of eastern Indonesia!

And Bali isn't the only place in Indonesia either, in fact there are 17k islands, 6k uninhabited and unnamed (usually from lack of water or boat access through the reef), with five islands larger than the state of Florida, and one, Sulawesi, with more coastline and more total beachfront than the US combined!!  From Komodo, to Sumatra, and Lombok to Java back to Sumbawa all the way to Timor to Iran Jaya to Borneo, INDO is GREAT TOO!!  Eastern Indo is being eyed by investors and resort developers all over Asia as undervalued treasures that can't last long.

A friend of ours recently purchased about 30 acres of beach property 15 on each side of a small harbor town for 60,000. US dollars and he is developing bungalows as surfing destination, and claims when finished he will retire there. There are tens of thousands harbor towns in the Indo islands, better get yours before they are gone!!

Dad at Kuta Beach, Bali, Indo in 1996

Retirement Rating of 5 stars          

Cost of living                   5

Activities and options      5

Medical care                    3

Air quality/pollution        4,5

Taxes (for US citizens)    1.5

Food                                 5

Housing affordability       5

Crime                              4.5 (5 = none 1=Africa)

Traffic                             3,5

Weather                           5

Total                             42

                                                                South Pacific

Vast and endless, truly the waterworld.  We all watched Gilligan's island thinking people on an island undiscovered was ridiculous, but now we know that it is unlikely that they could ever be found; or didn't want found that is!  To describe the vastness of the S Pacific, Ferdinand Magellan crossed it on his famous voyage of discovery but DID NOT see ONE island until he reached the far SW edge on day 110 when his lookout spotted two islands, a high one to the right or north (Saipan) and a low one to the left or south (Tinian).  Listing the chains of islands would take chapters so we will summarize this the best we can.


Undoubtedly the most celebrated island in the South Pacific, Bora Bora is French Polynesia's leading

Bora Bora

 lady. Her beauty is unrivaled and her fame, unwavering. Bora Bora is one of the few places on earth that everyone hopes to witness in their lifetime—and once you see it, you are forever enamored.

More than just a romantic ideal, Bora Bora is a romantic reality. It comes as no surprise that the island is an internationally acclaimed honeymoon destination. Our newlyweds who decide on a Bora Bora honeymoon often feel as though they have escaped to a private oasis tailored entirely to their special moment of marital bliss—and anyone in the midst of planning a wedding can relate to just how enticing that sounds.


Truly the Society islands of Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Mo'orea are captivating as is Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.  They are also exorbitantly expensive like Singapore or Bermuda and a better choice for a luxury honeymoon than a retiree. 


Managaha Island inside Saipan lagoon

Imagine thousands of islands and then spread them across millions of square miles in the vast southwest Pacific, then open yours eyes to a beach that runs as far as you can see...welcome to Micronesia; a land lost in time.  So many islands, so many tranquil beaches, so remote, so deserted, so many lost ship wrecks, so much lost treasure, and so vast it is hard to comprehend.  Welcome to Micronesia, the land lost to time.

Micronesia is a subregion of Oceania, comprising thousands of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It is distinct from Melanesia to the south, and Polynesia to the east. The Philippines lie to the west, and Indonesia to the southwest.

The name Micronesia derives from the Greek mikros, meaning small, and nesos, meaning island.  Geography Associated islands  The following islands and groups of islands are considered part of Micronesia:

Banaba, an outlier of Kiribati, the Gilbert Islands, which forms part of Kiribati,

Water sports inside Saipan's lagoon

 the Mariana Islands, which is politically divided between Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, the Marshall Islands, Caroline Islands, also politically divided between Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, and Wake Island, a United States Minor Outlying Island.  There are thousands of islands and spread across millions of square miles of water.

Saipan little bot runs the beach

Western Samao is also as beautiful as Melanesia is vast, but the cultural shock in either would jar mainland where is the best...well, we have to summarize it to the raised limestone gems that inhabit the region we call the Northern Marianas Islands, named after Mariana of Austria.

Retirement Rating of 5 stars = best

                                       Tahiti      Fiji        Samoa         Saipan   Guam    Palau    Yap    Pohnpei   Rota

Cost of living                      1        2                 3                 4.0         2            4         4.5        4.5       3

Activities and options       3.5      3.5              2.5                4         4            2          2            1.5      2

Medical care                       2           2                2.5                4          4.5          2          1            1       1

Air quality/pollution          5          5                5                   5           5           5            5          5        5

Taxes (for US citizens)     1.5       1.5               1.5                5          1.5         1.5        1.5         1.5    5

Food                                   3.         2.5               3.                  4           4.5         3          2.5         2.5    2

Housing affordability      2           3                 3.5                4           2.5         3          3.5           4       5

Crime                                2.5        2                  3                  4.5         2.5         2          2.5        2.5     5

Traffic                               5           5                  5                   5           2.5         5          5            5       5

Weather                             5           5                 4.5                 5           5          4.5          5           4       5

Total                                29.5     31.5              31.5             44.5     34        32.         31.5      31.5    38

Rota Island

Dive Rota!

Many dream of retiring of a majestic south Pacific island...but where?  There is a US island of unimaginable beauty that is dependent on tourism but doesn't get 1k tourists yearly, and is handily the best kept secret location in America and the S Pacific.

The one contender for Saipan's title, is also found in the Northern Marianas Islands. The southernmost Northern Marianas isle is the Island of Rota, and arriving there is like stepping out of a time machine 50 years back in the past. There is no night life and few lights in ancient Songsong Village after dark. There are no traffic lights and the lone paved road runs nine miles to Songsong along the western beaches and is often absent of motor vehicles. 

Moochung Beach, Rota Island, CNMI

Long known as the 'friendly island" because motorists wave at every person or car they pass. The scenery, beaches, and views are comparable to Saipan. Parents may pass on this haven due to lack of educational opportunities and retirees need to consider the 30 minute flight to Guam for serious medical procedures as a trade-off to living in paradise. 

The swimming hole, Taga stones, latte stones, Wedding cake Mt., beaches are enjoyable, and Rota is hard imagine without seeing it.


Retirement Rating of 5 stars = best

Cost of living                 3          


Activities and options    2

Medical care                  1

Air quality/pollution     5

Taxes (for US citizens) 5

Food                             3

Housing affordability   4

Crime                           5 (5 = none 1=Africa)

Traffic                          5

Weather                        5

Total                             38


US Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands

Many Americans have never heard of the Northern Marianas Islands, where America starts her day.  Some US citizens are unaware of the Battle of Saipan as the key to WWII in the Pacific, and oblivious to the US Marine efforts to unseat the legendary Japanese defenders.

Wing Beach, Saipan

Saipan has a history of acclaim for breathtaking beauty and as a photographers dream. Yahoo Japan's poll picked Managaha Island the second best beach in the world. After sharing that news with Saipan kids, one asked “what is number 1, Sugar Dock, Pau Pau, Micro, Wing, Marine, Lau Lau, or Obyan”, or other Saipan beaches. The same Yahoo poll rated Saipan’s Grotto the second best dive site on earth, behind the Blue Corner in the Rock Islands of Palau, but Saipan divers know Bonsai, off the north tip of Saipan, is better than both.

The same way as Marianas dive sites and beaches lay waste to contenders far and wide, so to do they challenge every country, city, village, island, and town on earth as the paradise island for retirees to live. 

They experienced economic challenges in the recent past, including expensive air travel, high costs of power, water, shipping, and the lowest average income per capita on US soil. If weather, wind, and air are part of the selection criteria, nature dealt us a straight flush. 

Recently the CNMI legalized casinos and 7 resorts are going up rapidly to house the expected double in tourists, largely from China since the CNMI is the only US soil with China waiver status.  

The CNMI has the lowest murder rate and fewest traffic deaths of all US states, territories, including the one thousand largest cities or towns in America.

Saipan ex-pat residents are critical of America due to traffic and fast driving resulting in deaths, 

time spent on the road, harsh winters, polluted cities and air pollution in general, lack of cultural diversity in the SE and Midwest, censured news, racism, a culture of bland unhealthy fast food, violent crime, increase in the availability of dangerous drugs, and being landlocked by a cold, dark, dead ocean as common reasons they would never move their children back to mainland USA. Most who moved back returned asking themselves “what was I thinking”.

Saipan sunset

The capital of the Northern Marianas Islands, the Island of Saipan, is an enchanting tranquil tropical paradise island of unimaginable beauty; highlighted by turquoise crystal water, fire red sunsets, panoramic views, and unparalleled weather. Saipan's 10k+ voters have hosted 3/4 million tourists in a single year, entirely from East Asian, making Saipan a playground of seaside golf, scuba diving, sport fishing, snorkeling, para sailing, wind surfing, kayaking, biking, beach volleyball, or barbecuing on the remote pristine beaches. The laid back nature of the inhabitants is as legendary as the tropical breezes.

Oh Saipan

Time is the most enchanting element of living in paradise. Transient tourists roll in and out with the tide, each on a sightseeing timetable. Their eyes follow the hour glass, each hoping to escape the frivolous details of home and knowing they are being counted out of time. Residents here seldom wear watches unless they scuba dive, dinner starts just after sundown, and residents often ask “what month is it".


Snorkel Saipan

Saipan is not perfect and the young US commonwealth has a shady political past but has bounced back from a terrible economic run and catastrophic super typhoon Soudelor economically fueled by citizens of the world's fastest growing markets, China and Russia, which have been granted visa waivers to the CNMI, the only US soil with that distinction, and that has opened enormous opportunity from investors and tourists from these heavily populated markets.  

There are 12 beach major resorts and 6 more under construction to pool hop and enjoy and in case your interested, CNMI citizens are the only Americans NOT required to pay US federal income tax.

 Retirement Rating of 5 stars 

Kayak Saipan

Cost of living                    4

Activities and options       4

Medical care                     4

Air quality/pollution         5

Taxes (for US citizens)     5

Food                                  4

Housing affordability        4

                    Crime                              4.5                          

Traffic                               5

Weather                             5

Total                                44.5


This poll is for American mainland retirees so we won't lecture readers about the US retirement haven of all-time, and according to the traveller pictured below, "where else can you ride down the Congo river, ride through the Serengeti plain, and ride a roller coaster down Mt Everest all in the same day except the Disney World parks"  Florida has it all in many respects with many options but crime, US taxes, and growing traffic in the cities; besides the fact that your dollar doesn't go that far have seen the sunshine states retiree status drop to more inexpensive fast developing markets!

Dane plays Disney World

Retirement Rating of 5 stars = best

Cost of living                 3

Activities and options    5

Medical care                  5

Air quality/pollution      4

Taxes (US citizens)       1.5

Food                              5

Housing affordability    3

Crime                            1.5 (5 = none 1=Africa)  

Weather                        3

Traffic                           4

Total                             35



Sabah, Malaysia

Malaysia rates high in the Cost of Living category.  A former British colony, Malaysia conjures up all the mysteries of Asia. Beyond the high-rise skyscrapers of the cities, is a dramatic canvas embroidered with tropical beaches, mountains, dense rainforest, and vividly green tea plantations.

Malaysia is home to many foreign expats from around the globe, who live comfortably for less among the locals. It has a great infrastructure and foreigners are allowed to own properties freehold. The country has no inheritance tax, and places no tax on income repatriated from overseas. There’s no property capital gain tax either.

In Malaysia you’ll find excellent health care which is extremely affordable. Prescriptions here cost a

Malaysia's 2nd favorite monkey

fifth of what you pay at home and the cost of visiting a hospital here for a minor procedure is one tenth of what you would pay in the U.S.

The cost of living in Malaysia is low. Rent can be as little as $500 a month and entertainment as low as $100. You can have a comfortable lifestyle here with housing including maid service four times a week for $1,000. a month.

Retiring overseas can give you the opportunity to have a life that you only dreamed of back home. You can live better, with more luxuries and for less money than you would spend in your own country.  Malaysia is on the rise and we can't say enough good things about it!!! Georgetown, Penang Island, 100 meters of the Malaysian coast is among the coolest towns we've ever visited.

Retirement Rating of 5 stars

Petrovis twin towers, KL, Malaysia

Cost of living                  4.5

Activities and options      5

Medical care                    3.5

Air quality/pollution        4

Taxes (for US citizens)    1.5

Food                                 5

Housing affordability      4.5

Crime                               5 (5 = none 1=Africa)

Traffic                              3

Weather                           5

Total                             41/50

So based on the aforementioned criteria, here are the world's best places to retire, for a US citizen. In short, everyplace was dinged for having to pay US taxes except the islands of Rota and Saipan because US citizens are not required to pay federal taxes there. Bali was hit on medical care, which is improving while their traffic worsens.  PI was beaten up on crime and traffic much like Florida.  And here are the numbers:

1. Island of Saipan, SW Pacific            44.5

2. Thailand                                             43

3. Bali, Indonesia                                   42

4. Philippines (outside Metro Manila)  42

5. Malaysia                                             41

6. Rota Island, CNMI                            38

7. Florida                                                35

8. Guam                                                  34

9. Equator                                              33

10. Puerto Villaurta, Mexico                32

      City Beaches, Panama 

New travel correspondent in Spain

Others considered; Vanuatu Tahiti, Puerto Mazaran-Spain, Palau, Yap, Honduras, Kuhukohu Harbor-NZ, Algarve-Portugal, Devenport-Tasmania, N. Belize, Costa Rico, Kosrae, Bahamas, Pohnpei, New Caledonia, St. Kitts, Malta, Lao, Siem Reap-Cambodia, Danang-Vietnam, Puerto Rico, W. Samoa, Fiji, Hawaii (Big Island), Bahamas, Myrtle Beach-SC, Casperia-Italy, Vabonne-France, Cannes-AU, Naha-Okinawa, Jeju Island-Korea


Paris update


Dane in N Thailand






   Daddy shown below in Thailand, Bali, Penang, Indonesia

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